General Motors, under fire for multiple vehicle recalls over the past year, has a new issue to worry about in its Corvette sports car.
The Corvette, which retails at around $55,000, comes with a new safety feature called “valet mode,” which helps owners monitor their expensive vehicle while they are not inside of it.
Switching the vehicle to valet mode activates audio, video, and driving data recording systems which monitor the car. In addition, valet mode also keeps storage compartments and entertainment systems locked and turned off.
Valet Mode May Violate Wiretapping Laws
While this system may give Corvette owners peace of mind, and ensure that valets or other occupants are not out joyriding, General Motors did not consider the fact that 11 states, including California, prohibit secretly recording other people.
Federal law, and many states’ laws, allow for people to clandestinely record others without their permission. However, two-party consent states like California prohibit the taping or recording of any private or confidential conversations or actions. If a person could reasonably assume that what they are doing is private, for instance, parking an otherwise empty car, then it would be illegal to record that person without his or her consent. A person who turns on valet mode and secretly records another person could be liable for civil and criminal penalties.
In order to get around these laws, GM has issued a letter to drivers and dealers with instructions about the valet mode. The letter advises drivers to obtain the consent of passengers, valets, or other occupants who may be in the vehicle while valet mode is activated, or suggests keeping valet mode off. GM will also be releasing a software update in the coming weeks which may fix the problem
Vehicle Defects Can Lead to Accidents
The potential legal issues with the Corvette’s valet mode are not sufficient for the automaker to issue a general recall of the vehicles, unlike other problems which have plagued GM. The car company has recalled over 29 million vehicles worldwide for safety issues this year—most notably, major recalls after reports of engine shutoffs while driving caused by a defective ignition switch. This particular defect was linked to at least 13 deaths.
Vehicle defects can lead to safety issues which cause or contribute to accidents. If you believe your auto accident was caused by an underlying defect, you may be able to file a claim for compensation for your injuries. Contact the Phillips Law Group by calling 1-800-706-3000, and speak with an experienced California personal injury attorney today!