SmartDrive Systems, a San Diego, Calif.-based leader in driving performance solutions that reduce collisions and improve fuel efficiency, announced that Bozzuto’s Inc., a total service wholesale distributor, expanded its video-based safety program by deploying SmartDrive 360 across its fleet of 248 vehicles.

In response to requests from drivers that the company incorporate additional blind-spot cameras, Bozzuto’s extended its existing SmartDrive deployment of cab- and road-facing views to add side-view cameras. With 35% of collisions being side and rear incidents, the enhanced visibility down the sides of the vehicle and trailer provides even more insight to incidents and the situations drivers face every day, ensuring maximum protection of drivers and fleet assets.

“Our drivers recognized early on that more cameras equal more protection. While I know many fleets are concerned about driver reaction to video, our drivers not only loved SmartDrive’s program when we had cab- and road-facing cameras, [but] they [also] asked for more video when given the opportunity,” says Tom Halpin, Bozzuto’s transportation safety manager. “We firmly believe our drivers’ enthusiasm for SmartDrive results from the insight we gain about what has happened, and with the additional camera views, we have a broader perspective on the risks specific to our industry and the realities of urban operation. This information has proven to protect them, their careers and our company.”

Based in Cheshire, Conn., Bozzuto’s has provided goods and services to independently owned retailers in New England for 70 years. With the aim of being the No. 1 wholesaler of choice in the markets it serves, the company’s state-of-the-art distribution centers use the latest technology designed to maximize customer service and offer the widest product variety. With large tractor trailers operating in residential areas on congested city streets and busy freeways and with tight delivery parameters, Bozzuto’s risk of incidents—especially side swipes and backing collisions—is high.

For these and other reasons, drivers at Bozzuto’s are strong supporters of the SmartDrive video safety program, and have seen the positive impact it can have on protecting them while doing their job. After participating in an early adopter program for SmartDrive 360 when it launched in 2014, Bozzuto’s drivers quickly realized the value of the additional side-view cameras and urged management to deploy them across the entire fleet. The addition of side cameras to supplement the cab- and road-facing cameras provides a broader perspective of what happens around and behind the vehicle when an incident occurs.

“Bozzuto’s is a fantastic example of a fleet innovator that invests in safety as a core component of their operating strategy. As a long-time customer, they have realized the positive impact SmartDrive’s video safety program has on the bottom line,” adds Jason Palmer, president of SmartDrive. “Our flexible architecture allowed Bozzuto’s to leverage the platform they initially adopted in 2011 to add the 360 program in 2016, demonstrating the innovation all fleets can take advantage of without the need for a costly hardware ‘rip and replace.’”

The additional perspective delivered by SmartDrive 360 has already highlighted Bozzuto’s drivers’ defensive driving skills and ability to avoid collisions. In one instance, a passenger vehicle on a congested highway lost control of his vehicle and nearly collided with a Bozzuto’s truck. The SmartDrive 360 video captured a perspective not possible without additional cameras, showing that the Bozzuto’s driver swerved to evade the passenger vehicle, preventing a collision. This capability led to drivers’ support of the program early on and was a key factor in their request for more cameras.

“Bozzuto’s drivers and managers are at the forefront of the industry’s move toward broadly embracing the value of video-based solutions for improved safety, risk management and exoneration, and we are proud to have them as customer,” says Palmer. “SmartDrive is the only platform designed to allow fleets flexibility to choose the optimal level of video protection to fit their business, whether their primary aim is exoneration, driver protection or collision prevention.”  

By integrating to third-party cameras, SmartDrive 360 enables fleets to deploy up to four cameras, delivering a 360-degree view of the vehicle and insight to the most frequent causes of collisions—such as U-turns, backing, unintended lane changes, rollovers and close following—providing an unprecedented level of coverage and complete visibility to risk.