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Big Brother In Your Front Seat

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the be-good-for-goodness'-sake dept.

Privacy 995

Rick Zeman writes "Would you give up your privacy in your car to save a few bucks on your auto insurance? 'Safe' drivers who plug an electronic device into their vehicles will be then eligible for a discount on their insurance. They say, '...the device constantly tracks car speed. By comparing that with a clock in the TripSense device, the device figures how far the car goes, mapping it against the time of day. At the end of each policy term, the customer would download the data and see what discount he or she would get. Customers can see all their data before deciding to send it to Progressive, and can decide not to send it -- and not get extra discounts.' I wonder how soon it will be that everyone has one except those resigned to paying extra as with grocery 'convenience' cards."

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No (5, Insightful)

Lord Grey (463613) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932878)

Would you give up your privacy in your car to save a few bucks on your auto insurance? ... the device constantly tracks car speed ...
To make this as easy as possible for insurance company representatives (or any other representatives of big business and government) to understand:

Stay the f**k out of my life.

Re:No (5, Insightful)

maximilln (654768) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932904)

You know that, to save the children, eventually these things will be mandatory by law.

Re:No (1)

Tongo (644233) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932925)

Remember....it takes a village.

Re:No (1)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932968)


Just as long as it doesn't take *The* Village.

My kid really likes Elmo, y'know?

Re:No (1, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933072)

Or if your a GOPer it to stop TERROR!

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9933109)

If you don't install the monitor, THEN THE TERRORISTS HAVE WON!

Re:No (2, Insightful)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932919)

Um, for governments you can say that, but guess what, car insurance is privately owned, if you don't like it, don't go with that company, siimple as that. Let them know you don't like it, if they lose more revenue than they stand to gain,

Re:No (3, Insightful)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933017)

car insurance is privately owned

It was. Now it is mandated, therefore it is a tax, and therefore it is government. That means we can bypass the whole "well, it's a private company so they can deep fry your rights in wombat shit" argument.

Re:No (4, Funny)

dartboard (23261) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933038)

It's only mandated if you want to drive on public roads. If you build your own [private] highway system then you no longer need insurance. Easy-cheesey!

go monopoly (3, Interesting)

Psymunn (778581) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933031)

well... over here in BC Canada, the government has a monopoly on car insurance. what can you say to that?

Re:go monopoly (5, Funny)

twbecker (315312) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933081)

How about "Stay the fuck out of my car, eh?"

Re:No (1)

fdiskne1 (219834) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933069)

Um, for governments you can say that, but guess what, car insurance is privately owned, if you don't like it, don't go with that company, siimple as that. Let them know you don't like it, if they lose more revenue than they stand to gain
Until all insurance companies require it. Much like grocery store frequent shopper cards, having receipts checked when exiting a store, buying a car with GPS/OnStar installed. Once the critical mass of people don't make a stink about it, you won't have a choice. It will end up that I'm some strange old hermit living in the woods because I don't want my rights infringed.

Re:No (4, Insightful)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933071)

But what about when they all require them?

It's an interesting dilema, and it's easy to say to just pick another company...

When they came for Progressive, I said I didn't have Progressive, so I did nothing.

When they came for State Farm, I said I didn't have State Farm, so I did nothing....

Etc., etc....

Until... then they came for Metropolitan, and there were no other companies to turn to...

Obviously, I think, we are beginning to understand that in order to continue having certain privelages, because so many people violate those privelages, we are going to have to accept enforcement of the proper use of those privelages and pay the penalties when we don't. Speed traps, red light cameras, black boxes... Sure, I know it's not the government... yet.

I could be flip about it and say "well, if you don't speed then why would you object?" But I won't, because we all know it doesn't end there. On the other hand, with so many people violating rules and laws, costing lives and money, something like this is inevitable.

Re:No (4, Funny)

Dr. Bent (533421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932942)

You: Stay the f**k out of my life.

InsureCo: No problem. Have a nice day and good luck driving your car without insurance.

Re:No (4, Insightful)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932947)

I second that. They are there to provide me with a service. They can judge how much that will cost me by how much I cost them in the past, not how much I might cost them in the future.

I can decide if I'm willing to pay their outragous prices and contribute to their record profits (last year for example). Stay the hell out of my life.

