Should Our Cars Record Our Every Move?

google self-driving-car

Ninety-six percent of passenger cars and light-duty vehicles from the 2013 model year have electronic data recorders.

Yup, like the black boxes in airplanes, our vehicles’ actions are constantly being recorded, and the only way to avoid it is to buy used.

The statistic comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, by way of the Huffington Post, in an article about self-driving cars.

The U.S. government would like all self-driving vehicles to have data recorders that would log all events leading up to an accident. The data, in theory, would allow investigators to determine what went wrong in the unfortunate event there are no survivors to recap their versions of things.

That seems perfectly reasonable to me. If a car is going to drive me around, I would prefer that it record its actions in case something goes wrong.

As I said at the beginning, what really surprises me is that statistic. How is it that only 4 percent of new vehicles don’t have data recorders? That seems like it should be the real news here. Why are people getting all upset about the prospect of self-driving cars recording information when 96 percent of current vehicles already do?

The bigger question, though, is this: Why do we even care if our cars record driving information? These so-called black boxes record only speed, seat belt use, braking and airbag deployment, and that info can be shared with insurance companies or law enforcement agencies. It’s not like they have cameras that record every intimate moment we have inside our vehicles and post the footage to YouTube for everyone to see.

If employees of the government or my insurance company have nothing better to do than watch all day to see if I wear my seat belt, I’ll just smile, nod and tell them to enjoy the show.

I don’t mind at all if cars record my driving information. In fact, I kind of prefer that they do.

Do you want your car recording your every move? 


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  1. Randy, there is nothing wrong with modifying a car to suit your personal preference. I don’t know anyone who treats there car like a ‘toy’ or a ‘crutch’ or even ‘sex aid’.
    Everything should be done in moderation though.
    Now maybe a motorbike could be perceived by some as a ‘toy’, and so it’s just not a “transportation device”. It becomes ‘fun’ Randy.
    Not our fault you chose a boring “transportation device”.
    I agree with the Black Boxes in cars too.

  2. One of the greatest psychological defects in this country is the belief in cars as a “lifestyle”. Cars are, and should be, transporation devices— not toys, psychological crutches or sex aids. These recorders are important devices that only record the last few seconds of data before an accident. Accident investigators can tell you that very often, they have a lot of difficulty determining what happened without eyewitness accounts because cars tend to move around so much during a collision, and the data from black boxes really helps in determining what happened. Look at it this way– if you have some jerk driving 30mph over the speed limit while texting who then hits you, your attorney will want this kind of information.

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