This keeps happening

September 6, 2009

Police have appealed for witnesses after a motorcyclist was seriously injured in a one-vehicle crash in the Highlands.

via BBC NEWS | Scotland | Highlands and Islands | Biker seriously injured in crash.

There are regular appeals for witnesses after crashes. And there are regular crashes. A guy crashed into me a couple of years ago. Despite the police attending, and it being reported in the local press that the guy in question was driving without insurance and disqualified, nothing ever happened. I certainly wasn’t called as an, um, witness. Or offered compensation. Or an apology.

And I regularly witness driving that could easily result in an accident, as long suffering followers of my Twitter account will know.

So, here’s an immodest proposal. The police need more evidence following crashes, and many people need a little something to keep them honest (and safe).

Each and every vehicle should carry a black box. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Just a GPS receiver and an accelerometer would do; though fancy ones could be linked to the car’s instruments and controls, or have video cameras fore and aft. The box might retain a weeks worth of stuff, or it might keep the ten minutes up to a violent acceleration (ie crash). Doesn’t really matter. The box could be sealed, or the driver could download (but not delete) data as they chose. Doesn’t really matter.

To maintain a modicum of privacy, the police would be allowed to seize said boxes after an incident, but not to read them; they’d need a court order for that, along the lines of a search warrant.

Of course many people would object to this, but I think the benefits outweigh the costs. People would know that if they did something wrong, it would be pretty obvious what had happened. People who hadn’t done anything wrong would have some evidence to back them up. And everyone would have a wee electronic conscience, keeping them safe and on the right sight of the law.

Many people have event recorders of this type already. They’re called sat-navs.

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