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The Auto Black Box

A car navigation system can record where a car is located, but there is a little device in all of our cars that tracks everything we do. Well… not everything but close enough. This gadget is referred to as the vehicle’s Event Data Recorder (EDR). The EDR works just like an airplanes black box and is commonly used after an accident to see what happened. It records at minimum of 15 aspects of a crash, including pre-crash speed, engine throttle, changes in forward velocity and airbag deployment time.

All vehicles are mandated to have these black boxes by 2013, but some cars have had these since the mid-90s. The information collected could eventually be used for insurance companies to set your insurance rates, as well as in civil and criminal cases. Some people have said that this information should be private but others say that if you are driving on public roads than it is public information. People very weary of this technology fear a future where a device like this can issue a speeding ticket as soon as you go over the speed limit. Imagine a citation printing right out of your dash. OK, so that’s a big jump, but you can see how people feel these devices are a little “big brothery.”

Even though it does feel like an invasion of privacy I do feel like this device can be used for good. It will help auto companies fix problems with their vehicles that lead to crashes. It will prove who was actually at fault in an accident, so the wrong person doesn’t have to pay for it.

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