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New technologies warn distracted truck drivers, reduce crashes

California readers may be surprised to learn that car and truck accidents caused by distracted driving tend to be more severe than those caused by other factors, such as drunk driving. This is because while a drunk driver may at least attempt to brake or steer away from an impending collision, a distracted driver isn't even aware a collision is coming. As a result, he or she may slam into another car at full speed.

Because of the high costs associated with distracted driving crashes, trucking companies have started using technology that can identify when truck drivers are distracted or drowsy and alert them. In 2016, the fleet management software company Omnitracs added a module to its Driving Center tool that uses a truck driver's hours of service log to predict situations that may lead to distracted or drowsy driving. The company has identified over 1,000 variables within a service log that could impact the severity of a truck crash.

Meanwhile, data firm Zendrive helps trucking companies predict driver risk by analyzing a truck driver's smartphone data. According to a representative of the firm, studies have shown that combining smartphone information with sensors can accurately predict when a driver is at risk for a crash. In April, Netradyne, a manufacturer of in-cab driver monitoring systems, introduced Driveri RealTimeCoach, which can give truck drivers audible warnings when it detects risky behavior such as distracted driving. Trucking companies hope that using these new technologies will increase traffic safety and reduce insurance costs.

Inattentive truck drivers cause thousands of serious truck accidents each year. Victims of such crashes might want to contact a personal injury attorney for advice. An attorney may be able to review the details of the case and explain the best options for obtaining a settlement.

Source: Fleet Owner, "Using data and tech to combat distracted driving -- and its costs," Aaron Marsh, April 27, 2018

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