Drivers with older cars will have to install tracking devices within the next decade or face being refused insurance, experts warned yesterday. Many insurers are urging motorists with older vehicles to fit them voluntarily because they could offer cheaper premiums for safer drivers. While this news has been welcomed by many road safety campaigners, motoring groups and civil rights organizations have hit out at the prospect of compulsory use of the technology. They argue that if improperly used, the data collected could have implications for drivers’ privacy.
A black box for your car
‘Black Box’ technology, also known as telematics, will have to be included as standard to all new cars under EU regulations from October next year, with the primary aim of helping emergency services find crashed vehicles. The telematics technology, which can record where and when motorists have been, their speed and driving behavior behaviour, will be standard in new cars within a decade, experts predicted at a recent British Insurance Brokers Association seminar.
Insurers warn of price increase for those who opt out
Tom Ellis, of the comparison website Gocompare, said: “In ten years time there will still be customers who prefer not to have a telematics device installed but it will be an opt out situation rather than an opt in. “There will be reasons for people opting out - perhaps because they are bad drivers, or unhappy with the privacy element or have an old car but they will have to accept a higher premium to insure their car.” Ellis warns that motorists who opt out may then have to pay more for their insurance or be refused it by some companies. Low cost car insurance without a telematics box fitted could become harder to find.
Industry experts predict telematics will go mainstream
Andy Watson, chief insurer of the Ageas Group, said: “The ability to have telematics will become mainstream because the technology will be in the car. It means the amount of data available to insurers increases dramatically.”
Pete Williams, of the RAC, said that motoring organisations felt that the introduction of the devices was inevitable. He added: “We are working with the industry to make sure control of such data is retained by the individual motorist but for the vast majority of motorists it will be a good thing with regard to things like safety and vehicle recovery.”
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