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Boston Launches App-Based Competition To Encourage Safe Driving

The city of Boston is launching a safe driving competition using a smartphone app. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)MoreCloseclosemore
The city of Boston is launching a safe driving competition using a smartphone app. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

As part of its campaign to end traffic deaths, the city of Boston is launching a safe driving competition using a smartphone app.

The Boston's Safest Driver competition tracks five different behaviors -- like speeding and how much you use your phone — and then ranks users against one another, rewarding safe driving practices.

Between now and Dec. 3, the highest-scoring drivers will compete for $9,000 in prizes that are funded by the Arbella Insurance Foundation.

The competition is part of the city's Vision Zero Boston initiative — a program that seeks to end all fatal traffic crashes by the year 2030.

At the press conference unveiling the app on Monday, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said 23 people were killed in crashes in the city in 2015.

"Distracted drivers is one of the biggest risks that we have today, in large part due to cellphone use," Walsh said. "Boston has a history of aggressive drivers. I don't know if we're really worse or better than other cities, but I know we need to make sure that we bring change."

Brendan Kearney of the pro-pedestrian group WalkBoston says the app won't be a silver bullet, but it's another tool to use in the Vision Zero program.

"If this helps get the word out about Vision Zero and reducing fatalities and serious crashes by being more courteous about how you get around the roads, it's great," Kearney said.

The city says the competition will finish in mid-December when the safest drivers in the region will be recognized based on their performance. The grand prize is $2,000.

To be eligible to participate, users must live in the city of Boston or in the Metro Boston area. To start competing, users download the app from the Android or Apple app stores, enter an email address and ZIP code and then start driving.

The app was developed by Cambridge-based Cambridge Mobile Telematics.

Earlier Coverage Of The App:

Simón Rios Twitter Reporter
Simón Rios is a reporter in WBUR's newsroom. He joined the station after two years at The Standard-Times in New Bedford, where he cut his teeth covering immigration and business.

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