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Cars Will Soon Have Black Boxes

Posted on October 24, 2011 to

William Lightfoot

Did you know that your car might have a device that records critical information in the event of a car accident? It is an event data recorder (EDR), and they are similar to the little black boxes in airplanes. In 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that almost all new cars have EDRs.

A report at foxbusiness.com said that car manufacturers have to tell buyers if their car has an EDR, starting with 2011 models. Your vehicle owner’s manual should tell you if your car has one. Starting in 2013, all EDRs must record the same information, including:

  • Speed
  • Seat belt use
  • Whether or not the driver applied the brake
  • Change in forward crash speed
  • Number of crash events

Federal safety officials champion the EDRs as a way of compiling accident statistics and making the roads safer. A spokesperson for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said the EDRs can capture information that traditional investigation methods cannot.

This also begs the privacy question. The NHTSA said the recorded information belongs to the car owner and consent is required to access the information. The driver’s insurance company needs the insured’s consent to access the EDR information.

Does your car have an event data recorder?

Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P.

Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia Injury Attorneys

Approved by attorney William Lightfoot