Distracted driving words


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Distracted driving words

  1. 1. 1 of 7Distracted Driving Webinar 2013 February 27Slide 1Thank you, Annette, for the information on regulations. I’d like to give fleets some ideas for dealing withdriver distraction that include policies and training as well as the use of technology.(clear throat several times saying ahem in the process)Slide 2I hope I have your attention now. When my wife makes that sound, she gets my attention and,generally, I’ve just done something wrong or stupid.Everything we now know about distraction tells us that it is important to keep our attention, our mind,focused on the driving task. We need to be aware of our surroundings and constantly vigilant for theunexpected.Next, our hands need to be where they can control the vehicle. For the most part, this is on the steeringwheel. It’s also on the gear shift lever, and on the engine brake control. We have to be able to adjustthe turn signal position and the head lamp switch. The windshield wiper and windshield washer controlneeds to be within easy reach.Our eyes should be focused on the road and the areas surrounding the vehicle. They need to be awareof traffic and traffic lights. In most human factors research, we try to limit the amount of time that oureyes are taken off this primary task. We measure the time it takes to select a radio station and the timeit takes to adjust the temperature of the HVAC system. A vehicle going 60 miles per hour is traveling 88feet per second. A lot can happen in just 1 or 2 seconds of distraction. Texting takes over 4 secondson average. That’s equivalent to the length of a football field.Finally, we have to be prepared to maneuver the vehicle when the unexpected happens. It could be assimple as blowing the horn. Yet, have you ever been in a vehicle and found you did not know where thehorn was? I remember in the early 80’s a time in a rental car where I could not find it. It turned out thatI had to push the turn signal switch in toward the steering column--a very unnatural movement. That’sonly a simple example. I recall training my children to be wary of the case where they are followinganother vehicle, perhaps too closely, and may even be in the process of braking. Suddenly the car infront changes lanes and, low and behold, there is a stopped vehicle just 1-2 car lengths in front of you.If you are 16 and this is the first time this has happened, you are unlikely to be prepared to maneuver.And, if you are in your 80’s, you know what to do, but you don’t have the reaction time as you did inyour 30’s and 40’s. We give lots of credit to pilots like C.B. Sullenberger (Sully) who know what to doand have been highly trained for that once in a lifetime emergency.I recommend you use this in your policies and training as an easy way to have drivers remember what isimportant.
  2. 2. 2 of 7Slide 3Briefly, let’s look at the timeline of an accident. Many of us focus on the right side of the screen wherethe crash occurs, air bags go off, people have to be rescued from a vehicle with the jaws of life andtransported to the hospital for surgery while investigators poor over the recordings in black boxes andevent data recorders. Too few of us work at the other end and think about what should be done beforewe even get into the vehicle. In between those two extremes are the safe, defensive drivers like JamesSutfin of Con-way who recently reached 3 million consecutive accident-free miles.And right in the middle of this diagram is where a good deal of work is going on by suppliers, OEM’sand our government. Driver assistance systems that provide some level of warning to the driver, and ,when necessary, takes some level of automatic control of the vehicle to avoid the accident entirely, or, atleast, mitigate the effects on life and property.Slide 4Let’s take a brief look at what should be done before you start driving to avoid an (cough and say ahem)moment.To begin, make sure your fleet is implementing its random testing for drug and alcohol use. We don’twant impaired drivers behind the wheel.First and foremost, make sure drivers get a good night’s sleep. Many fleets have taken toimplementing testing for sleep apnea, recognizing that too many drivers are not getting the quality andamount of sleep they need to stay alert. Second, make sure the equipment is in proper operatingcondition.Make sure drivers complete a pre-trip inspection well and record the information. The CSA,Compliance--Safety--Accountability program is making it much more important to complete this stepand get any needed repairs done. While a tail light not working may not distract you while driving, itcould be an issue for following drivers when they realizes too late what is happening.It’s pretty simple--drivers need to buckle their seat belt. Yes, this is a big rig. But, you can help saveinjury to drivers by using the seat belt. Usage has improved, but it is still only in the range of 70% onheavy trucks. Consider using sensors that can tie into the fleet management system and tell you if thedriver has at least buckled the belt.
