Data from thousands of trips and nearly 20,000 miles shows safe, responsible behaviors
As the U.S. observes National Teen Driver Safety Week, a group of teen drivers in Sharon, Mass. are challenging the conventional notion that all teens are a major risk class. More than 80 teens participated in the four-week TrueMotion Driver Challenge, taking more than 3,300 trips and logging 19,000 miles behind the wheel and scored an average of 93 out of 100 on overall driving and distracted driving metrics.
The participants, a mix of juniors and seniors at Sharon High School, downloaded TrueMotion’s mobile app that tracks, analyzes and scores each trip they take behind the wheel, using sensors in the phone and other data. TrueMotion assigns an overall safe driving score (which reflects speed, hard braking and time of day) and a distraction score (which reflects phone or app use while driving).
Nearly 30 percent of participants attained a perfect overall score of 100, while 75 percent of them scored above 90, meaning that the vast majority of these drivers hardly, if ever, drive distracted or at unsafe speeds.
Many studies have found distraction and other unsafe behaviors to be prevalent among teens, but TrueMotion is believed to be the first to measure actual teen driving behavior by tracking activity on a phone. In fact, the relatively safe behavior of TrueMotion Challenge participants maps closely to a recent National Safety Council study that showed a greater awareness of the dangers of distracted driving by teens.
In this study, more than 65 percent of teens noted that the distracted driving of others had put them at risk, and 25 percent of them felt their own distracted driving had put them at risk. Nearly 60 percent of them believe talking and texting on the phone is the biggest risk to teen driving safety.
“We set out to see if we could increase not just the overall awareness of distracted driving, but to see if participants would change their behavior as a result of incentives as well as the ability to see data about how they actually drive,” said Brad Cordova, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of TrueMotion. “The results show that teens have the capacity to be really safe drivers, but that incentives and continued awareness is critical.”
In an effort to learn more about the impact of taking part in the Challenge, TrueMotion surveyed the teen participants. Nearly 40 percent of respondents said they somewhat or significantly reduced how much time they spend on their phone, while 42 percent said they completely eliminated phone use while driving. Nearly 75 percent said that they are now more aware of distracted driving and will commit to do less of it, while 77 percent said they are more aware of their overall driving behaviors and will work to improve.
“The students in this campaign — and I trust many others nationwide — are challenging the traditional notion that assumes every teen driver is a big risk,” said Cordova. “At the very least, these results should be reason to evaluate the risk algorithms in use today.”
“While I am certainly proud of the positive and safe behaviors of those who participated in the Challenge, I hope the results can be replicated elsewhere,” said Sharon High School Principal Jose Libano. “I hope this campaign has helped raise awareness of the importance of being a good driver, and to put the phone down.”
Headquartered in Boston, Mass., TrueMotion brings the power of data and mobile technology to address the growing problem of distracted driving, which is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance claims each year. TrueMotion’s core technology platform enables insurance companies to distinguish between safe and risky drivers, reward safe drivers and help reduce the number of driving accidents. It offers TrueMotion Family (goTrueMotion.com/app), a free mobile app that makes it fun and easy for everyone in a family to track each other’s driving behavior and to stay connected while on the road. More information is available at goTrueMotion.com.
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