Drivers offered rewards for not using their phone

Is there a more effective way of getting drivers to put away their phone?

The current approach relies on having a deterrent — specifically, the risk of getting six penalty points and a £200 fine if you use a hand-held phone when driving.

But with RAC research from earlier this year showing that the problem is actually worsening, perhaps some ‘blue-sky thinking’ is needed.

Dolphin Technologies, a German telematics services provider for the insurance industry, has launched a new smartphone app and cryptocurrency that rewards motorists for not using their mobile phone while driving.

The Mobilio app uses the device’s sensors and GPS to detect journeys and allows drivers to collect points for distraction-free driving. These points can then be exchanged for a new cryptocurrency, also called Mobilio.

The digital currency is designed in such a way that the more people use the app, the greater its value.

Using traditional approaches such as traffic penalties in a bid to overcome people’s habit of reaching for their phone has proved ineffective due to the deep-rooted psychological nature of the problem, Dolphin argued.

“The satisfaction of our curiosity by reaching for the phone is directly connected with the reward system of our brain,” explained Dr Afshin Jawari, neurologist and chairman of the Berlin Medical Association Examination Commission for Neurologists.

“This is exactly why we are relying on reward instead of punishment,” said Harald Trautsch, CEO of Dolphin Technologies.

The potential for Mobilio tokens to one day have a similar performance to Bitcoin creates a strong incentive to drive safely, Trautsch added.

Mobilio tokens can be used in the Mobilio Marketplace, which Dolphin Technologies is currently setting up together with industry partners. Holders will be able to use the currency to pay for the products and services of insurance companies, retailers and other marketplace participants. The token will also be traded on crypto exchanges within the next few months, giving it a tangible value in the ‘real’ world.

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