FIVE APPS TO HELP PREVENT DRIVER DISTRACTION

04/11/2015

Driver safety, and the safety of other road users and pedestrians, is the most important element of any journey. For fleet owners, whose drivers undertake long or multiple journeys in heavy road conditions, that importance is multiplied. Insurance claims and vehicle damage can be costly both in revenue and time terms. And personal injury at any level, whether to your drivers or members of the public, is every fleet manager’s worst nightmare.

Drivers legitimately use smart devices to stay on top of their job bookings. But it isn’t simply illegal to use a phone whilst driving - it’s dangerous. Distracted driving causes thousands of injuries and almost 15 fatalities every day. We’ve looked at five apps that can help stop driver distraction in your fleet.

Cellcontrol

Take control of your mobile phone policy with Cellcontrol, an app that links to a customisable web console. You set your mobile usage policy in the console: Cellcontrol enforces it in the cab.

The app is installed as part of a full distraction-prevention suite, which also includes a solar-powered windscreen device called DriveID. The device is able to locate the phone within the vehicle, disabling it if it’s being used by a person sitting in the driver’s seat.

Use the web console to determine what your drivers are allowed to do with their mobile - using GPS functions, for example, or allowing music and hands-free while driving. Devices can even be completely shut down while in the cab.

Available for: iOS, Android, Blackberry and selected laptops

Cost: Fleet by Fleet basis

Visit their website

Distracted Driving Monitor

Talking to an on-board diagnostics (OBD-II) device, Distracted Driving Monitor from Modus Go knows when a vehicle is being driven. It monitors all phone activity for the duration of the trip, and sends alerts detailing ‘driving events’ when the journey has finished.

The alerts are included in a Trip Detail report, which uses a simple traffic light system to visually reinforce its message. A journey without phone usage events generates a green report: a trip on which the phone is used generates a red report.

Driving events are itemised at the bottom of the screen, below standard telematics data detailing distance, duration, fuel usage, min and max speeds, and idle time. By warning the driver at the end of the trip, Distracted Driving Monitor encourages future distraction-free driving without becoming a distraction in itself.

Phone usage data is also overlaid on an event map, showing how phone use has correlated with specific incidents (for example sudden braking). Distracted Driving Monitor can be set to allow specific phone usage, like music and navigation.

Available for: iOS, Android

Visit their website

Cost: Free

Drive Beehive

Want to reward safe driving? Try Drive Beehive, which crowdsources incentives for drivers who don’t use their phones while on the road. When activated, the app locks the phone and totals ‘safe miles’ - those spent driving and not interacting with the device. If the device is used, the safe miles counter goes back to zero.

Drivers with predetermined safe miles totals are rewarded by their sponsor. Drive Beehive is developing a marketplace model for rewards, in which drivers may be rewarded with discounts or coupons on everyday or desirable items.

Available for: iOS, Android

Visit their website

Cost: Free

iOnRoad Augmented Driving

iOnRoad’s Augmented Driving app is designed to warn drivers in real time if their vehicle is operating dangerously. Using smartphone cameras, it creates a ‘visual radar’ picture capable of estimating distance. Using your driver’s speed as a marker, Augmented Driving calculates the stopping distance between the vehicle and the object in front, emitting an audio warning and giving a visual indication of impending collision.

Augmented Driving is also able to detect lane drifting when vehicles are travelling in excess of 60km/h (37mph). Tired or distracted drivers are warned with the same combination of audio and visuals.

Other apps and functions may be used while Augmented Driving is running - including making and receiving calls.

Available for: iOS, Android

Visit their website

Cost: 79p

Thumb Tied

Thumb Tied senses when it’s in a driven vehicle, and blocks all phone usage until the journey has finished. Calls, emails, texts and distracting phone notifications are prevented while the app is active. When it shuts down, a list of blocked notifications appears, so your drivers can respond safely.

Subscribe to Thumb Tied and you can activate the app on paired phones, forcing your fleet to drive distraction-free. If your phone is paired to Thumb Tied-enabled devices, they will also send activity reports back to you.

Thumb Tied can be scheduled, ensuring activation during specific time periods. Up to three emergency contacts can be assigned in the app, which will override if any of these contacts try to reach the phone.

Thumb Tied allows drivers to operate hands-free.

Available for: Android

Visit their website

Cost: Free

What are you doing to prevent driver distraction? Let the fuelGenie community know on Twitter or LinkedIn .

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