September 02, 2004
With black boxes, drivers trade privacy for insurance discounts
For two months, Jacob Sevlie's insurance company tagged along whenever he slid behind the wheel of his Honda Accord. An electronic monitor the size of a matchbook closely tracked Sevlie's driving time and behavior. If he had a heavy foot or was a sudden braker, the auto data recorder would betray him.
Disconnected from the car and hooked to a PC, the device relayed Sevlie's digital driving diary to his auto insurer, Progressive Corp., with the click of a mouse during a pilot program earlier this year. Although privacy advocates say the gadget smacks of Big Brother, Sevlie signed up and sent monthly data in hopes of saving money on his insurance bill. In return, he got a $25 stipend and the promise of a 15 percent rate cut when the program launches.
More on this topic at DrivingToday.com
Posted by Tom Troceen