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Arnold & Itkin LLP Truck Accident Blog2015AprilUsing Event Data Recorders in Truck Accident Investigations

Using Event Data Recorders in Truck Accident Investigations

Any time that you are involved in a truck accident, one of the key aspects of the investigation is to determine who was at fault. This can be done by inspecting evidence at the scene, interviewing eye witnesses, and conducting accident reconstructions. In accident reconstructions, one of the most useful tools is known as an Event Data Recorder (EDR). The EDR or “black box” records vital information about the vehicle that can be accessed by investigators after an accident.

What Information Do EDRs Collect?

Every vehicle manufacturer creates its own set of parameters regarding what information is recorded by the EDR. Some of the data that may be recorded includes:

  • Vehicle speed
  • Severity of crash
  • Seat belt status
  • Tire pressure
  • Brake switch status
  • Cruise control status
  • Engine throttle percentage
  • Accelerator pedal percentage
  • Traction control button
  • Gear position

The systems are designed to record and store data for a set number of seconds prior to a collision. The data recording is generally controlled by the Airbag Control Module (ACM). The ACM uses sensors that instruct the EDR to store data after a collision that was severe enough or nearly severe enough to deploy the airbag.

Problems with EDR Data

EDR data can be an extremely useful tool for investigators and reconstructions, but it does have its limitations. Some of the instances in which EDR data may not be reliable include:

  • Data is contradictory to physical evidence
  • Data has flat lines or spikes
  • Multiple impact collisions
  • Vehicle spins, rolls over, or goes airborne
  • Improper download of the data
  • Black box was damaged in collision

Multiple impact collisions can produce flawed EDR data since the timing of the impacts can cause the data to be overwritten or recorded out of sequence. Collisions that alter wheel speed such as spins and rollovers can also impact the reliability of the recorded data.

EDR Data as Evidence

If you have been involved in a truck accident, preserving the data form the EDR can be a key piece of evidence if any disputes arise out of which party was at fault. It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after a wreck so that an investigator can collect and analyze this important data on your behalf.

Contact Arnold & Itkin today to learn how our attorneys and accident investigators can help you.


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