[Rushtalk] Feds Order 'Black Box' Data Recorders in Cars

John A. Quayle blueoval57 at verizon.net
Mon Dec 10 22:52:19 MST 2012

Feds Order ‘Black Boxes’ in Cars

Filed under 
Posted on 
8, 2012

Many motorists don’t know it, but it’s likely 
that every time they get behind the wheel, there’s a snitch along for the ride.

In the next few days, the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration is expected to 
propose long-delayed regulations requiring auto 
manufacturers to include event data recorders – 
better known as “black boxes” – in all new cars 
and light trucks. But the agency is behind the 
curve. Automakers have been quietly tucking the 
devices, which automatically record the actions 
of drivers and the responses of their vehicles in 
a continuous information loop, into most new cars for years.

When a car is involved in a crash or when its 
airbags deploy, inputs from the vehicle’s sensors 
during the 5 to 10 seconds before impact are 
automatically preserved. That’s usually enough to 
record things like how fast the car was traveling 
and whether the driver applied the brake, was 
steering erratically or had a seat belt on.

The idea is to gather information that can help 
investigators determine the cause of accidents 
and lead to safer vehicles. But privacy advocates 
say government regulators and automakers are 
spreading an intrusive technology without first 
putting in place policies to prevent misuse of the information collected.

Data collected by the recorders is increasingly 
showing up in lawsuits, criminal cases and 
high-profile accidents. Massachusetts Lt. Gov. 
Timothy Murray initially said that he wasn’t 
speeding and that he was wearing his seat belt 
when he crashed a government-owned car last year. 
But the Ford Crown Victoria’s data recorder told 
a different story: It showed the car was 
traveling more than 100 mph and Murray wasn’t belted in.


Continues on www.myfoxdc.com
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