Limiting Distracted Driving
May 17, 2021
Explore the shocking impact of distracted driving on fleets plus the technology and processes fleet managers can put in place to ensure driver safety.
Podcast Ep.6 — Limiting Distracted Driving
Matthew Dziak: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Fleet Code. A podcast brought to you by Fleetio. Where we'll dive into the latest fleet trends, technology, and best practices. Get the inside scoop, as we decode the challenges of fleet management.
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:00:21] Each incident in California, if it was a crash with no injury, it costs the company on average $92,000. If there was an injury, it went up to $300 plus thousand dollars. And if there was a fatality, then it was $1.5 plus. The ripple effect, like I said, is just huge. It's larger than you think until you have to go through it.
Matthew Dziak: [00:00:41] In this episode of the fleet code, we discussed distracted driving and the impact it can have on the fleet and its drivers. Joining us to lend his expertise is Corey Woinarowicz. Corey is the director of business development at Nocell technologies. The technology company that provides a driver management platform and mobile app. Hi, Corey. Thanks for joining us today.
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:01:02] Hey Matthew, great to be here, thank you very much.
Matthew Dziak: [00:01:04] Absolutely, so I know that you are located in California. I'm curious how things have been from a driving perspective out there. I spent probably half my life out there actually, and I know that obviously the traffic can be an issue for a lot of people, but given some of the things that occurred in 2020 with the work from home, I'm wondering if maybe some of that subsided, just a little.
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:01:26] The funny thing is, and you've been out here, the numbers on the freeway means the 405 is it takes four or five hours to get there in 91 is you're going to take 91 minutes to go 10 miles or whatever. But during all the stuff in 2020, the freeways were empty and all of the high powered vehicles came out. So if you did get on the freeway, you had to get in line quickly and avoid the Lamborghinis and the Teslas that were going in ludicrous mode. It has been great to see the traffic come back. So that we can go normal speeds again.
Matthew Dziak: [00:01:57] Yeah, that's one of those things that you don't really think about, but it does make a lot of sense. Those rebels that have a little bit of money and get those fancy sports cars now that they have an open road to play with . I can see that issue. And we'll get into that for sure. Why don't you tell everyone a little bit more about yourself and the company you work for?
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:02:13] Sure. My name is Corey Woinarowicz. I'm the director of business development at Nocell technologies. And Nocell technologies is one of the industry leaders in providing a solution to mitigate the risks of distracted driving by removing the apps from the phone while the vehicles are in motion.
Matthew Dziak: [00:02:31] Now, how did you get involved in this world of driver safety and fleets?
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:02:35] So I met a couple of guys back in early 2019, and they were talking about this problem of distracted driving. And I'm a father of three kids that are all in college now. And it was one of those things where you really wanted to do something right, for the world. Instead of just selling a product,I wanted to get into a company that was doing something that was for the betterment of the people. And no cell has the right mantra, the right attitude. And we are trying to get to zero distracted driving crashes by the end of this decade. So I thought it was a great team to join and that's how I got involved.
Matthew Dziak: [00:03:08] Yeah, that's a truly fantastic goal to have for your organization. I definitely wanted to talk a lot about distracted driving and I was reading a report from 2020 that even with vehicles on the road, by volume being down there happened to be more accidents. And I think you might've alluded to it, but why do you think that is.
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:03:24] I think there's a couple of reasons. I think speed is obviously a factor. The speed is always a factor in accidents and in vehicle crashes. But I think that the COVID couch with the cell phone is where you're sitting on the couch during lockdown and you're checking your phone 180 times an hour, and then you take that with you to the cab or into the vehicle. Plus you add speed where people are going to 80 plus miles an hour the entire time. I think that is a deadly combination, right. You've got more rate of velocity and then you've got people looking down at their phone. So instead of a five seconds being a football field, that's fired seconds and it's two and a half football fields that you've covered.
Matthew Dziak: [00:04:03] So what would you say are probably the most common everyday driver distractions?
