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Meet Astead W. Herndon, Boston’s Safest Driver [Boston Globe]

October 6, 2016

This work week began like many others. I boarded an inbound Red Line train for The Boston Globe’s Dorchester newsroom, where I picked up a car and continued my mundane life as a mere newspaper scribe.

Yet by Tuesday, things were different. As you may have heard, I am no longer Astead Herndon, City Hall reporter. My new title is Boston’s Safest Driver. Feel free to address me as such.

My ascension was rapid. On Monday, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced “Boston’s Safest Driver Competition,” to be judged by an app that grades driving patterns in five categories: acceleration, braking, cornering, speeding, and phone distraction.

The app automatically tracks when a person is in transit — whether on a train, bus, car, or bike — and scores overall safety on a scale from 1 to 100.

Drivers can unlock badges for consistently positive performances, including some that come with kind-of-hip-but-not-really nicknames like “Flow Ridah” and “Look Ma, Handsfree.” One can also earn points for using public transit and avoiding the roads altogether.

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