Could an app be the solution to producing better drivers?S

The fundamentals of vehicle operation are central to being a safe driver. Many states require some form of driver training before a person can obtain a driver’s license. Those classes can be costly, especially for a young person who is a full time student. At the same time, we lack a modern method to share our journey from driver’s permit to driver’s license.

Can an application defer the cost of driver’s education and revive the excitement of obtaining a driver’s license?

Yes, which is why I've dreamed up this application.

Introducing, Drive to be Licensed, an online application brought to you by Automakers X, Y and Z. This application leverages a user's online community to provide monetary support for driver’s education and makes the driver’s license social again. The app combines social sharing, gamification, contributions, e-commerce and education to promote a singular goal: nuture safer drivers.

Drive to be Licensed allows users to participate and compete against their peers in online games that test their knowledge of traffic rules and vehicle safety. Points are awarded for playing games (even losers get points), responding to surveys and answering other new would-be driver’s questions. Points can be redeemed in many different ways.

Games – Points can be used to unlock special edition cars (branded by Automakers X/Y/Z) in video games such as Grand Turismo Unleashed and Forza the Fastest (not real games). The video game industry supports the app saying, “We have a responsibility to promote safe driving in the real world. That is why we partnered with Drive to be Licensed and why our new racing games will include driver safety messages periodically during gameplay.”

Vehicle – Points can be redeemed at any one of the supporting automaker’s sales or service centers for discounts on vehicles, service or car sharing where applicable.

Insurance – Points can be used to reduce the total cost of insurance for young drivers through the apps’ network of partnered insurers.

Make it social, again

The app also allows users to post updates to their social networks to include total miles driven, total points obtained, a countdown to driving milestones and a list of cars they aspire to own. The app makes the process more social by allowing users to broadcast to their goals as they reach them. This is what we do online - we broadcast, constantly. This app simply takes a process that mostly happens offline and brings parts of it online.

Applying the Community Economy

The application allows users to receive monetary contributions to pay for the cost of driver’s education. Yes! People investing in other people is fantastic. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, siblings and friends can invest in the user. A coming-of-age milestone has (once again) become a publicly supported affair.

Drive to be Licensed would also encourage people to participate in driver’s education programs even when thier state might not require such training. This is a very important benefit as a primary goal of this application is to promote and increase the overall participation in driver training.

There are multiple benefits to this whole effort for the young drivers, parents, brands and other drives on the road:

1) Resuscitates the path and desire to obtain a driver’s license, along with driver’s education, even if the desire to own a car isn’t present at the time.

2) Creates positive brand sentiment through an entertaining, relevant and useful application.

3) Growth of licensed drivers could mean an increase in vehicle owners or users of automaker-owned car sharing services*.

4) Promotes the importance of fundamental vehicle operation through wider enrollment of driver’s education.

*As car sharing services grow, especially in urban areas where there are fewer licensed drivers, it’s important people obtain a driver’s license to use these services. The presumption that one only needs a driver’s license when one plans to own a car is wrong. If that were true only lifeguards and paramedics would learn CPR.

Conclusion

This idea is the result of my wildly vivid imagination and a firm belief that brands must evolve their marketing efforts to value-added rather than interuptive as younger generations are immune to traditional display advertising.

Automakers have created apps that crowdsource money to sell car parts (Dodge) and leveraged social media to pick trims (Nissan) and racing vinyl (Cadillac); these are shortsighted efforts that have zero long-term value.

Marketing departments need to look beyond the immediacy of the bottom line and social media impressions. They have to find ways to produce ‘marketing’ that benefits humanity and end users.

Producing safer drivers would be a start.