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Driver Privacy Act amended to secure motorcyclists' info

April 09, 2014

A proposed change in the language of the Driver Privacy Act in the U.S. Senate would expand the bill's scope to protect all information recorded by event data recorders installed on all "motor vehicles," including motorcycles, the American Motorcyclist Association reports.

The substitute amendment was offered in committee by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to S. 1925, which deals with information collected by event data recorders, sometimes referred to as "black boxes."

While the government does not require the installation of event data recorders on motorcycles, some current models are equipped with the devices.

"The American Motorcyclist Association supports the Klobuchar amendment and believes that all information collected by event data recorders belongs to the owner of the vehicle or the person leasing the vehicle -- whether they are on two, three or four wheels," said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president of government relations. "Access to that data should come only at the discretion of the vehicle owner or lessee."

Allard thanked Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Klobuchar for working with the motorcycling community to make this needed change.

The bill: As originally introduced, S. 1925 would have granted privacy protection only for data the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires to be collected (49 CFR Part 563) -- passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses, which must be equipped with event data recorders.

What changed: The substitute amendment extends privacy protection for data collected by devices installed on all motor vehicles, including motorcycles.

Similar legislation: A more sweeping bill, H.R. 2414, was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in June 2013, by U.S. Rep. Michael E. Capuano (D-Mass.). That bill states that "any data recorded on any event data recorder in an automobile or motorcycle shall be considered the property of the owner of the automobile or motorcycle."

Under the House bill, no one but the owner could access the data without the permission of the owner or a court order.

What is next: H.R. 2414 is being considered by the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.

S. 1925 is being considered by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

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