Purchasing car insurance is often a very expensive and frustrating experience, with the selection process primarily driven by cost. Perhaps that is why Progressive has invigorated its promotion of its "Snapshot" auto savings plan. The "Snapshot" plan requires you to agree to plug a device into your car, that will monitor how "safe" you drive. It measures the miles you drive, the time of day/night you are driving and your braking patterns. If the data obtained indicates that you are a very safe driver, then you are eligible for up to a 30% savings on you car insurance.
On its surface this may seem like an attractive way to save money and as Progressive would have you believe, to stop paying higher premiums because of all the bad drivers on the road. But upon closer examination, many believe that this is nothing short of George Orwell's "Big Brother" from the book 1984 come to life. In today's technological age where privacy is at a premium, having devices in our car to monitor our moves appears to be antithetical to safeguarding privacy. What's next, installing cameras in our homes that watch for extra hazardous activities in order to save on our homeowner insurance premiums?
In addition, many opponents argue that the "Snapshot" device cannot accurately determine whether or not you are a safe driver based on the information obtained. That a driver could potentially pass red lights and stop signs and still be deemed a safe driver by the device. Conversely, just because someone has to make a short stop or drive in the early morning hours because they have a night job, doesn't mean that they are not a safe driver. Opponents also question whether or not this device poses any health risks, such as those from radiation emitted from cell phones.
Proponents of Progressive's "Snapshot" plan, believe that this is a small price to pay in order to save money on your auto insurance. Further, that if you truly are a safe driver, then you should have nothing to hide and should not have a problem passing the device's safe driver test. Opponents argue that in the past if you had a safe driving record without any accidents or tickets, you were entitled to the maximum discount available. That now under the "Snapshot" plan, it appears that the maximum discount is being withheld unless you capitulate to using a subjective device of questionable accuracy, that is tantamount to an invasion of what little privacy we have left.
George Orwell, whose real name was Eric Arthur Blair, published his book 1984 as science fiction in the year 1949. He died at the young age of 46 years and did not live long enough to see any semblance of today's modern world. If he had, one can't help but think that he would reverberate the adage, "Truth is stranger than fiction".
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.