Field techs are equipped with smartphones, tablets and wearable technology, yet much of their time is spent on the road, when they are legally forbidden to use these devices. At any moment, about 660,000 U.S. drivers are using electronic devices while driving, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While field service techs aren’t the worst culprits, 24 percent of them use a tablet while driving, according to VDC Research.
No wonder distracted driving and safety issues are top of mind for enterprises, says Sheila Brennan, program manager at IDC Manufacturing Insights. The solution? It may sound like a paradox, but deploying or updating field service mobility apps can limit distracted driving.
If abiding by the law or listening to a service manager’s recommendation isn’t enough to convince field techs that using their phones while driving is a big no-no, perhaps it’s time to turn to apps that disable phone usage and provide other visibility to driving behaviors. Here are a handful to try:
Canary: When a tech unlocks his phone while driving, this app notifies the field service manager, but doesn’t block the ability for drivers to text or check their phone.
CellControl: After drivers install a device under the steering column, the app detects when the car is moving and displays a blocking screen to prevent the driver from texting.
TextLimit: Field service managers can set a driving speed at which phone usage is disabled. But there’s a catch: managers can contact techs through “super-user” privileges, even if those features have been disabled.
DriveSafe.ly: Instead of reading text messages and emails, field techs can hear these messages and use an automated response capability.
Road Wars: This app turns safe driving into a game by awarding drivers virtual coins for good driving habits, such as obeying speed limits, and deducting coins for bad habits like texting while driving.
DriveMode: AT&T developed the app (which only works with Android and Blackberry devices) to send automatic replies when a driver receives a message while driving faster than 25 mph.
Textecution: This Android app disables texting and app use when a driver exceeds 10 mph and even alerts the field service manager if the app is deleted.
What other apps can limit distracted driving?