  3. 3. 3 of 7Next, drivers need to familiarize themselves with the operation and location of controls and displays.I’ve recently been studying things as simple as where is the hazard switch located. Where is the headlamp switch? How do you control the engine brake? If you don’t know these things, you will findyourself distracting your eyes from the road and tension mounting just when you need to be focused onthe road and traffic. Personally, I think there is room for standardization in this area. Truck drivers arenot like pilots that are so highly trained on specific aircraft that they are not allowed to fly anotherwithout hours of training and testing. If you are introducing new equipment or procedures into yourtrucks, plan a training program. Consider how you move drivers between vehicles of different makesand vintages.Finally, the driver needs to make sure he can move without hitting overhead items, fences, docks andsuch. The driver needs to make sure she can exit the lot safely without rolling over. With all theadvances we have made, low speed rollover is one that requires the driver to assess things in advanceand take turns out of lots carefully.Slide 5Before we move to Defensive Driving, lets talk about the sources of distraction. Here is a clip off theinternet from the government web site run by the department of transportation. You might want toaccess this web site. Texting and smart phones are only one item causing distraction. One of mybiggest distractions is when the passenger blurts out something like, “watch out!” It invariably makesme jump. I’ll admit that sometimes I was not aware of what the passenger is concerned about; but,other times that is a distraction just when I don’t need it, or is a mistake on the part of the passenger.I like the one about reading maps. But, you say, the driver has a navigation system. It’s still all abouthow much time the eyes and attention and hands are taken away from the primary task. Inputtinginformation into a map program on a cell phone, by definition in the law, is texting!You might also want to look at itcanwait.com. This site popped up recently and is being advertised onTV.Slide 6Here are some additional sources of distraction. Anything that flashes is going to grab your attention.Just recently the negative impact of electronic bill boards has been highlighted. The lights on bicyclistsflash now, rather than being steady, due to this effect. Turn signals have always flashed for this reason.Recently, in a shuttle bus from the airport in Las Vegas, even as a passenger, I was distracted by theflashing display of the radio--I guess everything in that town has to light up and flash. Even the controlswe need by law can be a distraction. I know many a driver that has covered over a tell tale light or put ascrew driver through it.Earlier we talked about the impact a passenger can have. What do you think about those drivers thathave a dog in their lap leaning out the window? Ever dropped something and tried to retrieve itimmediately, without really paying attention to the road? Ever had ketchup drip out of that cheaphamburger and cause you to look down, take your hands off the wheel and try to find something toclean it up--all while going the length of a football field in 4 seconds?
  4. 4. 4 of 7It is very hard to keep the mind focused for hours on end while driving. And, lots of things can causeyour mind to wander.The radio communications and the CB are exempt from the standard definitions related to holding amobile device. We are still allowed to hold a microphone and use a push to talk button. Yet, thatdangling cord, operating the squelch knob, changing channels, and putting the mike back in its cradlecan all take your eyes and attention off the driving task for a few seconds.Slide 7So, teach your people to drive defensively. Make sure they watch for what the other guy is doing andmight do. Control speed in both highway situations and in city traffic, especially where someone mightcome out unexpectedly from between parked cars. Program the road speed governor/limiter on yourvehicles to something less than 65 miles per hour. It’s safer and you’ll save fuel. Make sure drivers usemirrors regularly. If you have driver assistance systems as simple as cruise control and as complicatedas radar collision mitigation systems with side sensors, make sure drivers learn how to use themeffectively. And don’t let them handle mobile devices.All of these items should be covered in fleet policies and training for both its drivers and its dispatchers.Slide 8BUT!!! How does a fleet ensure drivers are following the rules? Many believe that technology can fillthe void.For today, let’s focus on distraction issues only. I won’t, for instance, spend time on overcomingsleepiness by using the radio, opening the window to get fresh air, having something spritz the driverwith the smell of peppermint, or getting her to chew gum and drive and the same time--even if theycan’t walk and chew gum at the same time. Better yet, do your policies and procedures allow for themto get off the road and take a quick cat nap? That’s, scientifically, the best solution.I also, won’t talk about the period just before a crash where we need to alert the driver with consistentaudio, visual and tactile alerts including rumble strip sounds, vibrating seats, pedals that push back,and lights that blink.These are all for future webinars dealing with the issues related to driver assistance systems, collisionavoidance and mitigation.Slide 9The law says the commercial vehicle operator cannot hold a mobile telephone. It is much more thansaying not able to text. Therefore, you must find ways to keep the phone out of the hands of the driver.This should drive everyone to think in terms of hands free operation. I’d like to point out that peoplewho hold a mobile phone in one hand and use the speaker phone capability of the phone, are NOTusing it hands free--even if they succeed in keeping both hands on the wheel while holding the phone.
