The Problem

Nearly 500 people lost their lives on Oregon roads in 2016. These losses erased a decade of progress in reducing fatal and serious injury crashes. Why? What changed? It wasn’t the road, it wasn’t emergency response and it wasn’t law enforcement. The leading contender: lane departure. The most likely reason for that: distracted driving. Southern Oregon University calls it “an epidemic.” (See our Epidemic Infographic) On average each day in the United States, more than 8 people are killed and 1,161 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Yearly that adds up to 420,000 injuries and 3,100 deaths from people texting, reading emails, or engaging in other distracted behaviors while driving.

The Answer

A dedicated group of Oregonians came up with a plan to stop the increase in driving related fatalities by reducing distracted driving. It’s ambitious. It’s huge, it’s never been done before, and it will take all of us to make it work. Will you help?

Starting September 1, groups can sign up and compete with other groups to see who is Oregon’s safest driver. Participating organizations will sign up and then create a special DriveHealthy portal account used to invite drivers to install the LifeSaver App and participate as driving members of that organization or group.

When you download the app, you’ll pick the organization you are a part of, then the app will begin scoring you based on whether you unlock your phone while driving. Less unlocking means a higher score. We’ll post the scores which are reset each month. Not only drivers be able to see who the safest drivers are, but also how their behavior has changed.

The organizations can be anything: a group from a school, community group, church, or a whole town. Can individuals within a family compete? You bet!

Why are we doing it this way?

  • We gamify healthy driving by providing immediate feedback on safe driving behavior and creating competition to see which group can drive more safely—combining peer pressure with the presence of an app silently watching behavior.
  • Research by AT&T found that people are likely to change behavior if they just connect with five of their closest friends, family, or colleagues.
  • Immediate feedback does change behavior (think of the signs that tell you how fast you are going). Feedback on how safe you are driving will do the same thing.
  • The American Medical Association finds that social media creates endorphins. This leads to addictive behavior the National Institutes of Health calls Internet Addiction Disorder. The AT&T research found that addiction does not stop behind the wheel. 75% of Oregonians admitted to driving distracted. What’s the best way to fight endorphin-causing behavior? Replace it with another endorphin-causing behavior.

Cognitive Neuroscientist Ian Robertson says “success and failure shapes us more powerfully than genetics and drugs.” The desire to win can be an effective counter to the pleasure derived from using social media while driving. It’s called “gamification,” and we feel this is a very powerful tool in the distracted driving arena. The recent Boston’s Safest Driver competition discovered phone distraction dropped by 47 percent. We hope Oregon’s DriveHealthy campaign will see similar results.

Want to learn about how DriveHealthy’s LifeSaver app works?

Go to our Frequently Asked Questions page.