Some people may not know just how advanced the technology they use might be.
ABC 7 reported last week that Cathy Bernstein, a 57-year old Port St. Lucie, Fla. resident, allegedly hit a truck and then side-swiped a van on Prima Vista Boulevard. She must have thought her secret was safe — that is until her car called 911.
A car safety feature installed on her Ford Focus automatically dialed 911 once the car had recognized it had been hit. Bernstein subsequently told the dispatcher: ‘Ma’am, there’s no problem. Everything was fine.’
The dispatcher replied, ‘OK. But your car called in saying you’d been involved in an accident. It doesn’t do that for no reason. Did you leave the scene of an accident?’
‘No, I would never do that,’ said Bernstein.
Later, police found her Ford Focus in her garage with the airbag deployed, a banged up front end and silver paint that matched one of the other vehicles in the accident on the car.
The feature that called the emergency line is called 911 Assist. Sensors installed on the vehicle can tell when it experiences unusual movement or if the airbag has been deployed, and automatically calls 911.
An estimated 10 million cars already on the road have the option to enable this feature. However, it is set to off by default so you have to enable the feature if you want it operational on your vehicle.
What does this mean for you?
Technology is becoming more and more advanced and is affecting so many different areas of our lives. Though this was a situation in which the 911 Assist feature was helpful to local authorities, it is doubtful that Cathy Bernstein had any idea the technology that was supposed to protect her in an accident would also turn her in!
With that said, it’s important that you know how the technology you use affects you, and what rights you might be giving technology to act on your behalf.