Dori: Goodbye, privacy — Washington state considers tracking your driving

Dec 17, 2021, 5:03 AM | Updated: 11:26 am
telematics, driving...
Feature of Mercedes AMG GT 63 S dashboard. (Photo by Robert Hradil/Getty Images)
(Photo by Robert Hradil/Getty Images)

Nearly 20 years ago, a source inside Washington state government told me that within two decades, the Puget Sound Transportation Commission had plans to make every single inch of every single road in our region a toll road. My source was solid.

When I reported this, people responded, “Oh, come on, Monson. You’re full of … hyperbole.”

But just this week, KIRO Radio’s own traffic reporter Chris Sullivan reported on a Washington State Transportation Commission meeting where a pay-by-mile or road usage charge (RUC) system is under review. And one system could track your driving round-the-clock.

Unlike the self-reporting systems tested in this area several years ago, the transportation commission is now looking at telematics. This involves your newer vehicle automatically sending data about your driving habits to its manufacturer. It’s a practice most newer vehicle owners don’t even know is already happening.

Now, the commission is considering proposals to the state Legislature that would involve having automakers send that data directly to the state. No GPS needed. Your car would automatically tell on you.

Newer, smarter vehicles could do this. Older vehicles could not.

“They (new smart vehicles) have a chip that already sends back data (to the automaker), whether you want it or not,” Sullivan explained. “Your weight. Where you go. Your speed. Your driving habits. All of those things can be mined. Your car would be the transmitter.”

Options in the pilot project from a few years ago proposed charging vehicle owners 2.4 cents per mile. Dori fears that price could be inflated for popular routes – like those into downtown Seattle — or during rush hours.

“They (lawmakers) say they’re interested in miles, not where you go – but this could be a Pandora’s box,” Sullivan acknowledged.

Listen to Dori’s complete interview with KIRO Radio traffic reporter Chris Sullivan:

Read Chris Sullivan’s report about possible road usage charge systems in Washington.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dori Monson on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

Dori Monson Show

Dori Monson

Menacing pitbull...
Dori Monson Show

Woman attacked by pit bulls near homeless camp: ‘These dogs have more rights than me’

With more than 12 vicious dog bites on her legs and “way too many” stitches to count, Amy Craven was released from the hospital this week following an 11-day stay to recover from an attack by two pit bull terriers near North Lake Union.
20 hours ago
Dori Monson Show

Dori: Former prison cellmate believes triple murderer is `not evil,’ should be freed

The 42-year-old case is back in the news after the Washington state Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board approved a summer release for Pauley.
2 days ago
Dori Monson Show

Dori: Triple killer to be released unless Gov. Inslee overrules parole board

After 42 years behind bars, convicted killer Timothy Pauley, 63, has been approved for release by the Washington Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board.
3 days ago
Marysville School District...
Dori Monson Show

Dori: Parent permission for Marysville school clubs becomes `hot button’ over LGTBQ issue

The intent to the proposed policy change, Atchley said, is to assure that parents “have the ability to know where their children are at all times.”
7 days ago
OlyToys, Don Wolph's toy refurbishing business in Olympia....
Dori Monson Show

Dori: Olympia Toy-Restorer ordered by County to kick disabled friend off his property

Wolph told Dori’s listeners, Thurston County officials have told him he and his wife of 47 years must evict their friend because “she cannot live on my property for more than 30 days.”
8 days ago
Sound Transit employee records video of homeless individuals on light rail. (Jason Rantz/KTTH Radio...
Dori Monson Show

Dori: The Sound Transit rolling drug den

Onboard: a series of apparently homeless drug addicts, riding the train while smoking various drugs or passed out across the seats.
10 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Dori: Goodbye, privacy — Washington state considers tracking your driving