What’s the Little Black Box and What’s It Contain? - The S.E. Farris Law Firm
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What’s the Little Black Box and What’s It Contain?

What’s the Little Black Box and What’s It Contain?

Black boxes, or event data recorders (EDR), have been used for decades in solving mysteries of airplane crashes. What many people don’t know is that black boxes are also in many of the cars and trucks on the road. These little black boxes collect data at all times and lock in results in the event of an accident.

Event data recorders were first introduced into automobiles in the mid-1970s as a chip set that was attached to the airbag control module. Initially, the function of the EDR was to make sure that airbags deployed when they were supposed to, but in subsequent years, the technology became available and affordable to collect additional data in the event of an accident.

Nowadays, most trucks come equipped with an EDR. In the event of an accident, the EDR records the following information:

  • Forward and lateral crash force
  • The crash duration
  • Vehicle speed in seconds leading up to the accident
  • Accelerator position
  • Engine RPM
  • Braking application
  • Angle of the steering wheel
  • Stability control engagement
  • Vehicle roll angle (in the event of a rollover)
  • Number of times the vehicle has been started
  • Whether the driver and/or front seat passenger were wearing their seatbelts
  • Air bag deployment
  • Front seat positions
  • Occupant size
  • Number of impacts during crash

The commercial trucking industry has embraced EDR as a method of improving safety, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, commercial fleets have seen crash reductions of as much as 30% in EDR equipped vehicles.

The data collected by an EDR is also useful in helping to determine fault in the event of an accident. If you’re involved in an accident with a commercial truck, the data from their EDR may help you get the compensation that’s owed to you.

In cases of serious injury or death involving a commercial truck, it’s important to contact a personal injury lawyer who will send a preservation of evidence letter notifying the owner of the truck that the black box data is required for litigation and that the truck is not to be repaired or moved. If the owner of the truck refuses to comply, then a court order can be obtained requiring them to do so. For more information on how to obtain the black box data from an accident that you were involved in, please call 314-252-9937 for a free strategy session, or visit

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