U.S. Senator Chris Coons joined Senators John Hoeven and Amy Klobuchar on Tuesday in introducing the Driver Privacy Act, legislation that protects a driver’s personal privacy by making it clear that the owner of a vehicle is also the owner of any information collected by an event data recorder .– otherwise known as an (EDR). This equipment would most likely be original equipment installed by the manufacturer in the car.
An EDR has the ability to continuously collect at least 45 pieces of information about a vehicle’s operation that can be retrieved at any time. This includes direction, speed, seatbelt usage and other data. The legislation would ensure that the vehicle owner controls the data to protect personal privacy.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that more than 96 percent of new 2013 car models are currently equipped with an EDR, but in December 2012 the agency proposed rules that would mandate the installation of EDRs in all light-duty vehicles. The proposal raised widespread questions and concerns regarding the ownership of the data that the legislation attempts to address.
Fourteen states have passed laws related to EDRs. These state laws, however, apply only in the states that have them; drivers are unprotected in states that do not.
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