Perth-based Technology Company, Expedio, is taking vehicle safety to a whole new level with the recent release of its third generation ‘Blank-IT’ motion-sensing device, which is gaining worldwide attention as an efficient and economical way to significantly reduce driver distraction.
The device – which prevents or restricts the use of computers and visual display units while a vehicle is in motion is making a big impact on the world scene with large orders for the unit, which is built in Western Australia, recently secured with a prominent United States company for use across multiple sites.
By limiting the functionality of computers whilst the vehicle is moving, Blank-IT helps reduce visual distractions, improving driver safety and reducing the occurrence of accidents caused by distracted drivers.
Expedio Managing Director Mr Philip Little, said the fact that the Blank-IT device was gaining considerable traction in world markets was a direct result of changing regulations in regard to road safety.
“The fact that Blank-IT has broken into the tough US market is no surprise, especially given the fact that just recently, 28 US States introduced fines for drivers mobile phone texting while at the wheel – the banning of the use of on-board back-to-base computer systems while a vehicle is moving is a logical next progression,” he said.
The device, which currently costs AUD$349, is a stand-alone product that is easily installed without requiring vehicle modifications. Importantly, Blank-IT allows a configurable list of programs to be accessible including navigational aids, reversing camera displays or despatch/scheduling systems and is not reliant on GPS devices to sense motion. Blank-IT can also be implemented in conjunction with a swing-away bracket which allows the computer display to be functional in a ‘passenger-facing’ orientation.
“For on-road use, our motion sensing technology is perfect as it offers an accurate, reliable and independent method of monitoring vehicle movement without the need or reliance on a separate GPS device, which, as we are all well aware, can be patchy and un-reliable in built-up or covered areas,” said Mr Little.
Driver Distraction a Key Issue in Today’s Technology Driven World
Driver distraction is now one of the major factors in road traffic accidents, not surprising with the prevalence of technology we have become accustomed to in today’s society. In fact many studies have shown that a much higher proportion of accidents are now involving distracted driving to some degree.
Safety bodies and government departments worldwide have now identified the use of in-car display screens, computers and of course mobile phones as such a major factor in accidents that new regulations are regularly being introduced to combat this growing concern.
“Just as mobile phone use is now regulated in Australia, laws are being extended in many jurisdictions that encompass other visual devices including in-car computer screens used by many mobile fleets today,” said Mr Little.
There are currently a range of legal requirements and regulations governing the use of in-vehicle computer equipment. These vary between regions/countries but many jurisdictions have some kind of restrictions regarding in-vehicle displays.
“Across the U.S., many states now have specific legislation addressing in-vehicle technology and ‘driver distraction’. Similar regulations are in place in Europe and Australia and it’s only logical to assume that such regulations will increase and spread to other regions and countries.”
Australian and Western Australian road traffic regulations are also being addressed and currently Item 264 of the WA Road Traffic code states that:
A driver shall not drive a motor vehicle that has a television receiver or
visual display unit in or on the vehicle operating while the vehicle is moving,
or is stationary but not parked, if any part of the image on the screen:
Is visible to the driver from the normal driving position; or
Is likely to distract another driver.
The increasing reliance on computer technology in vehicles of all types means that the device is not just limited to on-road vehicles but is also applicable in many work-site environments including warehouses and mine sites.
The simplicity of its design means that Forklift trucks and other inventory management vehicles are able to be fitted with the device. Blank-IT may also be applicable in other transport environments where laptop or computer use needs to be restricted.
“While the on-road use of Blank-IT is the obvious application, we are by no means limited in the type or use of vehicle this device can be applied to.
“It’s a product that has endless applications and given its simplicity, low-cost and reliability, we believe it is a must-have for all responsible employers with staff exposed to what is effectively a life-threatening safety issue, ” said Mr
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The key to the Blank-IT technology is its simplicity. The device works with any computer running a Windows operating system in any vehicle and has the ability to read signals from the patent pending ‘Motion Sensor’ technology or the hand-brake to determine if the vehicle is in motion.
All relevant regulatory Australian bodies have agreed that where a computer is correctly fitted to a vehicle Blank-IT will enable in-vehicle computer installations to be compliant