Volkswagen Financial Services introduces SafeDrivePod in Germany
Not only is it forbidden in many countries, it also makes driving more dangerous: using your smartphone while at the wheel. Nevertheless, we all yield to the temptation from time to time. That's where SafeDrivePod comes in, a smartphone blocker that is being introduced in Germany by CarMobility, the independent fleet management company of Volkswagen Financial Services.
SafeDrivePod is a product of the Dutch company SafeDrivePod International BV, who launched the solution a few years ago and was awarded during the Fleet Europe Awards in 2016. The system consists of a small, coin-sized transmitter, an app and an online portal for fleet managers. The transmitter blocks the use of the phone screen. Hands-free talking remains possible. The hardware can be placed anywhere in the vehicle and it can connects to the app over Bluetooth.
The system uses wireless radio signals and a vibration sensor to detect if the vehicle is moving. If this is the case, the app locks the smartphone screen. Telephoning remains possible through a hands-free system. Navigation apps can also be used but they cannot be operated while driving. All other apps continue to run in the background and cannot be used. As soon as the vehicle stands still for more than 20 seconds, the screen is unblocked.
Good for TCO
"With the SafeDrivePod we want to set an example for greater traffic and driver safety," says Matteo Carlesso, Managing Director of CarMobility, "but the system is also interesting from a purely TCO perspective. Every accident produces costs that push up the loss ratio as far as claims are concerned. This is another area where the SafeDrivePod can achieve positive effects."
"We are very pleased that CarMobility has become our first sales partner in Germany and that we can pass on our experience from the Netherlands to another market," sais Paul Hendriks, founder and Managing Director of SafeDrivePod International BV. He added: "Many renowned companies are already using our system."
The fleet manager can inspect the data regarding the use of all registered SafeDrivePods in his company through the internet portal. When the driver enters the car, the phone will automatically connect to the SafeDrivePod and will automatically block the screen when the car starts to move. When the driver switches off the Bluetooth connection, he receives a reminder via push message and e-mail.
"We are not interested in unnecessarily controlling those driving company vehicles. Anyone whose conduct has been in compliance with the law up to now has nothing to fear from the SafeDrivePod. For everyone else, the system is a good opportunity to increase their own safety, but also the safety of the other road users," Carlesso explains.
Image: locked smartphone screen (SafeDrivePod)