The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA)
reports that between 65 and 90 percent of the 2004 model-year vehicles
sold in the United States have a “black box” that monitors speed,
braking, seat-belt usage, airbag deployment, etc. Many vehicle owners
are not aware that their vehicle has such a device and are not aware
that this information can be used against them in court, if an accident
North Dakota State Senator Ray Holmberg (R-Grand Forks) recently
introduced a bill in the state legislature that would require automakers
to inform buyers about vehicles that house a black box. The bill has
passed the North Dakota House and is now in the state Senate, but it is
getting challenged by automakers, insurance firms, attorney groups and
other special-interest groups.
Some 10 other states are considering similar laws requiring automakers to inform buyers of black boxes.