Somewhere between 65% and 90% of new vehicles sold today have an onboard "black box" capable of recording data prior to airbag deployment, and there's a battle brewing between the federal government and states over the privacy issues surrounding such devices. Just the fact that there's so much uncertainty around the exact number of devices in use should be a good indicator of the controversy of crash recording devices. In my opinion, such devices have the potential to give engineers vastly improved information about crashes, but third-party access to such information should be allowed only with the explicit permission of the vehicle's owner, or under court order.


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