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City's 'safest driver contest' decreased distracted driving, speeding

(Photo: SBG San Antonio)

The city held a contest to find out who are the “Safest drivers in San Antonio."

That contest helped it gather important data about our roadways.

Imagine getting into your car, getting behind the wheel and someone is monitoring your driving habits. Well, that is what happened during the safest driver contest, and because of it, we now know more about San Antonio’s drivers.

“It would track five different traits," said Art Reinhardt, assistant director for TCI. "Were you speeding? Were you distracted using your phone? Were you accelerating fast, hard braking, or fast-cornering?"

Each of the 14,000 plus people participating in the contest had to follow all the rules.

Winners were announced and awarded $10,000 prizes going to the overall safest driver, the safest military driver and the least distracted driver.

"The contestants were driving safer but everyone else was also safer because the contestants were driving safer," Reinhardt said.

During that three-month span, there was less speeding, less distracted driving, and less hard braking. The goal is to have zero crashes and zero fatalities, hence the name "Vision Zero."

“The aerospace industry, In 2017, had zero airplane fatalities, so it can be done," Reinhardt said. "If we can send thousands of people up in the air around the worldwe can do it on our roadways too."

During the contest, distracted driving decreased by 15 percent, speeding went down by 46 percent and there were no significant changes in hard braking.

"The key takeaway is if you're driving at 20 mph and you have the unfortunately occurrence of hitting someone speed you have a one in ten chance of dying, but if you're going at 40 mph it's a one in ten chance of surviving, so speed is certainly a huge factor," Reinhardt said.

Vision Zero is set to release the full findings in a month or so. What they learn will allow them to make necessary changes to our city's roadways.

"Maybe we can do some infrastructure improvement, putting some more signage, or doing more education in that community if we're seeing a high occurrence of stuff, so that's some of the data we're going to get back," Reinhardt said.

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