# Review: Allstate Drive-Wise – Fail

I signed up with Allstate’s Drivewise program around a month and a half ago. The incentive is that you can save up to 30% on your insurance.

They mailed out a pair of blue boxes that we are supposed to plug into each of our cars’ OBD-II ports.

The device seems to be based on the Kore telematics GE864-QUAD hardware (from the FCC ID). From looking at the box, I can see the card in question along with the strip antenna on the side and the microcontroller / OBD-II interface on another board. (I would do a teardown, but I don’t want to break the seal — Allstate would get plenty mad at me for that)

Dutifully, we plugged them in.

This is where the fail began.

The OBD-II port is the mandated port for the On-Board Diagnostics. This is the port that the mechanic plugs into to have the car’s computer tell them what’s wrong (typically a sensor is broken or reading out of range).

The port isn’t intended to have something inserted for a long time.

En’s car particularly.

The first drive caused the box to fall off.

This isn’t a problem with the port. This is a problem with the box. The device has no retention mechanism other than the friction of female receptacles for pins.

Like I was saying: this port on the car is meant for intermittent use. If you want to use it for something else it’s the responsibility of the the exception to deal with it.

We taped it up but the tape isn’t awesome at holding back gravity. But more on that later.

Now I get to the heart of my problem with the program: it’s completely simple-minded. It takes into account exactly three things to compute your discount: time of day, braking and time spent over 80 miles per hour. It then occasionally sends a packet back to the mothership over a cellular modem to report back.

I can understand time of day and speeding for the most part. (Of course if you’re out west, the limit is close to 80 anyway… but it doesn’t know where you are) But braking is programming you for the wrong behavior.

What I found myself doing to avoid triggering the device is carrying too much speed through turns. Even the way it measures acceleration is defective — it’s the car’s reported speed. (i.e. if you have low traction and need to spin up your tires to get moving it might think you went from 0-30 in a second (no, I’m not in a Formula 1 car). Ditto for braking if your car chooses to report speed like that.)

I understand what they are trying to do… but to have a report you get well after the fact that says “You broke hard a week ago” isn’t a way to build or reinforce the behavior you want — it just seems random.

Then on Friday I got this email:

This communication refers to this vehicle and this device:

2004 BMW 330CI xxxxxxxxxx

Dear George Burgyan,

We’re writing to let you know that the data coming from your Allstate Drive WiseSM telematics device suggests that the device has been removed for a lengthy period of time and then reconnected.

We’d like to ask for your assistance to help us address this situation. If your car has been in for service, please let us know by simply replying to this message, or give us a call at 877-431-7670. If we don’t hear from you, we may contact you to try to help understand the cause of the disconnection.

Please remember that your enrollment in the Allstate Drive Wise program requires that your device remain continuously installed. We do make allowances for brief removals of the device so that mechanics or emissions-control personnel can access the diagnostic port in your vehicle. Unfortunately, the amount of time your device has been removed exceeded this grace period.

Thank you for your assistance, we hope to hear from you shortly.
Allstate Drive WiseSM Customer Team

This was the last straw.

This thing is a poorly engineered turd. I’m beta testing this thing and they are giving me a lecture that I unplugged it. No, you idiot, the damn thing you gave me doesn’t stay plugged in. Not only that but the program is actively making me a less safe driver.

Epic fail.

• Don’t want to sound like a dick here but, wouldn’t slowing down in the first place eliminate the carrying unsafe speed into a turn issue, thus allowing most cases of hard breaking to be not be required? I realize you have taken driving courses and are thus personally are a safer driver at higher speeds but 99% of the drivers sharing your traffic are unobservant erratic variables and no one bats .100. I find no issues about your other complaints though ;-)

• Drivewise sucks. My wife had bad accident in the past so she is very very careful driver, and her commute is none but 2 miles with kids to school. Yet she has only 6% discount !!! Why? Because so called hard braking events! Yes ! She will never go trough yellow light and it was enough to count her as dangerous driver (you must be kidding me, Allstate!) Numbers: slow down for 8mph per second is extreme braking, according to Allstate!!! Folks, we have 3-4 seconds while yellow light stays, so do the math, with driving under speed limit 40mph it is impossible to obey traffic and Allstate at the same time!!!! IT IS A SCAM ! YOU WILL NEVER SEE DISCOUNT UNLESS YOU ARE IN RURAL AREA AND HAVE NO TRAFFIC LIGHTS!

• Sooo… your complaining about an additional 6% off your policy. You’re right return it and pay the 6% more. How much did they charge you to use it?

• I could not agree more. This DriveWise program is designed to make them money, not save you any. Think about it: why would a company invest millions of dollars into a program just so they can give you a saving and earn less at the end of the day on top of the millions spent to design this program? My wife is a safe driver; she has never been ticketed or involved in an accident. Yet, according to the DriveWise program, she is a bad driver because of “hard breaking”. Deceleration of 8 miles or more per second in the Wash. DC. area is very common and without being able to do so from time to time would surely result in accidents. I do not consider a deceleration of 8 miles per second to be a “hard” break but AllState does and so her projected savings is currently at 0%. I’m considering opting out of this program soon…

• Then explain this (Going over a speed bump) I could choose to jump a speed bump at the posted speed of 15 miles per hour and maybe place strain and possible damage to my Honda Civic but I always slow down before going over a speed bump so most of my hard breaking hits are the result of traveling lets say 14.8 miles per hour slowing to 8 MPH I suppose this makes me a real dangerous driver to them because Drivewise doesn’t care how slow you are traveling it’s the difference in the speed ratio.

• OK – point taken — but. The “but” is changing road conditions.The be afraid to use your brake — be it at a yellow light or if someone pulls out in front of you — is a problem. The mentality that I got was every time I brake I might get billed for it.

• Don’t you think Allstate is just looking after their own pocket book. Everyone experiences the same problem. This is just a means to limit your discount.

• So what was your overall grade? My husband works 2nd shift and that is considered high risk driving time. His overall grade was a B because of drivetime and the discount was 7%. That is absurd. Here is his breakdown for a whopping 7%. Mileage – B, Braking – A, Time of Day – C-, and Speed – A+. So they say overall a B and 7% out of 30%. They are just using this for a scam. He had 20 hard braking incident and 1 extreme braking in 6 months. Also don’t forget in this harsh winter we have had when your tires are spinning because you are stuck in your own driveway trying to get unstock that is where 6 of those hard braking incidents came from. Our own driveway stuck in the snow. Allstate has no clue!!!!!

• “This is the way I brake. This is normal to me”

You don’t have to brake poorly though.

• The reason so many get dinged at low speeds for hard braking has something to do with the fundamental design of the device. They rely on the OBDII speed signal which is very low resolution ( 1km/hr) for all cars. At 10km/hr the error on speed can be as high as 10% error. So its hard to be accurate with that kind of error built in.

• George, I couldn’t agree with you more. Initially, I was a strong believer in the drivewise logic. I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try it. In fact, I saved 19% my first few months, which means my car was parked most of the times. But i now realize how ridiculous this whole thing is. Allstate wants me to rent a car for my road trips so that I could have a good mileage score! They also want me to think twice about breaking when someone erratically pulls in front of me, albeit the first defensive instinct of any good driver is to apply the breaks under such circumstances. The only way I save is to park the car or drive in the suburbs, rent a car whenever I travel to the city drive during daylight even if that’s not an option. Bottom line is I unplugged it today and returning it for good. My car is for driving and not decorations. I think I’m a safe driver without someone monitoring me. But question is who monitors the monitors?

• Ok I can totally buy that. I thought most carriers claim that the data won’t be used to increase your rates. Is that not the case? I know Progressive operates it that way. Having said that, im not sure if they can use the data to avoid claim payouts…

• John Minadeo – True, it doesn’t make your rate go up, but when you have a 20% discount and braking can make that go away, it’s pretty much the same thing. It’s like the politicians saying “ending subsidies” is the same as “raising taxes.” In the end it is the same thing depending on your point of view.

• This is true in some states but in VA they have made it a rewards program. It doesn’t affect your premium negatively. It can only reward you for driving safe. So far, I don’t see a down side.

• I am assuming that the 20% discount is for using the device (the rest of this comment will be moot should that not be the case.) I don’t think that’s the case here, if the discount only exists because you use the device and your driving habits, it merely proves that you aren’t eligible for the discount in the first place, whereas if your driving habits don’t disqualify you, you still don’t get the discount unless you use the device. Which is to say you never had a discount in the first place and thus had nothing to lose / be penalized for. Would you feel the same way if you had to earn the discount with both prior to having it applied as opposed to losing the discount when you disqualify yourself? Sorry, I’m having a hard time articulating what I mean here. I guess I feel it’s more like taking an Earned Income tax credit and the IRS says, “uh, sorry sir you make too much money for that, you owe us an additional $1500.00″. The$1500 isn’t a penalty for losing the credit, it’s a correction because you took the credit you didn’t qualify for. Arg, am I making any sense here? lolol

• You are making yourself clear. As I understand the program, you are entirely correct.

• Your worst fears are correct.

The cost breakdown is:

0% discount for program default.
$10 charge per term Up to 30% discount if you do the “right” thing. Yeah. Reply • It’s worse than that in my case. The drivewise unit and where it plugs in at as reported by the orignal poster here the port isn’t suppose to carry the weight for too long. Well, here I am after 1.5 years of using Drivewise and I have to pay$1900.00 in repairs to the computer port because it appears the pins broke off on the housing unit causing the port to hang. Not a problem for the 2007 Honda Civic it still runs like a champ but here in Illinois where I have to do an Emission test every two years I was not allowed to test the vehicle without repairing the computer port first. IF I don’t get it repaired by a qualified tech and retake the test my plates and Drivers license could be suspended. MY other choice is to junk the car so was it really worth trying to save some money Not IN MY Case.

