There is no substitute for good driver training
Telematics is all the rage at the moment. Used as part of a package of measures to help bring down the accident rate for young drivers. It is also know as the Black Box and believe it or not it really is black. Let’s have a look at what this technology does and if it really will help make the roads safer for new drivers.
The word telematics is a blending of telecommunications and infomatics. The new word is mostly used to describe the technology used to monitor how a car is driven mainly for insurance purposes. This kind of technology has been used to track parcels being delivered around the globe and even to monitor the performance of racing cars.
The use of this technology by insurance companies to monitor the way a car is driven is now becoming more widespread. Information gathered by the black box is analysed and the level of risk presented by the driving style can then be used to calculate insurance premiums. The lower the calculated risk, the lower the insurance premium, or the greater the cashback offered. It gives young drivers a financial incentive to drive more carefully and avoid harsh acceleration and braking. This style of driving will also save money on fuel as well.
The black box is wired in behind the dashboard where many of the electrics are. It’s out of the way and in a pretty safe place. Power is drawn when the engine is running so it won’t flatten the battery when the engine is switched off. A roaming sim card finds the strongest mobile network to send the information back to base where it is collected and analysed.
For this to be of any long term use to the driver there would need to be some sort of assessment and re training in the problem areas shown by the data. This would be an ideal opportunity to improve driving skills and make for a safer motorist. If something is learned we could consider it an excellent use of technology.
A GPS sensor knows where the car is being driven and the speed limits for those roads. From this it can be determined whether the car was being driven within the posted speed limits. Keeping within the speed limits would obviously give you a better score. If drivers took note of speed limit signs and made the decision to obey them there would be no need to monitor drivers at all.
It cannot, however, measure inappropriate speed which is a major cause of accidents. Driving within the speed limit on a busy road with pedestrians around might not be safe but would not be flagged up by the black box. After all, the black box cannot see what the driver can see.
I feel this technology is intrusive and detracts from the freedom of driving. With freedom comes responsibility and it is up to drivers to act responsibly when behind the wheel. Safety measures are usually a response to a need and there is obviously a case for monitoring young drivers. I believe that better traffic education from an earlier age would do away with the need to monitor individuals so closely.