I'm a new member here and just bought a '96 SE as a 2nd car. It'* a great vehicle and I enjoy it a lot. I am also a member of the National Motorists Assocation (www.motorists.org
) and get their newsletter every month.
In the past couple of issues they have been discussing vehicle monitoring systems -- and more specifically the 'little black boxes'. As you may or may not be aware, most vehicles from '95+ (OBDII implementation) have a crash box in it, which also houses some airbag electronics.
This little box monitors a number of things before and during a crash.
(taken from vetronix.com website)
Vehicle speed (5 seconds before impact)
Engine speed (5 seconds before impact)
Brake status (5 seconds before impact)
Throttle position (5 seconds before impact)
State of driver'* seat belt switch (On/Off)
Passenger'* air bag enabled or disabled state (On/Off)
SIR Warning Lamp status (On/Off)
Time from vehicle impact to air bag deployment
Ignition cycle count at event time
Ignition cycle count at investigation
Maximum ΔV for non-deployment event
ΔV vs. time for frontal air bag deployment event
Time from vehicle impact to time of maximum ΔV
Time between non-deploy and deploy event (if within 5 seconds)
Now think about this for just a minute. This could be a good or bad thing.
Let'* say you were in a nasty accident and the other party is going to sue you. The insurance company wants to review your vehicles little black box.
Now lets say that you might have a bad sensor in your vehicle, making your recorded speed in the 'blac box' higher than it should be. Who is the insurance company and the courts going to trust -- your word or the little black box?
There are also privacy issues. YOU purchased this vehicle, and it is yours. Shouldn't it also be YOUR data?
As you can imagine, this data can be EASILY used AGAINST you in a court of law.
California is the only state (so far) that has outlined some privacy revisions regarding using this data. California states that you must get the owners permission or a court order before obtaining this information. That is helpful, but as you can imagine the data will still easily be obtained.
I guess I am curious what you guys think about this. First, were you aware your car had a 'black box' in it recording all of the items mentioned above. Secondly, what do you think about it?
I'm not sure I'm completely comfortable with it.