NHTSA: 'Black boxes should be in all cars by Sept. 2014'


POSTED: Monday, July 22, 2013 - 5:41pm

UPDATED: Friday, July 26, 2013 - 6:53pm

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced it wants all cars to be equipped with event data recorders by Sept. 2014.

Those are also known as "black boxes."

The news sparks a growing debate about privacy concerns and more government interference.

But those who know a lot about how black boxes work, say they aren't a bad thing.

It's reported that 96 percent of all cars sold in the U.S. have them.

Black boxes are usually buried deep in the console area of your car.

David Briscoe says the device stores performance information to aid in future safety studies for manufacturers.

"Real inertia, and real impacts ... we can't determine that in a lab," said Briscoe, an auto technology professor at Tyler Junior College. "... It's information that could come in handy in the future, that could make your next car safer."

It's caused some to worry about "Big Brother" butting in on our privacy, but Briscoe brings up a point.

"If you have OnStar or any other program to call for roadside assistance, they can access all the information in your car that they want," Briscoe said.

For law enforcement, a black box is a vital investigation tool.

Tyler Police tells KETK they use them during fatal crashes.

"We will download the information to determine speed, seatbelt usage, air bag deployment, velocity, (etc.)," said Brian Tomlin, traffic supervisor for Tyler Police.

Texas, along with some other states, has a law to make sure your information is protected.

"We can only access that control module through a peace officer's warrant, or voluntarily if the owner consents to it," Tomlin said.

Briscoe says only Congress can turn the NHTSA suggestion into law, but he believes black boxes eventually will be in all cars in the near future.

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You got that right mike, I read the other day where the government was trying to get a list of users stored passwords from major internet providers. Our so called government is out of control, but for some reason that I don't understand people just don't seem to care. Ever since the Patriot Act was passed the government has infringed on our constitutional rights more and more and there is no end in sight, pretty soon we will need permission to go outside other than to go to work.

I believe that it is a total invasion of privacy. It is nobody's business what is said in any vehicle next they will be wanting to put black boxes in the bedroom..

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