Court orders trucking company to remove driver-facing cameras because they violate drivers’ privacy

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A Canadian court has ruled that driver-facing cameras violate a trucker’s right to privacy and have ordered Sysco Quebec to remove the devices from their trucks.

The ruling was announced during the week of August 21st, by the Quebec Superior Court.

According to TVA Nouvelles, the truck drivers of Sysco Quebec have been rallying against driver-facing cameras for the last five years.

Back in 2012, Sysco began installing DriveCam driver-facing cameras in all of their trucks, claiming that they were only to be used to record evidence in case of an accident. The cameras were meant to record only specific events, such as sudden braking, for 12 seconds at a time. However, soon after the DriveCam cameras were installed, around 70 truck drivers for Sysco Quebec filed complaints about the cameras, claiming they would randomly start recording several times a day.

The truck drivers said they felt “watched” and “intimidated,” so their union filed a grievance.

In 2016, an arbitration panel reviewed the complaints and ordered Sysco to remove the driver-facing cameras. The arbitration tribunal called the cameras a “particularly intrusive” method to promote workplace safety, as the cab of a truck is more private than an office or other workplace.

Sysco contested the arbitration panel’s decision and the case was elevated to the Quebec Superior Court, which sided with the drivers in late August.

“The interior of our truck is a bit like our home,” explained Pierre Pelletier, an independent owner-operator of 30 years.

“We eat in there, we change … so it’s not very nice to be filming all the time.”

Sysco has refused to comment on the situation, but now has less than 30 days to file an appeal on the decision.

“In the United States, the many lawsuits that have been brought [against trucking companies] may push the industry to protect itself and invest in this kind of equipment,” said CEO of the Trucking Association and Counsel, Marc Cadieux.

“But here, it is the insurance companies that pay in the event of an accident. So, I do not see the point of filming the drivers.”

Despite the victory for truck drivers working for Sysco, the ruling will not necessarily keep all companies from installing driver-facing cameras.

“Certainly, it paves the way for other decisions that the courts could take, but that does not mean that some carriers could not use other grounds to justify the installation of cameras,” Cadieux continued.

“For example, some companies carry high-value items or downright money. Others carry dangerous products. So maybe at that time, some surveillance equipment inside the truck can be justified,” Cadieux added.