Event Data Recorders

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Event Data Recorders (EDRs)

Data may be available from vehicles after a collision through an Event Data Recorder (EDR), sometimes referred to as a car black box. This data can help insurance adjusters and attorneys verify how fast the vehicle was going, any speed changes, brake status, seatbelt use, and more.

A mechanical engineer can be used to assess that data, which is typically found in one of three different ways, and the type of Event Data Recorder varies:

  • A passenger vehicle
  • A heavy vehicle’s electronic control module (ECM)
  • Diagnostic codes

Passenger vehicle event data recorders store information regarding airbag deployment, speed, brake status, throttle position, among other important data points. Not all vehicles have this, and not all information is retrievable, when it is, it can be extremely beneficial to all parties.

Heavy vehicles, such as tractor-trailers, typically have a “brain” that controls power generation systems, emission systems and engine performance. This computerized system is the Electronic Control Module (ECM) and often contains an event data recorder that is capable of storing intelligent data that can be downloaded for analyses.

Diagnostic codes register the status of various systems in a modern vehicle and are routinely downloaded by vehicle dealers and repair shops during service checks. The data may be used in accident reconstruction by manufacturers who need to verify their codes for their airbag deployment or other safety system requirements.