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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:29AM (#36226546)

    The car is yours; the box is yours; the data is yours. You paid for it. No problem with that at all.
    You can remove the black box all you like; hack it up; do whatever you want with it.
    You can also put on cherry bombs, a nitrous tank, and racing slicks. Have at it. It's your property.

    But--if you want to use the public roads, you have to follow certain rules.
    License. Title. Insurance. Registration. Inspection. and so forth.
    It's your choice; nobody's forcing you--use it on the roads or don't as you prefer.

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

    by Metabolife ( 961249 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:33AM (#36226580)

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

    Isn't choice wonderful?

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

    by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:36AM (#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.

  • Re:Taxes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Glock27 ( 446276 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:37AM (#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.

  • Re:Not a fan (Score:3, Insightful)

    by afex ( 693734 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:39AM (#36226646)
    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 khallow ( 566160 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:41AM (#36226664)

    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:Limitation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Glock27 ( 446276 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:43AM (#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.

  • Re:Motor Law (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CaptSlaq ( 1491233 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:43AM (#36226678)

    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.

    There is so much win here I cannot begin to express it. Bravo to you, Mr. Rush fan.

  • by Posting=!Working ( 197779 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:44AM (#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?

  • Re:I agree (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:52AM (#36226758) Homepage

    Damn, you're an idiot. I don't claim to be a perfect driver but the fact there are people on the roads like you worries me.

    And in some countries, the official advice if someone is too close to your backside for you to have an adequate braking distance is to brake in order to recoup that distance from the front instead. I'd be very surprised if "slower yields to faster" is actually written ANYWHERE in the US Highway Code.

    If someone's doing the speed limit it is legally *CORRECT* (but not necessarily the safest possible thing for that particular driver) to not go any faster. To "get out of your way" is up to the lane rules, which say that so long as THEY are overtaking, it's fine to be in the second overtaking lane (or third, if you have a four-lane motorway). Yes, they are called overtaking lanes (all except one). "Fast lane" is a term you won't find on any legal document or driving course.

    The most dangerous thing on a road is tailgaters like yourself, especially high-speed tailgaters. If someone's doing the speed limit, sit behind them. They just might save your life one day.

    That said, I'm far from a goodie-two-shoes and if you try that shite with someone who just-doesn't-care about your urgent appointment, or their clapped-out-old-motor, they might just choose to slam their brakes on. Guess who'll pay for having insufficient braking distance and travelling too fast? Guess whose car will be ruined beyond repair and whose car will just have the boot pushed out a bit, a new exhaust and be back on the road? Not the guy in front. "I was doing 70, officer, and saw a flash out of the corner of my eye - my instinct was to brake to avoid a collision and in doing so the idiot behind ran straight into me because he had insufficient braking distance between himself and the car in front".

    YOU are the reason that speed cameras even exist - if you drove reasonably at those speeds, it wouldn't be a problem. Expecting the world and his brother to get out of your way is a good way to end up in the rear of a truck that just doesn't care, or didn't even see you (and didn't really need to if you were behind him).

    Go for a drive on an Autobahn - I went there once and it was fabulous. Not the speed, the sheer courtesy of other drivers and the fact that ALL of them stick to the rules all the time. I nearly got arrested for turning in an empty two-way street, for God's sake! It's the least stressful driving experience I've ever had - 10 minutes in my home town had me cursing at people and braking to avoid the local nutters in their souped-up cars tearing across lanes without looking.

  • Re:I agree (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xclr8r ( 658786 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:54AM (#36226770)
    Too further your point one does not know why the person behind you is speeding. Maybe there's a medical emergency that this person or passenger needs to get to the hospital fast. Maybe their kid is in a bad spot. Never assume that just because someone is speeding they are a jerk.
  • *puke* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lennier1 ( 264730 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:56AM (#36226784)

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

  • Re:Not a fan (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kannibal_klown ( 531544 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:57AM (#36226790)

    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 so." So you might as well be applying it to "drivers must carry a hand-held air horn with them at all times." Why?

    At best, it can help determine which driver was at fault... thus determining whose Insurance should pay and perhaps who should have to face criminal/civil repercussions.

    At worst it can record something incorrectly, they'll take it as hard-fact/truth and screw over someone that didn't do anything wrong.

    As mentioned, I've already been in the situation where the onboard computer on a 2006+ car was reporting faulty data to the point that it was doing screwy things to car as I drove. I'd hate to see what a black box recorded from it if I got into an accident.

    Meanwhile, the difference between something like a radar gun and something inside your car... in court cases it has to be proven (or provable) that a device was officially calibrated correctly following a schedule. The black boxes they already have, the only times they're ever touched is during install and during an accident.

