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HOW WOULD you like it if the government made you put a black box on your car--a so-called "event data recorder"?
Well, the government is aiming to do just that.
In March, the Senate passed the Moving Ahead for Progress in
The act is chock full of transportation rules and regulations aimed at construction projects and safety, but the black box portion is spreading fast on the Internet and gaining plenty of negative traction.
The bill would require all new cars, starting in 2015, to have black boxes installed on them.
There are privacy protections included in the bill, but the government would be able to retrieve the data by court order, in an investigation or inspection, or to determine a need for medical response (apparently emergency responders can utilize information from the data recorders).
Not all of MAP-21 is as controversial as the data recorder section. Much of it is related
One such regulation targets distracted driving.
It would prohibit "electronic screens from displaying broadcast television, movies, video games, and other forms of similar visual entertainment that is visible to the driver while driving."
Hard to believe we really need such a law. Anyone who feels the need to watch videos or play games while driving should just stay home.
So, yes, MAP-21 has some good aspects.
But the black box bill smacks of Big Brother. It has been lambasted as such by online watchdog sites, in comments on stories about the black boxes, as well as in conversations spreading on Facebook.
One site--extremetech .com--takes a little steam out of the conspiracy theory by noting that many cars already have black boxes
Either way, it's a question worth asking.
What's your take?
Check out the Transportation blog (fredericks burg.com/transportation) for links to black box bill information and a poll where you can give them
Dear Scott: Regarding your article of April 9, 2012, about the double left turn on Spotsylvania Parkway at Cosner's Corner, you stated that the shopping center developer will put in a traffic signal at the intersection within six months.
I am curious about how the developer obtained VDOT approval for that traffic signal.
For six years or more, residents of Virginia Heritage at Lee's Parke have requested installation of
VDOT maintains that the volume of traffic on Spotsylvania Parkway does not justify a signal at that dangerous intersection in Lee's Parke.
How, then, has VDOT determined that the volume of traffic justifies a signal on the parkway in Cosner's Corner?
--Lawrence Rizzi, Spotsylvania
When VDOT looks into installing a traffic light, engineers consider nine factors, ranging from traffic volume throughout the day, crashes and pedestrian use, spokeswoman Kelly Hannon said. All states follow these guidelines.
The Cosner's Corner intersection, which is a "major commercial cross street," got a signal basically because of frequent crashes, Hannon said.
In 2011, VDOT studied the Lee's Parke intersection--at Balls Bluff Road/Whiteheart Drive and Spotsylvania Parkway--and installed flashing warning signs. But the intersection so far hasn't met any of the nine factors needed for a signal, Hannon explained.
Nevertheless, VDOT is studying the intersection again to see if a signal is warranted, and the results should be ready in a few weeks.
In the meantime, Hannon suggests that anyone uncomfortable making a left from Balls Bluff Road could turn right and make a U-turn in the nearby left-turn lane in the median.
Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436