What Is a Black Box Recorder?
In the 1990s, car manufacturers started to install Vehicle Electronic Digital Recorders, or EDRs, in vehicles to capture vehicle performance and safety measures. This is also commonly referred to as a “black box,” even though they are not typically black. In addition, the black box records a few seconds of a vehicle’s movement immediately before and after a car accident.
As the data proved incredibly valuable, many car manufacturers followed suit, adding these electronic devices to newer car models. Shortly thereafter, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommended that all vehicles manufactured after 2008 to be equipped with a black box. Currently, black box data is used after car accidents to prove liability in legal claims.
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Does my Car Have a Black Box Recorder?
Most cars, SUVs, and small trucks traveling Colorado roads today have a black box positioned directly under the driver’s seat. The NHTSA reports about 96-percent of vehicles are equipped with black box recorders today. Large trucks and commercial vehicles have different types of EDR technology used for similar purposes.
What Does the Black Box Recorder Show?
A recording of both vehicle and operator data is triggered upon airbag deployment or an “event,” such as an unnatural change in the vehicle’s velocity. While the black box sensors do not capture video or audio footage, EDRs often provide moment-to-moment statistics such as:
- Ignition cycles
- Engine speed
- Steering wheel direction
- Restraint usage
- Date and time
- Braking patterns
Some newer model vehicles may include as much as 30 different types of recorded information, including:
- the time of headlight onset
- GPS locations
- road conditions
- lane assist performance
- and other more sophisticated features found in today’s automobiles
The data can be incredibly beneficial in providing circumstantial evidence to determine if a person was indeed recklessly and responsible for a crash. Newer EDR models may store the information for several months after an event.
How Is Black Box Information Accessed?
Vehicle owners control access to the recording device, but a crash data retrieval system is required to run diagnostics. Collecting the information is time-sensitive and can be expensive. However, the information contained in the EDR can be priceless. An experienced attorney will work with experts who know how to access the EDR and analyze the metrics contained therein.
Hire a Colorado Car Accident Attorney Who Understand Black Box Information
Proving negligence following a car accident can be difficult because oftentimes liability is disputed. Fortunately, black box data is useful following a car accident. A knowledgeable lawyer can ensure EDR reports will support a case. It is important to work with a Colorado car accident attorney who understands the nuances of black box data recorder information. The auto accident lawyers at Bowman Law are qualified and experienced in working with such data.
Owner and Managing Attorney
Jerry Bowman, J.D., M.A., Owner and managing attorney of Bowman Law LLC, takes his responsibility to the legal profession seriously and dedicates his time and effort to providing quality and competent legal representation to clients in Denver and throughout all of Colorado. He holds an MA in Political Science from Wayne State University and earned his law degree in two and a half years from Michigan State University College of Law.