A state auto association wants you to be aware of the information stored in your car.

AAA Image courtesy of AAA MissouriSome insurance companies are now hiring third parties to obtain odometer readings from the vehicles of owners with low mileage discounts.  They’re gathering this information to verify customers are meeting contractual requirements and penalizing those who don’t.  Other insurers still use the honor system, allowing clients to pledge how many mile they drive is a specified time period.

But there’s much more data stored in your car which can be accessed through a simple connection.  AAA Missouri’s Mike Right says your automobile is a major communications device right now.  “You’ve got ports in there that you can plug things into that’ll tell you just about anything and everything about that vehicle, how fast you go, how hard you brake, how severe you turn, what your mileage is, what your brake fluid is” says Right.  “Just about everything about that automobile is available.  And the next step, of course, is to make that automatically transmittable.  And it’s coming”.

And Right contends there’ll be even more ways to retrieve this information.  “I think in the future, everything about that vehicle is going to be known by everybody”.

Right says AAA’s concerned the auto manufacturer could sell a vehicle’s on-board data to anyone.  Currently, there’s no law stipulating who owns that information.  Some states are considering legislation to specify who owns particular data and what purpose it can be used for, but as of yet no standards have been established.

Right notes vehicles manufactured in 1992 and later have been collecting on-board data.  He says technology is evolving to bring even more information.  “With each new generation of vehicles, the complexity of the data that it can offer up is magnified.”