Every summer, according to new data from AAA, 68 Texans die in motor vehicle collisions involving teenage drivers. Distracted driving accounts for more than a third of those car accidents. Next to speeding, risky activities like texting, taking calls, fiddling with apps, and browsing the web are common issues.
Vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of teen injury and death nationwide. “About 2,800 U.S. teens die each year in car crashes; that’s the equivalent of a school bus loaded with teenagers crashing once every week, for an entire year,” said Russell Henk.
Henk is the founder of Teens in the Driver Seat (TDS), a national youth safety initiative based out of Texas A&M Transportation Institute, and the developer of a new app designed to curtail distracted driving through generous incentives.
You in the Driver’s Seat App Pays Teens to Drive Safe
The premise behind the “You in the Driver’s Seat” (YDS) app is simple:
- Teens strive for a Driving Score of 100 by following the posted speed limits and staying off the phone.
- If the trip receives a score of 100, the miles traveled will be multiplied by 5 to award points.
- After 1,000 points, the driver receives a $10 gift card to Chick-Fil-A, Amazon, or Starbucks.
- Safe teen drivers can also receive gift cards up to $20 (2,500), $30 (5,000), or $40 (10,000 points).
- Three consecutive safe trips open eligibility for random rewards during contests and special events.
- Up to 20 All-Star points can be added to an account for referring 5-50 active users to the app.
- Drivers who do not earn a safe trip designation receive driving tips and feedback on missed points.
- 20 points are deducted for each phone call, text, interference with the app, or speeds above 80 mph.
Do Gamified Rewards and Incentives Work to Decrease Distracted Driving?
“We’ve long relied mostly on laws and punishment to motivate safer driving habits,” explains Henk. While there’s certainly a place for punitive measures, the statistics show this approach isn’t enough – particularly among young people who are accustomed to being on their smartphones all hours of the day.
While the app only just debuted to the public, the preliminary results, published in The Dallas Morning News, are encouraging.
- A 2018 pilot test of the YDS app demonstrated a nearly 70% drop in distracted driving by all users.
- The youngest and most crash-prone group saw a 65% reduction in cellphone use behind the wheel.
As Ben Franklin believed, investing in prevention is a lot cheaper and simpler than paying for treatment.
Were You or Someone You Love Recently Involved in a Distracted Driving Accident?
Angel Reyes & Associates supports the use of new technology to stem the tide of preventable deaths in the State of Texas and beyond. Just one death or serious injury to distracted driving is too many. If you or a loved one have been involved in a recent distracted driving accident, you can always speak with an experienced Dallas car accident lawyer at Angel Reyes & Associates. We offer free consultations and contingency-based care. (214) 526-7900.