Promoting use of black box recorders

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    Rob Torok

    Working with Dorset Roadsafe as part of their Road Injury Prevention Panel we wanted to understand what has been tried before and whether there are any avenues worth exploring regarding promoting more drivers to have black box recorders in their vehicles.

    It is our belief that more widespread use of black boxes would significantly enhance safety on our roads via these two separate strings:

    • The first is a belief that drivers will change their driving habits as a direct result of knowing that their speeds and style are being constantly recorded and can be reviewed at any point.

    • The second is that more black box analysis over time, particularly if this was possible after incidents, will provide evidence of what is actually happening on our roads – to a degree we are currently blind to.

    We would be interested in any information of past, current or future projects around this area – particularly for drivers beyond the new/younger driver category.

    When considering the practicalities of encouraging drivers to install and use black boxes we felt that working with the insurance industry may offer some rapid opportunities. We believe that individuals with black box recorders will be safer and claim less and therefore be eligible for reduced premiums.  Has there been any previous work looking specifically at this and are there any avenues to explore it with the insurance industry?  Some companies would surely be attracted by the dual benefits of helping make our roads safer and saving lives, alongside providing insurance to a lower risk population and continuing to run a successful and profitable business.

    There may be alternative routes to introduce and encourage this change via national legislation, but we are not aware of any active projects and presume the delays and chance of success via this route make alternative approaches more attractive.

    Any information, or suggested contacts, you can share with us around this would be greatly appreciated.


    Andrew Fraser
    Colin Butler

    The use of black boxes for new/inexperienced drivers has been very successful in reducing serious road collisions. The jury is out whether it’s the actual self selection of opting to have a black box installed, or whether it’s the actual monitoring via the use of the black box itself, that is reducing the number of collisions.

    There has been much less uptake of black boxes in the experienced driver space, this is probably due to drivers not wanting to be monitored. RoadHow has developed an alternative solution to this whereby the driver uses an app to review and improve their driving knowledge – Please feel free to email me on and I can explain further.

    Andy Garden

    Rob, you mention the idea that a driver’s behaviour is monitored and can be reviewed. The question really is to ask who and when would the data be monitored and what outcome would there be? AFAIK, it isn’t evidentially used for things like excess speed enforcement. The data would need to be remotely downloaded to be monitored. In a commercial environment I can understand it, but not sure motorists would have it without any other incentive and I don’t see any incentive. Perhaps the drivers we are thinking of are more likely to install their own dashcams which they control than anything fitted and accessible by a 3rd party.
    I get involved in quite a bit of dashcam reviewing following incidents and very few companies access or review it for other reasons, so I’m cautious as to its direct behaviour improvement benefits. For example, driver’s behaviour maybe to be compoiant with a speed limit but can still drive badly and yet go undetected.
    The short query is – who would the data be reporting to and why?

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