• May 27, 2010
A massive auto safety overhaul bill has made its way out of committee and onto the floor of the House of Representatives for voting. According to Automotive News, the biggest changes that the bill proposes is the mandatory addition of black boxes and brake override mechanisms to all new cars and trucks. The event-data recorders would track information shortly before and after an accident for a specified period of time in order to help investigators determine the cause of an accident. Legislators and manufacturers alike began to push for the recorders in the wake of multiple accidents associated with Toyota's unintended acceleration woes.

Originally, the bill would have required the black boxes to record data for a total of 75 seconds, though the House Energy and Commerce committee changed the legislation to allow the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to determine the length. The bill also deals with regulations concerning pushbutton starts, pedal placement and a number of other auto-safety issues. If the bill passes the House of Representatives, it will be sent to the Senate for a final vote before becoming law.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]


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  • 70 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Here is the fundamental questions.

      1: Are people free in their property and effects?

      2: As a person's piece of property, does a car have any accountability to any outside entity, or should it?


      The Bill of Rights:
      Fourth Amendment – Protection from unreasonable search and seizure.
      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      * Secure in their person's houses, papers, and effects. Data in a privately owned device should count as a person's "effects." Due process and protection should be in effect.

      Fifth Amendment – due process, double jeopardy, self-incrimination, eminent domain.
      No person shall be held to answer for any capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

      * Should a person's property be used to witness against the device's owner? And isn't the owner's car considered *private property?*

      Sixth Amendment – Trial by jury and rights of the accused; Confrontation Clause, speedy trial, public trial, right to counsel
      In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

      *How can a person face their accuser, if their accuser is a digital device, and is their own property?


      I won't buy a car that could potentially be used against me, possibly without due process. The questions are not answered to my satisfaction, especially with the rampant power grabbing, and corruption that is RIFE within most levels of government.

      I wouldn't trust a political figure or most government officials, (other than maybe an everyday soldier, or an every-day honest police officer who work for a living) to watch my house while I am gone.

      No black box recorders, no OwnStar built-in surveillance and control system over-ride by remote.

      My car is my car. If that isn't the case, I won't consider it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You're on public roads, it's no longer just your property.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @mutantchimp...

        Cars don't last forever.

        What happens in 5, 10, 20 years when all the cars on the market have them already?

        What happens when they OUTLAW old cars from being registered for the road, or pull another, bigger "cash for clunkers", to eliminate cars that they cannot gain access to?

        This is stuff they have already started the precedent for, or are discussing. this isn't imagination, this is government machinations.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The law does not mandate installing black boxes in your car. It mandates the installation of black boxes in cars being made.

        You are free to own a car without a black box, but it will be difficult to buy a new car with one.

        • 4 Years Ago
        There has to be just cause to start due process.

        People are innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around.

        Putting a recorder or surveillance equipment in your car, in preparation for you to be accused, is an assumption of future guilt, and is starting a distorted due process before anything has even happened, or just cause has been established?

        Why not just put cameras and microphones in everyone's houses? Why not pre-emptively tap everyone's phones. The government already is proposing that there is no expectation of constitutional privacy in digital communications such as e-mail.

        SmartGrid infrastructure is being put in place, and even MARKETED TO THE PUBLIC, to gather data from your home's power useage, and to gain control over your thermostat. (today... what will they want control over tomorrow?)

        This isn't just benign stuff. Trust it at your peril.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't own road signs, and I don't claim to.

        I DO own my own car. I don't have public transportation available where I live.

        Public property is public property. PRIVATE property should be private, not just more public property, when it becomes convenient for tyrants to seize it.

        Using private property out on the road doesn't give the government ownership of my property any more than my real estate's geographic location within the borders of the United States, gives the government ownership of my land.

        We either live under the rule of law, or live under the rule of other men, or die. The constitution is clear, and is the LAW our founders agreed to live under. We are citizens or we are subjects. I am a citizen, subject to no one but God, my creator, who is specified in the Declaration of Independence, and is the subject and author of the Bible.

        The Government is not my master. They are the SERVANTS of the public trust. I no longer trust any of them, because their own actions have shown them to be untrustworthy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks. Well said.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I foresee a future where you can load an alternate program into the black box, allowing it to throw out garbage, record at reduced levels, or any number of ways to corrupt the data. Kind of like unlocking a mobile device, tuning an engine ECU, etc. It can be very stealthy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "The ROAD is public, my CAR IS NOT"

        Yes, but your PRIVILEGE to drive on a PUBLIC road depends
        on your car being compliant, whether it be safety standards, emission standards, bumper and headlight regulations, etc.

