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"Black boxes" on the road

Posted at: 12/10/2012 6:53 AM

Did you know your car is probably able to snitch on you? Most drivers don't but for years now, many newer cars have come equipped with "black boxes" -- event data recorders similar to those investigators try to recover when airliners crash.

That means if you're in a car accident, your car may end up squealing on you about what you were up to in the moments before that accident. The event recorders keep tabs on things like how fast the car was going, whether the driver applied the brakes, was swerving - or wearing a seat belt.

Privacy advocates say such data often end up being used in lawsuits, criminal cases and high-profile accidents.

Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed that all new cars and light trucks have black boxes by September 1, 2014. But many automakers have beaten regulators to the punch, putting the data-gathers into cars for years now.

A federal rule requiring automakers to tell you your car has such a device didn't go into effect until three months ago.