Motor vehicle black boxes, formally called Event Data Recorders come standard in most new vehicles. Now the information from these devices can be accessed by police in order to find evidence against the vehicle’s driver.
In vehicles with black boxes, the driving maneuvers and actions taken by the driver are recorded and stored so that it can be accessed at a later time if necessary. The systems collect information including whether seatbelts, turn signals, or brakes were used, and how fast the vehicle was traveling. When a crash happens, the information collected from the black box can be used to either contradict or corroborate the story told by the driver. If a driver’s rendition of what took place differs from the data, then that person will lose credibility in court. If you try to say nothing, the black box will still provide a lot of information to the police.
The data collected by a black box can be used to help determine who was at fault in a collision which will help determine civil liability. In criminal matters, the black box could help exculpate an innocent driver, but could also be used to incriminate a person.
The devices have been around for decades, but they were previously used to collect data for the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA). Law enforcement officers have increasingly started using these devices in criminal matters.
Courts differ on whether police need a warrant to collect data from a black box in a criminal case. The use of black box data is somewhat controversial because it only captures a few seconds of data and is somewhat difficult to interpret.
If you or a loved one has been harmed in a car wreck or any other type of personal injury accident in Chicago, contact Stein & Shulman, LLC
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