You’ve probably heard of black boxes in airplanes that help investigators understand what happened before a crash or other incident. There’s been a lot of talk for years of doing the same thing for cars, resulting in the United Nations’ World Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations to add a rule requiring their use. The European Union has quickly fallen in line on this, with all new cars starting in July of this year coming with black box recorders. And it might spread to Australia soon.
The concept of having something recording what happens with your car before and after a collision might be unsettling to some. After all, governments and big corporations seem to have little respect for individual privacy these days. But advocates say Even Data Recorders (EDR for short) or black boxes can clear up if there was a mechanical or electronic fault that led to an accident instead of driver error.
These devices log information for about five seconds before a crash and only a fraction of a second afterward. Despite being property of the car owner, authorities could get a warrant and access the information during an investigation.
When Australian car publication Drive reached out to the Department of Infrastructure to see if the land Down Under would follow the European Union’s lead, it was given a rather diplomatic answer. Basically, Drive was told the government is considering EDRs and how they might violate the country’s laws, so no decision on their use had been made.
We wouldn’t be surprised to learn if similar conversations are being held in the halls of the US Department of Transportation and various federal regulatory bodies. While we have some legal similarities with Australia, our Constitution is also unique in certain aspects and there are other differences which could affect if your next car comes with an EDR or not.
Image via Alberlan Barros
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