Gov’t calls for black boxes in new cars

Dec 7 2012 - 1:35pm

Images

FILE - This July 16, 2003, file photo shows emergency officials assisting injured pedestrians after a car plowed through a crowded farmers market in Santa Monica, Calif. Many motorists don't know it, but it's likely that every time they get behind the wheel there's a snitch along for the ride. In the next few days, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to propose long-delayed regulations requiring auto manufacturers include event data recorders, better known as "black boxes," in all new cars and light trucks. The NTSB has been pushing for recorders in all passenger vehicles since the board's investigation of the 2003 accident in which an elderly driver plowed through an open-air market in Santa Monica. Ten people were killed and 63 others injured. The driver refused to be interviewed and his 1992 Buick LeSabre didn't have a recorder. (AP Photo/Nate Rawner, File)
FILE - This Nov. 2, 2011 file photo shows the state-owned Ford driven by Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray sitting on a flatbed truck at the Massachusetts State Police barracks in Holden, Mass. Many motorists don't know it, but it's likely that every time they get behind the wheel there's a snitch along for the ride. In the next few days, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to propose long-delayed regulations requiring auto manufacturers include event data recorders, better known as "black boxes," in all new cars and light trucks. Data collected by the recorders is increasingly showing up in lawsuits, criminal cases and high-profile accidents. Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray initially said he wasn't speeding and that he was wearing his seatbelt when he crashed a government-owned car last year. But the Ford Crown Victoria's data recorder told a different story: It showed the car was traveling over 100 mph and Murray wasn't belted in. (AP Photo/The Telegram & Gazette, Tom Rettig, File)
FILE - This July 16, 2003, file photo shows emergency officials assisting injured pedestrians after a car plowed through a crowded farmers market in Santa Monica, Calif. Many motorists don't know it, but it's likely that every time they get behind the wheel there's a snitch along for the ride. In the next few days, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to propose long-delayed regulations requiring auto manufacturers include event data recorders, better known as "black boxes," in all new cars and light trucks. The NTSB has been pushing for recorders in all passenger vehicles since the board's investigation of the 2003 accident in which an elderly driver plowed through an open-air market in Santa Monica. Ten people were killed and 63 others injured. The driver refused to be interviewed and his 1992 Buick LeSabre didn't have a recorder. (AP Photo/Nate Rawner, File)
FILE - This Nov. 2, 2011 file photo shows the state-owned Ford driven by Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray sitting on a flatbed truck at the Massachusetts State Police barracks in Holden, Mass. Many motorists don't know it, but it's likely that every time they get behind the wheel there's a snitch along for the ride. In the next few days, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to propose long-delayed regulations requiring auto manufacturers include event data recorders, better known as "black boxes," in all new cars and light trucks. Data collected by the recorders is increasingly showing up in lawsuits, criminal cases and high-profile accidents. Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray initially said he wasn't speeding and that he was wearing his seatbelt when he crashed a government-owned car last year. But the Ford Crown Victoria's data recorder told a different story: It showed the car was traveling over 100 mph and Murray wasn't belted in. (AP Photo/The Telegram & Gazette, Tom Rettig, File)

WASHINGTON -- Federal regulators are proposing automakers install event data recorders -- better known as "black boxes" -- in most new cars and trucks despite privacy concerns.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposal announced Friday would apply to passenger vehicles sold after Sept. 1, 2014, and weighing less than 8,500 pounds.

The agency is behind the curve. Automakers have been tucking the devices into cars for years. It automatically records the actions of drivers and the responses of their vehicles in a continuous information loop.

The idea is to gather information that can help investigators determine the cause of accidents and lead to safer vehicles. But privacy advocates say government regulators and automakers are spreading an intrusive technology without first putting in place policies to prevent misuse of the information collected.
 

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