What is a Black Box Download?

Auto Recall Attorney - The Cooper Firm

What is a Black Box Download?

With the recent GM crisis, you may have heard the term “Black Box Download” thrown around and not known what it meant. A black box is used in newer car models as an event data recorder. Car manufacturers usually use the “black box” to assess their vehicles, but it can also be very useful for attorneys, insurance companies and police after a car accident or in criminal cases.

The black box only records information a few seconds before a car accident occurs. Then another device is used to take the information recorded on the black box download off and then analyzes the information through a software program. The information extracted can show how fast the car was going, whether the driver or passengers were wearing seatbelts, if the airbags deployed and if the driver applied the brakes before the accident can be extracted.

The black box is usually about the size of two decks of cards and is in the center console. General Motors originally introduced them to help with the company’s quality studies. They are not the same across the manufacturing industry though. During the Toyota unintended acceleration, some investigators had trouble extracting the data because the boxes were different.

The information can be extremely useful in court to prove that there was a defect in the vehicle and that the driver was not at fault for the accident. It could also work against the driver to show that they were not driving safely or were not using proper safety equipment such as their seatbelts. The black box now eliminates the ‘he said, she said’ previously used in cases. Now there is hard evidence.

Source: New York Times

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