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So, how does it work? The concept is simple. A black box, around the size of a Smartphone, is fitted to a person’s car and enables drivers (and parents) to make regular checks to monitor driving performance. The black box records speed, distance travelled and the time of day and night the driver is on the road as well as their driving style, for example, how often they might brake sharply. It can also record the types of road travelled on and the times of day the person typically travels.
The idea is that from a small black box, insurers can effectively build up a comprehensive profile of a driver and charge them an insurance premium in keeping with this. Drivers can access a secure website to find out how they are performing in each category and receive tips to improve driver score and reduce premiums.
To me, the concept is simple but extremely effective, and I am all for it becoming compulsory as soon as possible. With car insurance premiums continuously on the rise for young people, the only way that many parents can actually afford to even insure their children is to obtain black box insurance.
Speaking to a colleague of mine whose son is 18 and recently passed his test, she intimated that his insurance premium had been reduced by a whopping £1500 from £3000 to £1500 with the introduction of the black box, which not only saved her and her husband a packet, but also provided her with the added peace of mind her son was not tearing about country roads late at night or driving recklessly at rush hour.
It all sounds perfect, that is, until you get behind the wheel of a car with a black box. On paper, the idea is fault free in my opinion, and with my sons just 6 and 3 years of age, I certainly have a long way to go before I’ll need one. But my colleague is in a different position to me.
When describing how her son took her to her usual exercise class, she said she was running late and had to silently curse the fact he was driving so slow, even though he was just keeping within the 30mph speed limit as he should be. In fact, she was so riled after the trip, she vowed that the next journey she took in her own car, she would follow all the rules he had to, to try to understand how it felt to be him.
And sure enough, the next journey she took in her own car, she followed all of the speed limits, whilst remaining fully aware that any sharp barking or detours could cost her. The result was, she lasted only half the journey, because she became so frustrated by how slow she had to drive.
While black box insurance is a great idea for new drivers and young people, we could all learn a lesson or two from the concept. How often do we think about the fact we’re speeding, braking hard, or taking a corner recklessly? I know can admit to doing all of those things, just in one trip. How often have we cursed the car in front for driving too slowly, when the driver is merely sticking to the speed limit? In my humble opinion, black box insurance is a fantastic concept, so next time you step into your car, why not give it a go?