Distracted drivers cause some of the most serious accidents because they often neglect to slow down or take action to mitigate impact. This is why trucking companies, which often manage fleets of large vehicles that can cause a lot of damage, must take extra steps to prevent driver distractions. Technology provides the most distractions, but ironically, technology may also provide the solution.
For years, fleets have been using vehicle data measuring hard braking and acceleration to determine when drivers are putting themselves in risky situations. New fleet management systems from companies like PeopleNet and SmartDrive offer in-cab video monitoring, which can turn on when adverse events occur, and driver-coaching tools. Netradyne will even have a system that gives audible warnings and notifications to drivers.
Omnitracs, the fleet management system, has a web-based tool called Driving Center that was updated back in 2016 with a module that detects fatigue and distraction in drivers. Zendrive, the data analytics firm, is using smartphone data to identify at-risk drivers for the benefit of fleets and insurers.
However, trucking companies should not rely entirely on data analysis and fleet management systems. Omnitracs representatives say that fleet owners should do what they can to reduce their drivers’ stressors. For example, managers could improve operation schedules to minimize nighttime driving and maximize break times.
The victim of a fatigued or distracted truck driver may deserve to be reimbursed for their medical treatments and vehicle repairs. A lawyer who works in truck accident law could use accident investigators, photographers and other experts to strengthen the victim’s case. After gathering the facts, the lawyer could negotiate for the maximum settlement possible.