Lloyd Pest Control hosts ‘CellFreeZonia’ to reinforce phone policies to company drivers

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July 1, 2024

A recent survey found 85 percent of business executives are concerned about employees’ use of mobile technology while driving – an eight percent increase from a year ago.

To separate from this growing national trend, Lloyd Pest Control, based in San Diego, put its team members behind the wheel – or on three wheels to be exact – to reinforce the company’s decision to ban the use of both handheld and hands-free devices while driving a company vehicle.

At the company’s annual training events in San Diego and Riverside, Calif., all team members participated in the Lloyd Pest Control Grand Prix of CellFreeZonia. Staff were divided into eight teams and tasks with completing two laps navigating the grand prix style racecourse and riding adult-sized tricycles. The course featured ‘street’ names like Bait Station Parkway and Right Address Avenue.

Photo courtesy of Lloyd Pest Control

Photo courtesy of Lloyd Pest Control

On the first lap, a smartphone with wired earphones was mounted on the handlebar and riders communicated via text and phone call with a ‘home office’ representative.
Over the phone, team members were given instructions such as finding a certain address, repeating back the code they received in a text or going to a bait station while avoiding obstacles and distractions, including playground balls in the street near the Kids at Play Zone and life-sized animals in the Wildlife Crossing zone.

Photo courtesy of Lloyd Pest Control

Photo courtesy of Lloyd Pest Control

On the second lap, Lloyd Pest Control removed the phone distraction from the equation, and instead, team members were given ‘route’ instructions ahead of time. Both races were timed, and scores were recorded for each rider. Time penalties were added for incorrectly following instructions or colliding with obstacles.

The company found the second laps to be almost 30 percent faster than the first. Additionally, much less penalty time was added to riders’ scores during the second lap.

“The goal of CellFreeZonia was to address a serious topic in a fun and engaging way,” Efrain Velasco, Lloyd Pest Control’s technical director and one of the racecourse designers, said. “We wanted to show the ‘the fallacy of multi-tasking’ while behind the wheel and how even the slightest distraction could lead to a dangerous outcome.”

Lloyd President Scott Crowley said the event emphasized the reality that cell phones subtract from performance.

Photo courtesy of Lloyd Pest Control

Photo courtesy of Lloyd Pest Control

“Our team members had a really great time on the course, except when they were struggling to juggle the phone calls and assigned tasks while trying to race a tricycle,” Crowley said. “We knew we needed to do something dramatic to raise awareness to the hazard of distracted driving.”

Lloyd Pest Control’s management team, including CEO Jamie Ogle, understand measuring the impact of banning handheld and hands-free devices will take time, but early indication show it’s working.

“Our preventable accidents are already down almost 25 percent year-to-date since we adopted the cell free policy,” Ogle said. “Cell phones have become a way of life for many of us and we feel compelled to stay connected. The truth is, however, that our brains cannot handle two tasks simultaneously that require thinking. None of us want to explain that my call or text caused a serious injury or death of someone’s loved one. This risk just isn’t worth it.”

Lloyd Pest Control is a third-generation family-owned and operated company which provides pest management services to home and business owners across Southern California.

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About the Author

Julia was an intern at North Coast Media, PMP's parent company, during summer 2024 where she contributed as a writer. Julia studies Multimedia Journalism and Political Science at Loyola University Chicago.

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