The New Highway to Serfdom

Posted on May 17, 2012

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Beginning in 2015, you may receive an email alert from GEICO, State Farm, Allstate or Progressive, somewhat along these lines:

Dear Allstate Customer,

We regret to inform you that based on a monitoring report we received from the Event Data Recording device in your insured vehicle, 2015 Dodge Dart, we will be adjusting your premium upward in the amount of $55.50 monthly, due to the event recorded on 09/18/2014 at 8:19PM at Longitude / Latitude 33° 39′ N / 114° 13′ W, in which your vehicle’s speed  was electronically documented as 86.4 miles per hour, thus triggering a penalty for exceeding the limit allowed in your policy agreement by 16.4 miles per hour.  You will receive a billing invoice shortly.

Also please note that according to the terms of your policy agreement, any additional violations of the terms including exceeding the total 6 month mileage estimate you originally provided us, your policy premium may significantly be increased or the policy cancelled altogether at our discretion. 

Allstate is committed to Green driving, so we encourage you to maintain lower speeds both for safety and the preservation of the planet.

Sincerely,

Policy Enforcement Division

‘Flo’ from Progressive, might just ‘tweet’ you about your policy adjustment.   I know what you’re thinking.  “Wow, you’ve really swallowed a paranoia pill this time!”   I wish – but no, it’s for real.

This is something that I think you are going to want to know about before your Congressional representative votes in favor of it, thinking that he or she has ‘permission via acquiescence’.  The United States Senate has recently passed and sent down to the House, an enormous mess, dubbed a ‘Transportation Bill’ titled SB 1813.

In SB1813 are some very frightening and Fascistic new laws and regulations.  One of them, CBS in Los Angeles has already publicized –  a provision that if any government entity, primarily the IRS deems you to be a tax scofflaw, your Passport gets pulled.

That’s a disturbing concept in and of itself, but let me call your attention to Section 31406.  Section 31406 of SB 1813, requires auto manufacturers to install ‘Black Boxes’ or what the bill calls ‘Event Data Recorders‘ in all vehicle manufactured beginning in 2015.  These devices will be networked with the on board GPS units and your mileage driven, speed, MPG and a variety of other personal factors will be available in real time for the purposes of enhanced taxation, indexing of your driving habits and reports sent to your auto insurance company.

This Event Data Recorder is a Trojan Horse, much in the same way the ‘Smart Meter’ on your electrical supply to your home is.  Once we travel down that road, there will be no ‘U-Turns’ allowed.  Legal firm, Cooper and Scully, make the following observations:

Currently, EDRs are widely installed and used by vehicle manufacturers, insurance companies, law enforcement agencies, and researchers. Insurance companies adopt the EDRs as a way to gain a better precision to evaluate an individual’s risk. Besides speeds and acceleration, EDRs monitor the duration of the trip, the exact vehicle location, the vehicle route, and the time of the day. This information improves the precision of individual risk but it also reveals information about individual preferences or consumption behavior.

Individuals who buy insurance may install the monitoring system which may decrease the negative impact of recording information. However, they have to trade it off against the loss of privacy by which insurance companies calculate insurance premiums according to the information derived from the EDR.

Insurance companies have already begun to incorporate advanced, after-market EDR systems into alternative automobile insurance plans in exchange for reduced rates.6 For example, Progressive Insurance offers discounts to customers who install a “TripSense” computer that records trip duration, miles traveled, the number of aggressive acceleration or braking events, and amount of time spent at a given speed.

Of course, Section 31406 doesn’t specify or outline all of these collateral actions and consequences, but once this law goes on the books, the Secretary of Transportation can begin creating a Pandora’s box of regulations stemming from it.   I can assure you that Auto Insurance lobbyists and other leeches looking to fleece the average lawful driver, will be pitching tents outside the agency office doors, preparing to trample one another to death to get in to see the Secretary of Transportation and ‘educate’ him of the many invaluable ways in which this technology can ‘serve’ the public.

As with other Federal legislation that we’ve seen lately, Government and Big Insurance are partnering up to put the squeeze on Americans.  If you haven’t done your homework and looked in to how Big Insurance helped the Obama Administration write the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, you are sadly in the dark about who and what is running government these days.

Yes, there are many vehicles – probably about 60 million at this point (mostly GM and Ford), that already have these devices, but until now, you had the option of having them de-linked from the operational platform of the vehicle.  There will be NO privacy, even in your own car.   Really though, if a third party has access to a data recorder in your vehicle and potentially the ability to disable that car for any number of un-constitutional reasons short of truncating a high speed car chase, you don’t really OWN the vehicle at all!

Naturally, most of your Senators have no issues with this type of 4th amendment violation, but that doesn’t prevent you from pounding your local Congressional representative, and say no thank you on SB 1813.  You can access your Representative’s contact info, here.

There is also another provision in SB 1813 that allows our nation’s Highways and Freeways to be converted over into toll roads.  The politicians have spent us so deep into debt that they are turning over every rock they can, to discover a new scheme to tax you back to the Middle Ages or beyond.

Folks, please sound the alert, so that we can mobilize an effort to put the brakes (if you’ll pardon the pun), on this potential travesty.

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