From the Appleton WI Post-Crescent
Forwarded by Woody Lindskog

If you own a 2004 or later GM, Ford, Toyota or Honda vehicle, you may be transporting a passenger you didn’t know about. And that passenger has been taking notes.

Boxes that record whether you used your seat belt, how fast you drive and whether you had your foot on the brake or accelerator before an accident, came as standard equipment on about 30 million cars now on the road.

They’ve been used in New York to convict a driver whose black box said he was driving his Cadillac at a speed of 106 mph - just seconds before he slammed into another car and killed the driver - instead of the 65 mph he claimed.

Understandably, insurance companies are very interested in that kind of information, and so are prosecutors as well as traffic safety engineers.

There are no rules in most places about who owns the information, or requirements that manufacturers inform car owners they have a tattletale riding shotgun.

Several states are in the process now of answering those questions.