You are being watched by your insurers; drive safely


18Progressive has come out with its Snapshot program where the customers will install monitoring devices where their driving habits would be monitored for a certain period of time and then the discounts would be provided.  While the privacy advocates are yelping the drivers think otherwise.

There has been a nationwide campaign going on for quite some time now where the auto insurance giant Progressive has come up with their Snapshot where the vehicles are monitored with the use of a monitoring device that monitors the individual’s driving habits, which includes braking, when and how far they drive etc.

The privacy guardians don’t seem to find anything wrong with the program as it is voluntary in nature.  However, this seems to be more like the candy cigarettes which is one of threshold products that leads to abuses in the future.

According to Progressive the customers can cut down their bills by 30% just by installing this small device that is provided by the company.  This is a data recorder which is installed in the OBD II diagnostic port which is found in all cars that have been manufactured after 1996.  The Progressive criteria is – limited driving during rush hour, gentle braking, driving fewer miles than the average, avoiding driving during the midnight to 4 a.m. period etc.  You will be able to avail a discount after 31 days.  This device will monitor the driving habits of the driver for six months and then the device is returned.  The discount that is availed is locked in for as long as you are insured by Progressive.

While Progressive claims that the rates will not be increased based on the data but avoids the point if it will not cancel you.  According to Progressive, the device will not record how fast you drive or where you drive, however, Robert Ellis Smith, Privacy Journal has stated that some states put a ban on such program even if it voluntary in nature.  He also seemed concerned that the insurers could change the rules down the line.

Some citizens however feel that they are safe drivers and are not willing to have big brother installed in their cars.  They also understand that there is a certain amount of risk involved while driving – but that is what auto insurance is all about they claim – the risk!

Snapshot should ideally record other statistics as well such as tailgaters, zippers, multi-tasking while driving, speeding, bad mergers, as well as intersection jumpers.