New EU Proposals Suggest Big-Brother Black Boxes Could Become Mandatory

An interesting albeit intrusive proposal has been made by the European Union

While everyone is getting a bit bored of the ongoing Brexit debacle, news emerged last week that never really got the attention that it deserved. A proposal was made to the European Council that seeks to have vehicle tracking and remote regulating software fitted to all new cars bought in the EU.

In the UK we already have these telematics systems that are often called ‘black boxes’. The black boxes are encouraged and often mandatory with some insurers, particularly when trying to insure young drivers, and can seriously help reduce annual insurance premiums for consumers.

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The technology encouraged by the European Commission hasn’t been put forward to reduce insurance premiums, instead, it is being pushed as an improvement to safety standards. The idea is that the onboard diagnostics of any new car can be monitored and, in the event of a crash, the onboard computer can be consulted to determine the speed at which the car was travelling, the point at which the brakes were applied and also which safety features operating at the time of the crash. For example, if a crash was caused by a car being driven dangerously, the diagnostics would show the rate of acceleration, whether the car was in ‘Sport’ mode and if features like traction control had been turned off.

Other than just black boxes, all cars would need to be fitted with speed assistance technology by law. This means that every new car must legally have speed limit recognition sensors which tell the driver what the prevailing speed limit is for the specific road they are driving on. Other mandatory features would include autonomous emergency braking systems (which detect imminent impacts and slam on the brakes to either prevent or reduce the velocity), lane keeping assistance (which notify the driver via steering vibrations or sound alerts when the car is leaving its lane without indicating) and driver fatigue detection (which monitors the body language of the driver to ensure they remain attentive and alert.)

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Perhaps the most interesting suggestion in the proposal is that all new cars are fitted with the necessary wiring to install alcohol interlocks. An alcohol interlock is a device that intercepts the ignition system with a breathalyser. This means that cars can only be turned on if the driver can pass a breath-test, ensuring they are not over the legal limit. It is worth making it clear that the EU proposal only requests that the necessary wiring is installed in every car, not the breathalysers themselves, so motorists with no history of drink-driving will not need to give a breath sample every time they want to start their car. These devices are only really used in the US and in Denmark, however, they have also been trialled by Durham Police with repeat offenders.

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There is no fixed date as to when this will be discussed among the European Council however it will be prepared for ‘early 2019’ and they will aim for a ‘rapid agreement.’ It is thought that implementing the mandated changes will happen progressively over the following 3 years from the date the mandate is passed. 

Another great reason to be out of the EU.

Another great reason to remain, I think you mean.

This is big brother nanny state bullshit. We're quite capable thanks, is anyone else sick of this erosion of our freedoms? These left nut jobs need to be stopped.


One of the problems is cars are getting harder to drive with every new gizmo fitted and this is probably not going to help They are getting to the point that the technology is becoming unusable for humans - a dangerous distraction and each car has its own incompatible user interface design. Have been driving a Mitsubishi PHEV, maybe a great car but the user interface is absolutely appalling to the point of being dangerous, Drove a different make with similar technology - totally different interface, so have to start learning again. 'Which side the indicator stalk on' was bad enough difference between car types but all these different high tech interface is just criminal negligence. The EU needs to stop messing around with this sort of 'spy' legislation and concentrate on enforcing a standard driver interface so you can get out of one car and drive another just as easily or are we going to have car driver conversion courses! .

Rubbish, Mike. You are the sort of person who wants to restrict the freedom of the motorist! If I wish to drink and drive and exceed speed limits, wander from lane to lane or hit the car in front because I wasn't paying attention, who are you to stop me? What next? Make me have insurance? Force me to keep my car roadworthy?

The UK has about the safest roads in the world. Let the EU sort out all the drunken drivers in Eastern Europe and the lousy enforcement of vehicle safety regulations relating to heavy goods vehicles outside of the UK. The French and Spanish sign up for regulations in many areas which they have no intention whatsoever of enforcing whereas in the UK we have always followed EU rules and added to them if anything.

If any of this saves even one life, then I'm all for it...those who oppose any ideas and/or suggestions without proper digest clearly haven't lost a loved one to a road accident. There are a lot of lunatics on the road these days and even when they're caught and punished, they just re-offend. My suggestion would be to make them mandatory for all repeat offenders though instead of a blanket implementation.

So they're propposing this to improve safety. How long before they decide to do something completely different with it... bit like how the EU itself has morphed from a trading club into the intrusive monster it is now.

A face palm post. Sarcasm or not

Adding extra technology in cars is not the answer. They are fallible just like people. Ive been in a car where the autonomous braking activated for no reason. Scared the pants out of me and thank goodness no one was behind us or else we would have been hit badly. Also remember the classic Topgear programme where the autonomous braking failed to activate. Black box telematics is not reliable either and I wouldnt trust it. This is typical bureaucratic nonsense from people that havent researched this subject deep enough and thrown it in to justify their existence. I'm still seething about the introduction of the EU rule on how loud a vacuum cleaner should and time wasting nonsense (as per usual).

Oh dear, you believed all the lies :-(

the 2019 BMW 3 series has most of these features already, except for the alcohol. These all seem like fair ideas.

I like my freedom to drive knowing that other drivers will be competent and reliable in charge of their vehicles. Quite how that equates to 'left nut jobs' says more about you and your bizarre politics than anything else.

Racial stereotypes with little truth in fact.

Please let me, and everyone else, know where you are intending to drive over xmas so we can all avoid !!

