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back to article Insurance firm pushes out iPhone app that rates driving ability

State Farm insurance has released an iPhone application to rate driving ability, using data from the phone's accelerometer and GPS, then spouting advice on how to be a better driver. Driver Feedback monitors motion and location using the iPhone's sensors, then rates the driver's acceleration, braking, and cornering ability based …

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FAIL

NUD

Norwich Union Direct trialled PAYG insurance similar to this with a black box fitted to your car.. Look where that got them!

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Headmaster

Mind you

"rates the driver's acceleration, breaking, and cornering"

Nothing worse than a driver breaking at the wheel....

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Big Brother

Any excuse

Bet it wont take individuals reaction times into consideration WHEN this starts affecting premiums.

Little old lady doing 40mph then taking 10 seconds to react and slam on the brakes will get lower premiums than the person flooring it at the lights.

Certainly dont condone driving dangerously at all, but within safe limits is another matter.

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Troll

I blame poor driving instructors for this kind of miss information

Reaction times do not make a safer driver, the emergency stop is not intended as a test of reaction times rather the ability to stop a vehicle quickly and under control with an awareness of the immediate danger having done so. Planning ahead so that you do not need to react to things you are unaware of until the last second is what is needed to be a safer driver, reacting without planning tends to contribute to VERY serious accidents.

If your reaction times have deteriorated substantially due to age or illness you are required by law to surrender your driving license, not pay more for insurance to make up for all the extra people you might kill.

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Performance

I'm sure that cornering performance doesn't mean more are G's better, right? :) It would be rather fun to have a high score chart for particular parts of the road to see who made it thru the fastest though.

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Already being done ... using GPS tracking device though ...

http://www.outsurance.co.za/personal/car-insurance/safedriver-at-out/

... apparently the temptation is that *if* at the end of the year your data shows you to be a conservative driver, then your premium *could* decrease by up to 20%.

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Dead Vulture

This must be...

... some strange definition of the word "snoop" that I wasn't aware of, since "snoop" normally implies it's being done in a clandestine way that the user is not aware of, rather than "Download and install this app and get advice from it".

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Car type

And what about the car? Cornering at speed in a good car is demonstrably safer than trying to do the same thing in some old banger with barely road legal tyres.

This is just a measure of a good chauffeur, not good drivers.

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Happy

depends

bald tyres will grip better in the dry than ones with loads of thread....not sure how well cotton thread grips though

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What?

"Cornering at speed in a good car is demonstrably safer than trying to do the same thing in some old banger with barely road legal tyres."

What? Demonstrably safer in a physics way maybe. Or when racing on a safe track. On public roads cornering at speed is never safe as there could be something just around the corner.

It always amazes me - whenever articles like this crop up - how many people find 1 million different ways to say "yeah, but I'm better than all you lot so I should be allowed to drive as fast as I think is safe"; and thereby demonstrating you're a dangerous, self-deluding knob who has got away with it up-to now.

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@Bassey

At what point did Liam Johnson suggest cornering at speed was safe?

Take your meds and calm down (dear).

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Flame

Holier than thou attitude

"Cornering at speed" does not necessarily mean breaking the law or speeding or any of the terms you're using above.

There's plenty of of corners that can be taken with reasonable speed legally and safely that with bald (or old) tires that can be dangerous.

It always amazes me whenever articles like this crop up - how many people find 1 million different ways to say "Yeah but I'm holier than thou, and you're obviously driving very unsafely" and whom probably don't spend all that many hours on the road or lie through their noses about how perfect their own driving is.

Anyhow I'm going to have to stop typing now as there's a police car catching me up.

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@Bassey

Sorry, you are talking out of your arse. If you read what I wrote instead of making stuff up in your odd little head then you would see I said nothing about extraneous conditions, I was just talking about the car. I said nothing about breaking speed limits, nothing about blind corners or any of the crap you seem to imply. At all speeds, EVEN dangerous speeds, the good car is demonstrably safer at cornering then the crap car. The app just measures acceleration, so it's can not tell if you are driving within the speed limit down a windy road with a clear view, or driving like a prat in the middle of a town.

