BACK SEAT DRIVER
Placing sensor in vehicle fuels new motorists’ behaviour: Study
New drivers will change their behaviour behind the wheel to get better driving scores when a wireless monitoring system is installed in the car.
Drivers in a three-month study on driving sensor systems said the experience was like having a “personal driving coach in the car with them,” said ICBC program manager Mark Milner.
“What we heard from drivers in the first pilot is that many of them found themselves moderating their driving behaviour,” he said. “They found that they were riskier drivers than they thought they were.”
Drivers with less than five years experience are five times as likely to have a crash than drivers with 20 years of driving, but more than 40 per cent of the 125 new drivers who had a sensor installed in their car in an earlier pilot said they improved their driving.
Sensors record behaviours such as speeding, fast acceleration, hard cornering and smartphone use.
The data is sent for analysis via wifi or cellular service and the service returns a score to the driver, often just minutes after the trip ends.
While ICBC didn’t examine the data for improved driving, the driver feedback was encouraging.
“They started to drive more slowly, (and) accelerate, brake and take corners more gently,” said Milner.
“They really wanted to get a good score.”
As an incentive to participate, volunteers were entered in prize draws for gift cards.
The provincial insurer will enlist up to 7,000 drivers with less than five years on the road for the next phase of the study, which will examine how driving behaviour changes and whether such devices can reduce crashes.
The new study will also record whether you use your smartphone while travelling.
“Driver data will be shared with ICBC so we can look for trends, the crash and violation ticket experience of the drivers involved, and we can see whether or not this system is making a difference,” said Milner.
The system will not relay any information to the driver while the car is in motion.
“The last thing we want to do is add any new distractions while someone is behind the wheel,” he said. “We don’t want the phone binging while they are driving.”
The new system, which has not yet been selected, is expected to provide quick feedback and tips for improving the driver’s score.
“I want them to get a score within five or 10 minutes, ideally,” he said. “We want it to be timely, just not while they are driving.”
While there may be a certain kind of driver who might try to get the worst possible score, it hasn’t happened yet.
“It’s not something we hope to see,” he said.
Reducing crashes is a high priority for the Crown corporation that now estimates losses of $890 million in this fiscal year, after running a deficit of $1.3 billion last year.
ICBC says new drivers are significantly more at risk of getting into a crash.
New drivers will have extra motivation to avoid crashes in the future.
Among the changes to ICBC’s business model announced in August is a move to driver-based basic insurance, where at-fault crashes are tied to drivers rather than vehicle owners.
In an effort to avoid crashes like this one, drivers in a three-month study said having a sensor in their vehicle was like having a ‘personal driving coach in the car.’
A new study shows that young drivers, like Brianne Darowski, with her father, Kevin, will modify their driving habits in hopes of improving their score when an electronic monitoring device is installed in their vehicle.
The Cell Control DriveID sensor records driving behaviour and delivers a safety score via a phone app.