SmartDrive debuts quarterly Distracted Driving Index

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SmartDrive Systems, a provider of fleet safety and operational efficiency, on Thursday, Oct. 1, introduced its Distracted Driving Index, a quarterly benchmark of commercial fleet driving distraction, providing fleet safety professionals with a way to measure ongoing cause, effect and change in driving distraction so they can work effectively with their drivers to improve safety.

According to SmartDrive, the Distracted Driving Index evaluates more than 25,000 commercial drivers, gauging distraction as a percentage of total measured driving time; the index evaluates video records for sources of distractions that can’t be quantified by nonvideo approaches, such as cell phone usage, text messaging, use of maps or navigation, eating/drinking/smoking or any other distraction resulting in drivers taking their eyes off the road for more than 2 consecutive seconds, or having their hands engaged with something other than driving for more than 3 consecutive seconds.

For the third quarter of 2009, the SmartDrive Distracted Driving Index shows a distraction rate of 17.9 percent, down from 19.3 percent during the previous quarter. SmartDrive also cites the top five distractions and percentage of driving time being exhibited: Talking/listening on mobile phone/handheld, 4.5 percent; smoking, 2.7 percent; beverage, 2.5 percent; object in hand, 2.4 percent; and food, 2.0 percent.

The next update to the index will be published at the end of the fourth quarter and will highlight changes in percentage and cause of driver distraction.