RAC ‘magic box’ to end roadside breakdowns?

The RAC breakdown service is launching a clever new electronic device that can remotely find a fault with a vehicle – technology it is hoping will “turn the breakdown industry on its head.”

RAC members will be able to fit the black box to their vehicles, allowing the company to remotely spot a system that is not working correctly before it develops into a problem that could cause a car to break down.

The system uses telematics technology alongside the latest on-board diagnostics software to create a data model of how the car’s vital functions are performing.

If a breakdown should occur, an RAC operative can connect to the car remotely and identify the problem, giving the location and exact problem to the patrol team.

All 1,700 of the RAC’s vehicles already use the technology, as do more than 35,000 fleet vehicles in the UK.

The firm is even claiming it could save you money – up to £620 a year through monitoring how efficient your driving is via a smartphone app, as well as insurance discounts for good behaviours behind the wheel if you’re linked to a telematics insurance policy.

What do you think of the new technology – a good idea to help out those in need, or another opportunity for big brother to check up on what motorists are doing? Let us know below.



Insurance claims resulting from pothole damage to vehicles rose two-fold in January 2013 compared to figures for the first month last year, according to a new AA survey.

The breakdown service estimates roughly 1,000 claims were made relating to damage caused by potholes in the first four weeks of 2013, with over 33% of the 23,000 respondents highlighting they had incurred some for of damage to their car.

Of the one third of broken vehicles, a further 17% suffered problems with their wheels following an impact with a pothole.

Councils paid out over £32 million in compensation for vehicle damage in 2012, up 50% on the total for the previous year.

It could be set to rise further still in 2013: 20,355 potholes were filled last year, but the AA estimates there’s nearly a third more to patch up this year, pointing towards worsening road conditions.

Only 10% of motorists scored the condition of their local roads as very good or excellent.