Edmunds.com Tackles Distracted Driving With TED Speaker’s Psychological Solution

New App, ‘DrivePromise by Edmunds,’ Helps Apple Watch and iPhone Owners Stay Safe on the Road

What will it take for drivers to stop texting behind the wheel? Car-buying platform Edmunds.com believes that a gentle reminder from a loved one could do the trick.

Developers of the award-winning Edmunds app recently broke from their usual work to produce “DrivePromise by Edmunds,” a free app that allows Apple Watch and iPhone owners to make and keep a promise to focus on the road while driving. When the device detects that it is in a moving vehicle, it pops up an uploaded photo of a loved one along with a reminder to drive safely. The app keeps count of all of the user’s safe drives to share with friends and family.

The app was inspired by Edmunds’ conversations with Dan Ariely, acclaimed behavioral economist at Duke University, TED speaker and author of The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality and a Q&A column for the Wall Street Journal. Ariely explained that parents behind the wheel are more likely to stay focused on the road if they are prompted by reminders from their children to drive safe.

“Triggering a powerful emotional motivator seems like an excellent way to snap people out of a dangerous and thoughtless habit,” commented Avi Steinlauf, CEO of Edmunds.com. “Our time and resources are well spent if we manage to shift people’s behavior and help make the road safer for all.”

In a post on his blog DanAriely.com, Ariely wrote: “In many ways, texting while driving illustrates a case in which tiny, individual irrational decisions can accumulate and cause widespread suffering, not only for the individuals who are texting, but their unsuspecting victims. Unlike cases of drunk driving, in which the driver’s decision making abilities are impaired, drivers who text are at their full wits to wait until they’ve pulled over to check their texts, and yet in the process they routinely underestimate the risk they impose to themselves and others.”

Every Apple Watch and iPhone owner is encouraged to download the Drive Promise app at apps.edmunds.com/vupw-1.

All drivers are encouraged to use the same psychological technique to keep themselves focused behind the wheel, either by placing a photo of a loved one in a visible but non-obstructive location in their car or simply by consciously thinking of their families whenever they are tempted by a distraction.

About Edmunds.com, Inc.

Car-buying platform Edmunds.com serves nearly 18 million visitors each month. With Edmunds.com Price Promise®, shoppers can buy smarter with instant, upfront prices for cars and trucks currently for sale at 10,000 dealer franchises across the U.S. Shoppers can browse not only dealer inventory, but also vehicle reviews, shopping tips, photos, videos and feature stories on both Edmunds’ wired site and on its acclaimed mobile apps. Regarded as one of the best places to work in Southern California, Edmunds.com was also named one of “The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies of 2015 in Automotive” by Fast Company. Edmunds welcomes all car-shopping questions on its free Live Help Line at 1-855-782-4711 and help@edmunds.com, via text at ED411 and on Twitter and Facebook. The company is based in Santa Monica, Calif. and has a satellite office in downtown Detroit, Mich., but you can find Edmunds from anywhere on YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ and Flipboard.

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