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:04:08] Well, other than the cell phone and cell phones, number one, other than that, I think it's a self grooming, but as we always see that people have the sun to shade put down, so they can use the mirror. I think actually food is another one, right? And people are getting their In-N-Out. People are getting whatever they're getting their Starbucks. And then they've got a venti latte, whatever. And they're trying to navigate the giant cup of coffee while they're trying to navigate down the freeway. Being on the road and driving is no joke, right? You've got a hundred things going on. There's a bunch of different beeps, buzzes and dings going on in your car, on your phone. And then you add in french fries and a Starbucks, and it just, it's tough to navigate without having something happen.
Matthew Dziak: [00:04:47] But we all love the impact that technology has had on our lives. And we can especially talk about smartphones and their capabilities to really help and connect us. But it almost seems like too much of a good thing as a bad thing at that point.
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:05:01] Oh, absolutely. It's instant gratification on everything you want. You see a billboard and all of a sudden you, you can Siri, what's the best way to get rid of my wrinkles on my face. What I mean, whatever you have instant access to a billion different things right now. And your phone is telling you, hey, you have to drive this way. Hey, you have an appointment at 10 o'clock. Hey, it's aunt Sally's birthday, all these different things. And the music, what's the song on the radio. There's just so much instant information at our hands. That we almost have to govern ourselves against ourselves with that information.
Matthew Dziak: [00:05:34] Yeah. I like what you said there about having to govern ourselves and the information in terms of utilizing the cell phone technology. But some of it is meant to be hands-free too, right? Like the Bluetooth connectivity to your vehicles, whether that's for having a phone conversation or fleets can sometimes be important, right. To relay information. Is there almost a level of, this is an acceptable use of the technology, and then this is where it's going to become an issue from a driving safety perspective.
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:06:02] That is a great question. And that's something that I've talked to Matt Camden over at Virginia tech institution, VTTI and they're doing studies on it to see what level is a distraction. What level is not, as far as I've seen personally, I'm answering a phone call Bluetooth. So you still have eyes on the road, hands on the wheel. It seems to be less of a distraction as is actually holding the phone, but. It's really tough to multitask. You've got a certain higher percentage of your intention on either the phone call or driving. So I think it's tough, but I think Bluetooth is a great technology to keep people safer
Matthew Dziak: [00:06:38] on the road. Now, according to the NHTSA, there were 400,000 accidents related to distracted driving, including over 3000 deaths. And this was from data in 2018. So what are some of the ways that maybe fleets could limit being on this list? If you will.
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:06:55] There's a lot of different ways. First of all, we don't classify them as accidents. We classify them as crashes because they're all preventable. Distracted driving rashes are all preventable. That's why we don't use accents, but there's so many different technologies that you can use. We have a presentation that we do called the safety puzzle and it puts together everything from A, from how to bet your driver to making sure you have a cell phone policy that you can enforce to using scorecards and training. Then you get into technology and telematics. Wednesday, you have telematics in the cabin dramatically increases the safety in the cab because just like having their aunt Susie in the car with them and it's gauging other acceleration and they're heartbreaking and swerved. So they drive dramatically better. And then you add in the cameras outward facing inward facing cameras and then some type of proactive technology to take care of the cell phone to make sure that's not a distraction, but there's a lot of different technologies that you can put into the cab. To make sure that driver is as safe as possible in getting home that night.
Matthew Dziak: [00:07:55] That's interesting perspective where you say you like to call it a crash, not an accident because they're preventable and just thinking of it myself, I would think crash just sounds a lot more harsh and accidents sounds better in that regard, but in terms of the actual information that's being relayed there, a crash is actually something that you said is preventable. I find that very interesting.
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:08:16] We're not trying to glorify anything, but crashes are horrible, right? People get injured. There's such an everlasting effect to a crash, the physical, the mental, and then the financial impacts on it. So we want to call it what it is so that people don't soften it and try to avoid it.
Matthew Dziak: [00:08:34] I wanted to follow up on what you talked about in regards to telematics devices, mostly managers that we interact with, have some sort of working knowledge or have implemented telematics devices. And it's really helped them from a maintenance perspective as well, where they can have not only the location tracking of the vehicle and even geo-fencing, but they can actually get into the odometer readings and things like that, which can help their PM scheduling. But I'm curious how the telematics devices can help them on the safety portion of things. Could we go into a little more detail there?