Yes, it is simple physics. End of discussion.

But hey, it is always easier to pull the wool over your own eyes and convince yourself that you are clever enough to make a comment. Knob.

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Joke

But...

But I *am* better than all you lot so I should be allowed to drive as fast as I think is safe.

Actually, I do think I should be allowed to do that. Most of the time that speed is about the same as the speed limit, sometimes below it, sometimes above it, depending on the road conditions. I think that a decent driver shouldn't need to look at the speed limit signs, because (s)he should be able to maturely assess what a reasonable speed is. The question of whether I'm a decent driver is a different one, but I haven't crashed yet.

My slogan is this: if you need a sign to tell you what the reasonable speed to go at on this stretch of road (excepting signs for hazards you can't yet see, etc.) then you should get more practice.

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Coat

my 2p

there is a massive difference between balled tyres and racing slicks....

there is also a massive difference between the roads we drive on and a racing track designed for slicks.

Racing slicks also need to be hot to get grip... once they cool down they are near enough useless..

an old banger and a balled tyres even in nice dry weather is not safe... full stop.

and a final 1p.... any car, new or old is only as dangerous as the person in possession of the keys

Mines the one with the..... wait, which bastard robbed me car keys??

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WTF?

For the sake of the children!

can you please tell me how you can down-vote a statement of fact.?

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Headmaster

@AC

"can you please tell me how you can down-vote a statement of fact.?"

I didn't, but it might have been a pedant. Balled =/= bald.

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Troll

next..

next theing there will be an app where you strap your iphone/pod to your arse to measure your performance with the missus..

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Happy

Well you almost have it with......

Android. The app of the week on the Reg recently was the W**K-O-Meter.........inc girlfriend trainer mode lmao

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Bronze badge

How about it scoring HITS, not the Missus?

I am visualizing Deathrace 2000... no, the ORIGINAL, not that recent "remake".

COOOOOH RECTION.. 10 POINTS! HE JUST SCORED A GRANNY IN A WHEELCHAIR!

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Pirate

pffft...

that remake was terrible...

so far I don't think they have EVER made a remake that was superior in any to the original and some classics need leaving alone !!

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I'll have to disagree with you

I think Ocean's 11 remake was better than the original. I liked Sammy D and the cast, but breaking into song in the middle of a heist just doesn't do it for me.

B

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What can possibly go wrong

e.g. 3 yr old wildly waving iPhone about - now check your accelerometer stat, cornering etc

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Stop

It will be rubbish

I have experience with a similar app on my non-Jobsian device. It is highly erratic and just seems to jump randomly between the 'tree-hugging' and 'planet-killing' extremes. I tried to use it for interest on a couple of journeys. I ended up turning it off after five minutes because it was so annoying.

As mentioned by Liam above, by going off accelerometer data alone, all it is a measure of is how comfortably you can drive Miss Daisy. Any advice that it will be able to offer in terms of fuel economy or mechanical sympathy will be either massively generalised or woefully inaccurate.

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Anonymous Coward

GSXR

I wonder what scores it gives for pocket rockets?

The acceleration from a set of lights (up to the legal driving limit, ahem) is quite astonishing. Even riding one perfectly safely and legally probably results in total fail scores.

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Pocket Rocket?

Even a venerable BSA Bantam would send this thing apoplectic

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Coat

Re Pocket Rocket

That would be a D1 ex GPO with a plunger frame model then?

Mines the set of custom leathers worn when riding my bored & stroked 1974 1000cc Trident.

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Big Brother

Social Engineering

Get folks used to the idea then 'they' make it mandatory... everybody uses it and the gov is getting fucking GREAT at it... Oh and Progressive Auto Insurance will give you a break on your insurance if you give them a 'snapshot" of your mad driving skillz... Seems like a deal, doesn't it?

