Samsara captures hero

It was a scary scene. Plant Maintenance Technician Edward Chintalla was traveling on I-81 near Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania when tragedy struck. A vehicle headed in the opposite direction hit a rock wall along the highway at full speed. “He went airborne, did a couple barrel rolls and ended up in the middle of the road in front of us,” Chintalla said. “A truck driver and I were the first ones there.”

Flames leapt from the wrecked vehicle and Chintalla instinctively pulled over, grabbed a fire extinguisher from his vehicle and doused the flames. Fortunately for the accident victim, a nurse also randomly arrived at the scene, as did a person with a special hammer to break the wrecked vehicle’s glass so the nurse could tend to the unconscious driver.

“The nurse grabbed the hammer and cut the airbags on the passenger side so she could reach the driver,” Chintalla said. “It seemed like everybody just rolled into action. The driver was pretty busted up; he was slumped over. I figured I’d let the nurse take care of that.”

First responders soon arrived and took control of the scene, but the accident victim was fortunate Chintalla and the others were nearby when the accident occurred. A Samsara system in Chintalla’s vehicle captured the entire incident, including Chintalla’s calmly heroic actions.

“If you know Ed, he’s been with us about 12 years. He’s just level-headed and keeps it nice and calm,” said IW General Manager Tim Dondero. “Especially in our world of emergency response, he’s also a maintenance tech. So, a lot of times, you’re fighting fires and dealing with fixing stuff under high stress situations.”

Dondero said Samsara protects MPW drivers and employees because it records people doing things safely. “Historically, before Samsara it was always up to the person in the commercial vehicle or the company vehicle to prove their innocence in any incidents,” he said. “With the Samsara video, it highlights that it’s not there to catch people doing things wrong but demonstrating people doing things right, which we know happens the majority of the time.

“It goes to show as a team, we don’t do enough reviewing on the positive,” Dondero said. “We don’t look at Samsara unless there’s a trigger. In this case, it was brought to our attention that this happened, and we should look at the video. Not only did Ed respond to an emergency, but you can see his positive driving behavior. He’s not on his phone; he’s not distracted. He’s doing the speed limit—all the really cool things.”

Transport Safety Supervisor Jonathan Frye said Samsara can be used to accentuate employees’ positive actions by recognizing behaviors through awards, financial incentives, gift cards, company swag or even a notification to all employees. “Transportation Safety believes that this can go a long way toward a more positive acceptance of using dash cameras,” he said. 

Frye said Samsara can blur most uploaded and saved footage for all individuals to manage privacy concerns. Blurring can be applied to videos in the dashboard—safety event videos and video retrievals—downloaded videos, and trip stills. There are currently 723 MPW vehicles equipped with Samsara devices. All new vehicles that are acquired will have Samsara devices installed in them.

“Ed’s incident illustrates the safety culture that is engrained in our employees and reinforces the company’s overall commitment to safety,” Frye said. He said having cameras in the vehicle in general allows MPW to use the footage as a learning tool to show drivers their mistakes and help them make better decisions in the future.

“If one of our vehicles get involved in road accidents, after assuring ourselves that the driver is okay, one of the first things we would want to identify is whether our vehicle was fully, partly, or not at fault,” Frye said. “The recordings generally reveal what transpired before, during, and after the collision. This minimizes the risk of jogged memory, inaccurate and conflicting stories, and assigning the blame to the wrong party.”

Dondero said Samsara videos are not viewed outside of when there’s an incident. “We’re only showing this video with Ed’s authorization. I had to ask Ed, specifically,” he said. “In this instance, it’s such a positive that Ed felt good about releasing it.”

Unfortunately, Chintalla doesn’t know how the accident victim fared after he was transported to a hospital. “Hopefully, everything worked out for him,” Chintalla said.

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