The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Automotive “Black Box” Bill Takes Effect in California

July 20, 2004

Last year’s AB213 by California Assemblyman Tim Leslie will go into effect in California on July 15, making it the nation’s first automotive “Black Box” law. Black boxes are devices that record various data including speed and braking conditions on a continual five-second loop. After an accident, this information is collected for the purpose of helping automakers develop safer vehicles. Privacy advocates have expressed concern that downloading this information after an accident without the driver’s knowledge or permission is an infringement on their constitutional rights. Furthermore, it is becoming more common for law enforcement to use the data to establish “fault” in an accident. AB213 states in statute that the information stored on a black box device can only be retrieved with the registered owner’s consent or with a court order. The law will also require that auto manufacturers state in the owner’s manual when a car comes equipped with the of these devices.
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