Not sure just how fast you were going the last time you gunned it through a yellow light and landed a speeding ticket? What if your car could tell you – and the officer who pulled you over – everything about the incident that mere witness observation couldn’t?

With the promised increase in standard-issue Event Data Recorder (EDR) technology in a number of big-name manufacturer’s newest models, such a scenario might not be that far off. And in fact, a number of common models already come equipped with EDR, popularly referred to as a “black box,” to help monitor vehicle safety and performance. ABC News explains that while some fear the invasive surveillance and the opportunity for fraud and data theft, others tout EDR technology as a boon to law enforcement and car accident claim investigators.

From safety to surveillance: why an EDR may – or may not – end up in your car.

Originally incorporated into cars to aid in the development of airbag systems in the mid-1990s, EDRs can now be found in approximately 60 million vehicles. That number will jump to 85 million this year, according to estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – unless popular fear of Big Brother technology and pleas for a year-long delay on the part of several major automakers cause a change of plan.

New York Times columnist brought media attention to the surveillance issue surrounding EDRs back in 1999, when he wrote he wouldn’t “want a car that rats on me.” But while some may worry about just how much a personal vehicle surveillance system might record, supporters of the technology insist that it is far more valuable than it is invasive.

The chairman of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Inc., explained that the EDRs measure events in milliseconds: “if you want to know about the defects in cars or what happened after a crash, this is the technology that will tell you.”

Real or imagined, a “black box” may be a valuable watchdog on the road

The broader use of EDRs has sparked questions of reliability and security that have yet to be explored. And while law enforcement agencies and insurance companies have found recorded information helpful in handling personal injury claims, controversy is likely to remain when it comes to widespread use of the technology.

In the meantime, perhaps an increased awareness of EDRs on the road can be used to improve public safety on a wider scale. After all, if your car can “rat on you,” doesn’t it make sense to carefully follow posted speed limits, obey traffic laws and practice safer driving habits across the board?

Remember: as conscientious San Diego drivers, it is our job to help keep the roads safe and report car accidents if they occur. If you are the victim of a car accident and believe that EDR data from your car might impact your case, contact Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, LLP. for a free legal consultation and explanation of the claims process. As an experienced San Diego personal injury attorney, Michael Pines and his team can help you navigate the complex process of collecting damages after an injury accident. Call us today at 1-858-551-2090.