Expert in Vehicle Black Box Technology Opines on Car Crash Data


Black Box Expert WitnessThis case involves a man who was driving a late model sedan while travelling down the highway during his morning commute. As he was passing an intersection with another major highway, a driver in another vehicle drove through a red light and struck him. The man’s black box indicates that she was traveling faster than the speed limit, and that he was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident. The Defendant’s black box indicates that he did not stop at the stop sign. The Plaintiff claims that he was driving under the speed limit at the time of the accident, which was corroborated by other drivers who witnessed the accident. The Plaintiff also claims that he was wearing his seat belt when the crash happened. He claimed that he was unbuckled by emergency personnel after the accident. It was alleged that the black box in the Plaintiff’s vehicle was somehow defective.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you familiar with the type of black box systems in these vehicles?
  • 2. Please explain why you are qualified to review this case.
  • 3. Have you ever been sued or arrested?

Expert Witness Response E-039647

There are several potential reasons for inaccurate data to be recorded. Some of the sensing diagnostic modules (SDM) also known as an Airbag Control Module (ACM) for these vehicles do not provide pre-crash data. If the readout of the subject “Black Box” does not provide pre-crash data, but only the Speed at Impact data, I believe that I can explain why a higher speed than the actual speed involved could be shown. If there is pre-crash data and it places the speed of the vehicle above the speed limit, that will be more difficult to explain. The safety belt issue may be a bit more easily explained if, during the collision, battery power was lost due to the collision. The safety belt information is the last item recorded by the “Black Box” and if power is lost, it goes with the default reading of un-belted.

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