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Automotive Black Boxes: Big Brother IS Watching

Posted in auto industry, Best of, Car Tech, General, News, Newsworthy by MrAngry | May 23rd, 2011 | 8 Responses |

Automotive Black Box

No one likes being watched 24/7, but in a society where our lives are being publicized day-in and day-out, it’s kind of hard to escape big brother looking over our shoulder. It’s inevitable I supposed that one of our last true forms of expression and freedom is now being monitored in such a way that it can be used against us if things go array. Since he early 1990’s many cars have had event data recorders (EDR’s) installed in them which are basically the equivalent of the “black boxes” that are found in aircraft. These EDR’s record everything from your speed, to crash data, to whether or not your seat belt was buckled during the time of an impact. This information can be viewed by insurance companies, law enforcement agencies and or your local dealer and used to collect information about your driving habits.


*Photo Credit: Autoblog

About 90% of automotive consumers have no idea that these EDR’s are even in their cars. Now granted, EDR’s do serve a purpose as they can and do, provide manufacturers with valuable information in case of a crash or vehicle malfunction, however this information can also be used against us. For example in Florida in 2002, two teenage girls were struck and killed when a Pontiac Firebird Firehawk plowed into them as they were backing out of their driveway. Investigators accessed the vehicles EDR and found that the driver had been doing 114 mph in a residential area, and thus the driver was convicted on two counts of manslaughter. There is no doubt that there are pro’s and con’s to EDR’s in automobiles, but one has to ask themselves – where is our privacy line crossed? What do you guys think?

Source: Wired.com

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8 Responses

  1. I never knew that my car could possibly have this device; that’s pretty scary. I don’t want my driving habits sent to third parties. I wonder which cars have this and which ones don’t.

  2. PFULMTL says:

    “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” -Benjamin Franklin

    Does that quote apply here? Or is it just overused?

  3. Djrosa says:

    now in the case of the moron going 100mph+ in a residential area i hope they hang him slowly since idiots like that gives petrolheads a bad name (whe have had a small problem with those kinds of lunatics in my town). so in those kinds of cases i think its right but if they check it after a fenderbender or if you get caught speeding im totaly against it. and as for that franklin qoute its to general to feel usefull i somehow doubt franklin had any idea about a motorized carige capable of reaching 4 times the speed of the fastest horse ever.
    well thats atleast my two cents

  4. Anthony says:

    I’m going to do some research and find out if my car has one and if it does…RIPP it out! In a society that is always trying to either sue or arrest you for something I’m not giving them the evidence.

  5. Mark Smith says:

    I don’t have a problem with these IF they are used the way Aircraft FDR/CVRs are used. They are incredibly valuable maintenance tools. If law enforcement can only use them for very specific and well published reasons, I don’t have a problem with it.

  6. SNAK3 says:

    Should only be able to be accessed by law enforcement or insurance companies if a fatality is involved in the accident.

  7. eddie_454 says:

    i dont think we are up to the THX1138 level yet,however give them a inch they will take a yard and freedom as we know it will be lost.

  8. huesos350 says:

    dont care for one in my car.. thats why i drive an early 80’s ranger..