The National Traffic Highway Safety Association (NTHSA) defines distracted driving as any activity that diverts attention from driving. This includes talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.
With mobile devices increasingly an essential part of the work mix for anyone operating a company vehicle—and with a recent article from The Washington Post reminding us that distracted driving will jump by 33 percent this holiday season—now is the time to remind yourself, your drivers, and even your back office that there is no such thing as an acceptable level of distracted driving.
The NTHSA claims sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that is the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. And, as many insurance companies can attest, on-the-job vehicle accidents are more than double the cost of any other type of on-the-job accident. So what can you do, as a business owner or manager, to protect your employees as well as your company’s assets from the dangers of distracted driving?
Top Tech to Stop Distracted Driving
Here’s a quick overview of two technologies to stop distracted driving. Groove involves plugging a small module into your car to connect it to the cloud and FleetGuardian uses a safety box.
Groove by Katasi
Here’s how Groove works: A small module plugs into your vehicle and connects it to the cloud. All you have to do is plug it in once and forget it. Groove senses when your vehicle starts a trip and within seconds figures out who is driving. Groove alerts your mobile phone provider to hold texts, emails, and social media updates while you drive, letting the sender know their message will be forwarded when you arrive. Groove also prevents you from sending messages while leaving you access to music and navigation. Within moments of turning off your engine, all messaging is restored and your saved messages are forwarded to your phone. In the event of an emergency, Groove also allows you to quickly override message blocking.
Even when notifications are temporarily blocked, a driver who is still tempted to look towards, reach for, or hold their mobile device can cause a crash. FleetGuardian pairs sophisticated technology with an old-fashioned safety box to prevent all driver hand-held phone use while driving.
FleetGuardian believes that one of the challenges facing companies today is accurately monitoring and enforcing state/federal mobile usage regulations and policy for employees: “Are your drivers checking text messages or emails while driving? Do your drivers touch or simply reach for their phones when hearing a notification ding?” This grey area can lead to accidents. For this reason, FleetGuardian combines its bundled solution with a safety box that keeps a driver’s mobile device out of sight and out of reach while they are operating a company vehicle.
Remember, distracted driving is one of the fastest growing management expenses for businesses. Luckily, a small investment of time and money in proven road safety technologies can improve worker health and safety while reducing liability expense and risk, simplifying compliance and regulation, and protecting your company’s reputation.