If an iPhone can make people healthier by tracking how many steps they take, why can't something similar make cars and trucks safer by monitoring drivers' behavior? Telematics equipment–black boxes–has been available for years, helping companies track the locations of their vehicles and the speeds at which they are traveling. Now the devices have become more affordable–and smart enough–to be used to identify unsafe driver behaviors. In January, global insurance giant Zurich announced a product that gathers data from telematics hardware and analyzes it to track driver behavior related to safety, with the goal of reducing accidents and insurance premiums.

The service, Zurich Fleet Intelligence, is currently available only to Zurich's insurance clients, says Bob Tschippert, the company's head of global automotive industry for the Americas.

"We're able to identify quick braking, hard braking, going around turns too fast and start-and-stop driving," Tschippert says. "It helps us identify who the bad drivers are, prior to its leading to an accident."

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