Rockafellow Law Firm


Tucson Office


Devices That Help Determine Fault in a Car Crash: GPS, Dash Cameras and Black Boxes

GPS (Global Positioning Systems), dash cameras, and “Black Boxes” (Electronic Data Recorders) have become important tools in deciding fault for auto collisions

Most commercial vehicles now have GPS to track the driver’s activity during the day and to make sure safe driving is being observed. This benefits the employer. It also helps in accident reconstruction. This became critical in a recent case that has been resolved.

The commercial driver in this case had a GPS unit in his truck that monitored his location, his speed, braking, acceleration and starts and stops. The data when downloaded showed the commercial driver was going 42-mph in a 35-mph zone prior to showing no braking, but a dead stop four seconds later. The event? A rear end collision of course. The driver’s story of a sudden emergency that required braking and a lane change to avoid an animal on the road was shown by objective data not to be true. The GPS data also showed the exact location of the collision and showed that the driver had been in the same lane for the last two miles. This was clear and convincing open and shut data that couldn’t be argued with from the defendant’s own vehicle. This is an obstacle that defendants can’t overcome.

“Black Boxes” can often be downloaded to show similar information if there is a dispute on how the collision occurred. Again, speed, braking, evasive maneuvers and even driving patterns are all recorded on the vehicle “black box.” Airbag deployment is shown and the speed at which the deployment occurs. The “black boxes” are very relevant to one car roll overs and loss of control collisions. The problem is preserving the black box after the collision and finding someone who can download and interpret the data. In many cases, we get the call about the collision long after the cars have been disposed of and sent to the crusher. If the collision is one involving serious injury, by all means ask your insurance company to pull the “black box” and preserve it before the car is disposed of.

Dash cameras are a good idea to have running all the time. They can be found on the internet for very low prices. (Many for $100 or less) They plug into your car “power source” (no longer called cigarette lighters) and mount to your windshield. Many record from the rear window as well as the windshield. While a reconstruction expert, or a “black box”, or a GPS can tell us speeds prior to impact, and location on the road, only a dash camera can tell us who had the red light and who did not. Only a dash camera from the rear window can show a truck barreling into you at 42 mph. Sometimes footage can be found from surrounding area surveillance cameras, but not always. Sometimes there are reliable witnesses, but most of the time the witnesses are less than reliable, and often can’t be found. The dash camera is in your control, and you can preserve it after the crash. It does not take an engineer to re-wind and watch what happened just as you saw it happen at the time of the collision. It is truly the “Best Evidence” of what really happened.

The Rockafellow Law Firm advises all it its clients to buy and install a dash camera to preserve evidence should there be a need to do so.

Proving what happened in a disputed collision can be expensive. Reconstruction engineers cost thousands. GPS is good if available. Black Boxes are helpful but again, expensive to have analyzed. But the dash camera is inexpensive to buy, inexpensive to maintain and is the best “show and tell” evidence there is.

Contact Rockafellow Law Firm in Tucson today

If you have been injured in a car accident and need reliable legal assistance, contact the team at Rockafellow Law Firm today. Their office is conveniently located in Tucson.

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