The Mafia Rides Shotgun

  • November 23, 2023

What is the point of owning a vehicle capable of “ludicrous” speed if using it results in being dunned over it?

Tesla owners might want to ask themselves this question before they buy insurance – from Tesla – to go with the car. Part of the deal is automatic rate hikes based on the driver’s safety score. You probably do not need to guess how that is scored.

What you may not know is the way it is scored.

Think Flo – the Progressive termagant – along for every ride. But without the dongle – the wireless transmitter the owners of other-brands of cars choose to plug into the vehicle’s OnBoard Diagnostic (OBD) port under the dashboard. Via this device, Flo can monitor your driving, using every incidence of “speeding” or “abrupt” braking (and so on) to adjust what you are forced to pay Flo. It’s a neat deal – for Flo – because it is almost impossible to drive “safely” (that is, obediently) and the kicker is she convinced you that you’d save money by having her along for every ride.

But – with Tesla insurance – it’s the device (i.e., the car, itself) that is narcing you out. To Elon, this time. No need to plug anything in to the device.

It comes pre-wired.

Now, the thing to pick up on here is just that. People who buy Tesla devices do not have to buy Tesla insurance. But if the buy a Tesla, they have already bought the driver-monitoring technology embedded in their device. It is part of the package.

Think about what that means.

It means every Tesla is set up to be monitored by Tesla – which means they are ready to be monitored by Tesla whenever the government gets around to saying the insurance mafia now has the power to do so. Just the same as the mafia already has the power to take as much of your money as it decides to – having established the fact of its power to take any of your money. The only restraint on it is its own effrontery – and (possibly) the willingness of the victim to do nothing to oppose it – beyond grumbling about it, in the manner of a slave cursing his master under his breath.

Already, the insurance mafia immediately alerts the government if a policyholder cancels or fails to renew his “coverage” – the anodyne euphemism for the unwanted services the mafia forces people to pay forby using the government as its very own Luca Brasi. It was once the case that the government had to check – and for that reason, often didn’t know – that you’d failed to hand over the money to the mafia the government requires you to hand over to the mafia. But the mafia missed the money they weren’t getting and so it now alerts the government immediately you don’t pay up. So as to induce the payer to never miss a payment.

The mafia will say, of course, that it is just looking out for (here it comes) safety – and some will bite down on that hook, line and sinker on that, too. As if were – somehow – “unsafe” to not hand over money to a money-grubbing (for-profit) cartel. As if that had anything to do with how you drive.

Well, if it is in the interests of safety to notify the government you’ve failed to pay the mafia, then it is also in the interests of the mafia to make you pay for every instance of unsafe driving.

As defined by the mafia.

We already know how the mafia defines it. A driver who has never filed a claim – nor had one filed against him – and who therefore has never cost the mafia any money can (and will be) made to pay more money, to the mafia, if the mafia becomes aware of that driver “speeding” or some other such thing that it can claim amounts to unsafe driving.

The mafia has every incentive to construe and characterize all kinds of reasonable driving as unsafe – in order to justify making the victim pay. The list includes driving any faster than whatever the arbitrary speed limit is, however absurd it is, making a safe (but illegal) right turn on red or U-turn, failing to “buckle up” and so on, even if the “unsafe” driver has a record of decades of accident-free driving to establish that his driving is in fact safe.

But it won’t end there. Even if a driver manages to obey every traffic law to the letter, if he accelerates too aggressively or brakes or steers too abruptly, he will be instantly adjusted.

Bear in mind that the victim hasn’t got recourse to refusal – just as a person confronted by a street thug can’t say no (and expect to “get away” with not being made to pay).

In both cases, you pay what they say.

So, how long will it be before the mafia – generally, not just Tesla – decides it’s safest of all to make sure everyone is driving safely, every time they drive?

One thing’s for sure: It will make driving a Tesla capable of even Prius-speed as pointless as a rock star’s spandex pants stuffed with a sock.

. . .

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