Data Recorders, Personal Vehicles and Mass Transit

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by Undertow, May 10, 2013.

Vehicle Data Recorders, Yea or Nay?

  1. Yes, I think data recorders in cars are a great idea and I would not change my habits.

    3 vote(s)
    20.0%
  2. Yes, I think data recorders in cars are a good idea, but I would change my habits.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. No, I don’t think data recorders in cars is a good idea, but I would not change my habits.

    10 vote(s)
    66.7%
  4. No, I don’t think data recorders in cars is a good idea, and I would change my habits.

    2 vote(s)
    13.3%
  1. Undertow

    Undertow My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,127
    Location:
    Des Moines, IA, US
    I want to show you a few pictures before I get started. These are in Des Moines, certainly not the largest city in the Midwest.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Public transportation used to be a matter of fact, even in smaller cities like Des Moines, Iowa; it took you to work, it took you to the theater, it took you to the grocery store. If you wanted to visit someone in Minneapolis or Chicago, you hopped on a train. If you wanted to visit someone in a nearby small town, you hopped on an interurban. If you wanted to meet someone for lunch, you hopped on a trolley.

    After WWII, things really started to take off for cars. The need for a national infrastructure, big, organized and national, seemed obvious. America decided it was time for the freedom of personal vehicles. Thus, mass transit died off in a big way in smaller cities, became non-existent in small towns, and turned crummy in bigger cities.

    This whole fake “green” movement that’s swept our nation is turning people back to using mass transit. Meanwhile, there has been discussion of utilizing “black box” data recorders in personal vehicles.

    My purpose in starting this thread is to see where my fellow Loungers stand. I’ve already included the poll, but leave your comments. When is too much, too much? If data recorders become a normal, will you give up your vehicle, or will you decide that a cookie-cut drive to the store and back is acceptable? What are the ramifications to our society one way or the other?
     

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  2. The Wiser Hatter

    The Wiser Hatter I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,764
    Location:
    Louisville, Ky
    If you are carrying a cellphone on your person you all ready have a "data recorder" on your person. Every cellphone can be used to track a person's location.:)
     
  3. sal

    sal One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    196
    Location:
    my own little slice of heaven

    +1
     
  4. Bruce Wayne

    Bruce Wayne My Mail is Forwarded Here

    If your car is 1997 or newer it has OBD2. Which means that after an accident information can be pulled out of the computer & tell investigators how fast you were going, whether your brakes were applied & for how long, & other things that can be very incriminating.
     
  5. Gene

    Gene Practically Family

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    New Orleans, La.
    I know that New Orleans is now in the middle of expanding their streetcar line. I also see a new nationwide high-speed passenger rail system in the future. I think America's obsession with the automobile is slowly puttering out, especially with the heavy influx of mediocre, design-barren imports and the cost of gas that will only keep rising.
     
  6. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    I don't quite see the connection between public transport and recording devices. You either use public transport or you don't where I live. There's a lot of class distinctions in that. Some places there is no public transport. We don't really have a "green" movement here, I think that is something that has happened outside of the rust belt.

    In terms of the recording devices, like anything, they can be used for evil. Personally I think it's a great thing that they record the last five seconds before an accident. They not only incriminate people but also indemnify them. Quite honestly be a good, lawful, and attentive driver and they will likely help you in an accident. If you were hit by a driver going 20 mph over the speed limit, driving recklessly, and not paying enough attention to brake; do you really want to be blamed for that if you were going the speed limit, driving safely, and paying attention? Not me.

    The same with GPS. If your car gets stolen, or you drive off the road in an accident and they can't find you, they can find your car. Now, of course, it could be used to track everyplace you go. Honestly, I'm less worried about the government tracking me than the information being used by corporations- to sell me stuff, track my habits, etc. The government likely has to get a warrant to get that information and they have to already suspect you to do that. (Excepting the scenario where the company hands over their database for the government to use.)

    Honestly, people shouldn't need to have a big brother inside their car to follow the rules of the road and drive safely. I find the idea that people change their driving habits to be safer because they're being watched really alarming. Reckless drivers kill people. Having basic respect for other human beings should effect if you drive safely, not a computer chip in your car.
     
  7. Bruce Wayne

    Bruce Wayne My Mail is Forwarded Here

    For what it's worth, Lo-jack & other such devices are a joke. Professional thieves will steal your ride at 2AM & the first thing that they will do is throw the anti theft device in a dumpster. Swapping out VIN tags on a dash is very simple. Faking serial numbers is even easier. Think about it. When is the last time you heard a car alarm & actually went to investigate? The only thing one really can do is make a car such a pain to steal that it isn't worth it.

    Or drive a jaloy that you can leave the keys in.

