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Fewer crashes, safer driving habits fuel KCMO’s drive cam expansion

KCMO drive cams.jpg
Posted at 6:32 AM, Mar 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-11 07:32:44-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nearly every car the city of Kansas City, Missouri, owns now has a camera watching both the road and the driver.

This year, the city continued expanding its drive cam program so that cameras are installed on nearly 1,500 city-owned vehicles.

As a result, the city said it’s seen fewer crashes, fewer injuries and improved following distance.

"It is a good thing for safety and I can speak for me, it taught me a difference not just within here, but within my personal vehicles,” admitted Kevin West, a bridge crew supervisor.

The city installed its first drive cam in 2013. Since then, it’s added more cameras to its fleet over the years.

Kristin Danner, the manager of the city’s Safety and Risk Management Division, explained the cameras do not send a live feed to a supervisor. They are always on, but only record video when something activates the camera - like a driver slamming on the brakes.

The equipment then records a 12-second clip which shows what happened before and after whatever activated the camera.

A third party reviews that footage and forwards any relevant videos to the city. Danner said supervisors review footage with the driver and use footage for training.

West said he supports having cameras in city vehicles because they can exonerate employees if someone else causes a crash. But, he admitted about a quarter of his coworkers do not like the cameras, feeling like it’s an overreach.

“It’s for your safety,” West tells his coworkers. “I want you to go home safe, I want the citizens to be safe. It's basically good for us, teaching us good responsibilities."

Since implementing the program, the city hosts an annual ceremony recognizing safe drivers.