Insurance companies are beginning to view the increasingly advanced onboard computer systems found on many vehicles as mini black-boxes. The data collected by the systems can help determine if a driver was speeding or driving recklessly.
It’s done by capturing data about speed, braking and steering input from what is called an event data recorder. And it’s going to get even more complex — already there are systems on some cars that warn when there’s a vehicle in a car’s blind spot, as well as anti-collision warning systems like the one currently featured in a Volvo commercial.
In a lawsuit, an attorney could make much of data that showed, for example, that a car had warned the driver of a stalled car ahead and the driver did nothing to avoid it.
There is a silver lining to the extra monitoring: mechanics can use the extra sensors to perform diagnostics faster. If you are concerned about driving with Big Brother in the back seat, ask your local dealership what data your car collects. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER