Did you know that on a per-mile basis, teens are eight times more likely to get involved in a fatal crash in their first six months of driving than adults? Crashes on the road are the leading cause of teen deaths in our nation. Almost 3,000 teens die in car crashes in the U.S every year and 11 die from texting while driving every day. It is imperative that we raise awareness regarding the risks for teens behind the wheel as well as motivate them to be more careful.
In an effort to encourage teens to improve their driving behavior, Teens in the Driver Seat® – sponsored by Texas A&M Transport Institute – has partnered with Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT) to run the Safest Young Driver Contest for teens across the nation. By downloading the CMT-powered DriveWell app, teens will receive feedback on their driving behavior for each trip; in particular on phone distraction, speeding, harsh acceleration, hard braking, and cornering. The app will also allow younger drivers to compete on leaderboards and earn a variety of badges, making safer driving a fun and engaging experience. The best young drivers will get a chance to earn a variety of rewards, including weekly random sweepstakes drawings and grand prizes such as Visa gift cards, virtual reality headsets, and Amazon Echo Dots.
Similar safe driving initiatives have shown promising results in the past. Earlier this year, the CMT-powered Seattle Safest Driver contest garnered significant improvements in driving behavior. The top 25 percent users saw 35 percent reduction in phone distraction, 30 percent reduction in harsh braking, and 28 percent reduction in speeding. In a survey commissioned by CMT, 83 percent of respondents said they would be more inclined to limit their mobile device usage if it was tied a reward. These results show that constant feedback and rewards lead to improvements in driving behavior.
Distracted driving is a growing epidemic, with 36 percent of U.S. drives today having significant distraction, and teens are particularly susceptible to being distracted by their phones while driving. With the introduction of safer driving initiatives, like the Safest Young Driver Contest, we can help our teens be safer behind the wheel by making it a rewarding and engaging experience.