Device could help parents keep tabs on teen driving habits
BLACKSBURG — The Virginia Smart Road at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute wasn’t testing the latest vehicle technology to save lives, time and money in transportation Wednesday afternoon.
But the technology being shown off at the Smart Road might just do those things.
Through Travelers Insurance’s IntelliDrive Program, parents of young teen drivers can monitor their teen’s driving habits through the company’s online dashboard and use feedback to coach the driver.
Customers who do not have a teen driver could also use IntelliDrive to help lower their insurance costs if they’re a low-mileage driver, said Managing Product Director Tony Hare.
According to Travelers Insurance’s website, customers who enroll in the free program have the opportunity to save up to 20 percent on their insurance, 5 percent of that being just for signing up.
Hare said enrolled customers will receive a small device in the mail to be installed into their vehicle. Installation is simple, and all the customer has to do is plug the device into the car, Hare added.
Hare said the device plugs into the car’s OBD-II, or on-board diagnostic system, port. Customers can find their car’s OBD-II port on Travelers’ website, which offers a helpful locator tool, Hare said.
Customers enrolled in the program will have to register the device at the Travelers website to receive data from the car. The device collects data from the car’s average speed of travel, distance and where the car traveled, and harsh braking or rapid acceleration.
That information is transmitted to the online dashboard, where parents and teen drivers can review the information together and discuss better driving techniques, Hare said.
Some customers may worry about what information is being transmitted to the insurance company, but Hare said those customers needn’t worry.
“It’s a secure website, so only they can see their information,” Hare said. “The only thing, as an insurer, that we use is the mileage for rating.”
The system also alerts parents of their teen’s driving habits almost immediately via text or email.
These alerts, according to the Travelers website, can be set up to let the parent know when the vehicle is driven outside of their safe driving guidelines.
“For a parent of a teen driver, this is a great opportunity to start a coaching discussion,” Hare said. “This is a way to get information about their teen driver, and we provide coaching tips on the dashboard.”
For those customers who do not have teen drivers in their household and are considered “low mileage drivers,” the online feedback can help them earn lower insurance rates through discounts.
Low-mileage drivers usually drive fewer than 10,000 miles a year, according to the website.
“Because the less you drive, you shouldn’t pay as much as somebody who is driving a lot,” Hare said.
According to the website, reviewing the data can also be helpful for all drivers who want to understand which driving techniques are done well and which ones need improving, among other benefits.
IntelliDrive has existed in Virginia since 2009, but Hare said the company is ready to talk about it now.
Hare said Travelers wanted to make sure the company understood the technology first and could distribute it before making any real “splashes.” Now, Travelers is diving in.
Travelers has worked with the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute in the past regarding safe-driver research and used the location this week to educate local Travelers Insurance agents about the new technology.
In addition to Virginia, the program is currently active in six other states throughout the country, including Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Ohio and Oregon.
The Roanoke Times | 381-8627
No Comments »
No comments yet.