The Quest to Crown Seattle's Safest Driver Returns! [Yahoo! Finance]
Seattle’s Safest Driver participants can once again compete for cash prizes by downloading the app and practicing safe driving techniques, while challenging friends to see how they rank behind the wheel. The person who is deemed Safest Driver will win a grand prize of $5,000 – more than double the amount of last year’s jackpot.
The goal of the competition is to spark positive behavior change and build awareness around Seattle’s Vision Zero effort to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030.
“Through efforts like Seattle’s Safest Driver, we can change behavior for the better, build on our city’s safety record, and get closer to Vision Zero,” said Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Sam Zimbabwe. “I’m excited to see how I stack up against my friends and family, and I encourage everyone to participate. We each have an opportunity and responsibility to look out for ourselves and others, so everyone in Seattle and around the region can get around safely.”
The Safest Driver app, developed by Boston-based CMT, helps participants track a range of safe driving practices including rapid acceleration, harsh braking, sharp turns, speeding, and phone distraction. Once a trip is completed, the driver receives an alert with their score for that trip, feedback on the different factors, and helpful tips to improve in the future.
Data from last year’s contest show the app effectively convinced drivers to change behaviors for the better: the top 50 percent of users exhibited a 20 percent decrease in phone distraction and a 16 percent decrease in speeding. Distraction and speeding are two of the top causes of crashes in Seattle.
What’s more, among those who started the contest with a score of less than 90 – meaning they had the most to gain in terms of improving their driving – there was a 26 percent reduction in phone distraction and a 32 percent reduction in speeding over the course of the competition and for three months after it ended.
“Seattle’s Safest Driver is a great fit for PEMCO’s goals to keep everyone on the road safe, and we’re glad to be part of the competition again this year,” said Derek Wing, PEMCO Insurance communications manager. “As a locally based mutual insurance company, we’re passionate about helping our friends and neighbors practice safe driving habits and we were encouraged by last year’s great results. We look forward to seeing who will be crowned Safest Driver this year.”