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Havis Screen Blanking Solution Powered by Blank-it

Our Solution Partner, Havis, is now offering Screen Blanking Solutions powered by Blank-it to provide easy, safe and legally compliant ways to manage in-vehicle computer displays and prevent driver distraction.

Havis’ Screen Blanking Solutions provide easy, safe and legally compliant ways to manage in-vehicle computer displays and prevent driver distraction.

Blank-it is a combination of a multi-sensor, rugged USB and intelligent modular software technology. Once activated, the motion sensor technology recognizes a vehicle’s mobility and limits the display’s functionality, reducing visual, cognitive and physical distractions.

Sam Barall, National Sales Manager, Enterprise at Havis Inc, stated:

Distracted driving costs the nation thousands of lives and billions of dollars each year. Whether used on the road, in the field or in a warehouse, screen blanking can help to keep drivers safe and prevent vehicle damages while meeting regulations governing display equipment in work vehicles.

Blank-it’s password-protected administration interface allows companies to determine the level of screen functionality for a fleet of any size, with options including passenger-only viewing, privacy screen, keyboard/mouse disabler, GPS override and voice command, with additional features in development.

Easy to install, Blank-it can be embedded in a docking station or secured in a customized Havis Tamper Proof Cover without drilling or hardwiring. The technology operates without the need for antennas, power sources, GPS or third-party applications. Blank-It software is compatible with Windows XP (SP3), Vista, 7 and 10.

For more information on Havis’ Screen Blanking Solutions powered by Blank-it, visit: http://customers.havis.com/index.php/product-news/screen-blanking

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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 is designed specifically to address the problem of driver distraction caused by in-vehicle computers. 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 OHS requirements.

Find out more today at Blank-it.com – or contact us on 1300 112 002 (if calling from outside Australia: +61 1300 112 002).
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U.S. Mandates Reversing Cameras in Vehicles by 2018

The National Highway Safety Transportation Agency (NHTSA) recently announced a new rule that will require vehicles built from May 1, 2018 onwards to have a reversing (also known as a “back-up”) camera. This rule will apply to all road-legal vehicles under 10,000 pounds (4.5 Tonnes).

The NHTSA cites an average of 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries from “back-up” or reversing accidents every year, and notes that children under 5 years old account for 31 percent of the deaths.

According to the rule, all vehicles manufactured on or after May 1, 2018 will have to be equipped with a rear-view camera. It also included specifics on response time after the vehicle’s transmission is shifted into reverse (2 seconds) and “linger time” of how long the camera remains active after shifting from reverse (between 4 and 8 seconds).

Introducing View-it

view-it logo 2016

View-it allows a reverse camera feed to be relayed direct to an in-vehicle computer display, thus avoiding the need for a separate display screen.

As soon as the vehicle is put in reverse the image from the reverse camera is instantly displayed on the computer screen. Once reverse is dis-engaged, the display reverts to its previous state freeing up the screen for normal use.

View-it is suitable for any vehicle fitted with a compatible camera and offers the following advantages:

  • Cost Avoidance – No need to buy an expensive reverse camera set-up. Use your existing in-vehicle computer for the reverse feed image.
  • Safety – Reduce the distraction by reducing the amount of mounted monitors in the vehicle.
  • Unobtrusive – Initializes a full-screen image containing the camera feed. When not reversing view-it is completely invisible to the user.
  • The view-it product includes software and smart cables ready for installation.

View-it is a stand-alone product that also integrates well with the Blank-it distracted driving solution and we recommend that all fleet owners consider installation of Blank-it & view-it as a vital part of their safety/OH&S obligations.

Find out more about view-it

 

No charges for Deputy who killed Cyclist while Driving Distracted

deputy-napster-distractionCalifornia prosecutors have decided NOT to file charges against a sheriff’s deputy who struck and killed a prominent entertainment attorney and former Napster executive with his patrol car last year.

Deputy Andrew Wood was reportedly distracted by his mobile digital computer when his patrol car drifted into the bike lane, allegedly typing an email at the time he ran over cyclist Milton Olin Jr.

Prosecutors said in a letter cited by Los Angeles Daily News that because Wood was acting within the course of his duties when typing into his computer, criminal charges are not warranted.

Under current legislation, law enforcement officials are allowed to use electronic wireless devices while carrying out their duties. However – the victim’s family have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Department and accused Wood of negligence and an online petition has been launched on Change.org demanding that charges be brought against the deputy.

While typing an email on his computer, it is alleged that “Wood briefly took his eyes away from the road precisely when the narrow roadway curved slightly to the left without prior warning, causing him to inadvertently travel straight into the bike lane, immediately striking Olin.”

View CBS Report below.

Online stories reporting the decision have prompted many comments demanding that action be taken and/or the law changed e.g. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2736376/Deputy-killed-former-Napster-COO-drifting-bike-lane-distracted-laptop-NOT-face-charges-answering-work-related-email.html

 

This is just the type of situation that Blank-it is designed to prevent

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.

Blank-it also makes it possible to disable input from keyboard or touchscreen to prevent this type of incident happening.

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

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: http://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: http://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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

State Laws Regarding Use of Video Displays in the Car

We came across a very useful resource provided by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)  regarding use of video display devices in the vehicle.

This resource from the CEA pulls together information about each U.S. State’s laws regarding use of electronic/video displays in the car. For the most part, most probably due to historical reasons, these refer to ‘video’ displays in the context of TV transmissions but obviously the same dangers (and more) are posed by the driver’s use of computers – which is just the issue Blank-it is designed to address.

