Automobile Black Boxes: A Reliable Source of Motor Vehicle Accident Data

The Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010, which would have made "black box" technology mandatory in all vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2015, never made it beyond committee approval in the House of Representatives. Nonetheless, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that event data recorders (EDRs), which store data on a vehicle's speed, braking activity, engine RPMs and sometimes even seat belt use, are installed in 85 percent of all cars currently on American roads.

This advanced technology can prove extremely useful in motor vehicle accident litigation, particularly when issues of fault are in dispute and reliable eyewitness accounts are not available. For a family that suffers a tragic fatality or a driver who suffers catastrophic injuries, such evidence can make a huge difference in holding a negligent or reckless driver accountable. Precise records of acceleration or braking activity combined with other on-site evidence such as skid marks and wrecked vehicles can help accident reconstructionists paint a vivid picture of what happened in a particular circumstance.

Black box technology has played an important role in trucking accident cases since the early 1990s, but new developments may be coming in this area of motor vehicle accident law as well. The Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration (FMSCA) has issued a proposed rule to require the use of electronic on-board recorders (EOBR) to document a truck driver's hours of service (HOS). HOS violations are a major cause of driver fatigue, which all too often leads to catastrophic accidents and severe injuries or fatalities.

Car Wreck Lawyers Understand the Importance of Compiling Accident Evidence

All types of motor vehicle accidents claims, from accidents caused by drunk drivers to wrecks caused by automotive parts failures, are dependent on an attorney's ability to compile and effectively present the factors that led to a collision, rollover or other tragedy. Particularly in cases involving uninsured or underinsured motorists, a personal injury lawyer must strive to identify any and all potentially liable parties.

Technology is an important part of the equation, from event data recorders to effective court presentation tools that show juries precisely what happened. But proving fault is only one part of the equation: an experienced car accident lawyer knows how to use all available resources to demonstrate the harm a client has suffered and assess long term medical care needs.