When most think about insurance telematics or “Big Brother“ technology in vehicles, they consider the benefits for lower car insurance premiums. We tend to underestimate the impact that this technology might have on changing driver behaviour and the benefits for road safety!
It is agreed by all road safety practitioners that effective traffic enforcement and obedience to the Rules of the Road are essential requirements for improved road safety. We simply have to admit that we are driving with more caution when in view of the long arm of the law or when at risk of receiving the dreaded traffic fine.
These fears are confirmed by our desire to warn others of road blocks, traffic cameras etc. Some “tweeters” or ‘twitterers” such as @pigspotter on Twitter are highly controversial – but even traffic officials can’t deny that their message increases safe driving behaviour in the area referred to in the warning!
Unfortunately traffic enforcement are often not only lacking in sufficient numbers, but also in the available time spent on enforcement activities. Research suggests that most of the serious accidents occur after 18h00, at night and especially over weekends – a time when many traffic officers might not be available for traffic enforcement activities.
This is precisely why we would like to argue that the car insurance industry and the “Big Brother” technology known as vehicle and insurance telematics can play a significant role in changing driver behaviour! One of the major benefits of the technology is that it is at work 24/7 – and can therefore perform an “enforcement” function at times when traffic officials are not in attendance!
Benefits of vehicle and insurance telematics
The benefits of vehicle telematics have been discussed on the Arrive Alive website. We would like to invite readers to view:
On Insurance Chat and the Car Insurance Blog we have also revealed how more insurers are focusing on including telematics in their offerings. We would like to quote from Insurance Chat:
“Car Insurance and Telematics
Hollard with the Pay as You Drive product was perhaps the insurer who led the way in using vehicle data to calculate insurance premiums. Even though they might have focused initially more on the distance driven and used merely odometer readings for this, the products have been much enhanced to also include other tracking data.
In the past year we have found important announcements at presentations by companies such as Outsurance, Santam, Discovery, Ctrack, Altech etc to the effect that insurance telematics have been recognized as the answer to combating ever increasing car insurance premiums.
Insurance Telematics Products
For more on these products view:
Hollard and Pay As You Drive – see “Pay As You Drive”
Outsurance and Safe_Driver@Out – see “Outsurance activates technology to reward safe driving behaviour”
Discovery and Vitality Drive – see “Drivers have an IQ, EQ and now with car insurance also a DQ”
Why was tracking and other vehicle data not used earlier by car insurers?
Tracking data was recognized earlier -but more as an anti-theft or anti-crime mechanism. Those vehicle owners who installed tacking systems in their cars were rewarded with reduced insurance premiums.
The clever people- actuaries at insurance companies – who crunch the numbers, had limited data to use when calculating premiums. They had to focus on vehicle driver data, the vehicle data, claims history and crime statistics. Insurance premiums were favourable to those who seldom claimed – even though they might have driven recklessly but with a lot of luck!! The same reckless driver might have been fired a long time ago by a trucking company who had all these reckless driving behaviour data at hand!
Technology has now been refined and developed to allow cost effective and affordable “black boxes” to be used in cars. It is now affordable and cost effective for both the vehicle owner and car insurer to promote the sharing of information that could result in reduced car insurance premiums! It also allows for insurance tailored to the needs and habits of individual drivers – The Safer YOU drive – the better YOUR insurance premium!!”
The more road users who have their vehicles monitored with telematics technology for car insurance purposes, the more drivers are likely to be more vigilant, responsible and at the steering wheel – and the better for road safety! They will not only be focus on driving safe near possible areas of traffic enforcement – but at all areas and at all times! This might help to fill the gap left in effective traffic enforcement!