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Could Hackers Force Your Car Into a Quad City Accident?

You are driving your car as usual. A hacker, perhaps even someone hundreds of miles away, gets on his computer. He hacks into your car’s computer systems, overtakes your steering controls and forces you to crash into a tree.

It sounds like a scene from a Tom Clancy thriller, but government scientists believe this could happen.

Microprocessors are just as much a part of many cars as the engine or transmission. Today's cars may use computers to navigate, brake, park, diagnose problems, inflate airbags, lock doors, reduce emissions, and control the engine. This technology makes are cars safer, cleaner and easier to drive. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is worried that tour reliance on technology could leave cars and their computers susceptible to hacking.

In 2010, teams from the University of California in San Diego and from Washington University in St. Louis were able to remotely control a vehicle and disable the car's engine by hacking into the vehicle’s cell phone. They used the phone to insert software that was able to override the car’s controls. This means that there is a real potential for hackers to cause unintended acceleration, braking, airbag deployment and even a Quad Cities car crash.

When the researchers reported the experiment to National Academy of Sciences’ Transportation Research Board, they warned that computer hacking could allow high tech car thieves to unlock a parked car, start the engine, and drive off without using a key. But the focus of their study was on how automakers can prevent car hacking.

Science or science fiction? What do you think? Post a comment and let our Quad Cities accident attorneys know your thoughts.

The Quad Cities car accident lawyers at Hupy and Abraham help car accident victims in Iowa. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your case, contact us at 888-807-2752.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham
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