Privacy-Invading Technology—Is it worth it? survey finds many drivers would welcome Big Brother
Posted March 7 2013 01:27 PM by Chris Phillip 
Filed under: Editorials

A new survey by finds drivers would be willing to trade a lot  of their privacy in return for a discount on their car insurance rates.

The survey of 500 licensed adults found nearly two-thirds would agree to install a breathalyzer in their cars if an insurance discount were the result.

“Insurance companies are already dabbling with these technologies,” said managing editor Des Toups. “But clearly they could push the envelope even further than they are now.”

The driver survey found that, in return for a discount:

64% would let an insurance company install a breathalyzer in their cars.
39% would let an insurance company install a data-monitoring device.
37% would install a cellphone disabling device.
28% would let an insurance company limit how fast their car can go.
27% would severely restrict their driving miles.
24% would severely restrict when they drive .
20% would let an insurance company install an observation camera.
There are no discounts currently for breathalyzers, speed governors, in-car cameras or cellphone disabling devices.

”Of course, a driving record that doesn’t have a DUI or speeding ticket on it will mean cheaper insurance rates,” Toups said.

But insurers are rapidly rolling out what are known as pay-as-you-drive plans, he said, with substantial discounts for installing devices that monitor driving habits, the number of miles driven and the time of day the driver is on the road. (See “Pay-as-you-drive insurance plans.”)

Drivers in the survey were also asked about discounts for safety systems.

70% said antilock brakes would result in a discount.
80% said collision-avoidance systems would result in a discount.
31% said voice-operated controls for navigation, phone and e-mail would result in a discount.
Of those three items, Toups said, only antilock brakes typically result in a discount. Most discounts currently stem from demographic factors, he said, with education, marriage, military service and even profession affecting rates.

See’s complete “Guide to Discounts” at

Methodology commissioned a survey of 500 licensed drivers over age 18. Participants were asked 10 true/false questions and demographic information. The survey was fielded in January 2013. 

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