Re:No (4, Insightful)

jridley (9305) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932955)

Easy enough. Don't do business with companies that do things you don't like. But don't complain when you have to pay more than your neighbor because he's proved he's a good driver, while you're an unknown risk.

Re:No (3, Insightful)

base3 (539820) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933051)

You really think this will result in discounts for good drivers? The "proven good drivers'" premiums might dip a little at first, but ultimately, they will use the chilling effect of having this device to increase the money they make from good drivers, while charging a premium for privacy for those who can afford it.

Re:No (3, Insightful)

JAgostoni (685117) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933093)

At least they said it was optional. But then again, that just means they'll raise your rates and the "discounted" rates will but what you WERE paying before you decided not to install the little black box.

Everyone should have one (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9932889)

I wonder how soon it will be that everyone has one

I wonder how long till someone hacks it to get a discount on their insurance.
Oh and does it run Linux?

Re:Everyone should have one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9932913)

The minute someone hacks it and makes the front page of slashdot with a howto article will be the end of that program. It will be fun while it lasts though.

Re:Everyone should have one (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932930)

And if the box says I went FTL does that mean the insurance company has to pay me?

KFG

Re:Everyone should have one (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932964)

Shouldn't be too hard. The speedometer gets its reading from pulses from a simple encoder. Run this through a simple $0.99 PIC processor and if the pulses exceed one of the [35, 45, 55, 65]mph buttons pressed on the dash, cap the pulses.

Sounds like a good $10 privacy project to me. I see the popularity of magazines specializing in these projects in the future, just like Popular Electronics and Radio Electronics were in the 70's.

The real question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9932993)

"Does it run linux"

Does it run doom 3?

Vote for John Kerry Please! (1)

CreamOfWheat (593775) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932894)

We need a war criminal in the White House

Re:Vote for John Kerry Please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9933025)

We already have one. Putting Kerry in there might change that.

Re:Vote for John Kerry Please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9933063)


Hell yeah! What we need is a president with the balls to attack a sovreign country over false or nonexistant weapons charges and manufactured links to terrorists, and then to justify the whole thing by claiming it was done to avenge the dead of 9/11 (which had nothing to do with the matter at hand) and then, when that doesn't pan out, justify it over the thousands of dead civilians that we didn't give a damn about while they were actually going about the whole process of dying! Oh, and he should kill a metric shitload of civilians in the process, just to add to the irony!

w00t! Mod parent up! Vote Ker... erm... Kerry? But you wanted a war... oh, nevermind.

Entrapment (4, Interesting)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932896)

Gotta love this. It's entrampment. They assume if you don't wish to upload your driving data that you are a bigger risk.

Re:Entrapment (4, Insightful)

wwest4 (183559) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932966)

Isn't entrapment when you are goaded into doing something illegal you wouldn't otherwise do?

This is part of the trend toward automated mass transit. Suck all the joy/autonomy out of driving by constraining the ways you can legally drive, and after a while there will be no "freedom" in having your own car. You may as well get on the subway with a toy driving wheel and make vroom-vroom sounds.

Re:Entrapment (1)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933042)

Nope: That's only one definition [reference.com]

Re:Entrapment (1)

wwest4 (183559) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933067)

ya learn something every day... i guess #1 is a more intuitive definition anyway.

Re:Entrapment (4, Insightful)

base3 (539820) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932970)

Finally--someone gets it. A "discount" for having the device is really a surcharge for not having it.

Re:Entrapment (1)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933074)

Bingo! Charging a surcharge if you're not willing to give up your civil liberties is illegal isn't it?

This can be easily contested.

Re:Entrapment (3, Insightful)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933076)

Ding! We have a winner! :)

The grocery stores charge up to a SIXTY PERCENT PENALTY for not handing over an address, social security number, etc. Why not auto insurance? And why not say, 150%?

Re:Entrapment (1)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932972)

you know, i was thinking "what a dumb article, who cares? it's not like they have a video camera, and they're not forcing it on you," until i read your comment.

This will probably cause insurance rates to go up for people who don't have this device, since they still have to make money. -- then if everyone gets one, insurance rates will be the exact same (if you're driving safely)... although, you have to wonder if something like this will cause more people to become safer drivers...

Re:Entrapment (1)

Nykon (304003) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933085)

well until someone learns how to alter the data in it, or send fake data when they upload it to the insurance company

Re:Entrapment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9933003)

entrampment - is that like when a tramp is bestowed upon you?

