Many Americans are familiar with the concept of "black box" data from news coverage of commercial airlines crashes. This technology, an important feature of airplane safety for decades, tracks numerous aspects of a vehicle's performance and operation. These records allow investigators to review what went wrong to cause a crash.
If the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gets its way, black boxes will soon help Los Angeles motor vehicle accident victims as well. The NHTSA is pushing to require car makers to install black boxes data recorders in all new car models by 2014.
Black boxes would record the information that matters most after a crash. For example, the data would reveal how fast a driver was moving and whether he or she tried to brake before a crash. The information could also draw a clear picture of overall driving patterns - evidence of erratic or reckless driving would be relevant in a lawsuit.
Similar devices already appear in many cars - the NHTSA's new requirement would simply require existing technology to function in all new models.
This requirement will help many crash victims in Los Angeles and around the country. Many car crash lawsuits involve pulling the truth out of inconsistent stories - the driver at fault often tries to lie about what happened to escape liability. These devices would allow victims to cut through those stories by presenting clear, often indisputable evidence of what happened.
When it comes to recovering compensation for accident victims, more information is a powerful tool.
Source: AOL Autos, "Black Boxes Could Soon Help Solve Car Accidents," Dec. 10, 2012