Distracted Driving: Tech Solutions for Tech ProblemsBy Jorge Ramos Zwanziger | Fri, 12/11/2020 - 15:29
Technological progress brings many solutions but sometimes it creates different problems. Adrián Turcos, CEO and Co-Founder of Social Airbag, saw a problem that technology caused in auto transportation: cell phone car accidents. “I realized that excess in speed and the usage of a phone were really important factors in [car] accidents, and because I am tech-geek I decided to attack technology with technology, to reduce the problem by looking at it from a driver’s perspective,” he explained to T21. Social Airbag disables users’ phones when they reach a speed of 15 kilometers per hour, with the exception of incoming calls and navigation systems. The innovation does not stop there, as the app can track users’ behavior by registering speed, hit-breakings, acceleration and sharp turns, explains Turcos.
The app’s design and the registry of users’ information generate an added value, as people can access information about driving patterns and times. This makes it a tool for optimizing mobility in cities. Turcos explained that the app creates a ranking of drivers’ best practices, which creates incentives for better driving. Technology becomes a solution for the technology itself. The app plans to start pilot operations in February 2021, to be officially launched in August of the same year. “This is done to use all the data we have collected from the vehicles, roads and drives for personalized risk profiles for insurance companies. Thus, offering better insurance policies that will be cheaper for safer drivers,” highlighted Turcos.
Innovation in this area could help Mexico’s insurance industry, which has a low penetration in Mexico. “Only 25-35 percent of vehicles in Mexico are insured, meaning that when a person is stuck in traffic, probably only one in five cars is protected. This should not only raise concern among drivers but also among pedestrians since road accidents are one of the main causes of death in our country,” Santiago Fernández, Executive Vice President of Vehicles, P&C and Health AXA Mexico, told MBN. T21 reports that, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, car accidents in Mexico have decreased. However, the severity of these accidents is worse.
Through 1Q2020 and 2Q2020, 5,067 car accidents were reported. “Car accidents are on the low. However, because there are fewer cars on the road drivers feel free to go faster, which causes accidents to be more severe,” Rolando Ramírez, First Sub Inspector of the Guardia Nacional, told T21. This is concerning as fewer people have vehicle insurance because of the pandemic. “[The crisis] has led families to prioritize their expenses. We have observed that a significant number of customers have decided to cancel their car insurance prematurely,” Fernández told MBN. Fernández remains hopeful that when lockdown eases more people will return to the insurance companies.