Speaking Point: 1)Pursuant to the millions of Toyota automobile recalls, in May 2010, the Auto Safety Bill (“Toyota Bill”) was passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee to require “Black Boxes” in all new automobiles.
Speaking Point: 2) Next month (June), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will allegedly mandate that all new automobiles be fitted with a “Black Box” (or Event Data Recorder “EDR”). The EDR, similar to a flight data recorder in an aircraft, records the automobile speed, engine’s speed, brake application, gas pedal position, seatbelt fastening, force of the collision, etc.
Speaking Point: 3) But, like the iPhone, will the Black Box violate our individual privacy rights and unknowingly act as a surveillance tool? After all, it is 2011 instead 1984. But, do not stress, most likely if you have an air bag in your car, then you already have Black Box in your car.
Speaking Point: 4) You may own the vehicle but who owns the information recorded by the Black Box? The automaker maker? The U.S. Government? The State government? You the consumer? The short answer is that it is a matter of State law which varies depending upon jurisdiction. But, one thing is for certain: In civil and criminal crash investigations, the courts have a right to subpoena the EDR data.
Speaking Point: 5) General Motors has fitted a Black Box into most of its cars since the early 1990. Are you already being tracked by a black box? And, where is it located in your vehicle? Under California Vehicle Code Section 9951, the manufacturer of a new automobile shall disclose the installation of the EDR in the vehicles owner’s manual.
Speaking Point: 6) We live in a digital age so the EDR is just another benefit of technology. And, juries can rely on the empirical data (Frye and Daubert Standards) and not an unreliable witness.