Has DriveCam Improved Muni’s Safety?

Last January, on the same day the 19-Polk collision hospitalized 9 people, the SFMTA released a self-congratulatory statement regarding their improved safety record.

A few months earlier, in November 2009, Muni spent $1.2 million installing the DriveCam onto all their buses and trolleys “to help improve safety on the transit system.”

About DriveCam
The DriveCam is installed both inside and outside of the vehicle and kicks in seconds before and after incidents involving hard breaking or swerving. The company website advertises a “Seven Steps to Risk Reduction and Savings” plan wherein #5 and #6 are:

5. Driver review, coaching and training

  • Supervisors and drivers review the video, company policy and procedures. The goal is for the driver to understand and improve his or her driving.

6. The driver returns to the field with new insights

  • The employee returns to the field integrating new learning into his or her driving
Muni’s Goals: Savings or Safety?
While the SFMTA claims to have adopted DriveCam’s idealistic steps to improve safety. However, in their press release, the SFMTA said these cameras would “assess liability from collisions and reduce expenses incurred from such incidents that can include vehicle damage, worker’s compensation, and personal injury.”

After the 19-Polk accident, both the SF Appeal and The Examiner were quick to suggest that the installation of DriveCam seemed more like an attempt to improve Muni’s safety record, and not its actual safety.
So now that one year has passed, what are your thoughts on this? Has Muni made your public transportation any safer?

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