From July 2022 onwards, all cars, trucks and buses manufactured in Europe will now have to be equipped with a black box, just like in aeroplanes.
The principle was voted on in the European Parliament in 2019, with the aim of improving road safety. The new rules for the road only apply to vehicles that are new to the market – people who drive around with a somewhat older car do not have to change cars or get one installed.
The new black box for cars comes with all sorts of safety applications: it records all driving data from speed and acceleration, to belt use and braking.
It also includes advanced systems that assist drivers to stick to the speed limit. Moreover, there is an option to install an alcohol lock.
Just like in aeroplanes, the device would come with an in-vehicle data recorder for incidents, with the difference being that it will not record any conversations inside the vehicle.
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It will be easier for experts to access the driver’s data, as it helps to provide liability in case of serious accidents, by simply providing information about the first 30 seconds before and 10 seconds after the impact.
"It will be useful for serious accidents, which are a minority in relation to the total number of cases. The judicial authorities will not ask for the data after every accident. There are only 7,000 to 8,000 serious accidents out of 45,000 bodily injury accidents each year," Benoît Godart, road safety spokesman at the Vias Institute, told La Libre.
Some motorists’ associations are not pleased with this decision and see it as “an additional cost for new cars”.
"The price of the device is about a hundred euros. This will be reflected in the price of the car and will also be included in the insurance," Pierre Chasseray, general delegate of the French association "40 million motorists", told France Info on Monday.
The black box mandate will be extended to private cars and other second-hand commercial vehicles from 2024 onwards.