Distracted Driving Blog

Aegis Mobility's Distracted Driving Blog

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Team Blogs
    Team Blogs Find your favorite team blogs here.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Recent blog posts

Technology Helping Technology

Posted by on in Opinion and Analysis

In the March 6 Issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 309, No.9), authors Jeffrey H. Cohen, MD and Motao Zhu, MD, PhD put forth, in their article Keeping an Eye on Distracted Driving, the argument that: 

  • Fatalities associated with distracted driving due to mobile device use continue to increase
  • Education and legislation are failing to solve the problem despite concerted effort and expense

Education, alone, rarely leads to behavioural change. The authors note, "As individuals continue to use their cell phones nearly continuously throughout the day, for both business and pleasure, they will continue to be tempted to use this technology - if available - while driving."

Similarly, legislation that cannot be practically implemented by law enforcement personnel is unlikely to be a deterrent. The authors observe, "Simply banning handheld cell phone use while driving, without providing law enforcement with an easy method of detecting such use, is akin to banning drunk driving without using breathalyzers or sobriety tests to detect violators." The difficulties of detecting unlawful use and the scarcity of police resources make it unlikely that law enforcement will place a high priority on apprehending violators of legislative bans.

b2ap3_thumbnail_jama-logo.png

The authors' central thesis is that "Cell phone use while driving is a problem that has been created by technology, and solving this problem will require technological solutions."

Authors Cohen and Zhu conclude, "Failure to act in this manner [failure to implement technology solutions] will result in the continued loss of thousands of lives each year to this preventable public safety hazard. In the era of smartphones and smart cars, it is time to be smarter about keeping them apart from one another."

At Aegis, we could not agree more and have created the industry's broadest portfolio of solutions to automatically detect when mobile devices are in a driving state and to implement policy controls which ensure the safe and legal use of such devices while driving.

Hits: 9072 0 Comments

I just landed back in Vancouver today, fresh from participating in and presenting at the Employer Cell Phone Distracted Driving Seminar put on by the National Safety Council at the San Diego Convention Center yesterday. Being in the business of providing solutions to address the problem of distracted driving, I consider myself to be relatively well informed on the subject, but I came away from the conference having learned a lot. I was extremely impressed by the content, the quality of the presenters and the commitment and engagement of the attendees. I am thankful to have been a part of this important event. A few lasting impressions that the seminar had on me:

  • This can impact anyone. I think most people understand the risks of distracted driving, but research suggests that few people are willing to adjust their own behaviour. Maybe human nature is to think of the problem as happening to others?  Well, I had the opportunity to meet three people at the conference, people like me with families like mine, who shared their own tragedies related to distracted driving and who made me realize that this can impact anyone.
  • Bringing about change takes courage. I was extremely impressed by the examples of courage, both from the presenters and the participants in the audience, who were willing to be leaders in changing behaviours related to distracted driving, even though that change can often be met with resistance and reluctance. I use as example National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman, Deborah Hersman, who delivered the keynote address at the seminar and who imposed a complete ban on the use of cell phones for all NTSB employees in 2009, including herself. It makes it hard to argue that you can’t “afford” to be unreachable while driving when leaders like Chairman Hersman show that you can. Furthermore, Dave Teater of the NSC presented some compelling studies on productivity in companies who banned cell phone use in vehicles – it may just change your bias.
  • Distracted driving involves more than just cars. I was stunned to hear examples of distracted driving incidences in trains, planes and boats [PDF].
    And least expected:b2ap3_thumbnail_olen-cycleguy.jpg
  • Technology plays an important role in addressing the issue. Technology, specifically Aegis Mobility's FleetSafer® product line, was a visible part of the solution to addressing the issue of distracted driving as a complement to corporate safe driving policies and practices. Not only does the Aegis solution ensure compliance with safe driving policies, but by automatically detecting the driving state and silencing all alerts, messages and calls, the Aegis products make it easy for employees to comply with safe driving policies and eliminate both the temptation and anxiety associated with connected devices.

