Big changes are coming which will affect you each and every time you set foot in your vehicle. If you thought ‘Big Brother’ already had a close eye on you this news might come as a bit of a shock. All we know is that this development is surely going to spark lots of heated debates.
The EU has passed legislation to ensure that all new cars sold from 2018 are installed with tracking devices in a bid to reduce road deaths. This device will automatically alert emergency services when a vehicle has been involved in an accident. It is expected that by 2033 almost every car will have a device fitted throughout Europe.
The tracking technology will be able to help even if the occupant(s) is unable to speak. The device will be able to provide detailed information relating to the incident including the time, vehicle location, direction of travel and the extent of damage caused. This wealth of information will aid the emergency services who attend the incident to be best prepared to help those involved, whilst reducing response times by up to 60%.
The installation of tracking devices heralds a new age of mainstream in-car technology that the EU believes will play a pivotal role in saving up to 2,500 lives annually. In spite of the benefits of introducing this legislation it has also caused controversy with significant concerns for privacy.
Black boxes aren’t new. However, the legislation scheduled for 2018 will be seen as a significant extension of the black box as we know it. Currently, manufacturers including BMW, Citroen and Volvo allow occupants to contact emergency services anywhere in Europe with the touch of a button. Numerous insurance companies have also embraced this technology, requiring policy holders to have a black box fitted which relays information back to monitor driving habits. This has gained notoriety with some companies going to the extreme length of sending a text message to the parents of a young driver when their child is found to be driving at excessive speed.
Having a black box installed helps to reduce annual insurance premiums but comes at a great cost in giving up privacy as you are monitored each and every time you drive your car. It has already been accepted by the EU that data will be made available to a host of commercial companies.
Forcing the installation of a tracking device has angered many and will limit control that individuals have in respect of who is able to access their data and also the motive behind viewing this data in the first place. Although the EU has reported that the tracking devices will remain dormant until activated in the case of an emergency and consent will be required before sharing any data.
The largest case for arguments against this legislation is focused on costs. It is expected that it will cost up to £450 million to successfully install tracking technology which will help save up to 747 deaths annually by 2033. Even with hopeful estimates achieving break-even in the scheme wouldn’t be achievable.