    So then you have to worry about people taking "the black box as infallible" standpoint. I've heard of a couple of court cases where they kept treating the black box as "truth" when it shouldn't have.

  • by i_ate_god ( 899684 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @08:58AM (#36226808)

    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 zoloto ( 586738 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @09:01AM (#36226840)
    I've lived in NYC for 10 years, drive often and drive within the laws. Your comment is a joke. There are bad eggs everywhere; sometimes they're the majority. _THEY_ are the ones making it unsafe.
  • Re:I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PhrstBrn ( 751463 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @09:04AM (#36226864)

    You're a dumbass, you're not supposed to drive in the left lane, it's for passing. If someone wants to pass, you let them. Forcing them to pass on the right is dangerous, and you're creating unsafe driving conditions.

    You need to get off your high horse where you think you're better than everybody else and think everybody should drive slower than you. I usually drive in the left lane, and faster than most other people on the road. You know what happens when I see some guy whipping down the road at breakneck speeds? I move the fuck out of the way and give him right-of-way. I don't want that jerkwad driver tailgating me.

  • Anecdotal Evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by definate ( 876684 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @09:05AM (#36226870)

    Thanks for your anecdotal evidence.

    Here's mine:

    I've been driving for over 10 years, have had no at-fault accidents, and only 1 accident where I was a passenger. I do a mix of city driving and long range highway driving. I spend a majority of the time driving in the right lane (I live in a country where we drive on the left) and I'm often over the speed limit. On the freeway I'm way over the speed limit, if circumstances permit.

    I can assure you that I ALWAYS encounter people in the "fast lane" going beneath the speed limit, due to congestion, impatience, underpowered cars, nervous uncertain drivers, old people, and similar.

    It's a regular occourence for me, to come across a truck, over taking another truck, whom is sometimes also being overtaken by another truck, blocking all 3 lanes, up a steep hill, where the one in the left hand lane is 40kmph under the speed limit, the one in the middle is 35kmph under, and the one on the right is 30kmph under. Effectively creating a giant rolling road block for the next x kmph, that it takes for all of them to overtake each other.

    What I can tell you, however, is that no matter how "fast" I am going in the "fast lane" (60mph, 70mph, 80mph, even 90mph at times)--there is always at least *someone* that wants to go faster, this is why I'm a good drive, and ensure I stick left (in your country, stick right), as to not impede other drivers, force errors, and generally annoy people.

    So the GP's claims of "people going 1 under" in the "fast" lane are well founded, and you are actually an idiot, who likely doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about, or speaking in overly simple generalities, as if his experiences, no matter how accurate, somehow can be correlated to the experiences of everyone.

    Oh also, just to show how much fucking bullshit you're spewing, here's a video, of people, in your country, on one of your highways creating a dangerous situation, and effectively a rolling road block by... GOING THE SPEED LIMIT.

    55: A Meditation on the Speed Limit (Extended Cut) []

    So, effectively every car behind them, especially the ones trying to get around them, would be going over the speed limit, meaning anyone going under would be a law abider, but dangerous as they haven't grasped the social norms. Especially if they're an arrogant arsehole like you, and are sitting in the "fast lane" because "I live in a state where we don't have a keep right law".

    Here's a tip for you: shut the fuck up.

    Wow, I really escalated this by the end. Seriously started writing and replying line by line to yours, was fine, calm headed, but by the end of yours and the end of writing this, I just wanted to stab you in the heart with a trident [].

  • Re:Limitation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by amliebsch ( 724858 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @09:33AM (#36227138) Journal

    What the fuck is that supposed to mean? The debate is not over whether wearing a seat belt is good or bad for you. It is over whether a man with a gun can force you to wear it against your will.

  • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @10:16AM (#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.

  • Re:*puke* (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @10:31AM (#36227774)

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

  • by demonlapin ( 527802 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @11:33AM (#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.

  • by Draknor ( 745036 ) on Tuesday May 24, 2011 @01:16PM (#36229864) Homepage

    No, actually, that's exactly what it means. Its not "freedom" if you have severe consequences for an action.

    No one can physically stop me from yelling "The president is stupid".
    However, with freedom of speech, the government is prohibited from locking me up for saying that.
    Contrast that with other regimes where yelling such an insult would result in a death squad knocking on your door, or you being thrown away in a deep dark jail cell forever.

    GP was right -- lack of consequences are exactly what defines freedom.

    For the fire example -- yes, yelling fire in a crowded theater and being fined/locked up for it is EXACTLY an infringement of the freedom of speech. However, it is an infringement that the courts decided was appropriate and still met the principle of the law (if not the letter).

Honesty is for the most part less profitable than dishonesty. -- Plato