Feature Story BY GREG HORN
Telematics, EDRs and Black Boxes Affect Frequency and Severity
While attending a recent car show, I came across a reproduction win- dow sticker displayed in a mint-condition 1966 Mercury Marauder. Full-size Mercuries from the 1960s are some of my favorite cars, so I spent a lot of time examining this one.
What caught my eye on the window sticker was the list of standard equipment. Under
the subheading “safety equipment” were such high-tech features as four-way emergency
flashers and a driver’s side door mirror. While these did have a marginal impact on accident avoidance, they added little to the overall cost of repair if damaged in a collision.
In today’s world, safety equipment is a lot flashier and accident-avoidance technology
has advanced exponentially. It includes a combination of:
E Telematics, a broad range of technology that combines mobile/broadband telecommunications and computing that produces raw vehicle data, which is overlaid with GIS
map data like road type and speed limits.
E Black box technologies like on-board diagnostics parameter IDs
(OBD-II PIDs codes that request data from a vehicle and are used as
a diagnostic tool).
E Event data recorders (EDRs) that developed out of vehicle air bag
The impact of these advances on automotive claims is and will
continue to be significant. While accident avoidance technologies
hold the promise of reducing crashes and the frequency of claims,
the complex technologies in place in the modern automobile have
great potential to increase claims severity.
Parking and blind spot sensors are a good example of technology that will lower claims
frequency but contribute to higher claims severity. Carmakers are making them a stan-
dard feature of all vehicles going forward. Parking sensors are located in the rear bumpers
claims involving some aspect of telemat-
ics technology will be coming your way.
You might think only luxury vehicles like
Volvo are equipped with the likes of these
While accident avoidance
technologies hold the promise
of reducing crashes and
claims frequency, the complex
technologies in place in the modern
automobile have great potential to
increase claims severity. F Greg Horn
or the outside mirror of a vehicle. That’s
ideal to both detect and prevent accidents
before they happen, but also well-placed
to receive the brunt of the damage. These
sensors might mean fewer fender benders
but those that do occur will be more expensive and complex to repair.
It is estimated that some 70 percent
of 2011 vehicles are equipped with these
technologies, which means a lot of auto