Direct Auto Insurance Smartphone App Monitors Driving Habits

Risky drivingDirect Auto Insurance recently introduced DirectDrive, a smartphone app that logs driving data so that motorists can monitor their tendencies behind the wheel.

Unlike some driver-monitoring programs from car insurers, including Progressive’s Snapshot and Allstate’s Drivewise, Direct Auto’s DirectDrive monitors driving habits entirely through the smartphone (the aforementioned programs require separate in-car devices that track driving through the vehicle’s diagnostic port).

The technology behind DirectDrive is provided by DriveFactor, a telematics company. Such applications should catch on easily because of the fact that most Americans own a smartphone, according to Mac Fraser, the chief information officer at DriveFactor.

“For consumers, many are already familiar with the concept of mobile apps and how to engage with them,” he said in a statement. “There is no new unfamiliar hardware for them to learn to use. The platform is ready made for the consumer to engage with the product.”

But also unlike those aforementioned driver-monitoring programs, DirectDrive does not offer discounts on auto coverage if the app detects safer driving.

What DirectDrive does do, according to Direct Auto, is provide “a simple way to collect and review information about your daily driving habits.”

The application displays, in real-time, driving data including miles and time traveled. It will also detect good driving habits like “smooth braking” and “driving at lower speeds,” awarding points for such habits that will mean higher rankings in “leaderboards” with other DirectDrive users.

“Every driver, biker, pedestrian and police officer instantly recognizes bad driving,” Brian Hanrahan, DriveDrive’s executive sponsor at Direct Auto Insurance, said in a statement. “Good driving, on the other hand, is rarely acknowledged or rewarded.”

DirecDrive is available on iPhone and Android smartphones.

Direct Auto also announced a mobile feature that allows policyholders to pay their bills through their smartphone.

The insurer offers coverage in 13 states, mostly concentrated around the southeastern U.S.

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