Occupy Corporatism reports:

With complete disregard for driver privacy, the Obama administration gave their consent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to mandate black box event data recorders (EDR) be installed in all new cars in the US.

The NHTSA says that by September 2014 all car and light trucks will be equipped with EDRs that will silently “record the actions of drivers and the responses of their vehicles in a continuous information loop.”

Other sites have similar reports.

Is this true?


1 Answer 1


Note: To be fair to the OP, I added the notability reference to the question.

The original article provides a reference to support its claims:

This is from the official web-site of the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

It corroborates some of the details of the Event Data Recorders.

However, it differs in a substantial manner.

It does not say that the Obama administration gave their consent. It merely states that a proposal has been put forward.

Further, it states:

Members of the public are encouraged to provide comment on NHTSA's EDR proposal and will have 60 days to do so once the proposal is published in the Federal Register.

Given just one day had passed between the press release and the the news report, it is clear that period has not yet expired. [I couldn't find it in the last few days of the Federal Register, so it may not have even been published yet.]

  • I think one thing that the media keeps brushing over in all these discussions is that the so called black boxes only record data in a very limited timeframe before an accident/crash. It's not like they are recording your entire driving history. The broohaha seems very overvrought by paranoid conspiracy freaks...
    – JasonR
    Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 14:51
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    @Brightblades: I agree some of the descriptions are overblown, and don't mention the restrictions. But the US Government has shown some disregard for legal restrictions and privacy before - phonetapping, fingerprint records, etc. Saying the accident data belongs to the owner may not be much protection if a court order is issued, or if the car computer is legally but covertly accessed. I do understand people treating the mandatory introduction of such devices with a leery eye.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 15:13
  • 6
    It should probably be pointed out that "NHTSA estimates that approximately 96 percent of model year 2013 passenger cars and light-duty vehicles are already equipped with EDR capability" so its not like this is some huge new thing. And the sort of things that are recorded are brake and throttle use, not your location. Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 15:35
  • 2
    What @DJClayworth said plus, (when available) they have been used for some time now by insurance companies in the aftermath of collisions for verifying driver and witness statements and as an aid for assigning blame. The good news is that there is a relatively short buffer that is continuously overwritten up until airbag deployment, so it's not like they can catch you speeding last week with these gadgets. Unless you're speeding just before getting into a accident. Commented Dec 10, 2012 at 17:38

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