Re:Entrapment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9933082)

To be 'entrapment' it would have to induce you to commit a crime you wouldn't otherwise have committed. Mind you, merely providing an opportunity to commit the crime (e.g. a bait car) isn't considered sufficient to constitute inducement, unless there was someone there encouraging you by pointing out that it was unlocked or asking you to steal it for them or something.

Now then, you're probably right about how they'll write the risks--you just raise your prices by 'x' and lower them to what they were before for those who give you the data. Same goes for the grocery 'convenience' cards--you only get back to their former prices by using them, so you don't actually gain anything, you simply avoid losing out by the amount they've raised prices by.

In terms of game theory, it's a pretty nasty strategy--since it makes them more money, pretty soon, everyone will be doing this. I guess that one way to stave it off would be to patent up all the most obvious extensions of it & hope that that could stifle the technology. Another possibility is to hack the data, but I'm sure this would be or will be made illegal.

Unfortunately, the only way to block this for now is to be willing to pay the premium. I already have to do this for groceries; I just hope I can afford to do it for insurance, too, especially in this economy.

I doubt this will take off (1)

nebaz (453974) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932901)

Especially if they decide that you should pay more for excessive speeding. How many people actually obey the speed limit all the time?

Re:I doubt this will take off (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9932988)

How many people actually obey the speed limit all the time?

Four.

Re:I doubt this will take off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9933047)

And all fucking four of them are ALWAYS in front of me when I'm in a hurry. Going 5-10 mph under the speed limit, packed together like sardines, impossible for me to pass them. God I wish they'd die already...

Re:I doubt this will take off (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933061)

Personally, I think this is a good incentive for encouraging people to drive according to the speed limits.

Why is that some people seem to think that it's their god-given right to flaunt the speed limits if they personally think it's appropriate?

Re:I doubt this will take off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9933104)

Because the speed limits are all TOO FUCKING SLOW. They have been imposed on us by old grey-haired lawmakers who feel safer if everyone slows down to the horse-and-buggy speeds they're used to from the dark ages.

Re:I doubt this will take off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9933068)

How many people actually obey the speed limit all the time?

Well, if you're referring to the speed of light, everyone.

Re:I doubt this will take off (4, Insightful)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933084)

Especially if they decide that you should pay more for excessive speeding. How many people actually obey the speed limit all the time?

It may not even matter to the insurance company.

Seriously. An insurance company looks at all these things statistically. If there is no statistical relationship between speeding and how much they have to payout on a claim, they aren't going to charge extra for speeding.

And it makes business sense, too.

Suppose speeders showed no difference in their odds of getting into an accident, yet Big Insurance Corp A charges extra money for people with speeding tickets.

Big Insurance Corp B discovers during routine data-mining that there is no relationship between speeding and payouts and so charges less for insuring speeders.

At some point Corp B has all the "speeders" business while A is out of luck because they over-charged.

Profitable insurance companies look at all kinds of things that might not seem relevent like credit reports, car color, and profession. Yet, when they dump all this information into their systems they find correlations. And these correlations allow them to more accurately price insurance for people.

Those companies that use personal judgements like, ALL SPEEDERS ARE A BIG RISK -- CHARGE $$$!!! aren't going to be able to compete if their judgements are inconsistant with statistical reality.

Hacked... (3, Interesting)

MrBlue VT (245806) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932902)

How long until this is hacked? I predict even before it hits the mainstream and they are still running trials.

no (3, Insightful)

Triumph The Insult C (586706) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932909)

what's next after that? save a few bucks on health insurance if i walk around with a camera showing i don't smoke?

it's all the lawyers fault anyways. go put the damn black box in their car and see how they like it

Re:no (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933070)

actually, a simple blood test will tell them this.

And with that news (5, Funny)

Evets (629327) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932911)

Porsche stock went down 22%

Re:And with that news (2, Funny)

ryane67 (768994) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933033)

and Kia's stock went up 22%

Avis does something similar, don't they? (2, Interesting)

millermj (762822) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932915)

Someone told me once that if you rent an Avis car with GPS capabilities and you are speeding, the system will alert the main office and add fees to your car rental bill. I don't care to verify the story; I drive fast as it is.

