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Critics Debate Whether Cars Must Be Required To Have Black Boxes

Multiple news agencies have been covering the reports concerning the use of black boxes, the technology officially known as event data recorders.

According to multiple news sources, the equipment is a concept that is widely accepted when it comes to its use in airplanes. The technology offers details concerning accidents to researchers or insurance companies after an accident happened.

The technology is already part of most new vehicles’ structure. The program offers details on what happens before the accident occurred and what the driver may have done prior to the accident. It could help investigators when it comes to identifying possible equipment failures or human error that could have led to the accident. However, many people are asking about how far the technology could go, especially when it comes to what kind of information the black boxes will be recording.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is pushing new legislation that would require automakers to make use of the EDRs in all new vehicles. The new legislation would affect only 4 percent of new vehicles, since most new cars already come with the technology.

Some of the questions most critics of the mandatory use of black boxes include how the automaker is supposed to notify the consumer about the presence of the device and who owns the data that the black box collects. Some critics are also concerned with the period of time the details stored by the EDRs are supposed to me maintained in the device’s memory and what parties would be able to access it.

According to multiple agencies, the privacy concerns haven’t been addressed by lawmakers up to this moment. While federal laws may not require a warrant to release details these black boxes may contain, a lawsuit would probably find the individual’s right to privacy more important than what the federal law omits. Some critics also say that the presence of a black box could make it easier for thieves to steal vital information on the car owner.

While automakers and other companies are working to fix these potential issues with the EDRs and lawmakers find a common ground in order to push this legislation forward, critics continue to suggest that the mandatory presence of EDRs would undermine the consumer’s rights to privacy. Some even go as far as saying that the black boxes are nothing but an unreliable source of information, especially concerning accidents.

Follow this link to read the full article on the use of black boxes and on what the technology could mean to car owners everywhere.

About the Author
The Vachon Law Firm is based in Southern California and focuses exclusively on consumer protection litigation.