There’s a phrase that keeps repeating itself in my head as I write: “freedom of the road”. I suspect it has been lodged there for many a year — quite possibly since my first reading of the tale of Mr Toad in 'The Wind in the Willows'.

Over the years it has come to stand for something we all hold very dear: the ability to get into a car of my choice at any time, and drive it wherever I want.

So I’m bothered by two burning questions: will this precious freedom be threatened if I consent to have a 'black box' driving monitor fitted to my car (tracking speed, acceleration, position and time) for the purpose of lowering my insurance premium. And does the personal confidentiality I’m keeping matter very much? 

The practice of electronically gathering driving information is already common for younger drivers. The telematics company Ingenie reckons if a new driver consents to fitment of a box, his or her insurance premium can be halved to a just-about-affordable £1700 a year, provided of course his/her driving (as monitored) is shown to be reasonably safe. And there’s an argument that says the monitoring system also assists with the safety of younger drivers, far more prone to serious crashes than the rest of us. It looks like a no-brainer