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INSURANCE

The new app that gives you money for driving well

Germany’s largest insurance company is offering an app which allows you to win money back on your car insurance if it records you driving safely.

The new app that gives you money for driving well
Photo: DPA

The app – called BonusDrive – is being offered by Allianz and tracks drivers’ acceleration and braking patterns, how they take corners and their general speed. At the end of the journey it will then give feedback on the trip.

“With BonusDrive we’re bringing car insurance into the digital age,” Frank Sommerfeld, a member of the Allianz board, said in a statement.

“And the app is simply fun to use. I use it myself and I find it exciting to after every journey to get an immediate feedback report,” he added.

The company say they are aiming the app at young people up to the age of 28, who often have to pay high insurance charges, and are offering people of this age who use the app 10 percent off their premium once they have used it for over 100 kilometres.

Responsible drivers are then rewarded depending on how well the app rates them to have driven, with awards of gold, silver and bronze medals at the end of every journey.

MUST READ: Eight things you never knew about the German Autobahn

At the end of a year’s insurance, the app will then rate the driver overall. ‘Gold drivers’ are promised a lucrative 30 percent back on their insurance payment. Silver drivers will receive 20 percent back, and bronze drivers get 10 percent.

So the company is promising those young drivers who are grade A students a reduction of 40 percent of their first year’s insurance costs.

“Especially for young people this is a fair offer,” Sommerfeld said. “Firstly, customers can actively influence their driving behaviour. Secondly, they can save costs through safe driving.”

“Those who pay high premiums because they belong to the high risk group of young drivers will in the future be split into those who drive more considerately and those who drive less so,” he added.

The company also claims that the app, which became available from Google and Apple app stores this month, doesn’t pose a disadvantage, as customers will not be punished with higher premiums if they do not win medals for their driving.

It also seems that the driver doesn't always need to play by the rules that Allianz sets. The company says that the data belongs only to the customer, who can switch off the data collection for periods of time if he wishes.

So those young drivers who want to make the most of Germany having some of the only roads in the world with no speed limits can still have a bit of fun when they want to too.

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DRIVING

COMPARE: Which countries in Europe have the strictest drink-drive limits?

Certain countries around Europe have stricter policies than others regarding drinking and driving and harsher punishments for those caught exceeding legal limits. Here's what you need to know.

COMPARE: Which countries in Europe have the strictest drink-drive limits?

European countries set their own driving laws and speed limits and it’s no different when it comes to legal drink-drive limits.

While the safest thing to do of course, is to drink no alcohol at all before driving it is useful to know what the limit is in the country you are driving in whether as a tourist or as someone who frequently crosses European borders by car for work.

While some countries, such as the Czech Republic, have zero tolerance for drinking and driving, in others people are allowed to have a certain amount of alcohol in their blood while driving.

However, not only can the rules be different between countries, they are usually stricter for commercial (or bus) drivers and novice drivers as well. Besides that, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is extremely difficult to estimate, so the old “one beer is ok” standards no longer safely apply.

In the end, the only way to be safe is to avoid consuming alcohol before driving. Any amount will slow reflexes while giving you dangerous higher confidence. According to the UK’s National Health Service, there is no ‘safe’ drinking level.

How is blood alcohol level measured?

European countries mostly measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC), which is the amount, in grams, of alcohol in one litre of blood.

After alcohol is consumed, it will be absorbed fast from the stomach and intestine to the bloodstream. There, it is broken down by a liver-produced enzyme.

Each person will absorb alcohol at their own speed, and the enzyme will also work differently in each one.

The BAC will depend on these metabolic particularities as well as body weight, gender, how fast and how much the person drank, their age and whether or not (and how much) they have eaten, and even stress levels at the time.

In other words there are many things that may influence the alcohol concentration.

The only way to effectively measure BAC is by taking a blood test – even a breathalyser test could show different results. Still, this is the measuring unit used by many EU countries when deciding on drinking limits and penalties for drivers.

Here are the latest rules and limits.

Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Greece, Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, and Croatia

In most EU countries, the limit is just under 0.5g/l for standard drivers (stricter rules could be in place for novice or professional drivers).

This could be exceeded by a man with average weight who consumed one pint of beer (containing 4.2% alcohol) and two glasses of red wine (13% alcohol) while having dinner.

If a person is caught driving with more than 0.8g/l of blood alcohol content in Austria, they can pay fines of up to € 5,900 and to have their license taken for one year in some cases.

In France, if BAC exceeds 0.8g/l, they could end up with a 2-year jail sentence and a € 4,500 fine. In Germany, penalties start at a € 500 fine and a one-month license suspension. In Greece, drunk drivers could face up to years of imprisonment.

In Denmark, first time offenders are likely to have their licences suspended and could be required to go on self-paid alcohol and traffic courses if BAC levels are low. Italy has penalties that vary depending on whether or not the driver has caused an accident and could lead to car apprehension, fines and prison sentences.

In Spain, going over a 1.2g/l limit is a criminal offence that could lead to imprisonment sentences and hefty fines. 

Norway, Sweden, and Poland

In Norway, Sweden, and Poland, the limit for standard drivers is 0.2g/l. It could take a woman with average weight one standard drink, or one can of beer, to reach that level.

Penalties in Norway can start at a one month salary fine and a criminal record. In Poland, fines are expected if you surpass the limit, and you could also have your license revoked and receive a prison sentence.

Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia

The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia have one of the strictest rules in the European Union. There is no allowed limit of alcohol in the blood for drivers.

In the Czech Republic, fines start at € 100 to € 800, and a driving ban of up to one year can be instituted for those driving with a 0.3 BAC level. However, the harshest penalties come if the BAC level surpasses 1 g/l, fines can be up to € 2,000, and drivers could be banned from driving for 10 years and imprisoned for up to three years.

This is intended to be a general guide and reference. Check the current and specific rules in the country you plan to travel to. The easiest and best way to be safe and protect yourself and others is to refrain from drinking alcohol and driving.

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