New Jersey Bill Would Limit Access to ‘Black Box’ DataOctober 9, 2014

The New Jersey Assembly has recently seen legislation introduced relative to vehicle recording devices. Citing privacy concerns, three legislators are sponsoring bills that would make the information on an automobile’s event data recorder—also known as a car’s “black box”—the property of the vehicle’s owner and would restrict how that information may be obtained from third parties, such as law enforcement, insurance carriers and adversaries in civil matters.

The Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee on Oct. 2 unanimously recommended passage of A3579, sponsored by Assemblyman Paul Moriarty, D-Gloucester. An identical bill, S2433, sponsored by state Sens. Fred Madden Jr., D-Gloucester, and James Beach, D-Camden, is pending before the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

Under the bill, there are five instances in which the data may be accessed by someone other than the owner:

(1) the owner, or the owner’s representative, consents in writing at the time the data is retrieved, obtained or used;

(2) the recorded data is retrieved or obtained by a law enforcement officer pursuant to a search warrant issued by a Superior Court judge or upon order by a court of competent jurisdiction or another administrative authority;

(3) the recorded data is used for the purpose of improving motor vehicle safety, including security, traffic management or medical research, provided that the identity of the owner, operator or other occupant of the vehicle is not disclosed;

(4) the recorded data is retrieved or obtained by a licensed new motor vehicle dealer, a motor vehicle repair or servicing facility and a technician or mechanic at such a facility, or the manufacturer of the motor vehicle, and used for the sole purpose of diagnosing, servicing or repairing the motor vehicle; or

(5) the recorded data is retrieved or obtained pursuant to a legally proper discovery request or order in a civil action.

The bill has 19 co-sponsors, both Democratic and Republican, and is pending before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.

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