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Ethics in Action: Use of VMD in Car Protection Term Paper

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Updated: Aug 18th, 2022

Introduction

As road accidents continue to rise, so does the need to install vehicle monitoring devices in our cars (IIHS, 2009). Advancement in computer technology has improved the human lifestyle in many ways. Since its invention, computers have been elemental in performing a variety of functions meant to help man pursue his duties easily, swiftly and more important safely (Shelly, Vermaat, & Quasney, 2009). Lately, such technologies have been utilized in enhancing safety and security on roads. The introduction of vehicle monitoring devices (VMD) such as ‘black box’ has contributed immensely to the reduction of accidents and enhancement of vehicle security.

Such devices utilize the Global Position System (GPS) which is able to locate the vehicle, record as well as transmit the car’s driving data to the required location usually a web address or phone via GPRS (Shelly, Vermaat, & Quasney, 2009). The driving data may include condition of seat belts as well as its use by the car occupants, longitudinal acceleration of the car, activation of anti-lock brakes, the position of engine throttle, air bug function as well as the speed of the vehicle. A recent study by the insurance institute for highway safety revealed how useful this device is in reducing risks involved especially when the young unsupervised drivers are in control (IIHS, 2009). The VMD is vital in enforcing a culture of good driving behavior and car protection hence the move by insurance companies to offer discounts on the voluntary installation of data recorders in cars is highly welcome.

Use of VMD in car protection

Vehicle monitoring devices are fundamental in the reduction of road accidents, heightening car security as well as improving driver performance. According to Canada Safety Council (2004), these devices relay vital information concerning the vehicle under investigation to the destined location such as web address or telephone via GPRS. For instance, an in-built ‘black box’ can be used to locate the car in which it is installed.

Such information is vital for tracking the vehicle in cases of theft. Police are able to track the car by simply following the signal emitted by the tracking device installed in the car under investigation. In such security systems, car tracking devices may be used to replace the traditional car alarms or better still complement the alarms. When used for car protection, these devices would significantly lessen the loss-risk of vehicles in question thereby reducing the insurance costs. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) regards using car monitoring devices as a very effective way of car protection. Tanna, Kumar, & Narayanan, (2010) argue that such devices mostly utilize GPS technology as well as SMS messaging among other techniques such as real-time tracking and recording and storage of such data for future use.

Generally, the car monitoring device has been employed worldwide in security systems to locate and recover stolen vehicles as well as manage their movement. However, this technology has generated controversies lately. Notably, its opponents argue that the technology contravenes the law on an individual’s right to privacy. They reiterate the need for police officers to seek a court warrant before installing such devices on a private car. In one instance, a US Court of appeal made a ruling requiring the police to seek a warrant before enforcing such security measures arguing that monitoring one’s movement over an extended period of time is illegal.

Use of VMD in improving road Safety

In addition to car protection purposes, vehicle monitoring devices have been used to enhance safety on the roads (Canada Safety Council, 2004). To begin with, the use of data recorders ensures that information concerning condition seat belts as well as its use by the car occupants, longitudinal acceleration of the car, activation of anti-lock brakes, the position of engine throttle, air bug function and engine speed are relayed to the reporting site usually telephone via GPRS or web address (Shelly, Vermaat, & Quasney, 2009). Such type of data recorder includes ‘black box’ which records information on speed limits, acceleration, seat belts usage and distance limits and alerts the driver by producing a warning tone when the preset limits are exceeded (National Academy of Engineering, 2008).

The driver is expected to heed the warning and drive within the required limits so as to minimize road accidents. On the other hand, video camera has been recently employed in recording such information in an attempt to improve road safety. According to the arrangement, two cameras are strategically placed in the car with one in front and the other facing the driver so as to effectively record the relevant events. Such information is then relayed to the user’s phone or web address via satellite. In case preset limits are reached, the cameras are activated to record the events ten seconds before and after an incident mainly a collision (Canada Safety Council, 2004).

An audio recorder may be used concurrently to record events in the same incident. Generally, the car monitoring device records vital information that can be used as evidence in court in case the vehicle is involved in an accident. Basically, such data are primarily used to train drivers thereby improving their performance, an important step towards the reduction of road accidents (Canada Safety Council, 2004). Regrettably, the use of video cameras has also been cited as an intrusion of privacy. Opponents argue that when such devices are used in monitoring vehicles, such video footage may expose their private life to the public. It is however noteworthy that such a claim is unfounded as the device is set to respond to a specific person and no one else has such authority to use it.

Vehicle monitoring devices are currently used to enhance business processes and procedures. In the past tracking systems were mainly employed by transportation and logistics industries to improve their operations. However, such technologies are currently adopted by other industries such as the hospitality industry to improve customer service (Shelly, Vermaat, & Quasney, 2009). Generally, GPS vehicle tracking device is utilized worldwide to monitor the movement of fleet, company, as well as private vehicles. The device performs a variety of functions including monitoring the location of a car, movement of the car within the geo-fence, monitoring engine speed among other monitoring functions aimed at enhancing both road safety as well as car protection.

Conclusion

The development of car monitoring devices such as data recorders has not only helped security agents in tracking and recovering stolen vehicles but also improved the performance of drivers thereby enhancing road safety. Data recorder utilizes GPS which can locate a vehicle, record as well as transmit the driving data to a web address or phone via GPRS. Such data are subsequently interpreted using computer modules and relayed to the user as short message service. According to the insurance institute for highway safety (2009) such technology has been very effective in reducing risks involved when junior drivers take control of the wheel.

Table of sources/links.

Author(s) Year Title Website/URL Publisher
Canada Safety Council 2004 The electronic observer in your car Web. Canada Safety Council
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 2009 When parents are watching Web. Insurance Institute for High-
way Safety
Shelly, G. B., Vermaat, M.E., & Quasney, J.J. 2008 Discovering Computers 2010: Living in a Digital World, Introductory Cengage Learning
Tanna, K.P., Kumar, P. & Narayanan, S. 2010 Instant Theft Alert and Tracking System in Car US Patent Application

References

Canada Safety Council. (2004). The electronic observer in your car. Web.

IIHS (2009). When parents are watching. 44 (5). Arlington: IIHS. Web.

Shelly, G. B., Vermaat, M.E., & Quasney, J.J. (2009). Discovering Computers 2010: Living in a Digital World, Introductory. London: Cengage Learning.

Tanna, K.P., Kumar, P. & Narayanan, S. (2010). . International Journal of Computer Applications, 1 (21): 29-33. Web.

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IvyPanda. "Ethics in Action: Use of VMD in Car Protection." August 18, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ethics-in-action-use-of-vmd-in-car-protection/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Ethics in Action: Use of VMD in Car Protection." August 18, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/ethics-in-action-use-of-vmd-in-car-protection/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Ethics in Action: Use of VMD in Car Protection'. 18 August.

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