EXPERT VIEW: SmartDrive Systems – The Dangers of Distracted Driving, Latest Data Shows How Video Helps Eliminate It From Fleets


Aidan Rowsome, VP EMEA, SmartDrive Systems, outlines the results of a recent study that illuminates key observations that distinguish the most distracted drivers from all other drivers, along with those distracted by mobile devices.  He will present the findings in more detail in the Motor Transport Workshop at the conference and provide some practical advice on how to work with drivers to eliminate distracted driving from commercial fleets.


Distracted driving is becoming an epidemic on our roads.  According to the DFT’s Reported Road Casualties Great Britain, Annual Report 2015; out of 1,469 fatal crashes that resulted in one or more deaths, the police recorded 400 incidences of the contributory factor ‘failure to look’ and a further 101 incidences of the contributory factors of driver in-vehicle distractions, distractions outside the vehicle and phone use.

While these statistics cover all motorised road users, without doubt, drivers of commercial vehicles are included in these numbers, with distracted driving costing the UK billions of pounds a year, when reviewed in terms of total cost of risk.

A recent study, based on aggregated and anonymised data from SmartDrive’s video-based analytics platform, highlighted key observations that distinguish the most distracted drivers from all other drivers, along with those distracted by mobile phones.

The study utilised data from in-cab video and associated observations gathered over 14.5 billion driving miles, from February 2016 through January 2017.

It clearly shows that distracted drivers are less safe overall and commit significantly more fundamental driving errors at a substantially higher rate than other drivers.  Furthermore, drivers distracted by mobile devices are at even more risk than those distracted by other means.  For instance, they are 2.5x more likely to run a red light or give way sign, increasing the risk and severity of collisions.

Other findings show that commercial drivers who are distracted most often are 36% more likely to be involved in a near collision than others. This number jumps dramatically to 88% for drivers distracted by a mobile device.

Additionally, drivers most distracted by a mobile device are 3x more likely to exceed the speed limit by 10mph or more and are 2.3x more likely to drift out of their lane than all other drivers.

Alarmingly, the study also shows that a driver who is often distracted is up to 4.1x more likely not to wear his/her seatbelt.

Distracted driving is not only about safety.  It also reduces operational efficiency within the fleet.  MPG for distracted drivers is 6.1% lower than all other drivers and, for those using mobile devices, MPG is 8.4% lower.

While everyone understands distracted driving is a problem, very few have an objective measurement of the risk.  To solve the problem, fleets need to understand distraction risks and eliminate them from their fleet.  With video, you have a non-biased and objective methodology to identify, measure, manage and reduce the risks of distracted driving in a proactive, programmatic way.

Smartdrive’s  will be discussing this topic further in the Motor Transport Workshop at 13:30. 



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