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Mandatory Automotive Black Boxes May Be On the Way 619

Posted by timothy
from the pesky-privacy-laws-be-damned dept.
Attila Dimedici writes "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to announce a new regulation requiring all vehicles to contain a 'black box.' Not only that, but the devices would be designed to make it difficult (possibly illegal) to modify what information these devices collect or to disable them even though the courts have ruled that the owner of the vehicle owns the data. The courts have also ruled that authorities may access that data (to what degree and whether a warrant is necessary depends on the state)."
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Mandatory Automotive Black Boxes May Be On the Way

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @07:21AM (#36226506)

    it's for the children.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by siddesu (698447)

      And next, it won't be you talking to the chip, but the chip talking to you.

      Welcome to the Matrix, Neo, which pill will you have?

      • by Stele (9443)

        They will be the same pill, regardless of which one you pick. The "choice" is an illusion.

    • by EraserMouseMan (847479) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @07:36AM (#36226602)
      I agree. For crying out loud when will people realize that they are putting their lives and the lives of others in danger. After all, why do you *need* to drive your own car? Take a bus. Take a cab. Take the subway. Let a state licensed professional drive you around. I've never understood why people feel they have a right to choose to do something dangerous. With mandatory black boxes in vehicles the state will be able to show that the professionals are the ones who should be behind the wheel.
      • by alen (225700)

        at least in NYC it's the professionals that break the most traffic laws and drive dangerously. bus driver, taxi cab drivers, medical van drivers and other people who drive a lot for work. they are the ones running the most red lights and getting pissed off at you if you drive within the laws

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          Driving within the laws in New York would actively be either dangerous or incredibly inefficient for hundreds or thousands of people behind you in a lot of cases. If you follow the wrong signs, you will smash your car into concrete barriers. If you follow "Lane closed Merge [right/left]" signs, you will change lanes without cause many times, increasing the likelihood of accident. If you only drive in lanes, regardless of what street you are on, rather than edging forward into available space, you will ma

        • I lived in NYC for many years and noticed how great the taxi drivers were at driving. No, they do not follow the laws, but they do follow a different set of rules. For example, in Boston or Chicago, when you are inching along, if someone puts the corner of their car in front of you, you can swerve around them and re=cut them off before they get into your late--in NYC, once they cut in, they are in. You have to let them go in. The Boston/Chicago way is very dangerous and leads to games of chicken. The NYC wa

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by khallow (566160)

        I've never understood why people feel they have a right to choose to do something dangerous.

        It's that freedom thing. I have a right to make decisions, even if I could make choices that are harmful to myself or others.

        With mandatory black boxes in vehicles the state will be able to show that the professionals are the ones who should be behind the wheel.

        People don't exist for the convenience of the state, but the other way around. I'd rather the state be unable to demonstrate that its drivers are "professionals" in this manner.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by i_ate_god (899684)

          actually, you should have a right to do anything so long as it doesn't trample those same rights afforded to your fellow citizens.

          eg: you have a right to go off trail while hiking, but you do not have a right to tax payer money to free you when you get lost. Free speech is fine and all, even if you say the most derogatory comments. Mainly because those offended have a choice not to listen to you. But yelling fire in a cinema?

          • by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @09:16AM (#36227586)

            But yelling fire in a cinema?

            At this point I'm tired of that damned example. These days it's used more and more as precedent to just keep eroding freedom of speech until its meaningless. A few years back someone in my state's legislature tried to outlaw PROFANITY citing that it has already been established that some speech is not protected (citing the "Fire!" bit).

            Fuck the fire in the theater example. If someone yells fire in a theater, calmly exit the building in an orderly fashion. Free speech should mean free speech with no asterisks beside it.

            • by morgauxo (974071)
              What would really happen if someone yelled fire in a cinema?

