Gordon Atlantic is always interested in promoting safer driving. I beta tested a new telematics program ('telematics' is a fancy word for electronic monitoring of your driving) offered through our carrier Plymouth Rock. With the program now launched, using the app earns points which users can redeem for discounts on Shell gasoline, free movie tickets and Starbucks gift cards. But that's not the main reason I like it. The main reason is that I have become a better driver.
Here's how the program works:
Plymouth Rock Road Rewards measures your driving performance and provides a score measuring speed, acceleration, braking, cornering, and phone usage. The better you drive the higher your score...and the more points you earn. It costs nothing to participate in the program, but you must be a Plymouth Rock Massachusetts customer and have access to a smartphone to earn rewards.
At its launch, there are three existing partners:
- Shell gas: where I could earn $1.00 a gallon off my next fill-up
- Starbucks: where I can redeem points for coffee vouchers
- Showcase Cinema tickets: where I can view the latest Oscar-nominated movie
As someone who isn't too fond of "Big Brother," I'm pleased to know that Plymouth Rock is not collecting sensitive personal information off this app, and there are data security measures in place to respect my privacy. My driving habits as measured by this app will also NOT be used relative to any automobile claim I might be involved in. Further, my score will not be used to affect my premium, as telematics programs with other carriers do. There's no downside!
The Road Rewards app tracks through your smartphone and whatever vehicle that phone is in; having multiple vehicles won't affect your score. You don't need to drive everyday, as scores only measure actual driving. Data usage is minimal and you can have data uploaded only when connected to wifi in settings if you watch data usage.
For parents: Imagine how this could impact your kids' driving habits. Have them download the app and remind them you'll be reviewing their score periodically... like whenever they ask for the keys!. As the app recognizes phone use, such as answering a phone call or sending a text, you can see in the "Trips" section each trip in detail and where there are areas for improvement...such as not texting while driving, the most dangerous habit many kids seem to believe they are immune from.
It also utilizes GPS to track location in order to monitor trips and adherence to local speed limits; this is when I like the phone to verify if new drivers were where they said they were. Parents: this app puts you in the back seat of the car...virtually.
So here's the math: the safer you drive the better your score. The better your score the more points you earn. It's that simple.
Let me circle back to my earlier comment about the best part of this program. Since using this app my driving has indeed changed. It has raised my awareness about phone usage (only on bluetooth now, never by hand) and no texting. I slow down earlier for stopped traffic to avoid any hard braking and I pay closer attention to my speed. This app has made me a safer driver, and I'm reminded of that every time I review the app's feedback and monitor my score.
AND I earn free coffee at Starbucks, free movies at Showcase Cinemas, and discounts on gas...that's pretty rewarding.
Update: Mapfre (Commerce) is another carrier which has introduced a telematics program. While their rewards are different, the net effect, better driving, parental monitoring, is the same.
If you'd like to discuss your personal auto insurance with a Gordon Atlantic professional, and to see if Plymouth Rock and their Road Rewards program (of Mapfre's DriveAdvisor) might be a fit for you, call us at (800) 649-3252. Prefer to type instead of talk? Ask a question below or click for an obligation-free quote!