Cogosense Blog

Cogosense's Driver Behaviour Blog

Why Distraction Is So Dangerous And What Can We Do About It

Very good article today in Forbes by David DiSalvo featuring an interview with Dr. David Simons (author of the bestselling book "The Invisible Gorilla").

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On the topic of distracted driving, Dr. Simons said:

  • The more attention we devote to gadgets, the less we have available to spot unexpected dangers. In part, the danger comes from our lack of awareness of our own limits. When we’re distracted, we don’t notice that we’re distracted.
  • What we can do is take steps to limit the consequences of those distractions when they matter most. Perhaps those problems can be addressed through technology (e.g., finding a way to prevent texting by a driver while still permitting it by passengers). But, doing so requires better recognition of the risk in the first place.

The full article can be found here.

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Expanded Considerations for Risk and Liability

The recent New Jersey state appeals court ruling expanded the risk and liability considerations to include someone who knowingly sends a text to another person who's engaged in driving at the time and the distraction leads to a collision.

We hold that the sender of a text message can potentially be liable if an accident is caused by texting, but only if the sender knew or had special reason to know that the recipient would view the text while driving and thus be distracted.
– Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division

This is a particularly important consideration for corporate fleets where intra-company communication may be very frequent between fleet drivers and management or dispatch.

Complete solutions for distracted driving should take into consideration the environment for both the senders and the receivers.

For example, Aegis has worked with our corporate clients to provide driving status indicators on enterprise unified communications systems (such as those provided by Cisco, Avaya or Microsoft) so that corporate dispatchers can see status at-a-glance. Additionally, single touch push-to-talk and similar features are available to facilitate communication that is critical to productivity while ensuring conformance with corporate safe driving policy and adherence to the law.

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From One Second To The Next

Previously, I've written that "Learning Occurs Through Recognition Of Error" and we've authored numerous blog posts that deal with the challenges related to this precept when it comes to distracted driving.

For some people, numbers and analytic reasoning are compelling enough to force change. See the preceding blog post "2003-2013 By The Numbers".

For others, change is driven by an emotional reaction to crisis. Our friends at AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile have sponsored the creation of the documentary "From One Second To The Next" so that more people might effect change in their lives before facing their own personal tragedy related to distracted driving.

It is well worth taking thirty minutes to watch this compelling documentary.

https://youtu.be/_BqFkRwdFZ0

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2003-2013 By The Numbers

Regardless of our political beliefs, we can all agree that the loss of life in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past decade is tragic. But ABC News recently reminded us that, over the same 10 year period, we have lost more than five times as many lives to distracted driving accidents on our own highways here at home.

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that distracted driving is a contributing factor in more than 386,000 injuries and more than 3,000 deaths every year.

To put that into perspective, you could fill any NFL stadium more than five times with the number of people who are injured by distracted drivers every year.

To put a finer point on it, in the last 10 years, America has lost five times as many husbands and wives, sons and daughters to distracted driving than to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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US DOT Gives Auto Industry Voluntary Guidelines to Minimize Driver Distraction

The NHTSA has taken another step forward to combat distracted driving by proposing voluntary guidelines for automobile manufacturers to help minimize in-vehicle driver distraction.  The goal is to balance the technological innovation that consumers want with keeping our roads safe and drivers focused on driving.  The focus is to limit secondary tasks (communications, entertainment, and information gathering etc.) that the agency believes will interfere with a driver's ability to safely control the vehicle.

You can get more detailed information through the NHTSA website and press release:

https://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/U.S.+DOT+Releases+Guidelines+to+Minimize+In-Vehicle+Distractions

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