By Caroline Holland
Kentucky Bill to Protect Black Box Data
Kentucky Senate Bill 34, introduced by state Sen. Julian Carroll, aims to protect the information stored in vehicle event data recorders (EDRs), also known as black boxes.
Specifically, the bill requires disclosure that a motor vehicle is equipped with the black box, establishes provisions for retrieval of data and prohibits an insurer or lessor from requiring an owner to release data as part of payment for a claim or as a condition of a lease. It also establishes a fine of $500 for failure to disclose the presence of the event data recorder or for improper release of information recorded as specified.
Similar to bills introduced in other states, it allows access to the data for purposes of servicing, emergency services reporting or a court order. Currently, Kentucky law does not require vehicle owners to be notified that vehicles are sold with EDRs, and at this time, insurance companies, vehicle manufacturers and any other interested third parties can access the data after an accident.
The bill was introduced Jan. 8 and was referred to the Senate Committee on Transportation, where it remains.
Committee Hearing Held to Discuss EPA Waiver Denial
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing Jan. 24 titled "Oversight of EPA's Decision to Deny the California Waiver." During this hearing, Stephen Johnson, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, was questioned about his decision to deny California's request for a waiver to set its own, more stringent standards for greenhouse gas emissions.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, criticized Johnson for allegedly providing the committee with edited documents related to the decision. Though he acknowledged there was some disagreement within the agency, Johnson defended his decision to deny the waiver, claiming he was bound by the Clean Air Act rather than people's opinions.
Johnson said global warming does not present a "compelling and extraordinary" problem for California, which would be required for the state to receive a waiver. Johnson reiterated his decision and said he would stand by it. Johnson was expected to provide further documents in support of his decision in February.
OSHA Issues Compliance Directive for Hexavalent Chromium Standards
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new compliance directive for occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)). The directive became effective Jan. 24.
The purpose of the new directive is to provide guidance for enforcement of the final rule on hexavalent chromium standards. The standards became effective May 30, 2006.
The new standards lower the permissible exposure limit for hexavalent chromium to five micrograms of Cr(VI) per cubic meter of air as an eight-hour, time-weighted average. The new directive also includes procedures for reviewing an employer's air sampling records and provides guidance on how employers can implement effective work practice controls, provide hygiene areas and maintain exposure and medical surveillance records.
Kentucky Senate Bill 34 and the new OSHA directive for hexavalent chromium are available on the Automotive Service Association's legislative Web site, www.TakingTheHill.com. The bill can be found by clicking on "Track Current Legislation" on the right, then clicking on "State Leg. Bills." The OSHA directive can be found in the Press Center under "References and Bills."
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