Fleet cloud based management

Blank-it Portal Cloud Management

Fleet analytics and cloud based manage for in-vehicle computers.

A distracted driving solution that offers real-time telematics.

Blank-it is now so much more than a screen blanking solution. our new cloud-based analytics service that leverages telematics and IoT (internet of things) to provide greater insights into the operations of a company’s mobile workforce.

Motion sensors plus GPS enables a unique set of data that can be analysed to create valuable graphical reports.  The portal securely captures data. Data analytics can offer operational reports such as speed & location, erratic or ‘heavy handed’ driving, number of stops and geo-fencing. The Blank-it screen blanking solution offers drivers the safety they deserve while driving and the portal gives managers peace of mind.

Blank-it’s fleet tracking software puts you right alongside your drivers, ensuring you are firmly in control of the company’s fleet.

Fleet analytics

Blank-it Portal showing a 2 hour journey

GPS fleet management and tracking system is a key component in today’s fleet management business. The Blank-it Portal gives complete control over your fleet. No matter how many vehicles you have or how widely spread they are, the robust, state-of-the-art system will help reduce costs and boost productivity.

“We tested the GPS functionality and were very impressed. Setup was easy and the response was excellent. “

BNSF Railway

Start a supported trial to learn how this solution can benefit your business.

https://www.blank-it.com/blank-it-portal/

Please complete the below form if you would like to learn more about The Blank-it Portal

 

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.

 

 

 

Research Reveals Cost of in-car Laptop Use by Police

Typically, Distracted Driving campaigns are aimed at young drivers and/or the problems of texting and cellphone use.

At Blank-IT, our focus is on the dangers of laptop & computer use by drivers, usage that presents ALL of the factors that contribute most to driver distraction (visual, cognitive and physical).

University researchers in Minnesota have conducted a study of the causes and costs of traffic accidents involving Minnesota police vehicles, and their findings highlight the frequency and seriousness of distraction related incidents involving in-car technology.

Police vehicles are generally well-equipped with technology to address officer’s requirements – but as the need for mobile workers to ‘remain connected’ increases such technology can be found in all types of vehicles: emergency services, Utilities, Truck Drivers, forklift trucks as well as normal road and site vehicles.

The study covered 378 incidents involving Police vehicles over a period of 4 years. Researchers found that 14% of these accidents involved driver distraction. Whilst 6% of the accidents involved police officers being distracted by use of their in-vehicle computers, those accidents accounted for a whopping 22% of damages (as measured by the insurance related costs).

Of the accidents covered by this research, drivers distracted by their computers cost $11,300 per incident, as opposed to non-distracted drivers, who cost just $3,700 per incident.

We should also bear in mind that in nearly half the accidents, it was unclear from the Police reports whether or not distraction was a factor, leading researchers to question if an ‘internal culture’ in the Police service was leading to skewing or under-reporting of the true figures, perhaps because Officers didn’t wish to expose themselves to disciplinary action.

Distracted Driving policies vary between Police departments across the country, but many (as in the subjects of this study) do not have a written distracted driving policy, nor could they always afford to have more than one officer in a patrol car. While officer training is provided, such reliance on individual officers to voluntarily follow those guidelines can only lead to problems.

We believe that strong Distracted Driving policies must be created and enforced for ANY organisation with a mobile workforce – and the only practical way to enforce such policies is through technology like Blank-IT.

 

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 with distracted driving legislation and OH&S requirements.

 

 

U.S. Government Pressures Manufacturers Over in-car Gadgets

After an initial focus on Texting and Driving, DoT head Ray LaHood and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are looking to expand the scope of Distracted Driving campaigns and legislation to include a wide variety of in car devices.

As web and entertainment functionality is increasingly available on mobile devices, car manufacturers have been working on adding more ‘infotainment’ into their vehicles, and other companies have been promoting products that allow for driver-visible mounting of smartphones.

The government and safety bodies see this as a dangerous trend  which goes against their stated aim of reducing driver distraction and the death/injury toll associated with it.

