Congress Closes In on Car 'Black Box' Law
Pending legislation would make data recorders mandatory in all new cars.
“Black box” is such a sinister-sounding term, and probably makes most people think of either spying or plane crashes. Event data recorder, the official name for an automotive black box, is more benign, which may help U.S. lawmakers in their push to require automakers to include the devices in all new cars.
The Senate has already passed Bill 1813, which mandates EDRs for every car sold in the U.S. starting with model year 2015, and the House is expected to pass a similar statute. But the specifics of the bills are still ambiguous and will likely change before becoming law.
One thing, however, is certain: Federal law will require that a standard set of data prescribed by the Transportation Department be recorded by car black boxes. This will likely include 15 different measurements such as force of impact, seatbelt status, airbag deployment and throttle position. The last one is largely the result of the unintended-acceleration controversy that affected Toyota, according to a high-ranking National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official.
The bills will also address who owns the data from black boxes.
NHTSA Deputy Administrator Ronald Medford said in an interview with MSN Autos that part of the push for mandating EDRs in vehicles “is a result of our investigation with Toyota.” He added that in the agency's discussion with Congress, lawmakers “were very strongly encouraging us to require it.”
He also noted that since 2006, NHTSA has required automakers that have EDRs in their vehicles disclose the unit's presence to consumers. The agency also recently mandated that vehicles manufactured after Sept. 1, 2011, that include the devices must record a minimum of 13 data points in a standardized format.
As for who has access to the data from a black box, the pending legislation makes it clear that it belongs to the car owner or lessee. But as in all legal matters, loopholes exist in the form of a court order that can be issued to force a car owner to hand over data. Additionally, emergency personnel such as firefighters and paramedics would be able to access the data without a court order should it help them better respond to an accident.
[Additional news source: Autoblog.]
Make no mistake about what can be and will be recorded. There is a GPS which will give a record of all locations visited and for how long. Speed, distance driven and fuel consumption will give the EPA your MPG and the cops a complete record how fast you drive and where. Since it has a GBS it can be accessed remotely. or by mandating that a repair shop download the data. Unless the information is to used for criminal prosecution no warrent is needed.
The most minor fender bender can be turned into a lawsuit. Plaintiff lawyers need only supeona the information stored in your auto and then simply make up what they will to fit that data. If the the other auto has no black box you will be SOL.
BOTH political parties are strongly in favor of this because they know the information may be used to advance the only truley bi-partison agenda, the expansion of government power and the shrinking of our freedom!. Remember the government (TSA) is sole and only judge of what information will be collected.
Paranoid, Consipary Fanatic, Terrorist, Drug Dealer. Anyone objectiing will be so labled as are many who object the armed drones watching us. The only thing missing is the telescreen.
Help! How do you use this spell checker?
This business of driving being a priveledge, not a right, is baloney some government employee came up with long ago. It's been repeated so many times, people think it's true, but it's never been held up in court. The thing that gives the government jurisdiction over your driving is the paper you signed when you got your driver's license promising to abide by the traffic laws of your state.
The government would love to have you believe they are benevolent dispensers of priveledges and have a right to track your every move "for your protection".
"Additionally, emergency personnel such as firefighters and paramedics would be able to access the data without a court order should it help them better respond to an accident"
Wouldn't they have already responded to the accident in order to "gain access" to the data? That would be the case unless the data is being transmitted from the vehicle.
I WILL NOT OWN any vehicle equipped a device which transmits data.
GM can SHOVE their Onstar systems and so can any other manufacturer with a similar system.
"But as in all legal matters, loopholes exist in the form of a court order that can be issued to force a car owner to hand over data"
The insurance companies are grinning from ear to ear. They may finial be able to raise your rates based on the data if there are legal loopholes.
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