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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in cell phone use policies

Despite the growing awareness, media coverage, accidents and fatalities from distracted driving, we have seen a steady trend in responses to our annual survey. Company attitudes and their approach to managing distracted driving have changed little over the past few years. What has changed is a drop in the level of confidence respondents have in the enforcement methods being used. On the one hand we have growing awareness of the distracted driving problem, while on the other we have decreasing confidence in policy enforcement. And the response seems to be to stick with the same monitoring and enforcement methods. Is it time for a new approach?

The NHTSA just released a new study that shows Distracted Driving accounts for 15% of economic impact motor crashes cause, which tallies up to $129 billion when looking at the overall societal harm caused by these crashes.  Surely it is time to take a more proactive approach and look at technology solutions to help curb these distractions and further promote safe driving behaviors.

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"Learning occurs through recognition of error". It is a simple precept. Yet, the recent train wreck in Spain that killed 79 people is a tragic reminder that human behaviour is sometimes very difficult to modify despite the recognition of error.

Stemming from the 2008 train accident in California that killed 25 people and injured 135 others and the irrefutable research regarding the dangers of distraction due to mobile device use while operating motor vehicles, mobile device use policies are increasingly common across corporate America.

However, leaders in safety are well aware that paper policies and education related to mobile device use in vehicles are not enough. Safety audits and primary research results show that policy infractions invariably reach 100% of employees when measured over a 30-60 day period.

Technology safety solutions can help us address the problems that the pervasive use of mobile products has created. Policy conformance and enforcement tools can assist employees in adhering to policies and can help mitigate a major source of risk and liability for corporations.

Our goal at Aegis is help create a safer environment for employees and the public at large. Call us to schedule a demo today.

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Employers continue to be concerned about the risk and liability posed by employee use of mobile devices while driving on the job.  In fact, seven in ten companies have adopted written policies designed to curb employee distracted driving, but only 32% are confident that current enforcement methods are effective at achieving compliance.

These are among the new findings from our Third Annual Enterprise Distracted Driving Survey of 547 fleet safety and risk management professionals.  Other key findings include:

  • “Hands-Free” and “Zero Tolerance” are most popular policies. 45% of existing employer policies prohibit all use, except hands-free.  41% prohibit all use, no exceptions. 12% prohibit texting emailing and browsing.
  • Efforts to enforce distracted driving policies remain steady. 86% of companies report taking some steps to enforce distracted driving policies. 
  • Confidence is lacking in current policy enforcement. Confidence in current enforcement efforts is limited. Only 32% report they are “very confident” that current methods are effective. 60% are “somewhat confident”, while 8% are “not confident”.
  • Interest in policy technology continues to grow.  22% of companies plan to evaluate either device-based software, device analytics or in-vehicle cameras within the next twelve months to better enforce compliance with distracted driving policies.
  • Android™ and iPhone® smartphones are fast growing, while Blackberry and Push-to-Talk (PTT) phones are hanging in.  Android™ and iPhone® continue to grow rapidly and now represent 61% of corporate-liable smartphone devices. BlackBerrys have decreased, but remain prominent with 30% market share and appear to have good prospects to maintain share based on customer interest in the new BlackBerry 10 devices.
  • The tablet wave is coming to commercial fleet vehicles. A full 27% of respondents currently equip employee drivers with some form of tablet computer. Of those, 73% are iPads and 27% are Android.  Prospects for continued growth appear strong as 8% of total respondents indicate plans to deploy tablets to employee drivers within the next 12 months.

To download the full survey analysis, please visit: http://info.aegismobility.com/2013-distracted-driving-survey-results/

ABOUT THE SURVEY

These findings are based on an online survey of 547 fleet safety and risk management professionals across a variety of industries in North America.  It is the third year in a row the survey has been conducted.  Responses were taken over 3 weeks from March 20 until April 10, 2013.  The margin of error for the full sample is ± 5.0 percentage points.

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Technology Helping Technology

Posted by on in Opinion and Analysis

In the March 6 Issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 309, No.9), authors Jeffrey H. Cohen, MD and Motao Zhu, MD, PhD put forth, in their article Keeping an Eye on Distracted Driving, the argument that: 

  • Fatalities associated with distracted driving due to mobile device use continue to increase
  • Education and legislation are failing to solve the problem despite concerted effort and expense

Education, alone, rarely leads to behavioural change. The authors note, "As individuals continue to use their cell phones nearly continuously throughout the day, for both business and pleasure, they will continue to be tempted to use this technology - if available - while driving."

Similarly, legislation that cannot be practically implemented by law enforcement personnel is unlikely to be a deterrent. The authors observe, "Simply banning handheld cell phone use while driving, without providing law enforcement with an easy method of detecting such use, is akin to banning drunk driving without using breathalyzers or sobriety tests to detect violators." The difficulties of detecting unlawful use and the scarcity of police resources make it unlikely that law enforcement will place a high priority on apprehending violators of legislative bans.

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The authors' central thesis is that "Cell phone use while driving is a problem that has been created by technology, and solving this problem will require technological solutions."

Authors Cohen and Zhu conclude, "Failure to act in this manner [failure to implement technology solutions] will result in the continued loss of thousands of lives each year to this preventable public safety hazard. In the era of smartphones and smart cars, it is time to be smarter about keeping them apart from one another."

At Aegis, we could not agree more and have created the industry's broadest portfolio of solutions to automatically detect when mobile devices are in a driving state and to implement policy controls which ensure the safe and legal use of such devices while driving.

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Does your company have a policy that prohibits employees from using their mobile phone while driving on the job?  If so, then you’re normal.  In fact, 80% of employers today have adopted some type of policy pertaining to distracted driving.

Does your company have the ability to measure whether or not your employee drivers are complying with the documented policy?   If not, then you’re normal.  In fact, the vast majority of companies with distracted driving policies have zero ability to empirically measure compliance.

This, of course, is a serious business problem because “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

The good news is that there are now simple tools that companies can use to modify employee driving behaviors.  Products such as DriveCam, SmartDrive, Geotab, Inthinc and others provide real time feedback to drivers and automatically collect the data necessary to measure and manage driver compliance with company policy.

Furthermore, a new and innovative service called FleetSafer Vision has been developed to empirically measure employee use of mobile devices while driving.  The inexpensive cloud-based risk management service correlates driving data from telematics systems and with mobile device usage data from carrier billing systems, email servers and other sources to measure cell phone use while driving.

So, why wouldn’t a company simply tell employees not to use their phones while driving?  It’s a fair question, but unfortunately, when it comes to cell phone use while driving “telling someone to stop” is not sufficient to change his or her behavior.

Case in point.  Check out the results of this recent FleetSafer Vision audit conducted on behalf of a large public utility company with a strong safety culture and a well-documented policy prohibiting use of mobile devices while driving.  The audit itself was based on three weeks of driving data and device usage data, and the results quite sobering.  94% of the sample drivers violated the policy at least once during the three weeks and 43% of all trips had at least one cell phone distraction. 

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By simply studying the data that already exists, employers can see not only macro compliance trends but they can also spot very granular risks pertaining to specific employees, or even specific trips. Below is a visual representation of a single trip – from point A to B – including, for example, the near constant cell phone use that occurred during the trip.

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In summary, if you are an employer concerned about risk and liability associated with employee use of mobile devices while driving, then you can create a policy and (A) hope that your employees comply, or (B) know fro certain whether they comply.  All you have to do is look at the big data.

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