5 Solutions to Help Manage Distracted Driving

By Gerard Longo, Assistant Editor — August 21, 2012

In part one of this two part-series on distracted driving, Mobile Enterprise took a look at the liability to the enterprise from distracted driving accidents. Overall, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimated costs to be $43 billion. With an increasing percentage of this being charged to the enterprise, part two examines five mobile solutions that address the issue.

Promoting Out-of-Office Safety
To first develop a mobile distracted driving solution, a company must understand the general importance of carrying its safety culture onto the road. According to Jack Hanley, executive director of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), this is the hardest thing for companies to do when attempting to keep their fleets safe.

“The biggest challenge to fleet safety is extending a company’s safety culture beyond the lab, office, warehouse and manufacturing site to the employees driving on behalf of the company,” says Hanley. “It’s not easy, but a solid foundation means leadership is engaged, funding is available and communication, training, policies, processes and metrics are in place.”

Keeping this in mind, Hanley believes, is imperative to the success of a distracted driving policy and must be accounted for before such a policy is implemented.

“Looking specifically at a company’s distracted driving policy, I’m convinced it will struggle if these prerequisites aren’t met first,” says Hanley. “Then, the challenge is to ensure the distracted driving policy is clear, understood, well-communicated, reinforced and enforced.”

Solutions
Technology can play a key role in enforcing policies and the following five mobile applications are meant to keep mobile employees safe while reducing the risk to the enterprise. Each has features to give administrators network and device control while keeping fleet drivers focused on the road, and each has a distinctive feature that makes it stand out from the rest.

1. DriveSafe.ly Enterprise Edition – DriveSafe.ly is an app deployed by iSpeech that reads text messages and emails aloud for drivers while they’re on the road. The company has a suite of text to speech and speech recognition applications and created a version of its DriveSafe.ly app specifically for enterprise use.

Key Features
•Audio read of messages and emailsUnlimited amount of users on server
•Optional auto-responder
•SSL encryption
•Bluetooth Compatibility

Supported OS
•BlackBerry

Differentiator
•HIPAA-compatible versions available

2. iZup Enterprise – iZup comes from Illume Software, Inc. and is deployable from the Microsoft Exchange and BlackBerry Enterprise servers. iZup uses GPS and wireless network technology to send calls to voicemail and hold text and data communication until the user is no longer in transit.

Key Features
•Email interfacing
•Capacity for over 1,000 users per network
•Customizability at the device and group level
•Ability to disable after working hours
•Usage reporting

Supported OS
•BlackBerry
•Windows

Differentiator
•Use of GPS and wireless network technology to send calls to voicemail and hold text and data communication while user is traveling

3. Cellcontrol Fleet – Cellcontrol’s eponymous Cellcontrol Fleet solution allows businesses in the enterprise to manage fleets of varying sizes. Cellcontrol Fleet uses Bluetooth technology to allow fleet drivers to set all of their mobile devices to work in conjunction with multiple vehicles without the need for additional setup.

Key Features
•Vehicle usage reports
•Fleet-wide rollout options, including BES and active directory
•User groupings for device management purposes, including blocking and reporting
•Non-pairing Bluetooth signal

Supported OS
•Android
•Apple
•BlackBerry
•Windows

Differentiator
•Ability to manage laptops, handheld computers and tablets in addition to smartphones

4. MobiLoc – MobiLoc is a distracted driving solution from MobileLutions that aids businesses in the enterprise in their transitions to more stringent distracted driving policies. MobileLutions does this by working together with each individual company to communicate the new policy to employees.

Key Features
•Ability to see which devices are delinquent (haven’t checked in, disabled software, etc.)
•Audit reporting and policy setting capabilities
•Can disable both inbound and outbound phone calls
•Similarly, can disable incoming and outgoing text messages, data and web browsing
•Can allow or disable communications based on date and time

Supported OS
•Android
•Apple
•BlackBerry

Differentiator

•Creation of a customized policies and communication methods to aid in the integration of the solution

5. FleetSafer Mobile – The ways in which ZoomSafer’s FleetSafer Mobile can activate or deactivate its safe driving mode is based on a vehicle’s telematics. Fleet drivers without telematics in their vehicles can plug a trigger device into their vehicle’s OBDII port that can communicate vehicle speed to a driver’s smartphone and activate or deactivate safe driving mode accordingly. For vehicles with telematics, FleetSafer Mobile can communicate with a vehicle’s telematics system and bring the device in and out of safe driving mode accordingly.

Key Features
•Allows one-touch, hands-free phone calls in safe driving mode with FMCSA-compliant SafeDial interface
•Allows administrators to create and configure their own policies
•Provides software application for installation on each individual device
•Optional policy consulting and configuration with 30-day “test drive” kit.
•End user training provided.

Supported OS
•Android
•BlackBerry

Differentiator
•Automatic activation capabilities of safe driving mode for vehicles with and without telematics.

In the Hands of the Driver?
Even with these and other options, no distracted driving solution is foolproof quite yet. Many can be deactivated by the mobile device user and, while some applications provide reporting on such instances to system administrators, there are few ways to prevent drivers from physically using their mobile devices while on the road.

Doug Horn, a Kansas City lawyer and founder of distracted driving advocacy organization Drive by Example, implied that the culture of fleet mobility may be moving to a place where employers are left with no choice but to issue company-owned devices to employees in an attempt to gain complete control over device use without breaching employee privacy.

“The trouble with most apps, of course, is that they are voluntary,” Horn said. “This gets us back to the situation that if an employer wants to monitor or control cell use, they will have to issue company cell phones.”

All told, there’s still a long way to go in managing distracted driving and reducing risk to the enterprise.

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