This study from the Transportation Research Record used data from in-car Global Positioning Systems to see if there was a relationship between driving patterns and the likelihood of being involved in a car crash. Even though the sample size was pretty small, the researchers found a clear relationship. I’ll let them say it:
[C]rash-involved drivers accumulated more mileage, consistently traveled at higher speeds, and engaged more frequently in hard deceleration events than their no-crash counterparts did…
In other words, if you drive more (and if you drive faster and brake harder) you crash more. The chart at the top looks only at mileage: on average, the folks involved in a crash (the red line) drove about 2,500 more miles than their non-crashing counterparts (the blue line) over the 6 month study period.
From an insurance company’s perspective, this study provides even more reason to add a GPS-based insurance option. Not only can an insurance company use the data to give rate breaks for safe drivers (ie, pay-as-you-drive insurance), they may even identify risky driving –and educate the drivers before there’s a crash!
(If you’re really geeky, take a look at this paper, which argues for GPS-based insurance that adjusts rates based on the actual riskiness of each mile of driving — faster speeds or more dangerous roads could get steeper fees, while slow speeds on safe roads could be cheap!)
[Hat tip to Todd Litman.]