New tech trend will let your car call 911 if you need help

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Wouldn't it be great if your car could automatically call for help if you are in an accident? That technology is now the latest tech trend. (KFSN)

You are driving along when suddenly, you crash-- it's a nightmare you hope will never happen. But if it does, wouldn't it be great if your car could automatically call help to the scene? That technology is now the latest tech trend.

Ethan Gill will never the forget night he swerved to hit a deer and almost lost his life.

"My car spun out of control, flipped four times into the median. If I would have been sitting in the passenger seat, I probably would have died."

But Gill's car had a secret weapon-- a device which sensed the accident and automatically dialed 911.

"An ambulance was able to arrive at the scene within 10 minutes."

Gill has the 'automatic pro'. It's just one of several gadgets and apps now available that offer add-on safety features that rival those already built-in to some new or high-end cars.

"A lot of these new devices are reliant on what's called on-board diagnostics, or OBD. It's a small port that all cars since 1996 are required to have," said Mark Takahashi, Auto Editor

Usually, you plug the device in under or near the steering wheel, but not all devices offer emergency assistance. Other possible features include-- locating your car if it's stolen, engine diagnostics, help if you have a flat tire, or notifications if a driver in your car is speeding.

"Like any emerging technology there are privacy issues," said Takahashi.

While device companies say they work hard to secure against hacking, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse advises consumers to ask questions. How will data be stored and for how long? Will it be shared with third parties? And experts caution data may possibly be used in court proceedings.

"If you do have privacy concerns, you should be disabling certain features," said Takahashi.

As for price, most gadgets cost around $100, though some require a monthly subscription.

Gill's has no monthly charge, but he said the value is priceless.

"It allowed me to get the critical help that I needed much faster than I would have gotten it."
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