Man phones while driving a car © Mezzotintdreamstime | Dreamstime.com
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Survey shows fleet managers are taking a close look at cell phone use from prevention to enforcement.© Mezzotintdreamstime | Dreamstime.com

Survey results from ZoomSafer, a provider of enterprise software to prevent distracted driving, shows the number of commercial fleet operators that have adopted written policies pertaining to employee use of cell phones while driving on-the-job has increased 31% in the past nine months – from 62% in May 2011 to 81% in February 2012.

Results were collected online from 570 corporate managers via emails, newsletters, and websites. The results have a margin of error of +/- 5% with a 90% confidence. To download the full survey analysis visit: http://zoomsafer.com/fmcsa-cell-phone-survey-analysis (you’ll need to provide some information to get it).

As smart phones and cell phones continue making their contributions to business efficiencies, their presence in the workplace for those who manage fleets, or have people operating company vehicles, is a double-edged sword. People who study safety point out that using these devices while driving is tantamount to driving under the influence, and so more states are now enforcing stricter rules about using them while driving. Add in the influence of insurance companies that don’t want any part of paying claims for accidents resulting from driver distraction, and you have a whole lot of pressure on companies to establish prohibitions on using cell phones and smart phones while driving, and also to enforce those rules.

The ZoomSafer survey also found that the number of companies claiming to enforce their established cell phone use policies increased 70% in the past nine months, from 53% in May 2011 to 90% in February 2012. The company claimed this increase suggests that commercial fleet operators are reacting to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) new rule prohibiting an estimated 4,000,000 interstate truck and bus drivers from using hand-held mobile phones while driving.

Although efforts to enforce compliance with cell phone use policies have increased significantly among commercial fleets, the survey found that such efforts have until now been exclusively reactive. The most common enforcement methods include “Random Safety Audits” (71.9%), “Post-Crash Discipline” (51.8%), and “Peer Reporting” (49.6%). Furthermore, less than one-third (33.1%) of respondents were “very confident” that their companies’ current enforcement methods are sufficient to ensure compliance with FMCSA cell phone regulations.

Another important finding in this analysis – while most fleet managers lack confidence in current enforcement methods, 27% plan to investigate cell phone use analytics and 21% plan to explore smartphone software solutions within the next twelve months to automate employee compliance with FMCSA cell phone rules.

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