When it comes to distracted driving, there are few things that have the ability to cause distractions like mobile phones. While many car insurance companies provide smartphone applications that offer policy service, State Farm’s Driver Feedback app, currently available for devices running Apple iOS, including iPhones and iPod touch models, has a different goal than being an outlet for customer service. This app aims to make you a better driver.
State Farm’s Driver Feedback looks to measure three of driving behaviors that have been singled out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as some of the riskiest: accelerating too quickly, braking too hard and cornering too fast, or as State Farm calls them, the ABCs of driving.
The application utilizes the accelerometer within iOS devices to record your acceleration, braking and cornering. Each of these three factors are measured and recorded, and the application awards scores for each of them, as well as an overall score that averages the three out.
Tracking your driving habits is done by recording trips. Once you set the program to record, you simply place your device on a flat surface or just drop it into a cup holder. Either will work, as long as the phone or iPod is pointing towards the front of the car. The program then calibrates based on its position.
Since smartphones can be such distractions, once the program goes into record mode, you’re simply given a black screen with a large button to stop recording.
Reviewing and comparing trips
Once you’ve recorded a couple of trips, you can see how the application ranks your driving, which is where the application shines. You can review individual trips, and for GPS enabled devices such as iPhones, specific incidents of concern are even displayed on a map.
Shortfalls and Limitations
For those who are hoping to utilize the application for savings on their car insurance, we’re afraid to report that State Farm doesn’t track your data. This application is just for personal use. Come to think of it, for some, the fact that the insurer doesn’t track your performance may be a good thing.
The application is also very limited. It doesn’t take into account things like speeding, despite measuring rate of acceleration. We were able to post our best score on a trip down Interstate 75 well above the speed limit. It also will dock your score for acceleration if you’re entering an freeway and attempting to get up to speed before you leave your onramp.
However, as a bonus, multiple drivers can use the same device, so you’re not limited to simply comparing your own performance. You can compare your driving performance to your spouse, other family members, or even your friends.
Our Final Word
While the application isn’t without issues, there are some benefits to be gained by use of the Driver Feedback app, especially since the State Farm provides the application for free. If you have an iPhone or iPod touch and want to try the application out, you can download State Farm Driver Feedback from iTunes.