April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Since 2010, April has been designated by the United States Congress as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. According to the National Security Council (NSC), distracted driving kills eight people on average every day and injures over 700. Data collected for insurance studies indicates that distracted driving is the leading cause of vehicle collisions nationwide, and a prior study shows that almost 40% of workplace-related fatalities result from transportation incidents. These numbers demonstrate that preventing distracted driving should be a central component of any workplace safety initiatives.
One of the key messages conveyed by the NSC is that distracted driving encompasses a much broader range of activities than just texting behind the wheel. In addition to visual distraction, manual and cognitive distraction both constitute forms of impairment that can prevent drivers from seeing all of their surroundings. Hands-free cell phone use is the law in many jurisdictions, but hands-free is not the same as risk-free. The NSC cautions drivers to program driving directions and any other necessary interactions with electronics prior to the start of a journey, and in general to avoid interactions with technology while driving.
Most of us are used to being able to access our cell phones or other electronic devices at a moment’s notice, and voluntarily restricing access for hours at a time may seem like a lot to ask of drivers. So what is the best approach for employers looking to enforce safe driving policies? Some companies install cameras or other monitoring systems in corporate-owned vehicles to ensure that employees follow the rules, but this equipment can be expensive and difficult to install. Additionally, making workers feel that they are under constant surveillance while on the road can be bad for workforce morale.
LifeSaver Mobile makes it easier to do the right thing
A webinar released by the Travelers Institute for Distracted Driving Awareness Month outlines a set of best practices for changing risky behaviors. Foremost among these is the directive to “Make it easier to do the right thing.” Instead of lecturing employees on what not to do or leading with threats of punitive measures for infractions, companies are best served by encouraging workers to take positive steps to protect themselves. Requesting directions to a destination or setting up a playlist before putting the car in drive are both examples of prudent ways to avoid future distraction.
The LifeSaver Mobile app is an excellent tool for helping to keep employees safe while driving, with a focus on reinforcing correct behavior and directing drivers to self-correct inappropriate use of technology. When in use, it automatically detects when a user is driving and places their phone or tablet into a restricted mode to eliminate opportunities for distraction. At the end of the drive, the app seamlessly returns the device to normal operation. This functionality complements the iPhone’s built-in Do Not Disturb (DND) lock screen feature for driving. When an employee attempts to access the phone by pressing the “I’m not driving” prompt, LifeSaver Mobile checks whether the vehicle is in motion. If it is, it prevents access to the phone, registering a violation in the process.
Following the principle of making it easy to do the right thing, LifeSaver Mobile provides direct feedback to the driver when it determines that misuse of the device has occurred. When the Driver Daily Digest feature is turned on, it also provides the user with a digital scorecard at the end of the day that lists violations, giving employees the opportunity for self-correction. IT can track infractions through a cloud-based management portal in case further corrective actions are needed, but this approach rightly treats employees as the first line of defense in keeping themselves safe.
A flexible and low-impact solution for employee safety
An integration for Jamf Pro and Jamf Now is helpful for streamlining deployments and even enhancing the capabilities of LifeSaver Mobile. IT admins can use these mobile device management (MDM) solutions to prevent deletion of the LifeSaver app. With Jamf Pro, devices can be set to automatically lock down when the solution detects that they are in a moving vehicle, adding to the consistency with which LifeSaver keeps employees safe.
Whereas other tools to eliminate distracted driving tend to rely on cameras, beacons or dongles that are expensive and time-consuming to install, LifeSaver is a digital-only solution that is lightweight and easy to implement. This means it is just as feasible to use when employees drive their own vehicles on company business as it is with a corporate-owned fleet. Admins can also integrate LifeSaver with a scheduling solution so that it only enforces safe driving policies during working hours, allowing employees to make their own decisions when off the clock.
As a solution that focuses on reinforcing correct behaviors over punishing errors, LifeSaver Mobile is a powerful tool for prompting employees to act responsibly without feeling micromanaged. You can help workers to respect boundaries between personal and professional uses for their devices and keep them safe on the road. It’s the best way to honor Distracted Driving Awareness Month and make a tangible improvement to your workplace safety culture.