US lorry video firm launches new base

NEW video surveillance technology for HGV drivers is set to be marketed the UK from a new base in Suffolk.

SmartDrive Systems, a hi-tech Californian company, has developed a new system for improving road safety for the haulage industry.

It has now set up a sales and support base in Bury St Edmunds with the help of East of England Investor Development (EEID), the East of England Development Agency-funded body which supports overseas investors in the region.

SmartDrive Systems Inc., which employs 300 people globally, installs specially designed video recorders in the cabs of trucks and other vehicles.

These capture high- quality video 15 seconds before and after an event such as a sudden stop, swerve, collision or excessive speed.

The system is aimed at reducing road accidents by helping to improve driver performance with recorded video sequences assessed by SmartDrive’s professional safety reviewers alerting fleet manages of any issues who can then review the incident with the driver and coach them to improve their driving behaviour.

Deploying the system can also significantly bring down insurance costs for fleet operators and the video material can help expedite the claims process and mitigate fraudulent claims, the company says.

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One of the first UK customers to use the system in the region, which is home to a large number of haulage firms, is Hertfordshire-based Reynolds Catering Supplies that has a fleet of 180 delivery vehicles.

The firm, whose customers include Pret a Manger and Pizza Express, says it has seen a 61% decrease in the number of collisions and reduced its annual insurance costs by over �250,000.

SmartDrive UK managing director Steve Cowper said: “The innovative road safety technologies and programmes we offer will help fleet operators across the UK and Europe to identify and reduce risks before a serious incident happens.”

“The support, advice and specialist experience provided by EEID has contributed to our early success and helped us quickly establish ourselves in the UK market.”