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Black Boxes in Cars

Like airplanes, most modern cars have "black boxes" that record information prior to an accident. These devices, called Event Data Recorders, are crash resistant and store various types of data from just before the accident. Information gathered from these devices can be very helpful in serious motor vehicle accident cases. Whether your car has a black box, the extent of the information, and its accessibility vary greatly depending on the car.

Generally speaking, if your car has an airbag, it probably has some sort of black box. Also, the newer the car, the more likely it is to have some sort of Event Data Recorder. For a complete list of cars that have black boxes, visit

The information recorded on these devices also varies greatly. Generally speaking, the newer the car, the more data is recorded. Also, the newer the car, the longer the recording is. The most common type of data is speed airbag deployment and braking. For example, in 2010 Chrysler vehicles, the black boxes record 5 seconds of data before the crash and the data includes airbag deployment and speed, among other things.

Sometimes, the information on these black boxes is proprietary and can only be accessed by the car manufacturer or authorized users. Again, whether you can access the information on your car's black box depends on the manufacturer.

If you have been in a serious car accident, it may be worth it gather the information on your car's black box. However, time is of the essence. These devices are often overlooked and the data is destroyed or lost when the car is totaled out. Therefore, it is important to contact my office as soon as possible after a serious car accident so I can arrange for a professional to investigate the black box. As an experienced Kansas City personal injury attorney, I can help you pursue an accident claim should it be discovered you have grounds for compensation.