By - April 19, 2012

Gov’t Riding Shotgun With You–Mandated

If you have children you know there is always an argument over who gets to ride shotgun in the car with you (that is children old enough to be allowed in the front seat).

I have three entities riding shotgun with me most days, the winning child, St. Christopher (who stays very busy with my driving habits) and OnStar.  OnStar is a service I just won’t do without, it is a private service designed to help me in emergency situations or more mundane situations (locked keys in the car, stolen car, etc.)  This service has a contract with me and it is between them and me, it does not send any information to the government or even my insurance carrier.

Now Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer want the government to ride shotgun with you.  The senate has just passed Section 31406 of Senate Bill 1813 (known as MAP-21), which calls for “Mandatory Event Data Recorders” to be installed in all new automobiles as of 2015.

This Event Data Recorder is in essence a Black Box for your car.  Black Boxes make a lot of sense in airplanes, if they wreck it’s usually a wreck starting from 30,000 feet leaving very little evidence and usually no survivors to help figure out the cause.  Most car accidents are fairly easy to figure out.  Usually the passengers are alive, maybe injured but living, and there is usually a lot of evidence all around to help deduce the cause.  So why the Black Boxes in cars?

The bill states the information belongs to the owner of the car, except:

1) OWNERSHIP OF DATA- Any data in an event data recorder required under part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, regardless of when the passenger motor vehicle in which it is installed was manufactured, is the property of the owner, or in the case of a leased vehicle, the lessee of the passenger motor vehicle in which the data recorder is installed.

(2) PRIVACY- Data recorded or transmitted by such a data recorder may not be retrieved by a person other than the owner or lessee of the motor vehicle in which the recorder is installed unless–

(A) a court authorizes retrieval of the information in furtherance of a legal proceeding;

(B) the owner or lessee consents to the retrieval of the information for any purpose, including the purpose of diagnosing, servicing, or repairing the motor vehicle;

(C) the information is retrieved pursuant to an investigation or inspection authorized under section 1131(a) or 30166 of title 49, United States Code, and the personally identifiable information of the owner, lessee, or driver of the vehicle and the vehicle identification number is not disclosed in connection with the retrieved information; or

(D) the information is retrieved for the purpose of determining the need for, or facilitating, emergency medical response in response to a motor vehicle crash.

As was brought up in the HotAir.com article, this is a Data Recorder, not OnStar which is an interactive service not a recorder,  so how would this government monitoring device help in section (D)?  OnStar interacts with your airbag then calls you to investigate the reason, is this government black box going to do the same?  If that is true that means:

  1. The US government will basically nationalize OnStar, or force them out of business
  2. The US government will have knowledge of your driving habits (speeding, etc.)
  3. The US government will have the ability to shut your car down at will  (OnStar can do this if your car is stolen, but what reason does the government need?  Overdue on paying taxes?  Speak out against a liberal President?)
  4. The US government will know how far you drive and how much global warming fuel you use.  Again look at #3, can the government decide you can only drive so many miles a month, to save the earth?

The House hasn’t brought this bill up for a vote yet, but it is expected to sail through the republican run House.

I say, no thanks!  I have been disenchanted with the new automobiles anyway, no imagination in the designs.  I yearn for the muscle cars of yesteryear and I do like the Camero, Mustang and Challenger but I don’t like the taxes applied to new vehicles in Nebraska.

I decided to just restore old cars and come 2015 you can guarentee I won’t be buying a new car.  I will avoid being invaded in my car by the government my car is crowded enough with those currently riding shotgun.

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