2011
09.12

Talking about driver safety is nothing new at Connected World or The Peggy Smedley Show for that matter. We have been talking about how distracted driving is affecting our society; and the steps we can take to reduce this dangerous hazard on our roadways for the past year or more, stressing that we as consumers need to be more cognizant of how our actions impact everyone around us. It often comes down to personal responsibility, and how each individual chooses to use (or not to use) electronic devices while behind the wheel.

A recent study from the GHSA (Governors Highway Safety Assn.) says between 15-30% of car crashes involve at least one distracted driver. If you think about it, the true percentage could be much higher, because drivers involved in an incident may be reticent to report having been distracted during an investigation. And that says a lot about the numbers being reported and the liability for corporate America. Either way, driver distraction is causing far too many accidents. Not only is it dangerous, it’s avoidable if companies and individuals take more time to care, which is part of the reason The Peggy Smedley Show has taken an educating role in the marketplace and will discuss this report in detail on this week’s show. (Tuesday; 12 p.m. CDT).

But how should companies that own fleets and employ drivers approach this discussion? Interestingly, many on-the-go professionals who drive a company vehicle want to stay connected, and in fact, some even admit they feel pressured to stay connected to the office while driving. So this begs the question: how do fleet owners make sure their assets are well protected? What are the legal responsibilities or liability for the companies that employ these individuals once they hit the highways?

With today’s apps, fleet-management solutions have emerged that can provide metrics that show just how safely a person is driving and perhaps change some driving habits along the way.

David Cooksey, owner/CFO of McCall Service, a pest-control and lawn-care company based in Florida, will talk with me this week on The Peggy Smedley Show about how his firm has implemented some pretty interesting rules for his fleets that not only protect his drivers, but others on the highways as well.

His firm adopted the tiwiPro fleet-management solution from inthinc. The technology combines realtime vehicle activity measurements with automated “driver behavior coaching.”

The idea is that the act of monitoring will encourage safe driving, plus it gives realtime feedback to make the necessary adjustments. It also enables safety alerts when a driver exceeds the speed limit or drives aggressively. GPS capabilities also ensure that fleet owners know where each vehicle is, and what it’s doing at any point. This system isn’t monitoring cellphone use, it’s not shutting off the in-vehicle systems; it’s simply monitoring behavior. We are talking about adults who need to know that they should change what they are doing to protect themselves and others while they are driving.

Either way, distracted driving is causing far too many accidents. Clearly, not only is it dangerous, it’s avoidable, as I noted earlier, if we all work together, from businesses to individuals, to raise awareness around reducing texting while driving and eliminating all the other distractions that lead to accidents.

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