A Distracted Driving Crash Investigation

We thought this was an interesting video to post. It follows the progress of a U.K.Police investigation into the cause of a horrific accident which involved in-cab distraction.

The video begins with a view and description of the crash scene, and shows the awful damage caused to one of the vehicles involved.

It then goes on to trace the Police investigation as it became clear that distraction caused by using a mobile device was a major factor in the crash.

This is just one example of these distraction-related crashes, but it gives a good insight into the investigation process and also the sometimes tragic consequences of driver distraction.

At Blank-it, we know that driver distraction should be a primary area of concern for all drivers and employers, one that has to be addressed through policy, education and the use of technology-based solutions.

Blank-it has been designed specifically to address the problem of driver distraction caused by in-vehicle computers and laptops. It is easily installed, doesn’t rely on 3rd party input such as GPS, is fully customisable for different working environments and will help businesses conform to distracted driving legislation and OH&S requirements.

Find out more today at Blank-it.com – or contact us on 08 9486 7122 (if calling from outside Australia: +61 8 9486 7122).

 

VW’s Clever Texting and Driving Ad

Various governments, transport and health departments etc have produced campaigns to highlight the dangers of distracted driving, a few of which we’ve highlighted in the past.

Now Volkswagen have just released a very clever campaign of their own which is probably the best example we’ve seen so far of demonstrating just how dangerous distraction can be.

To set the exercise up, Volkswagen took a crowd of people to a movie viewing and obtained their mobile phone numbers as they entered. Before the expected movie was shown, the screen displayed  a ‘first-person’ view of someone starting a car and driving on a rural road. The audience have no idea what they’re watching but they are looking at the screen to see what will happen next.

Then, the organisers used location-based messaging to send everyone in the cinema a text. Nearly everyone takes their eyes off the screen to read the text message.

Watch the video to see what happened next.


At Blank-it, we know that driver distraction should be a primary area of concern for all drivers and employers, one that has to be addressed through policy, education and the use of technology-based solutions.

Blank-it has been designed specifically to address the problem of driver distraction caused by in-vehicle computers and laptops. It is easily installed, doesn’t rely on 3rd party input such as GPS, is fully customisable for different working environments and will help businesses conform to distracted driving legislation and OH&S requirements.

Find out more today at Blank-it.com – or contact us on 08 9486 7122 (if calling from outside Australia: +61 8 9486 7122).

Motion Computing – Tips to Transform your Fleet Vehicles

One of our Solution Partners, Motion Computing, have put together a useful article on their blog entitled “3 Tips to Transform your Fleet Vehicles from Functional to Phenomenal”.Motion Computing logo

The piece introduces three steps to help any organisation with a mobile workforce ensure that their fleet vehicles can operate as safe and productive “mobile offices”. The article makes specific mention of how Blank-it is a vital part of any effective and safe fleet solution.

Take a few minutes to read the article here: http://www.motioncomputing.com/us/blog/post/3-tips-to-transform-your-fleet-vehicles-from-functional-to-phenomenal

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At Blank-it, we know that driver distraction should be a primary area of concern for all drivers and employers, one that has to be addressed through policy, education and the use of technology-based solutions.

Blank-it has been designed specifically to address the problem of driver distraction caused by in-vehicle computers and laptops. It is easily installed, doesn’t rely on 3rd party input such as GPS, is fully customisable for different working environments and will help businesses conform to distracted driving legislation and OH&S requirements.

Find out more today at Blank-it.com – or contact us on 08 9486 7122 (if calling from outside Australia: +61 8 9486 7122).
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Watching a Movie on Your Laptop – While Driving

Here’s a pretty good example of computer related driving distraction.

News.com.au reports that a Melbourne driver was photographed watching a video on his tablet computer while driving at night, and was observed swerving across lanes while doing so.

Road Policing Command Inspector Simon Humphrey said most would realise that this was “dangerous and stupid behaviour”. If it’s convenient to use this type of the equipment on the road then do offenders also think it’s convenient for their family to be told they’ve killed someone else or themselves?

This just reinforces the point we have been making that legislation and “voluntary” solutions are not sufficient.

See article here: http://www.news.com.au/national/man-snapped-watching-a-movie-while-driving-was-drifting-in-and-out-of-lanes/story-e6frfkp9-1226922671528

At Blank-it, we know that driver distraction should be a primary area of concern for all drivers and employers, one that has to be addressed through policy, education and the use of technology-based solutions.

Blank-it has been designed specifically to address the problem of driver distraction caused by in-vehicle computers and laptops. It is easily installed, doesn’t rely on 3rd party input such as GPS, is fully customisable for different working environments and will help businesses conform to distracted driving legislation and OH&S requirements.

 

Distracted Driving – Legislation Is Not Enough

We have often stated our belief that legislation and education on their own aren’t enough to address the problem of phone or computer related driver distraction. Technology HAS to form part of the solution – and two recent articles only add weight to our argument.Motion | Blank IT

Harm Reduction

In the Ottawa Citizen, Steve LaFleur argues that legislation and associated punishment can only be effective as one part of a wider approach to the distracted driving issue – an approach that also has to include education and technology.

