To win Seattle’s latest app-based game, you have to NOT look at your phone while driving, obey the speed limit, and smooth out your starts and stops.
On one hand, it’s a game. But it’s also a way for people to get feedback on how they are driving, something you rarely get after passing the driver’s test at 16.
The app runs in the background, so you don’t really need to do anything other than download it and sign up. You can then periodically check in on how you are driving and see areas where you need to improve (but not while driving, of course, or you’ll lose points).
The app was first used in Boston, and the city saw app users measurably improve their driving after installing the app. Speeding was reduced by 35 percent, and distracted driving was reduced by 47 percent.
The app also includes rewards for biking and taking the bus, which are the actual safest ways to drive.
Of course, the app only works on people who use it. And who knows how many of the behavior changes will stick for the long term? But it’s good to see street safety efforts aimed at the activity that holds the lion’s share of responsibility for preventing injuries and deaths.
More details from the SDOT Blog:
Using GPS and some fancy math, the Seattle’s Safest Driver app tracks 5 key measures:
- Phone distraction
The City of Boston ran a similar competition last year and saw the app’s most active users improve behavior, with a 35% reduction in speeding, and a 47% reduction in phone distraction. We know speeding and distraction are two of the top contributing factors to crashes, and behavior change is what we’re after, so these results are really inspiring. To develop the app, we’ve been working with Cambridge Mobile Telematics(the same team that worked with our Beantown counterparts), and we’re pretty confident Seattle-area drivers will do even better!
Step 1: Get moving with the app.
The app is free, and available for Android and iPhone.
Once you download, it’ll start tracking your trips – by car, bike, and transit (ferry, too!). You get scored for trips when you’re behind the wheel. Get feedback and tips on how to improve, and earn achievement badges. Plus, prizes – more on those below.
Residents of King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties can participate, but to be eligible for prizes, a portion of your trips must occur within the city of Seattle. Read all the fine print.
Step 2: Challenge your friends, family, & coworkers. THEN. BEAT. THEM.
Thanksgiving is just a few days away and it’s the perfect setting for a little safest driver throw down (in between discussions about football, politics, and the weather, obvi). Settle the age-old debate of who’s the better driver. Invite your friends and family to compete and see how you rank against each other in the leaderboards. While friendly competition is fun, traffic safety is no game. Through Safest Driver, we challenge ourselves and each other to make Seattle’s streets safer for everyone.
Step 3: Compete for prizes!
We realize it takes some carrots to incentivize good behavior. Thanks to our partnership with PEMCO Insurance – a company that shares our vision for safe streets – eligible participants can compete for nearly $15,000 in prizes, including a grand prize of $2,000. That’s some serious
There will also be biweekly prizes throughout the 8-week competition, for a variety of categories: best driver, most improved, least distracted, most transit and bike trips, and some random drawings. Plus, the first 200 people to download the app get a $25 Amazon gift card. Seriously, thank you PEMCO. We’re excited and grateful for your partnership on this!
So, what are you waiting for? Download. Drive better. Win.
Get all the details at Seattle’s Safest Driver.