It should come as no surprise that an alarmingly high cause of crashes in Canada are a result of distracted driving. Over 100 thousand car collisions occur in Canada each year. Of these, at least 23% involved the use of a cellphone.
You might be wondering how we can reduce the number of collisions caused by cell phone use behind the wheel.
Here’s the kicker: the root of the problem may also be the solution.
We All Think We’re Great Drivers
A recent study found that 82% of drivers use a cell phone while driving. Additionally, drivers tended to text or use an app for 16% of their total commute time. When you add all of that time together you get 20 million hours of distracted driving that occurs in the Canada per day.
If we all think we’re great drivers (even though we’re not,) how can we improve? The key to improving road safety and reducing distracted driving related crashes is to increase driver awareness. Drivers need to work on becoming more aware of their surroundings and their behind the wheel cell phone usage. Luckily, the same device that causes collisions has also become the device that prevents them.
Driver Safety Smart Phone Apps
Newly released smart phone apps can now prevent, track, analyze, and report bad driver behavior. For the first time in history, drivers can obtain an accurate assessment of their driving behavior and learn how they can reduce their preventable risk of causing a crashing.
In the same manor that wearable fitness trackers give users accurate information about their health, smartphone-based driver safety apps give drivers accurate information about their behavior behind the wheel. After browsing many of the mobile apps on the market, we believe the following 9 apps offer the most for safety conscious drivers.
Unfortunately, TrueMotion Family is the one app we cannot review at this time. TrueMotion Family has yet to release their safe driving app, but it looks to be the most promising yet. TrueMotion Family scores drivers based on their risky behaviors and monitors improvements over time. The app tracks metrics such as the amount of distracted phone usage, the number of hard brakes, and the amount of time spent driving over the speed limit.
In addition, for concerned parents who want to keep tabs on all of their family members, TrueMotion Family offers an expanded map view. Parents can see the location of their children and tap on their icons to view driving scores, as well as, trip history. We’re absolutely in love with the user interface which appears to be easy and intuitive to use.
SafeDrive turns the objective of driving safe into a game. Even better, SafeDrive rewards you for avoiding phone use while driving. Simply open the app and click ‘Play Now’ before you start driving. SafeDrive adds points for the time you drive without touching your phone. Your points are added to your overall score once you click the button to end your trip. You can then reap the rewards of your good behavior by spending your hard earned points on discounted products.
The game really gets interesting when you invite friends to compete against. When you compete against a friend the app takes your score and weighs it against your friends score at the end of the day. The driver that accumulated the most points wins and the loser must forfeit a percentage of their points.
Milz is the newest app developed by the creators of SafeDrive. Milz is based off of the SafeDrive engine and works in a similar manner, but there’s a twist. Rather than incentivizing adults to drive safe with discounts, Milz incentivizes teens to drive safe with an allowance. Teens who download the app can then invite family members to sponsor their safe driving habits by contributing a certain dollar amount of at least $0.10 per every mile of safe driving. This means that driving 20 miles would amount to at least $2 and if a teen were to really play his/her cards right those family member contributions could stack up to a pretty nice allowance. Teens can invite multiple family members from grandmas to uncles to contribute to an even larger driving fund. While not yet publicly available, Milz will be earning teens a better driving record and a bigger allowance in the very near future. We love that Milz creates a win-win scenario for both parents and teens and we look forward to the apps release.
Kudos to Andrew Irwin, the young developer who created Drive Safe in an effort to build something that could benefit humanity. Like DriveSafe.ly, Drive Safe shifts your attention away from your phone by silencing it and auto-replying to incoming calls and texts. Drive Safe is easy to use and requires nothing but the push of one button to activate. In fact, it’s so easy and effective to use that it captured the attention of the Prime Minister of Ireland, Enda Kenny.
One Tap works much like Andrew Irwin’s Drive Safe with a few additional features. One Tap allows you to easily place your phone into drive mode with, you guessed it, just one tap. All calls and texts you receive while driving will be sent an autoreply. One Tap also lets you view your driving habit data with several statistics including the number of minutes driven, the average speed, and the number of distractions avoided. You can even add family and friends to compare your data with theirs. Are you a business owner with a team of drivers? One Tap offers employee versions of their app with One Tap Fleet and One Tap Community. Fleet and Community enable you to easily collect and analyze driving data for your entire organization. One Tap ensures your employees’ eyes are on the road where they should be.
Rather than track when you display bad driving display, Drivesafe.ly stops you before you can. DriveSafe.ly keeps you from texting/emailing on the road by reading any messages you receive out loud and auto-responding with an “I’m currently driving. I will get back to you later.” message template you create. There is a pro-version which gives you the ability to change the voice of your message reader or even auto-select the readers voice based off of contact gender. The pro-version is available at $13.95 per year for a single user or $34.95 per year for a family plan.
Drivemode creates a driving hub for you to easily navigate through your phone while still keeping your attention on the road ahead. Drivemode consolidates your music, navigation, and messaging all in one place with overlays so that you can see multiple things at the same time. It’s great having the ability to change the song you’re listening to while still viewing your driving directions. Drivemode also includes an easy to use swipe system so that you can navigate through the app without even giving it a glance. Additionally, Drivemode incorporates the ability to auto-reply to messages and choose from a selection of auto-reply messages.
Flo Driving Insights
Much like TrueMotion, Flo gives you instant feedback on how you’re driving, while you’re driving. Furthermore, thanks to advance features of “automagic trip recording” Flo automatically records your trips regardless of whether you open the app or not. Like TrueMotion, Flo creates a driver score for you based on your cornering, accelerating, breaking habits, etc. Good drivers rejoice! If your Flo score is high enough, Flo may end up earning you a discount on your car insurance. Like SafeDrive, Flo lets you add and compete against friends. The app steps it up a notch from SafeDrive giving you a 3D view of your trip to reference all of your trip data once you’ve finished driving.
Driving 101 takes an entirely different approach than any other app on this list. Driving 101 does not turn driving safely into a game and it does not police what you can do on the road. Instead, Driving 101 acts as your one stop news feed for road safety tips. Driving 101 offers fresh daily tips for safe, defensive driving. From preparing your vehicle for winter to emergency stopping tips, Driving 101’s informative articles are extremely helpful. If you’re truly interested in improving your driving this app is a must download.