In fact, the article goes further and makes the point that legislation on its own is in fact detrimental as drivers engage in ever more dangerous practices to avoid police officers on the lookout for cellphone users.

Read the article here: https://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/op-ed/harm+reduction+agenda+distracted+driving/9757133/story.html

Lip Service

On ReadWrite.com, Bradley Berman makes a similar point in a different way. His article bemoans the “half-hearted” approach to legislation, poor driver attitudes and a general unwillingness on the part of manufacturers to provide effective solution.

Berman describes his largely unsuccessful attempts to address the problem of cellphone distraction using currently available apps, noting that much of the problem revolves around the ‘voluntary’ nature of most products.

Given the sorry state of distracted driving technology, you have to be extremely motivated to use these apps. The Distracted Driving Foundation lists about 25 apps on its website—there are a few more on Apple’s App Store—but I couldn’t find a single one that was easy to use. Most were either defunct, required onerous sign-up processes, asked for subscription plans, or simply didn’t work as advertised.

The patchy effectiveness of these products, together with a general unwillingness of drivers to be part of the solution brings us back to the point we are making – that technology HAS to be a key part of the answer to distracted driving and that voluntary/opt-in models are not sufficient.

Read the article: https://readwrite.com/2014/04/30/distracted-driving-lip-service-solution#awesm=~oDx9aA8A8hfz1V

At Blank-it, we know that driver distraction should be a primary area of concern for all drivers and employers, one that has to be addressed through policy, education and the use of technology-based solutions.

Blank-it has been designed specifically to address the problem of driver distraction caused by in-vehicle computers and laptops. It is easily installed, doesn’t rely on 3rd party input such as GPS, is fully customizable for different working environments and will help businesses conform to distracted driving legislation and OH&S requirements.

 

 

 

Are Your Mobile Workers Safe?

At Blank-it, we know that driver distraction should be a primary area of concern for all drivers and employers, one that has to be addressed through policy, education and the use of technology-based solutions.

While the Blank-it solution is aimed at managing the use of vehicle-mounted computers, we are also well aware of the distraction dangers posed by the use of mobile phones.

Dangers

Research suggests that both the physical and cognitive distraction caused by using mobile phones while driving can significantly impair a driver’s visual search patterns, reaction times, decision-making processes and their ability to maintain speed, throttle control and lateral position on the road.*

Blank-it & Fleetsafer

Blank-it has teamed up with Aegis Mobility to provide your workers with the ultimate safety tool for preventing mobile phone driver distraction.

Introducing Fleetsafer® – software for smartphones and tablets that detects driving state and automatically puts the device in “safe mode” while driving. In safe mode a “curtain” blocks access to the keyboard and screen. All notifications and alerts are silenced – including incoming calls, texts and emails.

When the device detects that it is stationary full functionality is returned to the user.

Find out more about this comprehensive and vital software for the safety of your enterprise workers.

*Monash University Accident Research Center – Report #206 – 2003
Authors: K. Young, M. Regan & M. Hammer

Google Lobbying Against Distraction Legislation?

Reuters.com reports that Google is lobbying officials in at least three U.S. states to stop proposed restrictions on driving with headsets such as Google Glass, marking some of the first clashes over the emerging wearable technology.

The article describes how a number of U.S. states are considering regulating use of Google Glass and similar technology by drivers, although none have passed any such legislation yet.

It goes on to state:

Google Inc has deployed lobbyists to persuade elected officials in Illinois, Delaware and Missouri that it is not necessary to restrict use of Google Glass behind the wheel, according to state lobbying disclosure records and interviews conducted by Reuters.

The report quotes Delaware state Rep. Joseph Miro as saying:

“I’m not against Google or Google Glass. It may have a place in society, My issue is that while you are driving, you should have nothing that is going to impede the concentration of the driver.”

According to Reuters, Google advises people to abide by any applicable local laws that limit use of mobile devices while driving.

An additional issue related to devices such as Google Glass concerns law enforcement officers being able to prove that the equipment was actually operating at the time a driver was pulled over.

To sum up: This is emerging technology that adds further complexity to the whole Distracted Driving problem.

See the Reuters article here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/25/us-google-glass-lobbying-idUSBREA1O0P920140225

 

Transportation Apps – Can They Compromise Safety?

By Ed Brown as Edbrown05 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia CommonsWe came across an interesting blog post on Governing.com – which takes a close look at Apps which are marketed as Transportation or Traffic aids, with particular emphasis on the ‘Waze‘ App.

The post raises some pertinent questions regarding the use of these apps when driving and the possible distraction impact.

Regarding the Apps’ usage, the author writes:

Most surprisingly, at one point, an alert popped up on the screen asking me to confirm whether another driver’s report of a red light camera in my vicinity was accurate. I almost rear ended someone when I glanced to check the message and enter a reply. As one critical writer put it, “Practically everything about the application is designed — even if not intentionally — to distract.”

