Why are smartphones damaging your haulage business?
Here’s a word for you:
Yep, it was a new one on us too. But it’s a real thing which means “the fear of not having or being near a mobile phone”. So basically, it’s smartphone anxiety, and it’s a condition affecting more and more people every day.
Smartphones are a part of our lives these days, and we all love the connection they give us to the world. We can instantly find out about any subject on earth, communicate with friends and family, keep abreast of everything happening in the world through our social media feeds, and even run a business from them.
There’s no doubt that smartphones will go down in history as an invention that had a major impact on the world.
The problems with smartphones
But there’s also the other side of the coin to consider. Being attached to our phones for large parts of our lives, doomscrolling through endless feeds of bad news, and seeing how everyone else apparently is living a better life than us on Instagram contribute to significant mental health problems in people of all ages.
We use our phones so much that many people have become addicted to them, constantly checking for texts, WhatsApps, emails, and the latest Twitter feud between two Z-list celebs they’ve never heard of and don’t need to care about.
Drug addicts and gamblers gain a dopamine boost from the last hit of their drug of choice or win on a casino game, and studies have shown smartphone addiction has the same effect on the brain. So when people talk about smartphone addiction, it’s an actual condition.
The effect of smartphones on your business
Now you may be wondering what all this has to do with your haulage or courier business. Well, guess what? Everyone in your business will probably have a smartphone. As such, they are all susceptible to smartphone addiction.
While you may not be bothered about your office-based staff using their smartphones during work (although it does beg the question of whether they could achieve more if they weren’t ploughing through Facebook all day), you should be most concerned about your drivers.
Here are some scary stats, taken from the Zendrive Collision Report, 2020:
· On average, people check their phones 150 times a day.
· 88% of drivers admit to using their phone while driving.
· 71% of commercial vehicle accidents are related to phone use.
· 57% of all driving accidents are connected to phone use.
What is the cost to your business?
Clearly, accidents have a human cost, particularly if there’s a fatality, which is impossible to quantify. But if one of your vehicles is involved in an accident, there will be a financial cost to your business. Companies tend to focus on the costs which appear on the company accounts, i.e. the cost of repair and any insurance excess. But they don’t take account of the hidden costs, such as:
· Driver absence due to injury in the accident.
· Cost of the vehicle being unavailable for deliveries.
· Time cost among admin staff of arranging alternative transport.
· Submitting and dealing with the insurance claim.
· Increased insurance premiums.
· Damage to your company’s reputation which could affect your ability to gain new customers and recruit future staff.
It’s difficult to put a price on all of those factors, but it is estimated that the uninsured costs could be as much as the insured claim or higher. With margins in the industry being constantly squeezed, transport companies can’t afford to absorb these costs.
How can you manage smartphone use on the road?
Most companies will have some kind of smartphone policy built into their contracts of employment. For staff working on the company premises, it’s relatively easy to control. Some have a zero-tolerance approach, i.e. no use apart from on official breaks. Whereas others allow them with a “don’t abuse it” style.
The problem with any company with drivers on the road, e.g. delivery drivers and sales executives, is that they can’t control the driver using their smartphone. Plus, the company may need to contact the driver, and vice versa, for many legitimate reasons. As such, they can’t insist the driver turns their phone off.
For companies who don’t have specific sat-nav systems installed in their vehicles, their drivers need their smartphones to use navigation apps like Google and Apple Maps. So it’s impossible for them to implement a strict no-use policy.
Fortunately, there are solutions on the market. For example, Jets GPS offer a combined hardware and software system where a small dongle is easily fitted to the vehicle and works in conjunction with an app on the driver’s phone. First, the driver has to activate the app, which restricts the phone use to apps specified by the company fleet manager. Then, when the driver reaches their destination, the app allows regular use of the phone.
Or we offer a software-only product that is controlled from a portal at your base. The app is sent out to all your company smartphones and prevents drivers from using them during their journey. Again, you can specify which apps are allowed, e.g. maps or voice activation.
Finally, we can supply another software-only product that reads out loud all of the drivers incoming messages so you can communicate with them while they’re on the road.
For more information about our smartphone safety solutions, please contact us on 01254 914 538 or email: email@example.com