Putting The Brakes On Distracted Driving

By Josh Poulain on March 23, 2017

Putting The Brakes On Distracted Driving

This week we met with Global News in Halifax to discuss DriveCare, and how we’re changing the way people drive by using a simple strategy that’s been used by parents since the dawn of civilisation: positive reinforcement.

Drivers who use DriveCare earn points for safe driving behaviour and those points can be redeemed for cool rewards like coffee cards, movie tickets & gas coupons. By earning these rewards, young drivers are encouraged to leave their phone in their pocket and because of the way DriveCare works, they don’t have to do anything else. All their phone calls & text messages will be responded to, and they won’t hear a peep out of their phone to distract them.

Read the full article that went along with the TV interview:

A Nova Scotia company is hoping one small device can help put the brakes on some forms of distracted driving.

“Everybody knows texting and driving is wrong,” said Angus Poulain, CEO, Keeping Roads Safe Technologies.

“Everybody knows using a cell phone while driving is wrong, but it doesn’t have that bad social stigma yet that drinking and driving does or not wearing your seat belt or that kind of thing. So I think we’re just at the cutting edge.”

After three years of development – DriveCare is officially on the market. The device stops drivers from receiving phone calls, text messages and emails while they are behind the wheel.

Recent statistics from the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) show drivers who text are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near crash event compared with non-distracted drivers.

CAA also say checking a text for five seconds while travelling at 90 km/hr means you’ve travelled the length of a football field blindfolded.

Poulain said he came up with the idea for a device to stop people from using their phone while driving their vehicles following a personal experience.

“It came about because of an accident in 2011 involving two of my children,”said Poulain.

“They were hit by a car, the guy was texting and driving as he went through a red light. It caused a whole lot of damage and quite a few injuries.”

The DriveCare unit sells for $99 and is easily installed.

“It gets installed to a stationary object anywhere in your vehicle that’s close to the fuse panel. It gets held in pace with two zip ties to keep it steady,” Poulain said. “The red wire will get hooked into a power accessory line and the black wire would be just a ground wire. It takes a regular mechanic less than five minutes to install.”

Once in place, drivers will not be able to receive phone calls, emails or text messages until their vehicle is turned off. Notifications will be on the phone for when the driver stops their vehicle, to show them what they’ve missed. Poulain said four emergency numbers can be programmed into the device and 911 is always available for drivers to use.

In addition to stopping motorists from being able to use their phones while driving, DriveCare has a GPS function that can allow the owner to see where their vehicle is and what routes were travelled.  Poulain said the device can be set up to allow passengers to use their phone.

A DriveCare app will also allow users to get one reward point for every 1,200 kilometres they drive, which can then be redeemed for items like gas cards, movie coupons and coffee gift cards.

Distracted driving – especially the use of cell phones – continues to be a major problem for police forces across the country.

“Its extremely dangerous,” said Const. Will Diaczenko with Halifax Regional Police.

During the month of February, Diaczenko said police in Halifax issued 200 violations for people using their phone while driving.

“Driving a motor vehicle is a privilege, it’s not a right. It’s something that should be undertaken with a lot of concern for not just yourself but others around you.”

The company behind DriveCare said they have already started getting inquires for the device from across North America and around the world.

“It’s going to save lives, especially younger people that are used to the habit of texting and driving,” said Poulain.

“It’s an amazing feeling because this is the chance that a whole lot of people don’t get to do – actually make a difference in the world. It is a crazy problem, it’s an epidemic of global proportion of texting and driving. We’ve had inquires from all over the world, Australia, Belgium, everywhere.”