Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

TomTom Satnavs To Set Insurance Prices

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the unseen-mechanized-eye dept.

Privacy 605

nk497 writes "TomTom has signed a deal with an insurance firm that will see its satnavs used to monitor drivers. Fair Pay Insurance, part of Motaquote, will use monitoring systems built into the TomTom PRO 3100 to watch for sharp braking and badly managed turns, rewarding 'good' drivers with lower premiums and warning less skilled motorists when they aren't driving as they should. 'We've dispensed with generalization's and said to our customers, if you believe you're a good driver, we'll believe you and we'll even give you the benefit up front,' said Nigel Lombard of Fair Pay Insurance."

cancel ×

605 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

um (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38977881)

this is bullshit

I'll second that. (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978351)

This is how privacy dies.

Re:I'll second that. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978453)

and it's also how insurance dies. Isn't the purpose of insurance to distribute risk?

I guess it's time to say "I told you so"? (5, Interesting)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38977883)

For all those of us who keep saying that this sort of technology will be abused, and all the folks that keep saying it won't - I guess it is our turn to say "I told you so."

My prediction, sales of this SatNav will plummet if people know that they will be monitored constantly.

Re:I guess it's time to say "I told you so"? (2, Insightful)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978063)

Well, when you "people" say every single piece is abused by "the man", you're bound to be right someday.

In other news, I'm quite sure that if I turn off my "tom tom pro 3100" and use my Phone or any other gizmo, there will be no tracking.

Re:I guess it's time to say "I told you so"? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978109)

No. They supply a "tom tom pro 3100" for navigating and supplying you with feedback. But switching that off will do you no good as they also fit a black box that works independently and comes on whenever you start the ignition.

What do you know, you didn't manage to out-think them in 3 seconds.

Re:I guess it's time to say "I told you so"? (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978265)

Still quite sure I would be able to foil the badass gps with anything from cutting the power supply to covering it with something. My current GPS loses signal if not placed next to the front window, so I don't think it'd be that hard.

Re:I guess it's time to say "I told you so"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978319)

No, if you do that, you will break some EULA and loose insurance and support for your car in an instant. HO-HO-HO-HO

Re:I guess it's time to say "I told you so"? (3, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978475)

If it loses the signal, it's still got ignition and accelerometer to know you are driving. If you do a lot of driving with no GPS data, they're perhaps either going to send an engineer out to fix it, or up your premiums.

Why assume that if you can think of a potential way around it in 3 seconds, then the engineers didn't already think that one through? It's such a dumb assumption.

Re:I guess it's time to say "I told you so"? (3, Informative)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978363)

The PRO 3100, like all of the PRO series, is a semi-integrated satnav device that connects to your cars systems to do things other than turn-by-turn navigation - like monitor fuel consumption. The discounted insurance is dependant on you (a) having good driving habits, and (b) leaving the 3100 on for compliance monitoring. Switch it off and you'll get no discount.

Re:I guess it's time to say "I told you so"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978381)

Your tom tom pro 3100 was turned off during your accident on july 18. As a result this accident is not covered by your policy as it was quietly changed 3 months ago and you agreed by paying your bill.

You are so screwed.

Re:I guess it's time to say "I told you so"? (3, Informative)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978069)

It appears to be opt-in for an added discount.
This is really no different than using iGoogle. You get free extra features on a landing page, they get more data.
If you don't like it, then keep on your existing carrier. I will be staying with mine (AAA FWIW).
-nB

Re:I guess it's time to say "I told you so"? (3, Informative)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978107)

It appears to be opt-in for an added discount.

I assumed as much. I just saw a tv commercial for Progressive pimping their new opt-in datalogger. Same deal, the idea is to profile your driving habits to see if you qualify for a discount on your insurance. Theirs goes on the OBD port I guess. Just found this... http://jalopnik.com/138557/more-on-progressives-elective-black-boxes-for-usage+based-insurance [jalopnik.com]

Re:I guess it's time to say "I told you so"? (2)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978247)

Give it a few years and every insurer will require some form of this. This company is not the first and will not be the last.

Re:I guess it's time to say "I told you so"? (3, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978373)

Regrettably, no. People sell their privacy astonishingly cheap. It amazes me when I go to the store and they expect me to carry a "loyalty card" for a minor discount. But apparently some of you do it, or they would not ask.

Speeding (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38977887)

And not to mention _speeding_! The Nav knows what's the speed limit at your location an instead of beeping when you overdo it, it will raise your premium each time, perhaps even rat you out to the cops.

