Braunschweig, 4 June 2018. It's a phenomenon familiar to everyone: even though the use of smartphones and other mobile devices is strictly forbidden in Germany while driving, drivers making calls and writing short messages are part of everyday life on German roads. The use of a smartphone behind the wheel is one of the most important causes of accidents. To counter this negative trend, particularly in the company car and fleet vehicle segment, CarMobility, the independent fleet management company of Volkswagen Financial Services, is now introducing in Germany the SafeDrivePod developed by the Dutch company SafeDrivePod International B.V. 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 still remains possible. "With the SafeDrivePod we want to set an example for greater traffic and driver safety," says Matteo Carlesso, Managing Director of carmobility GmbH, "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."
The SafeDrivePod consists of three elements, the approximately 5-cent-sized SafeDrivePod (hardware), the related app for Android and iOS devices (software), and a reporting system for fleet managers (server). The hardware is placed anywhere in the vehicle (e.g. in the glove compartment) and connects to the app via Bluetooth. The system uses wireless radio signals and a vibration sensor to detect whether the vehicle is moving. If this is the case, the app locks the screen of the mobile device. Telephoning is then only possible via a hands-free system. Navigation apps can be used, but they can't be operated while driving. All other apps continue to run in the background but can't be used. The integrated SOS function still makes it possible to send out a call in the event of an emergency. As soon as the vehicle stands still for more than 20 seconds, the screen is unblocked. The SafeDrivePod functions without GPS and therefore doesn't record any trips.
"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," says Paul Hendriks, founder and Managing Director of SafeDrivePod International B.V. He adds: "Many renowned companies are already using our system."
Via the Internet portal, the fleet manager can inspect the data regarding the use of all registered SafeDrivePods in his company and conduct the relevant evaluations. When the driver enters the car, the phone will automatically connect to the SafeDrivePod via bluetooth 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.
The SafeDrivePod is not only suitable for use in passenger cars, but also in trucks or buses. It can even be useful on a bicycle (e.g. for couriers). The SafeDrivePod costs EUR 2.99 per month/per unit.
Information for editors:
Volkswagen Financial Services are a business division of the Volkswagen AG group of companies and comprise Volkswagen Financial Services AG along with its associated companies, Volkswagen Bank GmbH, Porsche Financial Services, and the financial services companies in the USA, Canada, and Spain that belong directly or indirectly to Volkswagen AG – with the exception of the financial services of the Scania brand and Porsche Holding Salzburg. The key business fields embrace dealer and customer financing, leasing, the bank and insurance business, fleet management and mobility offers. Volkswagen Financial Services have a total of 15,770 employees worldwide – including 6,670 alone in Germany. Volkswagen Financial Services report total assets of around EUR 186.9 billion, an operating result of EUR 2.5 billion euros and a portfolio of around 19.7 million current contracts (as at: 31.12.2017).
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