State Farm app lets people use their smartphone to be better drivers

Posted by David Gomez

State Farm has released an app that teaches parents and teens how to be better drivers.

To most people using a smartphone while driving sounds like it would be a bad idea, how would that encourage safe driving? But today, State Farm is launching a new free mobile app, Driver Feedback, which transforms a person’s cell phone into a portable driving coach.
    
The app, which is available for iPhone and iPod touch, gives users individual criticism about their driving habits and then suggests tips on how people can drive more safely.
    
Research says that certain driving habits will increase the risk of a car crash.  The Driver Feedback app utilizes the device's accelerometer to gage three important driving behaviors which are: acceleration, braking and cornering.
    
When in use, at the end of each outing, the driver is given a score and a record of potentially dangerous driving actions. If the app thinks you are an especially dangerous driver it will give you tips so that you don’t get yourself and your smartphone killed.
    
Important features of the new Driver Feedback app are:

•    The ability to record trips and receive feedback on driving performance

•    A map illustrating where potentially dangerous activities occurred

•    The ability for drivers to compare their scores, or track the progress of an individual driver

•    A trip completion notification allowing a driver to send a text or email to someone when they safely complete their trip

•    Multi-trip average scores (up to five) to track progress

The Driver Feedback app will be useful for parents that are teaching their teenagers how to drive. It gives teen drivers and their parents access to helpful non-biased driving feedback (an insurance company gives unbiased advice? Since when?), to help families have productive talks about how to be a safe driver.

The app can also be used as a tool to determine a teen’s readiness to drive independently. As of now it cannot tell you how likely it is that your teen will wreck your car.
    
Seasoned drivers might benefit from this app as well. Research from the National Highway Traffic Administration has shown that hard acceleration, deceleration and cornering are linked to higher crash risk (duh!). The Driver Feedback app can help recognize problem areas, providing drivers of any age with useful tips to help reduce the risk of crashes. And from the sound of it, it might make driving a little less fun too.
    
The Driver Feedback app is available for iPhone and iPod touch and is free for anyone to download.  Information on the app remains with the user and is not collected or used by State Farm.
    
If the app is not available on your smartphone you will just have to learn how to drive the old fashioned way. Hopefully your dad doesn’t freak out and yell at your driving every five miles like mine did.