Automobile Accidents and the Little Black Box
You may remember us speaking on the topic of the Little Black Box. When we discuss this piece of equipment it is easy to call it a little black box because it is what most people tend to visualize it as, given its use in the aeronautics field. There are more than one data recorder in a commercially available vehicle. One is most accurately referred to as a Power Control Module (PCM). Another is the Airbag Control Module (ACM). Neither of these modules primary function is to record data, but it is a beneficial secondary function.
The data recorded by the PCM may vary from model to model and year to year. A sampling of the information recorded by the PCM includes timing of airbag deployment, speed of the vehicle, percent of accelerator application, Percentage of engine throttle, Brake operation, anti lock brake engagement, position of transmission and more.
Why is this information helpful in reconstructing a car crash? It is helpful in that it is another set of data that can be compared to the physical markings at the scene, which if they correlate well together increases the confidence that the conclusions reached in reconstructing the crash are accurate. This is important because it assists in helping judges and juries determine who is at fault in the car collision and is therefore responsible for the harm done in the crash.