Consequently, LaHood is taking an aggressive stance towards any expansion in such in-car technology, and is making it plain he isn’t pleased with the trend toward putting more media feeds and gadgetry into new vehicles:

“There’s absolutely no reason for any person to download their Facebook into the car,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in an interview. “It’s not necessary.”

The DoT and NHTSA have the power to limit the infotainment technology built into cars if they can demonstrate a threat to safety, and they are applying pressure to vehicle manufacturers to fall into line.

While manufacturers have played an active role in anti-texting and driving campaigns, they have to date been very keen to promote the growth of in-car screens and integration with web/social networking functionality, in an attempt to target the youth market. Current projections indicate rapid growth in in-car entertainment devices.

This effectively puts them on a collision course with the DoT and NHTSA, as the department aims to finish work by early 2012 on a new set of guidelines governing the design and operation of in-vehicle communications technology. The DoT is asking for a US$50 million budget increase in 2012, specifically to crack down on drivers distracted by text messaging.

NHTSA Administrator David Strickland told a Telematics conference in Detroit:

“I’m just putting everyone on notice. A car is not a mobile device. I’m not in the business of helping people tweet better. I’m not in the business of helping people post on Facebook better.”

Australia and other countries have legislation prohibiting ‘Visual Displays’ that are visible to the driver whilst driving, and this has recently been expanded to specifically cover use of smartphones for purposes other than talking and GPS, even if the phone is mounted.

U.S. drivers and companies can expect to see an increasing focus on communication, entertainment and computing devices in relation to distracted driving.

Blank-IT in-vehicle Computing Solution

Blank-IT has been designed specifically to address the problem of driver distraction and 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 your business conform with distracted driving legislation and OH&S requirements.

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

Video – Using the Confirm Stationary Setting in Blank-IT

We have released a short video showing use of the ‘Confirm Stationary’ setting in Blank-IT:

Blank-IT’s default settings allow the screen to ‘unlock’ when Blank-IT detects that the vehicle is no longer in motion. However, there are some circumstances where it is desirable to leave the screen ‘locked’ until the operator specifically selects an on-screen option to unlock the display.

This means that the display will remain locked if the driver stops briefly in traffic or if the vehicle is stopped by a law enforcement officer – i.e. the screen display will remain blank and inactive.

‘Confirm Stationary’ is an optional setting and can be switched on or off from within the Admin area, depending on your specific requirements.

For more details, visit the Blank-IT website.

Mounting a Phone on Your Steering Wheel – Not Smart

Continuing our occasional series of in-car mounting devices that we don’t recommend.

Now someone is marketing a device that allows you to STRAP your phone or smartphone to the steering wheel of your car. Really.

An elasticated strap attaches to the top of your steering wheel and you slot the phone into it so that is permanently visible i.e distracting, encouraging use of the device while driving, and potentially blocking view of gauges.

Their website mentions that use of bluetooth is recommended, and cautions against use of phones while driving – but why on earth make available a device that could encourage potentially dangerous driving behaviour, given the growing acceptance of the dangers of distracted driving?

On top of the potential encouragement to drive while distracted, how about the possibility that the device will hide the instrument gauges? What happens to your phone (and the driver) if the air-bag deploys? What if people see this device and decide to throw together their own home-made version?

What we need is technology that can help reduce deaths from distracted driving, not ill-thought out devices that could encourage the practice. We have deliberately decided not to name or publish a link to this product’s website.

Update: 2011-08-16 – also see this post: http://www.caradvice.com.au/132300/worst-new-car-accessory-of-all-time/

Blank-IT

At Blank-IT we encourage complete concentration on your driving and we advocate minimal distraction whilst driving. Blank-IT – the in-vehicle computing solution – is designed to work with Windows based laptops, tablets and computers and we recommend professional, safe and secure laptop mounts.

Find out more at https://www.blank-it.com

Worse Than Nothing At All?

We recently posted about the inconsistent distracted driving laws in Idaho, and asked for more examples of poorly crafted legislation.

Well – the News Journal website has reported on laws recently passed in the state of Texas, which look, on the face of it, to be un-enforceable.