    This is all coming from a mechanic with several years experience.
     
  8. Undertow

    Undertow My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,127
    Location:
    Des Moines, IA, US
    Sheeplady, the connection between recording devices and public transportation is as follows: if you feel that recording devices are becoming, or could potential become, pervasive to the point that your whereabouts are used for various dubious reasons, would you change your transportation habits? Or would you just put up with it? I.E. would you consider taking public transit if you're not already taking it?

    There are many folks who would argue that the data harvested from these devices should be used by law enforcement in the event of accidents. What about insurance companies who have vested interested in your driving habits? And not just your accidents, but the average mileage you drive you car? And the different cities/states in which you drive? And if car insurance companies are allowed to harvest that data, why shouldn't your health insurer be able to look it over? And why not the credit bureaus? After all, if you're a risky driver, perhaps you are a risk for loans?
     
  9. AtomicEraTom

    AtomicEraTom

    Messages:
    10,885
    Location:
    Portage, Wis.
    Or drive something unique, that works even better in small towns.

    I loaned a car to my Sister and got three phone calls in 15 minutes that some woman was driving my car lol

     
  10. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    I've filled out a survey with all that information. I've been asked to track my mileage for months. I don't think it's any different than having a medical professional look me over rather than use an estimation of my own health for insurance purposes.


    My friend had her car stolen from a gas station after being attacked. Her baby was in the backseat. GPS helped find the car and baby. (I don't think the attackers realized her baby was back there, asleep.) Also, I know someone who had a heart attack and the GPS on their cell phone helped locate where they drove off the road when they didn't come home.

    I don't have GPS on my car. I don't pay money for extra things like that on a car. If they put it in a black box, fine. If my car alarm went off, I'd go and investigate because my car alarm is only on my radio. ;)
     
  11. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,309
    Location:
    Small Town Ohio, USA
    You can get OnStar and pay them a few hundred dollars a year to Big Brother you.
     
  12. LoveMyHats2

    LoveMyHats2 I’ll Lock Up.

    Messages:
    5,196
    Location:
    Michigan
    Where I currently live, there is a small amount of what would be classified as "public transportation" as to a bus or public means, however, in the next city over they have a more diverse available public transportation that even includes horse and carriage for those that would want to use it.

    Very few times are ODBII systems on a vehicle ever tapped into in regards to auto accidents. Both law enforcement and insurance carriers could do so, but honestly I would think it is a very small percent of that actually taking place. My Wife has over 20 years in the Insurance industry as a reviewer on insurance claims that include types all vehicle claims. Those claims are for all insurance carriers and coast to coast. To date not one time has the information from the car's ECU ever been recorded into any factors, and when in review of a claim, everything from law enforcement/police reports are included. The date arises into the insurance or police documentation seems to rely upon witness statements or damages and what the law enforcement would state as to how long a pair of tire marks went along the pavement before impact if the driver even bothered to slam on the brakes sort if input. Could all this change in the near future? Perhaps.

    I would have to think there has been a very large amount of debate about a "green" movement, (well there is a green movement but some do think it is based upon false information). For me, I can agree some are taking advantage of the entire "green" issue and have their hands into investments that cross over into political gain....but....one would only have to visit a few places around the globe to see first hand there is a actual problem, glaciers that existed for centuries are gone, and in more than one place, weather is increasingly changing to produce more violent storm patterns, etc. So as a society would we benefit from having more usable public transportation? Perhaps yes.

    As for the "big brother" aspect, we will never be able to stop what those in power decide to do. It is totally out of control now in regards to our normal rights of privacy. Freedom has always come with a price. And not to want to get into politics, really for anything to actually change with the current trend of how big brother is shoving it's nose into our life, we as a society would have to "in mass" march as one and take back what has been taken from us. That more than likely would not happen. I personally would be right out in front of that march, but there are not enough individuals willing to do so in this "pepsi" generation world.

    As almost a foot note, although not my first choice of getting around, I do still own a pair of skates...and a bike.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  13. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    I wanted to say thank you for explaining the connection.

    As far as the information itself, I have two things to add:
    1. Big data like this has big problems. Sorting through it, manipulating it (in the sense of cleaning and running metrics, not falsifying it), and using it is next to impossible on large scales. Quite honestly, far far more data is collected than can be used currently. Far more data is collected than can even be stored. Using it is a regular pain in the neck, and most organizations aren't there yet. Maybe in 20 years we'll see better ways to work with this data, but right now it's basically a research topic- and it's in it's preliminary stages.

