Originally Posted by Standpoor
Op-ed time: With all that being said, I question the necessity of mandating EDRs in all vehicles. (Which I see as the only legitimate criticism of the section, this bill does not expand the government's ability to spy on you). It seems that the market has done a good job of increasing the use of EDRs in most vehicles. I am not quite sure how EDRs will lead to safer vehicles but I guess I will wait to see the DOT's study. Furthermore, my understanding of Onstar and its ubiquity leads me to believe that the mandate will not put a very large strain on manufacturers so my final opinion is "move along nothing to see here".
This bill really is about standardization, not mandating any new equipment. Mercedes and I think one other German car company don't currently use EDRs. Virtually all other cars equipped with airbags have some form of EDR in them. This bill just brings the last few stragglers in line.
What's important about the bill is that it standardizes what is recorded and how it can be retrieved, rather than the mish mash the private market has produced. Most importantly, it clarifies that the vehicle owner owns the information in the EDR. There has been some lack of clarity on who owns the information up to this point, and as a result a result a few state courts have ruled that law enforcement does not need a warrant to download information from the EDR. This bill clarifies that the vehicle owner owns information in the EDR and therefore law enforcement needs a warrant. The bit in the article about the bill allowing the government is a red herring. Obviously law enforcement can access the information. This strengthens privacy by clarifying that they need a warrant to do so.