While it's been a problem since the arrival of the first automobile, distracted driving has only gotten worse in recent years. This is due, in large part, to the many forms of modern technology which surround us.
In July of this year Kent Police caught 37 drivers using their mobile phones. In the same month the RAC’s research showed only 60% of drivers would stop using their phones while driving voluntarily even if they knew these could cause accidents. The RAC says “it was surprised the figure was not signifciantly higher given that consequences can be so severe in terms of the impact on human life."
To find out more about this read “Overcoming the Mobile Phone Menace with an App” an interview with Romex’s Sales Director, Steve Arscott in the September issue of the award-winning Roadway Magazine, the journal of the RHA Road Haulage Association.
Martin Baggs, CEO of Thames Water gives us his thoughts on Romex Driver Protection.
According to industry experts including The Miles Consultancy, Fleet Innovations and Web Expenses, employees routinely exaggerate their business mileage claims by either rounding up the mileage on journeys they have made or adding in ‘phantom’ journeys they have not made.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) employers have to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all employees while at work. This establishes the Duty of Care employers have to their employees which according to ACAS, means employers “should take all steps which are reasonably possible to ensure their health, safety and wellbeing".
We were delighted to be asked to provide an editorial piece recently for LAPV also known as Local Authority Plan and Vehicles. This is a key target sector for our business for many reasons but namely the Health and Safety implications of lone workers and those driving company vehicles whether it’s a car, bus or lorry. Our range of solutions were created to protect both employers and employees; employees as they go about their daily tasks and employers from prosecution for failing to protect their staff.
In our article we discuss whether a mobile phone is an essential business tool or a hazard and highlight details of the Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) that requires employers to ensure the Health and Safety of all their workers whilst at work.
The convergence of existing technology and the correct utilization of existing business assets is, in the current climate, a topic for much discussion. Industry statistics have shown that smart phones are the largest growth area of the mobile industry with mobile phone technology advancing so far in recent years that there is very little we cannot do from our mobile phones, no matter what your profession.
Adept use of technology can make mobile workers measurable and also increase workforce productivity. But this is still early days and is really only being utilised in some industries. In our new management brief – Mobile Workforce Management Guide 2015 – we detail the results of an IBM survey where participants were asked to “estimate the extent to which mobility has improved overall workforce productivity today.” Interestingly, in three years time 40% expect improvements of 10-20% and 36% are looking for improvements of greater than 20%.
The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at The University of Sheffield, a UK-based research consortium, has developed a prototype for improving the workforce productivity of maintenance and repair operations in sectors such as aerospace, shipping, oil and gas. Using a combination of augmented reality and robotics, it is able to bring critical information and remote expertise directly to field engineers. Early use of the system has yielded reductions in capital expenditure from 3 to 7 per cent, increased production between 8 and 15 per cent and achieved 10 to 25 per cent operating cost savings. This is a great example of the adept use of technology to increase workforce productivity, reduce costs and in turn protect employees.
When will businesses take the lead by banning mobile phone use whilst driving?
In 2015 the world’s mobile worker population will reach 1.3 billion representing 37.2% of the workforce according to a forecast from the International Data Corporation. To this end we have created "Mobile Workforce Management Guide 2015" available for download from our site.
This paper explores all aspects of a mobile workforce - the definition, looking at workforce adoption trends, the devices used and importance of digital deployment within companies around the globe.
It is very important to us to get our target audiences to understand the true benefits of our Romex Mobile Workforce Management solution. To this end we have examined the marketplace, talked to your customers and understood their problems and developed our technology to deliver the solutions.
What is interesting working with our clients is discovering how after even a short space of time our mobile apps has made a difference to not only the efficiency of their working practices but also enables them to be Health & Safety compliant, validate their service levels and benefit financially.
Two case studies I will feature in this blog are Amalgamated Lifts and LAPA Security. In discussion with John Brand, Finance Director for Amalgamated Lifts I was keen to understand the company and how Romex was helping. John said: “We have a strongly skilled mobile workforce of which 40% have been with our company for more than 10 years. They are dedicated to customer satisfaction; providing full, open and honest communication, solutions and quick, real time report information. However, we have been using a somewhat dated vehicle telematics system. A system that required the installation of expensive hardware and did not give us the ability to monitor our engineers once they stepped out of their vehicles.”
