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The Smartphone + Car ‘Trifecta’: Safety, Fun & Insurance Rewards

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Distracted driving is a completely preventable peril that’s impacting drivers of all ages and levels of experience. It accounts for approximately 25 percent of all motor vehicle crash fatalities, with teen drivers being the largest demographic to report being distracted at the time of a fatal collision. For parents, this can be an especially scary statistic as their teenage children get behind the wheel. 

It also has real effects on the cost of insurance premiums, which are already highest among teenage drivers. 

According to a recent survey of global insurers conducted by insurance telematics company, The Floow, more than one-third of U.S.-based insurers believe that distracted driving will be one of the greatest factors leading to increased insurance premiums over the next two years.

Smartphones aren’t going away—in fact, the “infotainment” options that automakers and smartphone service providers are developing will likely increase the ways our mobile devices relate to our time spent in transit. So how can insurance companies, parents, and drivers stay safe without eliminating the fun, education, and other opportunities for advertisers and users? 

We asked our CEO, Susan Spradley, to share how to create what she calls the perfect trifecta between automakers, tech companies and insurance providers that balances opportunity with safety. 

How can tech developers, automakers and insurance companies work together for the best outcome for each other, drivers and passengers? 

Let’s put it into context: The U.S. is tracking to have a smartphone audience of 236.8 million by next year and there are approximately 222 million licensed drivers in the same space. This degree of overlap requires: 1) automakers who can provide safe “infotainment” interaction by limiting driver interaction with the system; 2) technology companies who can further eliminate “hands-on” use of phones in the driver area; and 3) insurance companies who provide incentives for customers who introduce and use these safety solutions in their daily lives. This is the ultimate trifecta in keeping drivers and passengers safe. 

This does not mean that the in-vehicle experience should be boring with zero phone interactions. It means that drivers should be equipped with the necessary tools to focus on the road while passengers are able to enjoy all the infotainment benefits an automaker can provide.

With more teens who own smart mobile devices getting behind the wheel, what reliable safety measures can Motion Intelligence provide?

Motion Intelligence’s distracted-driving solution is not an “opt-in” or voluntary service that can be turned on and off at will. We don’t think it makes sense to choose safety one day and not another. Our product ensures teens are consistently protected every time they climb into the driver seat. Our technology instantly detects all smart devices in the driver-seat area and disables the screen from use (other than voice commands and those apps that a parent or guardian may wish to allow, such as navigation). Many apps on the market provide a way to protect your teen . . . as long as she does not immediately disable the app to text her friends. Our solution provides precise management of a driver’s phone screen without the opt-out options that render other measures ineffective.

What has been the current response of insurance providers to distracted driving and what are some ways tech can aid families in keeping premiums as low as possible?

We are pleased to see insurance companies encouraging their customers to take a “no texting” pledge. Some are going further and have provided no texting apps to encourage safe use of smartphones in the car. Unfortunately, the number of distracted-driving incidents are continuing to increase, and insurance rates are following suit to cover the costs. Technologies that detect potential distraction and block “hands-on” phone use behind the wheel are, therefore, readily endorsed by most insurance companies.

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