ZoomSafer anti-distraction appEnlarge Photo
Reston, Virginia-based ZoomSafer, which secured $1.1 million in new funding today, has one solution: the ZoomSafer app, which can now be installed on Android or BlackBerry devices, or the iPhone, and can be broadly applied to an entire fleet of company devices. The app, simply, keeps employees from texting, e-mailing, tweeting, or doing anything else connectivity-related while driving. There's also a teen version, called TeenSafer, which automatically sends out a message to those who text the driver.
Smartphones are still the minority of the market, so there's also an analytics tool called FleetSafer Vision—which can be employed for all cellphones, not just smarphones with the app. As such, employers can monitor cellphone use, using a cellphone's GPS coordinates—and look for violations, and figure out how to eliminate those distractions.
It does beg the question of how the system knows whether the cellphone user is the one driving; but at the least, it can help expose dangerous patterns with certain device users.
About 20 percent of all injury-related crashes are associated with a report of distracted driving, and nearly a fifth of the fatalities in those involved cellphone-related distraction.
The company cites a Harris Interactive report finding that nearly nine out of ten adults think that texting or e-mailing while driving is as risky as driving after having a few drinks—yet more than two out of three admit to having texted while driving. And a recent survey from the computing company Intel, found that 75 percent of U.S. adults think that mobile usage manners are worse now than they were in 2009—and that 91 percent have seen people misusing mobile technology (when driving, for example). In many cases, people admit they use their phones in public, or in the car, because that's what everyone else does.
Is some of your bad behavior when behind the wheel influenced by work-related peer pressure itself? If your fellow employees were equally limited, would you be less likely to break the rules and text while driving? Let us know what you think.