Car „black boxes” get White House approval image

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is on track to implement a proposal to make event data recorders standard on all new vehicles.

On Thursday, the White House Office of Management Budget said it has completed a review of the proposal, clearing the way for NHTSA to publish its final regulation. NHTSA wants to make the so-called vehicle “black boxes” mandatory in all cars and trucks. Currently, nearly all vehicles have the devices.

The proposal, which would raise the percentage of vehicles required to have an event data recorder (EDR) from 91.6 percent today to 100 percent of light-duty autos, would have a proportional cost, assuming 15.5 million light vehicles are sold each year in the U.S. In 2010, Congress considered passing a law requiring EDRs in all vehicles.

One of the issues raised regarding the EDRs is driver privacy, which the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM), the trade group representing GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and VW, says the government needs to take into account.

“Event data recorders help our engineers understand how cars perform in the real world but looking forward, we need to make sure we preserve privacy. Automakers do not access EDR data without consumer permission, and any government requirements to install EDRs on all vehicles must include steps to protect consumer privacy,” said AAM spokeswoman Gloria Bergquist.

Many major automakers already include EDRs on all vehicles, including General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Mazda.