Car insurance, driving behaviors, FICO, Speeding, Technology, telematics, Uncategorized

Telematics technology target car insurance industry

good-credit-score-700-750

Tax season is right around the corner! Taxes = money; money = credit scores; credit scores + big data now = how driving habits can predict the types of premiums insurance companies can charge for coverage. FICO, the data analytics company focused on credit scoring services, has expanded its commercial interests to rating drivers through telematics technology – rating a driver’s acceleration, braking, cornering, speeding, cellphone distractions and other behavioral data that can be captured and turned into a FICO driving score via a smartphone app.

FICO isn’t the only game in town in utilizing telematics technology to target the automobile insurance industry. INSURETHEBOX is the UK’s leading telematics car insurer, having collected over a billion miles of telematics data since their launch in 2010. insurethebox pioneered the use of telematics-based car insurance and shaken up the established car insurance market.

Telematics is an interdisciplinary field that encompasses telecommunications, vehicular technologies, road transportation, road safety, electrical engineering (sensors, instrumentation, wireless communications, etc.), and computer science (multimedia, Internet, etc.). Telematics can monitor a vehicle by combining a GPS system with on-board diagnostics, making it possible to record – and map – exactly where a car is and how fast it is traveling, and cross reference that with how a car is behaving internally. Add communication over a 3G network and telematics can be used to send both data and communications back and forth between a vehicle and a central management system. Using sensors in cars and a trackside wireless network, Formula One teams have been using telematics for years to see exactly where opponents are on the racetrack.

 

Both FICO driving scores and insurethebox are designed to give people a way to improve their driving skills through feedback, based on the premise that safe driving leads to rewards and lower premiums. What will be most damaging to the score you might ask?  In the same way that your credit score gets dinged by bad financial behavior such as late bill payments and high debt, your driving score will get dinged by bad driving habits that could lead to a crash.  Unlike traditional credit histories that can be ordered, the FICO driving scores are still not downloadable.

The things that will ding your score the hardest will be your cellphone use while driving (including whether you touch your phone, text, Snapchat, or even use Bluetooth.) Speeding, hard-braking, whether you take hairpin turns, and have a heavy foot on the gas pedal will also be hard on your score. The program will also provide a “gamification or shamification” rating, showing how you compare to other drivers in your company, family or neighborhood.

 

Although companies have expressed interest in using the score, consumers are not enthused about letting an insurance company put a device in their car to monitor their driving habits in exchange for discounts. This was made apparent in a 2016 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. In addition to auto insurance companies applying these scores to calculating premiums,  life insurance companies could follow suit, as could car rental agencies in applying the scores to their rates; commercial drivers might be rated for employment risks based on the scores.

Credit scores plus big data influencing driving behaviors – now that’s an interesting thought to share with budding entrepreneurs!

 

 

autonomous vehicles, Distracted Driving, LIDAR technology for autonomous vehicles, Self-Driving Cars, Uncategorized

Should Uber blame its driver for the first autonomous vehicle-caused fatal pedestrian incident or is the technology flawed?

A video published by police yesterday raises some serious questions about Uber’s driverless-car technology.

UBER_fatal_pedestrian_crash
Tempe police released the video of the UBER self-driving car at the time of the fatal pedestrian crash

This video, released by the Tempe, Arizona, Police Department, shows what happened moments before one of Uber’s autonomous cars killed a pedestrian. The driver was recorded by a camera inside the car, looking down for several seconds.  She looks up at the last moment to see someone walking into the car’s path.

Was #DistractedDriving to blame? Experts have long warned that partial autonomy lulls people into a false sense of security, causing them to become dangerously disengaged. Situational awareness (SA) in driving is compromised with distractions. SA means a driver is aware of his or her surroundings and comprehends the variables in situations that are constantly changing. It can take many seconds for a person to regain situational awareness if something goes wrong – not enough time to prevent a disaster from happening, such as the case of the Uber fatal pedestrian crash.

LIDAR—Light Detection and Ranging – is the technology utilized by autonomous vehicles to measure distance to a target by illuminating the target with pulsed laser light and measuring the reflected pulses with a sensor. Differences in laser return times and wavelengths can then be used to make digital 3-D representations of a target. Investigators at the National Transportation Safety Board are tasked with investigating the sensors aboard the Uber self-driving car that failed to spot the pedestrian, who was wheeling her bike across the road.

