Monday, August 16, 2004

NTSB responds to comments about auto black boxes

An OP/Ed piece in today's USA Today is written by Ellen Engleman Connors, the chair of the US National Transportation Safety Board. She writes that the NTSB is not interested in privacy invasive "black boxes" that record conversations or video. Instead, they want to mandate devices that record ten second loops of "objective data" from vehicle systems. See the comment via Yahoo:

Devices can improve safety

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is sensitive to the privacy concerns drivers may have about event data recorders (EDRs), but such concerns need not apply to the types of recorders we recommended this month. Our focus is solely on safety investigative purposes - data that is an objective, non-human witness to accidents. EDRs have the potential to improve the accuracy of crash reconstructions and design better occupant-protection systems.

Our recommendation concerns EDRs that continuously record such data as vehicle and engine speed, brake status, throttle position, seat-belt status and air-bag deployment for about 10 seconds, constantly erasing the older data. We do not need 24-hour monitoring EDRs. The devices do not record such "privacy" items as passenger conversations, nor do they record video images.

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