Fire trucks are one of the most easily recognized Mobile owned vehicles, but roughly there’s close to 2000 automobiles in the city’s inventory.
And at least 200 of them, the ones most often on the road, such as trash trucks, utility trucks, and fire trucks are now equipped with drive cam.
“So if the driver is driving too fast, hitting a curve that might cause a roll over or any kind of accident it would come on actually start videotaping as the driver’s driving,” said Billy Roach, Health and Safety Officer, Mobile Fire-Rescue Dept.
In a recent incident, a utility truck was driving down a residential street. Suddenly a car appears out of nowhere, it misses, but had that been an accident, the city could show it was not at fault.
“It’s to monitor why we have accidents,” said Laura Bryne, Mobile Mayor’s Office.
Bryne says it’s not supposed to be a big brother system. In fact the device is always on, but it can only clips 12 seconds.
“We want to capture the moment we’re looking for so it goes back 8 seconds of what just happened so it picks up what just happened or before an accident or before a red light, and then it goes 4 more seconds past that,” said Roach.
According to the Mayor’s Office, accidents have been down 51 percent since the pilot program in 2008. But, in light of the Mike Moore shooting why isn’t this on a police car?
“Well it’s under a different department, you’d have to discuss with them, that,” said Bryne.
We reached out to Mobile Police Chief James Barber but he has not yet responded. The city maintains these cameras are strictly designed for accidents.
Now one drawback, the drive cam video takes about a day or two to retrieve because it’s stored in a massive cloud server based in California.