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:09:06] Sure with telematics and some of the larger telematics companies out there, the Geotabs are Omnitracs or whatever, but they'll capture heartbreaking, right? Which heartbreaking is going to go into the maintenance of the vehicle and how often you need to change out the brakes or tires. It also helps with the fuel economy, right. Are you idling? Are you accelerating off the line? Like a drag strip? But it also tells you what's going on with that driver and the driving behavior, which could be more or less risky. Telematics is a great technology to not only save the driver, but to help with the maintenance on the vehicles so that you're changing out tires, brakes, and everything else a lot less often.
Matthew Dziak: [00:09:46] It almost seems like everything comes full circle. We want to lead with safety first, but there's all these other aspects that are connected to operating a vehicle. And it seems like the devices are definitely one way to help facilitate that.
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:09:59] Absolutely, the technology is out there for a reason. Really if you use the technology that's available all the way throughout the cab, you decrease the risks so much and increase the ability to have that driver get home safely every night with the vehicle intact, without any damage to the vehicle, which leads to less depreciation of the vehicle and possible less replacement of that vehicle.
Matthew Dziak: [00:10:21] Now, when we think of driver's safety, it really begins before we even start the engine. If I'm a fleet manager, or if I'm managing a fleet in any regard, how might I be able to go about preventive measures to really ensure that my drivers are in fact safe?
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:10:34] I think the number one is hiring the right driver, which is not easy and that's probably the toughest decision to make. Two is training and constant training and then retraining and then the culture of the company. So if you have a person, a company that trains and then has total disregard for the laws and the rules inside the office, then you're not really going to get the drivers to do it out on the road either. So you have to have the safety culture inside the office and from the top down, right from the C level or the ownership all the way down, and then you need to reward the good drivers. If you ask a fleet manager, you say, Hey, who are your three worst drivers? Bam. They can knock them out. They can say, Oh yeah, Jimmy, Bobby, and Sue. But if you say, Hey, who are your three best drivers? They have to think of a while. So we need to change the thought here and make sure that we are focusing on the good and making sure that we are rewarding the drivers for doing the right thing. And one of the other things that I learned being on the road and talking to all these fleet managers, Is an important thing that sometimes gets skipped is the pre route vehicle inspection. So just going around your vehicle real quick, checking your tires, making sure there's no leaks, making sure that the lights aren't out or something like that, just making sure that your vehicle is in tip top shape before you started your trip is a huge thing as well, but that doesn't always get done.
Matthew Dziak: [00:11:47] Yeah, it's one of those things that the inspections also could be classified as DVR's. Those are things that commercial fleets and commercial vehicles are required to do in order to remain compliant where some other, maybe service related vehicles or fleets might not necessarily be held to that same compliance standard. But doing those inspections can go a long way to help that safety and even just the regular maintenance of the vehicle.
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:12:11] Yeah, absolutely. Again, all the technology, the telematics out there, you can incorporate all of the service to the vehicle as well.
Matthew Dziak: [00:12:19] Yeah, that's a great point. You talked a little bit about incentivizing the drivers and I wanted to talk a little bit more about that. It's a cultural thing, as you said, but like anything people are motivated by some sort of incentive, and maybe you can talk a little bit about, is it a gamification, is it a bonus program? What is it exactly that fleets can do to just really encourage that behavior?
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:12:41] I think it's a little bit of both, right? I think it's gamification. So at the end of the day, what their scorecard reads maybe having a little competition inside the office or throughout the fleet. We do not encourage any in-cab, scorecards because we don't want the driver to be looking at their scorecard instead of the road, we want them to think about the safety and thinking about easing the break into a red light or making sure that they check all their blind spots when they make a lane change or something like that. But we don't want any scorecards in the cab to have the driver possibly be distracted. The gamification is great. Everybody's competitive, you're winning and losing the entire time. So I like that. And also like that if the company is saving money because the drivers are driving safer and they're not having accidents, crashes. And having any repairs done to the vehicle. I think it's great. If that company is in a position to be able to share those profits or those savings with the driver, everyone loves to be recognized for doing something right. And I think that's a great way to do it.
