Progressive in trilateral partnership studying distracted driving

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Progressive, TrueMotion and Penn Medicine have announced a partnership in which the three entities will investigate strategies to reduce distracted driving.

Users of Progressive's Snapshot app, which is built on TrueMotion's platform, will be invited to opt into the study, which will entail sending "nudges" aimed at reducing distractions while behind the wheel. These include silencing notifications while driving and offering financial incentives for putting down the phone.

The partnership grew out of a $1.84 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration to Penn Medicine. The organizations will see if these "nudges" can work in changing consumer behavior, which is increasingly affecting insurers' bottom lines: A 16% increase in auto insurance rates since 2011 has been tied to distracted driving, according to the NAIC.

"Distracted driving is a national epidemic that's vastly underreported. Activities that cause distracted driving – such as handheld cellphone use – are illegal in many states, yet it still happens every day," said Dr. Kit Delgado, assistant professor of Emergency Medicine and Epidemiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and lead researcher on the project. "The research study with TrueMotion and Progressive is designed to understand how we can reduce distracted driving across various demographic segments. We've assembled a team with expertise in behavioral economics and behavioral design, traffic safety, statistics, and epidemiology to assess the effectiveness of distracted driving interventions."

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