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Category Archives: Transportation

Usage-Based Insurance and Telematics

National Association of Insurance Commissioners: “Usage-Based Insurance (UBI) is a recent innovation by auto insurers that more closely aligns driving behaviors with premium rates for auto insurance. Mileage and driving behaviors are tracked using odometer readings or in-vehicle telecommunication devices (telematics) that are usually self-installed into a special vehicle port. The basic idea of telematic auto insurance is that a driver’s behavior is monitored directly while the person drives. These telematics devices measure a number of elements of interest to underwriters: miles driven; time of day; where the vehicle is driven (GPS); rapid acceleration; hard breaking; hard cornering; and air bag deployment. The insurance company then assesses the data and charges insurance premiums accordingly. For example, a driver who drives long distance at high speed will be charged a higher rate than a driver who drives short distances at slower speeds. With UBI, premiums are collected using a variety of methods, including utilizing the gas pump, debit accounts, direct billing and smart card systems…

  • UBI programs offer many advantages to insurers, consumers and society. Linking insurance premiums more closely to actual individual vehicle or fleet performance allows insurers to more accurately price premiums. This increases affordability for lower-risk drivers, many of whom are also lower-income drivers. It also gives consumers the ability to control their premium costs by incenting them to reduce miles driven and adopt safer driving habits. Fewer miles and safer driving also aid in reducing accidents, congestion, and vehicle emissions. 
  • The practice of tracking mileage and behavior information in UBI programs has raised privacy concerns. As a result, some states have enacted legislation requiring disclosure of tracking practices and devices. Additionally, some insurers limit the data they collect. Although not for everyone, acceptance of information sharing is growing as more mainstream technology devices (such as smartphones, tablets, and GPS devices) and social media networks (such as Facebook and My Space) enter the market.”

Tenth Annual Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report

“Allstate is committed to helping people across the nation protect their cars and families. Allstate America’s Best Driving Report® is an annual ranking that identifies which of the 200 largest U.S. cities has the safest drivers. Sharing this data every year can highlight the importance of educating people about the importance of safe driving.” Washington, DCContinue Reading

DOT Launches Free, Online Search Tool for Recalls Using Vehicle Identification Number

“Every year, millions of vehicles are recalled in the United States due to safety defects or noncompliance with federal safety standards. To help car buyers, owners and renters know that their vehicles are safe and their safety defects have been address, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today unveiled aContinue Reading

Pseudo-Classification of Executive Branch Documents

Pseudo-Classification of Executive Branch Documents: Problems with the Transportation Security Administration’s Use of the Sensitive Security Information Designation, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. May 29, 2014. “Under the Air Transportation Security Act of 1974, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) created a category of sensitive but unclassified information, frequently referred to as “Sensitive Security Information” (SSI), andContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – CFPB, Drinking Water, Media Ownership, Railroad Retirement, Security Clearances

CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU: Opportunity Exists to Improve Transparency of Civil Penalty Fund Activities, GAO-14-551: Published: Jun 26, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 28, 2014. DRINKING WATER: EPA Program to Protect Underground Sources from Injection of Fluids Associated with Oil and Gas Production Needs Improvement, GAO-14-555: Published: Jun 27, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 28, 2014. MEDIA OWNERSHIP: FCC Should Review the Effects ofContinue Reading

Apples and Oranges: Iceberg Trade Costs

Lashkaripour, Ahmad [Pennsylvania State University, College of the Liberal Arts - Department of Economics] Apples and Oranges: Iceberg Trade Costs (May 23, 2014). Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2470765 “The iceberg trade cost assumption is embodied in all major models of International trade. However, empirical evidence to support this rather conventional assumption is lacking. This paperContinue Reading

Obama Drone Order Fails to Safeguard Privacy

EPIC – “According to reports, President Obama is set to issue an executive order on drone privacy. The order would call for the development of voluntary best practices for the commercial use of drones. Senator Markey and Representative Welch immediately responded to the reports with a letter to the President urging “strong, enforceable rules – not voluntary bestContinue Reading

DOT Proposes Rulemaking for Safe Rail Transportation of Flammable Materials

“The U.S. Department of Transportation today released the details of its comprehensive rulemaking proposal to improve the safe transportation of large quantities of flammable materials by rail – particularly crude oil and ethanol – in the form of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and a companion Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM). The NPRM proposesContinue Reading

Mapbox – interactive map of no fly zones for unmanned aerial vehicles

Wired – “To help with the question of where it is legal to fly a drone, Mapbox has put together an interactive map of all the no-fly zones for UAVs they could find. Most of the red zones on the map are near airports, military sites and national parks. But as WIRED’s former Editor-in-Chief, Chris Anderson, nowContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Aviation Safety, Fair Labor Standards, Indian Gaming, NTIS, Patient Protection, Small Business, Space Launch System

AVIATION SAFETY: FAA’s Efforts to Implement Recommendations to Improve Certification and Regulatory Consistency Face Some Challenges, GAO-14-728T: Published: Jul 23, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 2014. FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT: Department of Labor Needs a More Systematic Approach to Developing Its Guidance, GAO-14-629T: Published: Jul 23, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 2014. INDIAN GAMING: Preliminary Observations on the Regulation and Oversight ofContinue Reading

“Black Boxes” in Passenger Vehicles: Policy Issues

CRS – “Black Boxes” in Passenger Vehicles: Policy Issues - Bill Canis, Specialist in Industrial Organization and Business; David Randall Peterman, Analyst in Transportation Policy July 21, 2014. “An event data recorder (EDR) is an electronic sensor installed in a motor vehicle that records  certain technical information about a vehicle’s operational performance for a few seconds immediately prior toContinue Reading

U.S. Sanctions on Russia in Response to Events in Ukraine

CRS Report, July 18, 2014 (IN10048): “Many view Russia’s annexation of the Crimean region of Ukraine on March 18, 2014, and efforts to destabilize eastern and southern Ukraine as the culmination of long-standing Russian resentment of the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. Russian leaders have claimed they have the right to protect Russian citizens and “compatriots” (thoseContinue Reading