Re:Speeding (2)

gweilo8888 (921799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978005)

Apart from the fact that very often, it doesn't. (I still have a TomTom 920T, although it seldom gets used these days; it was their top model a few years ago though.) My maps were until recently regularly updated, mapshare updates were applied before every trip, but for a significant proportion of the speed limits around town it was off by a margin of as much as 20 miles per hour, and that's in the few places where it even pretended to know the limits. In most areas, it hadn't a clue and no limit was suggested. It was pretty-much only interstates and maybe the dozen most major roads in town where it even attempted to suggest the limit. And that's talking about one of the 75 biggest metropolitan statistical areas in the United States. If you're in Podunk, good luck. TomTom's map quality is fairly good. Their point of interest quality is mediocre, and their quality for things like speed limits and the like is abominable, in the USA at least. I understand that in Europe they're a lot better.

Re:Speeding (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978075)

The GPS knows the speed and the place, they don't need the device itself to fire an alarm - if they receive data they can just post-process it.

On the other hand, I'm quite sure they will only want to know if you were speeding when you crashed.

Re:Speeding (4, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978353)

Apart from the fact that very often, it doesn't. (I still have a TomTom 920T, although it seldom gets used these days; it was their top model a few years ago though.) My maps were until recently regularly updated, mapshare updates were applied before every trip, but for a significant proportion of the speed limits around town it was off by a margin of as much as 20 miles per hour, and that's in the few places where it even pretended to know the limits.

My Garmin is surprisingly accurate, both in town and on the highway. Often, the speed limit display changes the instant I pass a new speed limit sign. I haven't noticed any places where it hasn't been accurate, but most of my driving is either within a large urban area or on freeways - I don't do much small town driving. It's been quite handy, especially for freeway driving: "Hey, is this still a 70mph zone or did I miss a 55mph sign when I passed those trucks?"

Re:Speeding (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978433)

Even if they get a percentage of false positives for speeding, a bad driver will still tend to get an awful lot more speeding events logged than a good driver.

But they might not care at all about what the posted speed limits are. They might just care about how much high speed driving you do and how much low speed driving.

If you're driving over 90mph it's probably going to raise your premiums no matter where you are doing it. (Even on the German autobahns. Just because driving fast is legal, doesn't mean the insurance company can't charge you extra for doing it.)

Re:Speeding (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978367)

The Nav knows what's the speed limit at your location an instead of beeping when you overdo it, it will raise your premium each time, perhaps even rat you out to the cops.

The insurance company would only care about the speed limit in the case of a claim in order to attempt to not pay it.

The insurance companies will instead profile your driving habits, including speeds at locations, in order to draw a comparison between you and the rest of the population. The posted limit on the road is irrelevant to these ends.

Re:Speeding (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978417)

Consumer GPS devices aren't good for speed monitoring.

Firstly, most of them calculate velocity by calculating differences in latitude and longitude and completely ignore altitude - which is why they read slower as you're going up and down hills.

Secondly, they aren't overrated like your cars speedo - the speedometers in most new cars are calibrated to read 100kmh when you're actually doing 95kmh, working on the theory that you'll have less severe accidents if you're travelling 5% slower. Of course, speeding drivers could always turn around and class-action their governments to get money and points back for speeding tickets being filled out incorrectly (charging drivers with 5% more speed than they were actually doing) since LIDAR and RADAR units are calibrated using moving police vehicles - which also happen to have the overrated speedos.

What about external hazards? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38977903)

Most of the time sharp braking is for something which shouldn't be in front of the car,
if anything this sounds like it will reward drivers who aren't as focused on the road,
blindly running over pedestrians and driving dangerously slow to avoid "badly managed
turns."

Re:What about external hazards? (4, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978125)

They can ccululate data of everyone they monitor and correlate patterns against claims. They'll soon know what constitutes risky driving far better than anyone's theories.

Re:What about external hazards? (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978151)

Most of the time sharp braking is for something which shouldn't be in front of the car

No, sharp braking is what happens when you are yacking on your cellphone or reading a newspaper, and glance up to see that you are about to rear end the car in front of you.

My guess is that frequent sharp braking is strongly correlated with bad driving.

Re:What about external hazards? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978221)

Most of the time sharp braking is for something which shouldn't be in front of the car,
if anything this sounds like it will reward drivers who aren't as focused on the road,
blindly running over pedestrians and driving dangerously slow to avoid "badly managed
turns."

If it happens once or twice a month, they can consider it an anomaly due to something completely unexpected in front of your car. But if you're swerving or slamming on the brakes every time you drive, then maybe you need to slow down and leave more space between you and the car in front of you.

uh.... (3, Insightful)

b5bartender (2175066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38977909)

So if say, some idiot pulls out in front of you and you swerve or stop quickly, your insurance company will consider you a bad driver?

Re:uh.... (2)

Undead Waffle (1447615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38977937)

That's just a decision you'll have to make. Do you really want to swerve and slam on the brakes and take the premium hike or will it cost less to just take a scrape and make him pay for it without reporting the incident?

