The physical evidence left behind a vehicular crash can be considered as the most important source of information for any investigation. Just as important is what the car records on the inside. Such devices are EDRs or “event data recorders” and are installed in many modern vehicles today.
What these little black boxes record is highly valuable to any crash reconstruction expert because of the precision crash detail they offer.
EDRs record different data varying by model, but the data commonly recorded may include: Driver inputs; restraint usage/deployment status; re-crash vehicle dynamics and system status; vehicle speed; throttle position, vehicle crash signatures; and post-crash data (i.e., the activation of an automatic collision notification—ACN—system).
EDRs weren’t always a required feature of vehicles upon manufacturing, but in the 1970s, they were incorporated as part of safety sanctions and governmental requirements of the time.
The first device was available in the 1970s, but most passenger cars were installed with EDRs about 20 years later. Now, automakers are required to disclose the EDRs availability in their vehicles.
The EDR technology is usually stored in control modules found in passenger cars, SUVs, and light trucks. In the event of a physical occurrence, data is stored in the airbag control module as a “non-deployment” event or “deployment” event.
Both of these events are usually caused by a sudden change in direction or rotation of the vehicle and record key data parameters that are then imaged using a crash data retrieval system (CDR) tool.
The use of EDRs not only span the auto-manufacturing, crash reconstruction and law enforcement industries, insurers use the technology to gain perspective on an individual’s risk. Usually incorporating after-the-market EDR systems, insurers offer alternative vehicle insurance plans in exchange for reduced premium rates.
Thus, those who buy insurance may install the EDR as a monitoring system to demonstrate their decreased risk. The EDR, in this instance, is property of the vehicle owner. They should be notified or consulted with prior to EDR data extraction from their vehicle.
As a tool for crash reconstruction, EDRs supply a wealth of information to help evaluate a crash scene. Using the information gathered provides an accurate depiction of what really happened during and just after a crash and, ultimately, brings valuable testimony to a litigation or claims process.
Experts are often retained for the purpose of identifying causation and the contributing factors in different variants of collisions. Without this data, causation becomes more challenging to represent and is more liable to “best guesses.” But, with an expert, best guesses aren’t option.
As EDRs become more widely used by various industries, the manner in which EDRs are used differ. But because the objective of gathering data from this tool includes precision detail, they are a uniquely valuable tool.
As a crash reconstruction expert firm, we can help you mitigate the use of EDRs for your situation. We can also help you understand its value. Please contact Triple “R” Investigations for more detail.