Everyone knows about the black box used in airplanes. The boxes are essential in investigating what actually happened after a plane crash. Lesser know is that fact that most new cars have black boxes installed by the manufacturer.
Originally introduced by General Motors in the 1990 model year, black boxes were originally used for quality studies. They are located under the central console and are about the size of 2 decks of cards. Approximately 96% of all new cars have the black boxes today. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) would like for all vehicles to have the black boxes by September 2014.
The black boxes of today can monitor seat belt usage, speed, brake position and numerous other data. This information could be essential in determining what actually happened in a crash. However, this data could then be used against the car owner to find fault in civil actions or result in criminal charges. Fourteen states have passes laws that allow the data to be subpoenaed by law enforcement or in civil matter.
Does your car have a black box? Check your owner’s manual. Current regulations require disclosure.
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