Sentiance and RAC helped reduce distracted drivers by 60%

Sentiance, which co-developed the Safer Driver app with the Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (RAC), has helped reduce distracted driving by nearly 60%.

Its Safer Driver app leverages behavioural science to change bad driving habits and reduce phone usage behind the wheel.

Through the app, 50% of users that received coaching reduced their distractions by almost 60%. Furthermore, 75% of users engaged with the focused-driving challenges.

Sentiance claims over 150 people were killed on Western Australian roads in 2020, with distracted driving believed to be behind almost 13% of these. To fix this problem, Sentiance and RAC teamed up for the Safer Driver app.

When building the product, the pair had to isolate the situations where phone usage occurred during a journey. It achieved this by collecting mobile phone sensor data to determine phone speed, rotational angle, and location.

Its mobile SDK and AI technology was then able to detect when a journey commenced, classify the mode of transport and predict if the phone belongs to the driver or passenger.

Once the data was collected, machine learning detected when the driver was physically holding their phone, as well as screen on/off and call start/end events. It then classified events into three categories: handheld calling, hands-free calling and texting and swiping.

This helps define phone usage distraction and can be displayed to the user as an absolute metric, informing them of the duration and distance they are distracted for each of their trips. It also lets them see percentages of distraction per trip.

After the distractions have been identified, the Safer Driver app can begin supporting digital coaching. Sentiance explained that to change a user’s behaviour you need to be able to intervene and track progress. Due to that, the app allows frequent engagements with users and digital interventions through  metric visualisation, feedback text, challenges and gamification.

There are two stages of the coaching – pre-action and action. The former is where people become aware of their behaviour and the risk, while the latter provides them with challenges to complete and get feedback.

 For the pre-action stage, the Safer Driver app displays detailed trip distraction detection and personalised weekly statistics, designed to help users become more aware of their habits. Customised coaching techniques are then given via smart tips, which are small pieces of text to give advice.

 As for the action stage, users are given challenges to complete, starting easy and getting more difficult over time.

It recently completed a 30-day experiment to assess the efficiency of the app. An intervention group of 182 drivers were given the full Safer Driver app and a control group of 86 were given an app without a behaviour change feature but with all the mobile sensing and distraction detection features.

The intervention group reached over 80% engagement in the first two weeks. On average users interacted with the app 34% of the time after a car journey. The biggest engagements were for the Week Details and Today Details screens.

Over 1,700  challenges were completed during the experiment.

In a case study post, Sentiance said, “The Safer Driver app and the technology behind it proved to be effective in changing people’s mobile phone related distracted driving behaviour. Clients can now confidently share the app with their users and actively take part in preventing accidents from happening (which should lead to fewer claims for insurance clients).

“What’s more, new app features can be added depending on the evolving needs of our clients. One example is to expand the coaching content beyond phone related distraction to other dangerous driving behaviours such as speeding.

“With Sentiance, the possibilities are endless and we want to discover them with you. Give us a shout and discover how you can positively influence the behaviour of your app users.”

Read the full case study here.

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