French Protest Black Box Recorders

Wed 2nd Jun 2021

New EU legislation which will require all new cars to have ‘black box’ data recorders fitted from May 2022 is being opposed to an influential group of French driving campaigners.

Similar to the telemetry technology which many young drivers have fitted to their cars to help keep insurance quotes down, the data recorders will be compulsory across Europe, including the UK, as a measure to try and improve road safety.

The black box technology can record a vehicle’s speed, braking and steering input and will be used by police forces to help determine the cause of road traffic accident. While the systems have been employed for a number of years by countries such as the United States, the mandatory fitting of the recorders is not being welcomed on this side of the Atlantic.

The Drivers Defence League in France has gathered an impressive 260,000 signatures on a petition to protest that the constitutional rights of a citizen are being infringed, saying: “This measure opens the way to permanent monitoring of drivers and an explosion of fines and licence points.”

The data recorders are one of a range of measures being introduced to new vehicles from next year, these include ‘intelligent speed assistance, which can slow the car to the local speed limit. Other requirements will include a camera for reversing, improved seatbelts, advanced emergency braking and driver distraction monitoring. 

“Every year, 25,000 people lose their lives on our roads. The vast majority of these accidents are caused by human error. We can and must act to change this,” said EU commissioner, Elżbieta Bieńkowska from Poland.

“With the new advanced safety features that will become mandatory, we can have the same kind of impact as when the safety belts were first introduced. Many of the new features already exist, in particular in high–end vehicles. Now we raise the safety level across the board, and pave the way for connected and automated mobility of the future.”