We have commented before that many consumers do not know or understand the amount of data their motor vehicle has concerning their driving habits, including erratic driving, speed, whether the radio or Bluetooth is being used and when the brakes are used. This data can be used in numerous ways that were never contemplated before.

In response to concerns over the use of motor vehicle data, New Jersey Governor recently signed into law a bill aimed at limiting the access to, and use of, data recorded, stored or transmitted from an automobile recording device. The law requires that the owner of the motor vehicle consent in writing to the “duration and scope of data retrieval, retention, and use, prior to or at the time the data is retrieved, obtained, or used.”

Written consent is not required in certain circumstances, such as by law enforcement pursuant to a search warrant; it is used for “improving motor vehicle safety, security, performance, operation, compliance with traffic laws or traffic management…”; it is retrieved or obtained by a dealer and used for “the sole purpose of diagnosing, servicing, or repairing the motor vehicle; it is accessed by emergency response personnel; or through a “legally proper discovery request or order in a civil action.” This means that the data can continue to be requested in lawsuits involving motor vehicle accidents.

The law further prohibits the alteration or deletion of data within two years after a crash resulting in bodily injury or death.

Violation of the law carries the penalty of $5,000 for each offense payable to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.