Friday, January 24, 2014

Keeping Missionaries Safe (What Moms and Dads REALLY want to know!)

The Life of a Missionary is tough enough without the added potential for injury or death on the roads; the Life of a Missionary Parent is filled with emotions that include concern for the well-being of their Missionary.  Ask any Mission President about his most pressing and on-going concern and he’ll certainly tell you it’s the safety of his missionaries.  

In this, the first of a series of blog articles designed to inform parents about what’s being done to enhance the safety and well-being of their sons and daughters, we’ll focus on how technology is being used to enhance Missionary safety in the Alabama Birmingham Mission.

Not all missionaries are natural-born good drivers, and some are definitely a little less experienced than others.  Our mission has been piloting technology for the past two years that has already been found to have a great record for fleet operations in The Church.

The technology includes a windshield mounted box, an accelerometer and GPS which is connected to the car’s on-board computer.  It’s also connected via real-time monitoring by Church and Mission Headquarters and sends data that relates to each individual vehicle and evaluates each driver’s behavior on the road.  A record is available for each missionary to review their driving habits during their mission.  Good driving habits will continue after their mission too!

Called TIWI by the manufacturer in some places, but christened MOM (for My Own Mentor) this Driver Accountability Program monitors the three main causes of fatalities and serious injuries:
    • speeding;
    • not using seat belts; and,
    • aggressive driving habits such as hard turns, following too closely, and braking or accelerating too quickly.

Should the missionary driver behave in any dangerous ways, he or she is immediately reminded – just as a live Mom sitting next to them would – to change their behavior.  “Check your speed” is just one of a number of real-time verbal advisories designed to keep all our missionaries safe in mission vehicles.  This also helps missionaries to be obedient, responsible and accountable.

Additional features include
  • a proprietary database of posted road speed limits, similar to that found in high-end GPS systems, that alerts the driver to changes in speed limits and other conditions such as school zones and the like;
  • an alert system in the event of an accident;
  • vehicle trips and missionary car locations can be monitored at all times; and,
  • the co-pilot answers the phone when the pilot is driving.

"Of course,  TIWI is good for you! "

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