<thinking it's to help/save the children but not so optimistic as 'they' are>

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Black Helicopters

I'm hanging mine

in a sling from the ceiling - that should give interesting g force info, no?

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Anonymous Coward

That's

a nice boat you're driving. Oh wait.

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Dead Vulture

Incorrect headline.

Should read "Insurance firm does *not* use iPhones to snoop on driver habits". There is no phone-home. It's worth quoting the full paragraph from which you only quoted the trailing part of the last sentence:

>"The scores are private and only viewable on your mobile device. State Farm does not have access to your scores and using this app will not impact your auto insurance rates." (from http://www.statefarm.com/mobile/driverfeedback/faqs.asp)

It's not just that it won't impact your rates; it's that they aren't actually snooping at all, which is quite the opposite of what your headline claims. Suggesting that they merely make no attempt to "archive" the data omits to mention the very significant fact that they couldn't anyway because they don't *collect* the data in the first place (see note at foot of http://www.statefarm.com/mobile/driverfeedback/driverfeedback.asp).

It's a little obfuscatory of you to be discussing the possibility or otherwise of them archiving something that they don't even have posession of, I think; what were you trying to imply?

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Happy

Hey, it's the Anti-Apple Reg

They could care less about 'facts' that get in the way of the agenda, bring down Apple any way you can because they only know hopeless systems like WIndows and/or LInux.

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: Hey, it's the Anti-Apple Reg

What a silly comment.

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Troll

A few years ago

When I had the time at work to enjoy The Reg I use to love identifying the Apple Marketers that are employed to hang around the interweb bigging up Apple.

Checking out all your comments 'Wake up before you sleep thru windows last crash' I'm guessing your an apple marketer.

Oh the good old days when all the staff didn't get the sack and I had the BOFH book marked. Thanks for the nostalgia Wubystwlc.

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Flame

Proof of my concept

I have been saying (although no one wants to listen) that all phones (at least in the US) and smart phones, regardless of country of use, can use location information to determine how fast they are moving.

From this information - movement rate - they can, should IMHO, stop ALL out going and incoming calls and texts, excepting emergency numbers, when they are moving above some predetermined speed - I usually suggest 10 mph/16 kph.

You do this - and there is no longer an issue with driving while talking or worse driving while texting.

This application, is proof that my concept is completely implementable.

of course it wont happen, as dead people make better news stories then, "no one crashed or was killed today because some Fukwit was texting while driving"

Flames for the followups this is sure to get......

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Thumb Down

Smart phone cannot tell if it is with passenger or driver

No flames, just unworkable. Until the phone can tell whether it belongs to the driver or the passengers then you've left out a pretty fundamental input. Stop every single passenger on a bus or a train from using their phones? Bit of overkill.

Only way I can see it working is if it was voluntary and the driver turned it on, which would have the exact same effect as the driver currently choosing to not use it anyway.

I suspect the solution is not technical, its just someone having the balls to enforce the laws and enact penalties to sieze the bloody things from those idiots who insist on driving around texting and yabbering away instead of looking out the big glass bit in front of them and paying attention.

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FAIL

Proof the concept is cr*p?

Hmmm. Well, I quite often use my mobile to txt or make calls while on the ferry to/from work & home. At about 25 knots across the harbour your concept would basically turn my phone off which in turn would piss me off more than just a little bit.

I imagine that some trains and buses might move at more than 16kph as well, even around town...

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Silver badge

You missed a spot.

"Flames for the followups this is sure to get......"

Not flames, but something that rhymes with it: trains. It is possible for someone to travel fast while not being a driver. While many people would be happy for phones to turn off while in a train (!) it's not really necessary.

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Anonymous Coward

corners

"On public roads cornering at speed is never safe as there could be something just around the corner."

So you do 0mph round corners? I think you mean excessive speed.

