In a World of Distraction, Fleets Need Better Tech

Friday, January 17, 2020 By Jasmin Sharp

Nissan’s ad for their 2020 Rogue showcases their Intelligent Mobility features including automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and blind-spot warning. The ad highlights how we live in a “World of Distraction,” with pedestrians, children, adults, and passengers glued to their phones and not paying attention to what’s happening in front of them. In the ad, Nissan shows how their advanced safety systems, known as the Safety Shield 360, can help drivers stay safer on the road – both for the driver and their environment. 

As vehicles become more technologically advanced and connected, advanced safety features are becoming increasingly commonplace in consumer vehicles, with the majority of new cars offering features like emergency automatic braking and blindspot protection even in base models. These technologies can significantly increase the safety of the consumer vehicle – Consumer Reports highlighted the best safety systems in 2019 and said that these options have helped many drivers avoid a crash. However, as safety technology becomes more commonplace, we are also becoming progressively dependent on these systems. A December 2019 study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that “adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping-assist technologies lull drivers into letting their guard down, which puts them at greater risk of crashing.” 

This dependency is bad when it’s a driver’s personal vehicle. The majority of drivers with assistive technology in their vehicle probably know the limits of their vehicle and how distracted they think they can be with these systems in place. However, this dependency gets even worse when you take a driver that is used to these assistive safety systems in their own vehicle and put them in a work vehicle that doesn’t have the same technology.

Nissan hits the nail on the head in highlighting this issue – and how pervasive distracted driving is – in their Rogue ad. In a blink-and-you-might-miss-it, one-second clip of the ad, we see the shot change from showing a bus full of passengers on their phones to a shot of the driver of the bus – also on his phone. Even worse, as we see the driver on his phone, we see the bus start to swerve. Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility technology helps protect the protagonists of the ad, the family in the 2020 Nissan Rogue, but what is protecting the passengers of the bus? The driver? Or any other vehicle on the road or pedestrians that may get in the way of this distracted driver?

We don’t know the story of this bus driver, or why he would ever think it’s a good idea to be on his phone while driving a group of innocent passengers, but we do know that adaptive safety systems can teach people to be more distracted. AAA’s same study on assistive technology found that drivers who regularly relied on driver assistance systems were almost twice as likely to drive distracted. In a situation that is unfortunately all too common today, this bus driver could have trusted himself to check his phone because he thought the safety system in his vehicle would protect him. But that city bus definitely didn’t have Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility to protect him – and even if it did, he shouldn’t have been on his phone in the first place. 

In the transit, ride-hailing, & mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) industries, data on distracted driving is scant. But we know it happens. The instances when a fatality occurs as a result of a distracted driver are often highly publicized, but we shouldn’t have to wait until someone dies to realize that fleets and mobility service providers need to implement better technology to keep their drivers and the public safe. If assistive safety systems are making drivers more distracted, the solution is not to eliminate these safety systems. Experts agree that these technologies can save someone’s life and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that vehicles with front crash prevention systems are 50% less likely to be involved in a collision. Instead, the solution is to introduce technologies to prevent distractions and decrease the chance of a fleet driver picking up their phone in the first place. Commercial-grade solutions that prevent drivers from accessing distracting apps while in motion are the future of fleet safety. 

NOCELL can protect your fleet and integrate with MaaS solutions to protect employees, assets, and the public by removing distracting apps when a vehicle is in motion – and alert a driver’s supervisor when they try to handle their phone while driving. Want to see how this solution can help you? Schedule a demo with our sales team today.