SmartDrive SmartSense (Photo: SmartDrive)
A study found video-based monitoring can prevent as many as 63,000 crashes and 293 deaths annually.

SmartDrive rolls out SmartSense to combat distracted driving

Available early next year, system is aimed at providing a more complete assessment of dangerous incidents.

ORLANDO. SmartDrive Systems unveiled its new SmartSense system that company officials said offers a more complete and accurate assessment of distracted driving incidents.

The system, available in the first quarter of 2018, does not rely only on vehicle maneuvers for possible distracted driving events. Instead, it also monitors head and eye positions to better determine what is actually happening.

Jason Palmer, president of SmartDrive, told Fleet Owner the new advancements help eliminate the chance of “false positives,” such as when a driver safely turns his or her head when approaching a highway merge area. Additionally, the system can better detect distractions such as looking at a cell phone, even if the driver is not speeding and remaining in the travel lane, said Melissa Purcell, senior vice president of marketing.

With this enhanced system, “fleets finally have both a comprehensive view of the frequency, severity, and impact of distracted driving, and a solution to an industry epidemic that costs money and lives,” said CEO Steve Mitgang.

A recent study by the AAA Foundation found that video-based monitoring systems could prevent as many as 63,000 crashes, 17,733 injuries and 293 deaths annually.

John Billingsley, director of safety for G&P Trucking, spoke at SmartDrive’s booth at the 2017 American Trucking Associations (ATA) Management Conference & Exhibition.

He said the video system has helped discover distracted driving and fatigue-related dangers the company would not have seen otherwise.

When SmartSense detects possible distraction or drowsiness, it triggers a video that is immediately verified for accuracy before being passed on to fleet managers. It also sets off an in-cab alert for the driver when a possible event occurs.

Separately, SmartDrive said Michelin North America had led a preferred-stock round of investment in the company. SmartDrive said it would leverage the investment for research and to expand into more markets. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Existing investors into SmartDrive include New Enterprise Associates, Oak Investment Partners, and WABCO.

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