Driving While Texting (DWT) Epidemic

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 Multimillion dollar settlements already awarded for the reckless loss or life or property due to this disabling driver behavior.

At this moment, are your drivers engaging in known, proven dangerous activities while driving company vehicles:

• Endangering their lives and the lives of others
• Endangering the damage or loss of your companies vehicle  
• Jeopardizing the loss of multimillion 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
• 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 who sends or receives a text message spends 4.6 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 dollars 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 is a low-cost alternative to multimillion-dollar liability lawsuits that will help them enforce the current laws and provide substantial management oversight with the goal of preventing 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 number of employees following 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, or 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).
How valuable is it to have an Event Recorder or Driver Cam show you a good image of your driver "Driving While Texting" after the fact, after the loss of life, after personal injuries, after the destruction of company assets, private property, and after your company driver has opened up a Pandora's Box of litigation?
Would the knowledge that your company got a good deal on a Driver Cam in any way help to defend your company against the tsunami of negative public opinion, not to mention a precedent settlement of $49,000,000,00?

A Solution Offering Live View & Active Alerts 
Live Video Surveillance - aka Streaming Video Vehicle Cameras that permit supervisors to monitor driver behaviors on the road is 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 Dangerous Driving Behaviors Event-Triggered Alerts - triggered when drivers operate in an unsafe manner, can alert both the driver as an audible reminder as well as 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 prior to an accident that could have been prevented.

Live View Driver Cameras With Dangerous Driving Audible Driver Alert & 3G Cellular Event Trigger Alert  
The Best deterrent to a driver's use of a cell phone is constant awareness and the ability of CMS Operations management to see cell phone use by the driver.

This management/supervisor oversight is further supported by the DVR itself Event Triggering a violation of Safe Driving parameters and sending an Event Trigger Alert to the CMS Server with an image that may contain the driver violating law and company policy if they happen to be using their phone. At the same time, the driver is reminded via an audible alert that they are violating a safe driving parameter.

Human Nature is not quickly changed. Texting is now part of social media technology and as such, those engaging in this activity are invested at an emotional level. On the emotional scale of reasons for texting, on one end of the scale for laudable reasons such as to stay in constant touch with loved ones who may be ill, or the other end of the spectrum of a pathetic sycophant who just wants to be popular with their peers, those with no regard for restrictions on their behavior when they are alone will often do as they wish without regard for possible consequences.

When drivers are on their own with no supervision or oversight, they often do what they please. Those who believe Federal laws, State laws, and company policy will prevent them from texting are part of the problem. They are exposing their companies to Fleet Driver Risk, and they are jeopardizing their company reputation, public image, and physical assets. A single CMS Operator can monitor up to 24 drivers per Display in 3G Live View, and at the first Active Alert by the DVR of Dangerous Driving Behaviors in the form of speeding, hard braking, or high lateral G as in a dangerous turn, they can focus their attention on the driver in question.

A manageable solution to the "DWT" epidemic is Live View Driver Surveillance and Dangerous Driving Behaviors Event-Triggered Alerts, now standard features in the SD4HC  for visual Cell Phone Use Detection & Dangerous Driving Behaviors Event-Triggered Alerts to help insure Federal "Driving While Texting" Compliance.
This is a functional and effective Real-Time solution to this problem before the use of the phone can cause an accident to take the lives of the company driver or others.

The use of the SD4HC live streaming video with CMS Operator can be an effective means of Fleet Driver Risk Management relating to cell phone use.