Can Your Car's Black Box Help in Case of a Car Accident?

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Many individuals associate black boxes with airplanes, but the truth is these instruments are no longer a key tool only for investigating airplane accidents.

The event data recorder (or EDR), as the black box is officially known, is getting a lot of credit for the recording of car accidents as well.

Some people have expressed their worries about privacy issues, but the utility of car black boxes reaches far beyond the insurance area.

The black box is without a doubt helpful for both the police and insurance companies since it measures G-force and can recognize the force of an impact if it passes a certain amount, and can record:

  • Driver's actions: speed, steering, turns, acceleration, braking
  • Data related to the vehicle's functionality at the time of a collision
  • Seatbelt use and airbag deployment
  • The number of collisions in case of a multi-vehicle crash
  • Position of front seats and occupants' size
  • Crash force and duration
  • Activation of warning signals

Car Black Boxes Can Be Used in the Reconstruction of Events That Occurred Before an Accident

As mentioned, the event data recorder collects all sorts of data, from speed to sudden turns to whether the driver has pressed the brake pedal all the way or fastened the seatbelt. The collected information might prove crucial in a car accident and varies from vehicle to vehicle; still, one aspect is undoubted: from around 20 seconds worth of data recorded concerning the accident, the black box usually records 5-10 seconds before a collision. Accident-related data recorded by a black box includes:

  • Speed of the vehicle
  • Position of accelerator or throttle
  • Deployment of frontal, side, and curtain airbag
  • Braking
  • Steering information
  • Seat belt status of the driver and front seat passenger
  • Engagement of the ABS
  • Angle of the vehicle roll

While the EDRs are already installed in cars, with many people completely unaware of having them, there are also cases where drivers voluntarily choose to use such recording devices for their protection.

There is another type of black box, also known as a video data event recorder or dashcam, which can be installed on the windshield and functions also as a camera and GPS. The collected data is securely stored on an SD card and is way more accurate since it also contains information about:

  • Time
  • Location
  • Direction
  • The driver's view

Even though dashcams can provide peace of mind, insurance companies follow different rules concerning dashcam footage. Some insurance companies accept footage, while others may refuse to consider it.

Benefits of a Car's Black Box

Car black boxes can help determine the cause of an accident and the events that led to it.

This information is precious, especially when:

  • no witnesses are present at the accident scene
  • when each driver has their version of the event

The benefits of using an event data recorder in the vehicle exceed the disadvantages of not having one in basically all aspects. A car black box:

  • can get you into trouble if you are a reckless driver
  • can also save you from a bad situation

For example, reconstruction may be complex if an accident occurs without any witnesses, but it would be easy to prove your innocence with the black box on your side.

Insurance companies are very interested in the broader use of car black boxes, as the information gathered from the device offers a lot of valuable data about drivers. In 13 U.S. states, the insurers can actually get permission to access the black box and can do so by simply plugging a laptop into the data port. Some companies even went far enough to provide discounts for those who possess an EDR. A black box can also represent relief for worried parents, as a young driver's behavior in traffic will be more responsible, knowing the vehicle is monitored.

Car Black Boxes Privacy Facts

Event data recorders can prove to be quite a rational feature for vehicles, considering that more people die in car accidents than in airplane crashes. Some civic groups have expressed their concerns regarding privacy issues, suggesting that the devices could easily spy on car owners.

These privacy concerns do not seem justified. As previously mentioned, black boxes only record data concerning speed, acceleration, deceleration, braking, or sudden turns over the last 5-10 seconds before an accident. Black boxes record data from a Bluetooth connection to a cell phone but do not record conversations. Generally speaking, an event data recorder does not violate a driver's privacy.

Black Box Insurances

Black box insurances, also known as telematic premiums, are a type of insurance that uses raw data to determine the amount one pays for coverage. The insurance can offer different discounts on the paid amounts by using real data about the driver to determine the premiums. However, this can go both ways, as reckless driving can increase the risk of paying more money for insurance.

Also, using a black box can be effective in that:

  • Drivers can be charged for their insurance based on the miles they drive; car owners driving fewer miles than the national average can find themselves paying less.
  • The device also assesses a driver's style by monitoring braking, the types of roads one usually travels, and the times of day or night a person typically uses the car by building up a complete and accurate profile.

Overall, the telematics data can be used to make the roads safer. The collected data will always be gathered only to assess the insurance risk, help in case of an accident, help track the location of the car in case it is stolen, or manage certain claims.

Four Types of Drivers That Would Most Benefit from a Black Box Insurance

In the insurance world, where premiums are based on driving behavior, it can be quite popular to try and reduce the cover costs.

We list here four types of drivers who could benefit from having black box insurance:

  • As young drivers are statistically the most likely to be involved in accidents, premiums can be high. Black box insurance enables the companies to suit each person based on their real driving habits rather than statistics.
  • If someone recently passed the driving test and has limited experience on the road, it is possible to be considered high-risk by insurance companies, regardless of age. Telematic insurance can help these people pay cheaper premiums, as everything will be about how or when they drive.
  • Black box insurance can potentially reward patient, safe, and careful drivers with lower premiums. Insurance companies can assess how drivers anticipate traffic and follow the rules of the road. So, the better a person drives, the less money they pay.
  • As driving late at night is thought to be much riskier, daytime drivers could be rewarded for driving during low-risk periods. A few insurance companies have great discounts for those who drive only during the daytime.

Are Car Accidents an OSHA Recordable?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) faces many difficulties when determining whether an injury is work-related. Questions about vehicle accidents during working hours or a commute to work are often under debate.

According to OSHA, they have never classified those injuries that occurred during an ordinary commute to or from work to be recordable injuries. Even if a person is driving a company car when they get into a car accident, this situation does not make it a recordable work injury. Work-related injuries are considered accidents during employment, where transportation of goods or traveling to a business meeting are involved. There are some exceptions to this case, as well. For example, if an employee makes an unscheduled stop during working hours and suffers an injury due to a car accident, their injury would not be considered work-related.

Involved in a Car Accident in Miami? We Can Help

If you have been involved in a severe car accident in Miami, you should contact The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary. We have the personal dedication and legal knowledge to ensure that you receive the representation you deserve.

If you are unsure your accident qualifies you for receiving compensation, you can discuss your case with our Miami car accident attorney by calling us.

This can prove to be an advantage, as it will lead to making informed and wise decisions and taking the required, logical steps to protect your interests.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.