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Event Data Recorders

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Event Data Recorders

Event Data Recorders (EDR), commonly known as a “black boxes” were first installed in automobiles in the 1990s with the introduction of airbags and the computers needed to control them. Initially, the information stored in the EDR was only accessible to manufacturers but in 2000 the Bosch Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) tool was made available to the public with compatibility with a limited number of vehicles. Today, most passenger cars are CDR compatible. Since the release of the Bosch CDR tool EDR data has taken on an increasingly important role in motor vehicle accident reconstruction. When a vehicle experiences a crash violent enough to trigger the EDR, it can create a record of the state of the vehicle just before and/or during the event. Although each vehicle is different, downloaded EDR reports commonly contain pre-crash vehicle data such as speed, accelerator, brake pedal and steering inputs, seatbelt usage, airbag deployment and other similar information. This data can then be compared to or used in conjunction with traditional accident reconstruction methods to understand how and why a crash occurred. The engineers at Technology Associates are equipped with and trained in the use of the latest Bosch CDR tool and software and are available to perform an EDR download of any Bosch compatible vehicle. We are also experienced in interpreting EDR report data and incorporating that information into our reconstruction analysis.

Our engineers have been assisting attorneys and insurance representatives in investigating accidents since 1990. We have a highly qualified staff of engineers with advanced degrees from top-tier universities who have provided testimony on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants at trial

Previous Cases

T-bone Collision

A vehicle traveling at an excessively high speed T-boned another at an intersection. While traditional reconstruction methods were able to determine the speed at the moment of impact to be 65 mph, the vehicle's anti-lock braking system prevented the creation of any documented tire marks to determine the speed before impact. However, the information downloaded from the EDR showed that prior to impact the driver of the speeding car was going nearly 80 mph and had moved his foot from the accelerator to the brake seconds before the crash which slowed his vehicle down to 65 mph at the moment of impact. Without the EDR report, the reconstruction could have only concluded that the speed at the moment of impact was 65 mph.

Airborne Vehicle Crash

The EDR report from a single car crash indicated a high speed which was used to attribute blame to the driver. However, since the collision involved an airborne phase and multiple impacts, the accuracy of the EDR speed was in question. EDR’s typically can only save data for a limited number of impact “events” and when there are multiple impacts or multiple EDR events, it is not always obvious which impact correspond to which EDR event. In addition, EDR speed data is based on wheel rotational speed but when a car becomes airborne, the wheel speed and the car's actual speed may no longer be the same. In such cases interpretation of the EDR data must be done with great care. EDR’s aren’t infallible, and require a skilled accident reconstructionist for proper interpretation.