EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — An insurance company and a tech firm are giving away $40,000 to the safest drivers in Rhode Island but to compete for top honors, drivers have to download an app that will track every trip.
The app for Rhode Island’s Safest Driver contest, created by Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT), measures several factors including speed, hard braking, acceleration and distractions.
“It essentially just measures in the background as you’re driving and provides feedback after every drive,” CMT’s Ryan McMahon explained.
The technology uses sensors that are already built into phones and then compares the data collected to data from other drivers.
Lynn Malloney of Amica Insurance said the goal of the contest is to cut down on drivers’ bad behavior, especially distracted driving.
“It has a direct impact on accident frequency, which impacts all of our insurance rates,” Malloney said. “We’re very concerned about our home state and road safety in our home state.”
Similar contests in cities including Boston and Seattle have produced almost immediate results, according to McMahon.
“We’ve seen a 30% reduction in phone use while driving, and that happens within the first 14 days,” he said.
R.I. State Police Cpl. Franklin Navarro works out of the Lincoln Woods barracks, and said he supports the contest.
“Out of this barracks alone, we handled over 4,300 accidents last year,” Navarro said. “The majority of those are front to rear, so those are completely – in my opinion – preventable.”
“Anything that’s going to encourage good, safe behavior, I’m for,” he added.
More than 1,200 drivers have downloaded the app, according to Malloney.
The contest runs through April 7, 2019. Participants are eligible to win in two categories: Overall Safest Driver and Least Distracted Driver.