On Tap: Black Boxes for All Passenger Vehicles

Your driving habits soon will be an open book to insurers and police in the aftermath of an accident or car malfunction.

A law coming this fall will require automakers to install “black boxes” in all passenger vehicles, starting with 2013 models.

Electronic data recorders more sophisticated than the ones now in about 60% of new cars will capture information about vehicular speed, direction, engine performance, brakes and electronic systems. They’ll also tell insurance investigators and law enforcement officers a lot about vehicles involved in accidents -- everything from whether drivers were wearing safety belts to exactly when air bags deployed, for example.

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Associate Editor, The Kiplinger Letter