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.

 

 

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