Re:uh.... (2)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978257)

That's just a decision you'll have to make. Do you really want to swerve and slam on the brakes and take the premium hike or will it cost less to just take a scrape and make him pay for it without reporting the incident?

Few people with a relatively modern car are going to accept a scrape or pay for a repair out of pocket.

A proper repair for a scratch and dent can cost thousands since to get a seamless repair they have to repaint the panel that was scratched and blend the new paint in to the adjoining panels. When someone broke into my 7 year old car by tearing off the driver's door handle, it cost $3500 to replace the driver's door panel and blend in the paint with the adjoining panels. If someone pulled out of the a driveway and struck the side of my car, I'd expect the same (or higher) bill. Definitely worth swerving out of the way (if possible).

Re:uh.... (5, Insightful)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 2 years ago | (#38977955)

Unless this thing has a gyroscope or accelerometers, I don't know how useful the braking and turning data is.

GPSR's really aren't THAT precise for those things.

Now I know someone's about to chime in with that "dopler shift" bullshit, but all consumer-grade GPSR's use position change over time for all movement measurements.

The speed data makes sense, not the rest of it. Maybe establishing driving habits, like too many hours on the road. Or when you drive, and where.... geographic and time data could show them who drives in high-accident areas.

Re:uh.... (1)

gweilo8888 (921799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978021)

Even *with* a gyro and accelerometers, it isn't wildly good. I have the TomTom 920T, their top model from only a few years ago. One of the selling points was that it could track your movements even when the satellite signal was lost, such as when in a tunnel. In the real world, the performance was terrible-- if I maintained the same speed, it could roughly guess where I was so long as I didn't make any radical course changes, but if I sped up or slowed down, it would usually be significantly out of sync with reality after just 15-20 seconds. It really didn't manage a whole lot better than if it was simply interpolating based on my last known speed and direction. I doubt that current versions will manage any better.

Re:uh.... (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978077)

. Or when you drive, and where

How does the GPS determine who is driving? Maybe I have a car that is driven by me during the day, and my daughter or wife at other times. And, what on earth does _where_ you drive have to do with anything? Should those people that _must_ drive in an accident prone area really be punished by paying higher premiums?

Re:uh.... (3, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978157)

Maybe I have a car that is driven by me during the day, and my daughter or wife at other times.

Why would they care? The insurance is on the car. If you have a bad driver driving it some of the time you can reasonably expect your premium to go up.

Should those people that _must_ drive in an accident prone area really be punished by paying higher premiums?

Of course. It means they are a higher risk. And of course if they park in high theft areas, that's another risk they can quantify.

Re:uh.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978501)

it's the UK, open drive insurance policies are not the norm - named drivers are.

Re:uh.... (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978079)

Unless this thing has a gyroscope or accelerometers, I don't know how useful the braking and turning data is.

The fact says it measures "G-force impact" amongst other things. Which implies it does have an accelerometer.

It's not just a consumer grade GPS. They supply a normal looking Tom-Tom sat nav, and there's also a fixed black box. Probably this or something very similar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJq08UNRbXY [youtube.com]

Yes it has (2)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978101)

A very accurate accelerometer in three axis, that is used as a solid-state gyro. You can't predict exact location with it if you lose GPS for too long, but it's perfect for measuring G-forces.

Re:uh.... (5, Informative)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978147)

I work in the business of supporting software for these sorts of devices. Many models do have accelerometers, which isn't too surprising when you realize iPhones and other smartphones have them too. Dedicated plug-in devices (not the Garmins or other Personal Navigation Devices (PNDs)) also have OBD2 data collection which can then be sent back to the data farm of the service for collection and processing. That's all in addition to the usual GPS tracking. Fleets like Verizon and Sears, as well as thousands of Mom and Pop places already use dedicated devices in their vehicles and reports are run against them by their fleet managers and supervisors to derive all sorts of interesting interpretations.

You'd be surprised how much money you can save in gas when you are a big enough fleet and you make sure your drivers simply shut off their vehicles instead of idling them. And certainly, your business can be helped by direct dispatching of vehicles to jobs via two-way communications to these PNDs instead of the old way of assigning trucks to geographic zones. Depending on how you wire things up, you can even tell if your bucket truck is actually using the bucket and when that happened.

And yes, you can determine when drivers do a lot less innocent things like using company vehicles for private jobs, or more directly, actually stealing gas via siphoning by doing mileage comparisons against actual driven mileage.

For individual consumers, insurance companies do things like check how many miles you drive, into what areas that you drive (ie. more or less risky areas), as well as hard breaking if the devices have that ability (and most newer ones do). With OBD2 devices, they might even be able to tell a normal consumer (and their insurance company) more about their car's functioning than they could get short of visiting a mechanic.

