Police Tap Into “Black Boxes” To Help Solve Traffic Crimes
Police in South Hampton Roads, Va., and across the nation use technology to tap into the “black boxes” car makers install in transmission tunnels and under driver’s seats to monitor the deployment of air bags.
These event data recorders remain inactive until the vehicle senses an impending collision, at which time the air bag is deployed. A driver’s speed, direction of travel, breaking percentage, and seat belt usage, among other data, can be gleaned from data stored on the units.
Consumer data privacy issues led state Sen. John Watkins (R-Powhatan) to introduce Virginia’s first law concerning the boxes. The measure gives owners of cars control over use of their data and allows them to share it with insurers, who are prevented from basing policy or coverage decisions on an owner’s willingness to share the data.
The need to gain owner approval is excepted in cases of police investigations and mechanical repairs.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Virginian-Pilot (08/06/06); Hopkins, John .