Feature Article

April 18, 2013

Survey Reveals Employees Leveraging Mobile Devices in Vehicles Poses a Significant Risk to the Employer

In this day and age, mobile phone use while driving is common. Though it is prohibited and illegal (in the U.S. and Canada as well as in many other countries) to use a mobile phone held in the hand while driving, people still do it (without having hands-free technology) even when there is already implemented laws banning their use by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Why?

One may ask, what’s so important that a driver cannot wait or take the time to pull the car off to the side of the road to make or respond to a call or a text message?

Talking on the phone or sending/receiving SMS while operating a moving vehicle is considered dangerous, as it increases accident risks and it distracts one’s driving. Users take their eyes off the road and/or remove their hands from the steering wheel; the driver’s mind becomes occupied with a non-driving task, as explained in Aegis Mobility’s White Paper.

Yet, people of all ages often have the habit to use a handheld device on the move in cars. Not even those caught and subject to a violation fine stop doing it. What will it take to have those driving stop using mobile devices while operating a motor vehicle? An accident, perhaps?

This problem of using cell phones or smartphones poses a great challenge for those who care, like Aegis Mobility, a British Columbia company founded in 2006 that has invested much of its time and money addressing the “Distracted While Driving” problem with its own solutions and products.

As stated by Aegis Mobility, the choice of using a mobile device while driving passes off as “one of the greatest risks of injury or death.”

According to the company’s latest survey, which covers corporate perspectives and attitudes toward employees’ use of mobile devices while driving on the job, employers are concerned about their employees using phones when operating a car as it could put their business at risk and result in significant liabilities for them as well.

The key findings (addressed in the report) indicate that seven in10 companies (70 percent) have adopted some form of policy with regard to mobile device use while driving. However, only 32 percent enforce compliance with those policies.

Other discoveries, include:

  • 41 percent of companies are enforcing a zero-tolerance policy campaign against the use of handheld cell phones while driving to make/receive calls however, there is an exception to the rule to allow the use of a hands-free kit for mobile phones. (This solution uses either a wired or wireless earpiece, or the speakerphone function of the mobile telephone.) On the contrary, there is 12 percent that prohibit texting, surfing the Net and checking e-mails when driving. What is more, 45 percent of existing employer policies prohibit all use.
  • Evidence shows that most company’s efforts to enforce distracted driving policies remain steady. In fact, 86 percent take proactive measures to enforce the cellphone-related driving laws.
  • Confidence in current enforcement methods is lacking and limited: Although 32 percent of the companies noted they were “very confident” that current methods are effective, 60 percent said they were “somewhat confident,” while eight percent reported they are “not confident”.
  • Indications show that employers are willing to invest in more high-tech methods and imply management tools to ensure compliance. 22 percent of them said they plan on evaluating their mobile device policy to take the necessary steps to include some type of intelligent, information-gathering device – such as a proper hardware and software kit on onboard – that can potentially reveal how efficiently their employees are driving. This goes to show that some value safety.
  • The iPhone and Android have become the most popular handheld devices in the smartphone market; both the BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone 8 are still struggling to keep up with them; neither are allowed to be in use while driving. (Note: This includes those with the push-to-talk function on a mobile telephone as it violates the prohibition against holding the phone when operating the vehicle. However, when the car is on the road and moving, the driver can make use of single-button controls on the steering wheel or dashboard as they are permitted.)
  • Just like an employer may equip their employee drivers with a mobile phone, some also supply a tablet computer. This is true especially for commercial fleet vehicles. In fact, it is believed that 27 percent of these organizations provide tablets. In time, that number will increase as eight percent of total respondents indicate they intend to distribute more of them within a year’s time. At present, the majority issues iPads (73 percent), followed by Android tablets (at 27 percent).

As per the findings in the Aegis Mobility survey and as concluded by the CEO of the firm, Paul Zimmerman, these results show that company employers recognize the serious risks associated with their employees making use of mobile phones while driving. It also specifies “that employers lack confidence in current enforcement methods and seek technology solutions to automate compliance with mobile device use policies.”

To find out more about what Aegis Mobility has to offer or say about the use of mobile devices while driving on the job or to download the full analysis of the 2013 Distracted Driving Survey Results, click here. To better understand what the state laws are in regards to cell phone use while driving, be sure to visit this page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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