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Newry man Mark Murnin fits black boxes to kids' cars to ensure they behave every time they get behind that wheel

By Chris McCullough

Published 25/01/2016

Aoiffe Murnin and dad Mark
Aoiffe Murnin and dad Mark
Aoiffe with her insurance certificate, showing her discount
Mark, a councillor, says Aoiffe is happy to be tracked while behind the wheel

A concerned dad has told why he installed 'black boxes' in both his children's cars.

Mark Murnin fitted the devices in the vehicles of Matthew (23) and Aoiffe (21) when they started to drive.

The boxes were installed in conjunction with his insurance company, which offered discounts if the owner agreed to them being placed behind the dashboard of the cars.

He receives a weekly report by email of how his children were driving, and if anything gives cause for concern it is raised in the report.

Also, if at any time there is an urgent concern over how the cars are being driven, the monitoring company puts an immediate call through to Mark.

Saddened by the number of deaths on Northern Ireland roads, Mark, an SDLP councillor on Newry, Mourne and Down Council, urged other parents to do the same. He said the move had been well received by his offspring.

"I was and still am very concerned about the number of car accidents young people are having on our roads. The figures are startling," he said.

"In this past week we have seen more young people lose their lives on our roads in accidents. It is every parent's worst nightmare to hear their child has been in an accident.

"For my own peace of mind I wanted to put something in my children's cars just to monitor their driving performance and to make them more aware of the dangers of speeding.

"Young people have a temptation of showing off in front of their friends, and I didn't want my children involved in any such behaviour.

"When they became the age to drive and were looking for a car I told them I wanted something fitted to monitor their driving and they were okay with that, otherwise there would be no car.

"I originally looked at using an app with the iPhone, but after some research I found this scheme with an insurance company that offered discounts for fitting these black boxes which monitored driver behaviour.

"The device is fitted behind the dash and in the beginning I received a weekly report from the monitoring company on how my son and daughter were driving.

"Should anything be of major cause for concern, like excess speed, then the company would call me urgently to see what the reason was and to highlight it to me.

"Thankfully, this has only happened once, when my son was on an early morning drive to the airport and was going too fast.

"Both my kids were competing against each other as to who was the safer driver, judged by the statistics received in the report."

His son is older and has since changed his car, so does not use a black box, but his daughter still does.

"It gives me great peace of mind that the kids are driving safe and not taking any risks or breaking the law," added Mark.

"I would call on other parents to consider fitting something similar to their children's vehicles to see if we cannot improve road safety.

"Using these type of monitoring devices should benefit the young people by making them better drivers and making them more aware of the speed limits. There are too many young lives being lost on our roads and we need to do something urgently about it."

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