There are two blog posts I’ve written in the past several months on car related topics. One involved the airbag recall fracas between the auto makers, the air bag manufacturer, Takata, and Congress (see http://220.127.116.11/~wiseinsu/air-bags-recalls-mysteries-driving-changes/). The other involved our privacy rights from the auto makers (see http://18.104.22.168/~wiseinsu/privacy-rights-and-your-car/). I felt it was time to revisit and update these posts due to the movement in both of these stories.
Airbag Recalls: 13 automakers have issued recalls due to air bags not operating properly including Acura, Honda, Subaru, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Infiniti, Lexus, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Nissan, and Toyota. The affected models are equipped with airbags made by Takata. Over 5 million vehicles were recalled, however that number has now increased to 7.8 million impacted vehicles and counting.
The recall is due to the airbag propellant potentially deteriorating over time in areas with high humidity. This deterioration could lead to an over-aggressive combustion in the airbag housing when the device deployed resulting in shooting out shrapnel into the face, neck, and torso of the driver and front passenger. 4 people have been killed and over 100 have been injured by their airbags.
Originally, the recall focused on vehicles in Florida and Puerto Rico, areas with consistent hot and humid weather. Some manufacturers have expanded this to include Georgia, South Carolina, the Gulf Coast states, Hawaii, and the island territories. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, has encouraged automakers to expand their recalls nationally. On December 9th, Honda joined Subaru when they announced they would replace the affected airbags nationally. Toyota will also replace airbags in Texas and the other Gulf Coast states.
To find out if your vehicle is affected, you can contact your dealer directly, or go to www.nhtsa.gov and click on the recall link. They provide excellent information on this and other recalls for each auto manufacturer.
Auto Privacy Rights: An Associated Press article in November reported a number of recent model cars and trucks have the ability to communicate information to the manufacturer on where you’ve been and where you’re going using your vehicle’s GPS and mobile communications technology which is integrated into the computers and navigation system.
Data is sent continuously to the car or truck maker when the systems are in use. In addition to reporting on where you’ve been and where you are probably going, these systems are able to send data on your vehicle position, heading, speed, as well as, other data.
Since the 19 automakers presented their pledge to the Federal Trade Commission, a number have announced in the past week they will begin notifying vehicle owners of the data they are collecting and informing them of their privacy rights. They may be given the opportunity to opt in to receive helpful information involving developing traffic patterns and other notices.
I believe it’s a great first step since many owners aren’t aware of the data being streamed to the automaker, however, I believe much more needs to be disclosed. Automakers need to fully inform owners of all the data that is being tracked, what it will be used for, and how long it will be kept. I also expect our esteemed servants in Washington will enact legislation to help the automakers in their move to safeguard our privacy rights.
What do you think? Share your thoughts and concerns with me on our Facebook and Google + pages. I’d love to hear from you!