DISTRACTED DRIVING: Innovative Software Opens Eyes Of Fleet Operators

Posted on January 12, 2011

RESTON, Va. – Adding to its FLEETSAFER MOBILE product, which prevents a chauffeur from texting or emailing while driving, industry-tech innovator ZOOMSAFER now offers a software service designed to give fleet operators the ability to measure, monitor and manage their employees’ mobile phone use while driving.

“Distracted driving is the leading cause of on-the-job crashes,” says Clem Driscoll, CEO of C.J. DRISCOLL AND ASSOCIATES, a chief research and consulting firm focused on fleet management.

In response, ZoomSafer created FleetSafer Mobile, software that detects when a vehicle is in use and subsequently locks the driver’s phone-screen and keyboard to promote safer driving. It is, however, limited to use with smartphones.

“When we came out with FleetSafer Mobile, a lot of companies were interested in the concept because they saw distracted driving as something they wanted to manage better, but not all of them had smartphones in their fleets and so we couldn’t do business,” says Matt Howard, CEO of ZoomSafer. Thus, FLEETSAFER VISION was born. It works with any phone type — so long as the vehicle is telematics-equipped — and does not require any on-device software to be installed.

How it works

Vision works by integrating existing vehicular telematics data (trip information, location, speed, etc.) with mobile phone usage data (phone calls, text messages, email logs) to provide fleet administrators with information needed to measure unsafe driving habits. “Because if you can measure it, you can manage it,” says Howard, who compares distracted driving to a nail in a board. “You want to drive the nail in,” he says, “but first you need to decide what kind of hammer you’re going to use. Depending on the circumstances, you might need a big hammer or you might need a small one. Mobile is the big, aggressive hammer, and Vision is the smaller, lighter hammer. Both accomplish the same goal — managing distracted driving — but each has its own way of doing it.”

The information gathered by Vision is compiled into a series of charts and reports which are accessed through an easy-to-use interface. Each report includes a VIN number, employee name, event type (call made/received; text sent/responded to), and a map of approximately where each event occurred. The latter is particularly useful in identifying risk-level involved with each event, i.e. Employee #1 was taking a risk by making a phone call while driving on an isolated highway, but Employee #2 took a greater risk by texting near an elementary school.

In addition, Vision’s reports also highlight which employees have been following company policy so that their good behavior can be encouraged and rewarded.

SUMMARY: Vision provides operators with a way to recognize and rectify risky driving behavior, reinforce good behavior, reduce risk and liability, and raise overall driver safety, regardless of phone type.

FleetSafer Vision’s features include:

Device Independent Reporting

• Works with any type of phone

• Integrates with major GPS/Telematics providers

• Supports most major wireless carriers in North America

• Compatible with third party CDR (Call Detail Report) providers

SAAS-Based Offering

• Provides administrative access to portal

• Scalable tool with bulk import capabilities

• Fast initial set-up

• Invisible to users

• Monthly reporting

Driver Behavior Modification

• Highlights at risk drivers

• Sends compliance reports directly to drivers

• Supports safety rewards and recognition programs

Robust “Distraction” Reporting

• Provides cell phone usage events per trip, per mile and per hour

• Enables detailed reporting by user, group and enterprise

• Demonstrates behavior trending over time

• Captures calls made, calls received, SMS/email sent, SMS/email received, SMS/email responded to (the latter posing an extreme risk, since a response requires one to first read the text — hazardous enough as it is — then take the time to write a response, increasing the amount of time a driver’s eyes are away from the road)

ZoomSafer is a leader in distracted-driving solutions and also offers the TEENSAFER and MOBILESAFER products for civilian clients who wish to improve their own and/or their children’s driving safety. To learn more, please visit their WEBSITE.

— Michael Campos, LCT assistant editor

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