According to the article, the Texas House passed a bill that would make it a crime to send text or email messages from a cell phone while behind the wheel – but changes to the bill have made it OK for Texans to read texts or emails while they’re driving, essentially making it impossible for police to enforce.

Yes – it’s illegal to compose a text but OK to read one while you’re driving.

As well as making the job of police almost impossible, there seems to be no logic behind the way this legislation has been worded – the article reports that discussion on the House floor revolved around the argument that “it is not illegal to read a newspaper or a book while driving, so why would Texas make it illegal to read an electronic message?”

Read the full article here: http://www.news-journal.com/opinion/editorials/article_e288fe9d-63fb-5622-bfe8-ddc621b29ee6.html

Feel free to let us know about other similarly worded laws.

Distracted Driving Crackdowns Target Use of Electronic Devices

During the National Distracted Driving Awareness month of April, Police across the United States are carrying out a number of “zero tolerance” exercises aimed at picking up drivers ignoring Distracted Driving legislation.

While much of the public focus has been aimed at cellphone use, it is important to note that much of the current Distracted Driving laws also prohibit the use of electronic devices and visual displays whilst driving.

Three examples of the use of such technology in cars – picked from the news archives this morning (the numbers do NOT include cellphone users): Read more

Cars Set to Become the “4th Screen”

A report in the electronics engineers’ trade magazine, IEEE Spectrum adds weight to predictions that cars are set to become the consumer electronics industry’s “fourth screen” – a place where consumers can be opened up to a whole new range of in-car apps and online services.

The potential for this to happen had previously been predicted at a London technology conference in late 2010, and the Spectrum report – Smarter Cars – seems to reinforce the idea.

using laptop in carAs stated in the article: “Car companies have teamed up with makers of smartphone software to integrate a spectacular array of apps designed for handsets with cars’ digital dashboards, center consoles and speaker systems.”

These “spectacular” apps will build on the console screens that have become familiar for satnav applications. For example, Ford’s all-electric Focus collects all the information you could want about the state of your car’s batteries and allows it to be read via iPhone, Android or BlackBerry devices.

That screen-based technology should target this new sector should not come as a surprise – it is all part of the industry’s constant search for new markets.

While some articles concern themselves with the viability of this push during a recession, the proposals raise numerous issues relating to the dangers of driver distraction. More functionality and interactivity with dash mounted screens present visual, cognitive and physical distraction to drivers and this creates safety issues for the driver and other road users.

using laptop in carThis also presents issues for employers whose staff may be exposed to increased levels of in-car technology. Employers need to implement policies relating to use of technology when driving and must always be aware of any potential liability they could be exposed to – as the vehicle manufacturers and technology vendors seem determined to introduce more of these ‘features’.

Blank-IT is designed to reduce distraction caused by in-car computers, whilst still allowing access to specifed (and legally allowable) programs. It is designed to comply with distracted driving legislation and OH&S guidelines, and is suitable for all types of work environments. Blank-IT is easily installed and doesn’t rely on 3rd party input such as GPS.

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

Blank-IT C-Tick and ACMA compliance

We are proud to announce that Blank-IT has been approved with the latest version of ACMA/C-Tick compliance.

The electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) regulatory arrangement of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) specifies mandatory emission standards for a wide range of electrical and electronic devices.

Under these arrangements, information technology (IT) products such as computers and computer peripherals must meet the requirements of an applicable EMC standard.

The current version of the EMC regulatory arrangement lists EMC standards that can be used as proof of compliance for IT and related equipment, including AS/NZS CISPR 22, EN 55022 and CISPR.

Following rigorous testing, Blank-IT passed compliance requirements for AS/NZS CISPR 22:2009 (Class B) and EN 61000-6-1:2001 standards.

Compliance with these standards confirms that Blank-IT functions without causing interference to other in-vehicle systems, either in ‘standard’ mode or when mounted on a swing-away bracket.

Blank-IT’s self-contained motion sensor technology operates independently and is not reliant on third-party input such as GPS.

To find out more, visit the Blank-IT website or call us on 08 9486 7122 (if calling from outside Australia: +61 8 9486 7122).