When an airplane crashes, even if it's completely destroyed, investigators can still recover the critical black box to determine exactly what happened on board that aircraft. In the Costa Concordia disaster in Europe, the black box will be crucial in the criminal charges being presented against the cruise ship's head staff. So now, the US Senate wants to make the same kind of technology mandatory in cars, where crashes and accidents are much more commonplace.
The more technical name for a black box is an "event data recorder" (EDR), and some vehicles already have them equipped as part of the standard manufacturing. The bill currently being considered on the floor of the Senate would make them required for all car manufacturers by the year 2015. The point, of course, is to have a perfect record of what was going on in the car, like speed, location, angle, etc, to be able to reverse engineer an accident. Right now, most vehicle incidents rely on a "he said, she said" mentality.
The bill reads, "Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall revise part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, to require, beginning with model year 2015, that new passenger motor vehicles sold in the United States be equipped with an event data recorder that meets the requirements under that part." Of course, the opposition side points to violations of privacy and all that good stuff. But really, wouldn't the world be a better place if this law were enacted?