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View Full Version : General Politics GM is One of the First Automakers to Publicly Support Mandatory Black Boxes


Otter
03-23-2010, 02:35 PM
http://www.dailytech.com/GM+is+One+of+the+First+Automakers+to+Publicly+Support+Mandatory+Black+Boxes/article17942.htm

In a roundtable interview with reporters Monday General Motors' new vice president for government relations, Robert E. Ferguson, stated that his company backed pending legislation that would mandate black boxes in cars.

The need for black boxes is showcased by incidents like the case of a 2008 Toyota Prius in California that supposedly accelerated uncontrollably. Analysis by government investigators showed that the pattern of brake wear did not match the consistent braking that the driver claimed. However, without an explicit record of what happened, the truth can't be proven; in fact wild theories such as failure due to cosmic rays have even been floated.

An event data recorder (EDR) could help depending on its features, the capabilities of its readers, and the availability of its readers. As it turns out, the second generation 2008 Prius does have an EDR, but officially it only records data such as vehicle speed in "crash" or "near crash" events. It reportedly does not record vehicle speed or braking during normal operation unless explicitly programmed to do so for testing purposes.

GM first deployed EDRs in the 1990 model year and by 1995 they were standard in GM's light vehicles. GM, like Toyota, offers a device that allows the limited reading of its vehicles' EDRs. GM's EDRs don't necessarily offer much more information than Toyota's in their current form, but GM supports proposals to expand the information made available by the EDR.

Describes Ferguson, "[EDRs are] essential to ensure consumers are being properly protected in their vehicles. There can be a discrepancy in what a driver claims happened and what NHTSA concludes happened. This would mandate equipment that would remove any human emotion or bias to provide much more precise data."

Members of Congress are currently working on legislation to mandate expanded EDR abilities and mandated inclusion in vehicles. The legislation could air within a month. Comments Ferguson, "The prospects that we end up with some additional safety legislation or regulation are very high."

Ferguson appeared to take a bit of a swipe at Toyota, saying "[If] a manufacturer takes a hide-the-ball, not transparent (approach), it's hard to design a system that gets around that."

However, he says that he meant no affront to Toyota, commenting that he has a "very positive" impression of Toyota vehicles and offering, "For the sake of the American driving public, I hope Toyota solves its safety issues quickly."

One issue that was not raised by Ferguson about EDRs, but is salient in the debate, is privacy. If EDR capabilities are expanded, they could be used in traffic incidents to determine guilt. They could even be used, in theory, even to remotely catch speeders and send them tickets. Such issues would surely invite debate, but they may be ignored in the wake of the fallout from Toyota's safety issues.

Dayze
03-23-2010, 02:38 PM
ah yes, the safety card.
(not directed at you Otter)

HonestChieffan
03-23-2010, 02:41 PM
no surprise here

bowener
03-23-2010, 02:44 PM
Auto industry will want to back this. It can be a good tool to get them out of any fault in the event of an accident (for the purposes of law suits).

Otter
03-23-2010, 02:49 PM
Auto industry will want to back this. It can be a good tool to get them out of any fault in the event of an accident (for the purposes of law suits).

I don't want to sound like I've gone off the tin foil hat deep end just yet but I can also see this down the road being turned into a tax based on the level of your environmentally friendly driving habits.

The data gets uploaded during your yearly inspection and is tacked onto the tab of your inspection bill in the form of a tax.

Seriously, anyone couldn't see that being the next step?

bowener
03-23-2010, 03:05 PM
I don't want to sound like I've gone off the tin foil hat deep end just yet but I can also see this down the road being turned into a tax based on the level of your environmentally friendly driving habits.

The data gets uploaded during your yearly inspection and is tacked onto the tab of your inspection bill in the form of a tax.

Seriously, anyone couldn't see that being the next step?

Should you not be further rewarded for saving your own self money as well as contributing less to dictatorial oil regimes?

Garcia Bronco
03-23-2010, 03:07 PM
Auto industry will want to back this. It can be a good tool to get them out of any fault in the event of an accident (for the purposes of law suits).

And they can pass the cost on to the consumer. Everybody wins........doh!

pikesome
03-23-2010, 03:09 PM
I don't want to sound like I've gone off the tin foil hat deep end just yet but I can also see this down the road being turned into a tax based on the level of your environmentally friendly driving habits.

The data gets uploaded during your yearly inspection and is tacked onto the tab of your inspection bill in the form of a tax.

Seriously, anyone couldn't see that being the next step?

People have already been working on it. No black box has been a major limit though.

Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood is considering a transportation tax based on miles driven, to replace gasoline tax revenue. “We should look at the vehicular miles program where people are actually clocked on the number of miles that they traveled,” La Hood tells the Freep, echoing proposals being considered by Oregon, Idaho, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and North Carolina. La Hood argues that gasoline tax revenues “can not be relied on” to fund infrastructure maintenance, presumably because relatively high prices have caused a downturn in gas tax revenue. “One of the things I think everyone agrees with around reauthorization of the highway bill is that the highway trust fund is an antiquated system for funding our highways,” LaHood said. “It did work to build the interstate system and it was very effective, there’s no question about that. But the big question now is, We’re into the 21st Century and how are we going to take care of our infrastructure needs … with a highway trust fund that had to be plused up by $8 billion by Congress last year?” For La Hood the answer to that rhetorical question is “by putting GPS chips in your car and charging you by the mile.”

LaHood has firmly ruled out increasing the gas tax “in a recession,” but Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) is hardly a short-term solution. According to Rob Atkinson, president of the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission (the guy who figures out how to fund infrastructure) says it will take the better part of a decade to impliment a national VMT scheme. By then the “recession” argument against increasing the gas tax should be gone, and conveniently that method would avoid having to build, maintain and monitor millions of GPS chips. Meanwhile, the only real argument against raising the tax on gas (for which demand is quite inelastic) is political cowardice. La Hood might consider the VMT scheme “thinking outside the box,” but an enormous infrastructure of GPS chip makers, monitors, maintenance, and assessors (not to mention the possibility of privacy intrusions, a notion La Hood airly dismisses) is hardly a streamlined, efficient approach to the problem.
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/transportation-secretary-considers-pay-per-mile-tax/

In order to increase California’s revenue during a time of fiscal problems, Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed legislation that would tax people based on the number of miles they drive, as opposed to how much gasoline they purchase. Schwarzenegger put the logic of the bill into perspective at a recent press conference.

“People dislike seeing high gas prices, so instead, we will charge them three times as much once each year,” the governor explained. “And the cost of this plan is only roughly two or three thousand times what we could accrue from the scheme in the next twenty years.”
http://www.themq.com/index.php?articles_id=286&issue=116

No tin foil hat needed, it isn't paranoia.

Otter
03-23-2010, 03:12 PM
Should you not be further rewarded for saving your own self money as well as contributing less to dictatorial oil regimes?

What's the reward? I'm already paying for my driving habits at $3 a gallon.

banyon
03-23-2010, 03:19 PM
Hitler wanted autos to have black boxes too.