              The other movie watchers would yell at them to sit down, shut up and stop interrupting the movie. Who expects a real fire to be announced by some dummy in the middle of the crowded room noticing it when nobody else does? I think the crowd would just assume the shouter is being an idiot until they see or smell it or the alarm actually goes off.
            • These days it's used more and more as precedent to just keep eroding freedom of speech until its meaningless. A few years back someone in my state's legislature tried to outlaw PROFANITY citing that it has already been established that some speech is not protected (citing the "Fire!" bit).

              For fucks sake. You believe in not changing the world to make it wholely kid-safe. The same has to apply to laws. Yes Virgina, sometimes more than a 3rd grade education is required.

              The Supreme Court has already ruled th

              • by MBGMorden (803437)

                Which restriction do you think should be undone?

                I think I made my point clear when I said no asterisks. However, since you were kind enough to provide a list of the existing asterisks, kindly reference it. Those are the restrictions I want undone.

            • by nschubach (922175)

              I was actually in a theater where there was a fire. You could see one of the speakers behind the screen caught fire and it was burning in an awesome looking circle behind the scene... I thought it was a cool looking fireball effect until I realized it was real and it wasn't moving with the scene.

              Now, according to the "yelling fire in a theater" crowd, we should have all gone off and stampeded each other to get out of the building. You know what happened? We all peacefully stood up, proceeded to the exits

        • by schwinn8 (982110)
          Well, if you want freedom to do things that are harmful to you or others, then you should also be held responsible for mistakes. Furthermore, "safety measures" to prevent your stupidity should not affect me either - I should be free to be equally stupid, and equally responsible.

          Bringing that back to the original point, if you are too inept to drive, either you shouldn't be allowed to do so (licensing restriction... though this is still a "safety measure" by the above definition), or you should be held res
      • by nospam007 (722110) *

        "Take a bus. Take a cab. Take the subway."

        Yep, at least those have additional video recordings, unlike in your car, they'll know it's you.

    • by morari (1080535)

      Just another reason not to buy newer cars... or have children.

  • Not a fan (Score:2, Interesting)

    First off, it being illegal to disable a part on my car? Is it making it safer or reducing pollution? Then why should removing it be illegal if it's my car?

    I can understand keeping your engine/power at certain levels, keeping pollution to a minimum, and keeping your lights/blinkers in a certain condition.

    But why should I be forced to leave a black-box on my car if it's just going to be used retroactively to bite me in the *behind* in case of an accident.

    Particularly since I have personal experience with

    • Re:Not a fan (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Metabolife (961249) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @07:33AM (#36226580)

      Simple.. because if you don't have one during an accident, you're guilt by default!

      Isn't choice wonderful?

    • Don't you know computers don't make mistakes? Putting black boxes in cars will ensure that noone is ever found at fault when they shouldn't be, and that you're never wrongfully ticketed. This is the way things are going, it's like the cameras they use to catch speeders and red light runners, and those things have never made a mistake, certainly never been shown to consistently make mistakes... Seriously though, I like the idea of a black box system that will reliably determine who is at fault in an accident
      • by gx5000 (863863)
        Computer aren't infallible, period. Trust me, after twenty seven years in IT/IM I can say that Data can be used to prove almost anything. And if the tech isn't solid, which it never truly is, so many errors will crop up and make it impossible to defend against. This is more 1984 big brother nonsense and must be stopped. Just as bad as having state cameras watching your kids in your home because they keep breaking the law (UK).
      • First-person experience, here -- "In 400 metres, exit left to Proposed Western Freeway." -- Garman Nuvi.
    • Re:Not a fan (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rtb61 (674572) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @07:36AM (#36226606) Homepage

      Simply because you do not own the roads, you do not clean up the mess and you don't have to pay for all the costs of hospitalisation, rehabilitation and permanent disability.

      It's called vehicle registrations and drivers licence, don't like it, walk or take public transport.