• I may have a similar problem, my car is being worked on right now and my mechanic believes the device broke my computer as the port is not meant to have something plugged into for long periods of time…did you call allstate about this, acourse they are closed on sunday.

• I also had a problem with the device messing with my cars computer. My mechanic removed the device and I am no longer having issues with my car.

• penalized it is my good man… lame

• I find it unintuitive to blame your behavior on the fact that something is measuring it. If you know you are carrying too much speed into a turn, take responsibility and don’t do that. It’s still you driving. I doubt it’s random, either – insurance companies are pretty handy with the actuarial tables. I got a 30% discount with my progressive box… until they dropped my homeowners insurance twice and i canceled them. But the thing paid for itself. And it only fell out every few weeks – it actually stayed in pretty well, as long as I didn’t accidentally kick it out. Retention clips would make sense, but I wonder if some cars have recessed ports.

• The problem is my future-seeing sense is a bit faulty. I can think I’m going at a fine rate of speed but as things change, my perception of reality changes as well. A bit of gravel on the road perhaps?

Another good example that actually happened a few times: on the highway and someone cuts you off. Instead of hitting the brakes hard — and getting dinged for it — I very carefully modulated the braking to avoid triggering the device and in the process used up more of my following distance than I’m comfortable with.

Same thing happens with a yellow light. Brake hard or speed up? Braking now costs money…

For me the real problem is the device was conditioning me to be ginger with the brake. I think that’s faulty.

For me the savings of less than $10 a month isn’t worth the headache this was causing. Reply • BTW: One last thing before I drop this. The “hard braking” is completely arbitrary. What I consider normal braking in many cases is considered hard braking by the device. Keep in mind that I go around with way grippier tires than most people do. In the summer it would be a disaster with the tires I have on — almost race tires. Safety is knowing what the limits are in a given situation and staying well within them. What I’m guessing is what they are trying to do is penalize the folks that are not paying attention to the road while driving (i.e. texting, phone, etc.) and need to jab the brake randomly to keep from hitting someone or something. That’s not me. I very rarely talk on the phone (mainly to say I’ll call back later) and never text while driving. I also don’t tail-gate people. I leave plenty of room for people… etc. I’ve not caused an accident for around 15 years now. I think that record speaks better for me than “hard braking.” (full disclosure — two accidents in the past 15 years: one was me being rear-ended, the other was someone that turned left in front of me at an intersection by her failing to yield; I didn’t have time to stop. In neither case was I cited.) Reply • I have been using drive wise for almost a year. The reason I ordered is because I purchased a car to commute replacing my minivan. One way to save gas and another to just use the bigger car for family outings. The device is connected to the minivan and I barely use it. Probably 2000 miles at most per year. But the device don’t use your actual mileage it uses estimated. Let’s say you drove 200 miles in one day then it will estimate you are driving 200 miles per day for the rest of the year. Have you noticed the exponential line in their charts? I am very careful with my driving and even with that I can not get away with the device penalizing me with hard brakes (8 miles), extremely hard (10miles+). I agree with some users saying “They don’t want us to use the brakes” 8 miles difference in braking or acceleration is nothing. My current discount is 0% Also have you notice is not per period but yearly. So they penalize you for the whole year. I am thinking to cancel the device to avoid paying$20 yearly for something that does not benefit me at all.

• When I called up my agent to cancel the device, her response was “You know, me and my husband have them in our cars and it’s still saying we would get a 0% discount — and he drives like a grandmother.”

In my opinion, this device and associated service is being beta tested on the consumers. Allstate, like all insurance companies, is conservative and wound up with overly conservative settings on how they rate driving.

Having been inside the machine (Not at Allstate but in the broader auto insurance industry) this will be a harder thing for them to change since the details are filed with all the state departments of insurance. Re-filing and pushing out new details will take some time.

• I signed up in March and now renewed and got a 3% discount. The Hard Bracking killed me. The mileage was low and time of day was moderate. I would have 1 event once a day or less. I just called to cancel and was told that the $10 fee has been removed. I had a 6$ discount and it is not worth my effort to keep enrolled in the program. I got more discount by siging up for ePolicy and Ebill than Drivewise. I think there Hardbraking ding is completely flawed . All of my hard brakes were from below 15mph.

• I can’t even find the port in my car to plug this device in. 96 pontiac grand am.

• This device is designed only for vehicles that are 2002 or newer.

• I want to clarify (elaborate) my earlier response. We have the device in three vehicles. We were told we could not get one for a 1994 GMC because it was too old. The vehicles we have the device in are 2002 and newer. So, I am assuming the reason you cannot find a port in your car is because your vehicle is too old.

• Did you guys read the booklet that came with the device?? I was comfortable with the idea of trying it out in the sense that I essentially had nothing to lose, other than $10-20 per year charge (although my agent assured me they don’t charge for the device). In the booklet, it states, “Data from the Device may be deemed discoverable by third parties and used in an accident investigation and/or litigation.” It goes on to say that Allstate and the driver (me) may be legally required to provide the device data to others… Again, we are all in control (or should be) of our vehicles and we choose to go the speeds we do, etc… but, the availability of that information to the legal counsel of a person I was in an accident with… kinda scary. (Although, I suppose the flipside could be that the data indicated you were driving within posted speed limits, etc. when the accident occurred and could potentially help, not hurt, you.) Reply • you got a booklet with the device? I got the two plug ins with a prepaid return postage sticker. maybe trying to tell me something. I took the device to work so a mechanic could install it for me. He told me not to because of an article he just read about them causing false computer codes. If this happens you take the car for service and get hit with a$100 diagnostic fee to find out it was the plug in. I stopped at my agents office and she called 1-800 drivewise. I was told , when initially plugged in, the device will run a scan on vehicle and will pick up any thing the is going wrong with the vehicle.” (skeptical) AND if you get a false code within the first 30 days they will pay for the diagnostic fee.
I also asked how much is my insurance with out this. She could not give me a price but I saved 10% just by saying yes I will consider trying it. They cannot charge me the discount if I opt out.
I don’t think I will be using this. 8-0 mph braking is my norm

• This is False

• Well just got the device and installed it yesterday. Today I get an e-mail from Allstate telling me that my bank account will be charged $13.56 for something on 1/17/13 and can’t get an answer for what. My agent told me they don’t charge for the device. I can’t get any answers from my agent or Allstate. Are they just stealing more money from us all buy telling us no charge then getting it from our accounts?? Reply • This is False Reply • sorry you don’t have any. There only in 1999 and newer. Reply • Did it send you an email for having it unplugged for only a short period of time? Reply • I have been on this device now for 2 months. I have driven for 51 years without 1 accident and only 1 ticket. This device is nothing more than a vehicle for the insurance company to increase profits by making you look like a bad driver. I was knocked down for going to midnight mass on Christmas. Most of the negatives eliminating my projected discount come from hard breaking. I monitored each incident and noticed that it was not to inattentive driving. One example was where I saw a green arrow and sped up to make the light but it turned yellow and instead of going through a red light, I stopped quickly. This is only programming me to run the red light so as to save money on insurance. Bad!!! Bad!!! The other item is the brakes in my Hyundai are the best breaks of any car I have ever bought. They will stop you on a dime. I’m sure in studying this program no one realized the difference between the effectiveness of various vehicles. I think that basing safe driving entirely on how hard you break isn’t enough to actually indicate how safe you drive. I am retired and am allotted 3,944 miles for the year. Since I live in a rural area, just driving to church and my Optimist Club once a week exceeds my weekly allotment. This mileage is ridiculous. Whose hair brained idea is this? No one who is retired drives less than 4,000 miles a year unless they are disabled; Just another insurance scam. I’m ready to pull the device. If my rates are not competitive, I will look for someone else. Adios Allstate. Reply • I just ran across all these comments, while trying to locate a site that explains how to return this ridiculous piece of junk. I have had it for 6 months and experienced the same braking assessment. It is not worth the headache, or the$30.00 “savings” on my last bill. What a scam! I like to drive with someone who has earned the 30%.

DJG

• That is impossible because if someone has earned 30%, then they have never ever moved their car out of their parking. So technically you cannot drive with somebody who never drivers their car!

• My comments relate to the confidentiality of the data collected with this device.

In the fine print that comes with the instructions is a section titled “Use of Information”. You need to read this !!!

If you are involved in accident llitigation, it indicates that the information collected on your car will be given to the attorney for the other party. Depending on how you drive, this could be very detrimental to your case. Even if you are a good driver, the other attorney can take every “negative” report on your record and turn it against you !!!!

That paragraph also states that you should not assume the information on your car is confidential or private.

I called the Drive Wise number and asked if Allstate will/could share my private auto record with third parties (not just attorneys involved in litigation). They told me “yes” it could go to other parties, data banks, etc. I asked if my name would accompany the date and was told that “it might”.

I’m sending my devices back immediately. I don’t need any more “big brothers” in my life.

• Where is the plug-in on a 2004 BMW?There is a clip/lever on the left hand side of my steering wheel, but not sure if that is it or not. Thanks!

• Ive had this on both cars and its a joke! My “hard breaking” report killed me. I guess they want me to drive a constant 8mph, never break, or go around corners. I even made an effort to never break hard. NOT!

