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U.S. Regulators Propose Black Boxes for All Cars

By - Source: Wired | B 33 comments

US regulators have proposed that new cars be fitted with black box devices.

Planes are outfitted with special recording devices that help investigators figure out what went wrong in case of an accident. These 'black boxes' are recording devices that record audio from the cockpit as well instrument readings from the plane's controls and sensors. If U.S. regulators get their way, these devices may soon be in modern cars, too.

Wired reports that federal regulators are proposing that new cars sold after September 2014 be fitted with event data recorders that would record speed, number of passengers, seat belt usage, throttle, location, and more. These devices aren't designed to record the goings on inside your car at all times. Instead, they'll kick in for about half a minute if the car detects behaviors conducive to a road accident (such as sudden breaking, swerving or acceleration).

According to Wired, the National Transportation Safety Agency is looking for feedback for mandating that all auto manufacturers install these devices in cars. However, there are also concerns regarding drivers' privacy. The NTSA has yet to fill in the blanks on some very important details. This includes who has access to the recording data and how long the data will be kept for. 

The NTSA is accepting comments on the proposal through to February 11. Read all about it and leave your feedback here.

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Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    kellybean , December 27, 2012 5:07 PM
    This is more about getting a gps device and who knows what other stuff in cars and less about safety. Big Brother at it again. Never trust your government, it is full of liars.
Other Comments
  • -8 Hide
    infernocy , December 27, 2012 5:04 PM
    i am for this but i think the auto driver is better cos in a slight moment of lose control the car can stop it self ....
  • -8 Hide
    memadmax , December 27, 2012 5:06 PM
    Why is this news?
    They already do it, now this is a "mandate" to the manufacturers for something they already do....
    If you are concerned about it, and want to remove it, and gain control over the engine/transmission so that you can fine tune it, there are aftermarket systems such as MegaSquirt, that do a real good job, and are surprisingly, OpenSource... =D
  • Display all 33 comments.
  • 20 Hide
    kellybean , December 27, 2012 5:07 PM
    This is more about getting a gps device and who knows what other stuff in cars and less about safety. Big Brother at it again. Never trust your government, it is full of liars.
  • 6 Hide
    blurr91 , December 27, 2012 5:20 PM
    Cars already have this type of device. All modern cars have a recorder that continuously record the last 30 second (or so) of driving condition like speed, throttle, acceleration...etc. It just doesn't record the number of passengers and seatbelt usage (as far as I know).

    More government intrusion into our daily lives. It's all about control.
  • 8 Hide
    robochump , December 27, 2012 5:37 PM
    Hmmmmm...I wonder if insurance companies are behind this and already finding ways to void your warranty from the type of info recorded. lol
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , December 27, 2012 6:13 PM
    Most likely they're trying to know how far we drive so we can be taxed by the mile in addition to being taxed at the pump.
  • 3 Hide
    g00fysmiley , December 27, 2012 6:34 PM
    more and mroe reason to drive a motorcycle faster, better gas mileage and none of this crap... also while i would love to drive a mroe efficient car, but stuff liek this makes me lean towards carburated , it will leave more money for fun things liek computer parts and phones that while they can be used to track me at least can be left at home
  • 6 Hide
    velocityg4 , December 27, 2012 6:37 PM
    Makes me glad I drive old cars. It's bad enough there are cameras all over the place. Now they need to put monitoring equipment in our cars. Why don't they just shove a leash up our arses and get it over with?
  • 5 Hide
    MasterMace , December 27, 2012 7:09 PM
    Warrantless search and seizure.
  • 5 Hide
    elbert , December 27, 2012 7:23 PM
    Wow and next the boxes have wifi and our cars snitch on use. LOL my car reports I have broken the speed limit, not wearing a seat belt, late getting in my insurance, and didnt come to a complete stop at the stop sign. Sounds like they want more ticket revenue and cheaper means to collect the data.
  • 2 Hide
    sykozis , December 27, 2012 7:30 PM
    memadmaxWhy is this news?They already do it, now this is a "mandate" to the manufacturers for something they already do....If you are concerned about it, and want to remove it, and gain control over the engine/transmission so that you can fine tune it, there are aftermarket systems such as MegaSquirt, that do a real good job, and are surprisingly, OpenSource... =D

    There is nothing currently in use that does what these "black boxes" do. The powertrain and other control systems only store data relevant to system malfunctions.

    kellybeanThis is more about getting a gps device and who knows what other stuff in cars and less about safety. Big Brother at it again. Never trust your government, it is full of liars.

    GPS, no, these "black boxes" aren't used for tracking the vehicle. The purpose is to determine the cause of accidents. Basically, it'll give insurance companies more excuses for increasing rates....

    Anti-StatistMost likely they're trying to know how far we drive so we can be taxed by the mile in addition to being taxed at the pump.

