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Your Driver Policy is unmanageable!

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Your Driver Policy is unmanageable!

by Dennis P. Druhe

President/Founder at GPSisUS and Mobile Tracking and Consulting Services, Inc.

 

Your Policy states “no cell phone use when driving a company vehicle” but when it comes to managing whose using their cell phone while driving you pretty much don’t know and need to trust your employees here. So, since you can’t manage what you don’t measure, your Driver Policy is unmanageable!

 

Remember, your GPS System can’t do this either: Detect and monitor cell phone use when the vehicle is in motion.

 

 

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It is only unmanagable if you do not have the proper technology in place. This, among many other reasons, is why I am a strong proponent of driver facing cameras. Not to create a "nanny state", but rather to be able to properly defend my clients, including their drivers, should a critical event occur.

 

A good fleet safety policy has multiple elements to it, some which are there simply to satisfy the regulators -such as the prohibition on hand-held use of cell phones and other electronics in commercial vehicles- as well as others that have a real impact on reducing safety critical events. Part of this fleet safety policy must include implementation and use of multiple types of safety technology. I have long been a supporter of gps based telematics, not only for the operational advantages they bring to the dispatch process (meaning you can be more productive and profitable), but also for the driver coaching data they provide.

 

With the reduced cost and ready access to dash cams I have started recommending including them in the overall telematic package, the reason being is to be able to verify why there was a critical event recorded by a gps linked sensor. Often I find that the event was caused by a factor outside of the driver's control and the recorded hard brake or other event was a justified response to the threat.

 

Now, before you say that a camera will not catch 100% of cell phone policy violations, I agree. However, it will catch the most egregious of violations, the ones that trigger a safety critical event because the driver was using, and most likely distracted by, their cell phone or other hand held device. There are other technological solutions as well, such as signal jammers, however they may not be legal in all states or situations. For this reason, I do not recommend blocking type technology, unless app based. And even then, forcing an app to be installed on employee owned devices as a condition of employment is a grey area, and water I would not wade into!

 

Lastly, and this is an area many employers struggle with, for the cell phone policy to be enforcable it must be honored by both sides. You can not have a no cell phone policy then attempt to call your drivers on their cell phone, this sends a mixed message. So, if you rely on cell phones for communication you need to either tailor your policy to permit hands free usage (legal almost everywhere) or provide an alternative communication method in the cab of your trucks. I suggest having a hands-free policy and providing quality Bluetooth devices for your employees to use. This will encourage their use, meet the regulatory burden of having a policy but not providing the equipment to effectively implement it and may even improve overall employee retention if your employees see that you truly care about their health and safety.

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