No, cars do not have a “black box,” as you hear about in airplanes. Most cars sold in North America have an Event Data Recorder (EDR) installed by the manufacturer. The EDR is typically part of the Airbag Control Module. It monitors your vehicle’s components, such as speedometer readings and driver input while the vehicle is on.
As your car is being driven, the EDR collects data from those components and stores them temporarily. It normally keeps about 5 seconds’ worth of data. If the EDR detects a crash, it secures the data it has in place and starts monitoring the crash as it is happening to decide whether or not to deploy airbags.
The data an EDR records depends on the make, model, and age of your vehicle. For all vehicles, the data is limited to the vehicle’s operation, and usually for no more than 5 seconds. They typically do not record any GPS, location, time/date, or personal information on the driver.
According to Federal law, any data contained within a vehicle’s EDR is the vehicle owner’s property. If you are driving a company-owned vehicle, your company owns that data. If you rent a vehicle, the data is owned by the rental company. However, if you are leasing your vehicle, you are considered the owner of the data.
Not necessarily. According to the same Federal Law, EDR data can only be obtained with the vehicle’s owner’s written or recorded consent. There are circumstances where the police can apply for a search warrant for this EDR data. With a search warrant, they can then get the data.
That is a question for your attorney. There have been cases where insurance companies, employers, and even the other driver’s attorney insisted on accessing this data. Different states and jurisdictions have different laws regarding EDR data and who can access it. If you have any questions about who should have access to your data, you should consult with an attorney familiar with the EDR laws and regulations in your area.
This is a good question. It is not always clear who is at fault. Sometimes the fault cannot be determined. Sometimes both (or all of) the drivers are at fault. Sometimes it could be the road design, the timing of the traffic lights, improper lighting, or other environmental conditions that can be considered at fault for the crash.
The ultimate determination of who or what is at fault for a crash falls upon the judge or jury that hears the evidence. At West Crash Consulting, LLC, we will look at all the evidence available and present the facts determined from that evidence. Many times, you will hear us give our opinion about who is at fault, but again, that determination is ultimately up to the judge or jury hearing the case.
Our founder, Brian West, believes that everyone has the moral and ethical responsibility to avoid a crash whenever possible, even when they have the right of way. In many jurisdictions, they also have legal responsibility. If that is the case in your jurisdiction, the investigating officer probably felt that even though the other driver ran the red light, you should or could have done something to avoid the crash.
Simply contact West Crash. In your original call or email, we will need the basics of what happened, including the basic information about the vehicles involved, the type of damage and injuries, and what the drivers said about the crash. We will typically need information from the crash report, so it will be helpful if you have it, but not always necessary.
From this initial consultation, which will be of no charge to you, we should be able to determine if further investigation is warranted.