We mentioned earlier this month that rumors were circulating that the federal government would move to place event data recorders inside new vehicles. Federal regulators are now proposing that all new automobiles sold in the US after September of 2014 will be required to be equipped with these event data recorders. The recorders are somewhat like the black boxes that are found inside aircraft.
The boxes will reportedly be able to record all sorts of information about a vehicle including how fast it was traveling, the number of passengers, and the vehicle location. The National Transportation Safety Agency is calling for public comments on the proposed rule by February 11, 2013. The NTSA has the authority to set motor vehicle safety requirements and it is within the agency's power to require automakers install event data recorders in the vehicle.
The way these boxes would work is that the devices would activate the record data for about 30 seconds during certain events. This would mean during sudden braking, acceleration, swerving, or other types of driving that could lead to an accident. The information would be able to be downloaded from the box remotely or through physical connection depending on the vehicle model.
The federal regulators say that the data would be used "primarily for the purpose of post-crash assessment of vehicle safety performance." You can bet if the information is available; it will also wind up being used in court to prove or disprove the drivers fault in an accident. Privacy advocates want the data to be anonymized and wants guarantees that the information won't be marketed. Insurance companies could potentially take this information and use it to increase rates for an area.