Knowing what I know about how these devices can be used, I assure you, whether or not you benefit, the insurance company is always benefiting from this information. It's not always sinister, though. If you really have a low risk commute and you feel that you might be being overcharged, this may well be the way to go, but I wouldn't put this thing in a sports car or any vehicle you like to have a little fun in on a nice empty road.
 

Re:uh.... (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978091)

Do you really think your GPS is accurate enough to detect a swerve? (:

Don't worry, I'm quite sure it isn't and that they won't be judging you by that kind of maneuver.

Re:uh.... (2)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978203)

Do you really think your GPS is accurate enough to detect a swerve? (:

Don't worry, I'm quite sure it isn't and that they won't be judging you by that kind of maneuver.

Perhaps not, but an accelerometer is.

Re:uh.... (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978341)

Yes, but anything can trip a high acceleration value, so even if they have them, how do you propose differentiating the GPS falling to the ground because it wasn't placed correctly or someone hitting it with something by mistake with that swerve you were talking about?

I did some work on detecting road conditions using mobile phones as sensors, and I can assure you that the accelerometer is far from a reliable tool by itself.

Re:uh.... (2)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978469)

Yes, but anything can trip a high acceleration value, so even if they have them, how do you propose differentiating the GPS falling to the ground because it wasn't placed correctly or someone hitting it with something by mistake with that swerve you were talking about?

I did some work on detecting road conditions using mobile phones as sensors, and I can assure you that the accelerometer is far from a reliable tool by itself.

My 7 year old Thinkpad can detect when it's in freefall and park the hard drive heads before it hits the ground, so I think a modern accelerometer enhanced GPS can tell the difference between a short, sharp impact from a fall and a longer more gentle G-force from hard braking or swerving. An orientation sensor can also help.

If your kid is pretending it's an airplane and waving it through the air, that might confuse the sensors, but even that should be distinguishable from legitimate hard braking.

Re:uh.... (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978205)

It's got an accelerometer.

Re:uh.... (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978317)

Didn't see it in the article, but that is a minefield for false positives (for example, if your gps fell to the floor of the car that would register as something major).

Re:uh.... (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978443)

It's in a black box bolted somewhere in your car. Communicates with the display unit with bluetooth. It can't fall to the floor.

Well compared to DirecTV thieves they are ok (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38977921)

Just a heads up toanyone cnsidering Directv. These losers will try every trick there is to rip you off. these guys are nothing more than SCUM. sucking bottomfeeders. ever notice why they are they only ones with negative adds? like "Dish only does xxx" well thats because these lying bastard are nothing but cow dung that should be put out of biz. Look em up in the USA. Better Business Bureau . They have SERIOUSLY 39,000 complaints in Los Angeles Area alone for unfair practices. SERIOSLY. cmon, I know this is a troll post but think about it. and get rid of these mfuck asshats. we can only do this if we actually think with half a brain..; cmon.....

Gee, thanks (1)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38977931)

Wonderful, a system that will save the company a metric fuckton of cash and they'll pass on some unspecified fraction to us. How noble. I'm not saying it's a useless or immoral thing (quite the contrary), but it's hardly cause for public celebration when a company does something to increase their profits and it coincidentally helps the rest of us.

Now how about using that system to charge someone like me, who drives maybe 1,500 miles a year, less than someone who drives at or above the American average of ~12,000 miles a year? No, see, that's crazy talk. That would be something that doesn't save Fair Pay any money!

Re:Gee, thanks (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978013)

Wonderful, a system that will save the company a metric fuckton of cash and they'll pass on some unspecified fraction to us. How noble. I'm not saying it's a useless or immoral thing (quite the contrary), but it's hardly cause for public celebration when a company does something to increase their profits and it coincidentally helps the rest of us.

Insurance companies have always profiled drivers and charged them as much as they can get away with in a competitive market. The only change here is they'll have better information for profiling the driver. Good news if you're a lower risk driver, and vice versa.

Now how about using that system to charge someone like me, who drives maybe 1,500 miles a year, less than someone who drives at or above the American average of ~12,000 miles a year?

Obviously milage is one of the many risk factors they can and no doubt will take into account wit this system.

Re:Gee, thanks (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978201)

They already have mileage information available, complete with independent readings of the odometer when you get an emissions inspection, but I don't see a lot of low mileage discounts out there.

Re:Gee, thanks (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978285)

You've got to balance the amount of predictive power of the statistic against the admin involved in collecting it.

This system collects lots of different factors and feeds them back into the system automatically. There's no reason NOT to consider milage.

