Black-Box Rule Stirs Up Privacy Concerns


  • NHTSA Logo Picture

    NHTSA Logo Picture

    NHTSA is expected to require event data recorders or so-called "black boxes" in all new cars and trucks. | December 07, 2012

Just the Facts:
  • NHTSA is poised to propose a rule requiring event data recorders — more commonly known as black boxes — in all new light vehicles, raising concerns over driver privacy.
  • The White House Office of Management and Budget said the rulemaking to mandate EDRs across the entire light vehicle fleet could cost automakers $24.4 million, assuming the sale of 15.5 million light vehicles per year.
  • The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers told Congress in March that EDRs raise privacy concerns.

WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is poised to propose a rule requiring event data recorders — more commonly known as black boxes — in all new light vehicles, raising concerns over driver privacy.

The White House Office of Management and Budget said the rulemaking to mandate EDRs across the entire light vehicle fleet could cost automakers $24.4 million, assuming the sale of 15.5 million light vehicles per year.

"This rulemaking to mandate EDRs across the entire light vehicle fleet could contribute to advancements in vehicle designs, and advanced restraint and other safety countermeasures," said the White House Office of Management and Budget review of the EDR proposal.

NHTSA has not yet said when such a rule would take effect.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers told Congress in March that EDRs raise privacy concerns.

Event data recorders are devices that record information related to highway vehicle crashes.

NHTSA said on its Web site that "EDRs could have a major impact on highway safety, assisting in real-world data collection, better defining the auto safety problem, aiding law enforcement in understanding the specific aspects of a crash."

But the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers told Congress that government requirements to install EDRs on all vehicles must include steps to educate the public and protect consumer privacy.

About 90 percent of all new vehicles have the recorders, including those by General Motors and Toyota.

Edmunds says: Is this new rule comforting or concerning?

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