From the “You’ve Got to Be Joking” File


A transponder records the day/time of every "hard brake" (image in public domain)

A transponder records the day/time of every “hard brake” (image in public domain)

The National Motorists Association newsletter recently warned drivers about car insurance companies offering discounted premiums to customers who agree to install a transponder (think of it as a black box) that monitors the driver’s ongoing driving habits. Progressive, for example, offers this discounted premium under the name Snapshot.  Their marketing makes this device seem more like a buddy than a threat (this little device turns safe driving into savings!).

My advice to drivers: Don’t Do It.

Reasons Why Drivers Shouldn’t Install Transponders

Let me count the ways:

  • The insurance company is more likely to use that data against you, not for you. They’ll analyze that data and claim that you:
    • Were driving a few miles over the speed limit
    • Didn’t brake in ample time
    • Have a history of speeding
    • Have a driving pattern of swerving more than other drivers
    • …and so on.
  • The police can either subpoena or issue a warrant to the insurance company for your vehicle transponder records to check if your vehicle was:
    • Speeding on a certain night in question.
    • Being driven erratically during a time period when a DUI or other traffic crime is alleged
    • …and so on.
  • If you’re involved in a divorce, your spouse’s lawyer can subpoena the insurance company for your vehicle transponder records as evidence that you:
    • Drive at unusually high speeds
    • Have collisions or near-collisions.
    • …and so on.


We live in a world where data is king. Wherever it’s stored, it can be accessed by others. If you put a transponder in your vehicle, all the data it records can be used against you.


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Managing Partner at Shaun Kaufman Law
Shaun Kaufman has 30 years of in-court experience, with hundreds of hours spent defending numerous high-profile cases including homicide, white-collar theft and RICO offenses. Specialties: Criminal defense, personal injury, business litigation, DUI.

Shaun Kaufman Law: 303-309-0430
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