Trucking magazine Freight Waves reports that distracted truck driving is often underreported and may be more prevalent than we think. The numbers reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conclude that 3,166 people across the U.S. died in distracted driving crashes in 2017.
Distracted driving often can't be proven during a crash investigation, however. While an investigation may determine that a person was using a cellphone at the time of a crash, not all incidents of distracted driving involve electronic devices.
Emerging technology may be the answer
Some truck drivers get distracted by filling out paperwork in the cab and the urge to multitask. According to artificial intelligence company Nauto, cameras and other technology in a truck cabin can detect crash risks and notify drivers. Nauto is based in Palo Alto, California and was founded in 2015. One key feature offered by the company is autonomous technology that detects when truck drivers take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or engage in tailgating.
In 2018, several trucking fleets using the Nauto program were monitored and the findings were shocking. Roughly 70 percent of truck crashes were found to be caused by distracted driving.
“Our data pretty consistently shows that mobile phones are one of the primary reasons for distracted driving," Jennifer Haroon, the chief operating officer at Nauto, said. "Distraction can also be for various other reasons – like people doing paperwork in the cab, eating, drinking or even talking with others in the vehicle.”
How fleets can benefit from this technology
In conjunction with technology that detects distracted driving, video footage may be used alongside traditional telematics. Telematics typically determine when the brakes were applied abruptly. It doesn't, however, identify the reasons why the brakes were applied. Video footage may determine whether the brakes were applied due to the truck driver being cut off, or whether they were applied because a driver was distracted and looked up before an impending collision.
By implementing Nauto's autonomous technology, fleet managers can better monitor their drivers and use video footage as a tool for safety training. In addition, Haroon suggests that fleet managers acknowledge the dangers of distracted driving and urge their drivers to consider the risks.
Since implementing this technology, Nauto has noticed a 40 percent decrease in distraction among the participating fleets.
It's up to fleet managers, drivers, and trucking companies to prevent crashes from occurring — especially those attributed to distraction. Should you or a loved one be injured in a crash due to the negligent actions of a truck driver or fleet manager, you have rights that must be upheld. An experienced truck accident attorney at Recht Law Offices can help you explore your legal options and devise a strategy to maximize your compensation.
We proudly serve injured motorists in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.