Even that argument is clearly flawed too as generally the same speed limit applies to the whole road so you can do 60 down the straights and 60 round the gentle corners and 60 round the tight corners, all legally.

In reality it depends on the corner, the conditions, the visibility, the driver, the surroundings and the car. In other words coming out with blanket statements one way or the other on what is safe and what is dangerous is idiotic.

Just as fixed speed cameras don't solve dangerous driving. They just tend to make everyone jump on their brakes (which is dangerous) and slow down for a few yards. Always wondered why they don't have the limit on the camera if they are designed to educate and enforce.

What generally winds me up is the randomness of sharp corner signs, some corners have them for no apparent reason (I guess because once upon a time someone crashed) and others on the same road which are sharper have none. I'd presume probably wrongly that there is some definition of a sharp corner, perhaps they should introduce sharp corner signs that reflect the sharpness (closer together lines = sharper).

That said its been proved removing all the signs and lines leads to safer roads because everyone slows down, the white lines down the sides of country lanes just make people go faster because they can see where the road goes, remove them and you have to drive slower. Similarly in towns where it has been tried remove all the white lines and traffic slows down, everyone is more coureous.

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Boffin

Re: "removing all the signs and lines leads to safer roads"

"That said its been proved removing all the signs and lines leads to safer roads"

Could you provide a link to the data / research paper. I'd be interested in reading that. Thanks.

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Alert

Pocket Rocket?

Just wondering what the vibration from an old Gold Star or Triumph Twin would do to the readings.

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Pint

If it's a competition...

I'm going to see how low a score I can get.

But then when I see one of those portable radar units that displays your speed, I always see how high a number I can get.

(And yet no tickets in the last 35+ years.)

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FAIL

High Scores

There you go. Another reason not to have this app. People will try to get a high score. You know they will. Just look at the people who play crap games just to raise their XBox gamer score.

B

PS I just pulled 7.4 Gs !!!!! Beat that!

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Happy

Surprised?

Are we really that surprised that this is a possibility in the near future.

With the way people drive all over the word, it's probably NOT a bad idea. But, since this will be made null and void by robotic cars, who cares? XD

With truet "auto" mobiles, this means no more cab drivers....unless they start getting a huge lobbyist contingency together....nothing's impossible!

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FAIL

@Proof of my concept #

So what you're saying then is that passengers in cars, buses, boats and trains should not be allowed to make phone calls.

I'm guessing there's a reason why no-one is listening to your idea - it's because you're an idiot.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Would also annoy

people commuting by bus or train.

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@Col and others

im in the US, but doesnt the UK have "Quite cars", where you are not supposed to talk on the cell phone or have your music device blasting?

if that is the case, then there is ALREADY a demand for this - no cell phone use on public transit.

Additionally, it seems to me that we (as race) managed just fine when there were NO cell phones, and even on occasion managed to !! OMG !! talk one another - in person -

on a personal note - if your in my car - as a passenger, you'd better have the politeness to talk to me and not your phone, else youll be doing a LOT of walking. I know when im a passenger in a private vehicle, I talk to the other person (people) and not to my cell phone.

Maybe you find it quite OK to have your passenger(s) blabbing away to the misses, or mistress or dominatrix...

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WTF?

top score.. 0!

So, the aim is to get a score of 0?

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Bronze badge
WTF?

Lo-tech alternative

No smartphone for this, or apps like it?

You will need:

A car with a reasonably flat dashboard,

Wide tumbler

Water

Masking tape

And very smooth throttle, brake, clutch and steering inputs.

My old man claims he was taught to drive smoothly like that, and to be fair, he can hustle a car along quickly and calmly without a problem, so it can't be all that bad a technique.

And a splash of water on your lap is probably a less of a distraction, and more of an encouragement to improve, than constantly checking a docked smartphone screen, natch.

Steven R

PS: Does it have a prize for performing Cunning Stunts?

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