Car ‘black box’ placebo effect exposed


PARENTS OF young drivers have been found lying about installing a ‘black box’ telematics device in their child’s vehicle.

According to telematics insurer Insure The Box, parents are lying about installing a telematics device in their child’s car, hoping they’ll be safer drivers if they think they’re being watched.

Telematics devices have been found to improve driver safety, with some studies finding a 58% drop in speeding and fines when black boxes are installed.

However, the insurer said although the placebo effect of a device may improve driving, it doesn’t replace feedback (such as driver scores) or the embedded safety features (like contacting emergency services after an accident) that an actual device comes with.

Telematics boxes register and record G-forces on a regular basis, and in the event of an accident, can determine whether to contact the driver or emergency services. According to Insure the Box, emergency services were contacted 16 times every month last year by telematics providers. Young drivers also won’t be offered cheaper insurance for good driving if the ‘black box’ is a fantasy cooked up by mum and dad.

Simon Rewell, road safety manager at Insure The Box, said: “Telematics boxes are proven to effectively increase driver safety. However, it’s important parents realise that the extended benefits of this technology, such as reduced speeding and lower accident rates, are realised with the installation of an actual black box.

“It’s concerning to see some parents, no matter how good their intentions, think they can give their children the safety benefits that come with installing a black box just with a white lie.”