New Cars Will Be Equipped with ‘Black Boxes’

Federal regulators proposing black boxes come installed in new automobiles

Black boxes are common in airplanes, but the data-recording devices could end up in your next vehicle.

After September 2014, new cars will likely be equipped with the tracking devices. Congress has already signed on the National Safety Transportation Agency to set motor-vehicle safety rules and take public opinion on the proposal this February.

New vehicles will “come equipped with black boxes, so-called ‘event data recorders’ that chronicle everything from how fast a vehicle was traveling, the number of passengers and even a car’s location,” reports Wired.

The National Safety Board first recommended that the boxes be mandatory in all cars in 2004. Now “EDRs may still set an important precedent for a range of other technologies in terms of who controls them and in whose interests. Will devices serve the consumer/owner, or some other powerful interest such as the government or big companies? We don’t want to drift into a world in which our own possessions are riddled with computer chips acting in the interests of others—watching us, controlling us, and possibly snitching on us,” says the American Civil Liberties Union.

Black boxes, like in airplanes, will be able to record behind-the-scenes information such as the speed, the number of passengers, and whether or not a driver is wearing a seatbelt. Mandatory black boxes may improve safety and as of now are currently only in a few states. They require the car owner to consent to the data recording.

To voice your opinion to the National Transportation Safety Agency, submit your comments to Regulations.gov.

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