Re:Avis does something similar, don't they? (2)

generic-man (33649) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933006)

That was Acme Rent-A-Car in 2001. Slashdot covered the story. [slashdot.org]

Re:Avis does something similar, don't they? (1)

Evets (629327) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933019)

I don't know about the speeding, but there is a place in San Francisco that will track you with GPS. If you drive out of state, they levy fines. Too many people were renting cars and going to Vegas apparently. The company is...

PayLess

I actually used them extensively and they have great service aside from the whole GPS thing.

here's an article about it:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/03/06/eveningn ews/main604461.shtml [cbsnews.com]

Re:Avis does something similar, don't they? (3, Interesting)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933049)

Nope, that was acme rent-a-car. They've been ordered to stop and refund $13,000 in fees that they collected. [usatoday.com]

But, the system is still in place. The car dealership I use has a similar system, and if you drive out-of-state or too fast, you'll never get a free loaner car there again.

Good Citizen Bonus! (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932916)

How long before we're able to carry a device like this on our person? Why on earth would the medical insurance industry pass up something like this?

You don't have to use it. We don't have to insure you.

In Finland... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9933046)

We already have this kind of devices. They are mainly targeted at old people, especially the ones living alone. They monitor your heart rate and some other vital statistics, and when they indicate that you're in some kind of trouble, they send an SMS message to a nurse/housekeeper.

My favorite vehicle is from 1975 (1)

georgeha (43752) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932922)

the rectifiers might have an IC in it, but I don't think there's anything on it that would have a socket to stick this into. Unless it's a mini GPS with an inertial guidance system, in which I want one for each of my vehicles.

only if I can hack it! :) (1)

xutopia (469129) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932924)

I'd drive any way I want and then I'd just upload information in there that makes me look good! :)

data log already here (1)

scamizdat (795700) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932931)

Considering that many cars already now log that last few seconds of your speed in a form that can be subpoenaed, this voluntary data logging and submission represents a step *forward* in users controlling their own risk information and more accurately generating actuary data.

Progressive? (4, Interesting)

eln (21727) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932932)

The catch is that you have to be insured by Progressive. Bleh. I had their service for a year, then jumped to State Farm and am paying $300 less per 6-month term then I was before.

Also, what about those of us who constantly go 5 mph above the speed limit? Would we be targeted as reckless drivers because we "speed" most of the time? No thanks.

Re:Progressive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9933009)

State Farm - great cheap coverage, unless you need to actually collect on it.

Re:Progressive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9933089)

Progressive does not do business in Massachusetts due to state-set rate.
Gotta love the "liberal state".
Vote for Kerry!

Re:Progressive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9933107)

Big deal my street car also doubles as a drag race car 90 mph plus in the quater mile, so I wounder what kind of rates I would get???

That would RULE (5, Insightful)

ToadMan8 (521480) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932933)

Mine would say I do 6 MPH below the speed limit at every given time and I never tailgate and always stop for little old ladies in the crosswalk... Regardless of my 110 MPH habits.
Or if I'm going to be crazy for a little bit I'll just deactivate it.
Remember a tip of security of a device... if you can get your hands on it, especially in your house or garage for a matter of months, it's as good as hacked. Other, non-tech savvy people may think otherwise about it though.

Re:That would RULE (1)

FunkyOldD (633953) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933018)

Also one could probably modify the data on the PC before sending it to progressive. Thus no need to temper with hardware.

Great Idea! (3, Insightful)

Laivincolmo (778355) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932937)

I would gladly install one of these in my car. It would provide hard evidence in the case of an accident or unlawful speeding ticket.
Hey... maybe they should make them mandatory in police cars to stop all those speeding cops... Anyone else notice how cops are immune to the speed limit?

Re:Great Idea! (2, Informative)

extremescholar (714216) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932994)

If you check out you state laws, you'll find that the local police, state highway patrol, etc. are exempt from the speed limit. Call your local congressman and complain.

Re:Great Idea! (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933034)

I agree. I've sometimes thought that it would be cool to have a video camera like the cops have, for evidence in traffic disputes. I drive under or at the speed limit and do not break or even bend any laws.
Of course, I haven't been in any traffic dispute for 20+ years for the same reason. The people who need evidence that proves they're in the right, well, they probably aren't. The people who are careful drivers need this very little.

Re:Great Idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9933039)

"Anyone else notice how cops are immune to the speed limit?"