Volvo Car UK has announced that as part of its mission, by 2020 nobody will be injured or killed in a new Volvo. We are very pleased to be part of this major driver safety initiative entitled ‘Co-Pilot’ that is designed to help SMEs get on top of their legal and social obligations and ensure the safety of their fleets and drivers.
Co-Pilot is a program of practical support and expertise that delivers real financial benefits to business by improving driver safety and compliance. Volvo have designed the programme so that it is available free of charge when a business buys or leases their first Volvo.
Combined with Volvo's market leading safety technology, Volvo Co-Pilot delivers real value to small and medium sized businesses in three important areas: Legal Compliance, Safety & Risk Management and Business Optimisation.
Our Mobile Driver Protection module that combats driver distraction is part of the Volvo Co-Pilot driver safety initiative. This module automatically disables an employees’ mobile phone whilst they are driving through using GPS to detect movement. Blue Tooth use of the phone can be enabled, according to company policy, but any interaction with the hand-set is blocked. Notifications of email, text or social media are suppressed until the driver is stationary, thus removing the temptation to take their eyes off the road.
Other partners in the scheme include The British Chamber of Commerce, Specsavers, TFL, Driving for Better Business, Fleet 21, Lex Autolease, Enterprise, Regus Business Scene and South Essex Insurance Brokers all of whom are providing offers as part of the Co-Pilot Driver Safety initiative.
Information from the Department of Transport indicates that more than a quarter of all road traffic accidents on British roads involve someone driving for work and accidents involving business drivers cause 20 deaths and 200 serious injuries every week. This would suggest that the Co-Pilot driver safety initiative will hopefully reduce this figure and make the roads safer for all concerned.
What is the best way to manage your mobile workforce?
Did you know that if an employee on the National Average Wage (£27,200 in 2011) who is paid overtime at Time and a Half exaggerates their weekly overtime claim by just one hour a week this could cost you nearly £1,200 per annum.
The actual administration of timesheets can in itself be time consuming for example: bringing employees in to the depot or branch to collect their daily paperwork and then return it (e.g. work sheets or delivery schedules), involves time and effort - as does the processing of the paperwork after that. Most companies have no way of knowing where their employees are at any time and whether they have done what they were asked to do when they were supposed to do it. Therefore managing the jobs employees perform can be costly and inefficient.
Establishing Liability For Collisions Involving Highly Automated Vehicles By Dr. Nick Reed.
I know it may seem that all we talk about at the moment is the dangers of texting whilst driving but it is still a huge problem and the reality is that people are dying daily. We have been monitoring this and recently seen videos and articles from all over the world talking about the dangers.
The USA seems to be taking the lead in educating their young drivers in road safety. Young drivers are now required to stay on a learner licence for at least six months – which in turn has been found by the University of Michigan to reduce the number of fatal crashes.
The Govenors Highway Safety Association is now recommending that there should be more speed cameras and stronger night time restrictions which will reduce speed related crashes in their teenage population.
We recently attended Fleet 21 Conference where we ran our game that demonstrates how distracted people get when using their mobile phones. We had some great results…
Romex World, an innovative technology company specialising in workforce management solutions has released a video highlighting the dangers of driver distraction. Put together by Inside Consultants, the video demonstrates a number of facts and figures that have come to light in recent press stories.
We recently attended the Brake's Fleet Safety Conference in Solihull and had a really great time meeting a number of other sponsors and most importantly supporters of their National Road Safety Campaign.
We were delighted to see that two mainstream TV programmes have recently featured the risks involved with using a phone whilst driving. The One Show uncovered some scary statistics facts about driver distraction whilst monitoring a roadside for just half an hour.
Did you know?
Some recent coverage on the launch of our Driver Distraction Prevention Module.
We are delighted to be sponsoring Brake the Road Safety Charity, who campaign for greater road safety throughout the UK. Every year they run a National Road Safety Week which we are looking forward to getting involved with.
On the final day of The Facilities show, where we launched our Driver Distraction Prevention Module, we had a speaker slot in the Field Services Solutions Theatre.
Presenting with Nigel Grainger* a Fleet Risk Consultant, our Sales director, Darren Marsh gave a presentation on How Technology Improves Service Performance, Compliance and Profitability.
There was a lot of interest in our Driver Distraction Prevention Module - the presentation highlighted the risks of using a mobile phone whilst driving and the consequences for businesses.
In the week that we launch our Driver Distraction Prevention software – a module that will prevent drivers from using their phones whilst at the wheel, we are now seeing an increase in awareness across the media.