Cogosense Blog

Cogosense's Driver Behaviour Blog

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Pedestrian Killed By Distracted Officer

I spotted this story in the news today, another incident of driver distraction taking a life.

'I'm done, I'm done. I'm sorry, I'm sorry,' Mountie wailed as pedestrian he struck was dying nearby

I quote from the article “[RCMP Constable] Luk made a spontaneous admission to him at the scene, saying, “High rate of speed ... Looked at MDT (mobile data terminal computer in front seat) ... Didn’t see anyone crossing the road.”

It wasn’t a cell phone in this case, it was a MDT (Mobile Device Terminal), but to me it is a sobering reminder for all of us that taking your eyes of the road for even a fleeting moment can be deadly.

According to distraction.gov, the official US government website for distracted driving:

“Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field, blindfolded.”

After reading this story today I was even more aware on my commute that despite these constant reminders of the dangers of distracted driving and the laws in my area against the use of hand held electronic devices while driving, I still see people texting while driving. 

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My Favorite FleetSafer Customer Success Stories

2012 was an exercise in "crossing the chasm" for innovators offering software to help fleets ensure safe and legal use of mobile devices while employees are driving on the job.  Indeed, the bridge to tomorrow is built upon key customer relationships where employers have taken a true leadership position on the issue of distracted driving.

Go here to learn more and see for yourself how these corporate fleet leaders are working to make the roads safer for themselves and everyone around them.

Do whats right choose fleetsafer

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FleetSafer Ensures Responsible Use of Tablet Computers in Fleet of 10,000 Vehicles

Tablets are the fastest ramping computer device in history. A large portion of the growth comes from enterprise mobile workforce automation projects. The tablet makes an excellent substitute for the laptop due to four primary factors:

  1. More convenient size for portability
  2. Easier in-vehicle docking
  3. Longer battery life
  4. Lower cost

Additionally the tablet can be used for navigation (saving approximately $1000 per vehicle by avoiding the built-in option).

However, along with these benefits comes a serious challenge. A tablet in a cradle in a vehicle becomes a source of serious distraction for a driver and presents a large potential liability for the corporation if the driver should have an accident. This problem is particularly acute given the potential of a large screen tablet to create the most significant forms of driver distraction:

  • Visual - looking at something other than the road
  • Manual - manipulating something other than the wheel
  • Cognitive - thinking about something other than driving

Fortunately, there is a solution - FleetSafer automatically activates and deactivates "safe mode" when employees start and stop driving. During "safe mode", only "whitelisted" applications (such as navigation) are permitted. Such "whitelisted" applications can be easily customized to suit a company's policy.

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Aegis was recently selected by a leading Fortune 50 enterprise to deploy FleetSafer to 10,000 service technicians. Aegis was chosen as the best product due to:

  • SafeApp functionality in FleetSafer (ability to "whitelist" applications such as navigation)
  • Detection accuracy for determining "start" and "stop" for driving
  • Low battery drain (using patented and patent-pending algorithms for detection)
  • Tamper resistance
  • Ease of configuration, deployment and management
  • Enterprise-class analytics and reporting

To learn more about how FleetSafer can help your organization deploy workforce automation solutions without compromising safety, read more customer success stories and schedule a demo today!

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The problem of "Do as I say, not as I do".

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released its fifth annual "Traffic Safety Culture Index" this month and the messages related to distracted driving due to mobile device use are clear:

  • Nearly all drivers (95.7%) say that drivers text messaging or emailing are a very serious threat to their personal safety
  • 94.5 percent say that they personally consider it unacceptable for a driver to type a text or email while driving
  • 79.8 percent believe that most other people where they live consider it unacceptable to text while driving

However, contrasted against this near-universal belief that texting or emailing while driving is extremely dangerous:

  • More than 1 in four (26.6%) say that they have typed or sent a text message or email in the past 30 days while driving
  • More than 1 in three (34.7%) say they have read a text message or email while driving during this time

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This "do as I say, not as I do" paradigm is one of the reasons that the problem of distracted driving is difficult to solve through education and law enforcement alone. The statistics prove that, although people understand the dangers and face penalties, they continue the behaviours.

At Aegis, we share the objectives of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety to value and pursue traffic safety. We are committed to helping reduce the estimated 8,000 deaths on American highways in 2011 due to mobile device use.

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Ray Lahood's Legacy: An Entrepreneur's Perspective

Today is a somber day for anyone even remotely affiliated with efforts to improve US traffic safety.  The reason is because Ray Lahood, a true champion of highway safety, announced that he is leaving as the Secretary of Transportation as soon as his successor is found.

Mr. Lahood, a former school teacher and Republican congressman from Illinois, was confirmed by the US Senate on January 21, 2009.  His confirmation as Secretary of Transportation occurred exactly three weeks after I co-founded ZoomSafer, a technology company dedicated to developing software for mobile devices to prevent distracted driving.

With that backdrop in mind I'd like to share 5 observations on Mr. Lahood's tenure as Secretary of Transportation and what it meant to me as an innovator and entrepreneur.

  1. It's better to be lucky than good.  The old adage is especially true for an entrepreneur who is starting a new business.  And, in regards to ZoomSafer, we were very lucky that Secretary Lahood entered the picture and immediately engaged in a passionate and high-profile fight to end distracted driving.  He created a stage, not only for himself, but for many others to talk candidly about the incredible risks associated with mobile device use while driving.
  2. Shockingly, gridlock can be a good thing.  In the beginning of his tenure, LaHood worked closely with President Obama to stimulate the ailing economy through transportation construction projects including the development of high-speed rail systems.  But both efforts were stalemated when Republicans regained control of the House in the 2010.  In the face of congressional gridlock, Lahood focused his attention on improving highway safety, with an emphasis on preventing distracted driving.
  3. History repeats itself (maybe).  The "national epidemic" known as distracted driving was seen by Lahood as similar to other behaviors commonly exhibited by US motorists in years past.  Lahood made this point repeatedly when he drew comparisons to successful efforts to increase seat belt use in the 1970's.  If the nation could learn to wear seat belts, then certainly it could learn to put down the cell phone.  At least that's how the thinking went.
  4. Regulations matter.  As the top federal regulator of the transportation industry, Mr. Lahood was fighting to prevent distracted driving on both the consumer and commercial fronts.  On the consumer front, which consists of 200 million motorists, Mr. Lahood traveled to Detroit to encourage automakers to use their advertising budgets to help spread the word  and he worked with NHTSA to introduce guidelines for auto makers that would limit distractions associated with in-vehicle computer systems.  On the commercial front, Mr. Lahood worked with the FMCSA to enact stiff new rules prohibiting commercial drivers from hand-held use of a mobile device.
  5. No Silver Bullets.  Although much of Lahood's emphasis was on distracted driving legislation, regulation and education; he intuitively understood that cell phone use while driving was much more complicated than seat belt use or drunk driving.  As a result, he was always very clear in his opinion that technology -- whether from auto OEMs, wireless carriers, insurance carriers, or start-ups -- would play an important and complementary role in fostering safe and legal use of mobile devices while driving.

It goes without saying that i will miss Mr. Lahood, and i sincerely thank him for all that he did in the fight to prevent distracted driving.

Lahood

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