• I installed the device in my car a week ago and discovered that my battery was losing power. By the fifth day my car would hardly start. I removed the device and my battery power returned.
When I informed my Agent his only response was to return the device and how much my insurance premium would increase.

I don’t know if this is a common problem or if my car is not compatible with the device.

• I have had my drivewise in for 3 months. I think the tracking is fairly accurate to how you drive. My issue now is a draining battery also! I went on vacation for 2 weeks where the car remained off the entire time. When I got back, I noted a lag in ignition turn over and the lights were dimmer but I thought it was from the heat (AZ). This morning I found a dead car in my garage. After roadside assist, missing a half day of work wages, & getting a new battery…. I would have saved more money by not having it installed. I drive a 2011 Acura RDX!

• installed the devices in all 3 of my cars,days latter Alstate sent me an emai saying that I didn’t install them.After my response that I had installed them they suggested to take them out and reinstall them…do i have to re register them on line? anyone else have this issue?

• You do not have to re register. Just plug them in again. Make sure you press real hard to make sure they are inserted far enough. Maybe this is the reason they weren’t registering with Allstate.

• Did anyone have a radio frequency sound coming from their speakers. My husband and I get ever since we plugged these in.

• I haven’t received noises through the speakers but when it is communicating with the home base I can hear it buzzing back and forth but that is coming from the unit under the dash. I hear it when the car is shut off. I don’t think your unit is right. Have them exchange it.

• I have been using the drivewise on our three vehicles for about 2 months and am not impressed. We live in the Midwest and have a sloped driveway. I discovered that when the driveway gets snow covered and we spin our tires a little just trying to get to the road, that when you let off the gas to regain traction, the speedometer drops from about 10- 20mph to almost zero in an instant and bingo, you guessed it, extreme braking and I never touched the brake. One of the vehicles is all wheel drive and only has two braking events and that was due to defensive driving when someone cut me off each time. The non all wheel drive vehicles have about 30 events each, but none on days when it didn’t snow. Now I get the much referred to email that all 3 of my devices must have become disconnected. Yah, right! I’m glad I kept the boxes they came in.

• I agree with most of the comments and have similar things happen to me. I do want to add this though.
I also got the message about “is my devise removed etc.
I called them and they acknowledge that they are having problems with their system. That message was sent to many if not all automatically. I suggested that since they have a known problem, WHY NOT send a short message to everyone about that and save the many calls they are getting about postings not showing etc. They said they would pass my comment on. About braking I 100% agree that the measurement needs a lot of work done. I don’t have that many but in about 9 months I have had 11 braking issues. 4 when initial speed was under 11.7. 5 under 25.0, 1 under 27.2 and 1 under 39.0. I think the last one was the extreme braking event and the rest marked as hard. I am making the suggestion that NO braking events occur at speeds under 25 or some other fair number. It does not make sense to count a initial speed of 9.8 drop to 1.8 as a hard event. How dumb and I question if their equipment is that good. I would guess those occured when looking for a parking spot.

• Even better…. I went back in my history and count only 4 braking events….3 of them under 20mph! The program shows that I’ve had 5 events, and them my discount disappears! The device and the program has major issues!

• U all let me think twice befor install the device or return it !!

• I have the device in my SUV. have never had a problem with it and have gotten a 26% for the last 2 renewals. The biggest ding I get is the evening commute, and think they should change the time frame, but overall I am satisfied. Yes, it does make you more aware of your driving but that is not a bad thing. Every time I have ever had to hit the brake I think “ding!” and yes, it does show up on my trip reports.
One person mentioned that they dinged them for accelerating too fast, and that is wrong. They do not currently monitor acceleration. They plan on it once they get the bugs worked out.

• do you work with them?

• You sound like an agent! Go sell your Bull somewhere else. Drive wise sucks and almost every single comment is the same !! Which makes our point valid, the braking issue needs to be re-calibrated somehow.

• Kim, you sound lucid and aware to me.
Hey naysayers! Imagine your drink is riding along in the cup holder. When the paper parasol falls out, that would be hard braking. When the beverage sloshes out, that’s extreme. Try not to spill anything–literally.

• Poor analogy Gary. Or is it Allstate agent Gary since 9 out of 10 comments are against it and almost all state the same braking issue. It maybe her car reports it differently? Anyway I am a coaster, I slow down way before the red light, I do not run up to them and brake. Much of the time I never even come to a complete stop, so my coffee never spills and or a parasol would not fall out. In fact the liquid barely moves forward in the cup. Not whining just wish there was some to get them to read correctly for everyone.

• Thank you for the well worded criticism, Robert. No, I’m not an insurance agent. I am, however, intelligent and open minded. If every comment here was about how Drivewise reports braking, that would not indicate a problem with Drivewise. Many commenters here have had few to no braking events. Some here question the accuracy of Drivewise.
I’ve read a few comments that suggest that light vehicles are easier to stop than heavy vehicles, meaning that SUVs are dinged less often than economy rides. I drive a smart fortwo with Drivewise in it. Those suggestions don’t mean much to me because braking systems are sized to match the weight of the vehicles and grip of the tires. Because Drivewise can tell us what day and time as well as the beginning and ending speed of a braking event, we should be able to recall what had happened. Backing out of a parking spot and quickly stopping before changing direction may be enough to trigger.
To us, a braking event is the entire duration we have our foot on the brake, but Drivewise is only monitoring the rate of deceleration. As soon as the rate exceeds a built-in threshold, that is noted as an event. I suspect that someone with a manual transmission may trigger an event simply by changing to a lower gear and releasing the clutch suddenly, but I don’t know.
I’ve worked in crash testing with many kinds of accelerometers. Auto racing also uses accelerometers to record the vehicle’s performance. I’m confident that a 3 second cushion behind the vehicle I’m following plus scanning the terrain ahead as far as 12 seconds will give me time to brake without ‘event.’
I’ll tell you this, Robert. I personally would prefer an indicator lamp or gentle alarm (or both) during my first few weeks or so with Drivewise. I would rather have been able to experiment with and learn what sets it off. I think that psychologically, the ‘tattle’ effect only raises hackles. It’s hard to be humble when I’m perfect in every way…

• I don’t get most of these comments. The device can’t raise your rate, so everything it does get you is just an additional comment. Ok, so the braking is flawed, even if you get 5%, it’s an extra discount, for nothing.

• The problem is two-fold. First off, it’s not free, you pay $10 per term for it. Second, it habituates you to drive in a highly defective way. Not braking when you should is dangerous. Sure, if you’re tailgating and constantly slam on the brakes that’s one thing, but when you have a serious thought go through your head like “well, should I pay to brake or should I go through this yellow light?” that’s more scary than anything. Reply • Additional discount* Reply • Just had to take my daughter’s Mazda 6 to the shop because its new battery kept getting sucked dry, and its computer was all messed up and wouldn’t relay message from the accelerator to the engine. No gas. Guess what? Take that little blue parasite out of the port, reboot, and all is well again. Heard horror stories from the techs of people having to completely replace their onboard computers. That little disaster-in-a-box is getting sent back to Allstate! Reply • Hi Polly, My daughter has a Mazda 6 and I just signed up for drivewise. Did the repair shop/dealer tell you that the drivewise box actually caused it? If so, I am not going to have her install it. I don’t want the headache. Reply • Got my drivewise about a week ago and just what I always thought. YOU PEOPLE CAN’T DRIVE FOR SH*T. 300 miles with no incidents. I always knew people just shouldn’t be driving. And hey George, it’s safer to go through the yellow than stop for it. Go ahead and digest that. How you can really think slamming your brakes to stop at the light is safe than cruising past it, I’ll never know. Going through a yellow isn’t even illegal and the other people have a delayed red. Reply • Did a bit of research on this. The recommended yellow light times are documented here: http://www.shortyellowlights.com/standards/ The formula assumes a 1s perception-reaction time. So, if you are going 45 mph and you a light just turned yellow and let’s assume the light has the correct yellow time of 5.0 seconds. You have one second to react to the light and start braking. Now you have four seconds to scrub off 45 mph of speed. Doing the math you will be slowing at 11.25 mph/s to not run the red light. The threshold for “hard braking” is 8 mph/s. “Extreme” is 10 mph/s if I recall correctly. You, as a driver, have a choice to either brake or not. Braking will cause you a ding to your record. Not braking could be dangerous. This is based on published studies as opposed to personal attacks. Reply • Hey Joe, What kind of vehicle are you driving? I would be curious to see if vehicle makes any difference. Reply • Wow what a bunch of uneducated whiny people here. HOW MUCH did the drive wise program cost you to enroll and get the device…. OH Yea NOTHING. And you are complaining about getting an extra discount????? Idiots.. Please remove the device and pay the extra money. Even if it is “Only” 6% that is 6% less than you were paying Moron. Everyone who doesn’t understand that is too stupid to drive and should be taken off the road. THESE ARE EXTRA DISCOUNTS!! Quit Whining and be happy. PS George you sound like a high risk driver and probably should not be with Allstate in the first place. Enough Said. Reply •$350 per term * 6% = $21 per term.$10 charge per term for the device. Net savings = $11/term or$1.83/month.

