Anecdotal Research of a FedEx Courier

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.

Sometimes the best focus groups are the ones you come across by accident.

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Shouldn’t This Be Legislated???

Groove: Shouldn’t This Be Legislated???

I’m often asked…” shouldn’t this be legislated???” yes, but… for legislation to work, it needs to support the agenda of as many stakeholders as possible…telco’s, government, insurance companies, drivers… and needs to be thought out so that all involved say “yes” … with distracted driving, we are all on the same side … this needs to stop … can legislation be written that everyone agrees with … two suggestions:

  1. During the graduated drivers license period from when a 15 year old has their learners permit, till they are 17 years old, in states where any cell phone use is prohibited, the mobile phone provider shall provide, and the new driver be required to use, a technology that will limit phone use from the mobile phone provider network when the new driver is driving. The telco can charge a fair price for this service, which shall be incorporated into new drivers license fees.
  2. Each mobile phone provider shall be able to limit the capability to limit distractions sent to a phone when a phone user is driving, at a fair price, for customers desiring such a service and willing to pay the fee.

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Time Management Lesson From a Rattlesnake

Time Management Lesson From a Rattlesnake

I always wondered if I would recognize the sound. I dreaded hearing it, but I was even more afraid of what would happen if I didn’t hear it. But that sound? It’s unmistakable. And when I finally did hear it that day last summer, I knew it immediately: that distinct buzzing that made my heart rush to my throat and drenched my underarms with the sweat of fear.


Before that day, I used to multitask–checking email or returning calls or texts–while my dogs, Dash and Moxie, ran unleashed on the trail. Exercising the dogs and taking care of business = “time management.” At least that’s what I called it.

But I had unintentionally left my phone at home that afternoon, and didn’t realize it until we parked at the entrance to the trail. I set off on our walk feeling uneasy, with a nagging sense of anxiety at being disconnected for what would be at least an hour. Too long to spend in nature in a world of unnatural non-stop connectivity.

Yet it was summer in spectacular Boulder, Colorado–a destination for thousands of visitors each year who come to appreciate the natural and cultural resources of the area–so I forced myself to play tourist and take in the wildflowers, the chirping prairie dogs, the sweeping backdrop of the foothills, dusty under the haze of smoke from wildfires two states away.

Within five minutes, embedding into the beauty and wildness of it, losing any sense of a jaded Boulderite, I surrendered to taking in all that the Boulder mountain parks were. After 30 minutes, we turned around to head back, more than a mile from the trailhead. With Dash at my heel and Moxie only 10 feet ahead, I had fallen into the cadence of our foot- and pawsteps on the dirt path when Moxie made a sudden stop: ears forward, tail horizontal.

I heard it.
I saw it.
I called her.
She came.

It all happened just like it should. The rattler, coiled on the edge of the dirt–mostly hidden in the tall grass–did its job by warning Moxie, I did mine by being attentive and aware, and Moxie did hers by coming to me when I called her.

I leashed both dogs, hands greased with sweat and my heart pounding at least as loudly as the rattlesnake’s warning, imagining the alternative outcomes. Had I been updating my Facebook status or returning a text to my mother in that critical moment–had the snake’s telltale warning been lost to my internet oblivion–the story could have had a wildly different ending. I was profoundly thankful that I had seen and heard what I did, when I did.

I mouthed a silent “thank you” in the direction of the still-coiled-but-now-silent snake as we found our way to safety via an extra-long detour through the grass on the other side of the trail.

The “cost” of being disconnected for that short hour and finally seeing what I might have missed…

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