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.
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?