The federal government wants a record of how you drive your vehicle.
“Event data recorders” — popularly known as “black boxes” — can record a vehicle’s speed, braking, engine conditions, airbag and seatbelt use, number of passengers and possibly vehicle location in certain situations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is moving to require the installation of such data recorders in all new vehicles sold in the U.S. after September 2014, but will consider public comment on the proposal until February, Wired notes.
Regulators say the data would be used, in collaboration with automakers, to improve driver safety by analyzing vehicle performance during accidents. However, critics worry that without strict controls, the data could end up being used to curtail privacy or be sold to other companies, possibly including insurance providers. No rules yet exist about how long driving data would be stored or who has the right to access or disseminate the data.
Even without the new regulation, a number of automakers are already installing the black boxes on a voluntary basis in anticipation of a federal mandate. Currently, 13 states require manufacturers to inform car buyers about the existence of data recorders in their vehicles.