Sadly, hit-and-run incidents are not uncommon. However, it is unusual for the offending car to turn in its driver.
Cathy Bernstein, 57, sped off after hitting a truck and van in St. Lucie, Florida. The problem for Bernstein was that its airbag deployed. When this occurs, her Ford’s 911 Assist System SYNC is designed to call the police provide the car’s location. The system also called Bernstein, but she denied being involved in an accident telling the operator a car had only pulled out in front of her black Ford but didn’t hit her.
Around the same time, police were investigating a hit-and-run in the area. They went to Bernstein’s house and saw that her Ford had a dented front-end and silver paint from one of the other damaged vehicles. The airbag was also deployed. Eventually, Bernstein admitted to being involved in the incident and leaving the scene, leading to her arrest.
In New York, leaving the scene of an accident when there is property damage is only a violation but can lead to up to 15 days in jail, 3 points and up to a $250 fine plus NYS surcharge. It therefore is very serious violation.
Advanced technology in cars is being used in other ways to inculpate its drivers. I had a speeding case tragically involving a fatality where the police downloaded data from the car’s “black box” and was able to discern that the vehicle was speeding 2 seconds before the impact/airbag deployment. The judge found my client guilty based on this evidence even though there was no other true evidence of speeding.
It is clear from the above that, while these new technologies are unusually helpful to motorists, they can also be used against them.