A cellphone used as a dash cam paired with a driver safety app is helping users implement safer driving behavior, data from Driver Technologies Inc. shows.
The New York company's Driver mobile app allows a cellphone to be used as a dash cam by recording trips. It also offers safety features such as visual and audio alerts when the vehicle is in danger of a potential forward collision and when the driver becomes drowsy or distracted.
Driver Technologies analyzed data from 17,000 drivers using the app for 20 hours to show how it improved safe-driving behavior over time. While using the app, users were 11 times less likely to speed, four times less likely to run stop signs, three times less likely to tailgate and three times less likely to brake hard, the company said.
Nine people in the U.S. die daily from crashes that involve a distracted driver, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"More than 3,000,000 vehicle accidents in the U.S. involve phone use every year, and our mission is to take the phone out of driver's hands and instead put it to a better purpose — providing the technology to make them safer drivers," Rashid Galadanci, CEO and co-founder of Driver Technologies, said in a statement.
The app can be particularly beneficial for those driving older cars without advanced safety technology, and it adds to the features newer cars already have, Galadanci told Automotive News. The average vehicle in the U.S. is 12.2 years old, according to S&P Global Mobility.
Galadanci said he didn't set out to prove that the app yielded safer drivers. But while building the app's coaching program that assigns users a driver score based on their behaviors, he found that higher app use correlated with better driving.
"And we were like, 'That's it.' That's a beautiful outcome," he said.
Safe driving interventions often have an immediate positive effect because users think harder about their driving, Galadanci said. The coaching technology allows drivers to look at old trips and note bad habits they repeatedly exhibited.
Some have said that personal dash cams can also serve as a "silent witness" in law enforcement interactions and reduce unjust or profiled traffic stops.
The Driver app uses road, road safety and road risk information to understand current infrastructure. It uses crowdsourced road segment data to measure traffic density and plot objects such as signs and stoplights, according to its website.
Driver Technologies Inc. is based in New York. This story has been updated to correct the city where it is located.