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Many new vehicles come equipped with event data recorders (EDRs), those black boxes that record and store data in the moments before and after a crash. Until 2000, only manufacturers could gain access to and decode the information that these devices gathered. Now, with a laptop and a specialized computer program, virtually anyone can download this data. As a result, car owners are concerned about what data is being collected and how it can be used by police, employers, rental car agencies, and, most notably for our discussion, insurance companies.

In the face of these concerns, 12 states have enacted legislation governing access to EDR post-crash data. As the usage of this data becomes more commonplace in U.S. courts, claim personnel and their lawyers must understand privacy issues and key provisions of various state initiatives to avoid potential case-defining pitfalls.

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