SmartDrive offers fresh insights into risks of distracted driving

by Truck News

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Distracted drivers are less safe overall, commit significantly more fundamental driving errors and drive faster over the speed limit, when compared to non-distracted drivers.

The results are courtesy of in-cab camera provider SmartDrive Systems, which has collected and aggregated data from its platform that offer new insights into the risks and costs of distracted driving, may not come as a surprise. But they do offer further insight into the risks incurred by fleets employing distracted drivers.

“Distracted driving costs the US as much as US$175 billion a year and it continues to be one of the most serious hazards facing the commercial transportation industry,” stated 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. SmartDrive applauds fleets that have taken the necessary steps to reduce distracted driving, protecting their drivers and the motoring public by implementing an action-oriented video safety program.”

The analysis collected data covering more than 14.5 billion driving miles. It found distracted drivers are more likely than other drivers to have a near collision, fail to stop at an intersection and exceed the speed limit. The analysis also found mobile devices are the leasing cause of distraction.

“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,” said Slaven Sljivar, vice-president of analytics, SmartDrive. “Most importantly, our robust data set provides quantifiable evidence of the dangers and costs associated with distracted driving when left unchecked.”

“Seatbelt compliance is one key indicator of a driver’s propensity towards risk,” Sljivar added. “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.”

The following findings were uncovered during the 12-month analysis period:

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


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