The scary thought about this incident is that companies rushing to commercialize vehicle automation are already testing experimental systems on public roads – at least 52 companies have permits to test out self-driving cars California alone. Uber has been testing autonomous vehicles in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Toronto and the greater Phoenix area for months. Waymo has testing locations in Atlanta, Detroit and Austin. Arizona is also the home for multipe testing sites, including Chandler, Gilbert, Guadalupe, Phoenix, Mesa and Tempe. California testing sites include Carmel, Daly City, Half Moon Bay, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Merced, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Sunnyvale, Tiburon and Truckee. Lyft has a driverless pilot program in Boston and offered driverless rides around the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Cruise Automation driverless cars are on the road in California, Arizona, and Michigan. In 2015, Daimler’s Self Driving Truck became the world’s first licensed autonomous freightliner in Nevada.

Is self-driving vehicle technology moving too quickly for the public’s good? Post your comments.

Railroad Safety, Uncategorized

Stop. Trains Can’t – New Rail Crossing Safety Campaign Launched With Striking Video

Stop. Trains Cant
Federal Railroad Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration join forces to launch a new rail crossing safety campaign

There is a reason that, by law, a train always has the right of way. You are about 40 times more likely to die in a crash with a train than with another motor vehicle. People have been injured or killed because they thought they could beat the train. You can’t always count on the railroad crossing signals to be working, so look both directions to make sure a train is not approaching……You are about 40 times more likely to die in a crash with a train than with another motor vehicle. People have been injured or killed because they thought they could beat the train. You can’t always count on the railroad crossing signals to be working, so look both directions to make sure a train is not approaching……According to the Federal Railroad Administration, there were there were  2,105 collisions, 274 Fatalities and 807 injuries at railroad crossings in 2017, with 274 people killed. According to federal data, a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the United States approximately every three hours. Due to their sheer size trains appear to be slow, but they are deceptively fast. Technological advances have made railroad crossings them quiet and thus more difficult to detect. As a result, many drivers, thinking they have time, try to drive around the lowered gates or race across the tracks to try and beat the train. Nearly half of all car-train crashes occur at crossings where warning devices were active.

The Department of Transportation kicked off a new railroad crossing safety campaign on Friday with a striking new videoThe ad, a collaborative effort between the Federal Railroad Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, shows a freight train traveling through the outskirts of a city before crashing into the side of an SUV. The engineer appears to apply the brakes, but it cannot slow down quickly enough. The train travels some distance as the vehicle is violently dragged along the tracks.

The ad’s title is “Stop. Trains Can’t.”

It takes a freight train traveling at 55 mph a mile to come to a complete stop even with the emergency brake applied.

“Education is key here – sometimes a driver is distracted, or in an unfamiliar area. Other times, the state highway department has not done enough to warn drivers they are approaching a crossing,” said FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg. “We must do everything we can to give drivers the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe – and this ad helps us do just that.”

The Department of Transportation is spending $7 million to run the ad, which targets males between the ages of 18 and 49 in the areas where railroad crossing accidents are particularly problematic.

The ads will run in California, Illinois, Texas, Louisiana, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Mississippi, New Jersey, Arkansas and Arizona.

airbags, Recalls, Uncategorized

NHTSA Issues Consumer Safety Advisory

NHTSA recall

Ford and Mazda announced they are expanding their ‘do not drive warning’ to include additional MY 2006 Ford Ranger and Mazda B-Series trucks with defective Takata air bags based on new testing, according to a NHTSA notice released today.

These vehicles have defective Takata air bags that are an immediate risk to safety. Affected owners are urged not to drive these vehicles and to contact Ford and Mazda immediately to schedule a free repair. Ford and Mazda have replacement air bags available now and will tow vehicles to a local dealership for repair, and provide loaner vehicles – all free of charge.

NHTSA is calling on the media, safety advocates and the public to help spread this urgent safety message to ensure it reaches owners. NHTSA will continue to ensure all consumers are kept informed of current and future recalls.

To stay informed and safe, NHTSA urges all drivers to take the following five actions.

  1. Visit NHTSA.gov to find out if your car or truck is under recall. Search using your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Your search result will tell you if your car or truck is included in this or any other safety recall at this time. Vehicles scheduled for future recalls will not show up in this search, so it is important that you check regularly, at least twice per year.
  2. If your vehicle does have a recall, call your local dealer to schedule the free repair. Just remember that in the Takata air bag recalls, there are priority groups; parts are only available for certain vehicles starting at certain dates.
  3. Sign up at NHTSA.gov/Alerts to be notified by e-mail if your vehicle is affected by a future recall.
  4. Get answers to frequently asked questions at nhtsa.gov/takata.
  5. Help spread the word: share NHTSA’s consumer fact sheet and video with friends and family.

