New tech could help insurance companies hold driver’s accountable

Insurance companies may profit from monitoring drivers, recording information to help defend policy holders in the event of a crash.

New advances in technology may work to help insurance companies hold drivers who make poor decisions while behind the wheel accountable for their actions. From texting while driving to checking if a driver was drinking and driving, new devices are in the works and may be included in car models in the near future. When available, the devices could provide evidence for insurance companies dealing with car accident claims.

These advances could be used to establish whether or not a policy holder was obeying the law. It could provide valuable information to help an insurance company defend against a claim from others involved in the accident. If another vehicle is involved in the accident, the technology could also be used to help clarify which driver was responsible for the crash.

What type of technology could apply?

Although working to keep drivers safe is not a novel concept, providing technology to help hold them accountable is a fairly new idea. Automakers currently offer a variety of safety programs designed to help reduce the risk of involvement in a crash. In a recent report on safety programs, Wired noted that the "Driver Monitor" system in Lexus includes a camera which faces the driver and analyzes the driver's eyelids to determine if the driver is watching the road or becoming fatigued. Mercedes-Benz has a program called "Active Lane Keeping Assist." The system will vibrate the steering wheel if the driver is veering into another lane.

The next step could be actually recording this information for use by insurance companies. A recent article by CNBC discussed this potential, reporting that some insurance companies are already investing in the development of technology that can record driver information. These devices will serve as a type of "black box," allowing insurance providers to adjust premiums depending on the driver's habits.

Do these advances differ from previous monitoring systems?

The idea of a "black box" within a vehicle for insurance purposes has been used for short periods of time. Insurance companies in the United States have used similar devices in some states to help establish personalized insurance plans. The device is generally installed for thirty days and a policy is put together based on the information gathered during this time period.

Instead of simply monitoring braking habits and the time of day the car is driven, new technology will monitor facial information including the dilation of pupils and vital signs. This could lead to information on whether or not the driver was drinking prior to an accident.

Keywords: insurance defense