Does Your Car or Truck Already Have a Black Box Just Like Airliners?

July 2, 2012

Auto Accidents

Event Data Recorder for AutosMost of us have heard of a device called a “black box”, but only in the context of an airliner accident.  Recently, the term is becoming of mention again and there is some hype about it, and probably for good reason.  U.S. Senate Bill 1813 titled “Transportation Research and Innovative Technology Act of 2012” which has passed the Senate is the source of the newly erupting discussions among the media and public.  There are many potential new regulations contained within the Bill, including suspending passports for those that are delinquent on “Certain Taxes.”  But there is also a section which deals with “EVR” or Event Data Recorder, which is a black box for automobiles similar to those on airliners.

An EVR records things before, during, and after a car accident on a small computer hard drive present on the car and stores them for potential retrieval later.  S.B. 1813, if passed by the House and signed by the President is going to make them mandatory on all new vehicles produced in this country starting in 2015.  The EVM records things such as speed, brake application, airbag deployment, steering wheel angle, and engine performance levels.

The Bill states that the information contained on the black boxes will be private and solely in the possession of the owner, unless, of course, a court grants a search warrant in certain circumstances to get the information after an accident or otherwise.  The information can also be obtained by the government if the owner consents to a search, or if it is relevant in the investigation or inspection of the Secretary of Transportation.

EVR’s are already on some American model vehicles; placed there voluntarily by manufacturers for their own purposes.  However, most auto owners are not even aware that the box is installed on their car.  After all, “Is there a black box on this car” is not a common question asked of auto salesman by consumers.

The boxes may lead to important answers that were never available when concerning a car accident.  They may also lead to quite a bit of litigation dealing with right to privacy concerns and the Fourth Amendment.  But the buzz on the Internet seems to lean towards “Big Brother” U.S. Government getting into another area that it should not enter.  People are worried they are being watched by the government.

At any rate, the public should be aware that there are now black boxes on some automobiles.  Know that your car could be recording your speed and driving behavior every day that you take it out.  And also know that if you are in an accident, that the information on your car, or maybe the other party’s car, may have information stored on it that can prove issues that are in dispute.

Considering the foregoing information, it is advisable to contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Slater & Zurz, LLP at 1-800-297-9191 to make certain that you are adequately represented in order to insure compensation for injuries and other damages sustained during a car accident.  

For more information about accidents and injuries in Ohio, please visit 

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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