      Back to reality, the thing that needs to be locked at is the ramifications of being 1km over the speed 500 metres before the accident. Insurance companies being the scum of the earth that they are, will be looking to exclude payment for the slightest infraction or demanding contributory payment well beyond reasonable levels. The vehicle accident blackbox information should only be used if data indicated the drivers behaviour substantively contributed to the accident.

      Driving record audits tied to GPS could be quite the hassle. Get a speeding ticket and based upon that get audited and get a whole bunch more.

      • Erm, if the fact of increasing payments towards fixing you car because you were over the speed limit reduces the cost of insurance, then that is a benefit to the careful driver.

        What it is more likely do is improve lawyers income with people arguing with insurance companies over the fact that just because I was speeding earlier, at the point of the accident I was driving within the parameters of the law...

        What gets me is if they can put these blackboxes in, and my gps does this anyway, why can't they regulat

        • Re:Not a fan (Score:4, Informative)

          by icebraining (1313345) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:00AM (#36226836) Homepage

          What gets me is if they can put these blackboxes in, and my gps does this anyway, why can't they regulate the speeds of the vehicle on the roads. If you are on the limit, the accelerator doesn't allow further acceleration, except in short bursts (which is needed for accident avoidance in certain situations). Oh wait...the police department won't be able to fine any more.

          That would require really careful, defensive programming to avoid situations where 'suddenly' the system thinks you're in a residential road when you're in fact on the highway.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Simply because you do not own the roads, you do not clean up the mess and you don't have to pay for all the costs of hospitalisation, rehabilitation and permanent disability.

        It's called vehicle registrations and drivers licence, don't like it, walk or take public transport.

        Unlike keeping the car in working order, with legal power-ratings, and having the appropriate lighting (all required by registration and inspection) how does the black box clean up the mess and pay for the hospitalization / rehab / etc?

        Your explanation is: it should be part of the registration / inspection process because the registration / inspection process does good things and is required to continue driving. It says nothing about why this specific issue should be enforced other than "because they say s

      • Re:Not a fan (Score:5, Interesting)

        by limaxray (1292094) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:25AM (#36227058) Homepage

        Simply because you do not own the roads, you do not clean up the mess and you don't have to pay for all the costs of hospitalisation, rehabilitation and permanent disability. It's called vehicle registrations and drivers licence, don't like it, walk or take public transport.

        Neither does the federal government. Roads are owned by state and local governments. The clean up is usually done by the local government. The insurance that I pay for pays for the expenses that result, and if I'm at fault, both my insurance company and myself are liable for damages.

        Motor vehicle transportation, including licensing and registration, has always been a state issue - so why is it acceptable for a group of unelected federal bureaucrats to pass a decree that would greatly implicate the privacy for the majority of the population? Where do they derive their authority? Do you think something like this would actually go anywhere if they tried to enact it by legislation?

        Furthermore, is there a real problem that this solves, or is it just a solution in search of a problem? Will this really provide that much more useful data that can't be determined through traditional means (aka measurements and physics)? I just see this being too susceptible to abuse - ie police scanning impounded cars as part of their 'inventory inspection' and writing additional summons for what they find.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by afex (693734)
      as a EE who's pretty involved with both CAN communications and OBD systems, i'd love to hear your story about your car recording the wrong info from your accelerator.

      (seriously, not trolling!)
    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      "First off, it being illegal to disable a part on my car? Is it making it safer or reducing pollution? Then why should removing it be illegal if it's my car?"

      Why is it illegal if it's your machine gun or cannon?
      It's the law, silly.

    • by 228e2 (934443)
      Yes.

      There are safety features on a car (all I can think about on the spot is a seat belt) that should be illegal to disable (if it isnt already).

