By Cory Bilton
Drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians often disagree about how an accident happened. The damage to a bicycle or vehicle says something about the effect of a collision, but the events that precede a collision often need to be retold by the people involved or the witnesses nearby. In preparing a case, personal injury lawyers have to nail down all the specifics. In the near future, the car itself may be one of the star witnesses to events leading up to the accident.
Over the past few years, auto insurance companies have been developing programs, called “usage-based insurance” or UBI, to monitor driving habits. Most of these programs require a small electronic device, dubbed a “telematics” device, to be plugged into the car’s onboard computer. The telematics device records the car’s speed, acceleration, location, mileage, and fuel level, and then transmits this data back to the insurance company. If you drive slowly, avoid hard braking, stay close to home, and only drive in the morning, you’ll get a discount on your car insurance rates. Otherwise, the insurer will explain to you, with colorful charts and graphs, precisely why your driving habits make you a risky driver.