Re:Gee, thanks (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978105)

Rate adjustments based on your claims history already take into account innumerable factors such as how much you drive. For people like me who have been with the same company for a while (at least 15 years in my case), they should already be able to make good predictions, so how much additional predictive value would this data have?

Re:Gee, thanks (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978327)

People claim infrequently enough that there's probably not enough data even after 15 years to be sure how risky you are.

But they're not marketing this to you anyway. It's marketed at people have high premiums but believe (rightly or wrongly) that they are safe drivers. Young people, musicians...

Looks like it's only in the UK (for now) (4, Informative)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 2 years ago | (#38977945)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/08/tomtom_insurance/ [theregister.co.uk]

From the article intro:
>The idea has been hovering in the ether for some time, but TomTom is the first satnav firm to sign on the dotted line and bring insurance to drivers through their GPS.

>The Dutch company has joined up with Motaquote insurers to offer UK drivers "Fair Pay" insurance, where customers pay lower premiums because their satnav monitors how they're driving.

Re:Looks like it's only in the UK (for now) (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978019)

Good. I'd hate to see my premiums jump just for driving on the right hand side of the road.

The silver lining (2, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38977959)

This is actually a really bad step down a steep slope, even odds within five years at least one state requires this to run a motor vehicle (or tries to).

But... I can see one possible silver lining in all this. Recording what the driver is doing, and see what the profile of a driver who actually gets into accident does might dispel some myths. For instance, if you get too many speeding tickets most insurance companies will raise your rates. But I have always been of the mind that people speeding are paying WAY more attention to the road than the average driver, and in the end probably are not as likely to get in an accident. Well, with these devices, now we would know...

Re:The silver lining (-1, Troll)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978023)

For instance, if you get too many speeding tickets most insurance companies will raise your rates. But I have always been of the mind that people speeding are paying WAY more attention to the road than the average driver, and in the end probably are not as likely to get in an accident. Well, with these devices, now we would know...

I'd put heavy cash down on the outcome being you're a fucking idiot.

Re:The silver lining (3, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978033)

From police statistics it is proven that people that speed have a higher risk of accidents. It's a simple as that.

Even if you pay better attention to the road, the higher speed means less reaction time, longer braking distance, and generally higher speed the moment you actually hit something making damage worse. Also if you're doing say 100 km/h on a road with an 80 km/h limit, other traffic may easily misjudge your speed, and try to make a turn in front of you when there is actually not enough time to do so. Or they simply see you coming around the corner too late, and with your too high speed you do not have enough time to stop to prevent an accident.

Generalising: lower speed makes roads safer. Taken to the extreme to make the point: at walking speed not much can happen, and if something happens the damage is minimal.

Re:The silver lining (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978231)

Towns that remove signage, including lane lines, see a reduction in accidents. Why? Slower speeds, and more attention being paid to make up for the lack of signs.

Re:The silver lining (3, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978269)

From police statistics it is proven that people that speed have a higher risk of accidents. It's a simple as that.

Higher than what?

I can't vouch for the rest of the world, but in the UK speeding is only the primary cause of a small percentage of accidents and most of them are extreme speeding (e.g. 60mph in a 30) rather than people doing 10mph above the limit.

And numerous studies have shown that the safest drivers are around the 85th percentile by speed. They're certainly safer than those who mindlessly drive at the speed limit because they're unable to determine the safe speed for the conditions by themselves.

lower speed makes roads safer

Yet out here in the real world, motorways are the safest roads in Britain, and the speed limits are the highest and pretty much everyone routinely breaks them. Many of the accidents seem to be caused by speed-limited truck drivers falling asleep from the boredom of crawling along a road for hours where they could be driving much faster than they are.

Re:The silver lining (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978393)

From police statistics it is proven that people that speed have a higher risk of accidents. It's a simple as that.

Higher than what?

Higher than people that do not speed. And while it may not be a primary cause, many accidents only happen because of a multitude of causes coming together at the wrong place and the wrong time. Speeding is one of them.

lower speed makes roads safer

Yet out here in the real world, motorways are the safest roads in Britain,

That's why I said "in general". I know motorways are the safest roads, that's pretty much all over the world, because they're designed to come without any surprises. So no traffic lights, no slow traffic (there is a minimum speed), no sharp corners, etc.

There is a very good reason for limiting the speed of trucks, and that is vehicle control. Trucks, especially when laden full, are heavy and as such at speed pack a lot of energy. Yes when laden they brake faster than when empty, but those brakes also have to absorb an enormous amount of energy, and there is a limit to what they can absorb before overheating and breaking down. At speed a heavy vehicle is also prone to instability - it's hard to make a vehicle strong/stiff enough to handle the enormous forces that come when a 40-ton trailer is hauled over a bump in the road at high speed. I have talked to many a truck driver, and while many will say the standard 80 km/hr limit is too low, not many are willing to go much over it. The normal 120 km/hr passenger vehicle speed they won't do, unless not hauling a trailer maybe.