I value me being able to drive safer more than $1.83/month. If me driving unsafely causes an accident will cause a premium increase far in excess of that. Reply • I don’t understand how this device causes you to drive unsafely. I agree with 1111rich. Bunch of people complaining about a discount they wouldn’t get anyway. Going through the yellow is safer than slamming your brakes for it. Before I got my device I thought the braking was sensitive because of the comments, but after a week of driving with it with no incidents, I came to the conclusion that you people can’t drive. I haven’t changed a thing about my driving. My grade is an A- only because of two things I can’t change, the time of day I drive and the amount of miles to work. Go through the yellows George, it’s safer. Reply • The yellows are only one aspect and the easiest to discuss with data. The rest is my own perception that I was being trained to not use my brakes. Several times when someone cut me off (this was around a year and a half ago so Allstate may have improved their algorithm) I noticed that I was braking slower than I normally would and getting closer to the car that did the cutting off. I did more swerving than braking to evade situations — which is in itself a less safe maneuver. The notion that I would do something unsafe because I was being trained to be ginger with my braking is a frightening one to me. To make the assertion that I’m not safe when driving my car without seeing my record is just plainly an ad hominem attack that is unwarranted. Neither me nor my wife have been in any auto accidents in the past decade — two decades if you want to count not-at-fault accidents wherein someone hit us out of the blue. Neither of us have any moving violations in the past five — 15 years if you only count cars. (BTW: I worked in insurance companies for almost 15 years, I know how insurance like this aught to work) Reply • Sounds like your brakes will last longer. Seems like a win-win to me. • Brakes may last longer… but your bumper (if you’re lucky) won’t if you don’t brake when you should (and have been trained by the system to not). Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll optimize for my safety rather than the longevity of a what is in essence a consumable. • Extra discounts that are based on arbitrary values that do not taken in consideration of *MANY* different factors. One such factors is the weight of vehicle – heavier vehicles are harder to slow down, while lighter vehicles are easier to slow down. What about the differences in cargo load? Manual vs. automatic transmission? In short, if you want to avoid braking events, make sure you drive a large heavy vehicle. Given this, it is fair that people that drive lighter fuel efficient vehicles are penalized due to the inherent nature of the vehicle to slow down quicker or am I just an uneducated person complaining? Reply • Well, I guess when you learn to drive again, you can give it another shot. Reply • If all you can come up with is personal attacks as opposed something with data I’ll just assume you’re a shill for Allstate and move on. Expect no further responses unless you can proceed with a debate without resorting to ad hominem techniques. I won’t stoop to your level and dig myself into a hole. I’ll leave on a friendly note though. If the program is working for you, more power to you — enjoy your discount and have a nice day. To the majority of the people that it seems to not work for, including my own agent (response 3/16/2012 up there), realize that the system is, in an effort to try to be civil, “quirky,” and just drop it and move on; the headaches are not worth it. Reply • Good for you George , Joe is a lying POS shrill for Allstate and so is 1111rich (there I wrote it). If everyone is saying pretty much the exact same thing then there is a legitimate issue that needs to be looked at. Not whining, just annoyed knowing how I drive and how way off this thing is reporting my braking. Maybe it is that different cars need a different set up? Calling people idiots and other names for telling the truth about their experience with a flawed device shows their level intelligence. Reply • Joe, Going through a yellow is actually illegal. Yellow means you are suppose to slow down and prepare to stop. The only exceptions is you are already in the intersection when it turns yellow. Jerry, it is too late now. Next time that happens you can dispute the$13 charge with your bank as not authorized.

All,

The iffy $10.00 charge has turned me off of even getting this device. That defeats any discount & you may be paying more. On the 10 percent sign-up discount, the wording is confusing. They way it talks you don’t get straight 10 percent discount off your premium-I could be wrong though. On the breaking issue. I am wondering if it has something to do with the breaking system, that why it is recording hard breaking when it doesn’t even happen. I wonder if the OP, could test this in a car without Anti-lock breaks. Reply • I got the device approx 2 weeks ago. The very first time I drove with the device in, it did not log my trip. Okay, I figured it had to “kick in” or something. Second trip, same evening, I’d made the idiotic mistake of pulling too far forward in the parking spot and when I went to back out, my {whatever it’s called, under the bumper, supposed to make the vehicle look fancy} under-bumper-on-front stuck on the parking-block-thing and my tires briefly spun gaining traction on the wet asphalt. Bingo! First “hard braking” event. I admit to that one. Totally my fault. Would have thought it would register as “extreme” actually, but my vehicle wasn’t actually MOVING, the tires spun looking for traction & once they got traction I applied the brakes so as to prevent myself from slamming into a tree or people or other cars, what have you. Fine. Drove from there to doctors office, that trip was logged. Drove from doctors office back to same shopping center for groceries. That trip was not logged. Drove home after getting groceries, trip was logged. Took my child to school next morning, trip was logged and here’s where I take issue – I was in the parking lot, in a VERY slow moving line and it logged an “extreme braking” event, saying I went from 11 to 3 miles an hour too quickly. Um, no, not only was I driving with my child in my car, I was in a school parking lot FULL of elementary age kids and I was VERY careful, all of us are. Picked her up from school that day, that trip wasn’t logged. It goes on like that, on a “good” day, the device logs 1/2 the trips I make. I drive roughly 10 miles a day on weekdays, from my house to her school and back in the morning and then again in the afternoon. When I have errands to run, I tend to combine them with those trips. The device, picks & chooses, with no rhyme or reason, which to record. I’ve been checking the logs daily. All of a sudden, yesterday, previously event-free trips all have “hard” or “extreme” braking events. I had two, one I agreed with, one I did not, and now suddenly, days after recording the trips as fine, it shows SEVEN such events. What?! I called and told them that: the device is recording less than 1/2 my driving, it’s recording braking events that did NOT happen, and my speed-o-meter is acting wonky now – she’s sending me a new device. Great, fine. Today, all my driving except ONE day from last week is wiped. Now I have 3 braking events & only the afternoon last Wednesday shows up as me driving. However, that was the one day that I had several errands and it shows two trips, when in fact I had 6 or 7 small in-town trips that afternoon. I don’t know if the device is interfering with my speedometer, I asked her if that could be causing it to falsely register the hard-braking and she said “no”…..but if they don’t use GPS how else does the device determine what speed you were going and what speed you dropped to and how fast? My speedometer is zipping all over and dropping to 0 even when I’m going 40mph down the road. My review, much shorter: I liked the idea, in theory, as I drive less than 2,000 miles a year and almost all is in town, and I haven’t been in an accident while I was driving since I was 16 years old. However, the device picks & chooses which trips to record, in my case generally only the “bad time of day” trips, ignoring most of my AM driving, except twice when it decided that I screeched to a stop from 11 to 1 mph and 17 to 3mph turning into the elementary school driveway. The device is either faulty or programmed to provide as shoddy a snapshot of driving as possible. Not sure what it’s doing to my speedometer either. Reply • Allstate Customer For Now: I have been involved in developing these OBD-II devices. It actually reads your speed from the vehicles computer (ECU or ECM), and not your speedometer. However, some devices may interfere with the ECU (feedback) that could cause problems with your computer, resulting on false data to your speedometer. It is also a bad design if it is draining some car’s battery. All my products in the past go to very low power sleep mode after 10 seconds of the engine being off. There clearly seems to be some flaws with both the physical design as well as the data reporting/firmware. As far as the data collected by Allstate, yes, they have the right to share that with any law enforcement and other insurance companies. However, they do not have the right to sell that data. Reply • I did have the Drive Wise in my ford Taurus and I was constantly dinged because of the hours that I worked. (I got off at midnight) Well I bought a brand new Infiniti and Allstate quotes me 1200 for my premium.. I was like WHAT?? Everyone else was charging 624 etc.. Well needless to say it was because of the drive wise.. if you look at the small print it says.. Allstate gathers and combines data from the device for the purpose of analysis and risk evaluation as well as for premium/rate calculation. So needless to say I went to Statefarm and wont ever put something in my car like that again.. Reply • Fun debate going on here. I thought I would add a few things. If you drive late at night often; statistically you have a higher probability of being in an accident. Due to poorly lit conditions, the other drivers out on the road with you, or you’re tired after a long day of work. If you drive in an area where people cut you off and brake quickly in front of you; statistically you’re more likely to get into an accident than someone who drives in a suburb and doesn’t have to brake from people cutting them off as often. I could go on, but sometimes the discount available to earn, simply due to where or when you drive, can’t be justified vs. someone who doesn’t have the same situation. On the yellow light scenario, the premise here should be that you should ease off the accelerator expecting the light to turn yellow. George, your parameters should be 38-40 mph and less than 1 second if you’re being an attentive driver. Not at a full 45 mph and reacting to seeing the light changing yellow. They may very well be over conservative and in some views unfair in their braking measurements, but some people are reaching these lofty braking goals. Reply • The biggest issue I have with this device is the magical 8mph for hard braking and 10mph for extreme… Rate of deceleration has many factors, namely the weight of the vehicle. Lighter vehicles will decelerate quicker than heavier vehicles… Wonder why those driving large SUV vehicles get larger discounts due to fewer braking events? It is simply harder to slow a larger vehicle down. The methodology of determine this magical 8 & 10 mph is fundamentally flawed since there is no normalization between different weight vehicles. There are other factors to consider being automatic vs manual transmission.. Down shifting while braking is like applying a second brake so naturally it would mean braking events. I am in the process of attempting to discuss this with allstate, but thus far I have been stonewalled, being told that this is voluntary. Not good enough for an answer. Their methodologies of assessing the discounts is flawed and flawed in their favor. Consumer protection should be very interested on how these discounts are friviouslly applied. I won’t even mention the privacy issues with creating a driving profile from incomplete data – that’s a whole other can of worms. Reply • I do have to take issue with the logic that you should slow down at every light when it’s green on the off chance that it’ll turn yellow then red while you are approaching. Doing this does nothing but make you an unpredictable driver, which in turn makes you unsafe to those around you. The comments around vehicle weight that were recently posted probably go a long way to describe why certain people have differing experiences with this program. If you’re driving a 3-ton SUV, there is a limit placed on you by physics to how quickly you can accelerate in any axis (either braking or speeding up). Reply • I just had a call from Allstate today and explained how their “magical” 8 and 10mph braking event thresholds are fundamentally flawed. Unlike the other two or three calls and discussions with other lower level “gatekeepers” which kept citing “this is what you signed up for… this is a voluntary program… and I understand your concerns… etc.” Took me about 20 minutes of not accepting that, and repeated requesting to have this escalated and being told “they won’t tell you anything more than what I’m telling you…” Not good enough,… and if I need to take this all the way up to the President of Allstate, I ‘gosh dang’ will. I received a call today, and there wasn’t any ‘trying to squelch’ and actually said she would look into it, and would get back with me either later today (didn’t happen, think when she investigated it they realized how F#%@’d up they were) or Monday. So I will keep you posted on how things go… And in-case anyone is interested, I have a background in computers, was in the IT field for 15+ years. More recently, I’ve made a switch into Clinical Psychology which I just completed my masters in. Surprisingly, the research methods and psychology testing/assessment/development classes is what really sparked this. In much the same way that assessment tools need to be “normalized” to a specific populations of people – braking events would need to be normalized to different vehicles (hence the weight factor, automatic vs. manual factor, driving conditions, time of day factors [not everyone has the luxury of a 9-5 day time job], etc.) Clearly they have not done their research. And I think you have mentioned before, there are the unintended consequences of this, especially with the reluctance to braking, and/or the need to now with all the red light cameras – what processing it takes to decide which will cost me less – the red light camera ticket or the hit I will take on my insurance and my ‘driving profile’ being listed as an inattentive driver. The biggest problem also with this device, is it is just a “snapshot” of an event without any frame of context. It is no different when a political “sound-bite” that can be taken out of context. The potential for abuse is there… especially with the way that insurance companies share data with one another. But that is a whole other rant. Reply • Well, have talked with AllState a couple times since. They didn’t admit there was a problem, but they did say there wouldn’t be any changes in their systems/calculations anytime soon. Was that an admission their might be a problem??? I also requested that they provide me with the raw data that they have collected on my and are using to to make these calculations – I want to see if they are just taking “soundbites” that act in their favor or if any context is given to these event. Unfortunately I’ve been stonewalled at that, stating that this is “proprietary ” information. WTF? Data collected from my vehicle on my speed, time of day, and braking event is consider proprietary information? I argued with them on that for quite a bit on that point on how that information could be considered proprietary – I wasn’t asking for the evaluated or algorithms to analyze the data. I just want to see the data that is collected (I’d be happy with even the “type” of data – I’m now tending to suspect it is gathering more that what they report on their website). So does anyone else think this is odd? I can understand they don’t want to give me the algorithms they use to calculate, but the raw, unprocessed data? That seems kind of over protective. I did contact NBC5 Investigative reports and asked if they had done anything on these devices – they seemed interested. I think I am also going to contact the consumer protection branch/insurance protection branch of the state government here to see about investigating. AllState has made it pretty clear that they do not want to answer my questions, or are even concerned with my comments/critiques. It will be interesting to see how things consider to go. Reply • I would also like to comment on another issue besides the hard braking issue which pretty much everyone has an issue with. This spring I switched cars and put my winter storage car in use. All of a sudden I got an postcard from the oil change company that I now have XXX number of miles on the one not being driven now and it needs an oil change. How do they know I have XXX miles to nearly the exact miles. You guessed it. Allstate is selling this to other companies. Not only do they get$10 per car that this little device is planted in but they get the revenue from selling your info. I had better get the discount as they are making a mint in other ways with this device.

