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Esurance Unveils New Technology to Tackle Texting and Driving Problem Among Teens

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San Francisco, CA — December 17, 2013

Esurance, the direct-to-consumer insurance company, is rolling out a new teen driver safety program that can prevent teens from texting while driving and give parents valuable feedback about their teen's driving behavior.

Every day in 2012, nine people were killed and another 1,153 people were injured in car crashes involving a distracted driver, according to estimates from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. 21 percent of the distracted drivers aged 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were distracted by their cell phones.1

Because texting and driving requires a combination of visual, manual, and cognitive attention, it is particularly dangerous for teenage drivers. Esurance is tackling this issue with technology that can actually be part of the solution and spearheading a program that lets parents know how their teen is doing on the road so they can promote safer, more responsible driving habits.

"It is essential that we do all we can to help teen drivers develop safe driving habits and avoid the dangers of distracted driving," said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. "Esurance DriveSafe™ provides parents with the coaching tools they need to help their teenage drivers become safer and more responsible behind the wheel."

How It Works

When parents enroll in Esurance DriveSafe, they'll receive a small telematics device to install in the onboard diagnostics port of the car their teen drives most, along with instructions on how to download the Esurance DriveSafe app onto their teen's smartphone.2 Using Bluetooth and cellular technology, the device and smartphone app work together to help monitor the teen's driving habits and limit texting, web browsing, and cell phone use when the car is in motion.3

Once the device is activated, parents can go to www.esurance.com/drive-safe and access their personalized Esurance DriveSafe site. From there, parents can set preferences, opt in for customized alerts about unsafe driving behaviors like driving past curfew or speeding, and review trip details to see where their teen may need some extra coaching. Parents can also compare their teen's driving habits to those of the average Esurance DriveSafe teen driver.

"Technology has enabled us to change the way people think about insurance, and today we are continuing that pioneering spirit with Esurance DriveSafe," said Esurance President and CEO Gary Tolman. "This innovative device can help stop teens from texting while driving and make parents and their teens aware of, and hopefully reduce, risky driving behavior that can cause accidents."

Program Availability and Features

Esurance DriveSafe is available nationwide4 for free to all Esurance customers with at least one teen listed on their policy. With Esurance DriveSafe, parents can:

  • Limit their teen's phone use behind the wheel to help curb texting, surfing the web, checking Facebook, or reading email while driving
  • Get alerts when their teen does something risky behind the wheel, like speeding or being involved in a dangerous situation that requires hard braking
  • See trip summaries of their teen's driving, including times, routes, and any driving behavior
  • Create a list of acceptable phone numbers so that their teen can always make and receive calls from them or any other emergency contact
  • Feel secure knowing that 911 is always available

Data Usage and Privacy

The Esurance DriveSafe device tracks data such as phone usage, the car's speed, acceleration, and any instances of hard braking, as well as mileage, location, and time of each trip. The personalized information provided by Esurance DriveSafe is for personal use only and will never be shared with Esurance. Additionally, Esurance will not use the program to determine car insurance premiums. Customer rates will never go up or change based on information collected through the program.

1 NHTSA news release, Nov. 14, 2013; NHSTA Traffic Safety Facts Research Note, April 2013.
2 The Esurance DriveSafe app is compatible with iPhones® running on iOS 6 or newer and Android™ devices running on 2.1 or newer, as well as some BlackBerry® devices and Windows® phones. Other devices running on Symbian S60 or Brew™ may also be compatible.
3 When restriction settings are active, teens with iPhones will see a banner on their home screen, reminding them not to use their phone while driving. iPhones do not support restriction of phone functionality.
4 Esurance DriveSafe is available in all states where we do business except MA and PA.

About Esurance®

Esurance provides auto, homeowners, motorcycle, and renters insurance direct to consumers online, over the phone, and through select agents, including sister company, Answer Financial. With an easy-to-use mobile app, quick comparison quotes, and online repair monitoring, Esurance is the smart choice for today's web-savvy consumer. As a member of the Allstate family with an A+ rating from A.M. Best, Esurance is a reliable choice for insurance, offering anytime, anywhere service just a click, call, or tap away. For more information, visit www.esurance.com or call 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262).