Insurer belairdirect has launched a new mobile app aimed at curbing distracted driving.

Launched as part of the “Seriously…Just Drive” awareness campaign, the “bumpr” app  automatically senses and responds to incoming calls and text messages when a vehicle is moving, according to belairdirect.

The app, free for Canadian drivers, is available for Android smartphones. Drivers can access the app directly at the Google play store or by visiting bumprapp.com.

Depending on the settings the user chooses, the app can redirect calls to voicemail, temporarily block various kinds of alerts and notifications (such as social media notifications) and send a pre-selected response to incoming text messages, without requiring the driver to touch the phone.

“It’s hard for any of us to resist reaching for our cell phones when we receive a text message or a notification. And we have a tendency to want to respond immediately, which increases the risk of an accident. The bumpr app allows drivers to drive without being distracted by their smart phones,” Imen Zitouni, belairdirect’s vice-president, web business commented in a statement.

“As an insurance company, we see the results of distracted driving every day,” Carla Smith, vice president for the Ontario region with belairdirect commented.

“This propels us to find new ways of educating motorists about the importance of driving responsibly, and to create the tools they need to help them stay safe on the road. belairdirect hopes the app will help reduce the number of accidents caused by cell phone use while driving.”

In Ontario alone, distracted driving is said to cause 30 to 50% of traffic collisions, according to the company. Among young drivers, 60% that own a cell phone also admit to using it even though they are aware of the risks of doing so, it added.

Source: Canadian Underwriter