Cogosense Blog

Cogosense's Driver Behaviour Blog

Expanded Considerations for Risk and Liability

The recent New Jersey state appeals court ruling expanded the risk and liability considerations to include someone who knowingly sends a text to another person who's engaged in driving at the time and the distraction leads to a collision.

We hold that the sender of a text message can potentially be liable if an accident is caused by texting, but only if the sender knew or had special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus be distracted.
– Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division

This is a particularly important consideration for corporate fleets where intra-company communication may be very frequent between fleet drivers and management or dispatch.

Complete solutions for distracted driving should take into consideration the environment for both the senders and the receivers.

For example, Aegis has worked with our corporate clients to provide driving status indicators on enterprise unified communications systems (such as those provided by Cisco, Avaya or Microsoft) so that corporate dispatchers can see status at-a-glance. Additionally, single touch push-to-talk and similar features are available to facilitate communication that is critical to productivity while ensuring conformance with corporate safe driving policy and adherence to the law.

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Safety Versus Freedom

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Nathan Seppa, of Science News, authored an excellent article last week entitled "Impactful Distraction - Talking while driving poses dangers that people seem unable to see."

The article touches upon many of the important issues in the distracted driving market including:

  • Competing interests between (a) science which has clearly established the dangers of distracted driving, (b) individual freedom which resists the government imposing regulations and (c) legislation which attempts to balance the interests of safety and freedom
  • Psychology that individuals believe distracted driving to be very dangerous for others but safe for themselves
  • Dangers of handsfree usage and the absence of legislation dealing with such dangers

There are several excellent infographics included in the article including the one shown below related to tunnel vision (or distractions which draw attention away from the routines that would provide a good representation of the driving environment) and "inattentional blindness" (or looking at something and not seeing it because the mind is elsewhere).

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Download PDF

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2003-2013 By The Numbers

Regardless of our political beliefs, we can all agree that the loss of life in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past decade is tragic. But ABC News recently reminded us that, over the same 10 year period, we have lost more than five times as many lives to distracted driving accidents on our own highways here at home.

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that distracted driving is a contributing factor in more than 386,000 injuries and more than 3,000 deaths every year.

To put that into perspective, you could fill any NFL stadium more than five times with the number of people who are injured by distracted drivers every year.

To put a finer point on it, in the last 10 years, America has lost five times as many husbands and wives, sons and daughters to distracted driving than to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Learning Occurs Through Recognition Of Error

"Learning occurs through recognition of error". It is a simple precept. Yet, the recent train wreck in Spain that killed 79 people is a tragic reminder that human behaviour is sometimes very difficult to modify despite the recognition of error.

Stemming from the 2008 train accident in California that killed 25 people and injured 135 others and the irrefutable research regarding the dangers of distraction due to mobile device use while operating motor vehicles, mobile device use policies are increasingly common across corporate America.

However, leaders in safety are well aware that paper policies and education related to mobile device use in vehicles are not enough. Safety audits and primary research results show that policy infractions invariably reach 100% of employees when measured over a 30-60 day period.

Technology safety solutions can help us address the problems that the pervasive use of mobile products has created. Policy conformance and enforcement tools can assist employees in adhering to policies and can help mitigate a major source of risk and liability for corporations.

Our goal at Aegis is help create a safer environment for employees and the public at large. Call us to schedule a demo today.

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Mobile Device Use Causes More Accidents Than Reported

Earlier this month, our partner, the National Safety Council (NSC), issued a press release announcing a white paper and infographic which they have published that describes the under-reporting of distracted driving accidents due to mobile device use.

b2ap3_thumbnail_NSC-logo-blog.pngThis is a critical issue because the official state records drive awareness, legislation, funding and solutions.

For our part, Aegis is advancing the knowledge of causality in motor vehicle accidents by working with corporations, government departments, insurance providers and law enforcement agencies to collect and analyze real empirical data. Such data will better inform our understanding of risk and prevention.

Interested organizations are invited to contact us to participate in data collection and analysis studies based upon Aegis' industry-leading software solutions for the prevention of distracted driving.

Let's all work together to make our roadways safer.

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