No Text is Worth a Life

By Saul Gold-Commercial Development Director


fleet safety

After Covid, I read an article stating that ~8% of Dutch drivers will accept a video call (Teams, Zoom, etc) whilst driving.  Quite frankly, I was surprised.

Fast forward a year, and I’ve just seen a US survey showing that Gig Economy workers are 4x more likely to use smartphone apps whilst driving!

OK, hands up…

Yes, I too have read a text or looked at my navigation routing whilst driving. The temptation is so great. And it’s so easy to tell ourselves that it will be all right, just this time. Just this time.

But here’s the sad truth: any distraction – using an app, looking at my navigation or just letting my mind wander to my next meeting, the argument I had with my partner, or the salary discussion I am about to have with my manager – takes my attention away from the road. It doesn’t take long for that to translate into a collision.

Remember when I say road, I mean being in charge of a heavy piece of metal, moving at speeds up to 100 kmph. Any accident, at a minimum, will cost a lot to repair. The higher the speed, the greater the risk. And we haven’t even begun to discuss the threat to life and limb.

So what can an employer do? How can you get your employees to put their phones away, to stay focused on the road, to protect themselves, their vehicles and ultimately their loved ones?

At a minimum, would it not be worthwhile to make sure the driver is “reminded” – in real time – that they are taking risks – that they are deviating from the safe practices they were taught when they first learned to drive? To provide them with “little verbal messages” informing that they are starting to speed, braking or accelerating too sharply or turning too widely on a corner? If these small errors are nipped in the bud, they can’t develop into the truly dangerous errors that lead to terrible crashes!

Slow and steady correction of bad habits is the way to go.

The keys are not “rocket science”:

1) providing drivers with real-time feedback about their driving errors as soon as they begin to happen, before they develop into crashes.

2) providing drivers with ongoing training that focuses on their personal driving styles; and

3) engaging drivers in pursuing safety – through messages delivered early and often, competitions, compliments, and yes – sometimes – even through “bribes” – shiny baubles, a gift voucher or a night on the town.

That’s exactly what we’ve built into our DRIVE app: real-time VERBAL (non-distracting) coaching, personalized driving tips and gamified incentive schemes. All up and running within minutes as soon as the app is downloaded to the driver’s own phone or tablet.

Happy to discuss this in more detail with anyone that feels the itch to be better, to be safer and to help our drivers help themselves.