Insurance Companies in Canada may soon ask that their car insurance clients use an app that monitors driver usage and blocks your phone from texting, calling, browsing the Internet and using apps.
The DriveAlert app will come with a hardware device that connects directly to the OBD port on your car and communicates with your smartphone via bluetooth. The OBD port is commonly available in vehicles manufactured from 1996 forward. This physical connection with the vehicle ensures that the device is only in operation while it is in motion.
Once the dongle is connected and the app is installed it will have the capability to stop texts from being sent and from arriving on your mobile device. It will also have the capability to prevent data usage and limit phone calls to only being allowed on bluetooth hands-free interfaces.
Safety Tool or Privacy Concern?
"The goal is the reduce exposure to accidents acused by distracted driving" says DriveAlert. Their hope is to benifit "insureds, insurers and the general public at large." But the nature of the app could raise some concerns on privacy.
There is some indication on the DriverAlert website that the device will also be used to monitor usage and transmit data back the the administrator of the device. There is even mention of using this data to affect insurance premiums. Some of these features are slated to include:
- locating the driver on map
- allowing certain preset numbers through while vehicle is moving
- alert administrators if a preset speed is exceeded
- alert administrator is the driver overides or disasbles the device