According to the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), there are 4 million car crashes per year in North America that are associated with distracted driving. The new Texi app is a fun and non-invasive way to reduce distracted driving and encourage positive driving habits.
What is Texi? Launched in January of 2016, Texi is a mobile application by The Dilawri Foundation. And according to their website, this app offers Canadian drivers "a solution to distracted driving that encourages them to develop positive driving habits," and that it is a "first-of-its-kind, free, mobile app that promotes safe driving by making it fun and social."
How does it work? Before heading out on the road, you activate the app, and you earn a point for each minute you drive without using your phone. When active, Texi will auto-respond to incoming texts with memes, which can be pre-selected by you in order to inform those trying to contact you that you're on the road.
What are the points used for? As part of Texi's goal to encourage drivers to stay off their phones while driving, users are entered into monthly prize drawings. The size of the prizes is dependent on how many points the user has, and the points reset on the first day of each month. This offers an additional and fun incentive for drivers to stay off their phones while driving.
In a recent article by Auto Remarketing Canada, a publication that specializes in automotive industry news, Rosita Chakardan, director of The Dilawri Foundation and national marketing and public relations manager for the Dilawri Group of Companies, said that as of mid-July there had been more than 5,000 downloads of the app.
In the same article, she also talked about the reasons why they developed the app. "Distracted driving has become a serious issue on Canadian roads with the number of associated accidents on the rise. With a new generation of Canadian drivers on our roads, The Dilawri Foundation wanted to provide free access to a reliable, fun and easy-to-use tool that rewards safe driving." She also stated that there was a large focus on offering "positive reinforcement" for safe driving, and avoiding a "punitive approach" when developing the app.
Spreading Awareness at the Dealership
The Dilawri Foundation is the charitable organization of the Dilawri Group of Companies, the largest auto dealership group in Canada with 58 stores. And, as such, their auto dealers are promoting Texi on their websites as well as in their showrooms, bringing it to more consumers' attention. And it looks to be paying off. According to Chakardan, "the in-store and online approach to raising awareness has been very effective given our group’s volume of showroom and online traffic."
CAA Tips for Eliminating Driving Distractions
While Texi is certainly a great thing for drivers to use in order to put down the phone and foster more focused driving habits, there are more things motorists can do to ensure that the roads are safer for everyone. The CAA provides these tips:
- Eat/drink before you get in the car.
While you might think you're saving time by snacking or trying to eat whole meals on the go, it also means that you're not focusing on the road - and that can be deadly. Get your hands off the coffee and muffin and get them back on the wheel.
- Pre-program radio stations and choose your CD's or music playlist beforehand.
In order to keep your hands on the wheel, make sure all of your interior settings are where you would like them to be before you get on the road.
- Prepare your children for the trip.
After they are properly secured in the vehicle, ensure that your children have easy access to any toys or snacks they can have while in the car. And if you have an in vehicle DVD player, be sure that it is installed out of your view so you are not distracted by it while operating the vehicle. If there are any disruptions, be sure to pull over to a safe spot before attending to the situation.
- Finish your personal grooming before you leave home.
Just as with eating, trying to fix your hair or apply makeup simply doesn't mix with maintaining your focus on the road.
- Keep the conversation light and to a minimum.
Although driving time may seem like a good time to catch up with others, being too involved in a conversation can take your focus off the road. Safety should always come first.
- Secure loose items on your dash, rear view mirror or vacant seats.
Be sure that any loose items are put away before heading out. If you need to make a sharp turn or a sudden stop, you need to be focused on the road and not on the laptop, purse or phone that is now suddenly flying off your front passenger seat.
- Review maps and directions before leaving.
In addition to this, it may help to have a portable GPS unit that can provide you with directions for your trip. Or, if you have a passenger, ask them to be your navigator.
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