DOT Proposal Calls for Mandatory Installation of "Black Boxes" in Cars, Light Trucks

A motor vehicle black box, which is a device that records crash-related data, may soon be required in new cars and light trucks under a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) proposal. The data records from these devices could keep tabs on various items that may help reconstruct auto accidents and lead to possible safety enhancements, but concerns regarding privacy issues have consumers and consumer advocates worried about the potential change in federal regulation.

Proposed 'Black Box' Rule

Per a recent proposal made by the DOT, automakers would be required to install devices that record crash-related data, or vehicle "black boxes," in all new cars and light trucks effective September 1, 2014. In the event a motor vehicle is in an accident, the black box would track a variety of crash-related information, such as vehicle speed, brake activation, seat belt use, and the force of impact, in the seconds prior to a collision and during it as well.

The recorded data would help automakers and investigators better grasp crash dynamics and the performance of air bags and vehicle systems, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The data may also help reconstruct traffic accidents, which can help develop safety enhancements. An NHTSA administrator states that these technological devices will help to know "what future steps could be taken to save lives and prevent injuries."

Controversy Regarding the Proposal

The DOT proposal regarding the mandatory installation of these data records has raised some concerns regarding several issues.

Consumer advocates believe these black boxes may result in higher insurance rates for drivers whose behavior is being monitored. In addition, privacy leaders believe the black box data could be used to spy on motorists, raising "pressing privacy concerns," according to a member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU member asks the pertinent question as to who will be able to access the information and how long the data will be collected.

The NHTSA, mindful of the privacy concerns, said the devices would not collect any personal, identifying information, run continuously, or record conversations. The agency adds that an airbag deployment or crash will typically trigger the on-switch. The recorded data will also not be accessed by the agency without owner consent under the proposed rule.

Preserving the Safety of Washington Drivers

At Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., our Seattle car accident attorneys understand the importance of developing and enhancing safety technology in motor vehicles to help understand the causes of accidents as a way to prevent them. We also know that motor vehicle accidents are all too common of an occurrence and without proper compensation from the parties responsible for the crash, the road to recovery may be much more difficult.

>> Back to articles


Our Case Results

Degloving Injury$2,400,000
Degloving Injury
from defective power winch.
Wrongful Death$1,925,000
Wrongful Death
from head-on van accident.
Rollover Accident$1,925,000
Rollover Accident
resulting in wrongful death.
Wrongful Death$1,625,000
Wrongful Death
from highway design defect.
Car Accident$595,000
Car Accident
injuries to 47-year-old woman.
Wrongful Death$460,695
Wrongful Death
oncoming traffic accident.
Rear-End Collision$450,000
Rear-End Collision
resulting in lower back injury.
Car Accident$390,000
Car Accident
resulting in fractured leg.
Car Sideswipe$390,000
Car Sideswipe
resulting in injured back.
Head-On Collision$372,000
Head-On Collision
resulting in fractured pelvis.
Car Accident$360,000
Car Accident
resulting in lower back injury.
Car Accident$275,000
Car Accident
resulting in jaw fracture.
Overturned Truck$230,000
Overturned Truck
resulting in broken ribs.
Head-On Collision$230,000
Head-On Collision
resulting in shoulder injury.
Motorcycle Accident$225,000
Motorcycle Accident
resulting in leg fracture.

Written by Joseph Pendergast, this book is designed to help people who have suffered a personal injury understand their rights and the steps to take to be sure they get the compensation they deserve.

Connect With Us

Share This Page

Our Office

Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S.
555 South Renton Village Pl. Suite 640
Renton, WA 98057
(888) 228-3860
(425) 228-3860 / (253) 445-3860

From Our Blog

Can Cruise Ships Be Held Responsible for Passenger Injuries?

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S.

Washington Auto Accident Attorney Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth herein are based upon the facts of that particular case and do not represent a promise or guarantee. Please contact a lawyer for a consultation on your particular traffic accident matter. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of Washington.

© 2017 Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. - All rights reserved. Serving the communities throughout Washington.

Website Design, SEO and Legal Internet Marketing by: SLS ConsultingSLS Consulting | Privacy | Disclaimer |Sitemap