What is a Black Box and How Can it Impact my Accident Case?

Written by greg on December 8, 2018



The majority of newer cars in the U.S. today have event recorders or event data recorders also known as black boxes.


Given the Toyota unintended acceleration publicity and other high-profile accidents, the issue of black boxes is coming in to better focus.  The event recorders were originally developed to deal with aircraft accidents and later adapted to monitor airbagsCrash Data Recorder in automobiles. Today, however, event data recorders capture all kinds of information on newer model cars, such as braking, seat belt use, speed, and other information just prior to impact.


Not all cars or trucks have event data recorders, and a few manufacturers have taken great lengths to ensure that the event data is not recoverable by anyone other than the manufacturer.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration developed a rule requiring that if an event data recorder is part of the car, or pickup truck that specific information needs to be collected. However, older cars, trucks, and 18-wheelers may not have event data capability, but most newer models do.


In auto accidents and truck wrecks, event data provides very useful information when it is accessible by authorities or by accident lawyers either on the plaintiff side or the defense.


Many accident reenactment experts have the ability to download event data on many newer cars and trucks. And the information captured just before impact is very difficult to credibly dispute.


It is particularly helpful as many times a car accident happens unexpectedly, in a matter of split seconds and it is sometimes difficult for the injury victim to recall or relate accurately exactly what happened in the crash. Best of all, it is hard to dispute the data captured by the black box.


Some of the important information on the computer data captured after an accident include:


  1. Speed
  2. Braking activity and
  3. Seatbelt use.


Often after an accident, it is critical that the onboard computer data is preserved. Retaining an experienced attorney after an 18-wheeler accident should be done as soon as possible.


Here is a link with questions and answers on event data recorders.














Posted Under: Consumer Information

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