As cars become increasingly connected, information concerning speed, acceleration, braking and cornering is more easily accessible via the vast array of sensors that are now integral to today’s automobiles.
Due to this rapid increase in technology, insurers can identify fraudulent insurance claims – or ‘crash for cash’. The Insurance Fraud Bureau estimates there are around 30,000 staged or deliberate accidents each year with as many as one in seven car crash injuries connected to a fraudulent claim.
However, modern cars essentially now include black boxes in much the same way as aeroplanes, so insurers are able to analyse an insurance claim and identify where, when and how fast a car was travelling and thus garner a better understanding of a crash.
Jonathan Hewett of Octo Telematics, which supplies the data and analysis that comes from black boxes, commented: “You can understand the force of the impact, and thus the likelihood of things like whiplash and soft tissue injury.”
In addition, the boxes are usually connected to a vehicle's diagnostics port under the bonnet or plugged into the 12V power socket in the cabin. If the device detects a G-force above a certain level it automatically triggers a call to check if the driver and any passengers are unharmed, or alerts emergency services. This allows insurers to become aware of a crash as soon as it happens.
Due to the EU’s eCall initiative, this sort of technology will be compulsory on all new vehicles sold in Europe from April 2018, and will help reduce response times to accidents.