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Distracted driving and how new tech can prevent it

In North Carolina, distractions are becoming the norm for everyone from the driving public to commercial truckers. Distracted driving accidents often result in serious injuries to passengers and damage to vehicles because when drivers are inattentive to the road, they will not have any chance to avert a crash. Trucking companies face injury claims and delays on account of these types of accidents.

Technology may prove to be the solution to technology-related distractions. Data analysis, for example, is helping to point out risks to drivers. The fleet management systems provider Omnitracs has a module for its Driving Center web-based tool that can identify signs of fatigue and distraction to drivers, and the data analytics firm Zendrive is able to point out at-risk drivers to fleet owners and insurers using only smartphone data.

Phones may be the number one form of distraction for drivers. Zendrive estimates that 69 million Americans use their phones behind the wheel at least once every day. An average of 40 percent pick up their phone and use it at any given hour.

To prevent drivers from engaging in distracted behavior, companies like PeopleNet and Smartdrive have integrated driver-coaching tools and in-cab video monitoring into their fleet management systems. Netradyne is developing a system that can give audible warnings and notifications when drivers are distracted.

When 18-wheeler accidents are caused by distracted truckers, victims might see a lawyer about filing a claim. North Carolina holds to the doctrine of contributory negligence, which means victims cannot be partially to blame if they wish to be compensated. Proving this may require the help of the lawyer's own network of professionals. The lawyer may then bring the case before the trucking company's legal representatives, and if a settlement cannot be reached, the victim might consider litigating.

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