Who’s Paying Attention to Your Driving Behavior?

Sitting behind the wheel of your car may make you feel invisible to the outside world, but in today’s digital society, our driving behavior isn’t as private as you might think. In fact, some automakers are sharing driving data with insurance companies through data brokers and their insurance rates are going up as a result. One such company sharing this information is LexisNexis, a New York-based global data broker with a “Risk Solutions” division that caters to the auto insurance industry and has traditionally kept tabs on car accidents and tickets.

What information do these data brokers share?

LexisNexis explains on their website that they help uncover the information that organizations need to get a complete picture of individuals. When it comes to car insurance companies, LexisNexis states that they can give insurers comprehensive insights about household drivers, vehicles and policy history as well as near real-time delivery of actionable driving behavior. Their goal is to help insurance companies more accurately assess risk and price with greater precision.

How does this work?

In recent years, car insurance tracking devices have become increasingly popular and widely available by insurance companies. These tracking devices can be either plugged into your car’s onboard diagnostics or downloaded as an app on your smartphone. These devices monitor your speed, acceleration, and braking and provide the data gathered to adjust driver premiums or give discounts on insurance pricing.

While there is much skepticism towards these devices, many people don’t realize that even though they didn’t “opt in” for these trackers, their driving habits may still be monitored by their modern vehicles. Since modern cars are internet-enabled, some of the features offered by their car companies are giving information about how they drive to data brokers like LexisNexis and Verisk.

How can they do this without permission?

Have you ever taken the time to read the fine print in all the documents when you purchase a new or used vehicle? It turns out that the existence of these partnerships is often mentioned in fine print in policies that few people read, making them nearly invisible to drivers who are being tracked. You may also have enrolled for a car insurance tracking device knowing that the insurer you work with will have access to your data but might not be aware that any third party may also get access to your data. 

Is this legal?

Policymakers across the nation have expressed their concern about this collection of sensitive information and many politicians and lawyers are challenging the legality behind the sharing of this information. As recently as April 2024, Senator Ron Wyden and Edward J. Markey co-authored a letter to the Federal Trade Commission about this potential violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. This law prohibits unfair and deceptive business practices that harm consumers.

“Over the past decade, the auto industry has added internet connectivity to many new cars. This internet connection is used by car companies to deliver software updates, to collect diagnostic data, and to track the movements of the vehicle. But depending on car companies’ practices, these always-on data connections and the location data collected by cars and sent back to the automaker can seriously threaten Americans’ privacy.”

Safe driving is always the best route

If you happen to have bad driving habits, it’s important to know that even the smallest lapses in concentration and judgment while driving can have catastrophic consequences beyond a simple hike in insurance. Taking the necessary steps to break any bad driving habits now can pay off in the long run making the road safer for you and those around you. 

Since accidents do happen, even if you are doing all you can to be safe behind the wheel of your car, you may find yourself in the unfortunate situation of needing a personal injury lawyer. If you or someone you know was in a serious car accident on Long Island and needs an attorney, the North Shore injury Lawyer, Mark, is just a phone call away at 631-495-9435.