Your car’s Black Box is an underutilized tool for attorneys in assessing and representing injured clients in serious car accident cases. Currently almost every car on the market contains a Black Box also known as an Event Data Recorder (EDR). Most people are unaware that their vehicle even contains an EDR which is triggered by a serious automobile accident involving airbag deployment, front end collision and/or high speed breaking.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration requires that all black boxes must record at least 15 separate data events. This includes the speed of the vehicle, breaking activation, airbag deployment and whether the driver and passenger are seat belted. The EDR composed of computer microchips runs in a continuous loop, writing over the data collected, but when activated by a serious accident, permanently saves the data collected 5 seconds before and after the crash. These tools can be invaluable in demonstrating liability for persons who have been seriously injured.
In court they may be used to demonstrate driver distraction as the devices also records data which can help calculate the force of the collision, the length of collision as well as the number of impacts. Similarly, the Black box records accelerator position, engine RPM, brake application and antilock brake activation as well as the steering wheel angle. For example, if the accelerator is positioned downward and the brakes are not applied until the collision occurs or immediately prior it may be inferred that the person was distracted, perhaps by texting or looking at their phone. It is important to contact and consult with a qualified attorney at your earliest opportunity so that this data can be preserved and evaluated.
There are also obvious downside and privacy issues related to the EDR. State and federal legislators have attempted to deal with some of these issues and at the very least have attempted to address fair disclosure to consumers. Even when you are driving alone in your car you are not really alone. Welcome to the future
Ray Murphy welcomes your questions regarding guidance with Block Box data and serious automobile accidents.