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Feds to propose tracking devices in all new cars

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On Monday, officials with the U.S. Department of Transportation announced they want car manufacturers to include devices for tracking location, heading, speed, and other information in all new cars, the Daily Caller reported.

According to the Associated Press, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the administration intends to require the technology in new vehicles in order to "send a strong signal to the (automotive industry) that we believe the wave of the future is vehicle-to-vehicle technology."

The devices, officials said, would allow cars to essentially talk to each other in an effort to avert accidents and possibly save lives.

Radio transponders installed in the vehicles would transmit data to nearby vehicles in the hopes of alerting drivers to impending collisions.

Officials say they will propose the rule before the end of Obama's second term, but the technology is still several years away.

"It will change driving as we know it over time," Scott Belcher, president and CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, said. "Over time, we'll see a reduction in crashes. Automobile makers will rethink how they design and construct cars because they will no longer be constructing cars to survive a crash, but building them to avoid a crash."

Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, said that while manufacturers are enthusiastic about the technology, there are important technical, security and privacy questions that need to be worked out.

The new technology "may well play a larger role in future road safety, but many pieces of a large puzzle still need to fit together," she said.

The communications technology company Qualcomm said it would take 15 years or more for just half of the cars in service to be outfitted with the new gadgets once auto makers begin installing the equipment.

It's not the first time the idea of tracking devices for vehicles has been floated.

In 2011, the administration proposed taxing drivers by the miles they drive using a tracking device.

In May 2011, we reported:

Part of the proposal put forward by the CBO is a VMT, or vehicle mileage tax, that would be levied against drivers and possibly collected by gas stations. To ensure drivers paid for all the miles they drove, specialized tracking equipment would need to be installed on every vehicle.

Not everyone was impressed with the idea.

"Orwell's predictions were off by a few years but were spot on. The fact that Americans are not rising up against this fascism is telling," one reader said at the Daily Caller.

"Next step after this, ankle monitors for everyone," another person added, while another reader speculated the devices would ultimately become part of the NSA's spy network.

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