Truckers may become less distracted with new tech

According to data analytics firm Zendrive, an estimated 69 million drivers in New York and across the U.S. use their phones every day while behind the wheel. At any given hour, approximately 40 percent of the nation's drivers are using their phones at least once. This is especially bad because cellphone use is behind 26 percent of all collisions.

Cellphones are just one form of technology that's contributing to the rise in distracted driving with GPS settings and infotainment systems also taking many drivers' attention from the road. Commercial truck drivers are at a particularly high risk, but several companies have produced new tech that could reduce this risk.

Zendrive is currently using smartphone data to identify when truck drivers are seemingly headed for an accident while Omnitracs, a fleet management systems company, has created a new module for its Driving Center tool that can detect fatigue and distraction in drivers after an analysis of their hours of service. Crash predictions may become even more accurate as the field of machine learning continues to develop.

Cellcontrol has made an app that can hold calls, texts and emails for truckers whenever their phone is in the cab. Companies like PeopleNet and Smartdrive have come out with in-cab video monitoring systems, and Netradyne has introduced its Driveri RealTimeCoach, which audibly alerts drivers to hazardous situations.

Those who suffer a permanent disability or severe injury often want to know if the trucker was distracted or engaging in some other form of negligent behavior. Accident attorneys may have contacts with investigators who can review police reports, reconstruct the accident, inspect the work logs and, if applicable, check the truck's monitoring systems and other technology. Attorneys may then be able to handle all negotiations for an informal settlement, litigating only as a last resort.

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