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New tech for fleets to invest in to fight trucker distraction

Data analysis firm Zendrive has found that 60 percent of drivers in West Virginia and across the U.S. get on their phones at least once while behind the wheel with 40 percent using their devices at least once any given hour. While phones account for 26 percent of all collisions, they're not the only distraction for drivers. Even letting one's mind wander constitutes a distraction.

Many trucking companies are taking advantage of what data analysis firms and tech companies have to offer in order to reduce distracted driving and save themselves the cost associated with a wreck. For example, Zendrive is able to measure driver risk through a review of smartphone data while Omnitracs has a web-based Driver Center tool that can use vehicle data to detect driver fatigue and distractions, even predicting when a driver will be in a risky situation.

To keep truckers from being distracted by incoming calls and messages, Cellcontrol developed an app that blocks texts, emails and calls whenever a separate device senses that the phone is in the cab, and the truck is in motion. Other companies, like Smartdrive and PeopleNet, offer video monitoring systems that can be installed inside the cab. Through its Driveri RealTimeCoach, Netradyne can even provide truckers with audible reminders and notifications during hazardous situations.

When distracted truck drivers cause accidents, victims can speak with lawyers about filing claims against the trucking companies. There will have to be clear proof of truck driver negligence, but investigators connected to the firm could gather all of this data. It could include work logs, in-cab video footage and police reports. A lawyer can then negotiate for a settlement out of court, and if the trucking company offers an unreasonably low settlement, the victim can consider litigation. Successful injury claims can reimburse victims for vehicle damage, medical bills and more.

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