Matthew Dziak: [00:13:39] I think that's a fantastic way to put it and wanted to segue a little bit into the cost implications. Have there been any reports alluding to the monetary impact that distracted driving can have on these fleets or organizations?
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:13:51] Oh man, that's a huge ripple effect. I don't have an exact number in front of me, but I know that it's more than anyone expects or realizes right off the bat, because not only do you have the damage to the vehicle and possibly another vehicle and the damage to the person, maybe in the time of injury. But God forbid there a fatality that would be horrible. But one of the gentlemen I talked to last night at dinner, said that they had a crash where one of their drivers looked at their phone, blue and intersection and clip the back end of a minivan spun around. And that was five years ago. And they're still paying for this. It's the insurance, it's the repair. It's the amount of time. He said that one of the things that he didn't think about was the amount of time that his team had to spend on prepping for the lawsuit and prepping to get all the paperwork done for the injury and for the workman's comp. And there's just so much that goes into it from looking down at your phone for five seconds and all of a sudden you've got five years worth of effect on it. One of the studies that I read last year when everyone was at home and we had tons of time to read was like each incident in California. If it was a crash with no injury, it costs the company on average $92,000. If there was an injury, it went up to the 300 plus thousand dollars. And if there was a fatality, then it was 1.5, plus it's just huge. And that doesn't even take into account the amount of time and man hours it takes to work with all this and get all the paperwork done and just take care of what needs to be taken care of and replacement time.
Matthew Dziak: [00:15:23] Yeah. That opportunity cost that's lost due to the crash is something that's definitely overlooked, but it's tremendous downtime that you would have never foreseen if this ever happened, right?
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:15:33] Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. There's the ripple effect. Like I said, it's just huge. It's larger than you think until you have to go through it.
Matthew Dziak: [00:15:41] Now I wanted to talk a little bit about the drivers perspective, obviously from the organization's perspective, there's those cost implications, but what about the driver themselves that's in the crash? How might that affect them?
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:15:52] There's great tools that go on to any driver that's in a crash, right? First of all the mental toll, you have the PTSD of driving, thinking that you're going to get into a crash again. So you drive differently from the stress of thinking they're going to get into a crash or worrying about getting into a crash. There's the factor of, if you injure somebody that guilt factor, and God forbid there's a fatality because of your actions, that is something that weighs on you. And I don't think it ever leaves the driver after that occurs. The mental anguish and it is possible to lose the job. And what am I going to do with my family? Because I lost my job again, the ripple effect, any emotional effects is huge.
Matthew Dziak: [00:16:30] Yeah. It can't be summed up enough. All of the impacts of this have really just stretched beyond whether it's the wallet or anything like that. But it really goes beyond that when we start talking about the mental health aspect too.
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:16:41] Yeah, so I was talking to a gentleman over at Shell and he was telling me this story and this guy, man, he is one of the C-level guys on the fuel side. And he told me this story, and I remember it, it was chilling. And one of his customers, the owner of that company, had a driver that was looking at their phone balloon intersection. And actually T-boned a car and killed the other driver. And that owner said, this is never going to happen again. And he's going to take every precaution necessary. To make sure that his drivers are never in the position to have this happen again, because it weighs on him every single day that one of his drivers causes this loss of life. And then the ripple effects on that other family, the driver family and the other families, that is stuck with me, where we really need to make sure we're being proactive to make sure that people don't have to go through that heartache and anguish.
Matthew Dziak: [00:17:31] Yeah, it's truly catastrophic when you put it in that sense. And one of the other things that I think about is reputation in both the driver and the organization and the hit that might take.
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:17:43] That's something tough to measure, but it is it's the brands, right? Do you see a Coca-Cola truck on the side of the road, and it's an accident you're seeing that brand Coca-Cola whether you like it or not.
You're thinking that brand is diminished in your mind because that Coca-Cola truck had just got into a crash and that driver must not be good. So you have to protect your brand at all costs and keeping your vehicle on the road. Driving safe is a great way to keep your brand. You're looking at it. All the Amazon cars are trucks zooming on both sides of the street. And they're like all over the place. They have no regard for everything, but everyone knows it's an Amazon driver, just stay out of the way.
