Black Boxes Are Present in Most Cars. How Do They Impact an Auto Accident Injury Claim?

Car accidents can occur in a fraction of a second in the Atlanta Metro area, but their causes can be complex and may require investigation and expert testimony. Some of the determining methods used by experts include physical evidence, charts, computer simulations and a black box data recorder.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed that as of Sept. 1, 2014, all cars should be fitted with black boxes, formally called event data recorders (EDRs). These devices are capable of recovering crash and/or pre-crash data including:

  • Vehicle pre-impact speed;
  • Driver steering input;
  • Driver braking or throttle position before the crash including deceleration or acceleration;
  • Whether the driver is wearing a seat belt;
  • Crash severity.

EDRs may help show if there were traffic violations or if drivers' actions contributed to an accident.  The recorders can also help identify automobile defects, showing that the accident liability may belong to a manufacturer. Contact Shane Smith Law if you are involved in an auto accident in Clayton County for assistance in retrieving black box information.

Only 13 states have passed laws governing how EDR data can be used; Georgia has no legislation which makes it even more important to have an accident attorney in Clayton County. Most state laws require vehicle manufacturers to disclose to new purchasers that vehicles are equipped with EDRs. Some states prohibit release of black box data unless a court orders the information or a vehicle's owner explicitly consents to the data's retrieval.

Estimates are that 85 percent of new cars are equipped with black boxes. There are many questions about black box use as evidence since there is no Georgia legislation addressing the subject. It is unclear if law enforcement has the right to obtain the data from the black box without a court order if a vehicle is not impounded. It is also unclear if insurance carriers have a right to the data under their policies. And courts have not determined if the data can assist motorists in traffic court when contesting speeding tickets.

Consulting an Auto Accident Attorney in Clayton County, Georgia

 Make sure you have access to all the available evidence after an automobile accident including potential black box information. After an accident, meet with an auto accident injury lawyer at Shane Smith Law. We can assist you in every stage of your case including obtaining the available evidence.

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