Telematics, Privacy, Safety and Lawyers

Telematics, Privacy, Safety and Lawyers

September, 2014

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members: An excellent article in Automotive News notes increasing interest in telematics data.

The privacy terms for ConnectedDrive’s BMW Assist component says it may “collect and retain an electronic or other record” of a person’s location or direction of travel at a given time — providing another potential legal tool for lawyers to go along with cellphone records, vehicle black boxes and even airbag modules.

That may irk consumers who worry about an all-seeing eye keeping tabs on their travels.

Of course, limited vehicle data can’t stand alone, experts say. The data must be backed by other evidence. But lawyers say they’re interested in using the data to build cases.

“It certainly is an intriguing new thing,” said Don Slavik, a product liability lawyer who has worked on litigation involving Toyota and unintended acceleration.

“It introduces some questions of privacy issues that people aren’t aware of. I wasn’t aware of some of this stuff until recently.”

Slavik said he hasn’t used vehicle telematics data yet, but he may turn to such data in future cases.

He said: “We’ve just learned about the large volume of data going through systems. Not just one or 10 or 20 pieces of data, but thousands of pieces of data that are reported.”


As I concluded in my July Monthly Report and have written repeatedly:

“Members of Congress can ask NHTSA and GM to make
OnStar safety data publicly available for analysis by NHTSA, insurers, and safety consumer groups.  Vehicle owners own the data that GM collects, but GM controls the use of our data. We the people can obtain such data to better protect ourselves.”
Attached is a Law Review article on the subject.
Maybe now more members of Congress will get involved in making auto safety data publicly available to save lives.  


Leave a Reply