Putting black box technology in cars could cut Irish road deaths

5 Dec 2012

Black box technology used in airplanes and trucks that measures speed, braking, acceleration and cornering could help dramatically cut the number of deaths on Ireland’s roads if installed in ordinary cars, it has been said.

Young drivers in the UK would already be familiar with Crash Services, the company behind the Ingenium Dynamics telematics technology, but it is only beginning to be introduced in Ireland.

More than 150 men, women and children have already been killed on Irish roads since January – 3,252 in the last decade – latest official Garda statistics show, and, according to Crash Services, this figure could be significantly reduced if it was more widely adopted – particularly among younger road users.

Studies have shown that those aged 25 and under are more prone to accidents, particularly while driving late at night and early in the morning. Up to a third of these accidents take place on rural roads.

“Telematics technology can potentially help motorists to significantly improve their driving and reduce the risk of crashing by identifying risky types of driving – such as sharp acceleration or braking, speeding and sharp cornering – and then coach drivers on how to drive more safely,” Tony McKeown, sales and marketing director at Crash Services said.

Saving lives

A recent analysis of 10,000 young driver claims by Co-operative Insurance in the UK suggests that those using the new ‘black box’ technology were 20pc less likely to have a car crash than those with standard insurance.

Separately, new data published by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) only last month showed that drivers aged 17-24 were three times more likely than other road users to be responsible for ‘catastrophic’ claims – where people suffer serious and life-changing injuries.

The ABI research also showed that those aged 17-24 were 15 times more likely to be involved in a catastrophic claim than novices aged 37-44.

“While there has been welcome progress towards cutting the number of deaths on Irish roads, there is much more work to be done,” McKeown continued.

He said there needs to be concerted action among the automotive and insurance industries, as well as the Irish Government, to have this technology standardised in vehicles on Irish roads.

“All options need to be looked at and I believe that now is time to make that important next step.

“The technology available is advanced, tried and tested and I’m hopeful that Government and the industry can work together to put it to good use and help prevent thousands of road users from becoming part of yet another depressing set of statistics.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years