Last Friday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed new regulations mandating that automobile manufacturers install data recorders, more commonly known as "black boxes," in all motor vehicles produced after September 1, 2014. The data recorder constantly monitors various data from the vehicle. However, data such as the speed, braking pattern, and whether the driver is buckled is discarded on a routine basis unless a crash is detected. Once a car's air bags deploy or the data recorder senses a collision has occurred, data from seconds before the crash is stored for future analysis.
NHTSA officials believe black boxes will allow crash scene investigators to accurately determine the cause of a crash and eventually allow auto manufacturers to develop designs and technology to minimize recurring causes of auto accidents. Some commentators also believe that black boxes could also play a significant role in the litigation of Alabama crashworthiness claims.
Alabama auto defect victims could potentially benefit from the use of the data recording devices. Following a severe accident in which a defect was believed to have caused a motorist's injuries, data from the vehicle's black box could produce substantial evidence to show that a particular safety feature malfunctioned during the crash.
In addition to product liability claims, black boxes could also play a major role in ordinary auto accident litigation as well. While the possible uses of the data is unknown at this time, crash data devices could be used to prove that a particular driver was speeding or swerving erratically. Such information could potentially serve as evidence in the determination of which driver was at fault and liable for the crash.
According to the NHTSA, black boxes were installed in some automobiles currently on the market. Thus, if you are injured in a car accident, seek the legal advice of a Birmingham auto accident attorney. Even if you are at fault for the accident, you could have a crashworthiness claim against the manufacturer if a defective safety device caused you to sustain injuries.