When distracted driving was suspected in several crashes that negatively impacted a growing roofing company, Garcia Roofing and Sheet Metal Inc., www.garciadidmyroof.com, in Louisiana, management decided to take action.

The story of Gabriel Garcia and his family is one of hard earned success and achieving the American dream. Gabriel came to America in 1987, seeking refuge from civil strife in his native El Salvador. He overcame language and other barriers to secure employment.

He went on to start his own company, which grew by a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 30% per year over the next four years.

After several vehicle crashes that cost the company in excess of $300,000, Garcia knew something had to be done.

He didn’t want to lose good employees to injury or death, or to discipline and termination. He realized that he would have to actually change the culture that could have been encouraging this dangerous behavior, and what they did, by implementing the ORIGOSafe system, achieved everything he needed, and moreover changed the behavior of his vehicle operators. They became safer drivers, better employees, and embraced the change.

What is ORIGOSafe? Put simply, it’s a technology developed by Virginia-based ORIGO, www.driveorigo.com, that keeps the cellphone out of the driver’s hands while driving and its screen out of sight. It is a fully integrated, patent-pending solution that requires drivers to dock their phone in order to start the vehicle. The ignition interlock system requires the driver to insert their smartphone into the docking station prior to starting the vehicle, effectively making the smartphone a secure, password protected second key.

Similar in design to a classic cassette tape deck, the driver’s smartphone is connected into the ORIGOSafe port and a green light appears indicating that the vehicle can be started. In addition to charging the smartphone while it’s plugged in to the ORIGOSafe, the user can still answer voice calls using Bluetooth and have a hands free call using a headset. However, the ability to send a text message is no longer available since the touchscreen and keyboard are completely covered by the ORIGOSafe. The system is simple to install and manage, giving employers peace of mind knowing their driver is safe behind the wheel.

Distracted driving is an increasingly deadly problem on our nation’s roads and highways. The National Safety Council, www.nsc.org, estimates at least 24% of all traffic crashes, or 1.3 million accidents per year, involve drivers using cellphones and texting. These cellphone-related crashes result in 3,200 deaths and almost half a million injuries per year.

In addition to the terrible toll on human lives, distracted driving costs society $129 billion per year in property damage and medical care. Companies with service fleets are especially vulnerable to these impacts. Losses ring up quickly when there is a culture of texting while driving among employees.

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