Car Insurance Provider Enters Joint Marketing Campaign to End Distracted Driving

Close-up of cell phone buttonsAuto insurance provider AAA and WebSafety are collaborating to help deter drivers from texting while driving. The two are embarking on a joint venture aimed at AAA Northwest Ohio members. If the program proves successful, there is the potential for expansion.

CellSafety Mobile has devised a special cell phone application that disables a phone’s texting and web-browsing capacity once its GPS system detects a vehicle is moving faster than 10 miles per hour.

AAA Northwest Ohio’s CEO and president, Bob Walters, says that the auto insurance company’s working with WebSafety will help make driving safer for all motorists.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that as much as 20 percent of all motor vehicle accidents in 2008 were the result of some form of distraction. A distraction can be anything ranging from eating and drinking to personal grooming behind the wheel. Cell phone use, however, is the form that has garnered the most attention recently.

WebSafety CEO Rowland Day says the phone application is one way to help prevent distracted driving.

“Drivers who text while driving are eight times more likely to cause an accident than drivers who don’t,” says Day. “How many more statistics do we need and how many more lives need to be lost to prove that texting while driving is dangerous? CellSafety provides a way to protect all drivers from this deadly social obsession.”

From Oct. 19 through Jan. 19 of next year, AAA Northwest Ohio members will be offered the use of CellSafety at a discounted rate. However, the cost of distracted driving can be priceless if the habit results in an expensive auto insurance surcharge.

WebSafety has said that its technology has proved useful for companies who equip company cell phones with the technology in order to prevent accidents and maintain cheap auto insurance rates.

In addition to prohibiting web and text use while in a moving vehicle, the application can also be used to prevent texting while in school and send notifications if inappropriate content is being transmitted over the phone.

About Ben Zitney
Benjamin Zitney has been covering the auto insurance industry for the past 2.5 years. Before coming to Online Auto Insurance News, he produced an extensive company history of the 30-year-old California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and worked at the Cal State Long Beach Daily Forty-Niner as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.

2 Responses to “Car Insurance Provider Enters Joint Marketing Campaign to End Distracted Driving”

  1. Erik Wood
    15. Oct, 2010 at 5:23 pm #

    Real change on this issue is going to come from the end user – the delivery man, the car pooling mom, or the teen driver deciding to change their habits. From truckers to moms to teens that I spoke with on the issue of text and drive – there was one common thread. If presented with a Big Brother type lock down alternative, they will immediately seek “to get around it”. This does not constitute change on our highways. Selling software that is supposed to lock down the activity forgets that it is the end user (the driver) who will ultimately decide. Let’s change behavior and we will see those violent crash rates plummet…now.

    I decided to do something about it after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool called OTTER that is a simple, affordable app for smartphones. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our highways now and not just our laws.

    Erik Wood, owner
    OTTER LLC
    OTTER app

  2. John Pirro
    18. Oct, 2010 at 11:35 am #

    This is a good point. Just because states set these types of laws does not mean that they’ll be enforced or that citizens will understand they have been implemented with their safety in mind. A recent study from the IIHS actually asserts that overall crash rates remained steady or rose slightly in four states in the months following the implementation of texting bans. The organization actually put forth the hypothesis that texting laws might actually make those who continue to text lower their phones out of sight while doing so; in effect, the drivers may be taking their eyes off the road for longer, making the practice even more dangerous.

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