BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

          SENATOR ALAN LOWENTHAL, CHAIRMAN               AUTHOR:  Fletcher
                                                         VERSION: 2/17/10
          Analysis by: Meegen Murray                     FISCAL:  no
          Hearing date: June 29, 2010


          Windshield:  video event recorder


          This bill would authorize the placement of video event recorders  
          in vehicles. 


          Existing California law prohibits a person from driving any  
          motor vehicle with any object or material placed, displayed,  
          installed, affixed, or applied upon the windshield, the rear  
          window, or side windows adjacent to the driver. Existing law  
          makes exceptions for the following:

               Rearview mirrors;

               Sunvisors that are not mounted on the windshield glass;

               Electronic toll communication devices affixed to the  
              center uppermost portion of the interior of the windshield  
              within an area that is not greater than 5 inches square  
              (e.g., FasTrak transponders);

               Transparent material applied to the top most portion of  
              the windshield (i.e., tinting);

               Stickers and global positioning systems that are displayed  
              on the windshield in the 7-inch square in the lower corner  
              farthest removed from the driver or in the 5-inch square in  
              the lower corner nearest the driver (e.g., parking and oil  
              change decals).

          Existing law requires vehicle manufacturers to disclose in the  


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          owner's manual that a vehicle is equipped with one or more  
          recording devices commonly referred to as "event data  
          recorders." Existing law defines "recording devices" as those  

                Record how fast and in which direction the motor vehicle  
               is traveling;

                Record a history or where the motor vehicle travels;

                Record steering performance;

                Record brake performance, including but not limited to,  
               whether brakes were applied before an accident;
                Record the driver's seat belt status; and

                Have the ability to transmit information concerning an  
               accident in which the motor vehicle has been involved to a  
               central communications system at the moment the accident  

          Existing law prohibits downloading or retrieving data recorded  
          on a recording devise by a person other than the registered  
          owner of the motor vehicle, except under specific conditions. 

          Existing law prohibits the audio recording of persons without  
          the expressed consent of all parties involved.
          This bill  authorizes the placement of video event recorders on  
          specified areas of a vehicle windshield. Additionally, the bill  
          defines "video event recorder" to mean a video recorder that  
          continuously records in a digital loop, recording audio, video,  
          and G-force levels, but saves video only when triggered by an  
          unusual motion or crash or when operated by the driver to  
          monitor driver performance. 

            1) Purpose of the bill  . The author introduced this bill to  
             reduce motor vehicle deaths by allowing the use of video  
             event recorders that can lead to safe driving habits and  
             reduced accidents. Video event recorders for vehicles capture  
             high definition videos, both of the front of the vehicle and  
             the rear, using a dual camera device and record when an event  
             occurs, including accidents or aggressive driving behavior.  
             The videos are stored on internal memory together with other  


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             information such as G-force values, GPS coordinates, date,  
             time, and more. Studies of both teens and commercial drivers  
             found that the use of video event recorders, paired with  
             behavioral coaching, improved driver safety and reduced  
             accidents. Video event recorders typically are operated on a  
             loop and only save recordings in events such as quick stops  
             or accidents. The records are used to analyze a driver's  
             actions during the events to coach positive driving behavior.

            2) Same as GPS requirements  . This bill stipulates that the  
             event recorder must be placed in a 7-inch square in the lower  
             corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver or  
             in a 5-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield  
             nearest of the driver and outside of an airbag deployment  
             zone. These stipulations mirror identically the requirements  
             currently in place for a portable GPS. 

            3) Teamsters opposition  . The Teamsters believe the bill needs  
             to be amended to protect the reasonable rights of their  
             members who drive commercial vehicles. They argue that an  
             employee driver or driver's representative (union  
             representative or attorney) must be given unedited copies of  
             the recordings at no cost and no later than 5 days from the  
             request. Additionally, they argue that the owner must have  
             the right to disable the video event recorder and the ability  
             to turn it off and on and that the data should be restricted  
             to 30 seconds before and after the triggering event. In  
             response to this opposition, the author will offer amendments  
             in committee to give employees the right to disable the  
             device, specify that the owner of the vehicle owns the data  
             on the event recorders, and limit a devices record to no more  
             than 30 seconds before and after a triggering event. 
            4) Video only  .  The American Civil Liberties Union, while  
             agreeing with the Teamsters, also would also like the bill  
             limited to video recording only, citing that audio recording  
             generally requires consent of all parties to a conversation.  
             It would be difficult if not impossible to ensure that all  
             passengers or parties in a vehicle have given their expressed  
             consent to be audio recorded at all times. In response, the  
             author intends to offer an amendment to require posting of a  
             notice in each vehicle with a video event recorder to inform  
             passengers that their conversations are being recorded. The  
             committee may wish instead to amend the bill to clarify that  
             these recording devices be limited to video only. 
          Assembly Votes:


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               Floor:    69 - 1
               Trans:    13 - 1

          POSITIONS:  (Communicated to the Committee before noon on  
                     June 23, 2010)

               SUPPORT:  California State Sheriffs' Association
               OPPOSED:  American Civil Liberties Union
                         California Teamsters Public Affairs Council