Car Insurance Black Box: Is It Right?

October 18, 2012 · Posted in Technology 

Do you know about the car insurance black box?

If you have a car that was made in the late 1990s or later, then it’s something that you should know about.

What is it? What does it do? Should it be something that you’re worried about?

These are questions that we’ll be looking at as we explore what many are calling the “car insurance black box”, so keep reading to learn more.

After you finish you’ll have a chance to weigh on these devices and whether or not their presence in your vehicle is justified.

What Is the Car Insurance Black Box?

The black box, formally known as the “Event Data Recorder (EDR)” is a device built into the car that captures information in the case of an accident.  The devices have been around since the late 1990s and, while they aren’t required to be there by law, many vehicles built since then have them nonetheless.

These devices often record information like vehicle speed, whether or not brakes were applied, whether or not seatbelts were buckled, and a host of other factors that play into a scenario like a car accident.

While this all serves a purpose, it’s important to remember that this information can be accessed by parties like law enforcement and insurance companies for a number of reasons.


What Does It All Mean?

Information recorded by an EDR has been used in a court of law before and, with them becoming increasingly common, it’s a safe bet Just about every modern vehicle holds a car insurance black boxthat it will happen more in the future. That implication begs several questions:

  • Does this have the chance to become too invasive?
  • Is the information that these recorders capture a violation of privacy as things stand right now?
  • Should manufacturers be required to install these in their vehicles?
  • Who owns the information produced by these devices?

These are questions that are only going to become more prominent as time passes, because the trends of increased surveillance and an erosion of privacy are becoming a reality.

Like many issues regarding privacy, the use of these car insurance black boxes can be seen as something of a slippery slope.

They may be seen as a good way to track data in the moments leading to a car accident, but will it stop there?

Some insurance companies already offer always-on devices that track the driving habits of motorists who hold their policies as an incentive to behave when behind the wheel and enjoy potentially lower rates, but it’s easy to see how this technology could go well beyond targeting the young driver and eventually reach a point where it becomes something that everyone has.

It may sound alarmist, but would it really be all that surprising if all automobiles included a device that tracks where we go, how fast we get there, and a number of other factors, all day, every day?

What would be the endgame? Would lower rates and theoretically safer roads be worth having a private corporation and law enforcement agencies know your every move from the moment you turn on your car’s ignition?

This is something worth thinking about as car insurance black boxes and other similar technology become more prevalent with passing time.

What are your theories?

Are these black boxes in our vehicles and other similar technology good or bad?

Do you think it’s invasive or is the perception of increased safety worth this level of surveillance?

Let us know what you think below!

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