Do we drive more safely with an app?

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Do we drive more safely with an app that checks and rewards our driving behaviour? That is the question that brought about the new Belgian Motosmarty app.

Positive reinforcement. Good driving behaviour is rewarded with filmtickets, phone credit, discount at festivals. Such is the motivation of the Motomarty app. The young company founded by Maciej Myslinski and Mateusz Maj collaborated with the University of Hasselt and iMinds research centre to create an app designed to help young drivers drive safer.

The young Poles Maciej Myslinski and Mateuse Maj already have an impressive track-record. They came to study in our country, obtained a PhD from KU Leuven University and founded the start-up Digital Driving Pass and Road Vikings.
“Negative feedback does not work”

“In a bid to address inappropriate behaviour, young people today are mainly told what they should not be doing; this means they get negative feedback. And if we look at the evolution of statistics, that approach does not seem to work,” explain the initiators of Motosmarty.

“We hope to reverse this trend with the ‘Road Vikings’ initiative. Good driving behaviour is rewarded.”

More than 1,000 young drivers

The Road Vikings app can be downloaded by anyone with an Android phone. Over 1,000 young drivers have already joined the Road Vikings community.

The app monitors and assesses the driving ability on the basis of speed, acceleration, braking and distraction (due to using a mobile phone while driving for example). It combines this data to information relating to the nature of the roads on which the car has been driven. After each drive, users receive a score and feedback to help them become better drivers.

Drivers who stick to the rules score points. And in an attempt to curb macho behaviour, a driver who respects the speed limit on a weekend night wins more points than when he has behaved well behind the wheel the same afternoon.

Measurable impact on road safety

“We will thoroughly investigate their driving habits over the coming months. The better they drive, the greater the reward they receive. And that should have a measurable effect on road safety.”

Any minor drawbacks? Environmental factors have not yet been built into the app. For instance, suddenly braking for a pedestrian may be good for road safety, but not in terms of scoring points. Leaving the car behind to cycle instead delivers no points at all.

Watch here the report about Motosmarty in De Afspraak.