While a school bus tracker is said to enhance the productivity of the drivers and fleet, you can rarely control the damage when it is caused because of distracted driving.
Distracted driving results in thousands of fatalities every year. Although, there can be a variety of reasons behind the drivers’ distraction, more than often it is the cell phones that cause a problem. In many cases, drivers and phones are inseparable.
As much as they are an addiction, smartphones are also necessary for prompt communication these days. It is no secret that talking on phones is both distracting and risky. Despite laws against the usage of mobile phones while driving, people still tend to use them.
This is where hands-free technology comes into the picture.
With hands-free devices, you can lower the risks of distracted driving, while at the same time keeping in contact with the outside world.
Here is how hands-free can help you improve the journey
1.Enables a safe commute while talking on the phone
From Bluetooth steering wheel attachments that can help to play, pause, adjust volume and change tracks, to being able to talk to someone without the need to use your hands or to look at the phone and hands-free products let you drive and stay connected without risking safety.
Many vehicle audio/video systems are integrated with inbuilt Bluetooth systems. This can be connected or paired with the Bluetooth system on your phone to enable hands-free communication.
This can be helpful when the parents have to make an emergency call to the driver to inform him about the cancellation of the pickup or to tell him a change in the destination.
This way, the driver won’t have to waste a trip as he is also in the communication loop in real-time.
Advanced systems also have a caller ID option that gives the drivers the liberty to decide if they want to receive the call at that moment or if that can wait.
With the growth in technology, video Bluetooth systems have also come into the picture, through which you can watch a movie while in transit.
Hands-free not only enables you to receive a call but can also help you to place a call, without you losing your focus from the road. The latest phones, these days, allow you to place a call using the voice commands.
However, the usage of Bluetooth can be a tricky space unless there are proper rules set. It is important that you clearly define to what extent a hands-free can be used by the drivers.
In case the drivers have to send an important message or type out an email, ask them to pull over the bus to the side and then initiate the conversation.
Ask them to avoid personal conversations or long chats while driving. Give a strict no to watching any kind of video onboard the bus. Visuals can be a big distraction for drivers.
It is also important that the driver is at the top of his game when hands-free is concerned. The main point of having a hands-free aboard is that the driver doesn’t take his eyes off the roads.
But if he doesn’t know the control buttons, he will keep fiddling around trying to figure out what switch represents which function.
Hence, train them beforehand. Also, advise them to pull over in case there is any confusion.
2.Reduces distracted driving
According to the National Safety Council, there are three basic requirements for staying safe while driving: keep your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and your mind on driving.
Most behind the wheel say that the act of calling is not that distracting as is the fact that they are probably missing out on something important.
With hands-free technology, drivers are in control of who can contact them and who they want to engage in a conversation with.
As a result, they are not in the know-nothing zone and can make decisions that they think can help them better concentrate on the road.
3.Helps the drivers in navigation
Most of us today rely on the navigation to get to our destination. Looking at the phone constantly, trying to figure out a way between the lanes can be a messy and a very distracting job.
A hands-free allows you to get the voice-command of your navigation, right into your ear. Most Bluetooth systems come with inbuilt GPS technology that displays a map on a large screen in the vehicle and booms the directions from the speakers.
4.Provides a channel for immediate feedback
With hands-free technology, school management can be in direct touch with the drivers. As a result, there can be an instant response in case there is a problem or mishap.
The management can also guide the drivers as they find their way out of the streets.
5.Helps the drivers to relax
Driving can be a daunting task. It requires a great amount of mental effort and can be a physical exertion to the body.
A little music can help the drivers de-stress.
While most vehicles do have a music system on board, the Bluetooth-powered music system allows the drivers to make their playlist from their phones.
They can also boom the music on loudspeakers on the bus so that the kids can enjoy too.
A little chatter can also help drivers combat drowsiness. While it is always recommended that the drivers be asked to move off the road in case they feel they are sleepy, a small conversation can help them get freshened up.
6.Ultimately, let the driver decide
Distractions and attention work differently for everybody. Hence, eventually, let the drivers decide if they want to use a hands-free device.
If they feel that the Bluetooth is adding to the stress in their brain and they cannot concentrate on the roads, leave it on them to make the choice.
After all, what you need ultimately, is a safe and risk-free travel.
Integrating Bluetooth devices in the fleet does not imply that your travel is risk-free from an accident or unsafe driving. Sometimes drivers on hands-free tend to go with the flow of communication and ignore notice exits, red lights, stop signs, and other cues relevant to driving.
You must train the drivers to always keep their eyes on the road and drive with complete attention.
Another easier way to keep the drivers in check is to integrate the fleet with a good-quality GPS tracker. The monitoring software equipped with all the above-mentioned benefits, also allows the management to keep a track on the drive as well as the driver in real-time.
The inbuilt camera lets you know if the driver is using hands-free for his convenience or only when necessary. It also gives you insights on instances whene the driver seems distracted or is indulging in bad driving practices.
When you can get the best of both worlds — safety as well as connectivity — with a school bus GPS tracking software, why think twice before investing in this solution?