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What can a Black Box Reveal About a Car Accident?

Car accidents cause many injuries in the United States every year. Victims may fight long legal battles for compensation. The challenge comes from gathering evidence and showing proof of liability and the circumstances of the crash. However, many new vehicles have technological advantages that make it easier to document important information about a car accident.

Black box technology has existed for decades. Typically, this technology is associated with airplanes. Black boxes, which are actually bright orange, are installed in airplanes to provide valuable information after a crash or other unplanned incident. In more recent years, similar technology has been applied to motor vehicles.

For nearly two decades, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has collected black box data to better understand the science of car accidents and to get a clear idea of the circumstances surrounding car crashes. This technology is much more common than some drivers may think. In fact, as far back as 2013, 96 percent of new cars sold in the United States came with black box technology. As of Sept 2014, they became a requirement for every new vehicle.

What Do Black Boxes Record?

An automobile black box can record a range of information to help understand the circumstances of a crash. Early black boxes in vehicles were not especially advanced and primarily only showed information about airbag deployment. Newer technology records much more data, including:

  • Vehicles’ speeds up to five seconds before impact.
  • If and when the car’s brakes were used before impact.
  • Throttle or gas position.
  • Whether the driver was wearing a seat belt.
  • Whether an airbag was deployed or not.
  • The car’s travel velocity, including the vehicle’s actual speed and direction.
  • Whether audio was on at the time of the accident.

Can a Black Box be Used in Court?

Black box data has been used in many civil and criminal car accident cases. This data can show whether the driver was following posted speed limits, whether they were wearing their seat belt, if they applied the brake, and more information. The data can also show whether the vehicle safety features performed as intended. This means that black box data could be used to show liability of a driver who failed to follow safety guidelines. It can also help a driver prove a dangerous defect in their vehicle, like failing brakes or malfunctioning airbags.

There is a great deal of information that this data can provide to a court case; however, the specifics of how it can be used varies by state. A local lawyer can provide guidance on specific rules and options.

Atlantic City Car Accident Lawyers at the D’Amato Law Firm Help Car Crash Victims Get Compensation

If you have been involved in a car accident, a knowledgeable Atlantic City car accident lawyer at the D’Amato Law Firm can help you find answers and get the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, call us at 609-926-3300 or complete our online form. Located in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Atlantic City, Linwood, Galloway Township, Cape May, Vineland, Millville, Bridgeton, Ocean City, and Woodbury.