ICBC - TechPilot Project

ICBC LogoWould you volunteer to have your driving monitored all the time that you are behind the wheel in order to benefit from reduced insurance rates? Driver telematics are becoming a common way for insurance companies to assess a driver's crash risk and help set rates that are appropriate for that risk level.

Drivers can also learn from using telematics feedback and choose to reduce the risk that they present.  We would all benefit from reduced risk of a crash.

ICBC is working with a group of new drivers in the Graduated Licensing Program using a telematics system supplied by Octo. Drivers in the pilot earn rewards for demonstrating safe driving behaviour. The goal is to see if telematics will create a positive driving attitude and reduce crashes.

An outcome evaluation of the project was published in February 2022. The document's conclusion includes:

The overall findings gathered from Techpilot suggest, that telematics use had a positive influence on the driving behaviour of new drivers. Improvements in driving behaviour were observed across all behaviour event types (rapid acceleration, harsh deceleration, hard cornering and speeding) and for the most part sustained over the pilot term. Except for hard cornering, these changes were statistically significant, p <0.05. Such improvements however, were not shown to reduce crash frequency or rates among those using telematics. The behaviour effect size along with limitations imposed by the data are considered factors.

B.C. driver's attitude toward speed was highlighted as well:

One finding of concern is that participants shared some norms and attitudes about speeding in British Columbia, and the negative impact it had on their own driving habits. They noted the unwritten rule of speeding, its acceptability and the pressure they felt to conform — based on expectations from other drivers and, sometimes, even their own passengers.


I think how hard one accelerates, brakes and corners is circumstantial at best to reducing the risk of crashing. Conversely avoiding a crash may require hard braking, cornering or accelerating. For me the historical claim record is the only reliable indicator of a risk to an insurer. Furthermore, basing driving decisions on anything other than what is immediately happening on the road increases the risk for everybody else, because no one will know what the heck you're doing and why. And having real-time telematics in your car creates hard evidence for ICBC to use against you to invalidate your policy, deny a claim or assign responsibility. You could be held "responsible" for actions prior to the crash, even if the actions had nothing to do with the crash itself. Or you may lose coverage because your car was parked at a place other than your declared residence for longer than ICBC would like. Police may also be able to obtain the evidence stored on you by ICBC to investigate, surveil and prosecute you for all sorts of things they couldn't before.

This is a move against your and public best interests because ICBC will start price-gouging you for NOT having this "wonderful new technology"(TM) that "everybody already has" (TM) and "it saves lives"(TM) and "you are a bad person for not having it like everybody else"(TM).

This isn't a discount, its a surcharge on privacy.

This "deal" is completely unbalanced:

You get:
Discount: hundreds of dollars per year at most, at an elevated risk of financial ruin and the loss of privacy.

ICBC gets:
Real-time tracking of where your car goes to enforce their policies, investigate you and invalidate insurance retroactively.
Digital record of your actions to present in court to assign blame and deny coverage.
Savings for ICBC: potentially millions on per case basis.

Police gets:
Hard evidence against you to levy charges and fines, as many as they want and as often as they can.
Revenue for tickets: potentially millions of additional dollars per month.

Public roads get:
A bunch of drones further isolated from what is happening on the road, basing their decisions on what their smartphone tells them.
No appreciable risk of crash reduction, unless they can prove otherwise.