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Your car is telling secrets.....Interesting

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I was just now looking at a North Fla news website about the tornados that touched down in Fla . Well I ran across this article. Apparently most American cars and some foreign cars have black boxes in them. Much like the black boxes that are in airplanes. And if you are in an accident it can tell if you had your seat belt on or how fast you were driving or even if you hit the brakes or not. Also says that they are pushing for all cars to have these boxes by 2011. I think this is a great idea.


JACKSONVILLE, FL -- It's on planes. You can also find it on trains. Clinton Morgan's just finding out he has one. "I didn't know I had one," says Morgan.

Morgan was driving around Jacksonville with a little box tucked away in his truck. It's called a black box, even though it is more of a steel gray.

The little thing, which is no bigger than the size of a hand, is right now hidden inside hundreds of thousands of cars.

"If you have an American car from 1995 on, I can tell you, you've got one," says attorney Charles Sorenson.

Most don't realize they have the electronic spy on board. "I can tell ya, just about every person on the street you might ask about the black box in their car and they're gonna scratch their heads and say what black box, " says Sorenson.

The box is hooked into the car's computer system and is basically the brains behind the airbag.

It tells the airbag when to go off and when not to deploy. It also records a number of other things, like how fast the car is going, if the seat belts are fastened, and if the person in the seats are over or under 40 pounds.

"I think it's going to be more reliable than most live witnesses, " says Sorenson.

The black box even records accidents as well as close calls. It records everything from up to five seconds before the crash, all the way to three seconds after impact. The box can retain the information for about 250 ignition cycles or about two months.

"I really didn't know what they were talking about at first," says Clinton Morgan. The only reason Morgan knows about the box, is because his truck, that he just paid off, is now at a salvage yard. It was totaled in an accident.

"He cut in behind us and tried to cut back out, struck our vehicle, flipped it four times, ejected the girl that was with me."

The crash broke his girlfriend's back and left her with cuts and bruises. Morgan is in pain too, "It messed up my wrist and my hand and my left shoulder and ribs. It put me out of work."

Morgan says while he can remember bits and pieces of the accident, some things are a blur. His story and the other driver's story do not match up and that's where the little black box comes into play.

"I love it. It gives you the truth," says Linda Weseman, an accident reconstructionist.
While the black box doesn't tell everything, those who rely on it like Weseman, insurance companies, police and attorneys say it tells a lot.

"What people remember in an accident is sometimes not completely the truth. The perception is not always the reality," says Weseman.

She says the little black box doesn't lie. "I had one case recently where the lady who was at fault claimed she crossed the interstate median. She claimed she hit her brakes and the brakes malfunctioned. Come to find out, when she hit the median, she panicked and she floored it. She had her gas pedal all the way to the floor," says Weseman.

In Morgan's case, he says he had his seatbelt on and so did his girlfriend, but remember she was ejected. He also says he was going the speed limit and the other driver was going much faster. "I think when it all comes down to it, it'll prove we're right and he's wrong, " says Morgan.

The box, which is not easily damaged, was taken out of Morgan's car. Because it is an older system, the results are limited. The results do show that Morgan and his girlfriend were both wearing their seatbelts. It also revealed that Morgan's car was overrun from behind by a car traveling faster.

While some argue the little black box is an invasion of privacy, Morgan says he's glad the electronic spy was on board, even if he didn't know about it. "If they weren't doing anything wrong, they wouldn't have to worry about that," says Morgan.

The black box can be found in most American cars built after 1995. It can also be found in about half of Japanese cars. It's in most Korean cars, but it is not in German models.

The government is asking that by 2011, car manufacturers have more detailed information available from the black box.
post #2 of 5
I think it is great. I wonder if the truck has one. I think all the new saftey features thay are putting in cars are awesome!
post #3 of 5
I had no idea! That's really great!
post #4 of 5
I had heard that.

Somewhere I recall hearing about devices parents are putting on cars that their teens drive and records/reports similar info. I imagine most teens don't like that.
post #5 of 5
That's kind of neat I think. Especially for situations like the accident the guy in the article was in. I'm guessing it's in both of our cars. I wonder where exactly in the trunk. If it weren't so cold I'd go be nosey and look right now!
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