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Hit and run prevention

Find out who hit you and drove off
  (+5, -2)
(+5, -2)
  [vote for,

This idea is similar to Drive Data Recorders, but more limited in scope, and without the privacy concerns:

All cars should be equipped with a contact sensor that is triggered when one car comes in contact with another. At that point, a recorder in each car would record the license plate number of the other car, and the date and time that contact occurred. This way, even if there was an accident and one car drove off, the driver could be easily tracked down by their license pate number.

Additionally, the recorders could record the license plate numbers of any cars within 100 feet or so, for the purpose of finding witnesses if any were needed.

I'm not sure how the contact sensor or plate recording would work... possibly some sort of electromagnetism for the sensor, and I suppose the system would also need to have some sort of transmitter or beacon to broadcast their plate number over a limited range for reception by the recorder.

I felt a need for this device last week after being rear-ended by an 18-wheeler who casually drove off as if nothing happened.

PotatoStew, Oct 20 2000

Drive Data Recorders http://www.halfbake...ta_20Recorders#idea
See Oct 20 annotation. [centauri, Oct 20 2000]

Drive Data Recorders http://www.halfbake..._20Data_20Recorders
See Oct 20 annotation. [centauri, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       This is also particularly useful for those parking lot scratches and dents that just "appear"...   

       I imagined that rather than using fancy license plate scanning technology, the impact would simply activate a number of cameras which would capture a reasonably detailed account of the accident, the surroundings, and the offending vehicle.   

       I wondered whether (in the case of a parking lot) a prominently mounted camera with a blinking red light wouldn't encourage bonkers to leave a note (and the camera wouldn't even need to be real!).
egnor, Oct 20 2000

       DDRs don't have a realy privacy issue either if you only save the info for the last few minutes (rather than the hour I suggested in the original idea) and only lock them into memory if the car body undergoes some sort of trauma. DDRs wouldn't really serve the same purpose as your device anyway, since they provide no info on any other vehicles.   

       Sometimes, getting the license plate won't be enough anyway. My friends and I were in a minor hit and run, but we managed to get his license plate before he ran off. However, we neglected to get a good look at the guy and the officer informed us that it would be difficult to press charges without a positive ID.
centauri, Oct 20 2000

       [centauri], I suppose you're right about the privacy issue. It would probably be great to combine these two ideas into one product, so you could store detailed information on vehicle movements just leading up to the crash, and also have a means to track down anyone who drove off (via the license plate number). And though it's true that it still might be difficult to prosecute, at least it would be a start. Plus, I know that they can do a lot with looking at the damage on both cars, and if this was combined with data from your drive data recorder, it would probably be pretty compelling evidence in court.   

       As far as accidents involving pedestrians, this would be more difficult. Maybe it could be designed so that if a vehicle impacts anything with a given amount of force, the vehicle's information and position (via GPS?) are transmitted somewhere to be recorded. But transmitted where? That angle would probably only work in certain areas where receivers could be placed.
PotatoStew, Oct 20 2000

       Bluetooth number-plates! When the cars detect they're being scraped the number-plates would exchange details. For vehicle-pedestrian contact the pedestrian would need to be wearing smart trousers which would detect the collision, and have a bluetooth belt buckle would then exchange details with the car's number plate. Something like that.
Skinny Rob, Oct 24 2000

       Smart trousers! Sounds cool, [SkinnyRob]... you could even expand this so that your smart trousers carry your ATM and credit card numbers embedded in them... no need to carry a wallet anymore, just rub your butt on the ATM machine. Of course, that would be a whole 'nother idea...
PotatoStew, Oct 25 2000

       Here's an even better idea. Have a glue bag, similar to the air bags that inflate automatically when there is a collision. But instead of air, the glue bag is full of glue. Then then you're in an collision, the glue bag explodes, forcibly restraining the other driver, their car, and any bystanders and other witnesses who happen to be nearby.
dominus, Oct 26 2000

       Rubbing my butt against the card reader works fine in my company. I havn't lost or forgotten my entry tag since they installed a card reader at the right height (not for me, it was meant for wheel chair access).
ItsMe, Oct 27 2000

       dominus: all well and good, unless there's a fire. Then everyone is nicely restrained so they can all die at once. Wouldn't be nice to get a load of glue up your nose either...
PotatoStew, Mar 16 2001

       Yes, but luckily the three dozen Jack Russells weren't in the back ;)   

       Actually, I was still moving a bit (had just slowed down because someone in the next lane almost sideswiped me twice), and the truck was braking hard, so the actual speed of the collision was probably only 2 or 3 mph. There wasn't even any damage to our car somehow, even though it gave us a pretty severe jolt and made a loud bang. I'm guessing that the trucker didn't realize he hit us ...smacking into a Honda with a big rig probably doesn't register with much intensity to the person inside the truck. But it still irked me that he just drove off...
PotatoStew, Mar 16 2001

       Many high tech car alarms have an added feature which may reduce hit and run accidents. The remote transmitter (which you have with you all the time) beeps when the car alarm goes off. This can potentially notify you of a 'hit' and if you get there quick enough maybe eliminate the 'run'.
Shocker, Jun 26 2003

       I think trucks are a real safety issue. In exchange for the right to drive an 80,000 lb monster, giving up a little privacy is justified. I propose that trucks over some weight c. 15,000 lb have comprehensive, multi-day recorders, addressable by passing police vehicles with readers, in motion or while stopped. If the truck has been speeding, tailgating (a laser, radar or ultrasonic proximity detector would also be mandatory) nail the guy before he squishes a car. For cars, I'd propose a much more limited duration recorder, that can only be read by making a physical (cable) connection. To use this would require probable cause, a search warrant or as part of accident reconstruction. Having cars that would communicate with one another in accidents, with the same investigation only access caveat would be a plus.
TD3, Sep 06 2004


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