U.S. safety bill could triple the cost of black boxes in the vehicles

United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and President Barack Obama

According to many safety system and electronics suppliers, should the NHTSA require that all vehicles be equipped with black boxes similar to those in airplanes, the cost of the units could triple, if not more, bringing total cost to anywhere between $4,000 and $5,000 per unit. The automotive safety legislation currently before the house stipulates that all new vehicles sold in the U.S. be equipped with event data recorders, beginning in 2015, though it is still unclear what specifications the NHTSA would mandate for such a device.

Those concerned with costs of vehicles rising should the black box mandate go into effect shouldn’t be so alarmed; more than half of the new cars and trucks on the market already come equipped.

The devices currently in use are designed to record about 5 seconds before a crash, Regulators are likely to expand the duration of time that data is recorded, but the major cost factor is going to be any durability requirements that the NHTSA mandates.

– By: Stephen Calogera

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)