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Gridlock Guy: Distracted driving app now letting parents reward kids

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and as it enters its stretch run, a revisit with the TASL app is warranted. We learned about TASL, which stands for “This App Saves Lives,” a year ago. Co-founder Ryan Frankel became passionate about ending distracted driving, after a driver that was texting ran a red light and hit Frankel on his bike.

This rewards app that gives drivers redeemable points for gifts for attentive driving has seen great success in the last year. TASL, pronounced “tassel,” has “grown by leaps and bounds,” Frankel told the AJC and 95.5 WSB. But he noted that as the app has grown, so has the problem it is trying to solve.

“Unfortunately, COVID has made people more addicted to technology than ever,” he explained. “So as people are going out, we are seeing rates of distracted driving increasing.”

Now TASL is offering a new service that takes a stab at a part of the population where distracted driving is most rampant: young drivers.

The Parent Portal is a web-based dashboard, not its own app, available at thisappsaveslives.com/parents. Parents create an account there and then can link their child’s TASL account or even share the TASL app for the first time with their young driver. Doing this allows parents to see all of their driving metrics and then choose rewards on their own or through the TASL rewards store.

“It’s really creating a unique partnership between parent and child, designed to reduce the number of accidents, injuries, and deaths from distracted driving,” Frankel said.

For as low as $4 per month, the parent writes the goal and the gift in the portal. TASL actually notifies the parents how the kid is doing. At the $4 level, the parent can see their teen’s driving metrics for the past week. Paying $9.99 or $19.99 per month allows parents to see more data, post more rewards, and gain TASL rewards points.

TASL offers rewards from different online food, apparel, and subscription companies, along with Reebok apparel. The app’s rewards store also allows people to pay points for gift card raffles with Amazon and Target. TASL’s main revenue source is companies purchasing space in this shop.

Drivers earn rewards by running the TASL app while driving and by not interacting with their phone. They also lose points when they do break the rules. They are only allowed to run GPS apps. This not only creates an easy metric parents to track their kids’ driving, but any driver can truly rate how distracted they are behind the wheel.

“We’re starting to see the data from our side that the right combination of rewards and some gamification built-in - the idea that you can compete against your friends and your family to see who the safest driver is - that kind of thing is really resulting in improvements in that kind of distracted driving behavior,” Frankel said.

He and his team believe that the carrot approach works far better than the stick.

As the problem gets worse, Frankel is seeing more interest in the distracted driving epidemic from society at large. “There are quite a bit of tailwinds - private and public - that are aiming to put an end to distracted driving.”

Evidence to that assertion is the interest other companies have shown with TASL. ParkMobile is sharing the TASL app with its customers. So is Verizon, which is highlighting TASL and the Parent Portal in its own Verizon Up customer rewards app.

Frankel expresses major concerns about distracted driving, but especially about the population the Parent Portal seeks most to help. “The younger demographic - teenaged and college-aged drivers - unfortunately, they represent a disproportionate amount of fatalities from distracted driving. This is a great opportunity to protect our future and put an at-risk population in a safer place.”

Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on 95.5 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also hosts a traffic podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at Doug.Turnbull@cmg.com.

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