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How black box data in your car helps accident investigators

A California car accident can completely change your life if you or a loved one sustains catastrophic injuries, from multiple surgeries and months of physical therapy to years of medical care. Having conclusive evidence indicating the fault of the accident can help ensure you receive compensation that can pay for doctor’s bills and lost wages.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, event data recorders, also known as black boxes, contain details related to a vehicle’s operation in the moments before a crash.

What is black box data?

The EDR doesn’t track your driving or vehicle performance constantly. Instead, it identifies events that likely result in car accidents. When one of these events occurs, the black box begins recording. Events that could trigger the recording include an unexpected change in velocity and airbag deployment. The data it documents consists of the following:

  • The number of occupants
  • Steering wheel direction
  • Braking
  • Acceleration
  • Speed, yaw angle and position

Collecting this type of data helps the manufacturer discover if mechanical failure caused the crash or human error. The snapshot of the event taken by the black box can also help investigators determine the cause of the crash and potentially who was at fault.

What is an accident reconstructionist?

Individuals with specific training use a scientific approach for solving the questions of why and how an accident happened. They typically have a background that included engineering and physics. Accident reconstructionists often have a career in law enforcement before focusing their skills on accident investigations.

The reconstructionist works backward, resolving questions regarding speeds, collision severity, driver behavior and visibility using black box information and other data, including the positions of all vehicles involved in the crash. This information can help ensure the insurance company pays your car accident claim.