Feeds

US tweaks airbag snitch rules

Crash! the data

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

From September 2010 car makers must inform US drivers of the presence of crash recording technology in new cars that they buy.

Revised guidelines from The US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) (PDF) do not insist on the inclusion of event data recorders (EDR) in new cars. But privacy advocates are concerned that information captured by the technology could be abused. Notification through the small print in owners' manuals will leave most in the dark, they argue. Information might be used to pressure car owners into dropping insurance claims, for example.

"They basically punted on the privacy issues," Jay Stanley, a privacy expert with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). "This is a technology that is powerful and rapidly advancing and we need to bring our laws up to date."

Road safety groups and insurance firms have long lobbied for compulsory recorders in cars, while auto makers have favoured a voluntary approach. Despite this reticence, EDRs are fast becoming standard issue in America. General Motors, for example, outfits all new vehicles with recorders, and two-thirds (64 per cent) of vehicles hitting the US highways last year featured electronic recording technology linked to airbags.

EDRs capture crash data in the few seconds before, during and after a crash. They do not capture data unless the collision is severe enough for the airbag to open.

The NHTSA specifies the information to be gathered by the "black box" and who is entitled to access it. EDR measurements include vehicle speed and acceleration, braking, if seat belts are active and some airbag functions. Uniform crash information data will assist police in determining the causes of car accidents and contribute to research into improving highway safety. The NHTSA also expects the new rules will improve automatic crash notification systems currently under development. The revised rules call for recorders to be more durable, to better withstand crashes.

The federal regulation will apply to all passenger vehicles and light trucks. Regulations for larger vehicles will be considered separately. Car makers have a long lead time to comply with the new guidelines and to make sure the inclusion of the technology is noted in owner's manuals, starting with model year 2011 cars. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.