Black box technology significantly reduces young driver crashes

12.00 | 4 May 2012 | | 7 comments

Black box technology – the system which monitors the driving of young motorists – has cut crashes by 20%, according to Co-op Insurance (Telegraph).

A number of insurance companies have brought in ‘black box’ telematics systems, which keep track of speed and driving behaviour, with the promise of reduced premiums for good driving.

Co-op Insurance analysed the driving habits of 10,000 young drivers whose vehicles have been fitted with the new technology, and found that they were 20% less likely to have a crash than those without the system. Customers with the system also had less serious accidents, with a typical claim being 30% lower than other customers.

The Telegraph report highlights AA figures which show how on average insurance premiums for men aged 40 to 49 have gone up by 6% since April 2010, but the increase for those aged 17 to 22 is 40%. Those aged 23 to 29 have seen increases of 35%.

But young people with black boxes can see their premiums fall dramatically. According to renewal figures from ‘insurethebox’, more than two thirds of young drivers saw their annual premiums fall by as much as 22% after driving with a black box installed for more than a year.

The box measures motorists’ mileage, the time they drive, and how they drive. They are then penalised for acts such as sudden braking or cornering.

According to the Telegraph, the concept is simple: by encouraging careful driving, some motorists will see their premiums fall, while those who do not drive as safely will see the cost increase.

Click here to read the full Telegraph report.


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    Like it or not Pandora’s Black Box has been opened and can not be closed. Black box insurance will eventually become compulsory and global. In the USA a bill has already been passed and all new cars will have to have black boxes fitted after 2015. This will create one enormous debate, join in the debate at

    iain macsween UK
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    This research is a report into the initial operating period of one scheme by one company. It doesn’t claim to be an analysis of all young drivers. The comparison is between young drivers who have a black box fitted and those who do not. That is by definition a self selecting group not a representation of all young drivers. Both groups have chosen to pay for insurance so do not include young drivers who do not insure themselves or cannot obtain insurance – who are higher risk. That doesn’t alter the facts as presented – that young drivers who used black box technology in association with their insurance had fewer collisions and claims than those who did not choose black box, but were insured. Logically we and the insurers should encourage the wider use of black boxes for young drivers to further reduce their involvement in collisions. Shall we try it and see?

    Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
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    Trouble with this “reserach” is that it is not research at all. Safer drivers are more likely to join the scheme as they won’t fear it and they will have the view their premiums will reduce. So the 10,000 drivers in the scheme will not be a random sample of the young driver population. The most responsible 80% of drivers have a crash rate that is 25% of the overall average. And the least responsible group of drivers have a crash rate 4 times the average. As a result there are 5% more responsible drivers in the first group and 5% less responsible drivers in the second group, and the relative crash rate “decrease” will be 20%.

    John Lambert, Australia
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    These systems are installed in a person’s car with their agreement as part of their insurance contract. It is voluntary. It does not just use one isolated incident to penalise a driver. Because the system provides a full picture of how they drive all the time that they drive – any isolated incident would be seen as such. The driver is also able to access the data that is provided so that they can also see and analyse how they have been driving and the evidence on which any premium adjustment (increase or reduction) has been based.

    I think it is a very positive and constructive way forward and directly tailors the premium to the individual driver’s level of risk, based on their personal driving behaviour.

    Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
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    Someone driving well won’t have to brake very sharply frequently so the rare occasions that sudden avoidance scenarios cause sudden braking will be far outweighed by the rest of the braking data supplied.

    I feel this type of technology has a lot of promise – many young drives deserve be judged according to their own risk rather than age group statistics.

    Turning the often-quoted statistic that shows 1 in 5 drivers are involved in an injury collision on its head shows us that the data tells us that 80% of young drivers are coping with their inexperience well.

    Dr James Whalen, Wolverhampton
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    What if insurethebox drivers (who are limited to 6,000 miles pa) are those that do 20% less mileage than others?

    We are constantly bombarded with conclusions that, upon investigation, are not supported by the evidence presented.

    This could be an interesting experiment if the genuine effect of the boxes can be accurately assessed.

    Dave Finney – Slough
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    “They are then penalised for acts such as sudden braking or cornering.”

    So if someone pulls out in front of you dangerously and you take avoiding action or apply the breaks suddenly to avoid a collision, then you will be penalised? – That hardly seems fair!

    By all means use this system to analyse driver behaviour after a collision, but perpetually measuring a driver seems wrong.

    Adam, Hants
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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