It might look a little funny if you started seeing cops pulling themselves over.

Not for me (4, Interesting)

ack154 (591432) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932938)

The customer would then plug the device into the on-board diagnostic port under the dashboard. The port is on all models sold in the USA since 1996.
Looks like I'm out, I have a '94. I don't have Progressive anyways, but it's not even compatible with my car.
In Minnesota, where the highway speed limit is 70 mph, drivers who go over 75 less than 0.1% of the time get an extra 5% discount.
Less than 0.1% of the time and it's only 5%?! Now I don't live in Minnesota, but I don't think I'd get much discount at all. The highway speedlimit here in NY is either 55 or 65 (depending) and my avg speed would probably be 65+ and 75+ (respectively) for a lot more than 0.1% of the time. Maybe that would get me 0.1% discount?

IMO, I think they'd have to offer a little bit more of a discount for the masses to really consider it. I'd slow down a bit if it were worth it. But for someone who may be paying $500/yr for insurance and getting MAYBE 5% off, that's only $25, or maybe $2/month. Just doesn't sound too enticing to me, though some people may jump at the opportunity to save a little. But your results may vary.

Re:Not for me (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933088)

Try factoring in the gasoline savings of cutting your speed by 10% as well. You can probably save a lot of gas by driving 65 instead of 75. The bigger the car, the more improvement by slowing down.

Not if your kids drive (4, Insightful)

holden caufield (111364) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932939)

Does anyone even remotely believe that children (let's say those under 25 still covered uner their parent's insurance) drive as responsibly as they might tell their parents?

Re:Not if your kids drive (2, Informative)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932971)

I did. My dad lets me drive his vette because he trusts me implicitly.
But then again, some parents are morons whose sweet little angel could NEVER do ANYTHING wrong...

What about legitimate speeding (3, Interesting)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932941)

Because that truck is trying to merge and the assholes next to you and behind you are crowding too close to make slowing down or changing lanes an option that doesn't result in an accident?
Or how about the dumbass who goes slow as hell on the highway, causing more of a danger to others than the guy who goes slightly over the speed limit?
Hell, what about the number of morons I've had to avoid becuase they can't figure out which fucking lane to turn into in a double left turn?
My point is speed isn't the only deciding factor in accidents, and if you have a device that measures only speed, well, it's like asking a blind man to describe the mountain vista to you. He can only say so much about it, in a non-contextual way, in a situation where context is of the utmost importance. It's the reason we don't have automatic pilot on cars yet... context is too important.

do NOT do this, and do NOT support it (4, Insightful)

acroyear (5882) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932946)

Because once its in there and shows positive statistics, the government might mandate it.

And once THAT happens, it becomes information they could subpoena.

So you get into an accident that you *know* was the other guys fault, but your little black box says you were speeding slightly at the time, and the courts could quickly decide that you really were partially at fault and force your insurance company to pony up (and thus increase your rates) where now the other guys insurance would have to pick it up.

Information you are not in control of will be used to control you. Better it simply not exist at all.

Re:do NOT do this, and do NOT support it (1)

hawkbug (94280) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933013)

Yeah, I have to second that. If you know anybody who has this, smack them first and next go out and steal it so they can't use it. It will only make things worse for the rest of us who choose not to use it or support it. Insurance is a rip off already, and this will only make it worse. What they really are telling people is that they won't give you discounts, but figure out how to penalize you for speeding. Next thing you know, everybody will have to have one, and that's bad because then you'll get tickets in the mail instead of from police along highways.

What about people who work during the night? (1)

butch812 (529419) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932958)

So if finish work at 11:30pm on my afternoon shift and drive home between 12:00am and 4:00am the discount does not apply?

I don't think I like this. (1)

OgreFade (627705) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932961)

I suppose if all cars came eqiupped with such a device from the factory, and it had gps, satellite radio, navigation, lojack, a nice color screen, Dvd playback, and all those fancy things. Perhaps it might be worth the 'savings', especially if you could disable it. How long until the police get to use these things against you. "According to your widget here, you just drove 8 miles, while exceeding the posted limit by no less than 6 miles per hour on average. " One day we'll all have to ride in automated cars, just to get around all the idiot drivers, intoxicated drivers, car insurance, super strict laws, and it'll just take the fun out of everything.

