Regular Boston commuters don’t have to look all that far for aggressive and distracted drivers. But now city officials are on the lookout for a rarer breed — their safety-minded counterparts.
As part of an ambitious effort to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries, the city is unveiling a new smartphone app designed to combat distracted driving. Dubbed “Boston’s Safest Driver,” the program dings drivers for speeding or handling their phones while behind the wheel, and launches a safe-driving competition with more than $9,000 in prizes.
“Distracted drivers are one of the biggest risks we have today, in large part because of cellphones,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said Monday as he announced the contest in Copley Square.
Noting the city’s reputation for aggressive driving, Walsh outlined the grim consequences. Last year, 23 people were killed in traffic crashes in Boston, and nearly 4,300 were injured.
“When you think of a city our size, that’s a high number,” he said.
Cambridge Mobile Telematics and the Arbella Insurance Foundation teamed up with the city to launch the contest, which will recognize the safest drivers in the region in mid-December. The app is now available for download in Apple’s App Store and on Google Play for Android phones.
Cambridge Mobile Telematics, which donated its technology services to the contest, developed the app to give drivers feedback for rapidly accelerating, hard braking, sharp turns, speeding, and handling their phones on the road.