Liability can sometimes be difficult to determine in automobile and truck accidents, when issues of fault are argued and when eyewitnesses are not reliable. That is why Event Data Recorders (EDRs, otherwise known as "black boxes") are important.
EDRs record data on a vehicle's speed, braking activity, engine RPM's, motorist's use of turn signal prior to accidents, and even seat belt use. A committee of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) created standards for EDRs. They recommend that manufactures be required to record 86 separate streams of data.
The information recorded can help investigators determine who was at fault for an accident, by determining if the driver was negligent, if there was an auto defect or if the accident occurred because of hazardous conditions. The Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010 would have made EDR technology mandatory in all vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2015, but it never was approved by the House of Representatives. EDRs are however available if an automobile company voluntarily decides to install one in its vehicles. EDRs are not yet mandatory but the NHTSA does have 15 data elements mandated for their use.
EDRs and their advanced technology can prove extremely useful in motor vehicle accident litigation, but they are not the only tool used to determine fault or the injuries suffered by people involved in accidents. An experienced personal injury lawyer must also know how to use all available resources to demonstrate the harm a client has suffered and be able to assess and determine the long term medical care needs of each client. Technology is only one piece of the puzzle, so be well informed and researched when choosing an attorney.