  5. 5. 5 of 7Therefore, the phone needs to be placed somewhere. In Europe, a similar regulation has led the vehicleOEM’s to install separate phone key pads in the dash so that the phone can be kept out of view.Perhaps the simplest way to do this is to keep the mobile device in a pocket. There are some solutionsout there, that require the driver to put the device into a locked box before you can start the engine oroperate the vehicle. Some solutions require you to dock the mobile device before they can operate thevehicle. Several patents have been granted in this area. For many people, the answer will be to attachthe mobile device to the dash in some fashion. Unfortunately, this has not been anticipated well by thevehicle OEM’s. Finding a location that is convenient for easy reach and single button operation, issecure and does not obstruct some portion of the driver’s field of view around the vehicle, may bedifficult. Some fleets have anticipated the problem and have changed how they order switches andoptions in the B-panel to the right of the driver, freeing it up for the telematics systems.Once you have the device safely placed, then you should think about how drivers are going to operateit. The law allows only a single button operation. There are two options. One is for a device that isspecifically set up for voice communications only. Then, a single button on the mobile device can bepressed to initiate a call to dispatch or someone else. This is analogous to station presets on the radio,where a single button press can take you across the entire FM spectrum. The numerous buttons on themobile device can be programmed to do different things. It’s much like a universal remote where thepower button can be programmed to turn on and off 5-8 different devices in sequence, or morecomplicated macros can be programmed to do much more. The common “push to talk” feature fits intothis category. Personally, I would prefer that the button be placed on the steering wheel. In manyvehicles, we have switches on the back side of the steering wheel, easy to reach without looking, tocontrol such things as radio presets, volume and transmission shifting.That leads to the next solution, which is voice recognition and control. The concept has been aroundfor well over a decade. The implementation gets better and cheaper every year. It has now reached thepoint where it is being incorporated into the vehicle OEM designs of passenger cars. This still requiressome method of initiating the voice recognition. In the past, some attempts were made to use a specialword or phrase that was programmed into the system--such as “computer” on the Star Trek series. Butthat has not proven viable even in the more quiet environment of a passenger car, let alone the morenoisy environment of a commercial vehicle. The answer is a single button press. It can be a button onthe steering wheel as the OEM’s are implementing, or it can be a single button press on a bluetoothenabled ear piece. With voice recognition and control, that single button press opens up a largenumber of things you can do without touching the mobile device. I use it to dial a specific person, tosend a text message through translation, to look up a location on a map, route it and tell me what to do,to change music that I am playing and to answer questions.Slide 10A few other options have presented themselves. One is to have an application running on the cellphone that prevents the phone from using certain features while the vehicle is in motion. Detectingmotion can use the embedded GPS function or be tied into the On Board Diagnostic (OBD) port of thevehicle, or tied into the data bus of the vehicle.Another monitoring device is to have equipment that looks inward at the driver and records what ishappening. The recording can be continuous, driver initiated, vehicle initiated in a crash, or could beremotely initiated by the fleet. I’ve seen some exceptionally interesting videos of what drivers do, even
