As part of the Vision Zero strategy to eliminate fatal and serious crashes by 2030, drivers download an app that scores their behaviours and allows them to compete for more than $25,000 in prizes.
Boston has launched a “safest driver” competition to encourage better driving habits as part of its Zero Vision initiative, which aims to eliminate fatal and serious traffic crashes in the city by 2030.
The competition was launched by the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics and the Boston Transportation Department, in partnership with the National Safety Council, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT).
The competition uses a smartphone-based app to score drivers on their behaviours and enable moments of self-reflection.
“To achieve our Vision Zero goals, we need to work together as a community to change the culture of our streets,” said Martin Walsh, mayor. “Boston’s safest driver competition helps us have this conversation in a fun, innovative way.
"I invite all drivers in the Boston area to join this competition and be part of the solution to make our streets safer for all.”
In 2016, the city introduced the inaugural safest driver competition, the first of its kind in the nation. For the most active users of the app, the competition reportedly resulted in phone distraction scores improved by 47 per cent, hard braking scores by 37 per cent, and speeding scores by 35 per cent.
The programme has been replicated in Seattle, San Antonio, Rhode Island, and Oregon.
Since 2016 the city has also lowered the default speed limit to 25 miles per hour, initiated 12 neighbourhood slow streets projects, and implemented street redesigns to slow speeding vehicles and improve safety.
This year’s competition is supported with a Road to Zero grant from the National Safety Council and prizes are furnished by Liberty Mutual Insurance.
Boston’s safest driver app, developed by Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT), provides helpful feedback on the participant’s driving based upon five metrics: speed, acceleration, braking, cornering, and phone distraction.
"We need to bring empathy and respect back to the road and understand that our cars are not our offices or our safe spaces, but a large piece of machinery"
The app logs trips while in the background on the user’s phone, and the driver is alerted afterwards of their score for that trip, told how they did on the different factors, and provided with helpful tips to improve in the future. A goal of the competition is to allow participants to reflect on their driving behaviours and develop new safety habits.
“We strongly believe that traffic injuries and deaths can be drastically reduced if drivers simply paid attention to the road and slowed down. We need to bring empathy and respect back to the road and understand that our cars are not our offices or our safe spaces, but a large piece of machinery,” added Emily Stein, president of the Safe Roads Alliance.
“We love the Boston’s safest driver app and think it’s a great tool to make drivers more aware of the number of times they might check their phone while driving, and where they tend to speed on their commute home.”
Drivers from the Boston metro area are invited to compete for over $25,000 in prizes by downloading the app and practicing safe driving on the roads. Participants can download the app and begin to compete for the grand prizes of $5,000 each.
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