Interviews
25 Oct 18

Garo Sarkissian, CalAmp: Don’t text and drive

Although nearly everyone feels that texting while driving is dangerous, most people still admit to doing so, according to the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction. 

As such, some companies are working toward breaking this bad habit, including California-based telematics solutions firm CalAmp who is working hand-in-hand with Colorado-based startup Katasi.

Join Global Fleet in our brief talk with CalAmp Senior Vice President Garo Sarkissian who sheds light on the company’s collaboration with Katasi as well as its Vehicle Safety Application Suite.

I understand that CalAmp provides a broad range of fleet management solutions. However, could you tell me a little more about the micro-services provided under your Vehicle Safety Application Suite?

GS: Sure, in the last three years or so, we have been focusing a lot on crash detection, notification and management. By this, I mean knowing where an accident occurs and how severe it is.

What we do is help first responders get to the scene of the accident quicker by way of our emergency notification service. Much of fleet management has to do with providing more safety as well as providing more control.

Some of the solutions we have included are the recovery of stolen vehicles through our Lojac technology where we work hand-in-hand with law enforcement, as well as solving bad driver behavior issues such as distracted driving where we have teamed up with a startup called Katasi.

Could you tell us more about CalAmp’s relationship with Katasi?

GS: Katasi is a startup that is totally focused on saving lives by reducing accidents due to distracted driving caused by the use of cell phones. Texting while driving is a global phenomenon and they are very committed to developing technologies that save lives and reduces accidents.

As for CalAmp, we are a leading telematics solutions provider which is quite dominate in the fleet management market.

What we have found is that large companies face significant legal exposure from the risks that stem from drivers using cell phones while driving. As you know, this can result in accidents and injuries so we have identified this as an area where we can add value to and bring solutions to the market.

For us, Katasi has the most robust solution for fleets so we entered into a licensing agreement with them. What we do is license intellectual property from them and then offer this solution to our clients.

CalAmp booth at the Mobile World Congress Americas 2018 (Source: CalAmp)


So, would you say that cell phone use is one of the largest causes of car accidents?

GS: There are many reasons for car crashes but cell phone usage is certainly an increasing reason for today’s accidents. I don’t know the exact statistic but I’d say that one in every four or more car crashes involves cell phone use.

Moroever, according to the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction (CITA), about 98% of drivers believe that texting while driving is dangerous, yet 66% still admit to doing so.

Any last words for our readers?

GS: Well, I'd just like to say that distracted driving is a serious problem worldwide and it will only become more problematic in time. There are simple solutions out there, but what large businesses need are more robust solutions, something we are totally focused on.

Through our many core technologies, services, and applications, we want to have a chance to make a difference in terms of saving lives as well as making businesses more efficient.

Authored by: Daniel Bland
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