An Inside Look at Intellidrive, Travelers' Telematics Program to Encourage Safer Driving Behaviors
Wednesdays with Woodward Webinar
September 2, 2020
Distracted driving is a known contributor to traffic injuries and fatalities. A study conducted by Travelers in September 2020 found that more than a third of drivers (36%) reported shopping online while driving.
Technological advances, including Travelers’ own IntelliDrive smartphone application, hold great promise for encouraging safer driving habits. Ben Kotrc, Senior Data Scientist at TrueMotion, and Tom Torcia, Managing Director and Telematics Lead for Personal Insurance at Travelers, joined this episode of Wednesdays with Woodward to discuss the intersection of technology and driver safety.
Unlocking Smartphone Data
According to Kotrc, smartphones today are packed with sensors like accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers, which can yield detailed data about driving behavior. TrueMotion is harnessing this data to help understand how people drive and to help them make safe choices behind the wheel.
Kotrc shared that, on average, drivers are distracted for 10 minutes of every hour, and that in the moments before a crash, drivers interact with their phones almost twice as much as during other points of their trips. In 2020, during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, TrueMotion found that drivers substantially increased speed and active phone use behind the wheel.
How Does The IntelliDrive App Work?
Torcia described Travelers’ telematics app, which utilizes TrueMotion’s technology platforms. IntelliDrive is a 90-day program offered to customers in most states, which scores driving performance. Safer drivers may be eligible for 20% or 30% savings on their auto insurance premiums, while riskier driving can result in higher premiums. The result – incentivizing safer driving – is a win-win-win, according to Torcia. Customers have more control over their auto rates, agents are able to offer more competitive products and insurers can more accurately price risk, all while making roads safer for society.
Whenever an IntelliDrive app user begins a trip in a vehicle, algorithms answer a series of questions:
- Are you in a car? The application spends most of its time asleep but “wakes up” when it detects a change in location.
- Are you the driver? The app differentiates between drivers and passengers by examining which direction they turn getting into or out of the vehicle.
- How are you driving? The IntelliDrive program captures breaking and acceleration events, for example.
- Are you distracted? The app detects active and passive smartphone usage, as well as handheld and hands-free calling.
Depending on the state in which you live, driving scores can be based on:
- Time of Day
Promoting Safer Driving
To help encourage safer driving habits, Kotrc and TrueMotion dug deep into academic studies on behavior modification – the science of how we change our bad habits. It’s not easy, Kotrc shared, but small, frequent rewards as well as social comparisons (e.g., are you a better driver than your sibling?) have been shown to help people change behaviors. The IntelliDrive app now includes a new feature to compare the driving performance of each family member to promote safe driving habits, as well as gaming elements like distraction free ‘streaks’ that encourage users to put down their phones, and reduce distracted driving.
Torcia noted that because distracted driving is a dangerous and common occurrence on today’s roadways, many of the newer enhancements in the IntelliDrive program rightly focus on reducing distraction. The app not only gives personalized feedback on how often a driver is distracted, but also offers Travelers Institute® educational content from the Every Second Matters℠ distracted driving campaign.
Joan Woodward, President, Travelers Institute; Executive Vice President, Public Policy, Travelers
Tom Torcia, Telematics Lead / Managing Director, Personal Insurance, Travelers
Ben Kotrc, Senior Data Scientist, TrueMotion
Presented by the Travelers Institute, TrueMotion, the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council and Accion.