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Author Topic: Black boxes? Back to Topics

Champion Author

Joined:May 2005
Message Posted: Dec 8, 2012 7:15:09 AM

I have been hearing all of this talk about black boxes in the newer vehicles, but that box belongs to the owner of the vehicle I would assume, and no one has the authority to bother it without the owners consent. What is your opinion on this controversial item?
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Champion Author South Carolina

Joined:Dec 2010
Message Posted: Jan 11, 2013 11:48:48 PM

Hi MertieMan. I posted this topic in July and did not get a single response. I found it again and will paste it here, but first to answer your question, yes Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) can and will submit the 30 seconds of recorded data in a court of law with or without you consent. It is not opinion, as stated in my original post copied it directly from my 2012 Chevrolet Sonic Owner's manual. Wamster is 100% correct in his post. Here is my original Topic which is worth repeating:

* * *

A while back, a man was involved in an auto accident which killed 5 people in a mini-van. At court, it was found that the vehicle was a rental with and EDR, commonly known in the airline industry as a "black box". While the rental car driver claimed he was only driving 30 MPH, the EDR showed a speed of over 100 MPH. After this accident it became known that General Motors had placed these EDRs in various vehicles, to include a focus on rental cars. Their purpose, according to GM, was to evaluate the operation of the vehicle to allow further improvements. Law Enforcement Officers secured the right to obtain the data and present it in a court of law, in this case.

A month ago, I purchased a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic and found in the Owner's Manual that this vehicle had an EDR. The following are quotes from that manual shortened for the sake of space:

"This vehicle has an Event Data Recorder (EDR). The main purpose of an EDR is to record, in certain crash or near crash-like situations, such as an airbag deployment or hitting an obstacle, data that will assist in understanding how a vehicle's systems performed. The EDR is designed to record data related to vehicle dynamics and safety systems for a short period of time, typically 30 seconds or less. The EDR in this vehicle is designed to record such data as:

How various systems in the vehicle were operating.

Whether or not the driver and passenger safety belts were buckled/fastened.

How far, if at all, the driver was pressing the accelerator and/or the
brake pedal.

How fast the vehicle was traveling.

This data can help provide a better understanding of the circumstances in which crashes and injuries occur.

IMPORTANT: EDR data is recorded by the vehicle if a non-trivial crash situation occurs; no data is recorded by the EDR under normal driving conditions and no personal data ... is recorded. However, other parties, such as law enforcement, could combine the EDR data with the type of personally identifying data routinely acquired during a crash investigation."

"GM will not access this data or share it with others except with the consent of the vehicle owner ...; in response to an official request by police or similar government office; as part of GM's defense litigation...' or as required by law." The rest of the notification deals with GM's use of the acquired data for research purposes.

* * *

Thank you for the opportunity to share again this information. I was a bit surprised no Gas Buddy responded, especially in regards to the privacy issues. Take care :-). MGY

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Rookie Author Dallas

Joined:Mar 2005
Message Posted: Jan 11, 2013 11:24:05 PM

High tech sometimes helps but is NEVER under your control.
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Champion Author Houston

Joined:May 2007
Message Posted: Jan 11, 2013 10:10:05 PM

I have a 2010 vehicle which has an EDR, Event Data Recorder. In certain crashes or near crashes; it can record airbag deployment, hitting a road obstacle, how the various systems in the vehicle are operating, whether seatbelts were fastened, how far the brake or fuel pedal was depressed, how fast the vehicle was going, and what position the steering wheel was in. It's designed to record 30 seconds of data.
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Champion Author Virginia

Joined:May 2004
Message Posted: Jan 11, 2013 5:47:30 PM

>>They aren't black, and they aren't even in boxes...<<

If only the media would apply that logic to aircraft cockpit and flight data recorders.
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Champion Author Akron

Joined:Jun 2003
Message Posted: Jan 11, 2013 1:45:23 AM

They aren't black, and they aren't even in boxes...
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All-Star Author San Antonio

Joined:Dec 2012
Message Posted: Jan 10, 2013 3:11:29 PM

high tech always helps as long as it is under control
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Champion Author Tulsa

Joined:Aug 2005
Message Posted: Jan 10, 2013 2:25:45 PM

I would only support the use of it in cases of collisions. Otherwise, not.
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Champion Author Birmingham

Joined:May 2005
Message Posted: Jan 10, 2013 2:08:44 PM

As long as it is used only in the case of an accident, OK. Otherwise, no, not a big fan at all.
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Champion Author Boston

Joined:Feb 2011
Message Posted: Jan 10, 2013 12:46:14 PM

I believe that in the event of an serious accident the police can access the vehicles black box. There are some precedents in the law however, that the police must have a search warrant for the information. If they do not the data may not usable in court.
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Champion Author Los Angeles

Joined:Nov 2012
Message Posted: Jan 10, 2013 12:00:15 PM

Just drive more safely
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Champion Author Ventura

Joined:Jul 2005
Message Posted: Dec 9, 2012 9:06:47 AM

There should be laws about ownership of the device and it's contents, but are there? Who knows?
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Champion Author San Antonio

Joined:Feb 2012
Message Posted: Dec 9, 2012 8:57:24 AM

Drive responsibly and if the info is needed, you have info to back you up.
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Champion Author Mississippi

Joined:May 2004
Message Posted: Dec 8, 2012 12:12:46 PM

Black box data is restricted data, unless you "freely" give it up --> such as the plug-in data devices currently touted by some insurance companies
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Champion Author Nashville

Joined:Oct 2005
Message Posted: Dec 8, 2012 9:23:46 AM

Another way that big brother can keep track of you.
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Champion Author Virginia

Joined:May 2004
Message Posted: Dec 8, 2012 8:46:50 AM

Not sure what the controversy is. Your breath and blood belong to you, but under implied consent laws you have to provide one or both.

While I don't know if state laws have been updated to allow police warrantless access to car computer data in the course of an accident or criminal investigation, I suspect obtaining a warrant in such an instance would be trivial.

Operating a motor vehicle on public roads under the terms of a state-issued driver license is a privilege and causes you to forfeit many rights.
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Champion Author Ontario

Joined:Sep 2008
Message Posted: Dec 8, 2012 8:04:40 AM

that box belongs to the owner of the vehicle I would assume, and no one has the authority to bother it without the owners consent.

If there is a accident.....I think the black box belongs to the whoever is looking into the accident and how it happen..........

The black box or it's contents does not belong to the owner of the vehicle but to the investigaters of the accident.....
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