The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will rule on a universal format for Event Data Recorders in the next 30 days, according to Automotive News. While not going so far as to make EDRs mandatory in every new vehicle, the ruling will create a standard format for data collected by EDRs across many different vehicles. The Society of Automotive Engineers has been given the task to come up with the universal format.
The new ruling will only cost automakers about $8 million, which isn't much in the grand scheme of things. To date these black boxes have aided in voluntary recalls and accident investigations, and automakers claim they're used to make vehicles safer. Of course, the real debate is whether information recorded by an EDR can be submitted as evidence against a driver in court. In that case, Big Brother may now be riding shot gun.
[Source: Automotive News – sub. required]