  6. 6. 6 of 7when they are instructed not to use mobile devices. Some will be concerned about privacy issues withthese solutions, and, honestly, others will not. I’ve seen this solution recently in taxi cabs while I havebeen traveling.With Voice Over Internet Protocol, Voice Over IP (VoIP) and more and more powerful telematicssystems, it will be possible for the separate mobile phone to be eliminated at some point, at least forvoice communications to dispatch, which is limited in frequency and length. At that point, the solutioncan be integrated into the vehicle more effectively once vehicle OEM’s get involved. The passengercars are much further along in implementing systems that work closely with the hand held devicebrought into the vehicle, using bluetooth connectivity to the vehicle. There is a push-me, pull-youstruggle that has been going on for two decades now as to who pays for the cost of the wirelessconnection to the internet and how fast it is. With the government drive toward more connectedvehicles and lawmakers considering autonomous vehicles, it is not out of the realm of possibility.Another option is wearable computing.Slide 11We are all comfortable now with wireless microphones on performers. Now, they often frequently haveear pieces fitted to their ears or headphones on. Even the ministers in our churches have microphonesthey wear with the microphone coming out in front of the mouth and hardly visible to people. If you lookat pilots, emergency vehicle drivers, and even motorcyclists, you will see a high level of sophisticationand comfort with wearing devices.But, that’s not the end of it. How many have played with a video game that had them holding a wand orwearing something that tracked their movement? The recent consumer electronics show was repletewith items that can be worn to sense heart rate, sleepiness via brain waves, temperature, moisture,blood glucose levels. And, not only sense, but also provide small amounts of vibration or noise to alertthe wearer. TV shows now have people recording video surreptitiously. And how many of us have beenenthralled by sports people and pets wearing video cameras that give us their point of view?Slide 12While the wearable computers are both intriguing and exciting, I don’t think they are ready for theaverage truck driver in normal operation. So, how do you choose a solution that is going to work foryour operation. Here are just a few things to consider. As in most things, it is best to keep it simple.,seriously simple. I recommend you decide how important each item is to your organization. Typicallythis would be done by a small group of people reaching consensus on the importance. Then, someonewith familiarity with the options under consideration can provide a rating for each item. It’s often helpfulif the person rating a system does not know what the weighting of importance is. That way, they areless likely to be biased to making their favorite choice look good. Of course, cost and timing have to befactored in. And, don’t ever forget where we started. Before the driver gets into the vehicle, thereneeds to be training and the driver has to be comfortable with the technology.Slide 13
  7. 7. 7 of 7Let me summarize a few things from the technical perspective. Consider whether or not your currenthardware solution can be modified to reduce driver distraction and comply with the new regulations.Second, find out if any software changes can be made to the system to improve its operation. I mustadmit, that there is a reasonable chance that it is time to think about changing your solution.Technology has advanced and older technologies are being pushed aside. You might be better lookingat the current and future potential of a new system with tremendous payback potential.Slide 14Change never comes easily. Involve your people from the very beginning. Understand everything youcan about what they do. In the corporate world we talk about taking a Gemba walk. A long time agowe talked about Managing By Walking Around. Ride along with your drivers, listen to them. Make surethey understand the legal and the business reasons for making changes. Only then will you garner theirsupport.When you think you have a new process figured out, try it out on a few people first. Be critical andcheck to see if it is easier and better. This is a form of Plan-Do-Check-Act, with emphasis on the plando and check before rolling out a solution to a large group. When you do decide to roll it out, considerthe training program and the means for reinforcing the expected behavior.I love technology and even use the word in my company name. But, technology is not an end in and ofitself. It must serve and support the needs of the people using it. Computers and communicationssystems are wonderful--their purpose is to keep people in touch with one another, to allow importantinformation to get to the right places, and, ultimately, in this case, to make sure that products andservices get delivered to people and businesses without the delays of accidents or the expense oflawsuits. Done right, technology can easily be funded and produce more than a monetary payback.Thank you for listening, and I look forward to answering your questions. Wendy, back to you now.