The reports goes on to discuss potential liability issues:

Waze’s terms of service that say “it is strictly forbidden to send traffic updates … while driving. Such updates may only be sent after you have stopped your vehicle in an appropriate location permitted by law.” But, frankly, that seems like it may be lip service to the idea of safety. After all, it’s hard to imagine any drivers will achieve Waze’s goal of saving 10 minutes a day if they pull over every time they want to report an accident. Moreover, the app prevents text inputs when the car is moving, but to override it, drivers just have to indicate they’re a passenger.

Indeed, some have wondered if Waze or its users could be opening themselves to liability, given that it encourages participation through a points system. One blogger has suggested Waze should pay particularly close attention to an August New Jersey appeals court ruling that found the sender of a text message who knows his recipient is texting and driving can potentially be liable for causing a distraction.

Read the full article here: http://www.governing.com/topics/transportation-infrastructure/col-transportation-apps-waze-compromise-safety.html
At Blank-it, we know that driver distraction should be a primary area of concern for all drivers and employers, one that has to be addressed through policy, education and the use of technology-based solutions.

Blank-it has been designed specifically to address the problem of driver distraction caused by in-vehicle computers and laptops. It is easily installed, doesn’t rely on 3rd party input such as GPS, is fully customisable for different working environments and will help businesses conform to distracted driving legislation and OH&S requirements.

 

 

 

Distracted Driving in the News – Jan 2014

The driver distraction issue received some prominent coverage in the Australian media in January.

Today Tonight

Channel Seven’s ‘Today Tonight‘ program aired a feature on distraction, incorporating some interesting driving simulator footage showing the effects of various types of distraction.

See the accompanying article here: http://au.news.yahoo.com/today-tonight/latest/article/-/20893186/texting-drivers-put-to-the-test/

News Exchange

Also, national broadcaster ABC’s “News Exchange” program broadcast an in-depth segment on driver distraction and new technology in vehicles.

You can see the program using the link below – the segment in  question starts approximately 12 minutes into the program.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-24/news-exchange-driver-distractions-sochi-uniforms/5218502

At Blank-it, we know that driver distraction should be a primary area of concern for all drivers and employers, one that has to be addressed through policy, education and the use of technology-based solutions.

Blank-it has been designed specifically to address the problem of driver distraction caused by in-vehicle computers and laptops. It is easily installed, doesn’t rely on 3rd party input such as GPS, is fully customisable for different working environments and will help businesses conform to distracted driving legislation and OH&S requirements.

“Do as I Say, Not as I Do” Culture Persists, says AAA

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has released its annual Traffic Safety Culture report and, again, Driver distraction is one of the major areas of concern. Two key points from the report are shown below:

“Do as I Say, Not as I Do”

Distracted driving remains a concern among the American public in 2013, with 88% of survey respondents saying distracted drivers are a bigger problem today compared to three years ago. Additionally, the threat perceived from distracted driving also remains high, with 89% of licensed drivers saying drivers talking on cell phones pose a threat to their personal safety. When asked about motorists who text or email, or who check social media, drivers report feeling an even bigger danger, with 96% saying these behaviors constituted a threat.

However, the “do as I say, not as I do” attitude identified in previous years persists in 2013, with perceived threats and social disapproval not fully translating to on-the-road behavioral choices. A percentage nearly identical (67.3%) to the proportion of drivers who disapprove of hand-held cell phone use admits to talking on the phone (of any kind) while driving in the past 30 days. Moreover, over a quarter say this happened fairly often or regularly.

For texting and emailing, more than a third of licensed drivers admit to reading messages in the past 30 days, and a quarter typed or sent them.

Perception of “Hands Free” as “Risk Free”

The 2013 survey responses indicate that the general public continues to believe that hands-free technologies are safer than their hand-held counterparts; is more likely to find their use acceptable compared with the use of hand-held devices; and is less supportive of countermeasures that restrict their use by drivers than of efforts to limit hand-held devices behind the wheel.

This general public perception has been matched by a proliferation of increasingly-sophisticated speech-based infotainment and communications systems in new  vehicles – many of which are marketed as safe by virtue of being hands-free – as well as a lack of legislative or regulatory action against driver use of  hands-free technologies. However, as we have reported previously, a study by the AAA Foundation and the University of Utah and other studies, challenged the public perception, and concluded that “hands-free” doesn’t mean “risk-free” due to the effects of cognitive distraction.

To view the whole report, see here.

At Blank-it, we know that driver distraction should be a primary area of concern for all drivers and employers, one that has to be addressed through policy, education and the use of technology-based solutions.

Blank-it has been designed specifically to address the problem of driver distraction caused by in-vehicle computers and laptops. It is easily installed, doesn’t rely on 3rd party input such as GPS, is fully customisable for different working environments and will help businesses conform to distracted driving legislation and OH&S requirements.