05/25/2011 10:56 am ET | Updated Jul 25, 2011

New Cars May Feature Black Box To Monitor Driving Habits

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering a "black box" feature for new cars that would store driving info and would record a final snapshot in the event of a collision, reports Wired.

This event data recorder (EDR) technology is similar to the black box aboard airplanes and would help automakers to pinpoint defects to better understand a system's performance at the time of an accident.

Some automakers already equip vehicles with EDR for these purposes, but the NHTSA wants to standardize the technology and draw up rules for what kind of data is collected and how it can be used.

As EDR devices installed in vehicles would always be on and wouldn't let drivers control the data being collected, privacy concerns abound over how police and insurance companies will be able to use EDR data.

"Our position on EDRs is that we would only use that data in a claims investigation with customer consent or if we're required to do so by law," Progressive Insurance spokesperson Leah Knapp told Wired.

Dorothy Glancy, a lawyer and professor at Santa Clara Law specializing in privacy and transportation, told Wired that police access to EDR data would depend on the state's warrant or subpoena laws.