Why not... (1)

NaugaHunter (639364) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932962)

just give a discount if there is a governor that is set to 80? What good would this thing do? What if I live in rural Pennsylvania, but take a trip through Michigan to see my sister? Do I have to submit an affidavit that when I was traveling 70mph it was legal?

What is next?! (3, Funny)

SpiritOfGrandeur (686449) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932963)

Report -- You traveled 4 hours this month at speeds of over 100 miles per hour...
-- You traveled 1.2 hours this month at speeds of over 120 miles per hours...
-- It is estimated that you traveled 0.0 hours below the speed limit this month...
-- You traveled 3432 miles this month...
-- You spent 60.4 hours in the car this month...
-- You need a life...
-- You have had 0 girls in the car this month...
-- You have had your laptop in the car for a total of 60.4 hours...
-- LOSER

Nothing like helping the self-esteem and getting a 0$ discount

I see no problem with this. (1)

BoneFlower (107640) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932967)

You aren't required to install it, nor is that proposed.

You do not have to send the information if it shows stuff you don't want Progressive to be aware of.

Its completely opt in, and gives benefits that justify what information is requested.

I wouldn't use it(I'd probably triple my bill if I did:) ), but I think its a good idea and could help a lot of people for minimal disruption of their daily routine, and no unrequested privacy issues.

Re:I see no problem with this. (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933096)

You aren't required to install it

Yet

nor is that proposed.

Yet

You do not have to send the information if it shows stuff you don't want Progressive to be aware of.

Yet

Its completely opt in, and gives benefits that justify what information is requested.

For now.

*snicker* (1)

Nykon (304003) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932982)

wow, this is the best idea since Circuit City came out with DIVX

driving data (2, Insightful)

teiresias (101481) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932989)

I'd put it in my car. While (possibly) helping with my insurance, the data that this would retrieve would be interesting as it pertains to the mileage I'm getting and so forth.

If I was a law abiding (i.e slow) driver, I'd like this more since it's hard evidence I can show my insurance company with possible and unknown rewards. However, as a young, hotheaded twenty something, my premiums would only go up ;)

- 'Congratulations Mr.Johnson, according to our records you haven't gone above the speed limit in four years.'
- 'And what does that entitle me to?'
- '$30 off your next payment.....oh wait, see here - 1 year ago you went 2 miles over the limit. Make that $15.'
- 'Um...thanks.'

speed and time of day? (4, Interesting)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932990)

I wonder how well Progressive's device will corralate with actual accident rates. It can't tell the difference between going 55 on a highway and going 55 in a preschool parking lot. Or, for that matter, 20 mph in the lot, and 20 on the highway.

Hopefully they'll do more than just histogram your speeds -- maybe they'll try to categorize your driving -- local, stop-and-go, freeway -- and then maybe check to see how often you suddenly decellerate. Jazz it up right, and you could detect cell phone usage, too.

Onboard diagnostic port since 1996 (1)

DeadSea (69598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932995)

Anybody have any information on where the port that these things plugs into is located? It sounds pretty kewl to be able plug into your car and get lots of info. The article says that all cars since 1996 have this ability.

The only picure I could find for the port is here [fordscorpio.co.uk] . It also has infromation about the cable and computer software. Unfortunately their photo of the port itself is a bit small and fuzzy.

Re:Onboard diagnostic port since 1996 (1)

rakkasan (444517) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933054)

Well,

On my 96 Saturn is right below the steering wheel about 2-4 inches off center. I've seen them beneath the drivers seat too, but mostly close to the vehicles fuse box if its in the cab.

Why this idea is crap. (5, Insightful)

GoRK (10018) | more than 10 years ago | (#9932997)

The only standard way this data is available on vehicles is via OBD-II. Such dataloggers are already commonly available and used by mechanics to diagnose problems, but here is the real problem -- you could dupe them VERY esily. It would take any sensible programmer with a copy of the (free) standards less than a day to create some kind of simulator that you plug the device into instead of your car.

The only real benefit I see to this problem is that if you call them out on it, you'll probably be able to get the 'safe' rate without having to plug the thing into your own car.

