If you were thinking of fudging the details about your solo fender bender on that country road late at night, you’d better think again. Whatever details you report to your insurance company had better match what your car told them first.

The Spy – Your Automobile

Your vehicle is spying on you. Every street you take, every rock you collide with, every bump in the road, it’s all being turned in to your car’s manufacturer constantly. The intention of this reporting isn’t to spy on you or catch you doing something wrong, but it may be used against you for just that reason.

The Event Data Recorder (EDR) is meant to keep an eye on the vehicle’s performance. This provides valuable information on the car’s safety. Instead of having to wait until X number of car owners report a vehicle problem and then having to sort of exactly what it is they are trying to describe, the vehicle sends the data along with everything needed to diagnose the problem. It was the EDR that discovered the Chevrolet Cobalt’s ignition switch was shutting down the car while it was still in use. The manufacturer recalled 2.6 million vehicles to fix it.

Luckily, California has joined several other states in putting legislation in place to protect consumers from unnecessarily spying on the car’s drivers. In California, the car’s owner must give permission to use this data. But a court order can also get that data without the car owner’s or driver’s permission. If it’s used for research, then they can collect that data. They can also use the data without permission for diagnosing and servicing of the vehicle.

What It All Means

What this means to you is you might think twice if you’re considering changing the details on what happened in a car accident. Your insurance company might have access to the data logged at the car’s manufacturer.

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