When you hear the term “black box,” you might not know what it does, but you probably know what it is. It’s that seemingly indestructible box that people look for after a plane crash. The reason is that this “box” is actually a recording device, and it captures the plane’s last moments in the year. This can provide valuable insight into the reasons behind a crash, as well as evidence in the event of legal action.
What you might not know is that these devices aren’t just for planes. If your car was made in the last decade or so, it most likely came equipped with a black box, also known as an Event Data Recorder (EDR). If it was made after 2014, it’s legally required to have an EDR pre-installed. And in many jurisdictions, it’s illegal to remove, disable, or otherwise tamper with the EDR in your own car.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, understand that the black box in your car, just like the one in an airplane, contains information that can potentially affect the outcome of your case.
What the “Black Box” Does and Doesn’t Record
There are substantial differences between the black box in a plane in the black box in your car. Most importantly, the black box in your car doesn’t record audio or video, so you don’t have to worry about being secretly filmed by your car. Rather, the device records the way that you’re driving in the moments just before an accident. This includes things like speed, braking, and steering wheel position, which can all be useful in determining fault after an accident.
Some black boxes have sensors under the seats, which can record the weight of both the driver and the passenger. This has been useful in cases where it couldn’t be determined who was actually driving at the time of the accident. Black boxes have also been able to show whether or not the driver was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.
How the Black Box can Help or Hurt Your Personal Injury Case
While the black box is not without controversy and privacy concerns, these devices have greatly impacted the outcomes of many personal injury lawsuits. In cases where the negligent driver is denying their part in the accident, the information contained in the black box can sometimes set the record straight.
However, there are obstacles to using the black box as evidence in court. First and foremost, questions and concerns regarding the accuracy of black box data haven’t been completely resolved. Black boxes were designed to collect data for the purpose of increasing driver and vehicle safety, not to substitute the testimony of human witnesses. Because of this, they aren’t subject to any standards other than those set by the manufacturer.
If you’ve been in a car accident and you want to know how the black box might impact your case, we can help. Katherine is an excellent personal injury attorney with years of experience helping accident victims. Call, text, or email us for a free consultation!