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"Black Boxes" for Automobiles

August 14, 2012

Black Boxes, the data recording devices used in commercial aviation, may be coming to new vehicles soon.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced today that new federal standards for automobile data recorders will take effect as planned this year.

For now, the standards for the devices that record information preceding auto collisions or other events only apply to vehicles that have been voluntarily equipped.  Such information may be useful in determining fault in contested accidents.  It may also provide insurers with information relative to underwriting.

The NHTSA has publicly considered requiring all vehicles to have black boxes installed.  However, Congress has not yet taken action to approve such a plan amid opposition from privacy groups and auto manufacturers.

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