Federal Agency May Mandate Black Boxes in New Cars

By Peter DePaolis

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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About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.