March 13, 2018
There is an epidemic that affects every one of us who ever travels in a car or truck:
We have all been on the road and had someone drift into our lane. After giving them a loud honk, you realize the person was fixated on a mobile phone. Whether it is texting, taking selfies, or reading social media … we just can’t stay off those darn things.A recent report found that distracted driving is a factor in 80% of the motor vehicle crashes in California, and that mobile phones are the most common distraction.
On the surface, distracted driving appears to be a consumer-focused issue, but it is having a major impact on the enterprise bottom line.
Distracted driving creates lost worker productivity, increases medical, legal and court costs, drives up insurance premiums, and cuts transportation efficiency. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that distracted driving, in 2015, cost every American $784 representing 1.6% of the nation’s $14.96 trillion GDP. This is driving up insurance premiums upwards of 6%, according to Montrose Group.
What is a company to do? There are solutions from Apple, applications from wireless service providers, or an ODB module solution. None of these solutions can comprehensively address the epidemic alone and eliminate the enterprise’s liability.
For example, in the iOS 11 software version for iPhones, Apple inserted options to block phone usage while the phone is in motion. In addition, the Drive Mode application offers similar functionality. These solutions do an absolutely fantastic job limiting phone use when they are activated. Drivers can no longer make or receive calls or texts while the vehicle is in motion, for example. Additionally, users cannot access applications such as social media which have such a strong distraction potential.
But these two solutions fall short of fully meeting the requirements for an enterprise to deploy a truly effective solution because of two key shortcomings:
- They are completely optional. They require the user to turn on and leave on the service. This self-policing method on its own doesn’t mean the enterprise is really enforcing a safer driving policy. These solutions are equivalent to having an employee sign a document saying they won’t text and drive. But the driver can simply turn off the application or setting with no repercussions. As a legal advisor commented, "If you have a policy but your internal practice encourages cell phone use while driving, the policy is essentially without merit."
- Additionally, neither solution offers any alarming. The employer has zero visibility into whether the blocking functionality has been turned off. The best an employer can do is conduct random spot checks.
Other solutions only work on outdated technology or require extra hardware to manage. This could cost anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars!
Tango Networks has been hard at work to solve this problem and stem the distracted driving epidemic.
Our Responsible Driver System gives your company the ability to set and enforce policies that promote safer driving today. RDS provides network-based policy enforcement to complement phone-based applications and eliminate mobile phone driving distractions.
Once an employee starts driving, the phone will go into lockdown or trigger mode. When driving the employee only has access to an emergency button on the phone screen. If that button is pressed, the phone automatically pulls up the phone application with 911 input into the dialer. All a user has to do is click call for quick access to help. At the same time, an alert is sent to a designated safety contact within the company.
We know the employee cannot make or receive a regular call but our RDS solution really shines when an incoming call is received. No longer do companies have to rely on calls being sent to voicemail but now they have the ability to reroute calls to a live person in their customer service or dispatch center. Not only do issues get a quicker resolution but also customer service results will improve and employees can focus on the task at hand.
Should an external caller or a coworker need to get hold of the driver quickly, the solution has options for that. A dispatcher or safety manager can log-in to a web-based portal and send a message to the driver. With the phone locked down the driver hears an audible trigger to pull over and check messages. The message cannot be seen until the vehicle motion stops at which time it pops to the front of the screen. Dispatchers can include important information including a rerouting address, saving the driver time.
When it comes to distracted driving, accountability is imperative to ensure effectiveness. Our RDS solution raises accountability by offering meaningful alarming capabilities. Profiles can be configured to send real-time alarms to security personnel via email, SMS text, or even SNMP alarms sent to a central repository. Alarms can be stored for future reference.
If you are not deploying a proactive plan to address distracted driving for mobile employees your company is already exposed to increased risk.
Michael Wheelock-MBA is Director of Sales Engineering for Tango Networks.