      Owning something does not mean you can necessarily do whatever you want to it in the name of "ownership" even if it will only hurt the said owner in the end.
    • by Teancum (67324)

      At least in America, there has been a "computer" installed in every licensed vehicle for decades that has been illegal to modify or disable:

      The Odometer

      Yes, as far as computers go it is an analog computer (usually now... there are some electronic ones in automobiles at the moment) based on very simple principles, but it still is there and certainly is illegal. The precedent is already there for automobiles, so all you are talking about is splitting hairs in terms of how much additional information is also

  • Limitation (Score:3, Funny)

    by mehrotra.akash (1539473) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @07:28AM (#36226540)

    As long as the use is limited to investigate accidents ONLY, and they retain only about 15-30 minutes of data, it would be OK.

    They shouldnt be used for general law enforcement like speeding,etc..

    • As long as the use is limited to investigate accidents ONLY, and they retain only about 15-30 minutes of data, it would be OK.

      They shouldnt be used for general law enforcement like speeding,etc..

      to paraphrase Murphy, anything that can be used, will be used. The upside is if courts accept the data they could also be used to show you are innocent.

    • by rossdee (243626)

      It would be simple to prevent speeding, with GPS enabled black boxes, they know you're in a 30mph zone, so it won't let the car exceed that.

    • Re:Limitation (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Glock27 (446276) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @07:43AM (#36226676)

      They shouldnt be used for general law enforcement like speeding,etc..

      When first implemented they'll say they won't be used except for accident investigation. Then over time, the use will expanded far beyond anything reasonable.

      Look at the seat belt laws. When first implemented, the story was that a seat belt violation alone wouldn't result in being pulled over. Now, they will pull you over in a heartbeat if they spot you not wearing one.

    • by definate (876684)

      As long as the use is limited to investigate accidents ONLY, and they retain only about 15-30 minutes of data, it would be OK.

      They shouldnt be used for general law enforcement like speeding,etc..

      LOL You're cute. With your naive innocence. Get out of here ya lil' scamp.

    • Re:Limitation (Score:5, Informative)

      by SIR_Taco (467460) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:20AM (#36226996) Homepage

      The current EDRs (Event Data Recorders) only store the last few moments leading up to a crash (crash is judged by either rapid deceleration, or by air-bags being deployed). In their current state, they wouldn't retain information long enough to be able to be used for anything like you mention.

      AFAIK, as an emergency first responder, these boxes have been present in most vehicles already for quite a few years (close to a decade). You may very well have one in your current vehicle but are unaware of it. The new part is making them mandatory.

      Some items that it stores in the moments before and during a collision:
      - Speed immediately before rapid deceleration
      - RPMs
      - Brake application or lack there of
      - Force of impact
      - Which airbags were deployed
      - Whether the driver was wearing a seat-belt (other passengers too, if the vehicle is equipped to sense that)

      Those are the fairly standard/common items. Other vehicles with steering-response and/or traction control etc. will also log those items.

  • Road pricing (Score:4, Informative)

    by Eraesr (1629799) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @07:31AM (#36226558) Homepage
    Here in the Netherlands, they've already been planning for something like this for some time. Not sure what the current status is on that though.
    Anyway, the idea is that all cars will be equipped with some kind of GPS enabled device that records the movements of the car and reports this to big brother...err, I mean the tax administration. Based on how much you've driven your car and on what kind of roads and on what times your taxes are calculated. They say this system is a lot fairer than the current 'one tax level for all car owners' system. The idea is also to make the car owner responsible for the condition of the device and driving around with a disabled, modified or broken device is punishable with a fine. It's the govt's form of automated road pricing. I think it's a really, really bad idea.
    • It's the govt's form of automated road pricing. I think it's a really, really bad idea.

      No, it is the government's way of introducing tracking everybody who drives, but you are correct, it is a really, really bad idea (if you value freedom).

    • Hopefully this proposal isn't the same. If the system being proposed is offline and only records a certain time period of information like the airplane black boxes do, then I don't see a real problem. GPS enabled tracking is something that I would never want to see.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        It was already proposed and shot down in California over privacy concerns, but if this happens then that will happen, and probably nationwide.

