BACK SEAT DRIVER

Plac­ing sen­sor in ve­hi­cle fu­els new mo­torists’ be­hav­iour: Study

The Province - - FRONT PAGE - RANDY SHORE [email protected]­media.com

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.

NICK PRO­CAYLO/PNG

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.’

— NICK BRAN­CAC­CIO FILES

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.

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