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Did My Car's Black Box Record My Car Accident?

Event Data Records (EDRs), also known as Black Boxes, have been extremely prevalent in recent years. There is a reason for that: they're extremely useful in piecing back together the events of car accidents and how resulting injuries may have occurred.

The main driver of putting EDRs in vehicles is government. While they're not legally required, they are included in most vehicles for their aid in assessing other diagnostic and vehicle performance issues. The regulations then provide minimum performance levels.

For instance, vehicles manufactured after September 1, 2010 which are equipped with EDRs must record at least 15 different facts of the vehicle's operation, including various speed changes, brake use, seat belt status, and air bag deployment. The EDRs must also be accessible through commercially available devices and the owner's manual must explain how to get the data. Further, it's notable that all such data is the property of the owner of the vehicle.

These facts are particularly interesting after a car accident. As a personal injury lawyer, I want to know facts from a source as objective as possible. Even the most honest client has a subjective view of what happened. I would estimate that most clients can't really provide a full explanation of how the accident occurred. "It came out of nowhere" is a common mantra amongst accident victims.

That make logical sense. Often clients are rear-ended or hit from the side, literally not seeing the striking vehicle before impact. Sometimes there are allegations which are difficult to dispute or corroborate, such as vehicle speed, whether a party hit the brakes, or whether a party was wearing a seatbelt. In many instances, the black box is the most reliable source of information, because it simply gathers data.

We can then take the data and use it to piece together an accident, exactly as it happened, in intricate detail. To help you get a sense of how common black boxes are, in 2005 about 65% of all models made had them. And, it's fair to say they have gotten better and will continue to improve.

So, did your car's black box record your accident? If you have one, it recorded various data from your car before and during and likely after your accident. As a lawyer, I want facts and evidence. As a consumer, you do, too. If you have been in an accident, make sure your personal injury lawyer is capable of obtaining your EDR data. If you're in Massachusetts, consider our firm of Boston Personal Injury Lawyers.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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