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Auto Insurance for Blind Drivers

Auto insurance for blind drivers might sound like something out of a science fiction movie or an agent's daydream. But it is actually a topic that insurers have been forced to consider as a possibility for the future. Advances in vehicular technology have moved forward in leaps and bounds. Various organizations have worked on devices to assist blind drivers, with at least one joint venture slated to unveil a prototype in the near future. There is much at stake for both drivers and insurers as far as the possibility of cheaper insurance. The end results of studies and research on driving technology for the blind could impact the nature of driving itself. Auto insurance for the blind may actually be something car insurance companies are forced to offer in the foreseeable future.

Nonvisual Interface Technology

At the heart of researchers' efforts to equip vehicles with the ability to help blind people get behind the wheel is figuring out ways to overcome the drivers' lack of sight. Cars driven by blind operators must be able to "see" for the drivers in order for them to be safely out on the roads. Nonvisual interface technology is the name given to devices and products outfitted for this purpose. What researchers in the field are trying to do is use this technology to put the blind driver in control of the automobile and truly drive it, not be driven around in it as if they were just passengers. Different sonar like sensors, transmitters, vibrating gloves and devices that release compressed air are among the types of equipment being tested toward the goal of creating a practical and drivable vehicle that blind people can own and operate.

Even as science nears completion on early working prototypes of vehicles outfitted with these devices for testing and analysis, the projected date for any such technology to hit the market is still probably years away. But even with this being the case, the development of more widespread interest in the creation of this type of car has not escaped the notice of the auto insurance industry at large. In most cases high profile employees of major insurance companies decline to specifically address the question of how they will insure these cars and drivers. Nevertheless, they do generally acknowledge that such questions will eventually need to be answered. This is a challenge that will someday need to be met by the industry one way or another, but it seems hard to believe that blind drivers would initially be able to get cheap auto insurance rates.

Car Insurance for Hearing Impaired

Perhaps the most analogous situation insurance providers have to work with these days is the preparation of insurance packages for deaf and hearing impaired motorists. At this point in time, most insurers do not have separate pricing scales for their clients based on hearing loss, and it is not a major consideration taken into account in the setting of rates and eligibility by industry underwriters. This is in spite of the fact that industry leaders could conceivably argue that deafness is an impairment that could make it harder to drive safely and avoid accidents and other claims.

But if a deaf person has a driver's license in their home state, he or she is generally offered rates for coverage at the same prices as anyone without a hearing impairment with all other factors being equal. In other words, as far as pricing goes it is a non issue. And many in the industry projecting future trends predict that the same could be true for blind drivers if technology progresses to the point when they are able to get licensed to operate an automobile.

Requirements for Obtaining Driver's License

The one caveat to this area of the thus far hypothetical topic that may require the most haggling in years to come is in the administration of tests for driver's licensure. In most states, motorists have to pass a vision test in order to get their license. It is true that drivers who require corrective lenses can still pass the test and get licensed to drive, but their licensure usually comes with specific restrictions calling for them to use their prescription eyewear whenever they are behind the wheel. Licenses with analogous restrictions would certainly seem necessary for blind drivers, requiring them to only operate vehicles equipped with the technology to safely assist them in navigating the roads.

Auto insurance for blind drivers might be still some time away, but as a concept it is something that will require careful thought and study by the industry as technology continues to evolve. Many issues will need to be dealt with and industry leaders will have to determine what their stance will be on the issue. Being prepared with auto insurance for blind drivers ahead of time will only benefit insurers as well as drivers if and when these special cars ever hit the open road.


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