Are you ready for a black box to be installed in your car? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration apparently is. According to a new report from Wired, NHTSA is expected to rule next month that all new cars will need to carry just such a device.
Now, before you get all "Screw the Gubment!" in the comments, you should know that many modern cars already have black box systems installed – you might have one and not even know it. General Motors, for instance, has been installed the electronic data recorders since the 1990s, on almost all vehicles fitted with airbags.

The concern for most drivers, however, lies with what type of information is captured, and who has access to it. Also, different automakers use different Electronic Data Recorder devices. A black box standard needs to be developed, which would allow for the data retrieved from an EDR to be consistent regardless of the vehicle make it's pulled from.

Some view this mandate as an invasion of motorists' privacy. However, the data recovered from the black box systems can provide crucial insight into crash dynamics. Exactly who's allowed to view that information varies by state, of course, and only 13 states currently have legislation in place regulating the release of EDR data.

What do you think, is this a good idea, or a bad one? Have your say in Comments.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 78 Comments
      Rick C.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The bigger fear is having your insurance company getting a hold of the data.
      Chris
      • 3 Years Ago
      In a perfect world this would be a great addition. In the real world this will be great ammunition for lawyers, cops, and insurance companies to be used against me.
      Making11s
      • 3 Years Ago
      Whatever. People will have these things hacked and disabled within a week of implementation.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Making11s
        And if you hack it, it will be a federal crime, just like removing your airbags or any other safety or emissions equipment is. Good luck with that one in court. They will "make an example" out of the first person to do that.
          oRenj9
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          People do both of those all the time as well. Hell, every car that I've owned has had a hacked ECU. While it may be illegal technically, it isn't really enforced.
          LUSTSTANG S-197
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          @Speedyexpress48 For now, I stand by what I said, however, if the insurance companies start denying coverage to those who do not give them access to this information, then we are screwed. Hopefully, people will finally wake up before it comes to that and say "enough is enough"!! Otherwise, the joy of driving will be gone forever. That, or those of us who still have a pulse and prefer not to be a bunch of zombies will just break the laws anyways and deal with the higher rates and weekly tickets. That said, it is getting harder and harder to respect the laws when there are so many, and counting.
          LUSTSTANG S-197
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          "Good luck with that one in court. They will "make an example" out of the first person to do that." I think the courts have bigger issues to worry about, like prosecuting real criminals such as murderers, rapists, child molesters, robbers, drug dealers, etc.
          speedyexpress48
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          LUSTSTANG S-197; I think the courts have bigger issues to worry about, like prosecuting real criminals such as murderers, rapists, child molesters, robbers, drug dealers, etc. I REALLY wish that was the case. Unfortunately, as we seen with the Nissan Skyline seizures, they only care about $$$. ****, sometimes Japan looks really appealing, even tho the auto operation costs are sky high...
      kevsflanagan
      • 3 Years Ago
      I know for a fact my old 2004 Mazda Rx-8 had a black box that recorded the last 8 seconds of use before a accident. Now as it pertains as to who should be able to view said information. I'm completely against Auto Insurance Agencies being able to view said information without a signed waiver from the owner of the vehicle. As it relates to Police, only if the accident was a serious one to warrant investigating what was transpiring to the car at the time.
      Joe K
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am a centrist (or moderate or realest). I am also an auto engineering tech so I have some idea on how these things will work, but it is a very slippery slope. How long before insurance companies get the data using court orders. Who gets the data. It seems that this is happening with so many items that we pay a large amount of money for an itme just to find out there are parts of it we do not own. With gps getting so small, i wonder when they are used for road use tax and monitoring travel. I really think this is something you should opt into and get a discount from your insurance for it as opposed to having it be forced on you. Unlike other saftey items this has nothing to do with saftey for the people inside the car.
        Agilis
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Joe K
        I disagree. First: Why is it a bad thing that Insurance Companies get access to the EDR data? If a client's, under my insurance company, data from an EDR shows that the client is reckless and drives with complete abandonment when it comes to the law, I want my insurance company to drop him. I don't want that client to continue to be a hazard on the road. And I want this to continue to happen with other Insurance Companies until this person is black listed. I, and others do not need to die because someone doesn't care about the law. Second: "Unlike other safety items this has nothing to do with safety for the inside the car" You're an auto engineering tech and yet you don't realize the importance of data. The data from the EDR can record various forces at work during an accident and can help improve the very safety devices you mention.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Agilis
          [blocked]
      joeboarder108
      • 3 Years Ago
      It would certainly help set the record straight in cases of unintended acceleration and the like. It would be pretty simple to figure out driver error vs mechanical/electrical failure.
      LUSTSTANG S-197
      • 3 Years Ago
      Like everything else Washington has been doing, this reeks of special interests. What ever happened to " I will throw special interests out of Washington"?
      Dana
      • 3 Years Ago
      "BIG BROTHER IS MY COPILOT"
      dukeisduke
      • 3 Years Ago
      EDR, say hello to Mr. Stun Gun.
      1guyin10
      • 3 Years Ago
      The biggest question is how much is this going to cost us? Knowing the goverment they will require something that must survive the apocolypse and costs 2 grand. By the time this bunch gets done a Corrolla is going to cost 60 grand.
      alsmith13
      • 3 Years Ago
      It should take a couple of months for someone to develope an "eraser" that deletes all information in the black box every time the engine is stopped and the key removed. That way, only crash data will be in the box!
      BIG Bill
      • 3 Years Ago
      My car, MY data. Don't the automakers have to put their cars through crash tests before they sell them to the public. I expect to be well paid for my research. I'll shred that piece of equipment before ANY insurance gets MY data.
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