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What data and tech companies do to fight distracted driving

In New York, distracted driving is affecting everyone from ordinary drivers to CDL-holding professionals. According to data analytics firm Zendrive, there are approximately 69 million drivers using their phones behind the wheel every day. Smartphone use contributes to 26 percent of all accidents. That's not the only form of distraction, either; simply letting the mind wander can also constitute a distraction.

Distracted driving accidents are among the costliest. Drivers who aren't paying attention to the road cannot mitigate the impact by slowing down or trying to avert the crash, thus causing severe damage to vehicles and injuries to passengers. Many truck fleets are using new technology, though, to combat the problem.

PeopleNet, Smartdrive and other companies have fleet management systems available that combine in-cab video monitoring with driver-coaching tools. Netradyne is the provider of a monitoring system that gives audible warnings and notifications when it senses that the driver is in a risky situation.

The fleet management systems company Omnitracs has been using data analytics since 2004 to detect adverse events with truckers, and in 2016, it added a module to its online tool that can help drivers detect signs of fatigue and inattention. Its accident severity model takes over 1,000 variables into account. Omnitracs personnel stress, however, that fleet owners must do their part in reducing stressors for their employees.

Unfortunately, many companies encourage their drivers to violate hours-of-service regulations in order to meet deadlines. When the resulting fatigue leads drivers to crash, their employers may soon face personal injury claims. Victims, for their part, will want legal assistance because trucking companies have their own team of lawyers who will aggressively argue the case. An attorney can hire third parties to gather proof of negligence from the police report and the trucker's electronic work log and proceed to negotiations on the victim's behalf.

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