Distracted Driving

Funded by the Federal Highway Administration’s Exploratory Advanced Research program (FHWA 693JJ31750012).

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving led to over 69,000 crashes and sent over 30,000 injury victims to the emergency department in 2015. In 2017, for U.S. auto-insurance companies posted their worst financial performance in over 15 years, with nearly all leading companies suffering losses due to higher claims, with distracted driving from cellphone use thought to be a leading cause. With funding from the Federal Highway Administration’s Exploratory Advanced Research program (FHWA 693JJ31750012), we will seek to discover behavioral economic strategies, such as redesigning auto insurance discounts and employing “nudges” within usage-based insurance (UBI) programs. With UBI programs, drivers who adopt safer driving habits – as determined by in-car devices or smartphone apps that can capture driving data – can obtain steep discounts on auto insurance. With newer smartphone telematics apps, phone use while driving can now be factored into programs offering safe driving discounts. The objective of the grant is to translate findings from the field of behavioral economics to employ interventions that can be delivered through smartphones to “nudge” drivers to reduce distracted driving arising from cell phone use.

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