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Drivers With the Most Distracted Driving Events are 7.4 Times More Likely to Be Involved in a Collision or Near-Collision, According to SmartDrive Systems Latest Study

Analysis of commercial drivers also measures correlation between distracted-driving mobile phone use and collision or near-collision incidents

Submitted by: SmartDrive Systems

Categories: Research, Reports & Publications, Other

Posted: Sep 21, 2010 – 10:08 AM EST


SAN DIEGO, Sep. 21 /CSRwire/ - /PRNewswire/ - SmartDrive Systems, a leader in fleet safety and operational efficiency, today announced the results of its study correlating observed incidents of distracted driving with collisions and near collisions. The results are being presented at the U.S. Department of Transportation's 2010 Distracted Driving Summit this week in Washington, D.C.

The SmartDrive Distracted Driving research data is derived from the world's largest and fastest-growing database of recorded risky driving incidents, more than 34 million and counting. These are actual, over-the-road events and distracted driving behaviors captured on video in the SmartDrive Safety program.

The recent study includes an analysis of collisions and near-collisions, and the behaviors that led up to those events. By analyzing in-cab activity captured on video in the 15 seconds prior to those events, SmartDrive safety evaluators were able to observe the most common distracted driving behaviors, and ranked them as follows:

  1. Operating a Handheld Device (texting on a mobile phone, using a GPS navigator, etc.)

  2. Food/Beverage/Smoking

  3. Talking on a Mobile Phone

For the quarter ending June 30, 2010, the SmartDrive Distracted Driving Index showed that just 5% of new drivers in the SmartDrive Safety program accounted for 33% of all recorded distracted driving incidents, and that they were responsible for 57% of all mobile phone incidents captured and 47% of all operating-handheld-device incidents.

"The problem of distracted driving is at the top of the Administration's agenda for making America's roadways safer. The findings of our recently released Distracted Driving Index and our correlation of distracted driving behaviors and collisions underscore what the U.S. Dept. of Transportation has been saying: If we can reduce distracted driving, we can save lives," according to SmartDrive President Jason Palmer.

"In our study, text messaging and talking on a mobile phone are clearly present in the majority of observed distracted-driving incidents involving a collision or near-collision," Palmer said. "By tackling these types of distracted-driving behaviors early on, and coaching drivers to correct them before a serious event occurs, our SmartDrive Safety program is having an immediate, positive impact on highway safety," he added.

The More Frequent the Distractions, the More Likely A Collision

The SmartDrive study also revealed that commercial drivers with the highest number of distracted driving observations were 7.4 times more likely to be involved in a collision or near collision when compared to drivers with the lowest number of distractions. The study group included more than 20,000 professional commercial drivers.

The distraction-collision study evaluated more than 7.5 million video events recorded since January 1, 2010. The collision/near-collision data comparison included drivers who had recorded at least one such incident in 2010.

The "Epidemic of Distracted Driving"

In a news release announcing the 2010 Distracted Driving Summit, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood noted that, "distracted driving-related crashes claimed 5,474 lives and led to 448,000 traffic injuries across the U.S. in 2009. These numbers show that distracted driving remains an epidemic in America, and they are just the tip of the iceberg."

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research, distraction-related fatalities represented 16 percent of overall traffic fatalities in 2009. Furthermore, the NHTSA study found that the proportion of fatalities associated with driver distraction increased 60 percent between 2005 and 2009.

"The SmartDrive Distracted Driving research is a valuable tool in understanding the causes of and trends in commercial driving distraction, helping America's commercial fleets put safer drivers on the road," Palmer noted.

The research data is derived from the SmartDrive Safety program, which uses in-vehicle recorders to capture video, audio and vehicle data during sudden stops, swerves, collisions and other events. Through detailed video analysis, SmartDrive is able to quantify distractions such as cell phone usage, text messaging, use of maps or navigation, eating/drinking/smoking, and other actions. Event data is categorized and scored according to 50+ safety observations. The research compares drivers in their first three weeks on the SmartDrive Safety program with drivers who have benefited from more time in the program.

About SmartDrive Systems

SmartDrive delivers innovative solutions that make it easy for fleet managers to improve driver safety and reduce operating cost. SmartDrive records comprehensive video-based data from the road, then thoroughly reviews and scores critical events and recommends action for fleet managers to quickly respond and deliver sustainable savings - all through an easy-to-use managed service. The company has compiled the world's largest storehouse - more than 34 million events - of real-time, risky driving incidents. SmartDrive Systems is based in San Diego, CA, and employs approximately 300 people worldwide. For more information, please visit

For more information, please contact:

Jim White Media Relations of SmartDrive Systems
Phone: +1-619-955-6430


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