Stay connected with NHTSA: Search for open recalls with NHTSA.gov/Recalls| Download the Safercar Mobile App for Apple or Android devices | Receive recall alerts by e-mail | Visit us on Facebook.com/NHTSA| Follow on Twitter.com/NHTSA.gov | Watch 5-Star Safety Ratings crash tests onYouTube.com/USDOTNHTSA.

Florida Highway Patrol, Hit and Run, Uncategorized

FHP promotes Hit-and-Run Awareness

Stay_at_Scene

From year to year, Florida has seen the amount of hit and run crashes remain steady, with nearly 25 percent of all crashes involving a hit and run. Although the majority of hit and run crashes only result in property damage, hit and run crashes can be deadly. The Stay at the Scene campaign aims to reduce the number of hit and run crashes in Florida by educating drivers on their responsibilities if involved in a crash and the serious consequences they face if they choose not to Stay at the Scene.

The penalties for hit and run drivers changed on July 1, 2014 when the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act (section 316.027, Florida Statutes) was signed into Florida law. The statute is named after Aaron Cohen, a 31-year-old avid cyclist and father of two that was fatally struck by an alcohol impaired driver that fled the crash scene in February 2012 in central Florida. The hit and run driver was sentenced to two years in prison, a lesser sentence than what the motorist would have served had he been sentenced on a DUI manslaughter charge. The Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act imposes a mandatory minimum of 4 years for a driver convicted of leaving the scene of a crash resulting in a fatality.

HIT AND RUN PENALTIES

For more information, see Florida Statutes 316.061316.027.
Leaving the scene of the crash with:
PROPERTY DAMAGE Second Degree Misdemeanor
Up to 60 days in prison and $500 fine
INJURIES Second or third degree felony
Revoked license for at least 3 years
Up to five years in prison and $5,000 fine
FATALITIES First degree felony
Revoked license for at least three years
Mandatory minimum of 4 years in prison, up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine

If you are involved in a crash, stay at the scene and call for help. It’s not just the law – you could save a life.

If you have information on a hit and run crash vehicle and/or driver, you can report it anonymously to Crime Stoppers.

____________________________________________________________

This article is a reprint of information provided by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol in recognition of  Hit and Run Awareness Month.   In partnership with the Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association and Florida Association of Crime Stoppers, the initiative seeks to reduce the number of hit and run crashes in Florida and encourage individuals to anonymously report information to solve hit and run investigations.

Crashes and Collisions, Drowsy Driving, fatalities, Fatigue, Uncategorized

Summer – Worst Season For Car Crashes

Summer has arrived – no snow, ice or other weather-related factors infamous for contributing to road hazards. Summer, however, is the worst time of the year for car crashes.  Summertime means vacation time, where more people are on the road. campingvan_vacationtimeWhether travelling across the country in a travelvan or camper, jumping in your car for a road trip, or just escaping for a staycation around town, people have places to go when the weather gets warm. According to the National Highway & Traffic Safety Administration,  there were 35,092 traffic fatalities in 2015, the latest year for which statistics are available for the entire year. Most (9,708) occurred during the third quarter, July through September, followed by fourth quarter fatalities (9,284) during October through December, second quarter fatalities (8,765) during April through June and first quarter fatalities (7,335) during January through March.

Perhaps more traffic fatalities happen during warm weather months because people tend to stay at home during the cold weather months – it’s not a pleasant ordeal to hit the road when it is freezing outside, not to mention the weather-related factors serving as road hazards. Plus, more people save their vacation time for summer, when the kids are out of school and the weather is great. What can you do to prepare for the warm weather road travel? First and foremost, plan
your trip. Driving for long stretches can cause fatigue and drowsy driving. Beware of the symptoms that should tell a driver to stop and rest.

  • Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids.
  • Trouble remembering the last few miles driven; missing exits or traffic signs.
  • Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes.
  • Trouble keeping your head up.

Yawning while drivingAccording to the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in America poll, 60% of Americans have driven while feeling sleepy and 37% admit to actually having fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. However, many people cannot tell if or when they are about to fall asleep. Studies show that sleepiness can impair driving performance as much or more so than alcohol. The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that one out of every six (16.5%) deadly traffic accidents, and one out of eight (12.5%) crashes requiring hospitalization of car drivers or passengers is due to drowsy driving. (AAA, 2010). One analysis estimated the cost of automobile accidents attributed to sleepiness to be between $29.2 to $37.9 billion.