    Think about a data collecter that collects information on your velocity, pedal actions, GPS coordinates, weather conditions (temperature, humidity, rain/snow), driver manipulations of the steering wheel, use of "gadgets" in the car such as the radio, bluetooth, etc., and driver ID. Then imagine collecting that every second you are on the road, every time you are on the road. Then think about collecting that on *every car* in the U.S., every trip, 365 days a year for years on end. Moore's law might have been surpassed, but that is a ton of data. Even storing it- yet alone running statistics on it- would be next to impossible. The car insurance companies who use this now take only a snippet of data- a month or so and very limited variables- on every driver. They don't take it 24/7/365 days a year. They simply couldn't make sense of that.

    2. If we get to the point where it is possible, I doubt that car insurers are going to share that data with health insurers or bankers freely. The costs of storing it, developing databases to store it (and maintenance of that hardware and software), and the basic logistics is going to make accessing that data as a third party hideously expensive. So unless this information is incredibly valuable, third parties aren't going to pay the price to get at the information. If it is incredibly valuable, the primary data collector is going to know this and charge a handsome fee. I think it's far far more likely that if the "big data problem" is solved, third parties to this information will create other ways to collect it themselves. For instance, healthcare providers would do much better to make everyone wear fit trackers rather than pay car insurers for driving information, because it cuts out the middle man and collects better data. But again, until the "big data problem" is solved, collecting that much information is useless because it's too much of a challenge to work with.

    I think the illusions of this information being shared all over the place with everyone fails to take into account one of the basic principles of capitalism: If you have something valuable, make money off of it!

    ETA: Also, this is a bit tongue in cheek and a bit serious, but honestly, the creditors in the last crash didn't even use their own metrics when giving out loans to judge someone's credit. I doubt any of them are interested in sorting through a massive database and developing an algorithm based on driving skills to judge someone's credit. They're too lazy to even check a credit score or verify income or bank accounts.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  14. Undertow

    Undertow My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,127
    Location:
    Des Moines, IA, US
    Regardless of the actual usage of these data recorders, does anyone think there would be a surge to public transit if all major insurers announced they would harvest said data? Or would it likely just create some grumbling as everyone obediently installed said devices? Can anyone picture accessories made just for your data recorder? Like stick on sparkly gems?

    Regarding the "green" movement, I put it on par with the "value = price" mentality - somehow, if you spend more money, more often, you will own magical items that perform routine functions in a cleaner fashion. The faults in this "movement" are already evident; a great example being the fluorescent bulbs that don't last 7 years, and can't be disposed of reasonably. I don't think anyone would argue that genuine interest in the environment is wrong, or a genuine interest in sustainability is wrong, but there's a big difference between genuine and implanted. Convenience will always win out in any culture unless it has to fight with necessity.

    Gene, I also think there has been a gradual sputtering of the great American automobile hunger. I think the plateau of gas prices, especially during hard financial times, has helped wake up the populace a great deal. How long will this "awakening" last is hard to say. I know if I owned Union Pacific, or Burlington Northern Santa Fe, or Amtrak, I would be investing billions in tracks right now and absolutely pumping the government for loans and subsidies. People are tired of paying a small fortune to take airplanes. And you want to talk about "green"? What's the going rate to haul a ton of freight by rail - 450 miles per gallon of diesel? Beats my dad's Lincoln Town Car, anyway.
     
  15. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    21,804
    Location:
    London, UK
    The data is all out there already. Too late to put the genie back in the bottle: the important thing is to regulate data use and storage in order to best balance privacy and other public interests. Germany proved themselves the most far-sighted nation in this respect: as long ago as 1970 they had a highly developed data protection law, motivated by the fact that the Nazi holocaust, at least insofar as identification of those to be exterminated, was facilitated by the abuse of census data processed on IBM card counting machines (and largely by IBM). Collection and use limitations, the only way forward.

    Public transport as an alternative to being recorded is not realistic: it is only a matter of time before payment card systems replace cash entirely, and of course these record all journeys for payment purposes. The true benefits of public transport are other; vastly improved efficiency of resource use over cars (thus greener), cheaper in the long run, much less stressful, and ultimately much faster, at least in my experience. One of the very best things about living in London is the public transport network which means that I have no need of a car, thus saving myself from being chained to a wasteful money-pit that I hate. Even better, I never have to drive, which is fantastic. Always hated it.
     
  16. Gingerella72

    Gingerella72 A-List Customer

    Messages:
    429
    Location:
    Nebraska, USA
    I think the only people who would flock to using public transit, should data recorders in cars become the norm, would be those who are convinced that there is a conspiracy behind it all to use the information for dubious purposes. Sorry, this just smacks of tin foil hat mentality to me.
     
  17. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Messages:
    21,804
    Location:
    London, UK
    Quite.
     
  18. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    I think they'd shy away from public transport since most public transportation uses video recording devices. :)

    I think Edward brings up some good points about legislation.
     

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