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I noticed another distracted driving tragedy in the news recently. University of Northern Colorado student Alexander Heit crashed his car as a result of being distracted by texting while driving and died of his injuries soon after.
Included in the article was a photo of his iPhone displaying the last words he typed. His parents wanted the image shared as a reminder to others of the dangers of texting while driving.
The photo is an unfortunate association for Apple. While it could have easily been any phone, it made me wonder about how such an association might impact a company’s brand and how the handset companies will react.
Given increasing public awareness of the problem of distracted driving, I believe the first handset company to openly embrace the distracted driving issue and provide solutions as part of their operating system would elicit a positive reaction from consumers, particularly the parents of young drivers.
Imagine, for example, that as part of the set-up procedure for a new smartphone, the consumer is informed of the dangers of using that handset while driving and is offered the opportunity to enable a safe driving feature that automatically silences and disables the phone when driving.
Granted, some handset companies are taking steps to reduce distraction -- for example Siri Eyes Free and Motorola Smart Actions -- but I predict that we’ll see the major handset brands paying more and more attention to the issue of distracted driving to protect both their brand and their bottom line.
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: https://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.
The FCC announced today that it is hosting a technology showcase on April 19th in Washington, D.C. to educate the public on innovative technology solutions designed to promote safe and legal use of mobile devices while driving. Consumers, technology organizations, wireless carriers, law enforcement and others are invited to attend.
I look forward to attending on behalf of Aegis Mobility and demonstrating how our patented FleetSafer software enables commercial fleet operators to reduce crashes and minimize risk by promoting responsible and compliant use of mobile devices while employees are driving on the job. Specifically i will be showing FleetSafer on BlackBerry® and Android™ smartphones and tablets and also on Kyocera feature phones with Sprint® Direct Connect®.