BIG MOTHER – Black box technology that’s saving young lives and halving permiums

Black Box

IT’S what every parent in the country has been waiting for and what every responsible young driver needs.

With insurance cover at ridiculious levels, especially for inexperienced or newly qualified drivers a new gizmo may just give you the edge.

It is sure to save countless lives and indeed a small fortune in  premiums.

Imagine a device which monitors the driving, acceleration, braking,  cornering speeds and whereabouts of the vehicle at all times and even supplies a picture of the street where a misdemeanor occurred?

Well wonder no more — it’s here and available to Irish motorists.

This guardian angel is no bigger than an iphone and is tucked away in the boot of the car and keeps an eye on how you drive.

Screen shot 5More Big Mother than Big Brother, the black box-type gizmo, called ‘telematics’, records all the vital data and uploads that detail onto a website where mum, dad, boss or fleet manager can keep an eye on behaviour on the road.

Now, there is more to this technology than merely spying on the kids — it will save many young drivers, especially women, a fortune in car insurance.

Thanks to Eurocrat interference, young women can no longer benefit from cheaper cover because it’s deemed sexist.

Forget the statistics which clearly show that young teenage males are 50pc more likely to be in a collision than their female counterparts.

Anyway, since the legislation came into effect this year premiums have rocketed by  over 25pc.

At least one company had increased its rates by over 100pc for a 17-year-old female driver from €1,540 to €3,150 for the same car.

Her 17-year-old male counterpart had his costs reduced by 27pc from €4,317 to €3,150.

So with the odds stacked against you, maybe its time to prove beyond doubt to the insurance companies that you are safe and therefore should get a cheaper premium.

The old mantra “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear certainly applies here.

And on that very basis we here at thenextgear decided to put our reputations on the line and bare our driving souls.

We tested the system over Christmas and the results were astounding.

All journeys are judged on the traffic light system — green for good, amber for average and red for dangerous.

Now,  in order for this little experiment to work we had to, ahmm, bend the rules a little and on one or two occasions exceed the speed limit.

My rap sheet read like that of a seasoned criminal.

Speeding, undertaking (only when a car was turning right)  and sometimes a little too aggressive – all there, times, places and dates.

But don’t fret unlike some of the courts,  you do get a fair hearing.

An example of that happened on day three.

Screen shot 2

The 130kph in the 120 was duly noted but because the excessive speed only lasted for 60 seconds over a 55-minute journey, the trip stayed in the green.

But a surprise lurked.

I was shocked to learn that one trip in which I travelled only 0.4 km proved to be my downfall and for which I am truly embarrassed.

In those five minutes of madness I managed to hit 60kph in a 30, cut a corner and accelerate aggressively in between speed bumps.

A detailed map of the trip, the time, date and a picture of the said cut corner had me bang to rights.

It was St Stephen’d Day and I was late picking up my mother for dinner.

With no kids in the car I let rip and the evidence … irrefutable.

Telematics is already a huge hit in the UK  where some firms are offering discounts of 50pc.

The system is based on a monthly analysis which corresponds with your direct debit — basically drive safe and get the discount, misbehave and pay the full price. Simple.

AXA have recently got behind the drive, offering a 20pc discount for drivers with the device.

Supplied and fitted by Co Down firm Crash Ingenium, it costs €299 plus VAT.

After that, annual renewals cost only €120 plus VAT. A no-brainer for young drivers.

More information  see or

Below is a list of Q&A which will explain the whole workings of Ingenium Dynamics:

Screen shot 3


What is ‘telematics’?

Telematics is an electronic system that monitors a vehicle, and in some cases, the driver’s actions as well. A wealth of data can be collected and recorded, including rate of acceleration, braking patterns, cornering speeds, when, where and what time a car is being driven, and even the top speed. One version of the technology system isIngenium Dynamics which is now available to Irish drivers via Crash Services, a local accident management company which holds the licence to provide the technology across Ireland.


How does it work?

Once installed, the ‘black box’ unit gathers and interprets driving information. The data, which is then transmitted through the mobile communications network for viewing on a secure internet webpage, shows the speed of the vehicle, its position at any given time, braking and acceleration force, cornering and more. The results from each journey are analysed and categorised into high, medium or low risk.


What are the benefits?

The technology can help to reduce accident rates by encouraging better driving. Additionally, being able to demonstrate reduced accidents is a key driver in negotiating lower insurance premium costs with an insurer. According to telematics provider, FMG, in Great Britain, fleets using the technology already report a 25-80% reduction in insurance claims, while young drivers using the system have seen insurance costs slashed by up to 40%. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions can also fall as a result of improved driver behaviour.


How reliable is it?

FMG, which is working with accident management company CRASH to supply the technology in Ireland. More than £3 million has already been invested in the technology to date and the system has already been endorsed by transport experts at Loughborough University, the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) and the Driver Research Group at Cranfield University.


How is Ingenium Dynamics viewed by the Insurance Industry?

Ingenium Dynamics won the Prestigious “Risk Management Award” at the British Insurance Awards. Known as the ‘Oscars’ for the insurance industry, the awards recognise firms that have made an outstanding contribution to their sector. A spokesperson for the British Insurance Awards judging panel, said: “The solution was highly rated for demonstrating significant tangible benefits and helping pioneer an industry step change. Ingenium Dynamics was a big hit with the judges


Could Telematics be used to rate insurance risk?

Yes, a new ruling by the European Union Court of Justice has decreed that taking the gender of an individual into account as a risk factor in insurance contracts constitutes discrimination. This ruling paves the way for new and innovative methods of assessing insurance risk to be introduced. This is where telematics comes in – as the data gathered enables driver behaviour and risk to be evaluated, regardless of gender, age or any other personal attributes.


How much does it cost?

If you would like to buy one outright, the cost is 299 euros plus VAT, which includes the cost of the device and installation and usage for 12 months. After that, annual renewals cost only 120 euros plus VAT.


Where can I get it?

For more information of the technology, or telephone 01 524 5004.

Screen Shot 1