Car Accidents and Black Boxes
By GC Law26 Jul 2013
Today many modern cars have onboard computers that record data about speed, air bag deployment or failures, braking and other mechanical functions. This information can sometimes help to determine the cause of a car accident.
Police can establish for example how fast a car was travelling at the time of impact from recording devices onboard the vehicle. These recording devices are much like the black boxes everybody has heard about in aeroplanes.
Data recording devices, or black boxes, in both your car and in the car at fault, are one of the many tools experts can use as evidence to help determine fault for a car accident.
Nearly every car being manufactured right now comes with a little added bonus by way of a tiny recording device nestled under the centre console. And if you’re looking to keep your driving habits under wraps, you might want to start worrying.
As many as 96 percent of the cars mass-produced in 2013 include event data recorders, or EDRs, yet the existence of these small “black box” surveillance devices are rarely known among the automobile drivers whose data is being collected with every quick turn of the steering wheel.
This following story from the USA indicates how these will affect court cases in the future, and this includes Australia:
Despite widespread ignorance of EDRs, they could soon become mandatory. The US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is asking that the installation of EDRs in light passenger vehicles be mandatory starting September 2014, and opponents are already attempting to raise awareness in order to make auto drivers aware that their sudden speed bursts and even seatbelt data is being collected and could be easily shared.But with little safeguards in place, the still emerging technology is raising a lot of questions about what can legally be collected and who can access that information.
But what kind of data is recorded exactly? Standard EDRs don’t log the identity or actions of specific persons in cars, per se, but they are able to provide investigators insight with what happened moments before a collision. When they were first rolled out, though, that wasn’t the plan.
Depending on the type of EDR, these black boxes can record the speed of a vehicle, the crash force at the moment of impact and an array of other information about the automobile’s inner workings.
Other information that can be collected and then shared includes whether or not the car’s brake was activated before the crash, the state of the engine and whether the vehicle seat belt was buckled before an incident.
A smart personal injury lawyer would send a letter to the driver at fault and to that person’s insurance company immediately after a car accident warning them against destroying or tampering with the black box, if the information stored electronically could be used to establish fault for a car accident.
If you have been injured in a car accident and want all the compensation you are entitled to, then call us now on 1300 302 318 to arrange a free no obligation appointment or email us your enquiry for a free online case assessment within 12 hours.