Distracted driving accidents in Connecticut and around the country are often blamed on cellphone use or the sophisticated entertainment and navigation systems offered by many auto manufacturers, but studies suggest that a disturbing number of motorists crash while lost in thought. Accidents involving distracted drivers are especially dangerous when commercial vehicles weighing up to 40 tons are involved, but technology is being developed by several fleet management firms to reduce these risks.
In addition to watching truck drivers for signs of distraction or fatigue, these systems use hours of service data and work schedules to identify drivers that may be a danger to other road users. They are also extremely sophisticated. A driver monitoring system being developed by a Texas-based fleet management company that evaluates risks based on more than 1,000 different variables.
The human, financial and reputational costs of truck accidents can be severe for fleet operators, and many of the nation's largest companies are investing heavily in technology that could prevent them. Anheuser Busch spends $7 million each year on data-based fleet safety solutions to reduce fatigued, distracted or aggressive driving, and the Together for Safer Roads Coalition has been formed to encourage logistics companies to take advantage of emerging safety technology.
The information gathered and stored by modern passenger vehicles and semi-tractor trailers may be useful to law enforcement and personal injury attorneys pursuing compensation for accident victims. While evidence establishing that vehicles failed to brake or steer to avoid a crash may not be enough to prove distraction or fatigue beyond a reasonable doubt, it might be sufficient to prove negligence in civil court. This is because civil matters are decided based on the preponderance of the evidence, which means that plaintiffs must only convince juries that their allegations are more likely true than false.