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OnStar pairs with Progressive Insurance to share driving data


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By Zane Merva

Executive Editor, GM-Trucks.com


General Motor's OnStar Division has announced that starting this summer customers will be able to consent to share their personal driving data with the company. Customers who opt-into the program will be monitored for 90-days. At the end of the period, the company will provide a detailed driving assessment to the driver for their review.

After the assessment, drivers can choose to share the driving data and evaluation information with Progressive Insurance through its SnapShot discount program. Progressive will be the first insurance company to use OnStar Data to evaluate actual driving behavior.

Only available in the United States the opt-in driving evaluation and data sharing will be available on all 2016 models, most 2015 models, and some 2013/2014 models.




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Bad, bad, bad. Opted in or opted out, once it is known to be available, or out of the box, it can be acquired by means of a subpoena. Your history and habits can now be used against you in the event of an accident...or to deny you insurance coverage.

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Bad, bad, bad. Opted in or opted out, once it is known to be available, or out of the box, it can be acquired by means of a subpoena. Your history and habits can now be used against you in the event of an accident...or to deny you insurance coverage.

That is why I disconnected the antenna from my box.

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You two will have to do better than that. First step is to find out how much history of your lead footed, quick stopping, high speed driving is being recorded internally. That information can be downloaded in an accident (or other) investigation ... you need to know how much history is retained.

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I disabled the system on my previous GM cars for this reason. Bad thing is you cant on the new 2014+ trucks. I asked the engineer from GM and the Onstar module is built into the radio system and cant be disabled.

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I recently moved from State A to State B. My then current Auto Insurance carrier I had been with for over 10 years, does not write in State B ... so I have to find a new insurance carrier. Because this information is available, or can be made available by means of a 'snap shot' like device, two of the insurance carrier's I contacted "required" I drive with such a device for a period of 90 days. Carrier 1 would refuse to write a policy if I did not do this. Carrier 2 would charge me a fully rated up (meaning very expensive premiums) policy for two years if I refused to use the snap-shot like device. Neither was interested in my driving record or history. Neither would reveal (a) what data would be recorded, (b) where that data would be used, transferred, viewed, etc.; and, © neither would reveal what they were looking for. For example, the GPS data will tell them the speed limit for each road driven on ... what is their rating threshold? 1 mph over? 5 mph over...for how long, how many times? If I floor the car to speed up (over the speed limit) for 90 seconds, how is that rated (I was avoiding an accident...so if I do that once am I placed in a higher rate class?) What happens to my rating if I continuously drive 5 MPH below the speed limit (also a dangerous habit). In the data collected category...do they know if I turned on my turn signal when I made a turn?

This is very, very dangerous turf for GM to venture on. Unless I know what data is collected, how it is used, who may have access to the data (after their servers have been hacked), and how long is the data retained ... they aren't getting anything. One small little slip up will mean OnStar, GM, the insurance carrier and everyone in between will be in court. Equally to the point, it is a privacy violation if any such data is retained in the vehicle unless I know the retention time frame and how to delete the data. The fact that it is retained and exists can lead to a violation. The very fact this capability exists and cannot be turned off will (I predict) result in legal challenges.

Nasty business this. Regardless of how much Progressive is paying GM/OnStar, they would be well advised to stay well clear of this.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, there is a flip side. Data recording can be beneficial in some event situations. And every ECM, at least since air bags came on the scene, does event recording. Anyone who wants to dump the ECM and see what you were doing the immediate time before and during an accident can find it out.


And the general public is barely on the radar with anyone. You want a real anal exam regarding your driving, go into commercial trucking. Just about everything you are doing, up to almost including the last time you wiped your rear and how many sheets of TP you used, is being recorded somewhere. And you think a ticket is just a blip on the radar, just a seat belt not being on gets a commercial driver a ticket, it goes into a Federal data base where points are assessed, The seat belt violation is 7 points, but is multiplied 3 times the first year, 2 times the second year, 7 points the third year, then it drops off. Any commercial driver assessing more than 75 points, cumulatively, is under Federal scrutiny and is on alert status. Just one marker light out is 7 points, seat belt 7 points, a mistake on a log entry is 7 points, and on and on and on. You rack up more than a couple of these little simple violations, and your career options start getting real limited. Any place you apply to drive for has total access to this point data base. unless you are almost sqeaky clean, you can forget the job.


But this can work in one's favor. I got out of being at fault in the only accident I have had in 4 million miles because the data from the ECM proved I was operating properly, had braked before the incident, and was traveling 10 mph under the speed limit. Speed, the gear I was in, when I had last actuated the clutch, everything was on the ECM dump.


We have Progressive, and when we first signed up, we got one of those little tracking things that plug into the OBD port. It sent data for 6 months regarding our driving. Saved us a grip of money on insurance. Our current total vehicle insurance premiums for a full year on our 2013 Silverado...... $215.

Edited by Cowpie
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I disabled the system on my previous GM cars for this reason. Bad thing is you cant on the new 2014+ trucks. I asked the engineer from GM and the Onstar module is built into the radio system and cant be disabled.

Disconnect the antenna from the On$tar module. Terminate the connector with a 50 ohm 5 watt resistor. Poof! On$tar can't get a signal. No More On$tar.

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