Chevy Looks For Anti-Texting Solutions

Admit it, there’s not a single person among us who hasn’t picked up their phone while driving. “I only do it while I’m stopped at a stoplight” is an often-heard excuse. 

The statistics regarding the dangers of texting and driving are startling. According to the National Safety Council, the activity results in 1,600,000 accidents per year in the U.S. There are 330,000 injuries per year as a result of these accidents, according to the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis Study. 

Brace yourself: There are 11 teen deaths every day because of texting and driving, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It is the number one driving distraction reported by teen drivers. But how do you actually get them to put down the phone and focus on the road? Chevy sought to do more than just tell teens “don’t do it.” 

The automaker sponsored an all-day, all-out hack-a-thon in Detroit called the Chevrolet Hack Lab. The purpose of the event, part of Chevy’s celebration of International Children’s Day, was to harness the uninhibited ingenuity of 30 brilliant teens ages 13-19 from around the world (including the United States, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Dubai, Israel, and India) to discover new solutions. 

The day began with a briefing on the challenge. After being divided into small groups, the participants began brainstorming innovative solutions to texting and driving, using their understanding of technology as well as understanding the psychology behind “positive peer pressure” — which were identified as keys to driving behavioral change.

The teens were guided by mentors from Chevrolet and their respective agencies (McCann Worldgroup and Commonwealth), as well as representatives from Google and Facebook. Throughout the day, the teen hackers had access to a texting and driving simulator that allowed them to get virtual time behind the wheel of the Chevrolet Cruze and experience distracted driving in a safe environment. As the day moved along, the abstract began to take shape as fully imagined, executable solutions.

So what did they come up with? Concepts ranged from tiered reward systems that incentivized safer driving habits to pieces of wearable technology for your steering wheel that held the driver accountable for keeping both hands on the wheel. 

The winning concept was selected by a  panel of subject matter experts and the teens themselves. Ultimately, the panelists and peers chose vPal, an audible alert system that uses the voices of loved ones to help personalize the risk drivers are taking when they text and drive. The winning team, with members from Dubai, Canada and the United States, was presented the Hack Lab trophy.

The solutions will be featured in a new series of social posts from Chevy dedicated to the efforts of the Hack Lab Participants and the goal of ending texting and driving.

Chevrolet Global Digital Marketing Assistant Manager Laura Litka says the reasoning behind the event was, “Who better to come up with a  solution to a problem that affects teens than teens themselves.” 

“At Chevrolet, 'Find New Roads' is more than just a tagline, it’s a belief that ingenuity is what enables people to make the most of life’s possibilities and make every mile count,” Litka says. “We wanted to celebrate the open-mindedness and creativity of kids—and how they tend to simply refuse to believe something isn’t possible—by giving them an opportunity to brainstorm new solutions to a habit that impacts their peers, their families, and societies around the globe.”

Obviously, this bad habit has consequences for everyone—not just teens—but as this type of communication is prevalent in this age group, it made sense to engage with them on it, she says.

“All of the participants at this year’s event were also excited about the opportunity to meet other kids with the same interests,” she says. “It  was so inspiring to see. We all were extremely pleased with the outcomes of the Chevrolet Hack Lab and will continue to celebrate the ingenious thinking of kids in our efforts—for Children’s Day and beyond.”

Hopefully, between the event and the social media campaign Chevy is hosting, there will be fewer teens — and adults — who text and drive (at stoplights or otherwise.)

4 comments about "Chevy Looks For Anti-Texting Solutions".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, October 5, 2016 at 5:17 p.m.

    I am boomer to begin with and maybe I have old ideas that come with age. However, I simply don't have text on my cell phone.  I have a very old cell service plan that was started in 1997. Back then, there was no texting but did start shortly after. If I wanted to text, it cost $0.35 per text. So I don't text and I don't miss it.

    Wow, I wonder if the kids would be willing to pay $0.35 or more for each text while they were moving? Mommy and Daddy might not be willing to pay this part of the cell bill if they actually knew the amount when they see the real bill for text.

    Wither we like it not not, we all pay for these tragedies and deaths in the form of higher insurance rates.  Why should I since I don't text by choice?

  2. Tanya Gazdik from MediaPost replied, October 5, 2016 at 5:30 p.m.

    Good idea, Craig re: the surcharge for texting while moving. I think in order for that to work, GPS woudl have to be turned on in the phone. It's pretty easy to deactivate, unfortunately. Those with privacy concerns keep it turned off, I am told. 

  3. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, October 5, 2016 at 5:42 p.m.

    Thanks Tanya, I think I was heading more towards what the responsiblity the cell phone companies have more than the car manufactures.   Another good comparison would be with a person gets drunk in a bar and wants to drive him or heself home.  Like texting, it's not a matter of when a accident will happen, it more about the total damage and deaths that will take place.  

    I suspect the real reason nothing is done about texting and driving is cell phone taxes are a cash cow for local, state and the federal government. Taxes is a worse addiction to politicans than texting is to kids. 

  4. Tanya Gazdik from MediaPost replied, October 5, 2016 at 5:45 p.m.

    Yep, I was talking about the GPS in phones. It would have to be turned on for a cell company to know if the phone was being used in a moving vehicle. And it's easy to turn off. There's got to a be a solution here. I agree, I think the cell phone companies should be baring the brunt of the responsibility here.

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