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Mandatory Automotive Black Boxes May Be On the Way 619

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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  • Road pricing (Score:4, Informative)

    by Eraesr ( 1629799 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:31AM (#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.
  • Taxes (Score:4, Informative)

    by Salo2112 ( 628590 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:31AM (#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.
  • Re:Not a fan (Score:4, Informative)

    by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @09:00AM (#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:Limitation (Score:5, Informative)

    by SIR_Taco ( 467460 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @09:20AM (#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.

  • Re:Limitation (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @10:41AM (#36227882)
    With airbags and safety glass and crumple zones and all the other safety features of modern cars, in an accident where a seat belt would benefit you, even without a seat belt you are less likely to die and more likely to end up a vegetable in a hospital bed, wasting valuable resources. And we as a people don't want to end up paying for your stupidity. That is why we have seat belt laws.
  • by Kamiza Ikioi ( 893310 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @02:13PM (#36230476)

    I was clocked moving from a 45mph zone to a 55mph highway zone, and hadn't sped up yet. It was also after dark. In adverse conditions, including night, rain, snow, etc, going the speed limit can still get you reckless driving. Review the laws in your state.

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