A step further
Last month the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration officially began enforcing its new law that restricts cell phone use for commercial drivers. But exactly how the agency will detect illegal activity and assess hefty penalties to drivers and their complicit employers remains to be seen.
In last month’s column, I covered technologies that can make the rollout and enforcement of corporate policies for cell phone use both effective and efficient. The technology mentioned, however, was limited to restricting use of company-owned devices when a vehicle is in motion.
The more difficult challenge is how to restrict drivers from using personal phones while operating company vehicles. Going to the extreme of installing cameras or sensors in the cab to detect unauthorized cell phone use would, at the least, spark a lively Big Brother debate.
What if you could – with drivers’ permission – monitor their cell phone records automatically in order to assess the risk of them texting or talking while driving? It may sound bold, but considering the risks, it also may be worth it.
The idea might seem controversial to drivers – at least at first – but drivers already have had to adjust their perceptions of technology due to the changing landscape of new regulations and risks.
*Phone restrictions. Many technologies are limited to managing company-owned phones.
*Seeking permission. Ask drivers to allow their personal devices to be monitored.
*Preventing accidents. Considering what could happen, the extra effort may be worth it.
Drivers resisted electronic onboard recorders, but today they are deployed on the overwhelming majority of onboard computing platforms. Technology also is used extensively to monitor drivers for speeding, abrupt lane changes and panic braking, among other events. Visibility to risky behavior is instantaneous.
Since technology used to enforce compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations and company policies already is accepted, would it be a stretch to monitor if drivers – as well as other employees – are using personal phones while driving company vehicles?
Drivers already have adjusted their perceptions of technology.
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