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Data Shows Summer Auto Safety Risks Eclipse Rest of Year
Ohio Ag Connection - 08/10/2017

As the summer driving season rolls into August, Nationwide is helping its members become safer on the roadways through the comprehensive measurement and analysis of critical data about driving habits.

According to multiple sources, including the Insurance Information Institute (III) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), summer is one of the deadliest and most dangerous periods on America's roadways.

"Statistics show that serious and often fatal crashes occur during the summer months," said Michael Barry, spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute. "Telematics data helps drivers evaluate their habits so they can be more careful and attentive drivers in the summer and throughout the entire year."

National safety statistics show:

- In 2015, July, August and September were respectively the third-highest, highest and fourth-highest months in terms of motor-vehicle deaths, according to the IIHS.

- 3,319 people died in August of 2015, the most of any month that year.

- Nationwide members reported more accidents in August 2016 than any other month last year (56,929).

- A recent National Safety Council study revealed that more fatal accidents occurred during the 2014 Labor Day weekend than any other holiday weekend that year except for Thanksgiving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), job growth and low fuel prices are two factors that lead to increased driving, including more leisure driving and driving by young people. More driving can contribute to higher fatality rates. In 2015, vehicle miles traveled increased 3.5 percent over 2014, the largest increase in nearly 25 years, according to NHTSA.

To encourage safe driving and cut down on the number of accidents in the summer and the rest of the year, Nationwide collects and analyzes data from its SmartRide safe-driving program. The company uses data points such as hard braking, fast acceleration and idle time to identify potential dangerous situations so SmartRide members can make adjustments to their driving or choose safer commutes.

Aggregated data of those data points collected through Nationwide's SmartRide program from drivers across 23 states show hard braking, suddenly speeding up and time spent idling are all contributing factors in auto accidents.

"We collect critical pieces of data about driving habits that have been identified as some of the leading contributors to auto accidents. When drivers are armed with this information, they can make necessary adjustments to their driving behaviors that will help them be safer drivers," said Larry Thursby, Nationwide vice president who helps build and manage the insurer's telematics program. "Nationwide continues to advance as a leader in digital innovation and is committed to building capabilities in digital technology."

Through its telematics program and other initiatives, Nationwide continues to make industry-leading advancements in digital technology. SmartRide enrollees have access to a robust web portal and app that provide near real-time feedback on driving data following the completion of a trip. Participants also receive emails from the program regarding their driving behaviors, and SmartRide device-enabled members can now access their driving information through Amazon Alexa-enabled devices.

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