    I'm sure we all expect this....and don't be surprised if you turn out to be right.

    robochumpHmmmmm...I wonder if insurance companies are behind this and already finding ways to void your warranty from the type of info recorded. lol

    Yes, the auto insurance companies are supporting this because it gives them yet another excuse to raise rates or deny claims (in states where they legally can).
    elbertWow and next the boxes have wifi and our cars snitch on use. LOL my car reports I have broken the speed limit, not wearing a seat belt, late getting in my insurance, and didnt come to a complete stop at the stop sign. Sounds like they want more ticket revenue and cheaper means to collect the data.

    There's even been rumors of integrating heart rate monitors into this "black box" system so it can detect "anomalies" in your heart rate while driving.... By the time it's done, it'll even know when you have bowel movements and whether your digestive tract is functioning properly....
  • 4 Hide
    sykozis , December 27, 2012 7:31 PM
    MasterMaceWarrantless search and seizure.

    If you're in an accident, probable cause allows for search and seizure without a warrant....
  • 3 Hide
    Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer , December 27, 2012 7:37 PM
    Quote:
    Instead, they'll kick in for about half a minute if the car detects behaviors conducive to a road accident (such as sudden breaking, swerving or acceleration).

    Riiiight. 'Cause if someone runs a red light at an intersection and T-bones you, neither box will record anything useful, and it'll still be word-versus-word unless there's a witness.
  • 0 Hide
    michaelssw , December 27, 2012 7:38 PM
    g00fysmileymore and mroe reason to drive a motorcycle faster, better gas mileage and none of this crap...


    Yea I wouldn't dream of riding one of those around my military infested area, those guys merge first and ask questions later

    Nothin against the military, just sayin
  • 0 Hide
    abbadon_34 , December 27, 2012 8:32 PM
    don't forget table to tax you miles drive, issue traffic trickets, and affect insurance rates, only to start with the attemps in the last year
  • 0 Hide
    f-14 , December 27, 2012 9:13 PM
    kellybeanThis is more about getting a gps device and who knows what other stuff in cars and less about safety. Big Brother at it again. Never trust your government, it is full of liars.


    you have a cell phone? congratulations you're already being tracked as all cell phones since going digital have GPS built into them it not only goes with you in your car but as you walk down the side walk, to your drug dealers, to you're ex's window, inside your home and other places you go

    all GM vehicles with 'onstar' have gps built into them as well.

    a black box set up the way they have them in aircraft is the least they SHOULD DO, driving is not a right it is a privelge i would like it to go a little further than just aircraft black boxes and have camera or video snap shot or full video but that is where the potential for abuse comes in.

    it would be great for legal purposes if a car thief stole your car and got into an accident. would also stop alot of lying in auto accidents, would prevent life insurance fraud and some crime, would be great for auto insurers, not completely so great for their customers if they are bad drivers. excellent for the people put into a coma in an auto accident who can not testify in court.

    would be very incriminating for you drug using drivers and people grooming themselves while going to work, people disobeying traffic control devices or breaking other vehicular laws.

    i think video out the front window point of view with the rear view mirror included in the picture capture would be good.

    to those of you with the hanky panky going on in the back seat, it's nothing i couldn't have video'd and put on a porn site thru one of your windows.
  • -5 Hide
    madjimms , December 27, 2012 9:44 PM
    All of you "anti-government" people get all pissed when USEFUL devices get introduced (that should have been mandatory 10 years ago) This device will help find who is responsible for an accident, was the person speeding? were they pulling excessive G-forces? Basically if some aggressive driver gets in an accident they will be punished as they should.
  • 1 Hide
    memadmax , December 27, 2012 10:52 PM
    @sykozis
    They have too been tracking you, haven't you heard of OnStar?
    Even if you cancel your subscription, they still track you.
    Thats one, the others do it too....

    And the "black box" thing? They've been doing it since the 00's, they just call it by a different name:
    Diagnostic Snapshots... Grab a nice SnapOn scanner and you can see all the crap they store and even create your own snapshots for whatever you want at whatever condition. Like say you want to have the computer start recording for 5 mins when the engine hits 2000 rpms for example....

    Why do I know this?
    I used to be a service manager, not just a computer freak >_>
  • 0 Hide
    sonofliberty08 , December 27, 2012 10:58 PM
    we already had that device, it called "Drive Recorder"
  • 1 Hide
    sykozis , December 27, 2012 11:41 PM
    memadmax@sykozis They have too been tracking you, haven't you heard of OnStar?Even if you cancel your subscription, they still track you.Thats one, the others do it too....And the "black box" thing? They've been doing it since the 00's, they just call it by a different name:D iagnostic Snapshots... Grab a nice SnapOn scanner and you can see all the crap they store and even create your own snapshots for whatever you want at whatever condition. Like say you want to have the computer start recording for 5 mins when the engine hits 2000 rpms for example....Why do I know this?I used to be a service manager, not just a computer freak >_>

    OnStar is specific to GM vehicles.

    Yes, a technician can configure the powertrain control modules to make recordings under specified conditions. However, aside from these rather rare occasions, the only time the system itself creates recordings is when faults occur. The recordings are even specific to the fault that occurs. The system is designed to store maximum speed and maximum RPM for warranty purposes, but that data is off-limits to law enforcement and insurance companies.
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