SmartDrive analysis shows risks of distracted truck driving

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Updated Mar 25, 2020

DistractedSmartDrive Systems has shared new insights on distracted driving in the trucking industry.

Using aggregated and anonymized data from its video-based analytics platform, a recent analysis of 12 months of data demonstrates the most distracted drivers are less safe overall, commit significantly more fundamental driving errors and drive faster than the speed limit compared to all other drivers.

“Distracted driving costs the United States as much as $175 billion a year and it continues to be one of the most serious hazards facing the commercial transportation industry,” said Steve Mitgang, CEO of SmartDrive. “While everyone understands distracted driving is a problem, only video safety—deployed with a cab-facing camera—provides the objective measurement of the associated driving risks.”

Analysis of in-cab video and observation data gathered over 14.5 billion driving miles show that distracted drivers are more likely than all other drivers to have a near collision, fail to stop at an intersection and exceed the speed limit. For fleets, this increases the risk of collisions and the costs associated when one occurs.

Additionally, SmartDrive’s analysis confirms the widely held assumption that mobile devices are the predominant cause of distracted driving.

“It’s evident that mobile device usage and a host of other distractions can seriously impair the driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle and should not be ignored,” observed Slaven Sljivar, vice president of analytics of SmartDrive.

“Seatbelt compliance is one key indicator of a driver’s propensity towards risk,” Sljivar continued. “Distracted drivers don’t wear their seatbelt at a rate that is significantly higher than other drivers—which signals to a fleet the potential for future issues with that driver. Distraction impacts more than safety costs. In fact, distracted drivers consistently waste the most fuel—which is a direct hit to a fleet’s bottom line.”

Significant conclusions from the analysis are:

  • Collision drivers have higher distraction rates than non-collision drivers in all categories of distractions.
  • The most distracted drivers are 36 percent more likely to be involved in a near collision than all other drivers. This number jumps dramatically—to 88 percent—for drivers most distracted by a mobile device.
  • The most distracted drivers are 84 percent more likely than other drivers to roll through a stop sign or red light, and those most distracted by a mobile device are 2.5 times more likely to not stop – increasing the risk and severity of collisions.
  • Overall, the most distracted drivers are 87 percent more likely to drive 10 mph or more over the speed limit, but if they are distracted by a mobile device, they are nearly 3 times more likely than all other drivers to drive 10 mph or more over the speed limit.
  • The most distracted drivers drift out of their lane almost 2 times more frequently than all other drivers. This number jumps to 2.3 times more than all other drivers for those most distracted by a mobile device.
  • Drivers who are most often distracted are more likely to not wear their seatbelt at a rate of 4.1 times higher than other drivers.
  • The most distracted drivers waste more fuel, resulting in 6 percent lower MPG than other drivers; this number increases to more than 8 percent when most distracted by a mobile device.

SmartDrive made its complete Distracted Driving Snapshot available online, and included the “Top 9 Tips to Eliminate Distracted Driving” at the end.

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Sljivar will discuss the SmartDrive SmartIQ distracted driving findings during a webinar on Thursday, May 4, at 9:00 a.m. PT. For more information and to register, click here.