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U.S. DOT proposes placing “black boxes” in all cars


This news story was published on December 12, 2012.
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A “black box” in vehicles would help determine a wide range of information about crashes.

Requirement aims to capture valuable safety-related information in seconds before and during a motor vehicle crash –

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today proposed a new standard that would capture valuable safety-related data in the seconds before and during a motor vehicle crash. The proposed rule would require automakers to install event data recorders (EDRs)—devices that collect specific safety related data—in all light passenger vehicles beginning September 1, 2014.

“By understanding how drivers respond in a crash and whether key safety systems operate properly, NHTSA and automakers can make our vehicles and our roadways even safer,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This proposal will give us the critical insight and information we need to save more lives.”

NHTSA estimates that approximately 96 percent of model year 2013 passenger cars and light-duty vehicles are already equipped with EDR capability. These devices are located in the vehicle and require special hardware and software to download the information. A crash or air bag deployment typically triggers the EDR, which collects data in the seconds before and during a crash. The data collected by EDRs can be used to improve highway safety by ensuring NHTSA, other crash investigators and automotive manufacturers understand the dynamics involved in a crash and the performance of safety systems.

Examples of some of the information recorded include:

  • vehicle speed;
  • whether the brake was activated in the moments before a crash;
  • crash forces at the moment of impact;
  • information about the state of the engine throttle;
  • air bag deployment timing and air bag readiness prior to the crash; and
  • whether the vehicle occupant’s seat belt was buckled.

EDRs do not collect any personal identifying information or record conversations and do not run continuously.

“EDRs provide critical safety information that might not otherwise be available to NHTSA to evaluate what happened during a crash—and what future steps could be taken to save lives and prevent injuries,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “A broader EDR requirement would ensure the agency has the safety-related information it needs to determine what factors may contribute to crashes across all vehicle manufacturers.”

The new safety regulation proposed today would require EDRs as mandatory equipment in passenger vehicles that weigh less than 8,500 pounds. The proposal includes the same standardized data collection requirements established by NHTSA in 2006 for EDRs that are voluntarily installed by automakers (49 CFR Part 563) and mandates that automakers provide a commercially available tool for downloading the data. In keeping with NHTSA’s current policies on EDR data, the information would be treated by NHTSA as the property of the vehicle owner and would not be used or accessed by the agency without owner consent.

Members of the public are encouraged to provide comment on NHTSA’s EDR proposal and will have 60 days to do so once the proposal is published in the Federal Register. The proposal and information on how to submit comments are available here.

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20 Responses to U.S. DOT proposes placing “black boxes” in all cars

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 15, 2012 at 10:21 am

    It’s gotten to this point because the cops do not do their jobs. They let one driver get away with something, someone else sees it and does the same. Next thing you know, everybody does it, including the pigs.
    Now it’s out of control and can’t be controlled even with their special weekly crackdowns that don’t work, so it has come to this.
    Thank the guys who are paid from our taxes.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 14, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Black boxes = SPY CAMERAS !!

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 14, 2012 at 7:51 am

    install these black boxes (spy cameras) on all new toilet seats also ? Brown energy shovel ready idea from the public sector (fat cats) by the way how’s your union movement going – Rumor is like a bowel movement !

  4. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Be VERY! causious when the the government wants to improve you life ! Like the deer say (or whats left of them ) I wish we had the money to pay insurance companies lobbyists so we would’nt have six seasons and they killed my mommmy !

  5. Avatar

    Katie Reply Report comment

    December 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I hate the idea of black boxes, too. However, everyone in our society is sue happy. If it’s a he said, she said situation, black boxes may be the only way to place blame and liability where it belongs. Won’t it be nice when cars automatically steer themselves. Hopefully they will not be able to go over speed limits posted on those roadways………. LOL

  6. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 12, 2012 at 11:32 am

    It’s about time. Start cracking down on these insanely idiotic drivers. If you drive the way you’re supposed to, then you don’t have anything to worry about.
    Iowa and Minnesota drivers are the biggest dummies and the cops drive the same damn way, so something needs to be done.

    • Avatar

      LVS Reply Report comment

      December 12, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      @Anonymous-you sound like a typical liberal fool who is willing to give away our rights and freedom. What you said is nothing more than B.S. and to be expected from a Commie.

      • Avatar

        happyguy Reply Report comment

        December 12, 2012 at 7:03 pm

        LVS, “a fool and a commie”? Your reply to Anonymous sounds like that of a right wing conservative moron idiot who doesn’t know his butt from his head. Talk about a bs comment, your’s was one.

