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What is a “Black Box” for a car or truck?

Most people know that airplanes have Black Boxes, but did you know that most cars also have a black box to gather driving information about the vehicle before, during, and after an accident? The official name of this device is an “event data recorder” (EDR). An EDR is a recording device made from extremely durable and crash-resistant material. The point of the device is to record the moments leading up to an accident. This data can help investigators determine the cause. It records information including speed, acceleration, braking, steering, and air-bag deployment. The Black Box data is objective and accurate, and this information can be the best evidence in accident reconstruction.

Your car should have a black box

Does my car have a Black Box?

Most modern cars contain a Black Box. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been using them to collect car accident data since the early 2000s. Cars made in 2013 or later are almost guaranteed to have a Black Box. In 2013, less than 5% of new cars lacked one, and since 2014 ALL new cars are required to have a Black Box. To check if your vehicle contains a Black Box, check out this list.

Who Has Legal Access to my Black Box Information?

Many people question if the data on the Black Box is private or if other entities can access this information. Even though it is not possible for just anyone to access your Black Box data, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other law enforcement agencies may be able to access this data when necessary. The laws differ based on your residing state; only 17 states have specific laws about who can retrieve this data which requires a court order. Florida is not one of these states, which is why an attorney can be a valuable resource when interpreting the law for specific legal situations. To view the list of states and their specific statutes regarding the Black Box and how the information can be utilized visit the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Brett Bressler, Attorneys at Law, Help Client with Black Box Data

Unfortunately, one of our clients was hit by a Lexus SUV. The driver of the Lexus was stopped and wanted to turn left in front of oncoming traffic. The driver accelerated, turned left, and hit our client head-on who was driving a red Honda in the opposite direction. A massive crash occurred. The driver of the Lexus denied causing the accident.
The Lexus was equipped with an Event Data Recorder (EDR) which is the aviation equivalent of a “Black Box.” The EDR is made by Bosch and records dozens of data points such as speed and braking for the five seconds before any impact. In this case, we hired an expert to obtain the data.

Here’s what the data showed:

  • The driver had their foot on the brake until 3.45 seconds before impact.
  • Then the driver pushed the accelerator pedal to 44% to the floor causing the engine to go from 800 RPMs to 2,700 RMPs within 2.0 seconds.
  • The Lexus accelerated fast and turned left in front of our client, who could not avoid the impact.
  • The data helped us prove the Lexus driver caused the accident.
    Check out the data and pictures below. We obtained an excellent settlement for our client, despite the other driver claiming they were not at fault for the accident.
Our client’s Honda which was hit by the white Lexus

Our client’s Honda which was hit by the white Lexus

The Lexus SUV which caused the accident

The Lexus SUV which caused the accident

Laptop computer using the Bosch Crash Data Retrieval Tool to obtain the EDR data from the Defendant's Lexus

Laptop computer using the Bosch Crash Data Retrieval Tool to obtain the EDR data from the Defendant’s Lexus

Bosch Crash Data Retrieval Tool

To view specific EDR data please view this EDR Data Chart by clicking HERE.

To recap how and why Black Boxes are important, they are extremely useful in the event of a car accident because these electronic devices record data related to vehicle speed and impact force at the time of the crash. This information can provide valuable evidence in court. If you believe your Black Box could be of use to your case, one of our knowledgeable attorneys can help you obtain the Black Box data and evaluate its contents.

Once the Black Box has been obtained, the lawyer may then be able to analyze it for data that can be used to prove fault. Black Box data can be especially helpful in cases where the accident was minor and there were no witnesses, as it may show whether the driver was paying attention or distracted at the time of impact.

Our attorneys at Brett Bressler, Attorneys at Law, have the necessary expertise, to access this important Black Box data and analyze its contents, which could make all the difference in your case. The EDR in your car could help prove your innocence in the event of an accident. Please contact us at 407-599-2002 or via email at brett@lawsofflorida.com to answer specific questions regarding your car accident and how the data on your Black Box can be utilized.

For more information on how all of us at Brett Bressler, Attorneys at Law, help our clients, please visit lawsofflorida.com for a summary of our case results.

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