SmartDrive Systems, a leader in driving performance solutions that reduce collisions and improve fuel efficiency, published new insights on distracted driving in the trucking industry in its latest SmartIQ Beat. This SmartDrive Snapshot, which aggregates and anonymizes data from the SmartDrive advanced video-based analytics platform, helps fleets understand operational threats and illuminates the inherent risks associated with distracted driving. The data analysis clearly demonstrates that the most distracted drivers are less safe overall, commit significantly more fundamental driving errors and drive faster than the speed limit compared to all other drivers.


“Distracted driving costs the United States as much as $175 billion a year, and it continues to be one of the most serious hazards facing the commercial transportation industry,” stated Steve Mitgang, CEO of SmartDrive. “While everyone understands distracted driving is a problem, only video safety—deployed with a cab-facing camera—provides the objective measurement of the associated driving risks. SmartDrive applauds fleets that have taken the necessary steps to reduce distracted driving, protecting their drivers and the motoring public by implementing an action-oriented video safety program.” 


Analysis of in-cab video and observation data, gathered over 14.5 billion driving miles, show that distracted drivers are more likely than all other drivers to have a near collision, fail to stop at an intersection and exceed the speed limit. For fleets, this increases the risk of collisions and the costs associated when one occurs. Additionally, the SmartDrive SmartIQ Snapshot confirms the widely held assumption that mobile devices are the predominant cause of distracted driving.


“It’s evident that mobile device usage and a host of other distractions can seriously impair the driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle and should not be ignored,” observed Slaven Sljivar, Vice President of Analytics, SmartDrive. “Most importantly, our robust data set provides quantifiable evidence of the dangers and costs associated with distracted driving when left unchecked.


“Seatbelt compliance is one key indicator of a driver’s propensity toward risk,” Sljivar continued. “Distracted drivers don’t wear their seatbelt at a rate that is significantly higher than other drivers, which signals to a fleet the potential for future issues with that driver. Distraction impacts more than safety costs. In fact, distracted drivers consistently waste the most fuel—which is a direct hit to a fleet’s bottom line.”


The SmartDrive Distracted Driving Snapshot for trucking illuminates key observations that distinguish distracted drivers—including those using mobile devices—during the 12-month analysis period. With validation through video analysis, these findings prove that distraction has a correlation to near collisions, collisions and increased fuel usage, and the most distracted drivers are significantly more dangerous than other drivers.


Significant conclusions include:

  • Collision drivers have higher distraction rates than non-collision drivers in all categories of distractions.
  • The most distracted drivers are 36% more likely to be involved in a near collision than all other drivers. This number jumps dramatically—to 88%—for drivers most distracted by a mobile device.
  • The most distracted drivers are 84% more likely than other drivers to roll through a stop sign or red light, and those most distracted by a mobile device are 2.5 times more likely to not stop—increasing the risk and severity of collisions.
  • Overall, the most distracted drivers are 87% more likely to drive 10 miles per hour (mph) or more over the speed limit, but if they are distracted by a mobile device, they are nearly 3 times more likely than all other drivers to drive 10 mph or more over the speed limit.
  • The most distracted drivers drift out of their lane almost 2 times more frequently than all other drivers. This number jumps to 2.3 times more than all other drivers for those most distracted by a mobile device.
  • Drivers who are most often distracted are more likely to not wear their seatbelt at a rate of 4.1 times higher than other drivers.
  • The most distracted drivers waste more fuel, resulting in 6% lower miles per gallon (MPG) than other drivers; this number increases to more than 8% when most distracted by a mobile device.


The complete Distracted Driving Snapshot is available online, and it includes the “Top 9 Tips to Eliminate Distracted Driving.” This guide is designed to help ensure fleets not only understand how distracted driving is affecting performance, but also are equipped to do something about it.