Sometimes it is hard not to follow the tabloids. The news can be quite so salacious and it’s hard not to take notice when the media focuses on Bruce Jenner. Apparently, Jenner was involved in a car accident in Malibu this past weekend and a person was killed.
What caught our notice is that Jenner’s car was equipped with a black box, a tool that investigator’s will use to help determine fault in the multi-car accident.
What is a black box?
It might surprise you that all new cars, light trucks, SUVs and vans sold after September 1, 2014 and weigh less than 8,500 pounds, must be equipped with an Event Data Recorder (EDR). Most people know about EDR’s, or black boxes, because whenever there is a plane crash, there is a concerted effort to find the device.
In autos, the EDR records a vehicles speed, throttle position, brake application, engine speed and velocity change during a collision.
While the law mandated that all cars be equipped with the device as of September 1, 2014, the devices have actually been installed in many vehicles for the past 20 years, especially in the trucking industry.
Law enforcement and black boxes
Law enforcement agencies are able to use the black box data to determine cause and effect in auto accidents. The data from these devices can be accessed by law enforcement because drivers have “no expectation of privacy on public roads.”
There has been some speculation that Jenner was using a cell phone when he was involved in the accident. Apparently he rear-ended a Lexus being driven by a 69-year-old woman and the force of being rear-ended caused her vehicle to spin into oncoming traffic and where it involved in a head-on collision. The woman had apparently slowed for traffic or a changing light when Jenner’s vehicle struck hers.
According to TMZ, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s investigators were planning to get a search warrant on Jenner’s cell phone to determine if he was texting prior to the accident. If so, he could be charged with vehicular manslaughter in the accident.
Jenner’s publicist denies he was texting at the time of the fatal accident.
In Washington state, a person can be charged with vehicular homicide if a person is killed in a car accident and the driver was driving with reckless disregard to the safety of others.
This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents and the family of those who have been killed.