Can I Preserve Car Black Box Data?
How a Car’s “Black Box” Can Be Used in a Personal Injury Case
Most cars on the road, especially new cars are equipped with black boxes which record technical vehicle and occupancy information. These devices record driving information about the vehicle in the moments leading to an accident, during the crash, and afterward. This data can be used in a legal case to help prove the cause of the accident and liability.
About Event Data Recorders
An event data recorder (EDR), also known as a “black box”, is a recording device that captures information about vehicles involved in traffic accidents. The information collected includes speed, braking, steering angles, acceleration, and airbag deployment. EDR data can be extracted and used in personal injury cases to help establish fault.
Do All Cars Have Black Boxes?
Most new cars on the road are equipped with a black box or event data recorder. The practice of adding black boxes to cars was first introduced in 1994 and was used in cars of the following models: Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet, and Pontiac. In 2013, about 96% of each new car sold in the US, came with a black box. Therefore, if your car was manufactured in 2013 or later, it’s very likely that there is a black box installed in your car.
About 17 states passed statutes regarding event data recorders and privacy. For example, in states including California, Texas, Colorado, Nevada, and Washington, the data contained on event data recorders can only be downloaded with the consent of the car owners or policyholders, with certain exceptions. Exceptions can include if there is a court order or a law enforcement investigation being conducted.
How Does a Car’s Black Box Work?
The car black box typically records data about 20 seconds before, during, and after the crash. The car’s manufacturer can use car accident data to help determine whether a car accident was caused by preventable human error or a mechanical defect.
The black box data will only record data if the car is on. Therefore if the car has no battery power it won’t collect event data.
Types of Data Recorded that a Black Box Captures
Car black boxes collect information including the following:
- Vehicle speed
- Force of impact
- Airbag deployment times
- Brake application
- Use of ABS (anti-lock braking system)
- Steering angles
- Throttle position
- Seatbelt use
Who Can Pull the Black Box Data?
Not just anyone can pull data from a car’s black box. A crash data retrieval system can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000 and it requires professional training to extract the car data. The CDR system transfers the crash data recorder information to a special computer program once it’s plugged into the onboard diagnostic port.
The Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), vehicle manufacturers, and law enforcement can be granted legal access to the black box data and can extract this data directly or through third parties.
An insurance company or law firm can also request access to the car’s black box data for car accident investigations and court cases. However, you have to consent for the insurance company to access the black box data. An insurance company can also utilize this data to establish your premiums based on driving habits.
The Highway Traffic Safety Administration uses black box data to support its crash investigation program and it is routinely incorporated in its crash databases.
How Long Does Black Box Data Last?
Black box data can be stored for about 3-4 weeks, which is why it is important to act fast to collect car accident data. A personal injury lawyer can help you access and interpret the data recorded on black boxes.
Using an Event Data Recorder as Evidence in Personal Injury Claim
The data on a vehicle’s black box is very valuable as it collects data before, during, and after the car crash. The black box data can be utilized to help determine the contributing factors of a car accident.
The event data recorder can help investigators determine fault in a personal injury claim. For example, the investigator can see if the defendant was speeding at the time of the crash or if they didn’t use their brake. Accident reconstruction experts can also use black box data to recreate how the accident may have happened using graphic illustrations.
The data stored in black boxes can help strengthen your car accident claim when the other driver’s negligent actions, such as speeding caused the accident. It’s crucial to consult with an experienced car accident attorney who can help you access your car’s black box data or from the other driver’s vehicle.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Regarding Accessing Black Boxes
If you want to access your vehicle’s black box data, it’s crucial to act quickly because the data will only be preserved for about a month. If you have any questions about black box data or want to begin the process of accessing the black box information for your claim, contact an experienced auto accident attorney.
At Alpha Accident Lawyers, we are committed to protecting the rights of injured victims. If you were injured in an auto accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to pursue compensation for your injuries. Before you settle for an insurer’s offer, be sure to research the best personal injury attorneys in your area.
Our car accident lawyers can help you hold the at-fault party accountable for your losses. We have a proven track record of obtaining the maximum compensation. Call us today to learn more about your legal options.