Re:The silver lining (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978431)

You actually believe "statistics" from the "police" that "speeding" causes accidents? The very industry that profits the most from giving "speeding tickets?"

And you cite it as the end-all-be-all argument to which there is no reasonable rebuttal?

Laughable. It's as simple as that.

Re:The silver lining (0)

skine (1524819) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978465)

Bullshit.

Here in New York State, the speed limit used to be 55mph across the state.

The limit was raised to 65mph for highways.

The number of accidents actually decreased.

Re:The silver lining (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978497)

Correlation is not causation. When they raised the speed limits, they also "added high-tech radar and laser instruments to limit excessive speeding in these 65 mph areas and throughout the state," and "instituted targeted programs to combat aggressive driving and promote compliance with safety restraint laws." (source [motorists.org] )

Re:The silver lining (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978473)

      Taken to the extreme, you would be parked in the middle of the expressway. In that case it would be very likely to have an accident, and a nasty one at that.

Re:The silver lining (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978301)

But I have always been of the mind that people speeding are paying WAY more attention to the road than the average driver, and in the end probably are not as likely to get in an accident.

I bet you're one of the 90% of drivers [wikipedia.org] that think they are "above average".

Re:The silver lining (1)

SwedishChef (69313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978311)

One of the leading causes of accidents is following too closely and a GPS will not measure that. If tailgating can be correlated to speeding (e.g.: people who speed also follow too closely) then I'd say there could be a good outcome from using this data. Otherwise, not so much...

Awesome (5, Funny)

Undead Waffle (1447615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38977963)

If it's watching for badly managed turns does that mean I get deductions from my next bill every time I nail the apex?

Re:Awesome (3, Funny)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978053)

That was my thought, too - what about the (usually) well-executed powerslides into my company parking lot I do every night?

Company Website. (2)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 2 years ago | (#38977969)

http://www.fairpayinsurance.co.uk/Frequently-Asked-Questions/ [fairpayinsurance.co.uk]

Oy, pretty low-quality website there, mate.

Re:Company Website. (2)

evanism (600676) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978029)

Looks like a site Anonymous might be interested. :D

Re:Company Website. (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978039)

Just keeping their costs down, so their customers can save more on premiums.

Re:Company Website. (1)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978225)

Their invoices are also written out in pencil on toilet paper and delivered by pony express.

At least its not mandatory. Yet. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38977995)

Theres a huge difference between sharp braking and dangerous driving.
I may be slightly biased because I can be a bit of a hoon myself, but I really believe that the most dangerous type of driving is the burger and cellphone type.

Additionally, what is the definition of a badly managed turn? I presume faster than what the system thinks is safe but its very vague.
I once heard from a police officer "If I want to pull you over, I just have to follow you for five minutes." There are so many minor infractions that you make every day that are normally overlooked. Maybe this is just an excuse to raise rates, with the vast majority being lumped in with the "bad drivers".

Re:At least its not mandatory. Yet. (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978313)

Theres a huge difference between sharp braking and dangerous driving.

Yeah, that difference is an unexpected slippery spot in the road.

Are GPS devices reliable for this purpose (4, Interesting)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978003)

All privacy questions aside, are sat nav devices reliable enough for this purpose?

I purchased a TomTom device new within the last year. On complex intersections - and sometimes just on parallel roads - it can "snap" the car back and forth between pieces of roadway on the display. Sometimes it seems to think you're starting a turn you're not actually making and then eventually snaps the car back onto the correct road later. When exiting a parking lot it sometimes isn't certain about which direction you're really moving in until you've drove a little. It has also tried to direct me down a variety of local roads that don't actually exist. I imagine at least some of these issues are somewhat common among sat navs, and this is only part of my anecdotal experience with one device.

The point is, when these things become a significant input into insurance rates, who can actually inspect them and certify them for such purposes?

Re:Are GPS devices reliable for this purpose (1)

safetyinnumbers (1770570) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978089)

are sat nav devices reliable enough for this purpose?

Looking at the faq link someone posted, it implies that there are a bunch of extra sensors (or at least accelerometers), possibly in a separate device linked to the GPS (for time and location info). It talks of having someone come to install it in your car.

And what gives them the right... (0)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978007)

... to sell my information?

Is there a EULA that comes with TomTom devices that allows monitoring me in perpetuity with no restrictions? If I promise to send some candy to good drivers, can I also have all the TomTom GPS data for their customers?

Competition ahoy! (5, Insightful)

RedCard (302122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978011)

Observation: Insurance rates are currently set at a level that the market and competitive pressure will bear, without this additional information.

