Will Apple Carplay Affect In Lower Insurance Premiums?

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Apple Carplay is already set for a premiere on a handful of popular marques this year with several more getting in on the act by 2015 (presumably). If you’re not aware of what it is, it’s a specialized integration of iPhone 5/5s/5c technology into the hardware of your vehicle. It allows you to plug in your iPhone and immediately begin using apps like Apple Maps, iTunes Radio, and voice-activated calls and texting. While it bears many commonalities with Bluetooth-enabled cars, it does offer some distinct advantages that could make it a welcome addition for car insurers looking to minimize their risks.

One such advantage is the fact that you can listen and dictate instead of read and type. That offers a huge advantage when it comes to changing songs on the radio, sending a quick message, or placing a phone call. Motorists have already proven they’re not above taking their eyes off the road to type out a message or dial a number. Unfortunately, in the blink of an eye, something dangerous can occur, and when it does, it takes the average motorist about five seconds to respond.

That isn’t enough time to avoid accidents, missed traffic lights, or abrupt stops from the vehicle in front of you.

Voice activation, which is already a feature available to motorists, has not achieved widespread adoption at this time, and so that means most drivers are still hunting and pecking on their touchscreens in between brief moments of paying attention to the road.

Apple Carplay will not lead to widespread adoption, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction, and it stands out from a navigational standpoint. With the use of Apple Maps, drivers won’t have to stop at simply programming in directions to their destination. The feature will actually learn routines and be able to predict where you’re likely to go thanks to its access to your email and address books.

Now to the queston posed by the title of this piece:


Will It Lower Premiums?

We’ll fess up and admit that it’s too early to tell. However, the emphasis on safety features along with the simplicity of use make it an even better option than existing Bluetooth connectivity. That may be something insurers should take in to consideration.

Essentially, this technology is reprogramming the way that Americans think about multitasking behind the wheel. It’s clear that the warnings and statistics are doing little good, but by rearranging the tech so that it takes unstoppable behaviors and seamlessly makes them safer, there is a chance that in time, companies will come to value vehicles with Apple Carplay and other comparable systems in place as a universal safety feature worthy of closer pricing scrutiny.

Of course, not everyone shares this outlook.

David Teater, senior director of the National Safety Council, said in comments to CNN Money that Carplay could make the problem of distracted driving worse and that car and tech companies are engaged in “an arms race to see how we can enable drivers to do stuff other than driving.”

Bruce Hamilton, manager of research and communications at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety agreed in comments to Digital Trends, saying “carmakers should always prioritize safety, not customers’ desire to use their phones while driving.”

Government statistics, however, show that the educational approach is doing little good in quelling the problem of distracted driving. According to the most recent data, phone use was a major factor in the majority of distracted driving incidents that killed 3,328 people and injured 421,000 in 2012, DT notes.

Carplay uses the Siri voice system to minimize distractions, so that drivers can stay focused on the road. As the technology becomes more an afterthought, safety will improve.


In Summary

While it’s certainly a topic worthy of more debate, systems like Apple Carplay are worth considering when gauging how to price auto insurance premiums for the cars that utilize them. Where things stand, motorists are using the technologies anyway, and if technology apps like these become the norm, it will be far more likely that drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.

Do you think Apple Carplay and other specially integrated tech apps make cars safer or more dangerous? Share your thoughts in our comments section.

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