• I have 210 braking events since 3/28, 6 extreme. Most occur 2 minutes into the trip. I have maybe 1 or 2 days that don’t have braking events. I drive a 5spd Im thinking maybe I should get rid of this thing as my projected discount is 0.

• Hey Steve,
I’m also driving a manual 5sp, and I run into braking events all the time. The physics of a manual vs. automatic transmission are significantly different. For example, if you are decelerating with your brake, and then you downshift (or an engine break as it is often termed), you are essentially applying two different brakes at the same time (ie: slows you down quicker), which will easily put you into that 8mph and 10mph braking event. I’m also guessing, since your in a 5spd vehicle, it is also a lighter vehicle, not a heavy SUV type. If so, the nature of your vehicle is that it can (and one could argue) and is designed to decelerate quickly – which will also likely manifest with a high number of braking events.

Your not alone Steve. As I’ve mentioned in previous comments, I’ve been in a dialogue with Allstate, which have pretty much been stonewalled now. I now have a dialogue with NBC investigative reports, and I’m also looking to contact my states attorney general/consumer protection branch/insurance protection branch.

Hopefully something will come out of that. It is extraordinarily that they (Allstate) is able to apply a one-size-fits-all criteria to such a wide variety vehicles with different natures.

Cheers,
Greg

• You Go Greg !! I’ll be in if they haven’t done a story yet? I’d love to have them drive with me and see how inaccurate this device is.

• I agree with all of the comments here, but I seem to be the only one having this particular problem. I cannot view any of the graphs because it says I don’t have Java Script installed. I have the latest version of Java..just downloaded it today. Is this a separate program?

• JavaScript is just unfortunately named — it actually has very little to do with Java. It comes with whatever browser you’re using. If you try using Firefox or Chrome you’ll likely have better luck than whatever you’re using now.

Hope this helps!

• Well this is almost a year old but if anyone reads it heres the reason. a dial up internet connection is to slow most of the time to let the graphs open. try late at night when the internet isnt as busy. i have the same problem..

also i have braking events, all are in my driveway in the winter. several times extreme events 2 or 3 or 4 in one minute in reverse backing up to where i need to park. all one minute before turning the key off.

• I have had dive-wise for 6 months and was giving a 10% discount to use the DW device. I had 30% discount coming until I traded cars 2 months ago. They say that drive-wise devices are not available for the new Pruis, one of the most safe, most sold cars on the road. So I not only did not the 30 %, and they canceled my present 10% discount for that car because I returned their DW device as instructed. On my truck my DW record indicated a 19% discount due but Allstate claims 19 % is the same as 10% dollar wise.??????
My rates are still low, but I am shopping for another insurance company

• The fact that they don’t have availability for a new Pruis demonstrates their system for calculating discounts is flawed. Discounts if you only drive vehicle x, y & z, but not if you drive a, b, or c. That is simple discrimination based on the type of vehicle that you drive…Their one size fits all approach simply doesn’t work.

Frustrates me to no end. I think that a class action lawsuit is forthcoming in Allstate’s near future. It seems inevitable in their case.

• Hybrids and electric cars are not required to have the port that the module plugs into (OBDII) because it’s part of the emission control system. That is why it doesn’t work with the hybrid: no place to plug it in.

• Hi Andy,

So essentially, if you drive a vehicle that doesn’t have a OBDII port, you are not eligible for a discount which 90% of everyone is. Being excluded by type “type of vehicle driven” – what happens when hybrids become even more common? No discounts for anyone. (which translates into, more profit for the insurance companies.

I’d say their methods are severely flawed.

• In contrary to what Andy says below, Pruis does have an OBD-II port. All vehicles that have an engine, even hybrid ones must have the port. Here is a quick link to the Pruis chat

• I have had mine 2 months and although I feel I am a pretty good driver…no accidents in 44 years…this thing is making me feel I am not so good and feels like there’s a cop in my back seat watching me! Braking is a problem and the time of day I drive. My grade and discount keep bouncing up and down so I tried an experiment and did not drive the car for several days. My grade and discount went down farther..I am taking it back tomorrow….Freedom will be nice!

• DriveWise measures 4 things. They are (in descending order of significance: Mileage, Braking, Time of Day and Speed. If you drive more than 40 miles per day chances are you will NOT be getting a discount at your next renewal. The system has my speed and time of day rated as A+ and my braking as a B. My mileage however is a C-. That makes my overall grade a C and NO discount. So I plan on using this every other policy period for the 10% discount for signing up. Free money is after all-free money.

• Hey Dan,

I think this is also another example of a flaw in their system. The A+ and C- should cancel one another out, so grades of A, B, and C. Those averaged out should be a overall grade of a B. The thing is, to get the different grades within the different domain, they are already weighted within the domain. By getting the overall grade as a C-, they are obviously applying some other statistics (or weighting) to already weighted grades.

The more analysis, and statistics that your data gets run through, the less accurate and reflective that data becomes of you as a driver.

I will wish you luck on the every other policy period – I hope there is no fine print that prevents that.
Cheers,
Greg

• i think they are weighted by how much mileage you’ve driven. When i got dinged my first time for hard braking (which was a valid ding too i might add!!!) my discount went down a lot. but after having no events while driving a lot for a while (2-3 weeks) my discount and rating went back up. so i think they are evenly weighted by total mileage driven. that would make sense because if i have 2 events in 300 miles should give me a really bad rating vs 2 events in 3000 miles driven.

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• So folks,

Since Allstate has been pretty evasive regarding providing my own “raw” data they have collected, I’m still curious of the frequencies of braking events, time of day, and speed events.