      • Avatar

        LVS Reply Report comment

        December 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm

        @Happy Guy-I would be hurt by your dumb ass comment if I cared at all about your liberal opinion. In my opinion it is people like you that are wrong with this world. You want to give up your rights go ahead but stay the hell away from mine.

      • Avatar

        happyguy Reply Report comment

        December 13, 2012 at 6:59 pm

        LVS just what rights and freedoms are you claiming I am giving up? Your comment just proves that you are the moron idiot that doesn’t know his butt from his head that I was refering to. You are a fool

      • Avatar

        LVS Reply Report comment

        December 14, 2012 at 8:40 am

        @Happy Guy-It is easy for you to play the tough guy while hiding behind your keyboard and calling names. Who let you into the conversation anyway. You think I am a fool when you are the liberal idiot. If you think you can bully me coward just keep it up and you will find out the hard way that I have been around the block many times.

      • Avatar

        happyguy Reply Report comment

        December 14, 2012 at 10:34 am

        LVS…who is the name caller hiding behind his keyboard? You better check your posts because this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. If your reply was a threat bring it on, I’ll be waiting for you. You have proven you have been around the block…rode hard and put away wet a lot. You are an American Taliban. A right winged teabagger. You are everything that the right needs to rid itself of. You and people like you are the reason Pres. Obama won the election. For that I thank you.

      • Avatar

        LVS Reply Report comment

        December 14, 2012 at 10:54 am

        @Happy Guy-are you stupid or what. I am not right wing, I am not a republican and not a teabagger although not all of what they stand for is bad. I am also not a get everything for nothing, welfare baby socialist and if the shoe fits wear it. You people think everything is free when there is no free money. Someone has to pay for it but you don’t care as long as i is not you. As far as threats, bring it on but be damn careful what you ask for as one of the things I believe in is the right to bear arms and use it in defense.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        December 15, 2012 at 10:13 am

        LVS, I am more than willing to bet you are one of the many dumb ass drivers. And apparently you have no idea what a black box even consists of. Go ahead, pull out in front of me someday or cross over the yellow line coming at me like they all do, I ain’t moving for you.

      • Avatar

        LVS Reply Report comment

        December 15, 2012 at 2:07 pm

        @Anonymous-I have only driven about three times in the last three years so driving is not the issue with me. The issue is government interference in people’s personal lives. If you think for one second that this eventually won’t be used by the government to control people you are badly mistaken. As far as moving over for me, you and Happy Guy together couldn’t even begin to stop me in any way shape or form. You are just a couple of any mouthy punks shooting off your mouths because you know you are safely hidden behind your keyboards.

  7. Avatar

    TheRealFred Reply Report comment

    December 12, 2012 at 10:32 am

    The nanny state is slowing taking over our lives. All in the name of “safety.”

    • Avatar

      Observer Reply Report comment

      December 13, 2012 at 8:03 am

      So I take it you approve of violating laws regarding speeding, noise, reckless driving?

      People already allow their insurance company to monitor their driving habits, and they end up saving money on the deal. Plus, it gives the insurance company evidence if God forbid you get into an accident.

      Verbal statements go out the window, and factual data assure the party really responsible is held accountable (saving the insurance company, and eventually you money). I guarantee if you walk into a courtroom with hard evidence, verbal description of events end up with a nil value.

      Courts in different states have already decided that driving a motor vehicle is not a right, but a privilege legally granted by the state. That along with other decisions have lead to the legal standing that while operating a motor vehicle, there is no legal right of privacy.

      Indeed, the counter-balance argument is that one may not incriminate one’s self. That may be true, however in a lot of cases, States have proved they have a compelling interest in protecting the general public. In addition, you will find that our Courts also allow remote monitoring of traffic, as opposed to having a law enforcement officer do the same. In both cases, the decisions passed the smell test of constitutionality.

  8. Avatar

    50 miles south Reply Report comment

    December 12, 2012 at 9:14 am

    forgot something. there are enough government vehicles on the road. state local schools, ect. install them in those vehicles. may have told the truth about Branstads underage DRUNK kid who killed two people years ago. there is NO statute of limitations on a homicide. im NOT from fort dodge

  9. Avatar

    LVS Reply Report comment

    December 12, 2012 at 9:13 am

    More spy B.S. from the government. Only an idiot would think they can’t program these things to watch every move you make. Put them together with the drones they have watching us now and we will be ever closer to a full police state.

  10. Avatar

    50 miles south Reply Report comment

    December 12, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Id bet that the insurance companies love this. in the future, if this is passed, they will lobby for that information to be used by them without the owners permission.
    speeding???… insurance voided
    didnt use brakes? failure to have control.. insurance voided.
    may take some time but just wait.
    remember those road cams that were for {safty} and not to be used for revenue.