Many drivers aren’t familiar with automotive “black boxes.” But they’re in virtually all new cars and trucks, and they’re recording your every driving move.
Black boxes are data recorders that preserve inputs from the vehicle’s sensors. This often includes the 5 to 10 seconds before an auto accident occurs.
After the auto accident, the data can be downloaded and stored to help law enforcement and lawyers determine conditions that contributed to the crash, including speed, whether brakes were applied, steering and even seat belt use.
As of September 1, 2014, black box data recorders will be mandatory in all vehicles by law.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 96 percent of all 2013 model year cars already have black boxes as standard equipment, according to a recent article on CBS News, “Government calls for mandatory “black boxes” in new cars, raising privacy concerns.
There has been public outcry regarding privacy concerns with the mandatory implementation of black boxes. But it’s important to remember that black boxes provide critical evidence if you’re ever injured in a crash. The black box data helps lawyers and police determine the true causes of car accidents. Furthermore, the data will lead to safer vehicles, cheaper auto insurance and even safer commercial trucking companies.
In my experience as a truck accident lawyer, I use black box data as evidence in most of my serious truck wreck cases. Often, in the event of a fatality or serious injury, Michigan State Police will download the data as part of the investigation as well.
For an injured auto accident victim, this black box data can mean the difference between winning and losing a pain and suffering case. For example, in a typical he said-she said car crash at that doesn’t have eyewitnesses, the black box data tells the story of what really happened and caused the crash.
It’s imperative for an attorney to have and understand this information, as the person bringing the lawsuit has the burden of proof.