Auburn Agency Owner Sarah Isbill-Brody Participates in Event
Allstate Insurance Company’s “Reality Rides SM” stopped-off in Lowell on July 24 on its tour of more than 40 American cities. A curved LED television embedded in the windshield of a real vehicle serves as the centerpiece of the “Reality RidesSM” 2014 tour. In this second annual national campaign tour, Allstate Insurance Company is gaining steam with its efforts to bring awareness around distraction-free driving, which is the leading cause of car crashes. The tour covers the summer because this is the deadliest time on American roads.
In Lowell, Reality Rides was stationed right outside the main gates of the Spinners game from 5:00 p.m. until about 7:30 p.m. Reality Rides is free and open to the public; game tickets are not required.
“Reality Rides is evolving as quickly as Massachusetts Allstate customers’ and consumers’ needs are evolving with new technologies to engage drivers in a compelling and safe format, says Kurt Wicks, local agency owner. “The simulator proved effective in changing the opinions of drivers who experienced it last year and we’re excited to share it with the people of Massachusetts.”
Reality Rides consists of a driving simulator that utilizes a real – but stationary – vehicle equipped with virtual reality technology, including a new curved LED television embedded in the car windshield. The television displays an animated environment and reacts to the driver’s motions. Using the car’s steering wheel, gas and brake pedals, the driver is tasked with driving while also attempting to text, talk on the phone and enter navigation system directions.
These simulations demonstrate the potential consequences distracted drivers could face while on the road. To add impact to the simulations, Lowell participants are given traffic “tickets” that reveal potential infractions a driver could receive if the experience happened in real life. Participants also had the opportunity to take the Allstate X the TXT® pledge that promises to not text and drive.
Last year, the first tour surveyed more than 1,700 people who experienced the Reality Rides simulator. Seventy-three percent said they learned more about distracted driving after experiencing the simulation, and 83 percent found the program “fun and effective,” which fueled Allstate to continue the efforts in 2014.
Key findings from the 2013 Allstate Reality Rides tour survey indicate drivers are aware of the dangers of distracted driving, but there is still opportunity to influence their safer driving actions:
• More than one-third of drivers say they text and drive at least some of the time, and 71 percent believe their driving ability while texting is worse than if they were driving without distractions.
• Half of drivers say that they talk on the phone while driving.
• Nearly eight-in-ten drivers think texting while driving is the same or worse than drunk driving.
• After the simulation, 68 percent of participants said they will never text and drive again and 62 percent said they wouldn’t let others drive distracted.
• Seventy-seven percent of participants said they are less likely to ride with others who are texting and driving thanks to Reality Rides.
• Four-in-ten drivers have no or minimal knowledge about Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws.
Allstate continues to advocate for distracted driving prevention because in 2010 and 2011 more than 3,000 deaths from crashes with a distracted driver occurred each year. Studies have shown drivers who text are 23 times more likely to crash, and texting while driving is the equivalent to driving impaired after drinking four beers.
Car crashes are the number one cause of death for everyone in the U.S. ages 1-34, with teens crashing four times more often than any other age group. Stronger teen driving laws, referred to as Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL), have been shown to reduce traffic fatalities by as much as 40 percent in the states where they have been adopted. Additionally, recent research from The Allstate Foundation’s License to Save report found that comprehensive GDL laws could save an estimated 2,000 lives and $13.6 billion annually.
To track the Allstate Reality Rides tour and see photos of participants, visit facebook.com/xthetxt. While there, check out information and resources, engage in the conversation and invite family and friends to take action in support of stronger teen driving laws.
The onsite, multiple-choice Allstate Reality Rides 2013 survey of more than 1,700 Americans age 15+ was conducted from April through November of 2013 via 26 Reality Rides events before and after experiencing the distracted driving simulator. Gathered respondent data was normalized to ensure consistency between the pre- and post-simulation experience.