Meet Seattle’s Safest Driver!

 

Russell Lebert (Seattle’s Safest Driver)

After 8 weeks of competition, more than 4,000 app downloads, and nearly 300,000 car trips, we’re excited to answer the question of who is Seattle’s Safest Driver!

Congratulations, Russell  Lebert!

Earlier today, we joined our partners at PEMCO Insurance to present Russell Lebert with the grand prize check ($2,000!!) and the title of Seattle’s Safest Driver.

Allison Schwartz (SDOT), Russell Lebert (Seattle’s Safest Driver), Derek Wing (PEMCO Insurance)

Russell grew up in the Seattle area and lives in Upper Queen Anne. He drives a few times a week to run errands and volunteer. He participated in the competition from day 1 and ended with a perfect score of 100. Here’s what he had to say about his experience:

 

“My top tip for people would be to go into driving with a positive attitude – remember that you’re behind the wheel of a heavy vehicle that is inherently risky. Second, put your phone down. One of the most positive things about Safest Driver was the feedback it gives you – it really helped change my behavior. During the first couple weeks of the competition, I had to consciously think about not touching my phone. After that, my phone was no longer part of my driving experience.”

 

Huge shout out to Russell and all our Safest Driver winners over the course of the competition! And a big thank you to PEMCO Insurance and Cambridge Mobile Telematics for teaming up with us! It’s been a great way to engage with the community around safety, build awareness of our Vision Zero efforts, promote safer driving habits around the region, and most importantly, change behavior.

 

Results: ch-ch-ch-changes!

The key question from day one has been, will people change their behavior for the better? The short answer is yes!

Behavior change is the holy grail of road safety. We’re thrilled with these results. Reducing speeding and distraction are key ways we can work toward Vision Zero, as these are two of the top contributing factors to crashes on our streets.

 

Put. Down. The. Phone.

Here we can see where phone distraction occurred over the course of the competition. Bright green indicates more phone distraction events.

map showing incidences of phone distraction/use while driving

Bright green indicates phone distraction events.

It’s no surprise people are using their phones while driving. As we shared in a post last week, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds; at 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field. With your eyes closed.

Here’s an unsolicited email we got from one participant about distracted driving:

We’re loving the healthy dose of self-confidence and couldn’t agree more with the message to keep your eyes on the road at all times.

 

Multimodal Action

In addition to tracking car trips, the app tracked transit and bike trips (and we got to reward people in those categories too). Here’s a snapshot of mileage totals by mode:

Table showing distance and number of trips by mode.

We could see where bike trips occurred (bright green = more use), and that the 2nd Ave protected bike lane is getting some solid use.

map of bike lane usage tracked through app

Bright green shows a concentration of bike trips.

In other news, we also wanted to report back on the status of our friendly competition between Jason Rantz and our now former director, Scott Kubly. Both ended up with scores in the 90s. Turns out, Jason’s a safer driver, at least by a few points. And he doesn’t even drive very much. He likes to walk to work when he can, and takes rideshare and transit a fair amount too.

 

So, what’s next?

The app continues to be available until February 11, after which we’ll get another report to see if behavior change has sustained, and we’ll go from there.

Questions about the contest or about our Vision Zero efforts? Learn more at www.seattle.gov/visionzero or connect with Allison Schwartz at allison.schwartz@seattle.gov.

Vision Zero, City of Seattle, PEMCO Insurance, and Cambridge Mobile Telematics logos