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Black Boxes in Vehicles: A New Standard is in Force

As reported by Motortrend Magazine, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) has mandated new requirements for "black boxes" – units installed in vehicles that record data similar to what is used in airlines. Up to now, every auto manufacturer has their own standards for black boxes, and each company has different types of systems, types of data collected and the process to retrieve data after a vehicle crash. The NTHSA has now established a standard that outlines the type of data that must be collected in every black box installed in a vehicle in the USA. On August 5, 2011, the agency published a final rule amending the requirements for black boxes, which are currently installed in vehicles on a voluntary basis by automakers. Vehicles manufactured on or after September 1, 2012 that have an Event Data Recorder (EDR) must install these units to the standards set by the NHTSA. The regulation impacts a wide range of vehicles.

The data must be recorded under the new standards include the accelerator position at the time of the crash, the vehicle roll angle, the steering wheel angle, the rpm of the engine and other vital information. The theory is that the evaluation of this data can be used to increase safety for drivers more quickly if the data indicates that there has been a manufacturing defect in the vehicle. The information may be accessible to law enforcement, insurance companies and automakers, and each state has specific regulations, with privacy as a main concern.

At Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC, a Stuart, Florida personal injury law firm, the legal team takes action in injury claims filed against auto manufacturers on behalf of injured victims and for families who have lost a loved in an auto accident resulting from a manufacturing defect.