George R. Tucker, Attorney at Law George R. Tucker, Attorney at Law
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How fleets can use new tech to combat distracted driving

Distracted driving among both the driving public and CDL-holding professionals is becoming more and more of a problem. That's why fleet owners in Louisiana should focus on this area if they wish to keep their drivers and other road users safe. The rise of smartphones and other mobile devices may be to blame for this trend, but fortunately, there is other technology to offset their influence.

Through data analysis, fleets are able to tell when truck drivers engage in unsafe behaviors like speeding, hard braking and hard acceleration. This also allows fleets to predict dangerous situations. Omnitracs, the fleet management systems provider, has a Driving Center web-based tool that can now detect signs of fatigue and distraction in drivers, and the data analytics firm Zendrive has been able to identify at-risk drivers using only their smartphone data.

Fleet management systems from companies like SmartDrive and PeopleNet come with driver-coaching tools to encourage safer driving practices. They are also equipped with in-cab video monitoring, which can be triggered by adverse events. One company, Netradyne, is developing a system that will audibly warn unsafe drivers.

Trucking companies are encouraged to find out what employees' stressors are and how to reduce them. This could involve, for example, adjustments to the fleet's schedule. Many drivers are unaware that they are distracted, so talking about the dangers can be beneficial, too.

When distracted driving or some other form of negligence contributes to a truck accident, victims can seek out the advice of a lawyer. Trucking companies can be aggressive in denying settlements, so it's important for victims to have a lawyer negotiate. If an agreement cannot be reached, the case can go to court.

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