    • It's ridiculous. If they want to tax car owners based on how much they use the roads/pollute, they don't need to know how far they've travelled. They can just slap a tax on gasoline. Surveillance is the motive behind this - it's no coincidence that the "GPS tracking of all cars for tax purposes" scheme was initially proposed in the UK.

  • Taxes (Score:4, Informative)

    by Salo2112 (628590) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @07:31AM (#36226560)
    This will be used to track your mileage so you can be taxed that way. At least that is the ultimate goal. Masking it in safety will get it started, and I see a few sheep have already bitten that hook.
    • What's wrong with taxing based on mileage? We already do it indirectly through gas taxes.
      • Re:Taxes (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Glock27 (446276) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @07:37AM (#36226620)

        What's wrong with taxing based on mileage? We already do it indirectly through gas taxes.

        Actually, nothing's wrong with it any more than any other tax scheme - as long as the gas tax goes away first. Double taxation isn't right.

        The other point is that there's already a "mileage tracking device" in the car called an "odometer". There's no need for a "black box" to collect a mileage tax.

    • taxing based on miles is better than charging everyone road tax, and vehicle tax, and a tax on car purchase, and a tax on fuel, etc

      • What makes you think those taxes are going to go away when they introduce the mileage tax? In the U.S., it was only in the last 10-15 years that they did away with the telephone tax that was passed to pay for the Spanish-American War (and then only because several radio personalities were using it as an example to drum up opposition to another tax they wanted to pass).
      • No, it's not better unless it also takes into account the mass of the vehicle. Road wear increases with the cube of vehicle mass. A 5400 lbs Hummer causes 8x as much wear on the roadway as my 2700 lbs compact car. If we're taxing by miles driven, I demand to tax by the amount of wear caused during those miles. In which case, the Hummer can pay 8x taxes per mile.

        We actually have a system in place that's more fair than tax by mileage. More massive vehicles require more energy to accelerate to speed (a result

    • This will be used to track your mileage so you can be taxed that way.

      No, they will introduce GPS devices in order to track you, using a mileage tax as the excuse. If the idea of a mileage tax was the goal, they would talk about doing periodic odometer readings. I have yet to hear anyone who is proposing a mileage tax suggest basing it on odometer readings. They all propose installing new GPS tracking devices in order to implement this new mileage tax. The obvious conclusion is that getting the GPS tracking devices installed in every car is the goal, not the mileage tax, sinc

    • Mine will be subject to random and inexplicable bursts of EMP.

  • Motor Law (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lectoid (891115) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @07:33AM (#36226574)
    Looks like it's time to store away my red barchetta up at my brothers farm. Maybe someday my son will get to drive it.
  • Who wants to start a new religion proclaiming that our cars are part of our free-spirited self, and that tampering with them like this would be a direct violation of our commandments given to us by the Great Mechanic?

  • by Posting=!Working (197779) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @07:44AM (#36226696)

    I seriously doubt that it will be more than a year or two before some state allows you to be pulled over and the data pulled from this to write speeding tickets. And the amount of data they will contain will only increase, before long they'll be able to cite you for infractions from weeks ago. Soon it will be argued that GPS data will be needed too, so 1 MPH through a stop sign can be ticketed, too. They'll probably "need" to check it when you register or emission test your car.

    Illegal to modify or remove? Why? Who would that harm, other than the police ability to fine you? It's a money grab, nothing else.

    Why did we bail out the auto industry if we're going to kill new car sales a couple years down the line when new cars can convict you of speeding without an officer having to observe it?

