Black box in cars from July 7: What does this mean?

2 min
Tags: Black box car EDR Event Data Recorder records data recording data protection transparent driver

On July 7, a new regulation comes into force that will have a significant impact on road traffic and car safety: the introduction of the so-called black box. But what exactly does this mean for drivers, manufacturers and road safety in general? We take a look at the various aspects of this innovation and what it could mean for the future of driving. 

What is a car black box?

In order to be able to assess the benefits and risks of introducing a black box in the car, it is first necessary to clarify what it is. A black box, also known as an event data recorder (EDR), is a device that records data about a car's driving style. Similar to airplanes, where the black box records flight and cockpit data, the black box in a car stores information such as speed, braking, steering movements, the use of seat belts and the activation of airbags. This data is usually recorded a few seconds before, during and after an accident. 

Objective of the regulation

The main objectives of this regulation are to improve road safety and support accident analysis. By recording and evaluating the data, it should be possible to reconstruct accidents more accurately and better understand the causes. This in turn should help to prevent future accidents and increase vehicle safety. Another aim is to promote responsibility in road traffic. Drivers could be encouraged to drive more carefully, considerately and in accordance with the rules if they are aware that their driving behavior is being recorded. 

Advantages of the car black box

The introduction of the black box makes it easier to determine the exact circumstances of an accident. This is particularly useful for accident investigators and insurance companies in order to clarify the question of guilt beyond doubt. Courts could also make use of the stored data to obtain objective information about the course of the accident. 

The black box can also have a preventative effect. If drivers know that their driving behavior is being recorded, they may drive more carefully. Those responsible hope that this will reduce traffic accidents and increase general safety on the roads. Manufacturers can use the data collected to further improve the safety systems in their vehicles. By analyzing accident data, weak points can be identified and appropriate measures can be taken to improve vehicle safety. 

Critical voices and data protection concerns

Despite some advantages, there are also critical voices and concerns about data protection. One of the main concerns is that it is not clearly regulated who has access to the data and how it is used. Data protectionists warn that the data collected could be misused. They cite the increase in premiums by insurance companies as an example. Employers could also use the new regulation to monitor company vehicles. 

To address these concerns, it is important to create clear rules on data protection and data use. The regulation stipulates that the data may only be read out in the event of an accident and only with the consent of the vehicle owner. In addition, the data is to be anonymized and only used for the specific purpose of accident analysis. The fact is: The black box is a data recording device. The right to refuse to give evidence could be undermined if the data is handed over to investigating bodies. The result would be the "transparent driver", who can be monitored at any time and in any place.