These original Kirt's Cogitations™ may be reproduced
(no more than 5, please) provided proper credit is given to me, Kirt Blattenberger.
here to return to the Table of Contents.
Cog·i·ta·tion [koj-i-tey'-shun] – noun: Concerted
reflection; meditation; contemplation.
Kirt [kert] – proper noun: RF Cafe webmaster.
Big Brother's Along for the Ride
There might be a patron saint of travel watching
over you, and it isn't necessarily St. Christopher. If you drive a car, owned, leased or rented, from around the
year 2000 onward, there is a good chance it has an Event Data Recorder (EDR) onboard. Much like a flight data
recorder that is on commercial airliners to provide ex post facto information about events leading up to an
accident, the EDR is a GPS-enabled microprocessor system that collects and stores real-time information on
position, speed and acceleration. Unlike pilots, though, most drivers are not aware of the devices monitoring
their activity. While there are many
for the collected data that assists in R&D for designing safer vehicles and driver education, our friends the
Trial Lawyers have used the information to prosecute operators in court. Convictions have been obtained based on
EDR data for drunken drivers who have killed innocent people - a good thing indeed. However, insurance and other
companies, as well as private detectives have acquired the ability to read EDR contents and use the information
against drivers. In one infamous case, a national rental car company was forced to reimburse a client for fees
imposed against his credit card ($450) for speeding based on EDR data. I just thought you would like to know
before planning your next excursion.