It's not the power or the speed or the driftastic nature of the Corvette Stingray that'll get you into trouble with the law. It's the Performance Data Recorder and the new Valet Mode that – when turned on – records conversations inside the car. In 13 states, that's illegal without consent.
In a letter sent to Chevy dealers and published on CorvetteForum, GM is advising Corvette owners not to use Valet Mode, which records both video and audio inside the car.
Attention: General Manager, Service Advisor, Service Manager, Parts and Service Director, Parts Manager, New Vehicle Sales Manager, and Warranty Administrator
This notice is being sent to you regarding 2015 model year Corvettes equipped with the Performance Data Recorder (UQT).
The Performance Data Recorder (UQT) in these vehicles, when used in Valet Mode, allows a customer to record the driving of their Corvette when the vehicle is not in their control. In Valet Mode, the PDR will also record activity and conversations that take place in the vehicle.
To help our customers use the Performance Data Recorder (UQT) consistent with legal requirements that pertain to audio recording devices, we will be requiring a very important update to the system of each affected vehicle in the near future. We expect that the update will be available early next month. At that time, we will provide details about the update and let you know what steps you need to take, if any, to complete the update for vehicles in your inventory.
In the meantime, you must advise any customers who take delivery of an impacted vehicle that they should refrain from using the Valet Mode until the update takes place. If they do use the Valet Mode, they should (i) notify any occupants of the vehicle that they will be recorded while in the vehicle, and (ii) obtain their consent to this recording. It is very important that you explain this to each customer at the time of delivery.
Attached is a copy of a written communication for you to provide to customers to accomplish this notice. We are sending the same communication to customers who have already taken delivery of a Corvette vehicle equipped with PDR.
We greatly appreciate your cooperation in conveying this important information to your customers.
GM is also supplying a form letter for dealers (below) to hand to owners explaining the legal ramifications, and asking them to either not use the system or make sure they have consent before turning it on.
While it's legal to record video of anyone in all 50 states, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington State require both parties to give consent for audio recording.
Both letters state that GM is working on a software update solve the issue, although how they'll do it remains to be seen (maybe yet another legal disclaimer on the screen?), but the real question is: How did GM's legal department not see this coming?