Black box recorders have become much more popular in recent years because of the valuable information that they provide in the event of an accident. While people used to associate black boxes with airplanes and helicopters, they have evolved over the years and are now commonly seen in regular commuter vehicles. Although these black boxes provide very valuable data that can help law enforcement in the event of an accident, many people are concerned about their privacy rights in regard to black box recorders.
If you are concerned that your vehicle may have a black box recorder that you are unaware of, here are a few things that you should know.
DIFFERENT STATES HAVE DIFFERENT LAWS
It is important to note that depending on the state that you live in, the laws governing black box recorders in vehicles may be different. Only 13 states currently have laws regarding black box recorders, while all other states do not. To fully understand what to expect from law enforcement if you become involved in an accident, look up black box recorder laws in your state.
WHAT BLACK BOX RECORDERS DO AND DON’T DO
Contrary to popular belief, black box recorders don’t visually record your actions or monitor your conversations. Some people think that having a black box recorder in their car will allow them to be placed under surveillance at any time, but this simply isn’t true. Although some drivers voluntarily purchase more advanced black box recorders for their vehicles which act as dash cameras and can visually capture the events leading up to and following an accident, this is a voluntary decision. Most black box recorders simply record the following information in the seconds leading up to, during, and following a collision:
- Vehicle speed
- Cruise control status
- Clutch application
- Brake application
- Seat belt use
The black box recorder is typically triggered to record this information when the vehicle slows down or stops suddenly. Some black box recorders may collect more or less information than what is listed above. All black box recorders that were voluntarily installed in vehicles that were manufactured after September 1, 2011 are required to record at least 15 different elements of data.
WHO CAN ACCESS THE INFORMATION IN A BLACK BOX RECORDER?
The data that is recorded and stored in a black box recorder may be accessed by law enforcement or repair shops. Law enforcement may or may not be required to present a warrant for your black box recorder depending on the laws in your state.
CAN A BLACK BOX RECORDER BE PRESENT WITHOUT THE DRIVER’S KNOWLEDGE?
Black box recorders are automatically placed in many newer vehicles, and the drivers of those vehicles may not know that a black box recorder is present. In most states, car dealers are not required by law to disclose information about the presence of black box recorders to potential buyers.
CAN A BLACK BOX RECORDER BE DISABLED OR REMOVED?
It is extremely difficult to disable or remove a black box recorder, and doing so may disable the air bag system because many black box recorders are integrated into this system.
LEARN THE LAWS IN YOUR STATE
To fully understand your rights in regard to black box recorders, it is important that you become informed and learn the laws in your state. Seek out additional information regarding your rights and new legislation involving black box recorders, and be sure to advocate for policies and laws that are important to you.