Feds Call For Black Boxes In New Cars

WASHINGTON (December 7, 2012)—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing that automakers install event data recorders, better known as black boxes, in most new cars and trucks despite privacy concerns.

The NHTSA proposal announced Friday would apply to passenger vehicles that are sold after Sept. 1, 2014 and that weigh less than 8,500 pounds.

The agency is behind the curve, however, because automakers have been tucking the devices into cars for years.

They automatically record 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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