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Drivers OK with in-car Breathalyzer

A new survey shows that a large majority of drivers would let their insurance company install the device in their cars in exchange for a price discount.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 13, 2013 3:35PM

This post comes from Des Toups at partner site logoWhat would you do for a car insurance discount?


Image: Driving home (© gehringj/Vetta/Getty Images)Nearly two-thirds of drivers said they would allow an insurance company to install a Breathalyzer in their cars -- nearly twice the percentage who would allow a cellphone disabling device, a new survey finds. commissioned a survey of 500 licensed drivers about steps they would take to save money on their car insurance bills. Even the least popular suggestion -- an onboard observation camera -- would be embraced by 20% of discount-seekers.


Here are the results:

  • 64% would let an insurance company install a Breathalyzer in their cars.
  • 39% would let an insurance company install a data-monitoring device.
  • 37% would install a cellphone disabling device.
  • 28% would let an insurance company limit how fast their car can go.
  • 27% would severely restrict their driving miles.
  • 24% would severely restrict when they drive.
  • 20% would let an insurance company install an observation camera.

There are no outright discounts for Breathalyzers or cellphone disabling devices -- although, of course, a driving record free of DUIs and cellphone tickets is helpful if your aim is cheaper rates. No one will give you a break for a speed governor or an in-car camera, either. One company does offer a dash-cam to worried parents of teen drivers.

But there are indeed discounts for installing devices that monitor your driving habits, the number of miles you drive and the hours of the day that you are on the road -- and the discounts can be substantial. Most major insurers have a "pay-as-you-drive" program, such as Progressive's Snapshot or Allstate's Drive Wise. All look at mileage, but others also monitor driving behavior such as braking and acceleration.


Drivers in the survey were also asked about discounts for safety systems.

  • 70% said anti-lock brakes would result in a discount.
  • 80% said collision-avoidance systems would result in a discount.
  • 31% said voice-operated controls for navigation, phone and email would result in a discount.

Of those three items, only anti-lock brakes typically result in a discount. (Newer technologies take quite a while to gain traction with insurance companies.)


See a complete Guide to Discounts for information on the discounts available for your profession, education, marriage status, military service and even good grades.


More on and MSN Money:



Mar 13, 2013 8:47PM
There is no way in God's world I would allow the installation of any, repeat any, device some company wants to use in my car.  I don't drink, I don't drive and text, I don't speed beyond the normal flow of traffic. and it's no one on earth's business how many miles a year I drive.  The idea of allowing some insurance company snoop into my business with these devices is enough to induce dry heaves in a hyena.
Mar 13, 2013 9:42PM
This is how big brother gets a foothold: People wanting to save a few bucks.

Then their kids grow up with a camera in the car, and don't mind so much when their asked install one  overlooking their backyard. I mean - what's the difference? It's for crime prevention, a good cause.

And then those kid's children are asked to allow a camera inside the house, to save money on taxes on. insurance or whatever. And it doesn't feel so wrong, since they've had one in the backyard their entire lives.

And so it goes.

Mar 13, 2013 9:09PM

Several years my auto insurance company sold me on the idea I could save money by

insuring my auto, house, boat and an umbrella policy as a "bundle".  I did save for two

years.  Then up each insured item went.  Now I'm paying as much with my "bundle' as

I paid separately.

Trust an insurance company to give me a discount with a spy device beyond the first year?  No, no, no way in heck.

Mar 14, 2013 12:59AM
I would never allow a company to install any monitoring device for any reason in my vehicle.  I don't care if it would give me free insurance.  I'll pay the price for privacy.  
Mar 13, 2013 9:45PM
first off, to ask 500 drivers out of tens of millions is a statistical joke. Secondly, where was the option for saying no to all of the above? 
People.. we all have to demand better without having to sacrifice our privacy. 
Mar 14, 2013 10:50AM

Anyone who thinks this stuff is in the name of safety is a buffoon.  These devices are aimed squarely at releasing liability from the insurers, period. 


If a driver is found in violation of any of the devices, and is in an accident, the insurance company does not have to pay the claim, period.  End of story.


The goal of any insurance company is to collect fast, and pay slow, if at all. 


Just another scam aimed at the average working Joe and Jane...

Mar 14, 2013 8:27AM

Yep...look at the article...then look at all of the car insurance ads on this page...sure there was a survey done...sure people are ok with this...I bet this is just a test ploy from the insurance companies and this is the survey! (They will review our comments).

Mar 14, 2013 9:46AM
Ever since the terrorists didn't win on 9-11, the American public can't give their civil liberties away fast enough. The truth is new cars already have a black box your insurance company can gain access to in the event they want to, and if you wreck or get caught drunk, the insurance company will know. This is just an attempt to find reason to increase your premium.
Mar 14, 2013 9:09AM
let them do it and I will make a fortune making a bypass unit that will fool the breath device.  the simple answer is no, never, and I will disable the unit if they ever did...
Mar 14, 2013 10:28AM

The installation of these "devices" is NOT intended to save the vehicle owner any money.


They will be used by the insurance companies as but one more excuse to INCREASE your rates and, accordingly, their bottom lines!


A perfect day for them (as for any insurance company) is to only take in premiums and not pay one claim.


Anything beyond simply leaving your car in the garage forever is a risk to them and they will do ANYTHING to work towards that goal.

Mar 14, 2013 10:52AM
Talk about giving up individual rights. Not to the government and not to corporations. A camera in the car is terrible, as bad as the other suggestions.
Mar 14, 2013 1:17PM
Well at least I am in the 34% that still value our personal freedom because I darn well would not allow any of these items in my vehicle.  That doe not mean that I am concerned because of my behavior being limited it means I just value my personal privacy.
Mar 14, 2013 3:10PM

Wow, it is amazing to me the number of people on here who believe they are espousing intelligent and sensible viewpoints but in reality are demonstrating the exact opposite. Anyone who would allow, let alone embrace, intrusive surveillance equipment to be installed in their vehicle is really not thinking this through thus illustrating a lack of critical reasoning skills. 


The obvious next steps that would be taken are not hard to imagine. Next up it will be law enforcement lobbying the government to force us to install one on our vehicles. If one life is saved in the country it is always worth it right? 


That being said, feel free to install it on your own car, but you have zero right to force me to install one on mine.

Mar 14, 2013 2:15PM

the breathalyzer or any other device SHOULD be a REQUIREMENT for anyone who ever is CAUGHT driving drunk, texting, etc....NO IFS ANDS or BUTS....

u wanna drive drunk and get caught....then you don't drive until it's in your car for LIFE

same with texting...etc

Mar 14, 2013 3:03PM

People forget driving is a privilege!

If you take the time to really think about the benefits of all vehicles having this as standard equipment you have to wonder why we never did it (but that's a whole other story.

1 when you have been drinking the first thing you lose is common sense and you think you can drive.

how many people who have made the wrong decision and have paid the price. there life is ruined, god forbid you kill someone or multiple people, families Kids. i whish this on no one.

Let your car tell you when you should drive, better than a cop! car wont arrest you. Hey, you F---ked

up, sleep it off, get a ride .

Now this would only work if they are mandatory, Think about how many young lives would be saved 100 times more than with guns. how many parents would not have to bury their kids.   As i said if you think about a world without drunk or stoned drivers. Only lawyers would lose out. Now wouldn't that be a great day.

It's not all about you, it's

Mar 14, 2013 11:23AM
I think it should be mandatory for all vehicles that operate inside the US to have Breath detectors installed. If you fail the breath alyzer your car dont start. Period. Sign me up and make it mandatory for this to be a law.
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