Car insurers switch on to black box arts

Big Brother is keeping more electronic tabs on drivers than ever before – and the secret surveillance go on grow.

Young drivers already have the option of a black box recording their driving habits as Co-Operative Insurance slips electronic gizmos in to their vehicles to reduce premiums.

Then comes news that police are likely to grab mobile phones from drivers at accidents to see if they were making or receiving texts or calls when the big bang occurred.

Now, the US government is about to give the green light to police, insurers and car makers to snoop on driving behaviour by installing recorders in every new vehicle.

Electronic black box recorders are nothing new on the roads. Lorries and vans had tachographs years ago that recorded speed and driving behaviour.  The Insurance Blogger even had a GPS a decade ago that output detailed data about every journey on a map – including the speed at any given time.

All this electronic gimmickry is fine if the end result is cheaper insurance – or even paying the right price for car insurance according to the way you drive. But if car insurers exploit the data to avoid pay outs on technical points, that could cause a problem for lots of drivers.

What if these magic boxes also fined drivers for speeding every time they exceeded the limit as well. It’s not too much of a reach to program speed limit data in to electronic mapping so police computers could issue a fine and update the points on your driving licence every time you tipped the limit.

Perhaps compulsory GPS to track stolen cars and an electronic switch that won’t let a driver start a car that shows as uninsured on the Motor Insurance Database until cover is paid could be built in to the system as well.

Car insurance is about to change because change it must. Motorists cannot go on forking out ever increasing sums for less cover and benefits just to fund the bad driving and criminality of uninsured drivers and crash-for-cash crooks. Electronic surveillance in the cab to reward honest and law-abiding drivers while punishing those who take advantage has got to be good.

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