App drives your attention

I've always been interested in driving and technology, so when I had the opportunity to combine the two, I jumped at it.

Edriving provided access to their Mentor app for me to test. How would I measure up?

I installed the Mentor app on my tablet, as I don't own a personal cell phone. The app is meant to be used on a cell phone, but appeared to work properly on the tablet. It was just a bit awkward to put in my truck because of the size.

So far the app has monitored 42 trips totalling 11 hours and 675 kilometres for me. I have a good rating for acceleration, braking, cornering and distraction. I'm only average for speeding.

My individual trips are highlighted on a Google map and tapping on the listed events during the trip takes me to the spot on the map where the event occurred. An explanation of the event, positive or negative, is given.

The speed rating is a sore point for me because I do my best to follow the speed limit. The rating is not a fair one as there are two places in many of my trips where the app has the speed limit mapped incorrectly.

To remedy this, I can submit a notice of the error in the app and have my driving score recalculated when the error is verified and corrected. Edriving tells me that this process can take up to two weeks.

I've also been marked for an incident with hard braking and one of hard acceleration. Both occurred on city streets in normal traffic. Frankly, this surprised me as I was paying close attention to my driving knowing that the app was evaluating me.

Since my tablet will not act as a cellular phone, the app cannot evaluate my ability to leave the phone alone.

Over time, the app shows trends in how I drive and provides short video lessons that I can watch and use to improve.

I enjoy using the app and find it a personal challenge to have a trip rated great when I look back at what is recorded.

The app has two flavours, one for families and one for commercial fleets. In either case, if you are not using it as an individual, the drivers are monitored and the parents or company have access to the data.

I don't intend to discuss the pros and cons of privacy and monitoring by a third party; it's not part of DriveSmartBC's focus.

Aside from the possibility that the app could make you a better driver through self-awareness and tutoring, there are other situations where it might be useful.

If you are a new driver facing a prohibition or suspension volunteering to use the app or showing your improvement with the data may be a bargaining point to have RoadSafetyBC reduce the length of the sanction.

If you are an experienced driver, the data could be used to back up a clean driving record when you are applying for employment that involves driving a company vehicle.

If you are a fleet driver, you are subject to the hours of service rules, but may not have to complete a log book.

The app keeps track of the start and end times of on duty driving and proves that you are operating within the 160-kilometre radius of the log-book exemption.

Story URL: https://www.drivesmartbc.ca/behaviour/monitoring-changing-driving-behaviour


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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

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To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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