Distracted driving has become a big concern among fleets and the National Traffic Safety Board and there’s a good reason why: some drivers just can’t overcome the temptation of using their smartphones.
“Nearly ten percent of traffic fatalities involve distracted drivers—deaths that are completely preventable,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said during a roundtable discussion on distracted driving last April in Washington D.C.
Most fleet managers do not want to play the role of bad guy and hound their drivers about safe driving habits—and they don’t have to.
Derive VQ Active Telematics will automatically engage various performance and safety features including a cell phone blocking system that permits only pre-approved apps to function while the vehicle is in motion.
Derive’s new senior vice-president of enterprise sales, Karl Weber, said that his company has been getting a “ton of interest” from fleet and safety managers in the technology.
“It’s really a large percentage of incidents out there that are due to distracted driving,” Weber explained. “So now fleets are starting to ask, ‘What technologies are out there that allow us to prevent that?’ Because as much as you try to manage that out of the business, you sometimes have to say, ‘You know what. We’re just going to remove that capability.’”
While some cell phone blocking systems rely on GPS tracking and disable connectivity when the vehicle is in motion, Derive’s system activates as soon as the vehicle is taken out of park.
Weber said this approach helps to better prevent drivers from using their smartphones at red lights—a scenario that’s more likely to occur with a GPS blocking system which permits cell phone use when the vehicle is not moving, regardless of whether it’s in park or not.
“We’re getting a lot of interest on the fleet side for being able to utlize VQ not only to do active telematics management but also to layer in that distracted driver capability,” Weber said. “We do some pretty unique things when it comes to that.”
Derive VQ Active Telematics is designed to make fleet management easier by automatically employing performance and safety features through a vehicle’s ECM.
Critical factors like speed, torque and engine idle time can be set and regulated for top performance and safety requirements. If a driver gets in a hurry and forgets to buckle up, the system can be programmed to disable vehicle ignition until that seat belt is latched into place. The Derive VQ app also keeps drivers informed of optimum routing.
“With Active Telematics we’re applying a level of intelligence along with management capability to actively be able to change the vehicle and what the vehicle is doing instead of trying to change the driver,” Weber said.
“It allows an organization to achieve results by using technology available today to modify the capabilities of that vehicle or actively manage the vehicle based on business rules or things that are important to an individual business,” Weber continued. “To me that’s game changing in the industry. No one else is doing that.”
For more information visit derive.com.