    • by mark-t (151149)
      It might not be so much illegal as it would be that any accident you were in would probably automatically be your fault if you didn't have a black box to corroborate your interpretation of the events leading up to the accident.
  • All horrible privacy issues aside, I'm not a big fan continuing to add expenses to vehicles. Airbags and safety systems are great, but is this really going add that much safety to a driver and passengers? We will have to pay for these black boxes when we buy the car, and what happens when the "black box" malfunctions? Does the car shutdown? When you get pulled over does the cop somehow check that the device is working and ticket you if it doesn't? I'm guessing the way it needs to be mounted and the ele
  • by drolli (522659) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @07:48AM (#36226728) Journal

    this is something the judges in the court have long asked for. After an accident its difficult to establish howfar the accident was caused by the behavior of driver or circumstances - e.g. - did the driver go 150km/h for 6h without a break or did he feel compelled by somebody driving 1m to his rear end to go faster just at the location of the accident? I also think its ok to confiscate the record if the driver was caught speeding or stopped in a control because its suspected that he drove to long (a mechanical recorder to prevent speeding/going without a break is mandatory for trucks in Germany, and in general the experiences seem to be quite good).

    What would *not* be ok would be any function where the police can ask "list all drivers who did this or that". There is no way to prevent this from being used to track people, e.g. by setting up a 50cm long speed regulated zone in the database to get all driver passing this point.

    The mandatory things would be:

    *encryption, where the keys are stored in a way that they can be only recomposed either from the owners/driver (the driver can e.g. insert an electronic license) keyring (to defend himself), or from several institutions agreeing and providing the key for a specific case.

    *a legal framework which highly discourages institutions from even trying to abuse this data

    *no network connection of the device. The memory should be a removable part, which is secured by a normal lock/seal. Implementations which do not contain the data only in this removable part should be forbidden.

    *the only normally accessible interface should be a port used to set the currently used license (this is, downloading a public key from it).

  • This was one thing that came to light when Toyota's very public troubles with unintentional acceleration surfaced last year. Yes, many vehicles have data recorders, but the kind of data collected is not standardized across makes, models, or model years. Furthermore, the quality and validity of the data is not assured (i.e., if the recorder says that the vehicle is traveling at 75 mph, how do we know that's true?), because the collection system hasn't been extensively tested and verified. Finally, the for
  • *puke* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lennier1 (264730) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @07:56AM (#36226784)

    Why don't they just shove a tracker up everyone's ass and call it a day?

    • Why don't they just shove a tracker up everyone's ass and call it a day?

      If they thought they could get away with it they would.

      • Re:*puke* (Score:4, Insightful)

        by xaxa (988988) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @09:31AM (#36227774)

        There's no need. Most people voluntarily carry a phone anyway.

        • by lennier1 (264730)

          Remove the battery when needed and the tracker is inactive. You'd need an induction-based approach or add redundant system which charges its own battery from the main battery to keep the tracking ability alive. And you can simply deposit a phone somewhere in order to cheat the system. But try to detach your ass ...

  • I've been wondering for some time now if license plates will become 'high tech'. What if they added this system into all license plates?

    Plus, people are already complaining here that they would be mad if they can't remove something that is on their car that they own. Well you can't remove your license plate. How is requiring this any different?

  • by Tomahawk (1343) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @07:57AM (#36226800) Homepage

    Just like in an airplane, I think a black box device is a great idea. Far to many accidents occur with no witnesses that this will give an opportunity to work out what went wrong (why were there no skids, how fast were they going, where the bulbs in the headlights working).

    For people who are safe drivers, again there is no problem. Yes, we all drive a bit over the speed limit all the time - part of the whole 'keeping your eyes on the road' thing we are expected to do means we can't drive permanently looking at the speedometer to ensure we don't just sneak over the limit. But many accidents are caused by drivers driving excessively over the limit, and if I'm involved in an accident with someone like that, I like the idea that I can point to my black box data and say 'see, I was 2km/h over the limit, whereas they were 45km/h over the limit'. It'll protect me and put the blame on those who were actually responsible.

    Which means that they have to be tamper-proof or the just can't be admissible.

    So, so long as they are used only in the purpose of an accident and proving fault, I have no problem with them.

    In the case of a Big Brother type situation, there I _do_ have a problem.

