Saturday, April 13, 2013

Let's Use PAYD Insurance and GPS to Make Drivers Signal Turns


Streetfilms just produced a short video about the sorry state of signaling in Jackson Heights, Queens. About three of four turns are signaled. The Atlantic Cities has more. Failure to signal is not just a problem with BMWs, apparently, or limited to Los Angeles drivers. (A friend of mine in LA thinks drivers there don't like to signal because it gives all the other drivers an unfair advantage.) The general consensus seems to be that the signaling problem is getting worse, and this is bad for everyone on and near the road whether or not they are in a car. The good news is I have a solution.

As we move toward a model of autombility where drivers pay the marginal costs of driving and we increase the use of pay as you drive (PAYD) insurance with GPS we ought to be able to match turns taken in the auto with the use of a turn signal. If a car turns right onto a known street, the PAYD GPS device can--with some additional modifications to the car's turn signal system--detect that a signal was used. If a signal is not used, then the voice that all cars now have can pipe up and shame the driver to use their blinker. If the driver continues to not signal, then the insurance company can get involved and raise rates. If drivers do not like being watched like this, they can opt out of PAYD but pay for much more expensive average cost insurance (the people most likely to opt into PAYD insurance programs are those who drive the least. As the conventional pool shrinks the average costs to insure will increase as only bad drivers and those who drive a lot will remain.).

So through a bit of technology and PAYD insurance we can easily solve the scourge of blinkerless turns, except for BMWs, of course, which don't even have turn signals installed.
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