Nothing new... (2, Informative)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933001)

...about this kind of technology. European lorry drivers have had to use tachographs [wikipedia.org] for long time to assist law enforcement in ensuring that driving hours regulations are adhered to. As time has gone on they have become more difficult for drivers to tamper with, so the days are gone when a driver can just 'pull the fuse' on the tachograph when his hours are up and keep on driving.

there are already database records of speeding (5, Insightful)

gnat_x (713079) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933007)

any person who has an ez-pass [ezpass.com] which is the new trend at least on the east coast is already having their travels through toll booths recorded in a database.

if you enter the NJ turnpike at the south end and drive to the north end, its a simple equation to figure out if your average speed was higher than the speed limit.

there are ez-pass scanners everywhere, including buildings all over manhatten. but everyone in the NYC area has them because it makes their lives and their commutes easier (as the name would suggest) and cheaper.

people don't seem to have a problem with those things being recorded if it means they don't have to pay more/ wait in line.

Yes, please. (2, Insightful)

HawkinsD (267367) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933010)

Auto insurance is an extremely competitive industry. They employ armies of actuaries to allow them to tinker with rates constantly.


The actuaries tell them that could make substantial rate cuts, and advertise them like crazy (in ads even funnier than Geico's "I just saved a bundle...") if they could only make their process of weeding out relatively dangerous drivers more precise.


I wear a pretty fancy tinfoil hat most of the time, but I'm a safe driver, goddammit, and I can prove it, by my behavior. So: yes, please. I'll take it.

YRO (1)

JazzHarper (745403) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933029)

No problem. I don't drive while I'm online.
-

Papers? (1)

vertaxis (250038) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933041)

Papers. Let me see your papers....

It won't be long before they start tracking everyone's movements at this rate.

You think something like this would've stopped with the end of the Soviet Union.

Different drivers... (2, Insightful)

osobear (761394) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933044)

Does the thing have GPS to know where I'm going and figure out what the speed limit there is, or do i get insurance discounts because I only ever drive on 25 mph roads... at 45 mph?

It depends. (1)

dj245 (732906) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933050)

What exactly are the discounts?

Are you discounted for driving only during the day?
Discounted for driving during non-rush hour traffic times?
Peanalized for going excessively fast at night?
Peanalized for accelerating too fast, or braking too fast?

Depending on what the discounts are for, this could be a step too far. But if they weren't too intrusive, it might be a good thing, provided the discounts are big enough. I don't need someone (especially an insurance agency) telling me precisely how to drive, but if their demands were reasonable (like never going over 90MPH) then I don't see major concers with it.

This kind of thing has been available for a while (1)

Teddy Beartuzzi (727169) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933057)

Heard about these guys on a long summer drive a couple of years back. Carchip [carchip.com]

One of the stated selling points along with diagnostics etc, was that you could check how far and how fast your kids drive when they borrow the car. And whether it was disconnected.

Grocery cards (1)

arfuni (775132) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933078)

Wow, what a realistic stance on the Kroger cards. If you're *that* concerned about your grocer knowing how much beer and tostitos you buy fill out the card info with fake information or say you forgot your card and punch some random phone numbers after hitting the Kroger button on the little pay terminal.

Misleading Brilliance (2, Insightful)

shirai (42309) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933083)

Wow... This is brilliant on the part of the insurance company.

1. They allow drivers to voluntarily put this device in their cars for reduced insurance rates.

2. Drivers get used to having these devices in their cars.

3. Now that everybody is used to it, it is much easier to require it for insurance. So, they require it for insurance. With a few insurance companies doing it, it becomes the norm.

Of course, the caveat to the insurance companies is that fast driving does not mean dangerous driving. Many drive slower and (seemingly) safer but have more accidents.

Unfortunately, those boxes can't measure driver skill or the situations under which good/bad driving occurs. For example, 100 km/h is safe on the highway unless there is a lot of traffic with heavy rain and/or snow. Also, I drive a van at a fraction of the speed of my sports car. Driving at any speed in a van is much scarier than burning rubber in a sports car.

From my cold, dead fingers (2, Funny)

Trurl's Machine (651488) | more than 10 years ago | (#9933106)

Big Brother In Your Front Seat (...) "Would you give up your privacy in your car to save a few bucks on your auto insurance?

Give up privacy of my back seat? Never. No way. Okay, okay, certainly not for just few bucks, but serious offers will be considered. Oh, you said "front seat"? No problem then.

Fuck no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9933111)

Not a fucking chance in fucking hell. Fuck off.
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