In 2004 there were 30 million cars and trucks equipped with Event Data Recorders (EDRs), otherwise referred to as "black boxes."
Most of these devices capture rudimentary information just prior to an accident. The activation of an air bag initiates the retention of this information and allows for subsequent retrieval of data such as vehicle speed, seat belt use, and brake application.
The official explanation rationalizing the installation of black boxes emphasizes safety research.
If the sole purpose and use of black box data were "safety research" there would be little controversy surrounding this technology. However, as if often the case, the personal, legal, and economic ramifications spawned by technological innovations far exceed superficial public explanations.
In truth, the variety of data and length of retention possible with EDRs is only limited by imagination. The ability to monitor every element of vehicle use over an extended time period is not limited by technology.
Click below to read the NMA's information packet on black boxes:
Black Boxes In Your Car: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You