In an effort to stem a rising tide of automobile-related accident deaths, the UAE has contracted IBM to install telematics "black boxes" in tens of thousands of emergency and government vehicles. The systems will be connected to a nationwide wireless network, making it the largest telematics network in the world. In addition to tracking vehicle speed and location, the system will also vocally warn the driver if they are speeding. While this is a huge win for IBM in its big bet on becoming the world's high-end services and business process vendor, will this system actually make the roads any safer? We've discussed numerous times here that speed cameras don't work. Also, in the case of traffic light cameras, thinking that big brother is watching makes for some nervous, brake-happy drivers -- which, in turn, results in a higher number of rear-end collisions at camera equipped traffic signals. With the telematics system, the UAE could end up with a nation full of enraged drivers, not paying attention to the road because they're busy being nagged by their cars for driving too fast. Just because big brother is watching doesn't mean it's safer.
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