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EU Mandates All New Cars be Equipped with 'Black Box'

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EU Mandates All New Cars be Equipped with 'Black Box'

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May 20, 2014
By Madhubanti Rudra
TMCnet Contributor

None of us are comfortable with the idea of being spied on. However, as a result of the implementation of a new European Union (EU) regulation as of this coming October, there is hardly any way to escape surveillance if you are behind the wheel of an automobile. 


A new EU regulation has made the installation of a data recorder, similar to the “Black Box (News - Alert)” used on airplanes, mandatory for all new cars. Thus, if you are purchasing a new vehicle you are going to have to allow for that data recording spying on your driving habits.

Currently, high end automobile manufacturers for a variety of reason have been incorporating sophisticated telematics capabilities voluntarily in their products facilitating the exchange of driving information between cars, their dealers and manufacturers and increasingly with insurance companies.  Come October this will no longer be a luxury but a requirement as all the new cars will be mandated to be telematics-ready.

Here are the options that car owners will be left with:

  1. Equip their cars with a data recorder
  2. Fail to install a data recorder and cough up an astronomically high auto insurance premium

It is of course the insurers who will reap maximum benefit from the EU mandate. With a data recorder in the car, the amount of data available to insurers will increase dramatically. The “telematics” technology is going to help them:

  • Keep track how fast their customers drive
  • How hard they brake
  • How many journeys a year they undertake

The intent is obviously to increase public safety. Good drivers too will benefit from the arrangement based on their safe driving habits, and bad ones will have financial incentives to do better.

The mandatory installation of telematics will also make the task easier for the emergency services for locating and recovering crash cars.

Ever since the idea for data recorders being mandatory was floated, even before it became a regulation of new cars, those concerned about privacy have not been very happy. They have rejected it as totally unacceptable on the ground that with a spy in the car, drivers will lose total control over who has access to their data and how they will use it.

The message from the regulators is a not subtle warning for everyone to be more careful out there.




Edited by Peter Bernstein

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