White House Completes Review for Black Boxes in Automobiles
December 7, 2012 12:29 PM
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The NHTSA is now preparing to finalize the regulation
The White House has finished its review of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) proposal to
mandate event data recorders
(EDR) in all new vehicles.
Now that the White House Office of Management Budget has completed the review, the NHTSA is preparing to finalize the regulation. The proposal suggests increasing the number of new vehicles with EDRs from 91.6 percent today to 100 percent of light-duty cars and trucks.
Event data recorders, also known as "black boxes," collect driver data such as speed, use of a seatbelt, whether brakes were applied, etc. before and after a vehicle crash. The idea behind them is to deploy better safety measures for vehicles as well as better overall vehicle design.
The NHTSA originally said it'd create a proposal for the White House concerning EDR regulation by the end of 2011. After doing so, the White House Office of Management Budget delayed comment or review for a year.
Back in August of this year, the NHTSA
rejected the White House's request
for further delay of the black box standards.
Some automakers already place EDRs in all of their vehicles, such as Ford, General Motors Mazda and Toyota.
The road to EDR regulation hasn't been all smooth, though. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which includes Toyota, Volkswagen AG and Detroit's Big Three, had issues with both driver privacy and the
cost of these black boxes
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers complained in May 2010 that the black boxes suggested by the government were too expensive to deploy in all vehicles. Further, it stated that EDRs could potentially be abused by the government.
"Event data recorders help our engineers understand how cars perform in the real world but looking forward, we need to make sure we preserve privacy," said Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers spokeswoman Gloria Bergquist. "Automakers do not access EDR data without consumer permission, and any government requirements to install EDRs on all vehicles must include steps to protect consumer privacy."
In April of this year, the U.S. Senate passed a highway bill called the "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act", also known as MAP21. The bill aimed to require all new 2015 model year vehicles to have black boxes for record vehicle data.
The Detroit News
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12/7/2012 2:58:47 PM
I used to work in the auto industry (Oldsmobile). Trust me, they know full well when they screw up. Like that V6 sparkplug issue you mention, most don't show up until it's too close to production to fix. Thanks to the EPA requirements, the lead time on automobile design is longer than you might think. The design must be final before EPA testing starts, the test cars must drive 50,000 miles before the design can be approved by the EPA, and the EPA must approve the design before production can begin.
They also buy used cars on the open market, as you suggest.
If it's a good idea, chances are you're not the first person to think of it. That goes for bad ideas, too :-)
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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