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Fatal crash in Lincoln shines spotlight on crash detection technology and how it works

Posted at 6:18 PM, Oct 05, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Last weekend's horrific crash in Lincoln killed six people in their 20s and we later learned first responders were alerted to the emergency from a "crash app" on a phone. It's put the technology into the spotlight.

3 News Now spoke with Troy Gowan, a 911 dispatcher in Sarpy County who tells us he's receiving more calls from devices with this feature — and it's not just your phone that could have it.

"We get quite a few calls nowadays because of the new technology of cell phones, Onstar, SiriusXM, things like that, for not only crash detection but fall detection," he said. "We're getting, I would guess, one or two each shift. So, a couple a day at least and they'll come from different devices: Apple watch, cell phone, your own vehicle in your car."

We wanted to learn more about how it can connect people to the critical help they may need in an emergency situation like a car crash or even a bad fall.

"Your watch calls 911 and all we hear is ambient nature sounds from out in the park or hear you breathing in a rapid pace or whatever. What we will then do, since we have no voice contact with you, is try to locate you with one of our systems that utilizes that digital technology to try and pinpoint where you may be," he said.

Gowan says this technology has actually been around for a few years now and is gaining popularity with new devices like the latest iPhone and other phones like the Google Pixel.

On Apple devices, the feature comes automatically enabled on your phone unless you manually turn it off.

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