• Hands off My Vehicle’s Black Box: Legislation to Protect New Jersey Drivers’ Privacy Rights May Soon Become Reality.
  • December 19, 2014 | Author: Jill L. Walsh
  • Law Firm: Thomas, Thomas & Hafer LLP - Hampton Office
  • Efforts are underway in New Jersey to enact legislation that would make data available in an automobile's event data recorder (a.k.a “EDR” or “black box”) the property of the vehicle's owner. EDRs have the ability to track an automobile’s speed, location, date of use and the number of occupants in the vehicle.

    Citing privacy concerns, three legislators are sponsoring bills that would restrict access by law enforcement, insurance carriers, adversaries in civil matters, and other third parties to EDR data. On October 2, 2014, the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee unanimously recommended passage of bill A3579. There is also an identical bill pending before the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

    The legislation does not render EDR data out of reach. Under the proposed legislation, access to EDR data by third parties is available through a warrant by the police or pursuant to a discovery order in civil litigation. The legislation also prohibits an automobile owner from destroying an EDR or information from an EDR for two years following an accident involving injury or death, with civil penalties of $5,000 for violations of the statute.