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PROPERTY & CASUALTY
MAR 16, 2018
Can Technology Help Prevent Distracted Driving?
As users of newer iPhones will tell you, the blockage of cellphone use isn’t on the horizon – it’s already here. If you have an iPhone 6 or newer and you’ve been diligent about updating your iOS, you’ve by now experienced its default Do Not Disturb feature that stops cellphone usage when driving. Fleet business owners and others are taking notice of these cellphone blocker trends.
Believe it or not, it’s not just business owners who are open to cellphone blockers. According to a National Safety Council (NSC) survey, 55 percent of drivers said they’d leave possible pre-set blocking technologies in place on their cellphones to avoid being distracted. Less than a quarter of those surveyed said they’d deactivate the technologies.
Why we need blockers
These statistics are encouraging, especially when you consider drivers are six times more likely to crash from distraction than from drunk driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that more than eight people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured every day due to crashes related to distracted driving.
Numerous studies are finding that cellphone usage behind the wheel is a leading cause of distracted driving accidents. So, cellphone blockers seem like a reasonable next step to take to save lives. To date, most blockers are external personal apps drivers need to download on their cellphones. These apps are made available by wireless service companies and companies that specialize in these types of apps. Many automakers are also equipping their vehicles for hands-free cellphone use.
The challenge to both consumers and business owners is discovering their cellphone blocker options and their decision to purchase them and actually use them. The NSC has created a checklist to help decision-makers do their homework.
NSC cellphone blocker checklist
Five features to consider when choosing a cellphone blocker:
– The best systems will block incoming and outgoing calls, texting, social media and internet access.
– Since many blockers are always active, they can drain a phone’s battery fairly quickly. Be sure the blocker doesn’t adversely affect the battery.
– Can it work with all cellphone types, i.e. iPhone and Android?
– How easy is it to use and understand?
– Check what the default settings are and how they can be adjusted.
Do blockers affect productivity?
You would naturally assume that reducing your employees’ cellphone usage would have a negative impact on their productivity … wrong! The NSC surveyed Fortune 500 companies with cellphone bans in place to determine the relationship between blockers and productivity. It found that nineteen percent of the companies felt productivity had actually increased after adding the cellphone blocker technology. And only seven percent of the companies said productivity decreased.
Amerisure cellphone blocker solution
As part of our yearlong Distracted Driving Campaign, we’ve teamed up with LifeSaver to offer companies a mobile app that discourages drivers from using their phone when behind the wheel. The LifeSaver app presents drivers with a visual block or reminder to avoid using the phone, logs their attempts to use the phone while driving and then scores the driver based on their behavior. The app also enables business owners to view driver cellphone usage through a user-friendly portal.
LifeSaver is available to Amerisure policyholders with commercial insurance policies as a tool for workers’ compensation and/or commercial auto clients to keep their employees safe and their losses down. We’re currently offering it to our policyholders through a cost-sharing program.
to learn more about LifeSaver. You can also view
LifeSaver FAQs here
. You can reach out to an Amerisure Loss Control Consultant about LifeSaver or other driver safety solutions at (800) 257-1900 or