Distracted driving has real consequences. CAF asked Joe Boyle, CEO at TRUCE software to expand on how the company’s Contextual Mobile Device Management software can address them in the Feb/March issue of Canadian Automotive Fleet; 

As the world becomes more tech-savvy and mobile, the need to find a compromise between the benefits and risks of digital integration in the workforce is stronger than ever. Businesses that have fleet operations have embraced the benefits of mobile computing and devices in the workplace – with processes such as navigation, vehicle maintenance and communication made easier with technology. However, the integration of mobile devices on the job brings serious risks to not only drivers, but to the company, its resources and reputation.

Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous and prominent distractions in a commercial or grey fleet vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that sending or reading a text for 5 seconds at 55 mph, is equivalent to driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. As research shows that drivers of commercial motor vehicles who text are about 23 times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event than those who do not, fleet and managers must keep these realities in mind when enacting mobile device policies to protect drivers from cognitive distractions.

These distractions can lead to a range of losses, the most serious being loss of life. Furthermore, employers assume liability for a crash if the driver is a commercial license holder who was either text messaging or talking on a cell phone with another employee about a work-related issue at the time of the accident.

While most companies have enacted mobile device management and distracted driving policies to protect their drivers, vehicles, and the communities that they serve, many attempts fall short of effective enforcement. Mobile device policy enforcement is difficult due to lack of visibility, system workarounds and loopholes within  policies.

Implementing and enforcing a mobile device policy can help manage mobile phone and other device usage without infringing on employee rights and privacy. Today’s employers are expected to design and implement a mobile device policy to follow best occupational safety practices, reduce significant risks and minimize liability. An organization’s policy should apply to:

  • Handheld and hands-free electronic devices
  • All employees, company vehicles and company devices
  • All work-related communications – even in a personal motor vehicle or while using a personal mobile device

Unfortunately, these policies can be complex and tough to enforce without an effective technology solution that can adapt based on how and where a mobile device is being used. TRUCE Software’s Contextual Mobile Device Management (CMDM) makes it easier. CMDM manages the functionality of mobile devices in contextual “zones,” which informs acceptable use and defines intelligent usage policies. Contextual AI can sense when an employee is behind the wheel or in other high-risk environments where they should be diligently focused on driving or other job-related duties. Leveraging such technology allows companies to increase driver safety, proactively eliminate liabilities while improving employee productivity rates and overall fleet efficiency.

This was the case for Paper Transport. After running in-cab technology for years, Paper Transport wanted to improve the engagement of its drivers in the vehicle and use technology that would also improve the operations of the business. This involved replacing legacy systems with newer and more advanced solutions including tablet devices, in-cab cameras and telematics.

Migrating to a new platform allowed the company to use best-in-class mobile apps in the vehicles, provide custom solutions built by the company, as well as lower the hardware expense of proprietary systems. With the new technology came an increased concern about distracted driving, according to Peter Covach, director of information technology at Paper Transport. “We wanted to improve the engagement of the drivers in the vehicle but also manage how the drivers accessed the applications,” said Covach.

TRUCE became a key component of the company’s technology migration. With the TRUCE Management Console, Paper Transport was able to define policy settings for mobile devices and enable only the navigation, hours of service and weigh station bypass functions while a vehicle was in motion. TRUCE also helped drivers to adhere to the hands-free corporate policy for phone use; assisting drivers to complete their routes more efficiently and get home safely.  Employees’ privacy concerns were alleviated as the technology only manages applications and device functionality and doesn’t access or record personal data.

The same opportunities that mobile devices and technological innovations present also bring unique challenges to the workplace, hence the market gap in effective mobile device management platforms. A seamless solution that allows technology to play a vital role in preventing accidents resulting from texting and driving on the job can also help fleet managers maintain positive corporate culture and reputation, reduce liability concerns and avoid loss of revenue. According to TRUCE, CMDM technology isn’t about controlling end-user devices – it’s about helping companies create safer, more productive workplaces that enable employees to work better, ultimately boosting the bottom line while supporting safer roads.