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The downside to advancements in smartphones is that distracted driving is one of the fastest-growing causes of roadway accidents.
In 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed and another 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle accidents involving distracted drivers. Despite laws prohibiting smartphone use while driving, at any given moment an estimated 660,000 people are looking at their phones while they are behind the wheel, according to the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration.
Smartphone accidents involving forklift operators are also becoming more common. Many operators believe a quick look at their phone or responding to a text while driving won’t distract them from the task at hand, but it can have fatal consequences.
A Solution: Hands-Free Devices
Still, smartphones are one of the most efficient and effective ways to communicate with forklift operators and other employees who are spread out throughout your business’s property. With a simple push of a button or even a voice command, anybody can be connected with anybody else instantly.
The problem lies with the physical act of looking at your phone. That split-second distraction can be enough to cause a collision with people, property, or physical structures like posts or shelving.
One simple, inexpensive solution that can eliminate these hazards and improve both productivity and safety in the workplace is hands-free devices.
Low-Cost, High-Value Solution
Many smartphone owners have Bluetooth hands-free devices already. The devices connect wirelessly with their phones and allow users to hear through an earpiece that fits comfortably in their ear.
A tiny microphone attached to the earpiece allows two-way communications hands-free so that wearers can concentrate on the task at hand even while they are engaging in conversation with their supervisor, another employee, or someone else.
Better than Two-Way Radios
Prior to the development of smartphone technology, many companies invested in two-way radios to create communications networks within their workplace or with drivers who were on the road or working remotely.
But hands-free devices connected via Bluetooth to smartphones have largely eliminated the need for this costly and complicated equipment. Companies no longer need to install antennae, repeaters, and other gear to facilitate their radio equipment. Instead, they can rely on existing infrastructure or simply invest in an inexpensive, high-quality WiFi router that does the same thing.
In many ways, smartphones have been both a blessing and a curse to businesses. But technology like hands-free devices can reduce the risk while enhancing the benefits while providing company-wide communications at an affordable price.