If I threw together a survey, that asked the type of vehicle, the number of events for a given week, and possibly some of the details of the braking events (start and final speed) – would people be willing to take the time to enter some of that data, so I can begin to look at if there are really significant differences between type of events and vehicles driven.

Since Allstate refuses to allow me to look at my own “raw” data despite several requests, I was hoping I could compile some of my own data, from your experiences with this device.

Of course, it would be completely voluntary, and I’d ask that you would be honest in your replies (and or data entry).

So what do you say? If I put something together like this, would you be willing to help out by providing some of the data with your experience with this device.

Thanks,
Greg

• Two main problems:
1. OnStar will not accept this device.
2. The diagnostic port is NOT to have any device in it 24/7. According to my service department your warranty can be voided.

• I just got my 2013 Altima out of service shop of the dealership. There was a problem with the autostart and the pushbutton start. They told me it was directly related to the Drive Wise device. Keep that in mind folks it definitely affects your vehicle’s computer

• Oh man – just picked up a brochure from my local Allstate agency regarding DriveWise, but after hearing everyone’s story I will be sure to throw into the recycling bucket!!!

• I’m not sure what everyone’s problem is. Maybe its the fact i have an SUV and not a car which seems to be the main factor with all the complaints. Since an SUV is a lot heavier i know to start stopping a lot sooner and i don’t get dinged with hard braking at all unnecessarily. No the two times i’ve gotten dinged is being stuck behind someone in a CAR who decides to stop short or stop, then start up and then hard stop again. It records the exact time the occurance occured and i’ve been keeping track on when I think they should occur. let me tell everyone the device has been dead on so far. even so far as the times i think it should have went off it didn’t. again it might be that since everyone who seems to have complaints are in cars which are a lot lighter and able to stop quicker then me who is in an SUV. The only complaint i have which i’m relaying to allstate through my agent is the fact they should be able to adjust the time of day of driving for people who have to work for third shift and have no choice. they should make it at least moderate risk that way they have a chance for the discount too.

after reading all these posts i decided to try it for a month and so far i’m shocked at how different my results are from everyone else but again my reasoning stands that i think it’s more the vehicle and what the driver “thinks” is safe stopping. my suggestion is that if someone has “fast cycle lights” then plan a different route. i have those too and i know to go a little bit slower when approaching them or PAY ATTENTION to what the last state the lights were in to know i have enough time to clear them if it turns yellow or not. the device has just made me MORE AWARE of my surroundings and more attentative. imagine that! anyway, that’s just my two cents. just trying to be the voice of reason in case someone else is reading like i did trying to decide whether or not to try the device out or not.

• This is a scam if I ever saw one… if you drive between the hours of 12pm and 9pm you don’t get a discount.. in other words use Drive Wise only if you ride your bicycle to work or don’t have a job… Also you get punished for breaking events while you break to save an accident…. Are you kidding me?? you break hard while going 35 mph to save a child that just jumped into the street and Allstate says, “no you either kill the child or we will punish you”… NOBODY ever gets the 30%… show me the percentage of people who get it… NOBODY …. Friends joke about how slow and careful I drive and yet I get an 8% discount with Allstate… Scam to say the least… I am jumping companies next year… I would pay more to a company that doesn’t LIE…

• Hi George! It’s your old Allstate agent here. I was doing some random Googling and ran across your blog post. I started reading it with great interest and then realized it was you! Too funny. Anyway, just wanted to add a few things even though this is an old conversation.

1) Allstate no longer charges a $10/policy period fee. There is no charge for the device. 2) They absolutely CAN NOT use the information from the device to increase your rates and they can’t use it in a claims situation. The only time the information can be used outside of calculating the discount, is if it is subpoenaed by a court. 3) My husband still has not earned a discount due to the hard braking. He has a 2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport with a a manual transmission. I believe the hard braking events he gets dinged for have something to do with it being a stick shift. I have no basis for that belief, other than I know I brake harder when I also have to push on the clutch – makes sense to me. Hope you’re well! Bethany Reply • haha you guys are crackin me up.I have had this thing for 6 months I had 2 braking incidents in my record total and I did in fact brake hard on those occasions,It is not set off by normal braking it is set off by fast braking.I love this device if for nothing else then it will show so many of you horrible drivers that you are in fact horrible drivers. waiting till the last second to apply your brakes IS poor driving, its impatient driving and it is a good gauge to someones overall stance on the road. if you are again and again needing to bop the brakes in slow speed operations then you DON’T KNOW HOW TO DRIVE, if you find yourself needing to scrub loads of momentum during higher speed driving on a regular basis you ALSO do not know how to drive. Driving when executed properly is smooth and should not ever require hard braking. Proper driving involves foresight and calm calculated moves. if you think your insurance company is going to give a discount to someone who is all gas then all brake all the time you are delusional. you guys are the reason our rates are high. you tear your cars up driving that way too, just because you CAN stop fast doesn’t mean you should do it or that it is not causing excessive wear on the braking system and other components. so get over it, you drive like asses and that is why you dont get a fat discount. I will say that I cant imagine anyone actually getting a full 30% though. in 6 months I had only two hard braking incidents yet my discount is still only 15% in my case its due to the fact that I drive a LOT they dont like that, the more time on the road the more likely you are to have an bang up. So far I have been driving for 20 years and have never had an accident my fault or otherwise,never even have had a close call and I have never had a ticket, thats approx 400,000 miles without as much as a fender bender. so if you think you are a good driver because you have only been in two accidents in the past 15 years you are out of your mind, every accident is everyone’s fault to some degree, if you pay attention and know how to drive you are very unlikely to have any issues or they will be very few and far between. my dad has been driving for 50 years and has still never gotten a ticket or had an accident and we dont drive like grannys we just drive patiently and pay attention, its simple as that. Reply • I should add, for the sake of not being misleading and keeping things in perspective. MOST of my driving is in a company vehicle and not the one this device is in. I basically only drive my personal vehicle for going to the store, roads trips and visiting people. this probably factors in.I am not in a rish to get anywhere when I am driving this vehicle.I think I would have zero discount just based on mileage alone if it was on my work vehicle and I SUPPOSE I might have a few more hard braking “incidents” Reply • Wait until you pull your car into the garage after 11:00. You are nailed for driving after 11 and it counts against your driving record. I also have one car that I don’t drive often and was told I drove it on June 8,9 after 11 pm and over 80. I never did either and it doesn’t show on the detail. Called and argued the case but they will not admit it should be someone elses record. I only have a 5% discount for renewal. I have pulled the device and will not put it back in. They don’t like they can kiss my b—-d. Reply • You crack me up too, Richard. We know that people usually know how to drive, but they often don’t want to be responsible. When I took driver’s ed. in high school, my teacher constantly told me to slow down before turning because a car could not lean into a turn like a bicycle. Braking is an eye-opener for most people, especially the driver, having a steering wheel to brace against. Police in my city (Livonia, Michigan) have advised drivers to allow 3 (not just 2) seconds of distance between their vehicle and the one ahead. Drivewise sees a rate of change of 8 mph per second as hard braking and 10 mph per second as extreme braking. When that Mardi Gras bead necklace on the rearview touches the windshield, I’m doin’ it wrong… Reply • I just installed my device a week ago and have already had 2 breaking events. One was from 13mph to 5mph. ?? That is hard breaking? The main complaint I have is my yellow lights turn to red too quickly. I know this is a national problem where cities do this to make revenue in red light traffic tickets. I usually drive on a 25mph road every day and now, with Drivewise installed, notice there is no time to break easily on a yellow light. I risk hard breaking or running the light. So do I drive at 20mph and slow down at each intersection with a signal to avoid the “hard break” if the light should change? The system if flawed because it can’t take into account all the variables of driving. I think because of this insurance companies will drop this program in the near future. I’m wondering if this also will make me a worse driver knowing that Big Brother is in the car with me on all my driving trips. Reply • I have static coming from my speakers when the vehicle is turned off and the key is out of the ignition. Reply • First, I’m 62 and retired. My wife and I each have a car and we’re home bodies. We barely drive because a couple of classes and shopping errands are nearby. Near enough that I put 3000 miles a year on my smart fortwo and she puts 2000 miles a year on her Ford Focus. I was sweating bullets before installing DriveWise in the smart, because it’s a small, lightweight car that clutches and shifts its own manual transmission. I was afraid that normal downshifting while coasting would trigger a braking event. We got DriveWise devices just 3 days ago. No braking events so far. In our state (Michigan), the Secretary of State advises that drivers scan the road about 12 seconds ahead. At 40 mph, that’s 704 feet. When approaching traffic lights, I often look for the pedestrian walk signal; if it’s flashing a red hand on my approach, I may need to stop for a yellow or red. I squeeze the brake pedal gently, then reduce pedal pressure as the car slows to a stop. You know, the same way a police patrol car can sneak up when driven in ‘stealth’ mode. Imagine a dear friend with a broken neck seated beside you, screaming bloody murder every time the car is jostled. I’m very aware that traffic doesn’t move carefully during an average work commute. Maintaining safe distance between your vehicle and the one you follow means some joker will pull into it, cutting into your deceleration zone. Take a taxi ride and compare their driving to yours. Smooth driving increases fuel economy, saving more money. Grit your teeth or grin and bear it, but practice can reduce the urgent lunacy of a daily commute. Between the fuel and insurance savings you’ll reap, go out and treat yourself to delicious meals or wonderful toys now and then–you’ll have earned them… Reply • Am I missing something here. Everyone is saying there is no discount to start out with. I am receiving a 39$ per 6 month discount just for using the thing! I can now earn up to another 30% discount by having good driving habits. The way I look at it, it’s a win, win! I get a discount regardless of how good, or bad I drive. The sign-up discount will always apply.

