Tag Archives: event data recorder

Auto Loan: New NHTSA Proposal Requires “Black Box” Devices in All Motor Vehicles

Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a proposal that starting September 1, 2014, automakers would have to install event data recorders, or EDRs, into all light passenger vehicles. This announcement has been followed with much hand-ringing and unnecessary panic over privacy violations and “Big Brother” government. In reality, this isn’t earth-shattering news, and because there is some misinformation and paranoia, we wanted to take a moment to separate fact from fiction.

First, EDRs have been in cars for almost 20 years. These “black boxes” are not scary new technology. Currently, over 90 percent of new vehicles have EDRs, and they are used in the same way as a “black box” in an airplane, to determine the cause of a crash. Among other factors, they will record the speed the vehicle was traveling in the event of a crash, the time from the beginning of the crash at which the maximum change in forward crash speed occurs, whether the driver applied the brake, whether the driver was wearing their seat belt, and the percentage of the engine throttle.

Second, EDRs are not GPS devices. This is not a means for the government to keep tabs on drivers. EDRs are strictly devices meant to collect information in the event of a crash. They do not record driver conversations or any other personal information, so there is no need to panic that anyone is listening in.

Finally, the information contained on an EDR belongs to the driver. This data can be potentially used in a court of law if it pertains to a car crash, but otherwise no one will ever seen this data except the owner of the car.

If you have any further questions about the proposal, click here or contact the NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236.

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