New Jersey wants to protect the information on black boxes in cars.

Chris Yarzab

New Jersey looks set to become the next state to enact privacy laws [PDF] regarding who can view the data stored on a vehicle’s black box—technically called an event data recorder or an EDR. Over 90 percent of all cars and light trucks in the US are now equipped [PDF] with EDRs that can track a vehicle’s technical status and operational performance, making the information particularly useful to law enforcement and insurance companies when crashes happen. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made EDRs mandatory on all new cars.
New Jersey’s potential new rules are outlined in two identical bills before state legislature—one was unanimously recommended for passage by the state’s Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee last week, and the other is pending before the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee. If enacted, the law would prevent access to a driver’s EDR data unless law enforcement had a warrant, or EDR data could be accessed via a discovery order if the driver were involved in a civil lawsuit.
Car repair shops also sometimes use EDR data to diagnose troubles with cars—in those instances, the repair facility would have to secure the owner’s consent before downloading the information.
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