Putting your smartphones down while driving is not only safer, but could one day save you money.
Arity is the company behind this smartphone-tracking technology. Insurance companies, like Esurance and National General, are looking into their technology that could one day decrease or increase your car insurance based on how much you use your smartphone while you're driving.
In the Austin area, it's not hard to find drivers on their cellphones. One day, Arity's tracking technology could catch you when you hop on your smartphone, tracking how many times you're on it.
"We now know how distracted driving relates to the probability of an auto accident," said Grady Irey, Arity's Vice President.
Arity's the company that's providing all the data for interested insurance companies. Irey said it's all in the name of safety.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one of every 10 fatal crashes in the U.S. involves distraction, which results in more than 3,000 deaths per year. Irey said his tracking data shows insurance companies who the safe drivers are.
"Someone does not drive while distracted, they should earn a lower premium," said Irey.
And vice versa. Those who use their smartphones while driving may see their rates go up.
Here's how it works. The distracted driving technology already uses sensors in the phone to figure out if it's moving or not.
Irey also pointed out that using his company's tracking method is more accurate than using credit scores to come up with insurance prices.
"Those things represent similar to age, years in license, and these sorts of things, they represent more who someone is versus their driving behavior," said Irey. "Incorporating this type of information in addition to the more traditional variables just makes our understanding of risks that much better so you can actually change your driving behavior, you can decide not to be distracted, but you can't really decide how old you are."
This is a voluntary program that drivers must agree to.
Also, before any insurance company can go ahead with this tracking technology, the Texas Department of Insurance would first have to approve it. A spokesperson with TDI has confirmed that so far, no company has submitted a filing for this product.