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Progressive’s new ‘Pay As You Drive’ program allows Michigan drivers to save their way to safety

Michigan accident attorney explains that if drivers do what is necessary to save money, they will become safer drivers

Many of you know I’m no cheerleader for Progressive Insurance Company. Progressive made my list of Top 6 Worst Auto Insurance Companies for 2011. I wrote about the terrible set-off language that Progressive Insurance has in its policy. I wonder how many innocent Progressive customers who thought they were spending good money buying “uninsured motorist” coverage have been turned away with nothing, as my client Amie Carducci was?

However, my dislike of that set-off provision does not prevent me from grudgingly acknowledging the merit of Progressive Insurance’s new pilot program, Snapshot Discount.

Ultimately, as a Michigan accident attorney, I know the importance of safe driving. If this is what it takes to get people to drive more safely, then auto accidents can be prevented and lives can be saved. That’s why I’m writing today about Progressive Insurance’s new “Pay as you Drive” program called “Snapshot.”

The program’s appeal is that it motivates people to drive more safely by rewarding their safe driving with savings on their auto insurance. Bribing people to safety. But if it works, it works.

Saving Michigan drivers money on their auto insurance premiums is also a good thing. According to Progressive’s promotional material, Michigan drivers who enroll in the program could save up to 30 percent.

But the nice thing about Progressive’s program is that it is steering people toward driving more safely.
The safer people drive, the more money they save on their auto insurance.

Through the use of a tracking device that a driver installs in his or her vehicle, Progressive measures and evaluates three factors to determine how much money the driver is going to save:

o Number of miles driven (to see if the driver drives fewer miles than the average Michigan driver)

o Time of day you drive (to see if you drive during peak hours or between midnight and 4:00 a.m.)

o Frequency of sudden stops

Why these three factors?

o The more miles a person drives, the more he or she is exposed to being involved in a Michigan auto accident.

o Avoiding the times of day when crashes are most likely to occur decreases a driver’s chances of being involved in one. According to the Michigan Traffic Crash Facts, the three most dangerous blocks of time to be on the road are: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.; 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.; and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

o Minimizing the frequency of sudden stops, in favor the “gentle braking” preferred by Progressive, is another way to reduce the chances of being involved in an auto accident. According to Michigan Traffic Crash Facts, slowing and/or stopping in the roadway is the third most frequent “action” that a Michigan driver takes before a crash occurs. And, rear-end collisions, which frequently involve sudden stops by at least one driver, are the second most frequent crash type.

Big brother watching?

I’m on several trial lawyer list serves and boards, including the truck accident and traumatic brain injury boards for the American Association for Justice. I also serve currently as President of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association. One interesting aspect of the Progressive program I’ve noticed has been the public reaction.

Yes, it does have a bit of a “big brother is watching you” feel to it. But, much as I hate to say it, that seems to be the way the world and technology is moving today. Personal privacy as we have known it seems to be changing quickly, as everything from our cell phones to our cars sends information about us. There will be many who choose not to participate in the program for this concern alone. It is certainly understandable.

While Progressive certainly fails to live up to its name with its “uninsured motorist” language in its policy, the “Snapshot” program for getting drivers to drive more safely by offering them the opportunity to save money on their auto insurance does seem like an interesting, even progressive idea.

Steven Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top accident attorneys handling serious car and truck accident lawsuits. He frequently writes about Michigan No-Fault insurance, and is available for comment.

Related information to protect yourself:

Free book: Guide to Michigan No-Fault law

Your Michigan No-Fault insurance rights

What to do after a car accident: FAQs

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights to better serve you. Call (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our Michigan accident attorneys.

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