Just recently, vehicle navigation and mapping provider TomTom forged a partnership with Cellcontrol to install anti-distracted driving technology onto TomTom’s Bridge semi-rugged navigation device.
In essence, if a driver tries doing anything with the TomTom device other than follow the established navigation pathway while his or her vehicle is motion – texting, scrolling thru social media, or playing electronic games while behind the wheel – Cellcontrol’s patented “blocking technology” prevents it.
OK sounds simple – and maybe seems a great annoyance, too, for many drivers out there.
I mean, hey, who wouldn’t be irritated at being forced to pull over and put a vehicle in park just to see who sent a text? Come on, it only takes a second or two to check a text out. Where’s the harm in that?
I put that very question to Cellcontrol’s CEO Robert Guba in an email and his answers may surprise you.
“It’s important that employees understand that a company’s main goal in deploying Cellcontrol is to make sure that the driver is protected from distractions and able to go home to their family each and every day,” he explained. “Distracted driving continues to grow as a liability and risk exposure area for commercial fleets. Moreover, the accidents caused by distracted driving are typically more severe and exponentially more costly.”
Consider this statistic, courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): In 2013, some 3,154 people were killed in crashes caused by distracted driving. With on average some 30,000 lives lost to roadway crashes every year in America, that means distracted driving is the root cause of over 10% of all highway fatalities.
Then there’s the cost, Guba stressed. “With the average cost of a crash around $17,000 and fines approaching $10,000 in some states [for texting while driving] a company can recoup their investment in Cellcontrol by preventing just one wreck,” he pointed out. “This doesn’t even take into account the damage a crash can have on a company’s brand image.”
Long term, Guba said anti-distracted driving technology pays for itself by reducing insurance premiums.
“Our clients typically observe a 50% reduction in accidents after deploying Cellcontrol, some even see their crash rates drop by 80%,” he noted. “These same clients are seeing their insurance premiums drop by thousands of dollars as a result.”
Aside from saving lives and preventing injuries – two almost incalculable benefits – the fiscal advantages seem to be potentially huge for fleets for reducing if not preventing distracted driving altogether. And it may very well be those potential savings that encourage fleets to install more anti-distracted driving technologies down the road.