Feeds

US tweaks airbag snitch rules

Crash! the data

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot brain surgery a total success
LOHAN slips into some sexy bespoke mission parameters
Another step forward for diamond-based quantum computers
Square cut or pear-shaped, these qubits don't lose their shape
LOHAN acquires aircraft arboreal avoidance algorithm acronyms
Is that an ARMADILLO in your PANTS or are you just pleased to see me?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.