Prediction: Early adopters will see some benefit in lowered insurance costs, but once most people are enrolled, insurance rates will creep back up to previous levels (that being the established level that the market will bear). Insurance companies will create additional rules that will facilitate a greater rate of insurance claim denial based up the new information, and will see greater profits arise due to this. Consumers overall will see no benefit in the long run.

Re:Competition ahoy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978143)

I used to bookmark and record predictions like these to confirm or deny them, but I just don't give a fuck anymore.

Also: Less insurance fraud, too.

Re:Competition ahoy! (3, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978349)

On average insurance wont get much cheaper. But it'll get cheaper for safe drivers and more expensive for unsafe drivers. Which is a good thing.

New from the future ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978037)

"Tom Tom declared bankruptcy today, citing the boycott initiated
by angry consumers whose insurance had been canceled as
the primary reason for their failure." - Wall Street Journal, 8 February 2014.

Re:New from the future ... (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978323)

Why would they boycott Tomtom rather than refusing to continue to participate in the insurance company program that lowers the rates for "safer" drivers? Is Tomtom the bad guy here? They are just providing the data - insurance companies (and their customers) are deciding how (or whether) to use it.

Don't want to join the monitoring program? Then pay a higher rate.

GPS not reliable enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978051)

I use a GPS to track my runs, it's frequently off a lot. When I run laps around a track I am guaranteed that it will sometimes think I cut across the track. And most GPS devices aren't made to be highly accurate so it will be providing false data a lot. Than I am assuming it's tracking the sensors in the car, in which there are too many varibles to monitor to find out what is truely reckless driving when all you have to look at is numbers.

I don't see why this is a bad thing. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978085)

If you're a good driver you should be driving properly. If you're an unsafe driver then you DESERVE to have your costs raised.

Re:I don't see why this is a bad thing. (3, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978175)

Because the grainy data given by a GPS should not be consider legal reason to charge higher or lower prices for customers. Because if you are a truly unsafe driver, your costs will be raised because you have made claims. Because this is an insane violation of consumer privacy. Do you need more reasons or did you just see this as a good opportunity to flog a witch?

Cool... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978115)

Every time i see someone have this in their car... I'm going to grab it and shake the crap out of it for 20 minutes.

That should help their rates.

(this is a very very bad idea and we should never allow it to be used ever. Because it WILL bite us in the ass. It's going to happen and it's going to cost you alot.)

no way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978133)

would I give a private company the power to track my every move. Pretty soon the police would be sending subpoenas, or piggy-backing on the monitoring.

If it was a simple accelerometer and speed monitoring system, in return for much lower premiums, I'd be in it, but actual co-ordinate info? not gonna happen!

I love how they always sell it... (5, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978141)

...as a "discount" for those exhibiting the behavior they want. In fact, they simply raise prices for everyone at such a rate that the discount is in fact the lack of a penalty. Yet, somehow, dressing it up in this way avoids backlash and consumer protection lawsuits, while convincing people to give up their privacy in ways they would have never considered has it not been for the phantom carrot of a "discount".

Before someone says "free market!", keep in mind that nearly every insurance company does this to some extent, usually with no proof of their claims, and insurance is legally required to some extent in most of the country. The free market does not exist, never did, and never will.

Re:I love how they always sell it... (1)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978457)

In fact, they simply raise prices for everyone at such a rate that the discount is in fact the lack of a penalty.

Of course prices always go up. We call it "inflation." What this scheme does is help insulate good drivers from inflation.

bad statistics to base premium on (2)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978163)

I happen to be a 20+ years experienced driver, that drives about 3 times the average distance each year. Right now, I have a maximum no-claim insurance fee, because I haven't been in a crash that I was legally responsible for for over twenty years. However, if you would use the accelerometer in my satnav to judge my driving, or for that matter, the rate of wear on my tires, you'd be putting me in the most expensive insurance category, or maybe even not insure me at all.

Just because I have had extensive training on how to make a car handle best in several safety trainings, race trainings and alike and actually use that in daily traffic, does not make me a bad driver. Just because I choose to buy a car and tires that can handle larger G-forces does not make me a bad driver. However, if you take statistics of all drivers that have proven to be crash-prone, you will find similar high g-force readings, if you decide to look at only g-forces and not at the full circumstances where those occur. Sure, for generic profitability an insurance company would do fine, but you would also be discriminating against people that have taken extra trainings and are in fact your best customers, since they pay their premiums and never ever claim.

Re:bad statistics to base premium on (3, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978397)

Maybe you've just been lucky. Accidents don't happen often enough to be a great risk predictor for the future. From the sound of it, maybe when you do have an accident it will be a big one, and you'll total the car. And that'll be more significant than the 2 mild fender benders that the little old lady next door has had in 20 years.

hacking satnavs (3, Interesting)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978173)

Is what will happen next, because faking good driver behaveor will give you lower insurance ratings.

