61% Of Motorists Support “Black Box”Insurance Policies – AA

  • 70% say driving data to be kept out of State’s hands, while 1 in 4 claim it belongs to insurers
  • Motorists say Gardaí must get court order to access their data

Motorists driven round the bend with soaring insurance costs say they would be open to installing “black box” style devices in their cars, new figures show.

An AA Motor Insurance survey of over 8,400 motorists has revealed 61 percent would support the behaviour-tracking technology, with just 22 percent against the idea. Seventeen percent had no opinion either way.

“Black box” type devices can be used to price motor insurance more accurately and would allow insurers to see where you drive and when, monitor speed, acceleration, cornering and braking.

“Insurance is currently based on assumptions about your driving behaviour and takes into account various details – your age, driving experience, the type of car you drive – that will either increase or decrease your premium,” says AA Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan.

“With telematics based policies, the data is analysed to give a risk profile as well, with the safest drivers receiving the biggest discounts.

“It would certainly allow motorists to have an element of control over the price they pay for their insurance, and may even increase personal safety by incentivising more careful driving. The device has the potential to act as a breakdown locator, too,” says Conor.

The AA survey also probes participants’ views on “black box” data ownership.

According to the poll, almost 60 percent of motorists don’t think insurers should have ownership over the data sourced from the devices, while a further 70 percent believe it must be kept out of the State’s hands. Almost one in five motorists say the data ought to belong to the manufacturers of the vehicle carrying the device.

However, overall (86%) motorists believe they themselves are entitled to sole ownership of their driving data.

“As one of the largest insurance intermediaries in the country we’re always looking at new, innovative ways to help bring down the cost of premiums. Telematics based policies are certainly a product we’re actively examining to offer our customers if it means they won’t pay as much, and clearly there is an appetite for it given our survey results,” says Conor.

Mounting concerns over the protection of personal data are also apparent in the AA survey, with 65 percent of motorists saying their files must not be accessible to Gardaí without a court order.

The AA also asked motorists about the use of “black box” data in the courtroom, with 78 percent believing it should be presented to a judge if it could help establish a criminal conviction. A further 88 percent say a driver’s dossier ought to be presented in court if it could help prove someone’s innocence.

Elsewhere, almost 9 in 10 think driving data should be available to rescue services responding to an accident, while 45 percent believe they should be able to switch off the device as they see fit.

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