From local delivery drivers who need real-time route tracking to long-haul truckers who spend days on the road, companies and self-employed drivers rely on their smartphones to connect to the office, get directions, complete their work and increase efficiency.

At the same time, for business owners and fleet managers, safety is the highest priority.

According to U.S. Cellular’s annual survey, approximately half of smartphone owners surveyed use their phone while driving, with one in four not using a hands-free device. Law enforcement and government agencies are cracking down on distracted driving.

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The good news is there are fleet management solutions, simple mobile apps and hands-free accessories for drivers to help keep their attention on the road, get their work done more efficiently and save some money in the process.

Fleet management is an easy-to-use solution that lets businesses connect vehicles, routes, assets and drivers. A few of the many benefits include:

Each driver can enter time independently on the same tracking unit, eliminating confusion and costly billing mix-ups as well as reducing the number of vehicles and equipment needed.

Preset mileage alerts can notify of pending routine maintenance, eliminating unnecessary wear and tear on trucks.

Make it easier to track driving habits and dispatch based on geolocation so the technician closest to the call request can be dispatched, saving time and fuel, and keeping customers happy with fast, reliable response times.

More and more we see auto insurance companies offering apps and products that incentivize safe driving. Some companies are offering usage-based programs with reduced rates for drivers with safe driving habits. These discounts sometimes reach as much as 20% for users who show their impressive driving skills and avoid being on their cell phones when driving.

There are also helpful apps that can be downloaded that offer effective ways to safely get the job done while out on the road and possibly add some money back to your business’s bottom line.

Some of these top smartphone apps can help reduce speeding and hard braking, lowering maintenance and insurance costs. Others can be used while on-the-go to monitor productive driving, get comprehensive task information and metrics, and to verify addresses, scan barcodes and collect signatures.

Hands-free accessories, such as the Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth headset or the Ventev wireless car charging kit, let drivers make calls safely and perform their jobs efficiently to help put money back in their pocket.

Katie Carroll is business area sales manager for U.S. Cellular in Tulsa.

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