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4/12/2005
North Dakota Approves Black Box Privacy Bill
The North Dakota legislature overwhelmingly approved legislation requiring automakers to notify of the presence of data recorders.

North Dakota CapitolLegislation aimed at informing automobile buyers of the presence of "black box" recorders in new vehicles has cleared the North Dakota state legislature and is headed for the signature of Governor John Hoeven. The final conference report was adopted by the House yesterday 87-3 and was passed in the House on April 8 by a 42-0 vote.

The legislation essentially gives ownership of the data recorded by the black box to the vehicle owner. Black boxes can disclose whether the owner was wearing a seat belt, vehicle speed and other data. The measure requires a court order before any of that information can be used in court and prohibits insurance companies from requiring access to the black box as a condition for obtaining insurance coverage. North Dakota Republican State Senator Ray Holmberg introduced the measure after learning that the devices were being placed in vehicles without notice.

Article Excerpt:
Fifty-ninth Legislative Assembly of North Dakota
SENATE BILL NO. 2200

Introduced by Senators Holmberg, Trenbeath, Triplett and Representatives DeKrey, Delmore, Kretschmar
A BILL for an Act to create and enact a new section to chapter 51-07 of the North Dakota
Century Code, relating to recording devices on motor vehicles; and to provide for application.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF NORTH DAKOTA:
SECTION 1. A new section to chapter 51-07 of the North Dakota Century Code is created and enacted as follows:
Recording devices on motor vehicles - Disclosure - Removal.
1. A manufacturer of a new motor vehicle sold or leased in this state which is equipped with a recording device commonly referred to as an event data recorder shall disclose by model year 2007 the presence, capacity, and capabilities of the event data recorder in the owner's manual for the vehicle. A motor vehicle dealer shall include within the purchase contract in a clear and conspicuous manner information on the possibility of a recording device. As used in this section, an event data recorder means a feature that is installed by the manufacturer of the
vehicle and does any of the following for the purpose of retrieving data:
a. Records the speed of the vehicle and the direction the motor vehicle is traveling.
b. Records vehicle location data.
c. Records steering performance.
d. Records brake performance, including whether brakes were applied before an accident.
e. Records the driver's safety belt status.
f. Has the ability to transmit information concerning an accident in which the vehicle has been involved to a central communications system when an accident occurs.
2. Data recorded on an event data recorder may not be downloaded or otherwise retrieved by a person other than the owner of the motor vehicle at the time the data is recorded, or through consent by the owner's agent or legal representative, except under any of the following circumstances:
a. The data is retrieved for the purpose of improving motor vehicle safety, including for medical research of the human body's reaction to motor vehicle accidents, and the identity of the registered owner or driver is not disclosed in connection with that retrieved data. The disclosure of the vehicle identification number, with the last four digits deleted, for the purpose of improving vehicle safety, including for medical research of the human body's reaction to motor vehicle accidents, does not constitute the disclosure of the identity of the registered owner or driver. A person authorized to download or otherwise retrieve data from a recording device under this subdivision may not release that data, except to share the data among the motor vehicle safety and medical research communities to advance motor vehicle safety, and only if the identity of the registered owner or driver is not disclosed.
b. The data is retrieved by a licensed motor vehicle dealer or by an automotive technician for the purpose of diagnosing, servicing, or repairing the motor vehicle.
c. By stipulation of the parties to the proceeding or by order of the court.
3. "Owner" means a person having all the incidents of ownership, including the legal title of a vehicle regardless of whether the person lends, rents, or creates a security interest in the vehicle; a person entitled to the possession of a vehicle as the purchaser under a security agreement; or the person entitled to possession of the vehicle as lessee pursuant to a written lease agreement, if the agreement at inception is for a period in excess of three months.
4. A person, including a service or data processor operating on behalf of the person, authorized to download or otherwise retrieve data from an event data recorder pursuant to subdivision a of subsection 2 may not release that data except for the purposes of motor vehicle safety and medical communities to advance motor vehicle safety, security, or traffic management; or to a data processor solely for the purposes permitted by this subsection and only if the identity of the owner or driver of the vehicle is not disclosed.
5. If a motor vehicle is equipped with a recording device that is capable of recording or transmitting information relating to vehicle location data or concerning an accident to a central communications system and that capability is part of a subscription service, the fact that the information may be recorded or transmitted must be disclosed in the terms and conditions of the subscription service. Subsection 2 does not apply to a subscription service that meets the requirements of this subsection.
6. An insurer may not require as a condition of insurability consent of the owner for access to data that may be stored within an event data recorder and may not use data retrieved with the owners consent before or after an accident for the purpose of rate assessment.

SECTION 2. APPLICATION. This Act applies to all motor vehicles manufactured after July 31, 2005.



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