NHTSA could soon mandate that all new cars be sold with... NHTSA could soon mandate that all new cars be sold with data-collecting equipment. (Photo courtesy ABC News).

Black boxes have helped investigators solve the causes of plane crashes for decades. Now authorities hope they can shed light on causes of car accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants auto manufacturers to install the black boxes in new cars and light trucks.

Data records could keep tabs on a number of items that could help reconstruct car accidents – and perhaps lead to safety enhancements. They could help determine vehicle speed, whether brakes are applied, information about engine throttle, fuel economy and whether seat belts were buckled, says ABC News.

Not everyone is thrilled with that idea. Consumer advocates believe the boxes could result in higher insurance rates for those whose driving behavior is monitored. Privacy leaders believe the data could be used to spy on motorists.

"There are important safety concerns here and they shouldn't be ignored, but there are also pressing privacy concerns," Chris Calabrese, of the American Civil Liberties Union, tells ABC News. "Chiefly, who's going to access this information and how long is it going to be collected? I'd make sure that the owner of the vehicle controls the data."

Some manufacturers have installed black boxes on specific models, starting with General Motors in 1999, but NHTSA would like to mandate for all new vehicles. Now that onboard technology has evolved, they believe it would be easier to collect the data now.

Congress rejected legislation that would have mandated event data recorders in cars in 2010. But NHTSA could sidestep Congressional approval with its own rules. The White House has given its support to a rule that would require all future cars and trucks to be equipped with black boxes.

Last week, the Office of Management and Budget reviewed a proposal, and regulations are "likely" to follow early next year, says TheDetroitBureau.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Like many of the posts here I really don't see how it will improve anything (ya, I know, I'm usually the one who argues the other side, things others don't realise). It wouldn't be a preventative as data will be collected after accident - we hope. Certainly isn't going to help new innovations to prevent accidents unless it is a precurser to full automation - there is a lot of that with auto adjusting cruise control and breaking, auto parking, etc. I see horrible litigation after the accident with all that extra data, insurance will end up going through the roof as proof of negligence increases awards from suits. And most of all, god forbid it is able to send and receive data real time like some systems now (OnStar, etc). Think if used there should be some very comprehensive research and control that protects what little freedoms we as individuals have left.
      • 2 Years Ago
      That's ok. with every installation comes a technique for uninstalling. knock yourself out and Mr. Fed stay out of my life.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Not sooo ... the so called "black box" will be an intrigrated part of the computer system that controlls your car .... you won't be able to disable it ... the car wont run. Don't pay your loan ... disable the car ..... and they'll know where it is too to come and get it ..... speeding alot .... insurance goes up ..... speeding when you got into that accident .... depending, you may go to jail and the insurance co. won't cover the accident ..... do you get this all yet???? just like the health care .... we're gonna get it .... right up the rear
      • 2 Years Ago
      I am opposed to these Boxes being called Black Boxes, Is it because we called the Capitol The White House, just saying.
      • 2 Years Ago
      We are living under a DICTATORSHIP and SOCIALISM. This is no longer America. Is this Korea ???
      • 2 Years Ago
      Obamao administation side stepping congress. Who would have thought? You stupids that voted for this guy. This is nothing. This guy is going to make Castro and Chavez look like conservatives in the next 4 years. Living in the USSA.
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is but a continuation of the Bush administration's Patriot Act thinking-- people have no right to privacy and if they haven't anything to hide they should not find a pat down objectionable. Well I find this line of thought from the lunatic right highly objectionable!
        • 2 Years Ago
        the right? who is in the white house? dumb ass
          • 2 Years Ago
          The Obama droids have to find someone else to blame their lord god and savior is perfect to them
      • 2 Years Ago
      all youn folks wanted the government in your life well they will have it. At leaast this would cause more jobs to those who want to by pass the box will have to pay someone who know how to.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Am I the only person out there that sees society running as fast as they can to emulate the 1984 society.
      • 2 Years Ago
      NO MORE BIG BROTHER ! NO MORE SYING ON AMERICANS ! this is yet one way we give them an inch then they turn around and take the mile . it has to stop , we are a free country or at least we are supposed to be. this is why i buy only cars 15 to 20 years old
        • 2 Years Ago
        My old car gave out and we purchased a new 2012 model. Its incredable all the fan dangled crap they put into new cars. You feel like your are driving a computer down the damn road. Touch screen. Functions up the ying yang. Keyless ingition. If you don't do things right you can't start the damn thing. Dont ask how much replacement parts cost if the damn thing throws a fit. Now they want to spy on you too? I am 68 - hope this car will last me until I am gone. Big Brother is bound and determined to know everything about you and control you. They are able to spy on your Phone calls - Read what you write - (like here) - they can track people where they go - know how you spend your money - where you spend it - on and on. When will the people say "ENOUGH"???
        • 2 Years Ago
        Pretty soon that right will be taken too.
      mark and sheri
      • 2 Years Ago
      And once again, the Executive Branch wants to side step the elected representatives. " Hail, Caesar, we who are about to die!"
      • 2 Years Ago
      raise the driving age, that will deter alot of accidents. anything for money. puttting kids behind the wheel at such and early age. might have been cool when there wasnt alot of drivers but now its suicide.also mandatory required hours before you can drive and show proficiancy
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think it is a good idea, people drive like animals . I have seen people speed and slam into a car and they did not even hit the brakes.
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