Privacy of Data from Event Data Recorders: State Statutes

Some states now require that vehicle manufacturers install Event Data Recorders. Rhode Island isn’t included in the list of those recorded to do so by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. What are these devices exactly? Event Data Recorders or EDRs are technology that allow lawmakers and vehicle operators to determine the speed at which a vehicle was driving at certain periods of time. They are alternatively known as black boxes.

Alarming Statistics:

  • For vehicles built in 2013, 96% have black boxes installed – even though it’s not mandatory by state laws.
  • These devices can capture information unbeknownst to the driver, including the status of seat belt wearing, steering angle, brake positions, and much more.

Benefits of EDRs

These black boxes have several benefits, including being able to improve on the safety and performance of vehicles, as auto manufacturers analyze the data.

Breach in Privacy from EDRs

Nevertheless, these devices directly affect digital privacy laws, given that records of a driver’s history may be sold or shared with parties the vehicle owner has no interest in sharing with. A prime example was when OnStar technology depicted that it would continue tracking vehicles’ performance – even without the consent of the owner.

What would the implications be for sharing these mere statistics?

  • Insurance prices may hike as a result of poor driving, even without ticket or citation history.
  • Telemarketing from third party companies, as the owner’s information is sold for monies.

The good news is that the records on EDRs belong to the owner of the vehicle. Law enforcement are unable to access records – without a warrant, or without the owner’s consent.

If you’ve believe you’ve been treated unfairly in a case involving records from an EDR, or that there was a breach in digital privacy, contact Rhode Island Attorney, John R. Grasso today. Call 401-272-4001 to learn more.


National Conference of State Legislatures: Privacy of Data from Event Data Recorders: State Statutes

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