Don't you just hate it when the press misrepresent something so badly. The EC project VERONICA made various recommendations this year on the next steps for implementation of Crash Data Recorders in the EU. The project reviewed the standardisation of procedures and tools already used across various parts of he EU, including in the UK, to retrieve the data, the use of the data collected (for crash research, by the police to check driving conditions, or in legal applications to help in the determination of the responsibilities in a crash) and questions concerning the ownership of the data. It recommended the targeting of various road user groups, commencing with the commercial transport sector. It recommended that a UN ECE Working Group be established to prepare a technical specification. It was further recommended that the EU should introduce a Directive rather than a Regulation to give Member States flexibility in implementing Crash Data Recorders. Target groups for use of event data recorders from the enforcement and insurance points of view; Hazardous goods transport Coaches and buses Commercial vehicles Vans Emergency service vehicles Motorcyclists Young drivers These is a recommendations by a research group for a Working party to be set up to consider whether a Directive be prepared. It is not, as presented in this article, something the EU as a body has yet discussed or agreed upon. The recommendation is for a Directive that each separate country, such as the UK, can consider bring in to improve highway safety. It is about building safer cars, not big brother. In the UK we already track all commercial vehicles & most young driver insurance policies already require black boxes. The only recommendation that goes any further than current UK legislation & practice is that black boxes be fitted to motorcycles, which I do not agree with & I do not believe the UK Gov't would ever introduce even if a EU Working Party is set up & that Working Party makes a recommendation for a directive including it, which i very much doubt. This is a un-researched article that is mostly complete rubbish. It has been published on a number of web sites in order to stir up Brexit. Lies are being told on all sides & alas Regit has just announced itself as a Brexit supporting web site that is spreading lies. I will now unsubscribe from Regit.

Please read my post below. This article is crap & is telling lies to wind people up.

...and the Eurocrats produce another illegal market for bypassing this crap. Much like those God awful electric cars - I'll stick with the old tech until i die, nothing below 3 ltrs, well below 30 mpg, no front drive and sub 5 sec 0-60

Totally agree about the Mitsubishi, that tug on the steering you get when taking a safe line close to the lane markings, it's outright dangerous. There is a tendency to overcorrect especially in s side wind. Tech for tech's sake is a dangerous thing.

Thousands of deaths every year say you are wrong. Erosion of our freedoms? What did you have in mind - speeding, drink driving, having to wear a seat belt? Yes, there may be valid concerns before something like this is introduced but the benefits are obvious. As to the concerns, you can write to Brussels - they are quite keen on public consultation.

not really, we will get most of the EUs cars on our roads regardless.

Sadly this will happen here anyway, keep an eye on you however they can

Back at you buddy. There is something called common sense ever heard of it?... Thought not, you want wrapping up in cotton wool, well I'm sorry to break it to you but some things in life are dangerous if you can't drive, take the bus.

OK, you look up the accident statistics and alcohol consumption of different nationalities. Stereotypes are often based on experience. In my town with the first influx of Eastern Europeans, 90% of vehicle accidents were caused by drunken drivers of either foreign registered vehicles or uninsured UK purchased ones. Many cars were in the country on foreign plates for several years until there was a clampdown by local Police. I have Romanian friends but they are now accustomed to the laws in the UK and have changed their ways and my children are half Polish so how about you go whine about racism somewhere else. All those caught on camera accidents on YouTube coming out of Eastern Europe are a clue to the drink related accidents they have.

There is risks in life... Nothing is 100% safe . Vehicles have never been so safe.. You lack in trust of others, but I for one value my freedom and the rights of others, to not be treated like criminals.

they lowered limits for HGVs on A roads from 60mph to 40mph. they have since reinstated the 60mph limit (even though HGVs cant actually DO 60 legally anymore, as it was PROVED that lowering the limit did NOTHING to preventing accidents

I know of a top spec Mondeo which tried to park itself while driving down the motorway. The car was loaded with every possible extra as it was an ex Ford demonstrator used to visit dealerships. Scared the driver shitless. Statistically, autonomous vehicles will probably be safer but for that 1 in a 1000 where the technology fails it won't be much consolation for the families left behind. Technology enabling Police to remotely cut engines was developed in South Africa 25 years ago as was the breath test interlock system. As long as these things can't be hacked then there are some merits to making them standard.

not really. when i was on the roads on 7.5 tonne vehicles, seeing drivers from abroad PLEADING with the VOSA people to put them off the road for a day or so because they havent stopped since leaving poland, romania and other similar places (i wont list every one but they were predominantly eastern european number plates fitted) is, to me, insanity!

If we were so capable we wouldn't have the level of drink/driving incidents and deaths that we do in this country. What exactly is a 'left wing nut job'?

"Bored WITH", not 'bored of'

Will this effect us who are living in England? We leaving on 29th March?

indirectly it will, because most of our cars come from the EU. The cars we export will also have to meet EU standards.

maybe when we leave the EU we will ban all left hand drive trucks from our roads together with all foreign HGV drivers, these nutters should not be driving on our roads

An excuse to increase the cost of new cars and to increase the built-in obsolescence modern cars are cursed with... Any wagers on how much a desire to stimulate the car market to new highs motivates these decisions, not to mention the increased monitoring of the population? Any society that has a default position of attempting to improve itself by legislation and financial penalties instead of through education, encouragement and persuasion is in trouble... From my point of view the Classic Car Market becomes increasingly attractive.

You mention buses. I used to drive them and spent a lot of time dodging idiots in cars. Probably better if nanny state saved them from their own stupidity, until such time as they learn common sense.

Very useful when we are trying to rebuild our economy after Brexit.

You cannot control everyone John, fortunately people still value basic freedom and rights. It's good job people like you are in the minority, for now. But you will find you're own mind set will come back and bite you in arse some day. For now ware a helmet with full protective gear, take a train or plane. I hear there the safest modes of transport.

The motor industry will be up in arms about this. People will be tempted to keep their cars for as long as possible to avoid this intrusive technology.

With our abundance of Natural Resources and Manufacturing Industries rebuilding our economy will be simple