Matthew Dziak: [00:18:18] Yeah. They're definitely held to a certain standard to get things done and that could even have an implication on potentially facilitating those driving behaviors that aren't conducive.
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:18:28] Absolutely.
Matthew Dziak: [00:18:29] I wanted to segue into some of the other costs. And I think about insurance and fleet insurance. Now, what are the underwriters really looking for when they're issuing a policy to a fleet?
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:18:40] So I am not an insurance underwriter just from the, everything that I've been told and the people that I've talked to is there looking at all the safety scores, the DOT violations, all that kind of stuff. They're also looking at how a company handles the drivers to go back to how they are training? What kind of policies do they have in place? Can they enforce those policies? What technology do they have in the cab to keep the drivers safe and focus? And to have technologies that's proactive so that they are enforcing what they say they're doing and have reduced the amount of incidents or crashes on the road from what I've been told. And then there's always where they're driving and how they're driving. And I guess in general, how the driver is trained and how they're employed implementing that training.
Matthew Dziak: [00:19:22] Yeah. It seems a lot of this stems back to the onboarding process and the training process for these drivers.
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:19:28] Yeah. One of the toughest things for companies right now, everyone's saying there's a driver shortage and there is the other shortage is there's a shortage of good drivers. The problem is that we're not getting too many young people in this industry to be truck drivers or to be drivers in a commercial environment, but they're all being pushed towards other things. You've got drivers that are my age and they can really demand their own price right now because there is such a shortage. So you have to vet out the drivers properly, make sure you get the good guys so that you're not paying all that ancillary fees for them. Like the insurance going up and crashes and all that good stuff.
Matthew Dziak: [00:20:02] Yeah, the transportation trucking and construction industries, they're really some of the most heavily regulated. Now, are there any regulations or even legislative updates that pertain to distracted driving and really limiting it?
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:20:13] I know that there's been a few different states that have passed the hands-free law and a couple of others that have it up for vote this year. I know that in every single state, you have to have certain ELD standards that you have to be able to log the service hours and driving time and all that kind of stuff. We're pushing for some other laws to go into effect where you have to have some technology in the cab to make sure that the company is being proactive with their company culture and the policies and procedures that they put in place. But right now, the only thing that I've heard lately is the hands-free laws and some of the different states.
Matthew Dziak: [00:20:47] Yeah, it's definitely a state-by-state thing. As you travel through the country, you'll notice like being in California, it's a law, obviously that you will get ticketed for it, but then you drive through some of the other States and you see everybody using their phone with it, held up to their ear still and you go, Oh, I guess it must not be illegal here.
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:21:03] It's funny. I was in Montana the other day and in Montana, from what I know, there are no hands-free laws in Montana. So yeah, I saw people would drive around. They had their cell phone in their hands up to their face and talking, and I thought, man, is this like 1997 again? Or what's going on here?
Matthew Dziak: [00:21:20] Now? Corey, if anyone is interested in learning more about no cell, where can they go?
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:21:24] It's very simple, nocell.com N O C E L L .com. You can contact me firstname.lastname@example.org, but go to the website. You can sign up for a free demo. We can help you out with not just nocell, but some of the other pieces of the puzzle, we can point you in the right direction for safety. We're all about having the driver get home every single night. And our mantra is we get up early to make sure that your driver gets home every night. So go to nocell.com. We can help you out with that safety puzzle.
Matthew Dziak: [00:21:50] Fantastic Corey, thanks for joining us today and sharing your knowledge on distracted driving.
Corey Woinarowicz: [00:21:54] Thanks for having me. It's great. Always to be able to get the word out to more people. Thanks for what you're doing.
Matthew Dziak: [00:21:59] Thanks for listening to the fleet code. If you're looking for a modern software solution to effectively manage your fleet, be sure to check out lidio.com/podcast. To learn more. Join our monthly newsletter to stay up to date on all things flea, DEO, and don't forget to connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn by following at fleet DEO.