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Black box threat from EU

Published: 25 February 2005

Updated: 19 November 2014

The threat of a 'black box' being fitted to every new motorcycle has come a step closer with an EU request to police forces to test the technology.

The results will be used to help the EU decide whether or not to force manufacturers to add the data recorders to every new vehicle on the road.

The boxes would reveal how fast you had been going and braking forces in the moments before an accident.

And that's scary enough for most. But road organisations are also warning the technology could be used to track your speed at all times - automatically issuing tickets if you stray over the limit - or even cutting your engine to limit you by force.

The Metropolitan Police in London are among a number of police forces already using the recorders in their cars. They say they have helped cut the number of accidents police vehicles are involved in.

Evidence from a data recorder has already been used to prosecute a driver in the US. The computer that controls the airbag in some modern cars can store what happens just before the airbag was set off. And prosecutors in the US used this data to convict a man of dangerous driving.

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