A matter of opinion (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978199)

I have driven for 48 years without an accident with another vehicle. I've hit a dog, a deer, and a cow, but never a person or another vehicle. I drive fast (110+ in northern Mexico, and 80-100 on US highways, depending upon traffic), love mountain roads (I learned to drive in Colorado and Mexico), and generally don't let the moss grow under me. I don't think I would be a good customer for these sort of "insurance" policies, as they are obviously fixated on their pre-conceptions of what a good driver is and how they drive. FWIW, I am also a professionally trained rally, autocross, and high-performance driver. I can pull a 360 and exit on any point of the circle you want. I despise antilock brakes (although my Toyota has them - I tried to get my mechanic to disable them, but he wouldn't because of liability issues), and get cranky when other drivers are being blockheads! My Toyota Camry has 180,000+ miles on it, and the only dings in the finish were caused by my wife when I lent it to her... :-)

Re:A matter of opinion (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978343)

FYI disabling ABS, assuming it's not OBD-2 (Which may throw the check engine light, for inspection purposes), can usually be disabled by pulling the fuse labelled 'ABS' in the engine bay fuse compartment. I did this years ago myself on my 3000GT VR4 when something failed in the ABS system after a car wash, causing the pump to permanently cycle (didn't affect the brakes, but it would've killed the battery). As long as it doesn't have the ABS pump/bleed system to cycle the pressure to the wheels, it'll act like a regular brake system and allow you to regulate them yourself via pumping the brake pedal.

Good luck!

I love how big brother gains a beachhead. (1, Insightful)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978223)

If the US wants to take away freedoms and monitor the internet, it is to protect the children. Then once is in place, they use it for other things down to political influence.

If they want to monitor your driving, you get rewarded to do it now. Then once everyone is doing it, you'll still get bonuses for being a polite sheep, but they'll jack the other rates up calling it inflation or something.

Wall mart seems like such a great place for low prices, but once they kill the competition they jack the prices up so you're really not saving anything from the competition they killed. Actually you're probably losing out since there is no one to compete with them anymore.

Solution? (1)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978249)

Leave the TomTom at home.

And if... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978299)

And if you want to know why I drive a "stodgy" Camry? It is a 1999 model - probably the most reliable vehicle ever built. After almost 200K miles, it gets 25mpg in the city, 30-35 on the road, runs like a Swiss watch, handles well (had to rebuild the rear suspension this winter), and has the best seats for long distance driving I have EVER found! I can drive 1000+ miles in 15 hours or less and arrive without staggering! My usual time from Boston to San Francisco is less than 3 days. Day 1 - Boston to Chicago. Day 2 - Chicago to Ogalala Nebraska, Day 3 - Ogalala to SF, arriving in SF in the early evening. Unless you are running the Cannonball, you won't get there faster! Ok, maybe. One of my nieces from Mexico was a diplomat here in the US some years ago, and she was able to drive from NYC to Chicago in under 10 hours. Of course, it helps to be driving a BMW 700 series with diplomatic plates! :-) I asked her how she could get from NYC to Chicago in 10 hours, and she told me, "Tio Lala" (that's my family nickname), we drove at least 110-120mph the entire way (except for gas and pit-stops I guess)! And she's the one who is currently a federal prosecutor in Oaxaca! :-)

I love it... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978307)

More reason to keep driving a '62 Chevrolet sedan and a '77 Honda motorcycle. Ultimate backup vehicle is a cro-moly Bianchi road bike. I have restored all three vehicles from stem to stern. Just try and plant a black box on me. :)

Screw this. (4, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 2 years ago | (#38978335)

If the insurance company I use announced they'd start doing this, I'd cancel and switch to someone else immediately, and I'd recommend the same to everyone I know.

JUST SAY "NO" TO BEING TRACKED EVERYWHERE YOU DRIVE

Are we already monitored enough? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38978493)

Similar insurance scheme was already tested in UK 7 years ago by Aviva. It was called PayAsYouDrive where GPS device would trace your route and your insurance will be paid based on your route and time of the day. This was designed for young drivers which insurance premiums are high. If they would drive during the daytime insurance would be lower compared to night time when most accident happen for young drivers.

There was a talk that government could use the same principle for charging us for using roads. In this case it would be compulsory for every vehicle in UK to have GPS. Different charge would be for different roads and different times. This would be used to stop people using main roads during rush hour and help road overcrowding. Obviously, the charge per mile of road during rush hours would be much more expensive and people would plan their trip after rush hour. Also they could use the same data for issuing speeding tickets too.

Would you like your country to start similar schemes or this is too much control?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>