May 2016 - The Service Council

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility (to Driver Safety)

By Sumair Dutta | Perspective | No Comments

Spiderman didn’t come up with it, but in celebration of his introduction to the Marvel Universe (Spoiler Alert regarding a certain Marvel movie in theaters now), it’s worth bringing in one of his most used quotes. With a slight addition, that is. The quote is appropriate when considering the focus that service organizations must place on worker and driver safety when rolling out newer tools and applications to boost the productivity of their front-line agents.

Earlier this year, The Service Council (TSC) and Cotap co-hosted an IdeaShare workshop on the topic of driver safety. The intent of the workshop was to gauge the level of focus that organizations are placing on driver safety, especially given the increased reliance on mobile distractions. As organizations demand greater levels of productivity and utilization, they have embraced mobile tools in an effort to eliminate paper and expedite workflows. In fact, TSC research shows that the average field service technician now carries 2+ mobile devices to interact with the necessary applications for field service work. These mobile tools can open the door to safety-related issues, especially in the realm of distracted driving.

The topic of distracted driving was central to our discussion on driver safety. This discussion featured representatives from 14 field service organizations and was supported by the National Safety Council (www.nsc.org). As per publicly available research from NSC and others:

  • 33,000 Americans are killed annually in car accidents. 1.2 m are killed worldwide (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway safety 2014)
  • Car or vehicles crashes (Motor vehicle incidents) are the top cause of workplace deaths
  • 94% of crashes are attributed to human error
  • At least one quarter of all crashes involve cell phones
  • Drivers using handheld or hands-free cell phones are nearly 4 times as likely to crash of those not using cell phones

One of the most comprehensive ways to deal with the challenge of distracted driving in the workplace is to institute a total cell phone ban. In fact, research done by the National Safety Council confirms that total cell phone bans do not lead to a drop in productivity. The result is quite the opposite, with nearly one in five organizations experiencing an increase in productivity following a cell phone ban.

In addition to policy, there are a variety of technology tools that can be used to enhance driver safety. Several of these were featured at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. Reporting from telematics solutions can also enable organizations to tailor training and other programs to promote driver safety.

All of this said, safety must be an initiative endorsed by executive leadership. Leadership support is essential to the success of any safety-related investment. Without such support, service stakeholders may question the validity of such programs in the face of a constant push for productivity.

A comprehensive recap of TSC’s safety-related discussion is available here.

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