Progressive Insurance encourages good driving and offers discounts to customers that use GPS tracking devices on their vehicles.

Tracking programs by major insurance companies in the United States has been a long time coming, but many drivers were resistant to the idea of their driving and vehicles being tracked. Until now. Progressive Corp. has begun shipping devices enabled with GPS tracking technology to customers that volunteer to be tracked in exchange for discounts on their vehicle insurance. It is their way of rewarding and encouraging safe driving. They are also helpful because they are an anti-theft device, which insurance companies love.

These insurance programs are being called usage-based programs, or telematics, and more policyholders are coming around to the idea of being tracked. The GPS trackers will be placed in their vehicle and keep track of where they are located.

According to Progressive project management office leader Steven Broz, they began shipping to the devices to policyholders in April of this year. Months previous, it was Progressive employees that were testing the devices in their own vehicles.

Progressive, along with many other insurance companies, first began introducing this idea several years ago. At the time, customers were concerned about the invasion of privacy this entailed, as the trackers could tell where their vehicle was at all times. Times have changed and now that most people already have trackers on their phones, they seem more open to the idea of tracking their vehicle, especially with the benefit of paying a lower insurance premium for safe driving practices.

The Ohio-based insurance company is calling the program Snapshot and believes their customers are ready for the program. Many volunteers have agreed to have their vehicles tracked by the GPS-enabled devices. Right now, the devices are mainly tracking their vehicle’s location, but they are hoping through the continued testing phase, the technology can advance to truly seeing how their policyholders drive and offering more discounts for safe driving.

Other insurance companies are also jumping on the bandwagon, including Allstate, who previously released a new tracking app for mobile phones. The app is called Drivewise and looks at the driving habits of the policyholder and location, offering discounts for good driving habits.

More research is still being done by Progressive to look into updates for the program in the future. With customers being more comfortable sharing personal and private information, it is no surprise that they now have volunteers for this program. Not only will they get discounts, but insurance companies are hoping by being tracked, their policyholders are encouraged to drive safely while they are being tracked. This not only benefits them, but everyone else on the road at the same time. Their hope is that more people volunteer for the added benefits of the program.

 

The PGA Golf Tournament held by Travel Championship was fully prepared for health emergencies thanks to a new GPS tracking system.

Between June 16th and June 22nd, players and attendees of the PGA Golf Tournament in Cromwell, Connecticut had medical help at their fingertips. The annual tournament that is organized by Travelers Championship used technology to help provide on-the-site healthcare by giving all of their workers GPS trackers and combining it with an advanced dispatching service.

Being on a golf course for just one day has its own set of risks, but is especially risky during tournaments that go over several days. The golfers and fans are out in the heat for hours at a time, with very little breaks from it. They risk heat exhaustion, diabetic problems, lacerations, cuts or scrapes, ball strikes, slips and falls, and respiratory problems. These and other medical situations require fast care and are sometimes life or death situations.

The problem is that usually they are out on a course that is hard for medical staff to get to. Now with GPS tracking, the person in need of medical care lets the nearest employee know and they are able to quickly contact the dispatch team.

Dispatch uses the GPS tracking technology to find the qualified medical staff that is nearest that hole and able to give them what they need. Many of them are riding around on bikes, golf carts or segways, allowing them to get through the course quickly.

Dispatch views a computer screen with a live map that shows where all of their employees are. Every employee has a GPS tracking system on their person in order to facilitate the process. In some cases, dispatch lets an employee on a golf cart know so they can pick up the injured player and bring them to the medical tent. In other cases, they just need a bandaid or a bottle of water for heat problems.

Medical services are provided by staff of St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, which is nearby. In just a few minutes, they can be to a golfer’s side who is having a serious emergency, or tournament staff can provide what they need.

Every person on the medical mobile team is equipped with a high-tech GPS radio. Management of the tournament told reporters that the system is updated every 10 seconds, which helps them provide medical care to their players and visitors in a matter of minutes.

For the convenience of the players, there are 25 people on the medical team, as well as an eight-bed treatment facility on-site. This facility is there for those who have medical emergencies out on the golf course, as well as for walk-ins who need a quick remedy.

CBS 5 – KPHO

A man whose home was burglarized helps lead to arrest thanks to personal GPS tracking of his valuables.

It is not uncommon to hear news stories that involve using global positioning systems (GPS) tracking devices for catching criminals, whether it is a pharmacy nabbing a pill snatcher, local sheriff catching a stolen trailer thief, or a clever realtor tracking down stolen house for sale signs. Now, a resident of Arizona proves GPS tracking devices can be used on smaller items to help lead to an arrest should it get stolen.

Allen Crosby of Phoenix, Arizona was recently burglarized. The would-be thief made off with more than $10,000 worth of valuables, including electronics and jewelry, from his home.

Luckily for him, he thought ahead by protecting his valuables with a micro personal GPS tracking unit. These are tiny, hardly noticeable to those not looking for it, and can track the location of the item it was placed on.

Like many other GPS devices, the micro chip is activated and tracked with a mobile phone app. The tracker the Yavapai County Sheriff department used to locate the subject was hidden inside a stolen camera. Using satellite images, the police department and Crosby watched the suspect’s vehicle pull up into his driveway in Chino Valley, remove the bags and put them in his house, and even what room they were hid in.

Crosby activated the app on his phone while the police were at the suspect’s house. The homeowner let the police in to begin searching for the stolen items. The GPS unit began making a beeping sound, alerting the police to its exact location. They followed the beep to the stolen jewelry and electronics.

“I was on the phone talking to the detectives there are the same time. So, every time the button was pushed to make the sound, I would hear it through the phone.” Said Crosby.

Thanks to Crosby’s decision to track some of his more important valuables and the police following the location, an arrest was made only 24 hours after the burglary. They arrested the homeowner’s son, 37-year-old James Yunis. He is a convicted felon who previously served time for drug charges.

Even though some of his wife’s jewelry was not recovered and likely already taken to a pawn shop, Crosby is thankful he didn’t shy away from technology, but embraced its abilities.

“I’m an older person and I like to say sometimes that technology is almost like the root of all evil lately, but in this case, it definitely is not.” He told reporters.

After his arrest, Yunis brought to and booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center. His charges are theft control of stolen property with a bail set for $10,000. Due to a joint investigation involving Yunis and the Phoenix Police Department, he might be facing additional charges.

If this teaches the general public anything, it is that GPS tracking devices can be used to track just about anything. To safeguard your valuables, consider adding a micro device to your suitcase or briefcase when traveling, the collar of your pet, on your car, and all valuables in your home, including jewelry, watches, electronics, cell phones, and cameras.

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