Black box tracker saves UK driver’s life
Black box-type technology designed to be fitted inside vehicles to help young British drivers pay lower car insurance has been credited for saving the life of a 20-year-old student, after it sent out an alert that he had been involved in a serious accident.
Max Charles was left in a potentially fatal semi-coma in his car after it crashed into a tree in November 2013. He is thought to have fallen asleep at the wheel of his Vauxhall Corsa at about 4am and veered off a quiet Surrey road.
The time of the incident meant there were no witnesses and passing cars. Instead, it was a box installed in his car by an insurance company that registered the collision and instructed the firm to contact emergency services.
Telematics, or black box insurance, is growing in popularity in the UK and involves the insurance company installing tracking equipment to monitor driving behaviour such as speed, and what time of day the car is driven. The data is used to calculate insurance premiums.
Charles’s insurance company, called Drivelikeagirl, was established to help careful drivers get more for their money. But it also has a mechanism installed that can detect when the impact of a crash exceeds a certain threshold, at which point the emergency services are alerted.
The company claims that it has had more than 250 such incidents in the last 12 months. More than 300,000 cars are fitted with the devices, which remain especially favoured by young drivers — most of whom would pay far more under conventional insurance.
Using the technology, the police were able to track Charles’ precise whereabouts.
“The officer that first found me said that had the black box not alerted them to my situation, I almost certainly wouldn’t have been found until later that morning.
“I definitely would not have been alive,” said Charles.