July 12, 2017 by Canadian Underwriter
eBrake Technologies Inc., a mobile app development company founded in Vancouver in June 2016, announced on Wednesday a pilot program that will offer a smartphone app designed to prevent distracted driving.
The pilot program will offer smartphone app eBrake to select TELUS team members and fleet drivers across Canada, eBrake Technologies explained in a press release. In the coming weeks, these select team members will receive an invitation to install and experience eBrake on their mobile devices. eBrake is in final testing and preparing for its North American launch in the near future, the company said.
“eBrake is the only distracted driving solution in the market that completely blocks a driver from using their device while driving, but grants passengers unrestricted use,” the company said in the release, noting that it is designed for Android and iOS smartphones.
When eBrake detects vehicle-related motion, it locks any device it is installed on and blocks incoming notifications, the release explained. To unlock the device, a user must complete eBrake’s patent pending Passenger Unlock Test, “something a driver cannot complete while driving. It is this test that distinguishes eBrake from other distracted driving solutions in the market,” the release said, noting that the app is 100% software-based solution and requires no in-vehicle hardware to operate.
“We are thrilled to be working with TELUS and their team members to combat the distracted driving crisis,” said Colin Osing, co-founder and chief marketing officer of eBrake Technologies. “Distracted driving causes too many accidents and destroys too many families. Working with a community leader like TELUS is definitely a positive step in the fight.”
Andrea Goertz, chief communications and sustainability officer at TELUS, added that as a provider of a network that powers mobile devices, “we have a responsibility to encourage Canadians to make safe smartphone decisions. This pilot program will provide additional insights into this new technology so that it can be introduced to all Canadians, underscoring the dangers of phone use while driving and encouraging others to support the cause to end distracted driving.”
Distracted driving is “now considered by most to be a global epidemic,” eBrake Technologies suggested, saying that globally, nearly 1.6 million people die and 50 million are injured each year from crashes due to distracted driving.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the release said, eight out of 10 crashes in Canada are now caused by distracted driving and in the United States, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration blames distracted driving for the biggest jump in highway deaths in 50 years. In British Columbia, it is estimated that almost $1 billion in insurance claims are paid annually due to distracted driving – “a number that, left unattended, is expected to continue to grow in the coming years,” eBrake Technologies said.