New app rewards young drivers for safe trips

Technology

Teen Driver (Getty Images)

HOUSTON (CW39)- As part of National Teen Driver Safety Week, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute has launched a smartphone app designed to reward young drivers for safe trips.

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers. On average, between 250 and 300 young people die each year in car crashes in Texas.

This new app is part of their Teens in the Driver Seat program which was started back in 2002. They have worked with about 1200 high schools in Texas to encourage safe driving through their peer-to-peer program.

“There was a lot of evidence that peer-to-peer programs had worked effectively for things like teen pregnancy and teen smoking, but no one had ever leveraged that peer-to-peer dynamic for the leading cause of injury and death for our young people in our state and in our nation, and that’s car crashes,” explained Russell Henk, a senior research engineer with TTI.

As for this new app, it is called You in the Driver Seat. It is free and is available to download now on the App Store. It will be available soon for Android.

The app rewards young drivers when they make trips without distractions like using their phones or speeding. Drivers can earn points for safely driven miles, then the points are redeemable for gift cards from popular spots like Starbucks, Amazon and Chick-Fil-A.

“During the pilot test of it with a smaller group what we saw is a 65% reduction in distracted driving over the six weeks that we did the pilot test. So we think it’s going to work. It’s not going to be a silver bullet and save everybody that’s out there, but we hope it is a really nice addition to our safety toolbox,” explained Henk.

Click here to learn more about the app.

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