Is Your Driving Being Secretly Scored?


The privacy of drivers may be compromised as their vehicles track and share detailed driving data without their explicit knowledge. Recent reports indicate that automakers and data brokers are collecting and selling driver behavior data, which is subsequently used by insurance companies to adjust premiums.

Owners of internet-connected vehicles, such as those with General Motors' OnStar system, may have their driving patterns monitored, including instances of hard braking, rapid acceleration, and speeding. This data is shared with companies like LexisNexis and Verisk, which aggregate the information and provide it to insurers. This can lead to higher insurance rates for drivers perceived as risky based on the collected data​.

Kenn Dahl, a Chevrolet Bolt owner, discovered a detailed report on his driving habits after his insurance premiums increased by 21%. This report, unbeknownst to him, documented 258 pages of his driving behavior over six months. Dahl's situation highlights a broader issue affecting many drivers who are unaware of the extent to which their data is being used and shared.

Many drivers might not realize they are enrolled in these data-sharing programs. Some features, like GM's Smart Driver, provide driving feedback but also share insights with third parties.

Even without active enrollment, drivers have reported increased premiums, suggesting that data collection and sharing might occur by default​.

The data collected can be extensive, covering trip details, driving speed, and even braking habits. Automakers argue that these services are opt-in and can be disabled, but the complexity of the settings and the lack of transparency can make opting out difficult for the average user​.

In response to these concerns, drivers are advised to review their car’s privacy settings and opt out of any data-sharing features where possible. They should also file privacy requests with automakers to understand what data has been collected and ask for its deletion if desired. States with strong consumer data privacy laws may offer additional protections and rights to access or delete personal data​.

The controversy around driving data collection underscores a growing debate on data privacy in the automotive industry. As vehicles become more connected, the potential for data misuse increases, prompting calls for stricter regulations to protect consumers. The U.S. government is considering tightening these regulations to ensure better privacy protections for drivers​ ​.


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