When Tech Attacks: killer car gadgets exposed

The in-car tech that could kill you on impact

In-car gadgets can become dangerous missiles if they are not held in their mountings properly. A study in Germany has shown that items such as in-car DVD players, satnav and mobile phones can become treacherous hazards during rear-end collisions.

The experiment, carried out by German car magazine Auto Bild , used crash test dummies to simulate how in-car DVD players can come loose and crash into back-seat passengers. Alarmingly, this can happen at speeds as low as 18mph.

Even at these slow speeds, the scientists at the DEKRA crash facilities in Klettwitz, Germany, said that a flying DVD player would be enough to deliver a fatal blow to a small child.

The study also warned that other car tech can be just as lethal. Mobile phones can come loose and fly across the car, while satnav units can be "sent crashing onto drivers' feet".

Tech attack!

The study focused on gadgets that are held in place by velcro, but other fastenings were also proven to be very dangerous.

Mobile phones, moored by sucker and cradle, were shown to fly across the car when the vehicle was struck from behind.

Sucker cup holders - favoured by satnav users - passed the crash tests. But the other satnav mooring method, where satnav devices are secured by clipping them to the driver's air vent, failed completely.

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James (Twitter, ) oversees the reviews we publish on the site and also edits the TV, AV, Gaming, Car Tech and Gadgets channels. He's been in the field for 13 years, and travels all over the world to attend tech shows, product launches and cult gatherings. James' opinions have been inflicted on audiences of BBC TV, Radio 5 Live, The Guardian, local radio and various magazines and he's a grizzled veteran of most tech shows but will never again to return to CeBIT (no means no).