Fleet News

Police chief dismisses effectiveness of black box technology as accident reduction tool

BLACK box data recorders in vehicles are not the key to cutting fleet accident rates, according to a senior overseas police fleet manager.

Superintendent Robin Jolly, of the Hong Kong Police, claimed to have nearly halved the incident rate among his 2,500-strong fleet of police vehicles using training and strict enforcement of standards - to the point where officers with poor records were removed from driving duties altogether.

Speaking at the National Association of Police Fleet Managers' conference, he said: 'In my estimation, it's not about black boxes. The solution is training. Driver discipline comes from training. Fleet managers must play an overall role in accident management. It won't win popularity contests though.'

His view flies in the face of the view of the Police Complaints Authority which called for black boxes to be fitted to patrol cars in its 2000/2001 Annual Report to Parliament. Jolly claimed that accident rates have fallen from 880 cases 10 years ago to under 500 last year.

The Hong Kong Police, which has 10,000 registered drivers operating in one of the most congested cities in the world, runs a zero tolerance policy for its officers. Every incident, down to a scratch in the car park, has to be reported and no vehicle can be taken out if it is damaged in any way.

With 25 deaths resulting from police pursuits in the UK last year, many fleet managers are looking to black box data recorders to enforce standards and assist in accident investigation.

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