All new cars will be fitted with black box systems after new EU proposal
It is predicted to save 25,000 lives in the next 16 years; the new EU laws mean all new cars will be fitted with a black box that will record all the data of a cars systems and can not be turned off. The information will likely be shared across Europe but used only to ‘conduct accident data analysis’ and asses the safety systems of a vehicle.
While the black box may add a value of £72 to every vehicle, it will come with a button that can be pressed if you have seen an accident occur but are in unfamiliar surroundings, while also alerting emergency services to your location, direction of travel and severity of impact if you should get into an accident. The technology could save around 747 lives a year and reduce emergency service response times by between 50-60% in both cities and rural areas. It can also adjust the speed in your car to changing speed limits if used in conjunction with cruise control and alert a driver if they are speeding.
The proposal was announced on Tuesday by the European parliament with the European commissioner stating it was the “perfect example” of the EU promoting technology to “save people’s lives’” and will become compulsory at the end of the year.
While there is concern that insurance and commercial companies may get their hands on the information it has been said the data recorded will lie dormant until an accident occurs in which information will be logged before, during and after a collision. However, it has not been made totally clear what the risks of this type of technology may have on the privacy of its drivers. The European parliament has claimed information will not be shared without permission, but there may be a risk of commercial companies getting their hands on it.
In spite of this the black box is set to improve road safety, with its autonomous responses to driving conditions. The box will include a lane keeping system and emergency breaking assistance that can be deactivated if needed but only through a series of complex actions by the driver when parked with the hand break on.
All new cars will be fitted with this technology from 2018 onwards, with many already mandatorily installed in some BMW, Citroen and Volvo models. However due to the UK’s Brexit plans, it may prevent other European countries from accessing data on British drivers. While the UK have agreed to still abide to EU laws on vehicles and driving regulations, they will also have to pass UK regulations in addition to this.
It is expected by 2033, all cars in Europe will be fitted with this technology, with plans to assess whether the box should also be instilled to other vehicles such as buses and lorries in 2021.