• Drivewise from Allstate gives “10% or more off your premium just for enrolling.” We earn the enrollment discount for the first 6 months–after that, discounts are based on our Performance Rating. We won’t be given 30% in addition to the 10% for enrolling, but up to a total 30% discount. The discount applies not to the entire 6 month premium cost but certain elements of coverage.

Potential discounts can disappear based on Drivewise data. Drivewise won’t increase your rates, but the Performance Rating may not earn a discount. For example, annual mileage above 18,000 miles will result in no savings, no matter when or how carefully one drives. See the Frequently Asked Questions on drivewise.allstate.com

• okay I get it now Gary thanks the 10 percent enrollment discount only applies to the first 6 months and then it goes away and then the discount is based off of your driving habits correct?

• I definitely think I’m set up for some sort of discount though probably I only drive about 9,000 miles a year

• You are correct, sir.

• Drivewise is a farce!! As written above there is no way to calibrate the device to record proper braking. You have to use your car very little to get any kind of discount. I do drive a decent amount with three kids and two jobs. BUT !! I am a coaster – I do not race up to red lights and hit my brakes hard to stop. The vast majority of the time I slow down very slowly, many times hardly using my brakes at all, but drivewise reads frequent hard braking!! I tried it – it sucks – I sent it back.

• No way to calibrate the device to record proper braking? They only need to record events outside of proper braking. Drivewise devices as well as today’s smartphones contain 3-axis accelerometers. Accelerometer apps are available for smartphones. Vectoring 3-axis outputs can give a precise direction of acceleration or deceleration in three dimensional space. When the engine is started, the vehicle is usually at rest; that is considered to be zero G.
Accelerometers are manufactured using integrated circuit chip fabrication techniques. They are physically robust and outputs versus g-force inputs are similar from device to device. 0.364 g is hard and 0.455 g is extreme braking, according to Drivewise. Hard braking is easily achieved after backing out of a parking slot, bringing the car quickly to a halt.

• Sounds like a lot of scientific mumbo jumbo? After reading all the above post I am willing to bet that some vehicles report differently than others. As stated above I would love to take an Allstate rep or scientist/engineer driving any day with the device and explain to me how my coasting with usually little braking rates as a lot of excessive braking!!

• So… I’m thinking about trying this device and I come across this blog. A lot of excellent observations – pros and cons if you will. Data subpoenaed, data sold to dealerships, hard breaking from 11 mph? Haha! That’s a good one. But, with drivwise and e-policy I’m promised a savings of $130 on my next 6 mo. term. What,$22 per month? Breaking is my only real concern here as I live in town and people drive like idiots. Have to decide by Monday, 4 Nov.

• The hard braking events are truly a joke, they obviously use these even to lower you score. I have been with Allstate for many years and expected to get 30% discount. I have A+ score for everything but braking where I get dinged to C- so I am looking at ~ 8% discount not 30%. Like other folks have had said this thing will make you a less safe driver if you try to avoid braking incidents you will be going through more red lights. They should throw out all events below 20 MPH going from 15 to 8 MPH in 1 sec on a modern vehicle with anti-lock brakes is normal not extreme braking event.

The device is a joke I may dump Allstate over this stupid gadget and that would be 2 homes and 2 cars their loss for not thinking this through. The last time I had an accident of any kind that was my fault was in 1969 I am a safe driver and my driving record would prove it. Okay 8% discount is better than none but I can save more by going to another company.

• To all you people discussing the device’s shortcomings, you are all missing the most dangerous aspect of all!

More infringement on privacy! Get real! If you think this is optional to save a few bucks on your insurance you are not too smart! Optional now and with the ability to give third party information about you, your habits, where you go and at what time, imagine when the Feds will force car makers to put this in all vehicles! Cell phones are monitored, all your financial data monitored, all purchases monitored, all health issues monitored in fact everything you do is now monitored. I think every vehicle is monitored with little black boxes installed now so we soon will have nothing personal any longer.

I for one will not volunteer to monitor my driving. I have not had a true accident in many years despite being charged an accident on my insurance when a trailer hitch came apart in a campground field when I drove a vehicle up on this car carrier trailer and the hitch of the trailer failed sending the tongue into my Motorhome causing some fiberglass damage that I stupidly reported to State Farm as a comprehensive insurance claim. Little did I know State Farm classed it as a collision and my fault! Several other small “collisions” occurred over the many years insured with State Farm and after over 30 years never having a real accident I got this letter of cancellation!

Anyway volunteering to be monitored for a few bucks is plain stupid. Drive conscientiously and prevent accidents as needed and don’t let your driving be affected especially if it is promoting dangerous habits to satisfy the “box” !

• George, eight exclamation marks in the space of four paragraphs, one of which was dedicated toward an insurance event? Why not regale us over a class action lawsuit resulting from that hitch failure of yours?
Wikipedia contains a page on Event data recorders that mentions privacy concerns such as yours. As a member of Mensa, I don’t appreciate being called stupid, but this time I’ll consider the source.
I want to be monitored! I want the truth and nothing but the truth should I be involved in a catastrophic traffic accident. Not just my word against another driver, but my proven driving trend lending weight to my arguments. Who here has seen dash cam videos from drivers in Russia? Can you guess why? Having cold, hard facts that prove what is claimed means that corruption will not easily survive.

• They made their money before a big claim happened so they cancelled you didn’t they.
Sounds like scum insurance companies. There was some talk that if you were insured with these companies for homeowners that they were going to install one in your home also. Talk about invasion of privacy. There is none anymore. We are like robots to be manipulated.

• No one is obligated to use the device. It is an option. If you don’t like it then don’t do it! Why all the complaining about something that you have a choice not to participate in?

Additionally, believe what you want conspiracy theorists, but insurance is regulated by the state’s department of insurance. The guidelines for this device, as registered with the state, specify that the information received from the device can only used to calculate the discount. They can not use the information to rate your policy, in an accident or share it with anyone. The information can be subpoenaed by a court but I would imagine it would have to be quite serious to warrant that.

Drivewise was created as a sales and retention tool to help Allstate get and retain good drivers. Nothing more.

In full disclosure I am an Allstate agent as well as George’s former agent.

• Hi Bethany,

Spoken like a true Allstate agent.

Just because something is regulated by the state’s department of insurance doesn’t mean that the regulations are followed, or even enforced. We have all seen “self-serving” regulations been passed. And especially in Illinois, the “State” isn’t known for being the most upfront, honest, or transparent – in fact the opposite, as being one of the most politically corrupt states in the nation. So in theory, the state regulations that you bring to the argument, have very little weight in a state known for so much corruption.

By trying to keep only the “good drivers” you are decreasing your pool to collect premiums. By having the smaller pool to draw from, it get’s reflected in the continual increase of premiums – with no claims, my rates have almost doubled since I started with Allstate almost 10 years a go. Know how those increases were explained to me? Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, the extreme storms that we have been encountering over the past 6 or 7 years. My vehicle rate goes up because of hurricanes? That doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Allstate should be looking at increasing their pool, and stop looking at people as individuals and look at them as groups again – Those with more claims, charge more, those with less or no claims, charge less. I fail to see how “braking events” that are determined by a magical number, which is not normalized across different types vehicles (small cars have the innate nature to stop quicker than larger vehicles, yet the “magical number” applies equally to both).

For example, would you judge a 50m running event (fast (good driver) or slow (bad driver)) by the same criteria for a 5 year old and a 18 year old? I would think not. Allstate is doing the exact same thing – applying a one size fits all vehicle approach, which is clearly not fair or just. And the different braking systems, being adjusted for the type of vehicle doesn’t normalize – if it did, all vehicles would have the same stopping distances – my Nissan Altima will always stop quicker than my significant others Ford Expedition. Simple Newtonian physics which are conveniently ignored.

I have tried on several occasions to communicate with Allstate about the “flaws” in their system for calculating their discounts. I have been willing to work with them to determine a better way. But, all I’ve been met with the “it is voluntary, you don’t need to participate” rational. One could argue that rational is exploitative and unfairly discriminates. Being a good driver through the “Drivewise” lens does not equal being a good driver through any other rational lens.

I have specifically not even entered the realm of privacy concerns because that is a whole other can of worms which deserves it’s own topic.

Yes, Allstate has stated that (and regulations) state the information can only be used “such and such a purpose” (ie: calculating discounts), yet, in every privacy policy, every terms of use, etc. that someone agrees to, there it an escape clause, that permits the “terms to be changed from time to time, and that continued use constitutes acceptance of those terms.” To be honest, I would be curious to know how many people have read the full terms to what they have signed, or even if they have read it, do they understand what they are signing?

I have put in a request on numerous occasions to see the information that is collected – met with “this is propitiatory information.” They failed to explain how speed, time of day, acceleration/deceleration is propitiatory information. They wouldn’t even tell me if the data collected is collected over the entire trip, or is just selected events “soundbites.” The context of an event makes a significant difference as to how an event should be processed.

The arguments and the critiques that I have made have been based on critical thinking. They have been brought forwards through accepted scientific and statistical research methods. At one time in this nation, this used to be valued and even encouraged, but now it is considered to be trouble-making. It is a pure shame that it has come to this.

