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Can driver behaviour systems help to improve road safety?

As personal injury specialists with specific expertise in road traffic and motorcycle accidents, we’re keen supporters of Brake’s Road Safety Week, which aims to raise awareness of safety on UK roads. This year’s campaign theme is #SpeedDownSaveLives and over the past week we’ve been looking at some of the latest driving innovations designed to help improve safety on the road.

Flight recorders, commonly known as black boxes, have long been used in the aviation industry to facilitate the investigation of accidents and incidents – they have been a legal requirement in commercial aircraft since 1967. Black boxes work by using a combination of a flight data recorder (FDR) and cockpit voice recorder (CVR) to help give an accurate account of the aircraft’s flight history.

Similar technology, such as event data recorders (EDR), GPS and telematics can also be found in motor vehicles and are being widely used to provide important vehicle, driver and location data as well as give immediate feedback to drivers on their driving behaviour. The first in-car EDR was installed in 1996, but almost all new cars now come with one already included.

A driver behaviour system can be helpful for fleet managers, who are keen to monitor and improve their fleet safety programmes. These so-called black boxes record the actions of the driver including their speed and acceleration, braking patterns and turning and can help managers to discuss safe practices and set goals with their drivers for continual improvement and maintenance of safety standards.

Black boxes can also be helpful in the investigation of car accidents and have been proven to help the police and insurance companies in the reconstruction of incidents, particularly when there are no other witnesses. With this in mind, this technology can also assist personal injury claims if there is a question over liability or the specifics of the collision. In fact, a recent report by thisismoney.co.uk, explained how a vehicle’s black box helped prove one driver’s whiplash claim was fraudulent.

Although there are many clear benefits of driver behaviour systems in improving road safety, many people have expressed privacy concerns over the installation of black boxes. What do you think about black box technology? Would you be happy to have your driving performance monitored if it helped contribute to safer roads? Join the debate at www.twitter.com/minsterlawuk.

Click here to read about how anti-driver impairment and distraction systems can help to improve road safety.