Car insurance: will the future mandatory black box increase premiums?

Since July 6, new cars have been equipped with black boxes. Like those of airplanes, they will provide information on the mode of driving adopted at the time of a possible accident. Some fear that in the long term this device could drive up insurance premiums. Decryption.


Car insurance: will the future mandatory black box increase premiums? /iStock.com – Tramino

A mandatory device on new cars

Since July 6, new vehicles marketed on the European market must be equipped with new safety devices. Emergency braking assistance, intelligent cruise control, lane keeping assistance are among these mandatory equipment, as is the black box. The latter, similar in several respects to that found in airplanes, makes it possible to record a certain number of data collected in the event of an accident. If this equipment seems legitimate to understand the causes of a road accident, concerns are emerging around access to data and their use.

Update on recorded data

The black box installed on cars has access to organs considered to be sensitive. It records and analyzes data relating to speed, crash force, engine speed, acceleration or braking, seat belt use, car inclination and turn signal use. Unlike devices found in airplanes, the black box for new cars does not record conversations inside the cabin. In addition, recorded data is overwritten over time. In the event of an accident, the device only retains the 30 seconds recorded before the collision and the following 10 seconds.

WHAT about their use?

The promoters of the black box ensure that the data will only be used for statistical purposes in the event of an accident. Used since 2006 on new vehicles across the Atlantic, it would have reduced road accidents by 20%. The insurance professionals want to be reassuring, specifying that the information will in no way be transmitted to the insurance companies. Olivier Moustacakis, co-founder of Assurland.com indicates that, according to him, even if it were the case, they would not constitute an obstacle to compensation in the event of an accident. The expert fears a rise in the price of new cars equipped with black boxes. However, a more expensive car costs more to insure. On the other hand, it indicates that in the event of a significant drop in the number of road accidents, insurance premiums should also fall in the medium term.

A blurry frame

Critics of the black box point to the lack of legal guarantees surrounding the use of data. Asked about RMC, Nathalie Troussard, general secretary of the League of motorists, feared in particular that ultimately the data could be used by the State or private organizations against the driver. For example, at present, no framework protects motorists against penalties or increased insurance premiums in the event of an incident recorded by a black box.

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