Auto insurers are combining innovation and technology so that in 2023 they will finally be able to fight distracted driving. So why don’t we talk more about it?
Probably because insurers are entering a new year full of external business challenges they haven’t faced in a decade. Inflation and a looming recession threaten business as usual, but this is hardly unique to the insurance industry—no business is immune to these threats right now. Specific problems in the auto industry — a shortage of skilled workers, shortages of chips and rising repair costs — are exacerbating an already difficult economic situation in 2023.
Although they are serious, the ramifications of these problems stop at the bottom line. On the other hand, distracted driving literally threatens the lives of customers. The Pandemic Didn’t Make Us Better Drivers – Traffic Actually deaths increased in 2022and the telltale signs of distracted driving, such as hard braking and speeding, have become more frequent.
Even though insurers are cutting budgets in 2023, they can still push for investments and innovations that will keep drivers and people away from distracting driving. If auto insurance takes the lead in protecting and implementing telematics and the data it extracts from driving behavior, the entire trucking industry and its players will reap the benefits.
Deeper Information on Distracted Driving Benefits Everyone
We have all seen the cars we drive change to reduce unsafe driving, even if the evolution has been slow. Flashing lights on the side mirrors now warn us of the threat of blind spots, dashboards light up when we deviate from our lane, and even older models warn of unbuckled seat belts that remind us to buckle up.
But this year, we’re poised to see innovations that make those features look as dated as a console’s ashtray. With increased adoption of in-vehicle telematics in addition to mobile telematics, 2023 will be the year we start to see more advanced driver safety features and much more detailed data and insight into how drivers behave. Where are the driver’s eyes? Their foot on the brake? Do they bend?
Here’s how telematics and advanced driver data will impact the automotive landscape:
- Auto insurers can customize the way they interact with drivers. Many insurers will increase rates in the coming year, but that’s not the only lever to use to protect profits. Better data on driver behavior can help auto insurance marketers target safer drivers and subsequently generate higher lifetime value for each new customer. These ideas will change the status quo in auto insurance marketing. Marketing KPIs will begin to account for accidents, repairs, and inattentive driving and other risky behaviors combined—and the copper circle will shift toward attracting the safest drivers from the start.
- Drivers will welcome technologies and techniques that prevent distraction. Blind Spot Warnings and Seat Belt Warnings are just a preview of what smart car technology can do to help drivers stay safe. But there is another device in our cars that can play an important role in keeping us safe, and ironically, it’s a common source of distraction – our cell phone. Tools that track phone usage while driving are spreading across the industry, and they let drivers know how often they take their eyes off the road is priceless. Some apps even reward drivers with badges and stripes for purposeful driving. After all, drivers who use these tools may receive better insurance rates or receive discounts as a reward for good road behavior.
- Road stewards improve driving conditions. Safer roads are a community effort. At every level of transport, there is a network of stakeholders and responsibilities for our roads. With a better understanding of what is happening on the roads in their jurisdiction, transportation professionals have ample room for improvement in 2023. Known dangerous intersections, roads prone to nighttime collisions, or other known hazards can be mitigated by having drivers talk about how they drive through their phones. Civil engineers and law enforcement will then be able to make decisions that improve traffic flow and keep drivers safe.
Insurers faced serious financial obstacles. But the positive for 2023 is that they will be able to improve driver safety. The more data, the better awareness of distracted driving, and the entire transportation ecosystem will benefit.