In full disclosure, I am an Allstate client, participant in the Drivewise program, and what most would be considered a critical-thinking trouble maker.

• enrollingdrivewise

• enrollingd

• ok so i got drivewise in my chevy trailblazer 03, as soon as i plugged it in i was getting service codes, i did not link the two together i just thought o well suv needs work, well after i replaced a fan clutch for 200 bucks a difrent code came up so i had chevy reprogram the computer for 100 bucks (all the time leaving the little blue box plugged in) after i had dealer reprogram computer code came back as i was leaving he said unplug device see what happens, i did and as soon as it unplugged and he cleared codes out, i drove for about 30 miles still driving code hasnt come back since i unplugged it. i called drivewise they assurred me it couldnt be there device and if it was they had to do more info on it to determine why, while telling me i cant keep the dicount and i wont be reembursed for the money i spent fixing a car that didnt need fixed.

• These guys (Allstate) are just like Safeway. They charge high prices and then offer you a 30% discount. When I was offered the option of a high price or a tattletale monitor, I chose option #3 and found a new insurance company. Total loss to Allstate $3,000 per year (cars and homeowner insurance) total savings to me from another carrier$1,000 per year. Do the math and tell Allstate what they can do with their driving monitors.

• Wish I had seen your review here before we signed up for it. I didn’t learn about it until we were in the office of our new agent with no time for research. The old agent didn’t even mention the device. I, like you, did a write-up of my experiences on the Drivewise unit, although now they don’t seem to have any indication of fast acceleration in the unit statistics. They do provide daily feedback, but it’s not on the same day.
http://the-analytical.blogspot.com/2013/12/allstate-drivewise-huge-failure-in.html

• signed up for drivewise 09/09/13 to 03/09/14 received 10% discount. renewal started 09/09/14 no discount allowed with A+ rating. Agent said I must be in plan for 9 months before next discount is allowed. is this correct?

• I can’t believe I read through most of these comments, but it was entertaining and made me laugh. I am reminded of my wife, who got one of those red-light camera tickets a while back…..it came in the mail and she screamed and cussed…”I didn’t do it! That’s BS….blah blah”…..I said “OK honey….look here on the ticket there is a link to an actual video of the event” We pulled it up and guess what? There she was flying right through a red light. LOL Now, it may well be this device has faults, but all of these people who ‘just can’t believe” they get penalized…..Seriously…is it possible….JUST possible maybe that you aren’t as good as you think you are?? I have been driving for 35 years, and 3/4 of the people on the roads aren’t worth a damn…. assuming you people make up a lot of that general population, I’m sorry….I know you all THINK you’re good drivers….but you are NOT. lol

• Hey Tom,
There is a big difference between running a red light and getting caught by a red light camera when compared to a device that tracks speed, time of driving, etc.

The way that the discounts are calculated put simply, are flawed. 8mph in a second deceleration triggers a braking event, 10mph in a second triggers an extreme braking event. There is no consideration for the driving conditions (ie, snow and ice and your tires happen to spin = braking event). But most of all, the same standard for a braking event is applied to all vehicles – regardless of weight, size, etc. Lighter vehicles by their nature will decelerate quicker than heavier vehicles. Yes, the braking systems attempt to accommodate with larger rotors/drums, brake pads, etc. but that still doesn’t make all vehicles equal – if it did, all vehicles would have the same stopping distances which clearly isn’t the case. So there is a big problem with this part of their methodology that they are using to calculate their discount. Drive a light vehicle, expect lots of braking events and no discount.

Time of day? That I find very hard to believe also. Work 3rd shift, or have a job that had oddball hours – get penalized for having a job that’s shift ends between 11pm and 6am. Most people that work in the service industry will be pooched because their shift ends at midnight (or starts). Heck, I worked at a hospital ER and would lose any discount just because of the hours I worked – which has absolutely no reflection on myself as a driver; just because I drive at those hours doesn’t inherently make me an unsafe driver.

I won’t make the claim of being the best driver, but considering I have been driving over 30 years, with no accidents, no traffic violations, etc., speaks much louder than a device that says I stop too quickly because I have a small vehicle, or I have a job that requires me to drive on what is view as “non-desirable” hours.

The other thing that is offensive, is the insurance companies don’t give you a discount up front. They charge you the high rate upfront, earn the year of interest on your “over inflated” premium, and give you a small discount afterwards – and we are supposed to be happy with that. That 6month or a year worth of interest doesn’t sound like a lot when you consider just the individual, but when everyone is forced into the inflated rate to begin with, that really adds up. Quite offensive if you ask me.

So I have 30 years which states I’m a good driver, yet 12 months with a device with flawed methodologies that says I’m a bad driver. Which do you think the insurance company going to pick? The one that says I’m a bad driver so they can continue to justify increasing their rates.

Their metrics measure something, but they don’t measure what they claim they are measuring, That’s the problem with flawed methodologies that get placed into production.

• Greg,
I don’t disagree with you, and I don’t claim to know enough about this device to say that your issues with the way it works aren’t correct. I am merely saying (and I will stand by this to no end) that MOST people think they are better drivers than they actually are. lol
The other thing about this topic, is this device is a side issue to your insurance and it’s costs regardless of inflated rates, the way they come up with them, and whatnot. By that I mean, you don’t HAVE to use it. Your rate is your rate ….it can have 2 effects if you choose to use it…decrease the rate or keep the rate the same if you use it and get a 0% discount. Look at an extreme example…..lets say I have a brand new car but I NEVER use it (unlikely I know but bear with me). I install the device. I would THINK I would get the max discount on a car that never leaves the driveway. Now lets say I take the same car out around the block 1 time a day. OK I may well be the world’s best driver but am I not a higher risk now simply for that 5 minutes a day than I was when I never used the car? What I am trying to say is people are looking at this device as PENALIZING them….it is not. It is more of an optional “possible reward” for meeting the insurances company’s perhaps unrealistic and lofty goals… If you don’t meet them, you are in the same boat as someone who simply doesn’t have the device. I don’t buy the part about rate raising I am afraid….if that’s true and can be proven it is grounds for a lawsuit as they claim it can’t be used for that…..

• Tom, I agree with you, except I might say that 3/4 of the time, most drivers may not be aware of how well they’re doing.
I drive a smart fortwo, one of the lightest cars in this country. In 6 months with DriveWise, I got only 3 hard braking events and absolutely knew each of them. I laugh off and laugh at drivers who cling to Mulder (I Want To Believe), braking.
We live in Michigan (winter ice & snow) and altogether, the DriveWise reduction of certain elements of our coverage saved us 71 dollars on our next 6 months.

• Be aware and be careful with this device.. I posted a few months ago but this time I will tell you what happened when the time came for the “discount”… I HAD 3 cars with Allstate but only two with the drivewise… The one car drove for about 7500 miles for the year.. The second car drove around 3500 miles… The one car was driven between 5pm and 9pm.. That is the time the person who drove it had to drive to dialysis… Apparently Allstate says that if you drive after 11 am or so, you are dangerous so not only they didn’t give us a discount but they stated that without the drivewise we were getting a 10% but with it nothing… Even if we live in one of the safest cities in the country and always park the cars in the driveway and have no accident or tickets… Just because she drove to dialysis Allstate said SCREW YOU… I called and they started yelling-arguing that this is not for everyone and there is nothing they could do about it… Then they hit me with a bill to renew, of 50% higher than the previous year.. NO ACCIDENTS NO TICKETS nothing… They just decided to raise my policy by 50%… So i searched a little bit and I went with Liberty Mutual.. unfortunately for Allstate they gave me the same rate I was paying the year prior which means 50% less than Allstate hit me with… So I moved my 3 cars and my home insurance away from those crooks… If they don’t have a class action suit against them soon, I would be surprised… Maybe they are paying off any lawyer who is trying to bring this to court… I am sure something is up… this is such a big lie and if nobody is doing anything about it something is up…

• I am curious as to how long it was “unplugged??” You said they sent the email on Friday. Does anyone know if it will be alright to unplug it for about 8 hours each month? I go on trips and I don’t want my mileage going through the roof.

• good afternoon. we received an e-mail stating that the device was not operating for or on the suzuki. Just checked it and it is in securely. Now what should we do

• First unplug and re-plug it in. If that doesn’t fix it call up Allstate and have them send you a replacement if you still want to use the program. There is an off chance that the device could have damaged the OBD-II port of your vehicle (some reports from the comments on this post), in which case the dealer will have to do some big  replacements of your car computer or the port itself since it was never designed to have something continually plugged into it.

(I’m biased, I think the drive wise program is counterproductive at best and dangerous at worse)

• Hi there! I know this is sort of off-topic but I had to ask.
Does building a well-established website like yours take a massive amount work?
I’m brand new to running a blog but I do write in my diary daily.
I’d like to start a blog so I can share my own experience and views online.

Please let me know if you have any recommendations or tips for new aspiring bloggers.

Thankyou!

• These DriveWise devices actually have improved over the past 2 years.
The biggest discount – and if you don’t meet this requirement, you won’t get a discount – is driving less then 12k miles a year. Secondly is hard braking, speed, and time of day traveled.
I have DriveWise in our extra vehicle – which gets the full discount amount. My vehicle I get hardly any discount because I do drive more then 12k miles a year, and my husband’s gets about 17%. It’s better then nothing.
They give you 10% just to try it – I think it’s worth it.
A lot of older people benefit from this device, and it was really made to discount people who drive less – everyone likes to lie when they are asked, and insurance companies have caught on.