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Old 01-17-2004, 10:49 AM   #1
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Default The Little Black Box.....were you aware?

Hi Folks,

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.

--Chris
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Old 01-17-2004, 12:26 PM   #2
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If a sensor is bad, and it'* not damaged in the accident they can test it. But most of the time. The investigators will not go solely on them either, as they have not been used in court much, and GM is the one who put them in. Investigators determine speed and such on their own, and if they don't match up they'll take the physical evidence.

If say speed or engine speed sending units weren't working right, you'd be driving a car with a bad tach or speedo.
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Old 01-17-2004, 01:45 PM   #3
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As you mentioned it could be good or bad depending how the pendulum swings. I for one am not worried as I am not an aggressive driver but rather a defensive one.
As we share the roads with millions of drivers everyday it is sad to see the state have to go to such measures to ensure road saftey for the common good.
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Old 01-17-2004, 05:04 PM   #4
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GM has used these "Black Boxes" for many reasons over the last couple of years. Most of the time it'* used to either prove or disprove "Customer Abuse" or "Tampering" to the vehicle by either it'* owner or another mechanic. In a Warranty situation resulting in an accident or other serious offense, the "Black Box" tells no lies! Once, GM used this very info to prove that a owner was going TWICE the posted speed limit at the time of the crash & NEVER even hit the brakes at all! This resulted in the other car'* occupants being killed! The driver of the first car claimed that the brakes had failed!
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Old 01-17-2004, 07:05 PM   #5
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I've heard of those black boxes. It'* strange cause my dad just told me about them today.

I think it is a good idea. Doesn't really move in on one'* privacy.
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Old 01-17-2004, 07:21 PM   #6
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Its tied into your bcm, you buy the vehicle you buy all the hardwear... all it does is protects gms *** from being sued because of "brake failer'' or ''seat belt failer'', ''air bag failer'' and so on..
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Old 01-17-2004, 08:02 PM   #7
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kind of like the same thing on a air plane?
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Old 01-17-2004, 08:02 PM   #8
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these are in all 96+ cars? good thing i have a 95...

what is, for example someone has a 2004 gxp and they're being dumb, have the parking brake on and doing a huge burnout, then the trans breaks. can gm read this and say your on your own? ever happened?
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Old 01-17-2004, 08:31 PM   #9
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yup, and my trofeo has one, so probably your car does too...
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Old 01-17-2004, 11:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikey
these are in all 96+ cars? good thing i have a 95...

what is, for example someone has a 2004 gxp and they're being dumb, have the parking brake on and doing a huge burnout, then the trans breaks. can gm read this and say your on your own? ever happened?
Check it out -- I think you are OK.

http://www.vetronix.com/diagnostics/...icle_list.html
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