Driving While Texting (DWT) Epidemic
DWT is an acronym for “Driving While Texting,” and what began as an infrequent concern for Fleet Directors or company management has become a full-blown epidemic of Fleet Driver Risk with Multi-Million dollar settlements already awarded for the reckless loss of life or property due to this disabling driver behavior.
At this moment, how many fleet drivers are engaging in known, proven dangerous activities while driving company vehicles? That is:
• Endangering their lives and the lives of others
• Endangering the damage or loss of your companies vehicle
• Jeopardizing the loss of multi-Million dollar settlements
• Tarnishing your company's reputation in the market or community
Your Fleet Drivers Are 23 Times More At Risk
From a study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI):
• A truck driver texting while driving is 23.2 times more likely to get into an accident than a trucker paying full attention to the road.
• A truck driver dialing a cell is 5.9 times more likely to crash.
• A trucker reaching for a phone or other device is 6.7 times more likely to experience a truck accident. For every 6 seconds of drive time, a driver sending or receiving a text message spends 4.6 of those seconds with their eyes off the road. This makes texting the most distracting of all cell phone-related tasks.
“In 2002, the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis calculated that 2,600 people die each year as a result of using cell phones while driving. They estimated that another 330,000 are injured.”
Failure To Act Penalties are Staggering
Private fleets are facing a Tsunami of risk, and the potential losses in capital, assets, and much higher fleet insurance costs could amount to a metaphorical tidal wave that could wipe out company profits if a manageable mechanism is not incorporated to help reduce the incidence of this dangerous driving behavior, and proper management oversight is not in place ASAP.
$49 Million was awarded In a Trucking Accident Involving Texting
How many companies can suffer the loss of $49,000,000.00 without serious damage to their structure or core? Most small to medium-sized companies will be wiped out or bankrupted with a single settlement of this magnitude. There are low-cost alternatives to multimillion-dollar liability lawsuits that will help them enforce the current laws and provide substantial management oversight to prevent accidents before they happen.
Fleet Driver Risk Solutions For “Driving While Texting“ (DWT)
Incorporate DWT Materials into Professional Driver Training The most basic form of driver awareness of these dangers is in a formal training environment, from the start with periodic reinforcements and case studies when appropriate to try to keep this at the forefront of the driver’s awareness as to the costs far outweighing the benefits. While this should be an integral part of the solution, this is optimism at best to believe that telling a driver they should not do something that is now ingrained in their culture will have any substantial effect.
Company Policy No Cell Phones It is already unlawful for Interstate or heavy-duty truck and bus drivers to use their cell phones when driving; it is still a daily driver behavior that cannot be eliminated as it is so hard to detect and widespread. While a company is free to tell their drivers that they must not have a cell phone while in the vehicle, the actual number of employees who will follow this policy may fail to stop usage. Again this is a must for all companies to set a professional tone with their employees and project a public image of responsible attention to the safety of those their drivers share the roads with. Often this is more a means to try to deflect blame and public outrage when the company driver ignores what the company policy is and spends time texting friends or loved ones while driving.
Driver Cameras as an alternative. Those who rely on a conventional driver cam or event recorder to stop DWT are wasting their company capital and providing a false sense of security and Federal compliance. The same smiling salesperson who was happy to take your order may have a hard time getting back to you when your company or agency is named in another $49,000,000.00 lawsuit that you believed their event recorder would prevent. Hindsight, like truth, can be painfully honest, and no matter how quickly we learn from our mistakes, the knowledge gained from that pain, it will not bring back the loss of life, damaged public relations, loss of property; it will merely provide the proper perspective that you were deceived into believing a passive device could ever provide a proactive alert in time for an accident to be prevented.
- Drive Cameras cannot alert you when your drivers are “Driving While Texting” (DWT).
- Event Recorders cannot alert you when your drivers are “Driving While Texting” (DWT).
- Telemetry Data Recorders cannot alert you when your drivers are “Driving While Texting” (DWT).
- Windshield Driver Cameras cannot alert you when your drivers are “Driving While Texting” (DWT).
- Bus Video Cameras cannot alert you when your drivers are “Driving While Texting” (DWT).
- Vehicle Surveillance Cameras cannot alert you when your drivers are “Driving While Texting” (DWT).
None of the above products saved a single one of the 5,500 People Killed Every Year Due to “DWT” accidents.
Live Video Surveillance - aka Streaming Video vehicle cameras that permit supervisors to randomly monitor driver behaviors on the road are random, unannounced, and a constant reminder that the driver is expected to operate e the company vehicle in a professional manner or face repercussions of failing to do so.
Live Alerts - triggered when drivers operate in an unsafe manner, can alert the supervisors or CMS operations personnel that the drivers are distracted.
Erratic driving, hard braking, hard high “Y” axis turns and low impact “Z” axis deflections are common when they are distracted with their phones, eating, smoking, changing clothes, or other distracting activities when they should be focused on driving. This may be the only warning signal provided before an accident that could have been prevented.
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