Vehicle: Car: Radio
Emergency Car CD Player Override   (+2, -2)  [vote for, against]
Get important information even if your radio is off.

Emergency information is often broadcast over mediums such as television, radio, and the internet. But what if you are driving to work, listening to your car CD Player, completely oblivious to the happenings around you, and the Amber Plan is activated, or a tornado is spotted? There needs to be a way of still recieving emergency information.

Hence, the Car CD Player Override! A special signal transmitted by a broadcast station would activate the override circuit, pausing the CD player while letting important information get through. Another, less intrusive method would have an "Emergency Information Waiting" light that could come on, and information heard with a press of a button.
-- BinaryCookies, Aug 23 2002

(?) AMBER America ’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response http://www.tcsoal.o...MBER/amber_plan.htm
It's quite effective - within the last 10 days in L.A., 3 abductions of 4 girls resulted in being found alive and well, and kidnappers in custody. [thumbwax, Aug 23 2002]

Some Statistics http://www.straight...columns/020705.html
[DrCurry, Aug 23 2002]

(?) Some More Statistics http://www.tucsonci.../8_15_02kidnap.html
[DrCurry, Aug 23 2002]

Ambulance Siren http://www.halfbake...20Ambulance_20Siren
Another HB idea similar to this [barnzenen, Aug 23 2002]

BC, not everyone is from certain states in the US - for those who aren't from certain states in the US, "Amber Plan/Alert" refers to TV/Radio/Web/Electronic Billboards on roadways which broadcast information relating to the disappearance of children. This includes any information about what the child was wearing, features, vehicle li(c/s)ense plate # of abductor is available... see link for more details
-- thumbwax, Aug 23 2002

I dunno. Didn't they have something like this in the Hitchiker's Guide?
-- DrCurry, Aug 23 2002

Sorry...i'll try to make my ideas clearer. I remember in 1996 when the original abduction happened (The system was named after a little girl named Amber who was abducted in arlington, TX, which is pretty close to my home. It was on the news for some time.
-- BinaryCookies, Aug 23 2002

For most of the day, people are unreachable by the emergency broadcast system - out for a walk, sleeping, restaurant, etc. Your device would increase this connectivity only marginally, and hence doesn't seem to be of much great advantage (to me). I would think something based on a cell-phone broadcast would hit a lot more people...
-- spartanica, Aug 23 2002

Emergency broadcast text messaging...
-- Mr Burns, Aug 23 2002

Emergency Croissant, BTW
-- thumbwax, Aug 23 2002

Why don't we all just carry around a bunch of emergency alert pagers? Have them built into the car. I think that we will probably have amber alerts every day now. And what about all the other crimes that occur?
-- polartomato, Aug 23 2002

This is baked in the RDS / EON radio system used in UK. Compliant receivers, which are generally but not necessarily in-car systems, have an optionally activated TA (traffic announcement) setting. Radio stations can broadcast a signal before such an announcement which is detected by the receiver and which over-rides the CD or tape player, switching to the radio station concerned, even if the user hasn't tuned it in.
-- angel, Aug 23 2002

The TA system can do this quite well. But I agree with the point about cellphones and pagers. It would take NO additional technology for the cellular networks to broadcast such information on a regional or national basis. All it needs is the primary legislation. Many people already recieve sports and lottery alerts via pagers and cellphones. It makes eminent sense that things like flood alerts, severe weather warnings etc. should be broadcast in the same way as a public service. It would cost the service providers tiny amounts of money compared to the large profits they make.

-- 8th of 7, Aug 23 2002

you can get severe weather alerts specific to a zipcode from (My Weather:Pager at the bottom of the page)

CNN, MSNBC, and Yahoo have _breaking_ news alerts, where it's not a regularly scheduled news alert, but only when something big happens... Yahoo's isn't great though.

Sites like and provide info on big emergencies like fires, which is of more interest to people in public safety professions, or reporters.
-- aberson, Aug 23 2002

On reflection, big fishbone for this one, I'm afraid. If we're going to start bombarding people with messages, we will all simply tune them out. Moreover, I really do *not* want extraneous messages interrupting whatever I'm listening to, which could quite conceivably be just as important. And *please* do not mess with my cell phone.

Look what happened with the pictures on milk cartons - and then it turns out that some stupidly high percentage are not actually "missing" at all, except to one parent in a custody battle.

The current system, broadcasting the information to concerned parties, and posting it in well-defined places, is evidently effective as it is.
-- DrCurry, Aug 23 2002

Fishbonz for ya. How about a big, loud, outdoor siren? At the rate things are going with information overload, it could just run continuously. Eventually, we'd all get used to it. If it went silent, then it would be time to duck and cover.
-- bravesirrobin, Aug 23 2002

Didn't we already do something like this? Where is that idea? Was it deleted with someone's account? I can't seem to find it right off hand.
-- barnzenen, Aug 23 2002

random, halfbakery