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DC Insider: Big win for motorcyclists’ privacy

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After hearing the concerns of the motorcycling community, Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) introduced an amendment to S. 1925 that would extend to all motor vehicles the protection of information gathered by event data recorders, sometimes referred to as black boxes.

On April 9, the amendment passed the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation by voice vote.

The new language of the bill grants ownership of any data collected by an event data recorder for any motor vehicle, instead of only passenger motor vehicles, as the original language stated.

Federal law (49 USC § 32101) specifically states that motorcycles are not to be considered passenger motor vehicles.

As a result of your hard work, motorcyclists could be granted the same privacy protections as the owners of passenger motor vehicles.

Additionally, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate have introduced bipartisan privacy bills that aim to protect the privacy of information collected by event data recorders in motor vehicles.

This is great news for the motorcycling community, as each chamber begins the process of drafting a highway bill.

While the House and Senate bills will surely be different, it is likely that each broader transportation bill will encompass some form of privacy protection for motorists.

As a result, when the bills are reconciled the question will not be IF privacy protections should be included but whether to use the House or Senate version in providing the protection.

Now, the million-dollar question is: When this will happen?

While the AMA continues working to ensure the next surface transportation bill recognizes the benefits of motorcycling and includes funding for motorcycle safety – but not for motorcycle-only checkpoints -- it is reassuring to know that motorcyclists’ private data would be treated the same as that of other motorists.

The AMA will continue to keep you updated on legislative and regulatory actions that could affect your right to ride.

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