Car accidents are life-changing events. Your vehicle’s black box is probably the last thing on your mind. There are other issues at the scene of the accident that take up more of your attention. Some people wonder after a crash, “Do cars have black boxes?” You may not even be aware that your vehicle has a black box or what its purpose is.  

After a devastating crash, your focus may be split between many different problems. When it comes to proving fault, it’s not always a simple process. If there are disputes over what happened, there may be a long litigation process to get you the compensation you deserve.

Thankfully, most vehicles today have a black box that records information directly before, during, and after a car crash. This tiny component of your car can be the determining power in proving fault and help your legal team pursue action against the negligent party. 

At Lipton Law, we know this can be a stressful situation for everyone involved. Our team of skilled Michigan personal injury attorneys can guide you through the process. We provide a free consultation and we use a contingency fee basis, so there is no financial risk to you. Call us today for a free case review at 248-629-2747

Do All Cars Have a Black Box?

If your car was made in this century, chances are it has a black box. Since 2014, all vehicles manufactured in the United States must have a black box installed. New cars are required to have a black box installed. The requirement may be recent, but many vehicle manufacturers have been installing black boxes in vehicles since the mid-1990s. 

What is a Black Box in a Car?

Vehicle black boxes are similar to those used by planes. They collect information immediately before, during, and after an accident. After a plane crash, certified technicians can access the black box to determine the true cause of the accident. A vehicle’s black box works the same way. This valuable information helps a vehicle manufacturer determine if a car crash was caused by a human error or if it was a manufacturing defect. 

What’s the Difference Between a Black Box and an Event Data Recorder?

“Black box” is just an informal name. The official name of the device is an event data recorder (EDR). Event data recorders do exactly what their name entails–they record event data. Black box information is extremely helpful when there is no eye-witness or other evidence that can be used to determine fault in a crash. 

Are Dash Cams and Black Boxes the Same Thing?

Dash cams and black boxes may serve a similar purpose, but they are not the same thing. A dash cam can provide a visual recording of the crash. The recording can only show the time, date, site, and visual record of the accident. Video, along with the data recorded by the black box, can prove how the accident took place.  

What Data Does A Car Black Box Record?

Black boxes record a surprising amount of data. The data collected must undergo analysis from a specialist to be correctly interpreted. Contrary to popular belief, these devices do not allow your insurance company to monitor your driving habits. If your insurance company offers a safe driver discount, you have to opt-in to the program and they typically give you a different device to keep in your personal vehicle. But an event data recorder can record many different types of data, including vehicle speed, throttle position, airbag deployment, seatbelt use, steering angles, 

steering input, and vehicle roll angle. This is important for rollover accidents. Black boxes can even include information on whether or not a phone was connected to a car’s Bluetooth to prove distracted driving.

When Did They Start Putting Black Boxes in Cars?

Many vehicle manufacturers have been installing black boxes in cars since the mid-1990s. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has used these devices to collect statistical data from car accidents since the early 2000s. New vehicles (after 2014) are required to have a black box.

Can I Get My Vehicle’s Black Box After an Accident?

You will probably not be able to access your vehicle’s black box after a crash, but law enforcement can. In most cases, police need a special crash data retrieval system to access a car’s black box data. Even when the police get as much data from the device as possible, it still needs a specialist to interpret the data and provide the necessary information. Vehicle manufacturers each have their own cables to connect to the diagnostic port on the event data recorders. 

Since it can be used as evidence in court cases, it’s important that the data stored in the black box remain free from tampering.  

How Can Black Box Data Help Me?

In the aftermath of a crash, an insurance company is likely to offer you the lowest compensation possible. Black box data can help prove that the other driver was responsible for the crash and get you the compensation you deserve. 

If there are no cameras or eye-witnesses, for example, a black box can be a “witness” to mistakes the other driver may have made. In cases where many were vehicles involved in the crash, the data records can help prove exactly what happened. If a car crash involved high speed, the event data recorder can show the exact speed of the vehicle and even when the driver engaged the brakes.

The other driver may fight to keep their data private. In this case, it’s not uncommon for a court order or a search warrant to be necessary to get the black box records. 

Michigan Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys

The cost of a car accident can be devastating, both financially and physically. If the accident happened due to the negligence of another person, you can pursue legal action. If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident, it’s important to get the help you need to recover. The experienced Michigan car accident attorneys at Lipton Law can help you. Our top personal injury attorneys can go over the details of your case and advise you on the best way to move forward. 

To establish your attorney-client relationship with Lipton Law, call us today at 248-557-1688 to get started with a free consultation.