Possibly coming soon to a new car near you – mandatory tracking and recording of your automobile usage.
So says National Center Adjunct Fellow Horace Cooper in a just-released National Center for Public Policy Research paper, “Coming to a Car Near You? The Department of Transportation’s Creepy Black Box.”
Cooper says the federal government could soon adopt a measure – already approved by the U.S. Senate – mandating that every new car sold in the United States after 2015 include an event data recorder (EDR) – a so-called “automobile black box.”
The EDRs are expected to monitor speed, driving habits, locations visited and distances traveled, seat belt utilization, number and weight of passengers carried, and perhaps some 15 other different data measurements. Under the provisions of the measure adopted by the Senate when it voted to reauthorize federal highway transportation programs this summer, the U.S. Department of Transportation, not the car’s owner, would determine exactly what data the boxes would record.
“Essentially supporters argue that being able to download the data from the EDR’s memory will help law enforcement and even federal regulators to better understand what happened in the event of an accident and how the safety systems performed, and particularly in cases where other techniques are inconclusive, help establish culpability,” says Cooper in the paper.