Big Brother might have his eye on black box data from vehicles, but an
effort before Massachusetts state lawmakers would make it harder for the
information to be used against drivers of passenger vehicles.
The state’s House unanimously approved a bill that would require the
disclosure of the presence of “event data recorders,” or “black boxes” in the
owner’s manual for vehicles. The bill has been sent to the Senate for further
Current Massachusetts law doesn’t require vehicle owners to be notified
that vehicles are sold with EDRs. The boxes could include information on the
vehicle’s speed, direction of travel, location, steering performance, braking
performance, seat-belt status and accident information.
Insurance companies, vehicle manufacturers and other interested third
parties can access data after an accident. In many newer vehicles, the
information is automatically uploaded to a communication center immediately
following an accident, the Milford Daily
Supporters of the bill say people should be informed about the presence
of these devices. Opponents disagree with the claim EDRs invade a driver’s
privacy. They say driving is a privilege, not a right.
The bill also would give owners control over any data collected.
Insurance companies and auto manufacturers would only be allowed to
access the data with the owner’s consent or through a court order.
“Insurance companies shouldn’t be able to just take this information,” Rep. David Torrisi, D-North Andover, told the Daily
News. “It’s the consumer who has bought and paid for it.”
H4707 is in the Senate Ethics and Rules Committee.