'Black Boxes' for cars?

A new study recently completed by the European Commission has shown that the installation of an Event Data Recorder (EDR or 'Black Box' as it's known in aviation terms) in our cars could lead to improved safety and cheaper repair bills.
The research project which cost 2.4 million Euro over a three year period shows a 10% reduction in fatal accidents and a 25% reduction in repair bills for those drivers that had a 'Black Box' installed in their cars.
The study director, Ralf Schmidt-Cotta said, “The technology is like an independent, neutral witness. For police and insurance companies, it will be invaluable. It will also revolutionise road safety because of the psychological impact of having the boxes installed".

But would Irish drivers be happy to have their every move on the road recorded even if it did mean a cheaper insurance policy?
The VERONICA (Vehicle Event Recording based ON Intelligent Crash Assessment) project only stores data recorded 30 seconds prior to a crash and 15 seconds afterwards and was aimed principally at improving driver attitude. The idea being that once a driver knows their driving is being monitored they will automatically drive more carefully.
Surely this is a 'no-brainer'? The present cost of installing and running a black box is estimated at 600 Euro but technology in this area is improving all the time and reducing in price. Motorcheck met a supplier at the Top Gear event in the RDS last week that could offer a similar system for 150 Euro! If the psychological impact of installing these boxes could reduce road deaths by 10% isn't it worth considering their introduction on a mandatory basis?

Eoin Lyons - December 08, 2009 at 5:42 pm
There is no substitute for impartial accurate information in the event of an accident. We have seen many examples of behavior being improved by increased awareness of monitoring. I fully support this initiative for both reasons. I would be certainly investigating the possibility of offering discounts to our customers who have this device installed. I also suggest that vehicle manufacturers and leasing companies should seriously consider this. I have no doubt it would make their vehicles more attractive to purchase. Well done Motorcheck and keep up the good work!
Shane Teskey - December 08, 2009 at 7:09 pm
Hi Eoin, Thanks for dropping by. It's great to see strong support from insurance companies supporting new initiatives like this. You make an interesting point about the leasing companies protecting their residual values. The same could be said for private buyers. If the 'black box' could demonstrate that it had been in the car and active from new without any report of an accident that would be useful in supporting an owners claim of an 'accident free history'. It remains to be seen how secure the information on the box would be. The last thing we need are more 'mileage recalibration experts' resetting the history on the box!