Insurance companies already reward you for being a safe driver with cheaper rates / discounts / cash back. Why does it have to stop there? Let’s take the next logical step and look to rental car agencies to start adopting this method of incentivising safe driving behavior.
The marketing message is powerful and compelling
Imagine reading this while shopping around for the best rental car price:
“Save up to $8 per day, just for safe driving behavior. That’s the DriveSafe™ Discount from Acme Car Rental.
Benefit to the business
Rental car companies could greatly benefit from their customers practicing safer driving habits. The benefits of fleet and location intelligence to the rental car company would be numerous:
- Reduced maintenance costs and increase vehicle uptime
- Improved accuracy in maintenance forecasting
- Improved vehicle life and resale value
- Less time & cost related to insurance claims
- Lowered insurance costs
Benefit to the consumer
At some point, many (if not most) business people will need to rent a vehicle while traveling. Other than the obvious benefit of some incentive for safe driving behavior (that being either a monetary reward or some form of ‘points’ at the discretion of the rental car company), there’s a more altruistic benefit in play: The driver of the rental car is essentially rewarded with an increase in safety. Talk about a marketing goldmine.
So how could the data be gathered?
Technology exists (and is in use already) that can report certain driving behaviors like hard stops, fast acceleration, speeding against posted limit, and swift turns. It can also gather maintenance logs for vehicles. We already know that harsh treatment of a vehicle increases maintenance costs and reduces the lifetime & resale value of the vehicle. Take Telogis Fleet Management solution with Insight Real-Time Alerts as an example of a current framework that’s supportive of this initiative. The opportunity exists for rental car companies to start collecting the data and create consumer incentive for safe driving behaviors.
For example, Ford Crew Chief™ is powered by Telogis. The insights help to improve safety and vehicle maintenance costs. Telogis created a few tools to help calculate vehicle maintenance savings.
How does it work
A device is plugged into the dashboard of a vehicle and connected to a modem. The device receives data from the on-board computer & GPS and transmits it to a server where the data can be cataloged & stored.
Reporting software could integrate a predefined (and adjustable) algorithm to calculate the respective discount earned (or not) by safe driving behaviors. The result could be as simple as a line item on the invoice or mobile app for the rental car company, “You saved $3.26 today by driving safe. Thanks!” or, “You didn’t qualify for a discount today. Practice safe driving techniques to earn rewards.”
Is it an invasion of privacy?
Concerns of privacy, especially in light of recent media attention to the issue of government tracking, should be expected. To mitigate the stigma, a rental car company adopting this framework should be very clear about precisely what data is gathered while making an effort to keep the person separate from the data itself. The data can be attributed to a transaction or account number (for members) or similar mechanism instead of a person in particular. It’s important that the choice for opting-in or out be plainly available for the consumer when renting the vehicle.