        Yes, I hate this idea of a black box as much as you do -- however, just because your car is "private" does not mean the government cannot mandate certain regulations that must be met for your car to be allowed on public roads.

        Its like seatbelt laws -- you can do whatever you want on your private property, but once you enter a public road, you have to comply with whatever seatbelt laws there are.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Nice rant, but what is actually likely to happen is that insurance rates for non-black box equipped cars will go through the roof and insurance contracts will mandate access to the data in case of an insurance 'event'.

        Freedom and privacy are all fine and good, but you can also give them up through a simple contract - and most people do without even thinking (look at the arbitration clause in you cell phone contract).

        And, if you think that is crazy, it's already the case since 2005 in the UK - http://www.car-insurance-for-learner-driver.com/car-insurance-latest-news281106.php
        • 4 Years Ago
        Obama, Pelosi, Reid and the rest of the Dems protecting us from those mean corporations. More to come.
        • 4 Years Ago
        There NEEDS to be a purge button on such a black box.

        It is your car, you fuel to operate the engine, to spin the alternator, to power such an EDR.


        How about a 'brake override' system where there is a sensor in the gas pedal that determines if there is a human foot pushing down on said gas pedal. [inductive, capacitive, piezo, conductive, whatever]
        So if the throttle by wire says full throttle, but the pedal say NO input, then the TBW is overridden.


        There is no such thing as a collective right.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I just hope the brake override doesn't screw up the ability for heel-toe down shifting in cars with manual transmissions.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm almost entirely certain that vehicles with manual gearboxes will not have this feature.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And forgive the double post, but vehicles with launch control can retain that ability.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I would think, or hope, that it would only apply to cars with auto transmissions.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Reading the text of the bill it does not exempt manual transmissions. Infact, it also has a provision which would mandate minimum spacing of the accelerometer and brake pedal as defined by a government organization to prevent simultaneous pressing of both pedals by accident.

        I expect to see more use of dual-clutch crapboxes and stuff like the auto revmatching from the 370z in use to counteract this.
        • 4 Years Ago
        My manual transmission car has this feature. I recently tested it out and hit the brake while pressing the accelerator and full braking force was applied. Dang those brakes are strong!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Cars with manual transmission can and do have this ability. The ECU can recognize the difference between braking while there's throttle input and throttle after braking input.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Car people should write car laws.
      • 4 Years Ago
      WAKE UP SHEEPLE. GOVERNMENT MOTORS IS GOING TO INSTALL THESE AND LINK THEM TO ONSTAR AND AUTOMATICALLY EXPLODE YOUR CAR AND HOUSE WHEN YOU GO THE SPEED LIMIT. RON PAUL 2012
      • 4 Years Ago
      I hope that this black box will have information about the car owner that is easily readable by the police and border control.
      When a car is registered by a new owner, DMV will write it securely into the box.

      This will deter thieves. 1 million cars are stolen in the USA each year.


      • 4 Years Ago
      More nanny crap, completely unneeded. Rushing ever onward to a nation of weak, pathetic citizens who can do little by themselves, responsible for nothing, controlled by a corrupt government.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't like this, the bumbling, overbearing bastards! We don't need the dam congress to protect us from automakers! After all, we have ambulance chasers!
      • 4 Years Ago
      #1 Voice Recorder sound: Hold my Beer, watch this!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good, we should capture as much data as possible about driving. How we drive, brake, turn, speed, g, accident data, normal data, everything! This can only lead to better highways, better cars, lower insurance, lower death rates, lower litigation costs, better parenting...of course the data has to be secure.

      and just imagine this data in a SYNC app!

      i monitor my running and cycling using garmin connect, might as well my driving too
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is just a waste of money. Why bother?? Anyone with any brains will use the first trick in the book to deactivate these.....and trust me....that option will be available within hours of release of this product.
      Grinding18
      • 4 Years Ago
      Welcome to what truck drivers have been fighting for 10yrs,unsuccesfully.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh Noez, brake override! eeep! I wish my cars had been equipped with such a safety measure years and years and generations and generations ago. oh, wait, they have been, lol. might as well get those other automakers trying to short change their customers back in the loop... though how does this affect minuscule car makers without traction control, etc, ie spyker. exemptions?
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