LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- A northern Kentucky manslaughter trial could join a growing number of cases nationwide in which jurors receive information from data recorders pulled from vehicles.
Federal officials estimate the so-called black boxes -- similar to those found in aircraft -- are installed in 15 percent of the nationís 200 million passenger vehicles. Like their aerial counterparts, the black boxes in cars and trucks keep precise information about speed and braking just before a crash.
The northern Kentucky case begins in January in Kenton County.
Lloyd Robinson, of Florence, faces a manslaughter charge in the May 2003 death of Kentucky Fish & Wildlife Resources Officer Doug Bryant. Prosecutors say Bryant stopped Robinson along Interstate 75 near Florence, but Robinson sped away after Bryant got out of his truck to approach Robinsonís car.
They both crashed, and Bryant, 62, was killed.
The trial had been scheduled for this summer but was delayed after the judge ordered Kenton County Commonwealthís Attorney Bill Crockett to subpoena Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford Motor Co. for the data from Bryantís truck and make it available to Robinsonís lawyer.
Dean Pisacano, who is representing Robinson, said he is not sure yet whether the technology used in the truck will be useful.
Mike Vaughn, a technology spokesman for Ford, said all Fords have had data recorders since 2002
, but only a few models have advanced capabilities that have been the focus of critics of the technology.
Some of the boxes can record such information as pre-crash speed, braking, direction of travel and even seat-belt use. American Civil Liberties Union lawyers say motorists donít necessarily know their vehicles have them, and information from the recorders could be used to invade peopleís privacy.
Does anyone know if DC Cars and trucks have any type of data recording device? Not that I'm worried about it, more for personal knowledge.