Here are a few examples from the list:

  • District of Columbia: “No television equipment shall be installed in or on any motor vehicle in a manner which will make the reception of the television visible to the vehicle operator while the vehicle is in motion.”
  • Florida: “No motor vehicle operated on the highways of this state shall be equipped with television-type receiving equipment so located that the viewer or screen is visible from the driver’s seat.”
  • Maine: “A person may not operate a motor vehicle equipped with a television viewer, screen or other means of visually receiving a television broadcast that is visible to the operator. This section does not apply to a law enforcement officer using a video camera or other video equipment for law enforcement purposes.”
  • New Jersey: “It shall be unlawful to operate upon any public highway a motor vehicle which is equipped with or in which is located a television set so placed that the viewing screen thereof is visible to the driver while operating such vehicle.”

See the full CEA resource here: http://www.ce.org/Consumer-Info/Car-Electronics/Got-It/State-Laws-for-Electronics-Use-in-the-Car.aspx

Most of the emphasis on driver distraction policies and laws to date has been on the use of cellphones, but we have consistently stressed the similar dangers posed by computer use in the vehicle.

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.

 

Blank-it adds Xplore Technologies as a Solution Partner

We are pleased to announce a partnership with a new Solutions Partner, Xplore Technologies.  This partnership provides an integrated solution to improve safety by eliminating distractions while operating heavy machinery in warehousing and distribution operations.Xplore Techologies | Blank IT

Xplore’s ultra-rugged tablets are employed by the world’s largest fleets indoors and out. Blank-it’s technology provides an easy and safe option to manage vehicle displays and address driver distraction. The Xplore and Blank-it solution can be used in various environments that benefit from rugged technology, including warehousing and distribution.

 

“Distractions from mobile devices while driving is not limited to automobiles,” said Mark Holleran, President and Chief Operating Officer for Xplore Technologies. “Fork lifts, cranes, garbage trucks, even bulldozers are using cab-mounted tablets as productivity tools, making motion-safety technology a critical component of an accident-free workplace.”

To prevent tampering, Xplore developed a secure cover to lock the Blank-it hardware dongle to the vehicle mounted tablet.

The Blank-it integrated solution is available with Xplore’s ultra-rugged F5 product series.

About Xplore Technologies®

Xplore Technologies Corp. has been a leading global provider of truly rugged tablets since 1998. With nearly 90,000 deployments, Xplore tablets are among the most powerful and longest lasting in their class, withstand nearly any hazardous condition or environmental extreme, and feature competitive pricing and significant ROI. The company’s products are sold on a global basis, with channel partners in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia Pacific. Xplore Technologies’ tablets are deployed across a variety of industries and sectors, such as energy, military operations, manufacturing, distribution, public services, public safety, government, and other areas with hazardous work conditions. For more information, visit the Xplore Technologies website at www.xploretech.com.

Blank-it now proudly operates with two official Solution Partners, in Motion Computing and Xplore Technologies.

 

 

LaHood Still Weighing in on Distracted Driving

man-with-laptop-in-car-4As the New York Times reports, ex-Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is still vocal about the dangers of distracted driving and the seeming reluctance of auto-manufacturers to fully commit to reducing distraction in the vehicle.

In an interview in July, LaHood said that car companies and technology companies must wake up to the deadly dangers their products can pose. He also made a point that voice-recognition systems for cars do not meet his standard for safety. There has been an industry ‘push’into those technologies, asserting that they are a safer alternative than using a hand-held phone, but some safety advocates disagree, as we have reported previously.

Mr. LaHood said he wants to see the technology and car industries be part of sending the message to consumers about the risks. We need to get that same kind of commitment from the tech industry. They’re not there yet, and neither are the car companies. They have to be part of the solution.

For now, Mr. LaHood said, they are often part of the problem in two ways: by building technology for cars that takes drivers away from the task of driving, and by glorifying the idea that it’s fashionable, even important, to be connected all the time.

His comments highlight one of the major problems with Distracted Driving. Polls show that drivers know using a cellphone or other electronic device behind the wheel is a risk, but that they do it anyway.

The responsibility of car companies, he said, should not be to create a cool factor around dangerous technologies.

It’s expensive technology, and only people of means can afford it but it lends legitimacy to everyone else who can only afford a BlackBerry or cellphone to say: “if you’re putting it in the car for these folks, then I can use mine.”

The solutions involve having tough laws, tough enforcement of those laws and public service messages that reinforce the legal risks, plus personal responsibility. On top of that, effective policies at a company level, and technology itself must form an important part of any effective solution.

Mr. LaHood said he would like to see tech and car companies disable the functions that are not directly related to driving when the car is in motion.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/24/lahood-says-companies-must-wake-up-to-distracted-driving/?_r=2

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.

New Connecticut Laws Toughen Approach to Distracted Drivers

Cost of Distracted DrivingThe state of Connecticut recently signed into law two bills aimed at Distracted Drivers – laws which introduce new penalties and conditions that will impact drivers and employers.

There are some particular features in these new laws that will increase their impact:

  • They change distracted driving citations to a ‘moving violation’, putting it on the list of serious traffic violations and assigning it points.
  • They allow for the offence to appear on the motor vehicle record of the driver and be available to car insurance companies to use when calculating rates for an insurance policy. A fine is a one-time payment, but an auto insurance company can raise your rates for three years, or more, for a moving violation such as this.
  • The laws make it illegal for motorists to use their handheld device when behind the wheel – including when the car is sitting motionless. That means drivers may not use their mobile devices even when stopped at a light or stuck in traffic. Presently, a motorist must be driving (car in motion) to be ticketed.

It is likely that we will see more of this type of legislation brought in, together with the associated tougher financial penalties, that can have much more impact than a one-off fine. This is something that will impact drivers and employers.

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.