From the Driver’s Seat: Anecdotal Research of a FedEx Courier
Sometimes the most telling ground truth comes from random connections with people. Some of our bigger discoveries with respect to the belly of the distracted driving beast come from the casual conversations that pop up in the most unusual places, usually catalyzed by a “So what is it you guys at Katasi do?” question followed by “You’re kidding! That is SO needed…let me tell you my story…”. We’ve become accustomed to taking advantage of this interest by asking a question or two to provide spontaneous ground truth. The latest example was a couple of weeks back when the FedEx courier came to our office and asked us to sign for some packages, and while waiting asked the “What DO you guys do anyways?” question. When he heard about Groove, he did a noticeable double take and said “Man…is that needed…let me tell you…”. We asked him a few questions, realizing that he had a unique perspective. A window into pretty much every vehicle he passes.
Unlike car drivers, whose perspective is limited to one plane, high-seated truck drivers have the advantage of a bird’s-eye view. They see the discarded food wrappers, the child poking a sleeping sibling, teenagers grooving to their music, and other, more potentially dangerous behaviors.
In response to our questions, the FedEx courier shared that about one in five drivers he passes are using their phones in a way that takes their eyes off the road….not only just texting, but even more shocking … streaming videos and taking Snapchat selfies of themselves driving.
We asked who were the biggest offenders…while Millennials are often accused in the media of being the worst offenders, in his opinion, adult women make up the largest percentage of distracted drivers, followed closely by adult men. Millennials, according to our driver’s impromptu research, trail both.
In a final question before he had to run to the next delivery, one of the key approaches to how we disable drivers was affirmed when we asked him if people are looking at their phones when they are alone in the car, or with others in the car. He confirmed that the vast majority of offenders are driving solo…that once there are multiple people in the car, social pressures come into play, and the driver keeps his or her eyes off the phone, affirming our approach of only disabling distracting features of a phone when there is only one registered driver in the car.
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