The Impact of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has become an epidemic in the United States, with an average of 3,000 fatal accidents happening every year since 2016. Distracted driving comes in many forms, but the most notable variation of this dangerous infraction has appeared with the growing habit of cell phone usage behind the wheel.

According to the National Safety Council, using a cell phone while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year — in fact, at any given time, approximately 660,000 drivers are attempting to use a cell phone while behind the wheel.

Despite policies put in place specifically for fleet drivers, they are no exception to these statistics. Distracted driving is the second leading driver-related cause of fatal collisions among fleets.

Although training and enforcing strict guidelines for distracted behavior can help, there’s one way to ensure your drivers remain safe on the road: fleet safety technology. With full visibility into what happens on the road, fleet safety technology can help identify distracted driving behavior.

Signs of a Distracted Driver

The most common distracted driving practices include:

  • Cell phone usage
  • Eating or drinking
  • Adjusting a radio or navigation system
  • Rubbernecking
  • Reaching for something on the floor or back of vehicle
  • Drowsiness

When drivers are distracted by any of these behaviors, there is usually a visible reaction on the road. Swerving in and out of lanes, hard braking, slowed driving and other lapses in attention are apparent to others on the road, but how can fleet managers mitigate this when they’re not actually seeing it happen?

Using Vision-Based Technology to Mitigate Distracted Driving

Using vision-based safety technology in fleet management is the only way to ensure visibility into distracted driving behaviors. With cameras capturing the full picture in real-time, fleet managers can immediately identify symptoms of distracted driving to enforce proper driving habits.

Technology like Driveri’s advanced system offers multiple channels to capture, analyze and report driving discrepancies back to fleet managers, who can then enforce proper driving habits. Here’s how:

Edge Computing vs. Trigger-Based: Which is More Effective? 

There are two general forms of vision-based technology: edge computing and trigger-based. Trigger-based technology is most common in fleet safety technology, but the downfall is that it only records incidents as they occur. For example, if your fleet driver is involved in a collision, a trigger-based system would start recording as soon as the hard braking occurred.

Unfortunately, this leaves some ambiguity to the surrounding events. Was it your driver’s fault or the other driver? With out-of-context visuals, the rest is left up to speculation.

Edge computing means that data is processed almost immediately, without any need for event-based “triggers.” Driveri’s unique edge-computing fleet management software provides constant visibility of fleet driver’s on-road behaviors, showing the full sequence of events leading up to an incident. It also mitigates signs of distracted driving with real-time driver performance insights.

Real-Time Performance Insights

Using the advanced power of edge-computing, vision-based technology offers the most vigilance when it comes to preventing distracted driving — it’s the closest alternative to putting a fleet manager in the front seat en route.

Coupled with edge-computing, artificial intelligence provides real-time feedback during the driver’s journey. If a driver is displaying any signs of distracted driving, the system will alert both the driver and the fleet manager immediately.

Seeing infractions occur in near real-time, no matter how small, allows the fleet manager to reestablish expectations as they’re happening, whether or not an incident occurs as the result.

This can prevent collisions before they happen, and provides managers an opportunity to constantly coach their drivers.

Coaching Opportunities

Fleet training should be consistently reinforced, but sometimes it’s hard to keep up with — especially with the hectic schedules of fleet drivers.

As time passes, drivers become more and more comfortable and lose their sense of urgency, especially when it comes to distracted driving habits. It might start with a quick glance at a cell phone. Eventually that quick glance becomes reading a message, then replying — it’s human to be distracted, and without constant reminders, it’s easy to lose touch with remaining vigilant on the road.

Driveri captures and reports distracted behavior and other road incidents, and then alerts fleet managers in real-time. Managers can view the nature of the incident(s) and determine that a driver is driving drowsy or distracted, and contact them almost immediately to correct the bad behavior before it becomes a collision.

Coaching drivers as these distracted driving incidents occur will lower fleet-related costs and constantly remind drivers of your expectations as a manager.

Reward and Recognition 

Another important aspect when considering correcting behavior: rewarding positive driving behaviors. Recognizing great performance while on the road and providing small incentives to those functioning properly on the road is a great way to reinforce healthy driving habits and diminish negative ones.

Rewarding drivers can also increase retention — happy drivers with constant positive reinforcement will stay with your company longer. With the turnover rate above 90% for more than nine consecutive quarters, driver retention is something that should be at the top of fleet managers’ minds.

Netradyne’s Driveri technology has already seen a 76% improvement in cell phone compliance in fleets who adopted the system. Having constant guidance and training while driving is important to mitigate distracted behavior — it also provides a sense of accountability among the drivers.

Final Thoughts

With fleet driver safety at the forefront of managers’ minds, it’s important to use technology and data to mitigate distracted driving and reinforce safe driving habits. Installing an AI-enabled, vision-based technology into fleet vehicles will do just that.

Driveri’s advanced technology not only provides full visibility into your fleet’s driving behavior, but it also allows for opportunity to train and reward your drivers in real-time to promote driver safety.

Contact Netradyne today to learn more about how we can help prevent distracted driving in your fleet.

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