SOURCE: TrueMotion

TrueMotion

December 14, 2016 13:09 ET

TrueMotion Finds Possible Treatment for Distracted Driving Epidemic

Digitally delivered post-drive feedback and encouragement can modify driver's behavior so they text/talk/app less

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwired - Dec 14, 2016) - TrueMotion today announced that simple push notifications combined with a modest incentive reduced instances of distracted driving by between 14 and 20 percent based on a test with more than 1,770 drivers. The notifications, which make a driver aware of excessive distraction, through a personalized TrueMotion Distracted Driving Score, signify a new approach for reducing distracted driving behaviors. 

Participants were organized into three cohorts, each receiving varied type and frequency of notifications (weekly, post-trip, both, email, device message) regarding their levels of distracted driving. Those whose distraction exceeded a pre-determined threshold were sent post-drive messages alerting them of their risky behavior and encouraging them to reduce it. Participants who opted-in to the test installed TrueMotion technology on their mobile devices. Those who reduced distracted driving were entered into a drawing to receive a cash prize.

The study found that all three cohorts that received notifications reduced their percentage of time distracted by between 14 and 20 percent. The cohort that received the most alerts and messages exhibited the greatest improvement (20 percent reduction), while the cohort with fewer notifications still reduced distraction by 14 percent. Participants that did not receive notifications or messages did not reduce distraction at all.

"Distracted driving is an epidemic, and these results ought to give us all hope that there is an approach that can make meaningful and lasting reductions in how much people are distracted behind the wheel," said Scott Griffith, co-founder and Chairman of TrueMotion. "We plan to expand these tests of what motivates people to reduce distraction, but the early data suggests that awareness of distraction, coupled with encouragement and a small financial incentive have a significant benefit."

TrueMotion's mobile app uses the sensors built into smartphone phones (iOS and Android) plus data science to objectively capture how the phone is being used (in-hand, lap, mount, cup holder, etc.) and interacted with (phone calls, touching, typing, etc.) during the drive. The company uses machine learning and signal processing techniques to filter out non-car trips (train, bus, bike, etc.), and its patented approach identifies whether someone is actually behind the wheel or in the passenger seat.

Research from Virginia Tech Transportation Institute estimates that, at 55 miles per hour, a driver will travel about the length of a football field in the time it takes to type an average text (4.6 seconds over 6 second interval). In its quarterly report on distraction, TrueMotion measured distraction (defined as the number of minutes spent talking, texting or using a mobile app while driving) among a test group and found the average driver spends about 19 percent of time behind the wheel distracted by his or her phone. The first results of this ongoing study indicate the average driver is in fact not focused on the road for most trips. 

"Driving under the influence of a smartphone is putting millions of Americans at risk, and the most alarming fact is that most people don't realize they are part of the problem," said Griffith. "These findings demonstrate that we must continue to find a way to raise awareness of the risk of distraction through data-driven studies and provide actionable tools to drivers to help them change their behavior. Ironically, our study indicates we may be able to solve the distracted driving epidemic using the same smartphone technology that created the problem."

The most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) shows that 17,775 people died in auto crashes in the first six months of 2016. This number is a 10.4 percent year-over-year increase from 2015, is about 16 percent higher than at the six-month mark in 2014 and reverses a 50-year trend of decreasing fatalities. It is estimated that nearly 40 percent of crashes now are the result of some form of distraction.

TrueMotion is supporting the Road to Zero Coalition, a partnership between NHTSA, Federal Highway Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and National Safety Council (NSC). The Coalition is leading the charge to reduce fatalities from distraction through numerous approaches, including changing drivers' behaviors through technology.

About TrueMotion
Headquartered in Boston, Mass., TrueMotion brings the power of data analytics, machine learning and mobile technology to address the growing problem of distracted driving. TrueMotion's core technology platform enables partners to distinguish between safe and risky drivers, reward safe drivers and help reduce the number of driving accidents. More information is available at goTrueMotion.com.

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