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Nationwide Tackles Distracted Driving With New Partnership

According to the National Safety Council, eight people are murdered and hundreds more are wounded every day on American roads due to distracted driving. Whether a driver is texting, looking through social media, checking emails, adjusting the music, or simply grabbing for their electronic devices, the distraction can soon become fatal.

When you consider the size and power of a big vehicle, the dangers of distracted driving skyrocket. According to NoCell Technologies, commercial truck drivers are 23 times more likely than personal motorists to cause an accident while texting at the wheel, seven times more probable while reaching for their electronic devices, and six times more likely when calling a phone.

Nationwide has formed a new relationship with NoCell in order to minimise distracted driving and reduce risky mobile phone usage among commercial truck drivers. This partnership allows Nationwide’s commercial fleet customers access to NoCell’s distracted driving management software. While driving, NoCell’s technology helps to eliminate distraction concerns by limiting distracting apps and mobile phone capabilities.

Commercial fleet managers can create specific mobile device policies for their fleets, allowing them to choose which phone features and apps are enabled or disabled while the vehicle is in motion. The NOCELL solution employs a driver-facing app, a non-intrusive NOCELLtag attached to the car, and a back-end technology to identify when vehicles are in motion, deactivate unlawful mobile phone capabilities, and notify fleet management when phone handling occurs.

The addition of NoCell’s distracted driving technology to Nationwide’s comprehensive risk management toolkit for commercial fleets joins other technologies such as telematics and dash-cams, all aimed at enhancing driver safety and performance.

“Distracted driving is not simply a commercial trucking concern; it is an issue on American highways,” said Gary Flaherty, Nationwide’s senior vice president of E&S commercial auto. “Our ultimate goal is to ensure that individuals go home safely at night and that we save lives by instilling a safety culture among our clientele.” We strive to provide exceptional protection for businesses, and we do it not just through the insurance coverages we provide, but also through risk management technologies that help clients reduce the frequency of claims.

“Commercial fleet managers want and need to be able to control [any dangers their drivers face], and distracted driving is one of those things that a motor carrier can surely handle.” They can regulate their drivers’ gadgets while in motion if they install the NOCELL solution, reducing the risk of distracted or dangerous driving. When clients use technology like this, it tells us [insurers] that they want to be best in class, have a safety culture, and want their drivers to arrive home safely at night. We at Nationwide want to be a part of that, and we want to keep demonstrating how these technologies can help decrease risks. That’s why we’re so enthusiastic about it.

The new NOCELL solution joins a growing list of risk management and telematics options available to Nationwide E&S commercial auto policyholders. Some of these gadgets, such as in-cab cameras, have already elicited resentment from drivers concerned about the ‘Big Brother is watching you’ effect. However, according to Flaherty, the NoCell approach strikes a different chord with drivers.

“While there is still some stigma associated with certain  technologies today,” Flaherty explained, “this NoCell solution is a fundamentally different technology and strategy.” “It’s critical for commercial fleet managers and Nationwide to know that their drivers are supported, and we want them to know that we care about them.”

“I believe that the choice that NoCell provides, as well as the ability to customise which apps will work on a driver’s device while in motion, resonates with drivers because it shows: ‘Not only do you care about me, but you care enough that you’re going to let some of these apps come through to my device and support me when I’m away from home, away from family, and doing those things that I need, like, and enjoy doing,’ That, I believe, is critical in today’s context, when driver shortages are a major concern for everybody who works in this profession.”

Nationwide will not obtain any individual client data as part of the new partnership with NoCell. The partnership’s purpose, according to Flaherty, was never to obtain data and begin using it in any capacity of underwriting; rather, it was “purely a method to assist motor carriers in combating distracted driving.” Now, the insurer is collaborating with NoCell to create a report based on aggregate data to better understand distracted driving and how NoCell’s technology may help minimise the frequency and severity of incidents.

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