Fleet News

Phone module will control driver calls

A new phone management system aims to put the fleet manager in the driving seat when it comes to enforcing their hands-free policy.

Callcontrol claims to be the first combined hardware and software solution to tackle the problem of varied mobile phone use whilst driving.

A small Bluetooth enabled hardware module plugs directly into a vehicle’s on-board diagnostics port and links wirelessly to software installed on the driver’s mobile phone, PDA or laptop.

As soon as the vehicle is in motion, the software can lock out some or all of the phone’s capabilities, including: incoming and outgoing calls; texting; web browsing; and email.

“We allow to a greater or lesser extent whatever the fleet operator wants to do,” explained Matt Oakley, managing director of obdEdge.

“If they want to enforce a complete ban on hands-free; if they only want incoming calls or outgoing, both or neither, they simply adapt the system to their individual needs via the web platform.”

There is a wealth of research illustrating the dangers of drivers using hands-free phones, the most recent of which came from the University of Utah. It revealed drivers using a hand-free device take 20% longer to hit the brakes.

However, a number of fleet operators argue that some sort of connectivity is required for their drivers because of the job they may do.

“That’s why the web-based, back office system allows an administrator to enforce a particular organisation’s policies,” says Oakley. “If the driver is allowed to use a hands-free kit the administrator can permit the driver to either make or receive calls only.

“They can also manage a white list of permitted numbers specific to the phone to which calls can be made or received from, while emergency calls to 999 are always permitted. It also allows the policy to be enforced between certain times of the day or week.”

Leigh Stiff, fleet manager at Hannaford, is about to trial callcontrol and told Fleet News: “This system has the potential to be of great benefit to us.

For further details, visit www.obdedge.co.uk.

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