'Black box' approach to safety
BUILT FOR SAFETY, NOT EAVESDROPPING: By 2014 the The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hopes to have all new automobiles fitted with a 'black box' event data recorder.
WASHINGTON - The US' National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed that all vehicles built after September 2014 be fitted with "event data recorders".
The so-called 'black boxes' capture data before, during and after a crash.
According to the Detroit News, however, the NHTSA estimates that about 96% of 2013 cars and light vehicles are already equipped with the data recorders.
US national transportation secretary Ray LaHood said: "By understanding how drivers respond in a crash and whether key safety systems operate properly, NHTSA and automakers can make our vehicles and our roadways even safer. This proposal will give us the critical insight and information we need to save more lives."
A crash or air-bag deployment typically triggers the event data recorder, which saves information from the seconds before and during a crash. The information, it's clalimed, can help the NHTSA and automakers understand why a crash occurred and if safety systems worked properly.
The recorders collect t vehicle speed; whether brakes were applied; impact force; how much the accelerator was pushed; air bag deployment timing; whether seat belts were buckled.
NO INVASION OF PRIVACY
The NHTSA emphasised that recorders would not collect personal information or record conversations - and that they do not run continuously.
NHTSA administrator David Strickland added: "EDR's provide critical safety information that might not otherwise be available to evaluate what happened during a crash - and what future steps could be taken to save lives and prevent injuries."
The information is treated by NHTSA as the property of the vehicle owner and would not be used or accessed by the agency without owner consent.
Hmmm, have we heard that before?
The devices have been in use, it's claimed, for about 20 years.