SmartWitness Cameras paid for themselves in 5 weeks for UK Fleet

A leading haulier has revealed how installing SmartWitness cameras saved his firm a six-figure insurance pay-out and they paid for themselves within five weeks. Elddis Transport, from Consett, Co Durham installed SmartWitness cameras in all its 144 HGV articulated lorries and 20 rigid truck fleet five years ago.
“The only regret I’ve got is that I didn’t install them sooner. If I’d had them in a month before I would have saved the firm around £20,000.” -Nigel Cook, Managing Director

Elddis Managing Director Nigel Cook said: “One of our drivers was involved in a serious incident shortly after we had installed all of the SmartWitness cameras. The footage completely exonerated him and showed that he was not at fault. If it hadn’t been for the SmartWitness footage we would have been facing a substantial loss, well into six figures and substantially more than the cameras cost themselves.”
 
 Elddis Transport’s insurer paid one third of the cost of the SmartWitness installation because they knew it would provide useful protection in the event of any future claims.
 
 Mr Cook added: “The only regret I’ve got is that I didn’t install them sooner. If I’d had them in a month before I would have saved the firm around £20,000. One of our artics hit some debris on the M1 and it ruptured his fuel tank and petrol was left across one of the carriageways.

“The Highways Agency sent us a bill for the clear-up which was just over £20,000, but if we had SmartWitness footage to show it was debris on the road that caused it and not a mechanical fault with our lorry, we wouldn’t have had to pay a penny.”
 
 The SmartWitness cameras have also been useful in reducing cash-for-crash claims.

Elddis Transport, a former Haulier of the Year, has found the firm is much less likely to be targeted by criminal gangs for insurance fraud — and it now has a strong defence to disputed claims from ‘no win no fee’ legal firms.
 
 Mr Cook said: “The numbers of calls from ‘no win no fee’ lawyers has risen sharply in the past couple of years but we have been able to dispute the vast majority of claims with our accurate video and incident data.
 
 “Also we can mitigate claims where we were at fault but can prove impact speeds were very low. There have been several claims recently for whiplash where the speed of the collision was below 3mph. In one of these cases recently the judge threw the claim out of court and gave a stinging rebuke to the ‘no win no fee’ legal team who had brought the case.”

Elddis Transport is well-established family transport and distribution firm. It has 160 vehicles, mostly HGV 44 tonnes Mercedes artics, but also some rigid trucks, vans, and company cars. All its vehicles are now fitted with SmartWitness forward-facing in-vehicle CCTV cameras.

In the past few years, Elddis has been targeted several times by cash-for-crash criminal gangs, but these incidents have been practically eradicated by the CCTV footage.
 
 Mr Cook said: “There was a case recently where a car driver deliberately over-took one of our HGV drivers and then as soon as he was in front of the lorry put his brakes on hard causing our driver to hit the rear of his vehicle. Our driver came out of the cab and pointed to the SmartWitness camera that had filmed the whole thing. The other driver didn’t even bother arguing about it — he just got back in his car and drove off, and that was the last we ever heard about it.”
 Mr Cook also explained that the SmartWitness footage protected his drivers against complaints from members of the public even when there was not a collision.

He said: “There’s been a few occasions when there’s been a complaint about a near miss or dangerous driving. So far on every occasion we have been able to fend off each complaint and show that our driver was blameless.”

“At first when we installed these cameras the drivers were suspicious and thought it was like Big Brother watching them, but now they realise that the cameras protect them in the event of any incidents or complaints and they are happy that we’ve got them.”
 
 The end result has been that Elddis Transport has not had any significant increase insurance premiums in the five years since they first started using SmartWitness.