Car black box traps knife attacker

statue of lady justice in front ...

Daniel Paita, a 32-year-old from Kirkintilloch, has been jailed for 11 years, for a knife attack and attempted murder. There were no witnesses to the attack, but Paita was trapped by evidence from the black box in his car - which is commonly used by car hire firms and insurers.

It's a great victory for the technology, but should we be worried about how driving data can be used?%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%


Paita was driving a courtesy car provided by his insurer, after his own car had been involved in an accident. He didn't realise there was a telematics black box fitted in the car when he drove to his victim's house in Glasgow and attacked him.

There were no witnesses, but the black box put the car at the victim's house at the time of the attack, and along with identification by the victim, it was enough to secure a conviction.

The evidence collected by the car had been passed onto the police by a motor anti-fraud team, the Asset Protection Unit - which works with police to reduce motor fraud. Neil Thomas, from The Asset Protection Unit, said: "It is extremely pleasing to have been an important cog in convicting an individual like this, it might never have happened at all had the device not been installed in his car."

He added: "They are able to generate data about the inner workings of a vehicle but also show its location at any time, which is a great help to us, the police and victims if vehicles are used for criminal activity."

So should we be worried?

Clearly the evidence used in this case was vital, and helped to ensure justice was done.

Telematics black boxes are also a godsend for careful younger drivers, who can get a 20% discount on their policy if they agree to have a black box installed in the car.

However, there are those who worry about the impact of having their every move recorded, and worry about how this information could be used and shared.

A survey by YouGov this year revealed that 51% of people were worried that their driving data may be used for marketing purposes, while 39% were worried that it could be passed to the police without their permission in the event of an accident.

The good news is that your insurer is not allowed to share the information for marketing purposes, and cannot share it with other insurers either. However, it will share data with police who request it as part of an ongoing investigation. They will also use it to determine what happened in the event of a claim.

Having their driving data recorded should therefore only be a concern for those who routinely break the law and are worried about being found out.

But what do you think? Would you worry about this data being recorded, or is it a great way to cut insurance costs and ensure drivers behave responsibly at the same time?
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