Thursday, August 08, 2013

Event data recorders in cars may prove intrusive on personal privacy, but will clear and fix responsibility for accidents

The auto industry has been introducing EDR’s, or event data recorders (or “black boxes”, as similar devices in airliners are called), into new cars for some time, and the Obama administration would like to see the mandatory.
  
On the other hand, privacy advocates say that car owners should be able to turn them off.
   
Insurance companies and law enforcement can use them to fix blame (or clear drivers) after accidents. 
  
Furthermore, more advanced devices would allow insurance companies to monitor drivers, and offer lower rates to drivers with better habits.  Car rental companies sometimes use these devices now and fine drivers who violate agreements or who speed.  This can be a problem with some rentals that restrict the states in which a rental car may be driven.
  
NPR has a thorough story on the EDR issue here. The privacy rights of drivers is still a legal gray area in most areas of the country.
  

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Insurance company monitoring could become a problem for people who drive alone a lot (to work, because of variable work times or being on call, or for any personal reasons).  

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