Federal Agency May Mandate Black Boxes in New Cars

The Department of Transportation (DOT) may adopt a rule that requires automakers to equip new cars with event data recorders (EDR) that would gather vital information in the event of an auto accident. The devices would do what “black boxes” do in airplane crashes. The DOT is uncertain whether it will move forward with the rule, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed the measure.

While the car’s engine is running, the EDRs would gather such information as the vehicle speed that investigators could use in reconstructing a car crash. A spokesperson for the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers said it supports the proposal if the information recorded by the EDR belongs to the car’s owner. The spokesperson added that carmakers need enough time to comply with the rule, since some may not have EDRs in supply.

The DOT wants to require EDRs for heavier automobiles and eventually expand the requirement to lighter vehicles as well.

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