Safer driving behaviours are hard to sustain, but it can be done – Parachute

Safer driving behaviours are hard to sustain, but it can be done – Parachute

That’s a key finding from the first Canada’s Safest Driver contest, run by Parachute and supported by Desjardins as part of their commitment to Vision Zero road safety initiatives.

January 19, 2021 (Toronto, Ontario) –  Drivers who took part in Canada’s Safest Driver contest quickly learned how to improve their driving behaviours, and while some drivers found their improvements hard to sustain, the riskiest drivers decreased their dangerous driving by 30 per cent overall. 

From Newfoundland and Labrador to B.C., 582 Canadian residents signed up for the contest, which ran October 1 to November 26, 2020. Participants downloaded the Canada’s Safest Driver telematics app, developed by the world’s largest smartphone telematics provider Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT), that tracked five indicators of safe and responsible driving: speed, braking, acceleration, cornering and phone distraction.

CMT’s analysis of participant scores reveals that, for the first half of the contest, drivers overall improved their driving behaviours from a baseline calculated from their initial three days of tracking, but the majority returned to their old habits by contest end, notably in the measures of aggressive driving (speeding and acceleration) as well as phone distraction. 

A positive exception was for the highest-risk drivers who scored in the bottom 25 per cent who showed significant driving behaviour improvements for the duration of the contest with an overall 30 per cent decrease in risky driving behaviour. 

“From the contest results, we see that when drivers pay attention, they are able to be better, safer drivers,” says Pamela Fuselli, President and CEO of Parachute. “They slow down, focus their attention on the road and on their driving skills. We want to motivate people to continue these improved behaviours, even when they aren’t competing for prize money.”

Julian Piccioli of Ottawa, ON won the grand prize of $10,000 for achieving the highest overall score. Piccioli also won a $500 prize for the driver who scores highest on the “smooth braking” criteria, as measured from November 12 to November 26 and the $500 Early Bird Prize for highest overall score in the contest’s first two weeks.

“In order to score high in all the categories measured, the main theme for me was being a proactive driver rather than reactive one,” says Piccioli. “By not being distracted, by not speeding, by focusing on handling the vehicle, it allowed me to focus my attention on the driving task itself more than I had, before. I recognized where I was taking risks, before, that I didn’t need to.”

David Wakulich of Victoria B.C. won the second prize of $5,000 for second-highest overall score and Timothy Schewe from Nanoose Bay, B.C. won the third prize of $2,000.

Partners of Parachute since 2008, Desjardins Insurance is a strong supporter of the Vision Zero mandate in order to help Canadians stay safe on our roads. 

“It is great to see drivers rewarded for driving safely and for doing their part to keep themselves and others safe on our roads,” says Valérie Lavoie, President and Chief Operating Officer, Desjardins General Insurance Group. “But we must be vigilant when it comes to road safety. In order to adopt and sustain safe driving habits, we must continue to educate, raise awareness and encourage drivers to put down their phones, slow down and stay focused on our roads.”

Parachute is Canada’s national charity dedicated to reducing the devastating impact of preventable injuries. Injury is the No. 1 killer of Canadians aged 1 to 34, where on average one child dies every day due to injury. Through education and advocacy, Parachute is working to save lives and create a Canada free of serious injuries. For more information, visit us at parachute.ca and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Desjardins Group is the leading co-operative financial group in Canada and the sixth largest in the world, with assets of $349.9 billion. It has been rated one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers by Mediacorp. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. Ranked among the World’s Strongest Banks according to The Banker magazine, Desjardins has one of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry.

CMT’s mission is to make the world’s roads and drivers safer. Since its first product launch in 2012 that pioneered mobile usage-based insurance, CMT has become the world’s leading telematics and analytics provider for insurers, rideshares, and fleets. CMT’s DriveWell platform uses mobile sensing and behavioral science to measure driving risk and incentivize safer driving, while its Claim Studio reduces the claims cycle time with real-time crash detection, crash reconstruction, and damage assessment using telematics and artificial intelligence. CMT has more than 65 active programs with insurers and other partners, improving safety for millions of drivers every day in 26 countries around the world. To learn more, visit www.cmtelematics.com and follow CMT on Twitter @cmtelematics

Vision Zero is a multi-national traffic safety initiative, founded in Sweden in the late 1990s. It’s based on the philosophy that no one should be killed or seriously injured within the road transport system. Ultimately, the main goal of Vision Zero is to achieve zero fatalities or serious injuries on the road. In Canada, Parachute has taken the national lead to co-ordinate and share best practices among all the municipalities and communities seeking to improve road safety. On social media, we use the hashtag #ParachuteVZ to share information and encourage public support of Vision Zero.