    But I'm try to remain optimistic that the Big Brother element won't be present.

    Oh, also, I want to be able to read the data myself at any time! It would be a great way to learn about your own driving habits, what causes fuel use to go up, am I subconsciously sitting at a red light with my foot depressing the throttle, etc. With GPS, I can track everywhere I've been (but this does tend to imply Big Brother stuff, so no GPS please).

    Store everything on the box, but only store a certain amount. If it's to be use for crash analysis, how much data is needed? An hour? A day? A week? more data allows an investigator to analyse driving patterns and behaviour ("this guy always speeds", or "this guy has no habit of speeding - did his foot slip?")

    • by Hatta (162192)

      But I'm try to remain optimistic that the Big Brother element won't be present.

      Why? Can you cite one case in history where a surveillance power was not abused?

    • by demonlapin (527802) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @10:33AM (#36228516) Homepage Journal

      see, I was 2km/h over the limit, whereas they were 45km/h over the limit

      So, Mr. Jones, by your own admission, you were driving with reckless disregard for the law. Please explain to the court why it is that your insurance company should pay these damages - indeed, why it is that you should not be charged criminally for this behavior. After all, the bad actions of others are no excuse for your own criminal behavior.

    • The great majority of the time airplanes are operated within the federal aviation regulations. For cars, a significant fraction (probably a majority) of drivers regularly operate outside of the law (speeding). This system would in principal make it possible to completely enforce ALL speeding laws - is that what people really want?

      The other difference is that airplanes fly to airports - their location doesn't give a lot of information about what the pilot is doing. Cars tend to drive to much more specific l

  • by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:03AM (#36226850) Homepage
    Well 2 of the 3 of my vehicles are old enough were they don't have data recorders, all though one of them isn't currently drivable as it is undergoing a full restoration. The article mentions vehicles from the early 90's as having data recorders which doesn't surprise me as that was when OBD I [wikipedia.org] was really becoming standard and being used to its fullest. In 96 there was the switch to OBD II [wikipedia.org] which further expanded the electronic diagnostics on vehicles. If the government goes ahead with this plan eventually I could see them making it illegal to transfer ownership of a vehicle that doesn't have these data recorders, or insurance companies making insuring vehicles without them extremely expensive.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The article mentions vehicles from the early 90's as having data recorders which doesn't surprise me as that was when OBD I was really becoming standard and being used to its fullest.

      This is true of only a vanishingly small percentage of vehicles from the era. Most of them were putzing around with 8 bit microcontrollers running at single-digit speeds at the time and they won't store anything more complex than a fault code.

  • I like how they call it a black box, to equate it with safety, as if it's going to be used to investigate crashes and nothing else.

    The only question is, will they speed-limit every car to the speed limit on that road, force your car to brake in time to make the red lights, etc.? Or will you still be free to break the law, but check your email for the ticket and fine?

    (Like there's any question which one the government would prefer, "safety" or fine revenue...)

  • Has been a turd since the moment Obama took office.
  • by hesaigo999ca (786966) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:14AM (#36226950) Homepage Journal

    I predicted that most INSURANCE companies should or would have these to help get a better understanding of their customers driving habits 15 years ago, as I worked for an insurance company where i pitched my idea to the president. He looked at me with a puzzled look on his face as i began to explain that we could offer better rates to our clients with the gps driven blackboxes telling us all driving info such as on 50km streets, our client was seen attaining speeds of 70 km, so for prevention reasons would tell us we should consider giving him higher rates as he is taking risks, where as the younger yet safer driver who always stays within the speeding limits, would not get high rates as per usual with younger drivers, because we would see his driving habits much quicker, so we could offer him better rates quicker....but it fell on deaf ears....

    15 years later, we now see this story here where the government ( good move!) might make it obligatory to have these installed, which I agree for same reasons as 9/11, a vehicle can be used as a means of heavy destruction, so why not log all data on each....

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