Congratulations Massachusetts drivers. You’re not the worst.
The state’s drivers have earned a reputation nationwide as speeders, weavers, tailgaters — generally a lawless lot unwilling to obey even the most basic roadway etiquette.
But according to data collected by an online insurance shopping site via a mobile phone app, Massachusetts drivers are slightly better than those in New York. And they’re even better than drivers in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Hawaii.
But put the brakes on any celebration. Massachusetts drivers still ranked 11th from the bottom, which belonged to New Jersey, according to EverDrive, the mobile app.
The app, developed by Cambridge Mobile Telematics and Boston-based EverQuote Inc., can be downloaded on a mobile phone to track speeding, phone use, braking, cornering, and acceleration.
It is one of many apps that technology firms and insurance companies are developing to track driver behavior. Insurance companies are hoping to use these mobile apps to determine insurance premiums and encourage safer driving.
The Massachusetts Division of Insurance is reviewing applications by insurers to use these apps, and regulators have expressed concerns about who would own the information, whether it could be shared with third parties and used in accident investigations, and how companies can ensure that the data are accurate.
But some technology companies aren’t waiting for insurance regulators, releasing the apps directly to curious drivers to help them track and improve their driving habits, without any insurance implications.
Based on data collected from about 1,800 Massachusetts drivers between April 7 and June 25, EverQuote found that they were distracted by their phones a third of the time behind the wheel. The state’s drivers are also traveling at least 10 miles an hour above the speed limit for half the driving time, the data found.
The app is helping drivers reduce their phone use, company officials said. It was down by about 37 percent by the end of one competition for app users. Speeding, sudden braking, and acceleration dropped by about 30 percent.
Massachusetts drivers earned a score of 76 percent, edging out New York’s 74.6 percent. New Jersey drivers were at the bottom with a 68.6 percent score.
The best drivers are in Montana, where open roads and the lack of bumper-to-bumper traffic make safer driving possible. But Montana drivers also tend to use their phones less and don’t speed as frequently, EverQuote officials said.
Boston-based TrueMotion earlier this month also launched its free public app for families, so parents can keep track of their teen drivers and view data about their children’s driving on their phones. TrueMotion is also working with Progressive Corp. for an insurance-based app.
Seth Birnbaum, the cofounder of EverQuote, said since launching the app in April, the company has been trying to engage drivers and increase the number of users with contests, rewards for the safest drivers, and leader boards so drivers can compare scores. The company so far has about 20,000 people using the app nationwide, collecting data on how they drive and whether the app helps them improve.Deirdre Fernandes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @fernandesglobe.