VGM offering cell blocking service to employees, members - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

The VGM Group offering cell blocking service to employees, members

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Each year, thousands of Americans are killed from distracted driving.  Many times, the distraction comes from cell phones.  All year, we're going to remind you to "text later".  Now, one large eastern Iowa company is working to prevent its employees from getting distracted behind the wheel.        

Dale Wilson spends a lot of time on the road for his job with The VGM Group in Waterloo.  And he admits at times, it's been easy to let his cell phone become a distraction. 

"We've all done that, answered emails, texts while we were driving," Wilson said.

But that's not a problem for Wilson anymore.  That's because he's taking advantage of a new mobile application The VGM Group is offering to employees, their families, and the company's member locations.  When they sign up, the software can be customized to block phone functions using GPS to determine when the phone is in motion.

"An administrator can determine what applications will not come through to that phone when the phone is moving along the road.  So for example, you can set it that once the phone is moving more than 10 miles per hour down the road, it cannot receive texts, it cannot receive emails, Facebook, Twitter.  You can determine which applications to turn off," said Paul DiMarco, vice president of marketing with The VGM Group.

And once the vehicle stops for a designated amount of time, phone calls and emails start coming through again.  The main goal is to keep employees safe behind the wheel.  And there are added benefits for the employer. 

"It's not necessarily going to reduce your premiums from an insurance standpoint, but it definitely shows it will reduce the opportunity to get in an accident which will help everybody," DiMarco said.

Bottom line—it's a simple program that can keep drivers focused on the road, by avoiding what can be a deadly distraction.

VGM can't force employees and members to sign up for the mobile app.  But VGM and its members can require them to sign company cell phone use policies, which ask that they have the app if they will be communicating with the office from a cell phone.

Last fall, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended all cell phone activity be banned while driving.  So VGM wanted to implement technology to block cell phone activity so that it's ahead of any new legislation that might be enacted to completely ban cell phone use in cars.

KWWL is partnering with public officials and law enforcement to start an awareness campaign called TXT L8R. We're encouraging everyone to put down their phones while driving and make a commitment to text later. To make a public pledge and encourage your friends to do the same, visit www.KWWL.com/TXTL8R.

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