New York City Launches Drive Smart

14 Oct

drive smart new york tracking cars

What is the Drive Smart Demonstration Pilot Protect (DOT) 

On August 2015, New York City launched a new protect commonly called “Drive Smart” or DOT and plans to continue it through August 2016. Designed to gather data and learn the daily driving habits of 400 volunteer New York City residents, the program places a small car tracking device, the Drive Smart OBD-II, into the car, which then monitors the driver’s speed, the time of day he or she drove, hard braking, sharp turns, and anonymized GPS location. The drive smart program hopes to lessen New York traffic with the information it gathers.

Concerns about Drive Smart

Despite the program’s intentions to help decongest city traffic, people have brought forth a myriad of concerns. According to CBS New York, several New Yorkers are against the voluntary program, believing it akin to “big brother”. New York resident Brian said, “More control over the people. . . I wouldn’t be down for that, definitely not.” Taxi cab driver Nour said, “Enough. Enough. Enough. There is the NSA, CIA, FBI—you have more information that you need.” Hackers also cause concern, as the data received from the 400 volunteer drivers will likely provide a blueprint for New York City’s traffic grid. This type of specific information could become dangerous if it fell into an enemy of the nation’s hands. Another concern is for the volunteer’s themselves, as their location will be pinpointed whenever he or she is behind the wheel.

Perks of volunteering for Drive Smart

Despite the dangers and general creepy vibe someone might get when signing up for the Drive Smart program, it offers quite a few perks to volunteers. Allstate is offering 30% discounted insurance for volunteer drivers and tips and alerts sent to the volunteer’s smartphone to help he or she avoid traffic, use less gas, and drive safer. Driving safely, saving time, and saving gas allows volunteers to accrue points, which can be redeemed for discounts and other benefits. To qualify for the program, one must own a car, drive it at least four times a week, own a smartphone, live in New York, and work in New York City. To see if you are eligible, you can visit Drive Smart’s application here. It will be interesting to see what information the Drive Smart program gleans, and if it ends up benefiting New Yorkers and smoothing out traffic or just results in giving people the creeps


Ariel is a Marketing Associate and Blogger for the American Safety Council.

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