Esurance, the direct-to-consumer personal car insurance company, is now offering its teen drivers a unique technology solution that can help prevent distracted driving.
Statistics show that traffic accidents remain the leading cause of death for American teens. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the latest distracted driving data shows that 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2011. An additional 387,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.
Esurance’s solution can block mobile phone calls, texts, email, Internet, and other smartphone applications while the car is in motion, keeping teens focused on the road, reducing distracted driving and helping to save lives.
Esurance customers simply download the free app, plug a small device into their car’s on-board diagnostics (OBD) port, and enter the settings for as many devices as they want to control, including laptops and tablets. Using non-pairing Bluetooth technology from Cellcontrol, the device is engaged when a car is in motion and limits mobile device activity during that time. It remains active in the background and usage is blocked until the car is completely stopped. Cellcontrol works with all the latest Android, Blackberry, and most Window® phones, and select non-smart phones. iPhone compatibility will be available soon.
Esurance is the only major insurance company in the U.S. to offer this type of distracted driving solution for its teenage policyholders.
“Distracted driving of all kinds is a critical problem,” said Robert Passmore, senior director of personal lines policy for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI). “This is a great example of how our members have led the way on auto safety issues. PCI has long supported efforts to promote awareness of the issue and technology is one tool that people can use to protect themselves, their passengers and fellow motorists from the hazards of distracted driving.
Parents can receive email notifications if a teen driver attempts to disable or remove the device, delete the smartphone app, or switch off Bluetooth functionality. The app also offers customized settings that can:
- Define what to block – texts, email, phone calls and apps are blocked by default, but users can enable calls via a hands-free device or headset
- Enable web apps – lets the user define which apps can be used, even when the device is in blocking mode, including music and navigation apps
- Block all but emergency calls – users can make 911 the only number a driver can call while behind the wheel
- Create a white list – users can also define which numbers the app won’t block
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