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Do Cars Have Black Boxes?

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We all have heard about black boxes on the airplane. It records and saves flight data and other essential flight information for future reference.

Perhaps you already know about it but wondering—do cars have black boxes?

As the technologies are developing, automobiles are getting better. Many car manufacturers are installing an “event data recorder,” which works like a black box.

This article finds interesting facts and everything you need to know about black boxes in cars. Let’s get started.

So, Do Cars Have Black Boxes?

The answer is debatable whether cars have black boxes. As some old cars don’t include one, these turned mandatory in the new cars.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 85% of new vehicles now have black boxes—initiated in 2013.


When you’re in an accident, it’s obvious to be frustrated and confused. On the other hand, severe car accident causes people to forget the main causes of an accident. As the black boxes record event data about the vehicle and their mobility, they turn out to be very important after accidents.

In the section below, let’s find some essential aspects of a black box for cars.

Importance of Black Box: How Can It Help You in The Event of an Accident?

In most cases, when there’s an accident, you don’t have any witnesses to verify the cause of it. Sometimes, the situation might get worse due to the different opinions of you and the other party.

Here’s when a black box can be helpful. The authority can find important information from it and identify the main cause of an accident. Thus black boxes can save you from vehicular manslaughter and negligence convictions.

When you are in an accident, there’s a possibility that you have no witnesses. The black box can act as a witness, adding more information about the incident. Moreover, you can use this information in court as well. As this information can’t be changed, the court accepts them as proper evidence of an accident.

Additionally, using these event data recorders can prove your driving habits. You can easily show the continuous results of your driving statistics and the statistics of the day when the accident occurred. Eventually, it becomes a great instrument to keep you safe on the roads.

On the other hand, after an accident, the insurance companies will negotiate to give you the lowest compensation for their profit. Here you can use the black box in your car to get the data you need.

You can demand that the insurance provider give you reasonable compensation for the incident. The data from the black box recorder is necessary to convince the insurance companies that you deserve compensation for the resulting damages.

How Does the Black Box Work?

In the recent vehicle, the black boxes can detect engine problems. In addition, they send a signal from the speed of the wheels to find whether there are any problems. If there are any issues, the event data recorders can sense and start recording the scenario.

On the other hand, some black boxes continuously record data and elaborate if there’s an accident. You can also include these black boxes in the restraint system. If there’s an accident, these will immediately use the seat belts to help you be safe.

Where is the Black Box Located?

Note that only modern vehicles offer this facility. So before checking, ensure your car manufacturer provides it.

In most vehicles, the black boxes are located around the rear-seat air vents or center consoles. They provide precise data of different scenarios with better protection during a car accident. Technicians use the controller area network to download the data from a computer after an accident.

What Can You Record in a Car Black Box?

When you have a black box installed, there are different kinds of data that you can collect. Here are some important ones for you:


This can help you get the speed of the exact moment of the accident. So, you can visualize the accident scene for evidence.

Seat belts:

Inside the car, some circuits incorporate to figure out whether the seat belts were used properly. You can find whether the people were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident.


The black box data can help to measure the force of the brakes applied. So, you can know how often you break or find breaking patterns during an accident.


Using a black box, you can find the position of a car by measuring its steering angle. The angle will be abnormal during an accident. So, the steering angles can help you with positioning details after an accident.


The black box gets information as soon as airbags get deployed. So, this information will also come in handy after an accident—also save you from potential injury.

Do Insurance Companies Use the Black Box?

Insurance companies won’t be able to use the black box data without your permission. You should know that the insurance companies don’t have access to the event data recorders to find whether you were driving safely.

However, they can use these data to give you the proper compensation if you have consent. Sometimes, your insurer might offer you a tracking app through which you can avail of discounts. In such cases, they will get your driving data whenever they want.

Things You Need to Know About Car Black Box

The accident investigation and forensic engineering sectors are vast areas that help to analyze and examine electronic and physical evidence. Law firms are also incorporating specialists to decode black box data, as it helps them find case evidence.

One of the crucial steps of the accident investigation process is to evaluate the data of the black box, sometimes known as Event Data Recorder. The black box is a highly resilient electronic gadget. So, these black boxes record important data within 5 seconds before an accident.

Black boxes or EDRs are very well-known in the aviation industry. But most people lack knowledge about its role and existence in the car accidents or automobile industry.

Though their operating system and purposes are similar, they have some differences. Here are some differences between aircraft and vehicle black boxes:

  1. It isn’t the same as an aircraft black box
  2. Can record plenty of data
  3. It isn’t always black
  4. All black boxes can’t be downloaded
  5. You need to replace the black box along with airbags

Final Verdict

So the answer to the question—do cars have black boxes—is yes, most modern cars tend to have one. However, if you don’t have one, you can immediately get one for yourself. It can benefit you in different ways, from your car safety to fighting your case in the court. Also, many accident lawyers and the court rely on black box data to evaluate the case.

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