I was very proud to be representing a company that I feel is an important part of the solution and to be part of very thoughtful debate with remarkable people at the seminar. I want to congratulate all the speakers at the conference this week; you were all passionate and excellent and I learned something from each of you. Consider this my strong recommendation for anyone concerned about the costs, risks and liabilities associated with employee use of phones in vehicles while on the job to get out to the next NSC seminar on April 25th at the Long Beach Convention Center. For anyone that can’t make it I encourage you to spend some time with the wealth of resources on the topic of distracted driving provided by the NSC here.

Hits: 154047 0 Comments

This past Thursday I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at a conference in Houston, TX, entitled: Corporate Liability for Distracted Driving: Law, Science and Solutions. The invitation-only event was hosted by Weinberg, Wheeler, Hudgins, Gunn & Dial, LLC, a national trial firm specialized in defending corporate clients in high-exposure litigation.

Because this was a closed-door event, I can't go into detail on the contents of the event, the attendees, or the associated discussions. I can, however, share with you a high-level overview. The event was designed for CEOs, in-house counsel, risk managers and fleet safety managers, and the goal was to provide employers with a "real-world perspective" for understanding the rapidly evolving landscape of corporate risk and liability pertaining to employee use of mobile devices while driving on the job. The conference included presentations from industry experts on the following topics:

  1. The science behind distracted driving
  2. Telematics and accident reconstruction
  3. Risk management and policy considerations
  4. Litigation trends and concerns
  5. Insurance claims, costs and trends
  6. Technology solutions to manage risk and prevent distracted driving

My presentation is here: Managing Distracted Driving Risk for Fleets from Matt Howard

If you have questions or comments please drop me a line - matt.howard@aegismobility.com.
 
Hits: 86860 0 Comments

The Canadian Financing Forum was held last week in Vancouver. The forum featured a select group of Canada's most promising young companies competing for the attention of top-tier venture investors from across Canada and the United States.

Who was named top presenting company? Aegis Mobility.b2ap3_thumbnail_canadian-financing-forum-logo_20130224-183745_1.png

We're humbled and honored to accept the award and we're excited to grow our business further by delivering simple solutions that promote safe and legal use of mobile devices while employees are driving on the job.

Read the press release.

Hits: 48461 0 Comments

Does your company have a policy that prohibits employees from using their mobile phone while driving on the job?  If so, then you’re normal.  In fact, 80% of employers today have adopted some type of policy pertaining to distracted driving.

Does your company have the ability to measure whether or not your employee drivers are complying with the documented policy?   If not, then you’re normal.  In fact, the vast majority of companies with distracted driving policies have zero ability to empirically measure compliance.

This, of course, is a serious business problem because “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

The good news is that there are now simple tools that companies can use to modify employee driving behaviors.  Products such as DriveCam, SmartDrive, Geotab, Inthinc and others provide real time feedback to drivers and automatically collect the data necessary to measure and manage driver compliance with company policy.

Furthermore, a new and innovative service called FleetSafer Vision has been developed to empirically measure employee use of mobile devices while driving.  The inexpensive cloud-based risk management service correlates driving data from telematics systems and with mobile device usage data from carrier billing systems, email servers and other sources to measure cell phone use while driving.

So, why wouldn’t a company simply tell employees not to use their phones while driving?  It’s a fair question, but unfortunately, when it comes to cell phone use while driving “telling someone to stop” is not sufficient to change his or her behavior.

Case in point.  Check out the results of this recent FleetSafer Vision audit conducted on behalf of a large public utility company with a strong safety culture and a well-documented policy prohibiting use of mobile devices while driving.  The audit itself was based on three weeks of driving data and device usage data, and the results quite sobering.  94% of the sample drivers violated the policy at least once during the three weeks and 43% of all trips had at least one cell phone distraction. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Visionscreen1.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_Visionscreen2.jpg

By simply studying the data that already exists, employers can see not only macro compliance trends but they can also spot very granular risks pertaining to specific employees, or even specific trips. Below is a visual representation of a single trip – from point A to B – including, for example, the near constant cell phone use that occurred during the trip.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Visionscreen3.jpg

In summary, if you are an employer concerned about risk and liability associated with employee use of mobile devices while driving, then you can create a policy and (A) hope that your employees comply, or (B) know fro certain whether they comply.  All you have to do is look at the big data.

Hits: 14830 0 Comments