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Land of the Free, Home of the Brave

By Niall Mottram - Last updated: Thursday, July 30, 2015

Route 66, Chevy Corvette, Harley Davidson, Ford Mustang. America is full of motoring icons, the land of the open road, a nation whose modern day existence owns a great deal to the motor car and the freedom that it brings. But that freedom still comes at a surprisingly high price. In 2014 alone some 32,675 people were killed in accidents on US highways and a further 2.3m were injured; 1 in 100 of all licensed drivers.

This places significant strain on a number of different businesses; health insurance premiums increase to cover the ever increasing cost of caring for those injured, life insurance pay-outs are impacted, thousands of working hours are lost and car insurance premiums rise to cover claims and counter claims, frequently prolonged by the litigious nature of modern day attitudes. So why isn’t something done about it? Well on the face of it, the number of technical improvements to vehicles over the last 20 years has been vast; crumple zones, airbags, ABS, traction control, collision avoidance software, lane drifting awareness and perhaps someday soon, fully autonomous vehicles should all reduce accidents and associated injuries and fatalities, but incidence rates remain high. Indeed, you are 5 times more likely to die in a traffic accident in Montana than suburban Britain despite the huge disparity in population and traffic density. This suggests it’s time for a different approach.

The technologies listed above are generally reactive in nature; they help lessen the likelihood of a messy outcome once something is happening, be it heavy braking or an actual physical impact. But what if we looked at a proactive solution, something that changed driver behaviour and reduced the likelihood of such incidents occurring in the first place? Here at Cambridge Consultants we believe we may have the answer; DropTag Drive. Humans by nature tend to react better to incentives than deterrents, so what if you were rewarded for the way you drove? DropTag Drive has the potential to monitor your driving style and benchmark you against an ‘average’ profile using information gleaned from measuring the forces associated with braking, accelerating and cornering. Minor impacts such as kerb strikes can be detected, so even if you are a slow but careless driver, your profile can be adapted appropriately. Such information can then be used by your insurance provider to set your premium accordingly, a concept known as Usage Based Insurance (UBI). UBI is a hot button topic for the insurance industry and all of the leading lights will gather in Chicago in early September for Insurance Telematics USA 2015 to discuss the implications and product/service embodiments for this concept. DropTag Drive is in the proof of concept stage today, but could be an invaluable tool in the near future for solving the US road safety conundrum.


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AuthorNiall Mottram


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