The black boxes will work in a similar way to those on aircrafts
The monitored parameters include speed, acceleration, braking, seat belt status and GPS coordinates, among others
This is to help authorities determine what caused an accident and who is to blame
For a few years now, insurance companies have offered to track a driver’s habits and attitude behind the wheel in exchange for a lower rate, but a similar system has now been made mandatory in Europe.
The European parliament passed a law yesterday that will force automakers to install a date recording device in every new vehicle sold in countries that are part of the European Union.
This device is similar to the black boxes which have recorded data and audio files in aircrafts for many decades, minus the audio recording part.
The system in question will record multiple vehicle parameters for the last 30 seconds prior to an accident. The goal is to help authorities determine what caused an accident or who is to blame by looking at vehicle speed, acceleration, braking, engine speed, collision force, seat belt usage and GPS coordinates.
By knowing all of this, experts will be able to precisely reconstruct the moments leading to a collision and know how each involved driver reacted.
The law is not clear on the subject of privacy and information sharing, so it is possible that the data collected by these systems could be used by other parties, like insurance companies, for example. This raises some concerns about the right to privacy for drivers involved in a crash.
Another complaint prompted by this law is that it could complicate cases where insurers are fighting to determine fault, because experts are bound to disagree in some circumstances, which could lead to lengthy court battles.
The implantation of this system is also said to encourage drivers to be more careful behind the wheel and thus reduce cases of distracted driving.
There are currently no plans to impose a similar system on cars sold in North America, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see it make its way across the Atlantic if it is deemed to be helpful.