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Love your backseat driver

Know someone who points out all the little mistakes you make when driving? Annoying, right – but what if it makes you a better driver in the long run?

A recent six-month trial of MiX Vision, the latest driver safety technology from MiX Telematics, suggests your annoying friend may be far more helpful than you might realise.

MiX Vision, which consists of up to four in-cab cameras aimed at the interior and exterior of a transport vehicle, was tested on 20 real fleet operators with some surprising results.

The cameras were connected to an on-board computer which, in addition to transmitting video footage, also produced automated driver score cards and made a buzzing alert whenever the vehicle began speeding or took a turn unsafely.

The good news for backseat drivers across the globe is that continual performance assessment made transport much safer.

The average percentage of safe driving, as judged by the automated score cards, rose dramatically. During the first month, less than half of the driving was considered safe – 44.49% to be exact. By the end of the trial, this figure was well above 80%.

Trucks aren’t allowed to exceed 100km/h in Australia, so the buzzers were also set to sound an alert at 103 km/h and above. As a result, the amount of time spent speeding dropped by a massive 75%.

Chances are, you’ve probably seen a truck at high speed at some point and wondered whether it is traveling in a safe manner. Independent research from National Transport Insurance’s National Truck Accident Research Centre (NTARC) analyses truck-related accidents from 2007 – 2013 and concludes that speeding was the most prevalent factor1.

Inappropriate speed was found to be the largest cause of all truck accidents each year, prevalent in more than a quarter of all incidents.

The issue is serious enough that federal laws are being considered to give police the power to ground trucks on the spot2 if they are caught above 15km/h over the speed limit.

Given the controversy surrounding speed, the results we have been able to generate through the trial provide genuine food for thought.

While the backseat-driver approach may not sound particularly welcome, it is certainly safer – and not just for fleet drivers. Roads are a shared space, from the largest road train to the smallest scooter, so even minor improvements have broad ranging consequences for safety, efficiency and general peace of mind.

MiX Vision has been proven to minimise the risk of speed-related accidents and, while all transport companies work hard to train drivers to be safer on the roads, technology can give these companies a serious edge.

Next time your friend or family member tells you to slow down, thank them for the free advice and keep in mind that technology might offer an even better solution.

1. 2015 Major Accident Investigation Report, NTI
2. The Sydney Morning Herald; July 3, 2016

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