Cast into the limelight during Toyota's unintended-acceleration crisis, automotive black boxes — also called event data recorders — can help investigators piece together what happened before and during a car crash. Just about every new car has one.
A new initiative could allow the government to track how far you drive, however. And it uses a different sort of black box.
The L.A. Times reports that regulators are considering a second black box that explicitly tracks vehicle mileage — and perhaps where you drive — to fund road maintenance. Fuel taxes, which have remained the same for 20 years, fund the bulk of America's 57-year-old Highway Trust Fund to support highway maintenance and public transit. Problem is, the fund is slowly drying up as cars become more fuel efficient.