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Feds Want 'Black Boxes' Mandatory in New Cars

The data recorders already are in most new vehicles. Share your thoughts on privacy factors.

Have you bought a new car lately? If so, Big Brother may be along for the ride.

According to media reports, federal auto safety officials have proposed a new rule requiring "black boxes" -- data recorders that capture the moments before and after a crash -- in all new U.S. cars and trucks. Such recorders already come standard in most new vehicles, but the auto industry opposes a mandate.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that 96 percent of 2013 models come with the recorders as standard. The new proposal does not change the 15 types of data that the recorders should record when it senses a crash, the report says.

For instance, the data include whether the driver is wearing a seat belt, but the device doesn't record any other information about the driver or the car's location. It can only keep a maximum of five seconds of information. Duluth

Experts warn that the boxes are not foolproof. Electrical surges have been known to erase or scramble the 15 data points that the boxes are required to collect, and the sensors can report faulty information.

Also, while federal law generally says the data belong to car's owner, many insurance contracts allow insurance companies to gather the data after the crash.

-- So we ask, did you know that your car may have a "black box" recorder? Are you in favor of the proposed mandate? Share your opinion in the comments below.

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