Smartphone app records infractions such as speeding, hard braking and picking up the phone. (ICBC)

ICBC starts sign-up for new driver smartphone pilot project

‘Techpilot’ device records speed, braking, distractions

The Insurance Corp. of B.C. has opened registration for its “Techpilot” program, where up to 7,000 inexperienced drivers can test a smartphone-based training device that measures their risky habits.

The program begins this fall, after ICBC insurance rates go up in September for new drivers as part of the B.C. government’s overhaul of its deficit-plagued vehicle insurance system. The system uses a smartphone app to record speeding, braking patterns and level of distracted driving to produce an overall score.

Participants need a smartphone and data plan, and combined driving experience with new driver and full licence of less than four years. Pilot project drivers are eligible for gift cards from popular retailers, increasing with good safety scores.

ICBC estimates that new drivers are more than three times more likely to get into a crash than experienced drivers, and their accidents are more likely to be serious.

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“This Techpilot project will enable us to better understand the role that technology can play in reducing crashes for inexperienced drivers,” ICBC president Nicolas Jiminez said.

Soaring accident rates and injury payouts have prompted sweeping changes, including speed cameras that began to be activated at high-risk urban intersections this week.

The province has also capped payouts for minor injuries and diverted disputes from court to an independent resolution process.


@tomfletcherbc
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