Plug-in Driver Monitoring Review (mostly Rant)
I was just wondering if anyone's tried P- Insurance co.'s S-shot module in their car.
I tried it last year and after 5 months P- said, "Forget it, send it back, you're getting zero percent discount." According to their records my average was a dozen or so "sudden stops" per 100 miles driven.
When I first got it I thought it would be great...I'm a field tech (lots of driving) and had no tickets or accidents in over a decade, and that was my only accident in 24 years of driving (fender-ding'er). At the time I received S-shot I didn't have any late night/early morning work projects, so I wasn't driving weird hours which is a major S-shot penalty factor.
So I got the thing in the mail, plugged it in and drove to town. I slowed down for a turn and stopped. The device dings when you do something 'bad', but only the first time per trip. So you think there's only one sudden stop, then later check the stats online and instead there's 8 'sudden' stops in a 20 mile round-trip.
Apparently any usage of the brakes is frowned upon by P-. Stopping too suddenly for a yellow light is a major offense. Being cut off is another stiff ding-penalty, so it's all your fault a 5mph dump truck towing a backhoe pulls onto the 55mph posted highway from a shrub-covered private driveway. And slowing down too slowly while turning means the Ferrari tailing you almost slams into your rear-end while cutting you off on the shoulder and honking because you're "turning too slowly"; P- thinks this type of behavior is great; everyone else on the road sees you as a slowpoke "granny hazard".
Here's the best part: after a while, thanks to P-'s S-shot, I became a more reckless driver. Yes you heard correctly, a MUCH more RECKLESS driver. I started running yellow (sometimes red) lights so the damn box wouldn't ding. I cut corners when making left turns, almost clipping the car waiting to come out of the side street I was turning into. I also rolled through stop signs, cut off pedestrians in crosswalks, and stopped yielding to traffic when merging. Great job, P-, you're making a ton of reckless drivers thanks to your shitty little box.
Later in the process I figured out how to "cheat" the system. I went on a really long highway-trip for a work-related project, thus reducing the number of sudden stops per 100 miles. Apparently P- quickly realizes this, and less than a week after my first 1000-mile trip they sent an email saying, "We want our device back now; we're done monitoring you. You get zero percent discount." Coincidence?
Forget the fact that I haven't had an accident, or even a TICKET, in 12+ years (again my only accident ever, after 24 years of driving in that spaghetti-road congested nightmare known as JERSEY, where God forbid you miss your exit 'cus the next U-turn is in Pennsylvania). S-shot (or any driver-monitoring device) is the worst thing in the car. It sets you up to fail.
When a corporation hears something like this, they do either one of two things: 1) Attack the criticizer, or 2) Fix the problem. I hope P- does the latter.