While most students are finishing up finals and finishing the holiday vacation, a handful of juniors at Cherry Creek High School, one of the largest in the Denver-metro area, were working hard to complete a six-week research project measuring and profiling each others' driving habits. Leveraging innovative technology from Cartasite, a global leader in realtime monitoring, their goal is to see if they can influence young drivers to be safer behind the wheel.
Students enrolled in Cherry Creek 's DECA program are experimenting with a driver safety system called ROVR® that has been deployed in commercial fleets worldwide. DECA is an academic competition that teaches creative marketing and entrepreneurial skills to students around the globe. Supported by Cartasite as part of the company's "Safe Drivers Safe Roads" initiative, the students have installed ROVR in the cars of a number of volunteer participants. ROVR has been recording the students' driving habits, including rapid acceleration, hard-breaking incidents and speeding, for the past several weeks. "The Safe Drivers Safe Roads campaign will provide an innovative way to help keep our teen drivers safe through education and incentives," says Governor John Hickenlooper.
ROVR plugs into the OBD port found next to the steering column on every car and truck built since 1996. This tiny black box measures subtle movements of the vehicle that have been shown to be indicative of distracted or aggressive driving patterns.
Cartasite developed sophisticated algorithms that translate all of this data into a Scorecard which is emailed to each driver every week. The ROVR Scorecard is easy to understand and provides useful feedback to the participants about their driving behavior and crash risk. Cartasite has been deploying ROVR in commercial fleets for the past four years and has proven that drivers do respond constructively to the insights and feedback of the weekly ROVR Scorecard, which leads to saving fuel, reducing emissions and dramatically lowering crash risk.
"The ROVR scorecards have proven remarkably effective in reducing MVI (Motor Vehicle Incident) rates on some of the largest commercial fleets worldwide. Drivers actually compete for the highest score and earn rewards for driving safely," noted David Armitage , CEO of Cartasite.
Keaton Skudneski , a Cherry Creek Junior and leader of the DECA team that has deployed the ROVR, commented, "We thought we might be able to use the same approach with teen drivers that Cartasite has taken with commercial fleets. Our hope is that we can get kids to drive more safely by providing them with feedback about their driving. Cartasite not only gave us the ROVRs to use for this project, they also funded a 'Safe Drivers Safe Roads' reward program."
Keaton went on to note, "The program still has a few weeks to go, but the results confirm that young drivers can and will adjust their behavior behind the wheel. We have been working closely with Cartasite to tailor the ROVR Scorecard to the teen audience. Kids are motivated to drive safer because it is fun to compete with their peers and they like the rewards program which provides participants with free gas money."
Inspired by the initial results, Cartasite is now considering broadening this program to include more high schools across the state. According to the Center for Disease Control, vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 16-19 year olds. "We are confident we can lower this tragic statistic by scoring driver behavior and creating an environment of constructive competition between teens," explains David Armitage , who's company developed the ROVR system. "This approach has proven very successful for commercial fleets. With the help of the DECA team at Cherry Creek High School we are hoping to bring the system to young drivers."