BOSTON – Tuesday, October 22, 2019 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Office of New Urban Mechanics, and the Boston Transportation Department in partnership with The National Safety Council, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT), today announced the top winners of the 2019 Boston’s Safest Driver Competition. The competition, which drew approximately 2,000 participants, scored drivers using five metrics: speed, acceleration, braking, cornering and cell phone distraction.
The competition, to encourage safer driving in Boston, kicked off in early May and concluded at the end of July. The initiative is based on a smartphone app that scores drivers on behaviors associated with safer driving. This is one tool the City of Boston is using to achieve Boston’s Vision Zero effort to improve traffic safety and eliminate fatal and serious traffic crashes in the City by 2030. Vision Zero is an early action item of Go Boston 2030, the City of Boston’s long-term transportation plan.
“I’m proud of our winners and their contribution to make our streets safer,” said Mayor Walsh. “The City of Boston is committed to ensuring our streets work for everyone, and by investing in programs such as Boston’s Safest Driver, we will continue to emphasize the importance of safe streets, and safe driving habits.”
The top winners of the 2019 Boston’s Safest Driver Competition are:
Safest City of Boston Driver – Natalio Depina
Safest Boston Metro Driver – Catherine Sullivan
Least Distracted Driver – Ivan Petkov
Slow and Steady Driver – Jenn Brandel
Corporate Challenge Safest Driver – Emily Bicalho
Safest Workplace of Drivers (Corporate Challenge) – Tufts Medical Center
Most Non-Driving Trips (Corporate Challenge) – Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Thousands of people participated in the competition, representing 105 towns and neighborhoods in Metro Boston, with the most number of people participating from Allston. The corporate challenge saw participation from 16 employers. Approximately 130 other high scoring participants have been awarded over $6,500 in cash prizes since the competition began in May.
“Interest in the contest was contagious,” said the Slow and Steady Driver prize winner Jenn Brandel. “Once my family and friends learned about the competition, they started trying to outdo each other and get higher scores. While I’m bracing myself for jokes about being the Slow and Steady winner, I’ve learned to become a more patient and careful driver.”
“I’ve always been a careful driver,” said the Metro Boston’s Safest Driver prize winner Catherine Sullivan. “But I admit that I used to glance at my cell phone when sitting in traffic or at a long stop light. Competing in Boston’s Safest Driver forced me to put my phone away and keep it there. As a former EMT, I’ve seen firsthand the dangers of driving and texting. It’s an honor to be Metro Boston’ safest driver by keeping the roads safe and cell phone free!”
This year, the City partnered with local Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) including A Better City TMA, MASCO, and Seaport TMA for a corporate challenge, in addition to local businesses such as Zipcar.
“We are proud to work with the City of Boston to help create a safe, inclusive, and sustainable transportation network,” said Tracey Zhen, president of Zipcar. “Car-sharing services like Zipcar reduce the need for personally-owned vehicles on the road, making cities less congested and easier to navigate. Since Zipcar was founded in 2000, the safety of our members and those around them has been an important part of our mission to enable simple and responsible urban living.”
“Liberty Mutual was proud to partner with the City of Boston to help reduce dangers on our roads through this exciting program,” said Nicholas Grant, Vice President, Product Management Global Retail Markets at Liberty Mutual Insurance. “Our research has shown that an astounding two-thirds of American admit to using their phone while driving. Raising awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and providing incentives to be safer can play a key role in helping to change driver behavior to make our roads safer.”
Participants saw dramatic reductions in risky behaviors, including a 48 percent drop in phone distraction and 38 percent drop in speeding. Previous Safest Driver contests saw similar reductions in risky behaviors. For example, San Antonio, Rhode Island, and Los Angeles saw 35 percent, 33 percent and 41 percent reductions, respectively, in distraction.
“CMT uses technology and engagement to help drivers improve and develop safer habits behind the wheel,” said Ryan McMahon, CMT’s vice president of insurance. “For the second time in Boston, we are thrilled to see significant average reductions in phone distraction and speeding from contest participants. These are important steps toward reducing road fatalities and improving road safety.”
Boston’s Safest Driver builds on the Walsh Administration’s commitment to ensuring Boston’s streets are safe, equitable and reliable for all. The competition also furthers the goals established in GoBoston 2030, the City of Boston’s comprehensive transportation plan. Execution of the plan is well underway with action being taken on more than half of the 58 projects and policies identified. These initiatives work to reduce congestion, encourage travel by transit, bike and on foot, and ensure safety and equitable access for all users of Boston’s streets.
For more information on Go Boston 2030, please visit here.