The Value Of Having Black Box Data in Georgia Truck Accident Cases

September 10, 2017

Our Truck Accident Lawyers in Georgia Discuss The Value Of Having Black Box Data

Almost all new cars come equipped with a black box. The black box, which borrows its nickname from the data recorders found in airplanes, are otherwise known as event data recorders, or EDRs for short. According to automotive industry estimates, 96% of all new vehicles purchased within the last five or six years are sold with EDRs. Having this technology on board assists attorneys like the Atlanta car accident attorneys from Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law prove their case against careless drivers who injured their clients.

Given the proliferation of EDRs in new vehicles, it is important to understand what the EDR does and does not do. The EDR is recording all of the time in the same way a surveillance system might record. However, the system runs on a loop and "eats its tail." So if there are no recordable events at the beginning of a trip, the EDR will not preserve that information. The EDR will preserve the information obtained 5 seconds before a triggering event and five seconds after a triggering event.

The EDR does not record the wheels but is attached electronic systems. Rather, the EDR is triggered by an electronic response from a system in the car that covers 15 precise data points, at a minimum. Car manufacturers can program the black boxes to record more data than the minimum required 15 data points. Those data points include the speed of the car before an event or the steering before an event. Other data points include recording the vehicle's response to certain electronic information such as a collision which is sufficiently forceful to deploy airbags or a hard-braking event that causes the seatbelts to lock.

Retrieving the information stored in the EDR is neither easy nor inexpensive. The process is not as simple as locating an actual "black box" from the undercarriage of the vehicle or the engine compartment. The EDR is a series of computer chips located within the vehicle and protected by the car's exterior. Access to the EDR is gained by plugging into the port that mechanics use to run diagnostic checks on the car. Specialized hardware and software are required to access the data port whose cost ranges from $1,000 to $10,000 depending on the type of vehicle. The technician accessing the EDR data must have the training to download the information correctly and then interpret the data accurately.

Accessing the data contained within your car is the subject of many arguments invoking the right to privacy in that data. You own the data if you own the car. But who else can access it without your permission? The law continues to develop on this issue. Law enforcement officers might need a search warrant authorizing the officers to download data from your EDR during an investigation into potential criminal activity. The question remains open whether car manufacturers and car insurance companies can access the data without your permission.

Spoliation of evidence is one of the issues that continues to develop in this area. Spoliation is the destruction of evidence which would have been helpful to either party in a civil lawsuit. The destruction of evidence could be intentional or negligent. However, a party to a lawsuit could suffer severe consequences for destroying or losing evidence. That is why speaking with qualified Georgia truck accident lawyers at Montlick & Associates shortly after an accident Can be your chance to protect your rights and increase your opportunity to receive financial compensation for your injuries.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 35 Years Of Legal Experience To Work For Your Case!

Montlick & Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over 35 years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Our truck accident lawyers in Atlanta have been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast for over 35 years.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.


Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
17 Executive Park Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (800) LAW-NEED
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333

Open: 24 hours, 7 Days a Week

Category: Truck Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.