The over-regulated driver may soon be… you?

A recent video about the impact of monitoring technology on the long-range trucking industry discusses so-called “electronic logging devices” and their effect on drivers.  However, it doesn’t take the next logical step.  If these regulations appear to reduce accident rates and increase safety for truckers, how long will it take before the electronic devices they mandate appear in consumer vehicles, too?  Is there any technical or regulatory reason why the authorities should not mandate that every driver on the road must use them – or be forbidden to drive at all?

Watch the video with that in mind.

Given the massive increase in the number of computer chips in modern vehicles, I can’t think of a single reason why such monitoring systems couldn’t be designed into our cars and pickups from the ground up.  If we, as drivers, failed to comply with their requirements, those systems could simply disable our vehicles, or force us to drive at greatly reduced speeds, all in the name of “safety”.

Even if that doesn’t apply countrywide, you might find cities with big traffic problems forcing the adoption of such policies as a method to control drivers.  For example, in areas where there’s a slowdown or traffic jam, vehicles approaching them could be electronically commanded to slow down, or their drivers “advised” to take an alternate route.  If police wanted to catch a fugitive, vehicles all over town could be instructed to slow down, making sure more of them would be caught in the dragnet, because they couldn’t speed past a potential roadblock before it could be set up.

The possibilities for “Big Brother” are endless.  I’m sure plans like that are already among the wet dreams of the statists among us.

Peter

15 comments

  1. The GM OnStar system allows GM to slow down or shut off a vehicle. And whether you are paying for the service or not, GM can also "turn on" the in-car microphone at the request of law enforcement. no warrant needed.

  2. Fun fact. Most modern cars these days have a "black box". Police can access it in the case of an accident to determine speed and break use. Most people don't know about this, and it has been used a few times besides accidents.

  3. To expand on Dad29, it's not just GM. Ford's VP stated that they track you and "know when you're speeding". The next day after the uproar, he tried to back off of his statement.

    Currently, Progressive Insurance will cut your insurance premiums if you allow them to install a GPS tracker, and "see you're a good driver." Fortunately, there are alternative insurance companies that don't do that. But what if the insurance companies got together and mandated GPS trackers? If you object, you can have your privacy, for 1/3 higher premium (you have a choice, nudge, nudge, wink, wink). I offer the "health" mandates for medical insurance that some companies have, as an already existing example.

    Lastly and to your point, Colorado has tried a couple of times to mandate GPS trackers be installed in all vehicles registered in the state, but the measures were defeated. However, just because they were defeated doesn't mean they won't try again.

  4. Most of the technology is already here, people love to control other people and a person locked up is tax payer dollars in someone's pocket!
    It's a no brainer for someone eh?

  5. Anyone remember the rental car company a few years ago that sent 'tickets' to drivers who were speeding based on the GPS readouts from the cars that were being monitored by the company? They were roundly slapped for that, and ceased the program, but it just showed what the pointy-headed bureaucrats would love to do. And my Google Maps and WAZE app already tells me when I'm going too fast, I'll bet that there is a record someplace of my speed history.

    As far as regulating traffic, the DOT in NC has instituted a pilot program with signal lights metering traffic onto a congested interstate in the mornings. Not sure it has helped the interstate traffic, but it sure has clogged up access roads and intersections leading to the freeway. Any bets that after the pilot program it will be deemed a success no matter what collateral congestion (and resultant accidents) it has caused?

  6. But what if the insurance companies got together and mandated GPS trackers?

    Someone will start selling a $20 program (or the software in a $50 device that comes with a cigarette lighter plug, like today's radar detectors) that uses Google maps data (or GPS satellite data) to spoof driving trips to approved, politically-correct places at 5 MPH below the posted limit.

  7. i cannot share to internet here on from several other sites.
    the share screen comes up too big to hit the button. attempts to make the screen small enough are fruitless.
    are 'they' interfering? or is it my computer?
    thanks.
    also, recaptcha is difficult for those of s with cataracts. cannot tell what is an apartment building.

  8. I know someone with a Tesla and they proudly (??!) told me during Hugo and Irma the cars got an over-the-air update that unlocked the last 15% of battery capacity so owners could get that much farther before being stranded. The last 15% is not normally used because you could damage the battery..

    More range in an emergency is all well and good, but I don't see anything stopping Tesla from locking out 85% of capacity (or even all of it) if the Powers That Be want to limit your mobility.

    Just another reason to never buy an electric only car.

  9. I’m a locomotive engineer and we have a “black box” plus a GPS, internal cameras, a system that tells me what to do. And soon to have a computer system that will not only tell me what to do, but stop the train if I don’t.

  10. A black box/ecm played a crucial role in an accident investigation on the blacktop near me a couple years ago. The driver would've walked with a minor traffic infraction but after the troopers seized the computer he ended up with a charge of reckless endangerment or something like that which got pled down to something else but still way more serious than a simple stop sign and failure to yield ticket. As I understand the biggest issue was not even the criminal charges but the civil side of things when the lawyers got their hands on the data. His insurance carrier wanted to weasel out of all responsibility and the other side used it to go after him and everyone remotely connected to the vehicle he was driving. I never heard the details on how all that shook out but he'd have been better of ripping the computer out of the truck and bashing it to pieces with a tire tool on the side of the road after the wreck or before the troopers seized it.

    I know where the computer is in each of my vehicles that have them and if I'm ever in a serious accident, even if I'm totally in the right, if I'm conscious I'm ripping that sob out and putting enough voltage through it to kill it deader than elvis. Just requires the proper plug and some capacitors or the guts of a stun gun or cattle prod etc. My pickup ecm would take under 3 minutes to access after an accident, zap and button back up.

  11. This is already happening in the UK. Insurance companies charge reduced premiums for drivers who have them. They're really aimed at new young drivers who have the highest accident rates and thus the highest premiums and who are seeking to reduce those premiums.

  12. I currently drive a truck where the turn signals are the most sophisticated electronics on the vehicle.

    No, I'm about to put a new engine into a different vehicle, and it will have a brain, but that brain will not be tied into the transmission or brakes.

    There are a lot of old vehicles on the road, and while most people want the newest and best, many are willing and eager to drive older stuff

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