TEMIA Recommends Employers Update Mobile Policies and Enforcement, in Response to NTBS Call for Ban on Driver Use of Mobile

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TEMIA calls for employers to update mobile policy and enforcement as NTBS calls for ban on driver use of mobile devices for all calls and texting.


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The Telecom Expense Management Industry Association (TEMIA), the authoritative voice for Telecom Expense Management (TEM), Wireless Expense Management (WEM), Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Solutions Providers in related areas, is calling for employers to update their mobile policies and enforcement mechanisms.

This comes after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTBS), called for a ban on driver use of personal electronic devices (PEDs). An investigation into a 2010 highway accident with two deaths and 38 injuries found that a driver had sent 11 text messages preceding the multi-vehicle accident.

More than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in accidents due to driver distractions. A Virginia Tech study found that accidents are 163 times more likely if drivers text, e-mail, or access the Internet. The NTBS recommendation applies to hands-free and hand-held phones, and it exceeds existing state laws on texting and mobile phone use while driving.

Employers should not wait for government action. TEMIA recommends that employers review their mobile policies to manage risk in four areas:

  • Danger from use of mobile devices while operating vehicles
  • Acceptable use standards to limit company liability for inappropriate actions by employees
  • Data on devices from session hijacking, malware, viruses or theft of devices
  • Excessive spending

Gregg Smith, CEO of Proximiti Communications and software developer of CellTRAKR, a compliance management tool for companies, comments, "Companies are increasingly aware that if their employees are in accidents involving employee use of cell phones it is very likely that they will be named as a defendant in the lawsuit. This is particularly true if the cell phone is necessary for employees to perform their jobs. Therefore, it is imperative that companies adopt stringent policies. They must also consider if they have tools to reduce risks and insure compliance with mobile policies."

“For several years, we have been recommending that companies have explicit clauses in their wireless policy prohibiting ALL cell phone use while driving. We also recommend all users sign an acceptable use policy. This call for a ban on use while driving makes it more important to have the appropriate language and wireless policy whether it is a company with 2 employees or 20,000 employees. Not having appropriate language in a mobile policy exposes companies to significant litigation risk in the event of employee accidents while using mobile devices,” added John Perri, president of Comview Corporation.

“Bans on texting and handheld cell phone use while driving can save lives; employers should not wait for new laws before they act. Organizations need to understand that corporate liability for employees that get into accidents when they use devices while driving extends to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and individual liable plan employees. Employers need to institute strong corporate wireless policies with clear mechanisms to enforce policy,” stated Jim Elliott, telecom consultant with The Tellennium Group.

Leo Berz, director professional services for Telecom at Ecova added, “Proliferation and expanding use of wireless devices with proprietary data and client records require corporations to protect themselves. Employers may also be liable for employee actions from harassing calls or accidents while driving. Ecova recommends employers act to limit liability from wireless devices:
1) Ensure collection of devices with removal of proprietary data when employees leave the company.
2) Develop a comprehensive Acceptable Use Policy (with regular updates) to clearly identify inappropriate use of devices.
3) Develop a program that requires and tracks employees’ acceptance of the Acceptable Use Policy.
4) Maintain a complete inventory of all wireless devices with monthly updates.
5) Make monthly usage and charges available to employees and their immediate supervisors to help curb costs.”

TEMIA firms can help employers balance policy compliance monitoring with privacy concerns. In addition, cost savings can pay for the program by optimizing service plans and eliminating wasteful spending. Employers will see a solid ROI through updating policy, telecom cost reduction and risk mitigation with tools to monitor policy compliance.

The largest Telecom Expense Management service providers founded TEMIA, the Telecom Expense Management Industry Association, in 2006. Since that time, TEMIA has grown to 38 members with international corporate headquarters managing over $61 billion of telecom and data spend.

TEMIA's mission is to raise awareness and knowledge of the values and benefits of Telecom Expense Management TEM, Wireless Expense Management WEM, and Mobile Device Management MDM solutions, to improve the quality and value of these solutions through the development of open industry standards, and industry knowledge among Solutions Providers, business partners, telecom service providers, and enterprise clients.

Visit temia.org to learn more.

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Joe Basili
(973) 763-6265
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Joe Basili
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