By Morgan Montalvo
Insurer USAA and the City of San Antonio are co-sponsoring a months-long competition to make safe driving pay off in more ways than one, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The S.A. Safest Driver Competition, said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, encourages motorists in Bexar, Kendall, Guadalupe and Comal counties to download a smart phone app that tracks five "metrics" or driver behaviors: acceleration, speed, braking, cornering and phone-related distractions.
"The safer you are during your drive, the higher your score," Nirenberg told a Monday afternoon news media gathering at USAA's La Cantera Parkway complex, "and the better your chances of winning some really great cash prizes."
Organizers are offering a range of cash incentives, from $150 drawings for simply downloading the https://www.sasafestdriver.com/ app, to $500 bi-weekly awards and a $10,000 overall safest driver grand prize during the contest, which runs from Jun 11-Sept 3.
The cash prizes total $60,000.
Art Reinhardt with the city's Transportation and Capital Improvements Department said similar competitions in two other U.S. cities resulted in significant improvements in driving habits.
"Both in Boston and Seattle, they had upwards of a 30-percent reduction in speeding, as well as nearly 50 percent reduction in phone distraction," Reinhardt said. "There is science behind the application."
Joseph Jamiel with safe driving app creator Cambridge Mobile Telematics said the app offers immediate post-trip feedback, and features that allows family and friends to compete as a group, or parents to track and analyze their kids' driving behavior. The app also assures anonymity and will disappear from participants' phones when the contest end, said Jamiel, a sales representative for the Massachusetts-based technology firm.
San Antonio's Safest Driver Competition is also part of the Vision Zero initiative, a multi-national project to reduce motor vehicle-related fatalities.
Photo: Joseph Jamiel, representing Massachusetts-based Cambridge Mobile Telematics, discusses elements of the San Antonio's Safest Driver phone app with local media.
Photo by Morgan Montalvo