Research has revealed a few indicators of drowsiness and drowsy driving. that include:

  • Frequent blinking, longer duration blinks and head nodding
  • Having trouble keeping one’s eyes open and focused
  • Memory lapses or daydreaming
  • Drifting from one’s driving lane or off the road

Currently, there is no definitive physiologic test or detection system for drowsiness equivalent to the breath analyzers used to detect drunk driving.

The National Sleep Foundation has published a White Paper on Drowsy Driving, containing more details about Drowsy Driving being a prevalent and serious public health issue that deserves more attention, education, and policy initiatives. Their aim is to avert drowsy driving crashes so a substantial amount of lives can be saved.

Distracted Driving, Uncategorized

#JustDrive kicks off distracted driving month

justdrive_$20
JustDrive.com offers a host of information about the risks and dangers of talking or texting behind the wheel and other forms of distracted driving.

What is the best way to save $200? Ask the New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission, and they’ll tell you…… the fines for talking or texting on a handheld device have increased to $200 for the first offense and $400 for the second offense. Fines for the third offense are a minimum of $600 plus a possible 90-day suspension of driver’s license and three (3) motor vehicle penalty points. Don’t talk or text while you drive, and you are sure to save at least $200 – clever!

As we kick off the month of April, we will be exploring the campaigns taking place across the country to help avoid crashes and collisions caused by #DistractedDriving, beginning with our friends from the Garden State. Watch the videos, read the stories and consider the tips and take the pledge offered online at http://justdrive.com/.

Distracted Driving, Uncategorized

#DistractedDriving kills and injures thousands of people each year.

Safe driving requires that a driver master 1500 tasks. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing. That includes hi-viz billboards, talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, looking for a radio station, setting a navigation system — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.

 

famouslastwords
Anna, such an eager little girl……

 

The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration provides tips on how we can all play a part in the fight to save lives by ending distracted driving:

TEENS

Teens can be the best messengers with their peers, so we encourage them to speak up when they see a friend driving while distracted, to have their friends sign a pledge to never drive distracted, to become involved in their local Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter, and to share messages on social media that remind their friends, family, and neighbors not to make the deadly choice to drive distracted.

PARENTS

Parents first have to lead by example—by never driving distracted—as well as have a talk with their young driver about distraction and all of the responsibilities that come with driving. Have everyone in the family sign the pledge to commit to distraction-free driving. Remind your teen driver that in States with graduated driver licensing (GDL), a violation of distracted-driving laws could mean a delayed or suspended license.

EDUCATORS AND EMPLOYERS

Educators and employers can play a part, too. Spread the word at your school or workplace about the dangers of distracted driving. Ask your students to commit to distraction-free driving or set a company policy on distracted driving.

Driver Improvements joins efforts to make our voices heard. Tomorrow, #DistractedDriving Prevention Month begins. If you feel strongly about distracted driving, be a voice in your community by supporting local laws, speaking out at community meetings, and highlighting the dangers of distracted driving on social media and in your local op-ed pages.

 

Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

 

Drug-Impaired Driving, Drunk Driving, DUI/DWI/OWI/OWAI, Holiday Travel, Uncategorized

Apps to keep drunk drivers off the road

 

Stop_DUI
STOPDUI.ORG one of our featured apps to lessen the occurrences of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  Source:  www.stopdui.org

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, thousands are killed each year by alcohol-impaired drivers:
–  10,322 people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in the U.S. in 2012 – those fatalities accounted for one-third of motor vehicle traffic fatalities
–  The number of fatalities from drunk driving crashes increased 4.6% from 2011 to 2012
Drunk driving is particularly notorious around the year-end holidays, where more police patrols are on alert for drunk drivers, and designated driver programs are in full swing. @smartccouncil has published information on smartphone applications developed to keep drunk drivers off the road:

*  The Wisconsin Department of Transportation supports the drive campaign, ZERO IN WISCONSIN.  The mobile app was developed to assist individuals who may be intoxicated to find a safe ride home, and comes in a several  languages.

*  Maryland has ENDUI to educate people about making good choices when drinking by estimating the user’s blood alcohol content.  The app also has games to help them gauge their response times and features call buttons, for a designated driver, a taxi or to report a drunk driver.

*  The Stop-DWI HAVE A PLAN app features an impairment estimator, a GPS feature for taxi service and an  interactive app with four skill assessments that test a user’s mobility, reaction time, memory and accuracy.

*  To report drunk drivers, use DUI  CAM by placing a smartphone in a dashboard mount. The app  can scan the make/model of the car and zoom in on the license plate of suspected intoxicated drivers. Once the screenshot or video is saved, it can be sent via email or texted/called in to authorities.