Go to contents

Sale of black box videos of car accidents turning into business

Sale of black box videos of car accidents turning into business

Posted November. 19, 2012 01:45,   


"You can receive least thousands of dollars for a video clip of a hit-and-run accident.”

A 51-year-old office worker heard something interesting from a sales representative of vehicle black boxes before installing the device to his car that he had just bought. If his black box records an accident, the worker was told, he could sell the video clip on the Internet.

A staff member of the black box vendor said, “The price will differ according to the severity of the accident, but we can show you the website where video clips of traffic accidents are traded as part of our customer service.”

○ Roadside banners replaced with black box video clips

With the number of black boxes installed in vehicles reaching nearly 1.5 million, including those for taxis and buses as well as for passenger cars, the device is a major witness in traffic accidents.

Victims of traffic accidents used to place roadside banners asking for witnesses and waited for calls, but the use of black box video clips has taken over. Such videos not only allow authorities to accurately determine the culprit in an accident but are also critical evidence in finding the perpetrator in a hit-and-run accident. For this reason, black box video clips are being traded over the Internet.

Websites for trading video clips of traffic accidents have been springing up on the Web. These sites broker witnesses and victims of accidents for commissions. The identity of video clip sellers is kept confidential.

A trading site is pricing such videos based on criteria including video quality, whether critical evidence is included, from which point of an accident the clip records, whether the culprit`s face can be identified, and whether the vehicle model can be confirmed.

Accident victims who struggle due to lack of witnesses have posted online requests desperately looking for black box video clips by giving the time and location of their accidents.

○ Black box videos turning into business feared

Critics have cited potential negative side-effects due to the expanded trading of traffic accident video clips. Certain sellers are demanding high prices by exploiting the desperation of buyers, leading to fears that the black box is exploiting traffic accidents to earn profits.

Yoon Yeong-gyeong, 36, who was recently involved in a minor collision in a neighborhood road, said, “I barely discovered a video clip and overcame a situation where I would be victimized as the offender. But I had hard time negotiating the price because the seller demanded too exorbitant a sum knowing that I was desperate.”

A police officer in charge of traffic accidents said, “Buying and selling video clips to verify traffic accidents are not problematic in themselves, but if a person who owns a video clip stubbornly refuses to submit it, police can trace his or her contact information and demand submission or seize the video through a search and raid warrant.”