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Drive safely: Your car can tell police when you don’t

A “black box” will tell more in Tiger Woods’ wreck
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Posted at 1:54 PM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-06 13:28:48-05

TUCSON, Ariz (KGUN) — The investigation of Tiger Woods car wreck points out something you might not know: your car can record details of how you are driving---and share them with police. KGUN9 has more on what could be in your car’s black box.

We’re used to the idea that airliners carry a black box that records what the plane and its pilots do---critical information in case there’s a crash.

But did you know most modern, computerized cars have black box abilities too?

“With the black box, your car is always watching you and always watching what you're doing.”

That’s Tucson Attorney Joe St Louis. He specializes in defending drivers when they get in trouble.

Investigators in California say they got a search warrant to examine the computer from Tiger Wood’s high-end SUV.

St. Louis says that computer can have quite a story to tell.

“So it's going to tell us not only what the car was doing, not only if stability controls were deployed. If it rolled how it rolled with the speed that it was going, you know, braking, that sort of thing, but it's going to tell us what the driver was doing too. I's going to tell us if there's any steering inputs. It's going to tell us if it's, you know, jerking back and forth into the lane. Just about anything you can imagine in terms of what the driver was doing, we're going to be able to find that out from that black box.”

For a long time, car computers could tell police more basic information like speed and how hard you were stomping the gas or stomping the brakes. But modern cars able to warn you if you’re out of your lane or too close to another car can record much more---and those abilities are in mainstream models, not just luxury cars like Tiger’s.

St. Louis says, ‘I'm just not aware of any way that you can ask a manufacturer of your car to turn off the information that's on there.”

So there’s another good reason to drive safely, because your car can help prove when you don’t.