You may have read all the opposite about the popular data loggers that will soon become mandatory on new cars in Europe. These “black boxes”, from the famous name for flight recorders used for nearly a century in aviation, will already be in a few weeks on the Old Continent. But their scope is sometimes the subject of speculation of all kinds, leading the general public to be wary of such regimes as the plague. Many fear they are being used to track a driver and their actions, or that insurance companies are using the data to adjust premiums and even black boxes connected to car microphones… to listen to you. On probation tomorrow’s driver? It will certainly be, but not by everyone, and across the board.
Black box for whom?
What is a black box? It is simply a small on-board device that can access data from sensitive components such as braking, steering, or accelerator pedals, or driving controls such as turn signals. The black box obviously records a large amount of information (source: Leocare):
- Acceleration or braking phases
- Whether or not to wear a seat belt
- Use of strobes and other signaling equipment
- impact force
- Engine speed
- Vehicle inclination
The retained data is only that which was recorded 30 seconds before and 10 seconds after the accident. They can be used for legal proceedings in the event of an accident, as well as used for statistical purposes, but anonymously in this specific case.
The black boxes will be introduced in two phases. Firstly, Any new model of vehicle, truck, bus and special utility vehicle, approved and launched as of July 6, 2022, must be equipped. Obviously, having this analyzer will generate a very small additional cost, but it can be offset by a slight reduction in premiums…if of course the insurance companies play the game. We will return to this below. Second, any new registration as of July 6, 2024 must have a black box. Obviously, if you order a Renault Mégane E-Tech, it will not have a black box before 2024. On the contrary, the Peugeot 408 will not get away with it since it must be approved after July 6, 2022!
Frequently Asked Questions About Automotive Black Box
1. Will black boxes be installed on used cars?
no. This information was present and was the subject of false rumours. Black boxes will not be installed on used cars. Only new forms and then new registrations will be affected.
2. Do insurance companies have access to the data?
no. Insurance companies will not be able to use the data recorded by the black boxes. Only research institutes and judicial police officers can claim it, especially in the case of serious accidents.
3. Black boxes, the first step in commanding surveillance?
no. In fact, there is already a data logging system on board vehicles. The OFCM (Onboard Fuel Consumption Monitoring), which has been present since 2020 on all new cars launched and registered, allows Europe to examine the actual consumption of vehicles on the Old Continent in order to compare it with the results of certification tests. The goal: to avoid a new dieseljet!
4. Do black boxes increase motorists’ budgets?
Yes and no. Yes, since this small control device, like any driving aid that is mandatory by Europe (lane maintenance, independent emergency braking, etc.), this little device will generate a small extra cost on more and more cherished cars. On the other hand, a black box will make it possible to reduce insurance premiums because it will improve accident statistics. This is in any case what would have been observed in the United States where black boxes have been around for several years. But it is still essential that insurance companies not take advantage of it to increase their margins.