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“Black Box” to be Standard On All Cars in Future

Sections: Car Safety

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A so-called "black box" from a car

Okay, so it’s not really black, per se, but this is an example of a typical “black box,” or event data recorder commonly found on-board newer cars. The devices are very common across the industry already, but National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is about to make them mandatory for all light vehicles. (Photo courtesy Wired.com.)

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) officials have been pushing to make the so-called “black box,” also known as an event data recorder (EDR), mandatory on all vehicles. They’re about to get their wish.

According to Detroit News, the White House Office of Management and Budget signed off on a review of NHTSA’s proposal this week, which clears the way for NHTSA to write its final regulation on the matter.

The boxes record a number of categories of information, and starting with the 2013 model year that began in September, they are required by law to record certain data such as vehicle deceleration, the article said.

Obviously, there are privacy concerns for the motorist. One question motorists might ask is whether insurers or law enforcement would have access to the data collected by the black box during a crash. Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers Spokesperson Gloria Bergquist said NHTSA needed to take motorist privacy into account in the final regulation.

“Event data recorders help our engineers understand how cars perform in the real world but looking forward, we need to make sure we preserve privacy,” Bergquist said.

“Automakers do not access EDR data without consumer permission, and any government requirements to install EDRs on all vehicles must include steps to protect consumer privacy.”

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