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Black box now mandatory on new vehicles in EU

With effect from Wednesday, 6 July 2022, new vehicles sold in the EU will be required to have various items of new equipment installed; among the most important is a black box, similar to that installed in aircraft.

All new vehicles approved in the European Union will have to be equipped with a black box. With the progress of homologations relating to driving aids, which are being constantly developing, this new measure has been enacted in EU law.

Thus, from 6 July 2022, all new vehicles are to be equipped with a black box that which will record various types of data during phases of driving; acceleration, speed, braking, seat belt use and the use of headlights and turn signals will be archived in the system for one minute.

In the event of an accident, the device will store data ranging from 30 seconds before the impact to 10 seconds after. This will help investigators and facilitate their work to establish the circumstances of the accident.

However, this measure has not been universally accepted. One European consumer association has issued a press release regarding the legal authorisation "to have access to the data recorded by the vehicle's on-board computer." They also point out that the black box would be unable to explain the conditions of the accident. "The data logger will only be able to access speed, acceleration and braking data of a vehicle. On the other hand, the recorder will not see anything of blood alcohol, drug use, dangerous overtaking, refusal of priority, loss of attention due to the smartphone, loss of alertness due to drowsiness and so many other accident circumstances."

Other safety features

In addition to the black box, other safety features are part of the new measures. These include the driver's sleepiness detection system, the reverse obstacle detection system as well as a pedestrian and cyclist detection device for buses and trucks.

An intelligent speed adaptation system All new vehicles must now also incorporate a driver alert system in the event of speeding. There are two possibilities; the first is the regulation using a camera capable of reading the speed limit signs, and also a variation which uses the connection between a GPS map and the car.

The second option, which can be deactivated by the driver when starting the vehicle, prevents acceleration beyond the speed limit or activates an audible alert in the passenger compartment. This measure, which is now mandatory in the EU for new vehicles, will rely on the accuracy of speed mapping limits. Given the multitude of changes in speed limits on the road, concerns have been expressed by European groups about how this information is to be kept up-to-date and also they fear that these measure may turn the driver of a vehicle into a more "passive" passenger.

The equipment which is now mandatory on new vehicles from 6 July includes:

  • intelligent speed adjustment system

  • interface to allow the installation of an immobiliser breathalyser

  • driver drowsiness and loss of attention alert systems

  • advanced driver distraction alert systems

  • emergency stop signals, reversing detection systems

  • event data recorders (black boxes)

  • an accurate driver distraction monitoring system

  • tyre pressure monitoring.

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