PA 07-235—SB 974

Judiciary Committee

Public Safety and Security Committee

Transportation Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING ACCESS TO RECORDED INFORMATION IN “BLACK BOX” EVENT DATA RECORDERS IN MOTOR VEHICLES.

SUMMARY: This act prohibits anyone other than the registered motor vehicle's owner or owner's representative, from retrieving, obtaining, or using data stored on or transmitted from the vehicle's event data recorder (EDR) unless:

1. the registered owner or lessee of the vehicle when the data is recorded, retrieved, retained, or used or his or her representative, consents in writing;

2. the data is retrieved or obtained by a peace officer under a search warrant issued by a Superior Court judge or a judge trial referee, or by any other court that has jurisdiction;

3. the data is retrieved, obtained, and used by a subscription service provider under a subscription agreement if the agreement “discloses” that the data may be stored and transmitted;

4. the data is retrieved or obtained by a licensed new car dealer, repairer, or the vehicle manufacturer and used to diagnose, service, or repair the motor vehicle;

5. the data is retrieved or obtained under a legally proper discovery request or order in a civil action; or

6. the data is used to improve motor vehicle safety, security, or traffic management, including medical research on physical reactions to motor vehicle accidents, if the identity of the registered owner, lessee, operator, or other occupant is not disclosed with respect to the data.

The act specifies that the disclosure of a vehicle identification number with the last six numbers deleted does not constitute disclosure of the identity of the registered owner, lessee, operator, or other occupants.

It defines “lessee” as an individual who leases or rents a passenger motor vehicle for personal use under a written agreement for a term of more than one year.

The act prohibits anyone who retrieves or obtains such data, except a peace officer under a warrant, from further disclosing it. The prohibition also does not apply as long as the identity of the registered owner, lessee, operator, or other occupant is not disclosed and the data is (1) retrieved by the dealer, repairer, or manufacturer to diagnose, service, or repair the vehicle, or (2) used to improve safety, security, or traffic management including medical research on physical reactions to motor vehicle accidents.

The act also prohibits anyone from knowingly altering or deleting EDR data, or knowingly destroying an EDR, after a crash that resulted in a death or a serious physical injury, as defined by law, within a reasonable amount of time sufficient for a peace officer to obtain a search warrant.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

EVENT DATA RECORDER

The act defines an “event data recorder” as a device or function in a passenger motor vehicle that records the vehicle's dynamic, time-series data (1) during the time period just before a crash, including, vehicle speed versus time data, or (2) during a crash including, change in velocity (delta-V) versus time data, intended for retrieval after the crash (see BACKGROUND). The act specifies that “event data” does not include audio or video data.

BACKGROUND

Peace Officer

In addition to state and local police officers, “peace officer” includes inspectors of the Division of Criminal Justice; state and judicial marshals performing their duties; conservation or special conservation officers; constables who perform criminal law enforcement duties; certain special police officers (for state property, public assistance fraud investigation, or public utility or transportation companies); adult probation officers; Department of Correction personnel authorized by the commissioner to make arrests in correctional facilities; investigators from the State Treasurer's Office; and special federal agents authorized to enforce federal food and drug laws.

EDRs and Delta-V

EDRs now being installed as standard equipment by several automakers are designed to record data elements before and during a collision that may be useful for crash reconstruction. One data element, the vehicle's change in velocity or delta-V, is a widely accepted measure of crash severity. By directly measuring vehicle delta-V, EDRs can provide an independent measurement of crash severity, which avoids many of the difficulties of crash reconstruction techniques (“Evaluation Of Event Data Recorders In Full Systems Crash Tests”, Niehoff, Gabler, Brophy, Chidester, Hinch, Ragland, (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Paper No: 05-0271)).

Serious Physical Injury

The law defines a “serious physical injury” as a physical injury that (1) creates a substantial risk of death, or (2) causes serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health, or serious loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ (CGS 53a-3(4)).

OLR Tracking: GC: VR: JL: TS