Blackbox Information

“Experts in the fields of fire investigation, forensic engineering, subrogation, investigation of insurance claims and liability exposures.”

EDR “Blackbox”- Need to Know Information

ACM -AIRBAG CONTROL MODULE – deploys airbags when threshold has been met. This threshold can vary between vehicles but typically runs 2 to 4 mph

EDR – EVENT DATA RECORDER – contained within ACM & records events before & to varying degrees after impact

  • EDR does not date-stamp recording
  • Non-deployment events may be overwritten by subsequent non-deployment events of 250 ignition cycles
  • Deployment events are locked & cannot be overwritten
  • EDR may record a non-deployment event as well as a deployment event on the same accident

CDR -CRASH DATA RETRIEVAL ‘TOOL’ – should be CDRT. CDR tool images the EDR, i.e. takes a snapshot. The information is not removed from EDR; subsequent images may be taken using the CDR tool

2013 model vehicles sold in the US, having an EDR, must be downloadable & record the following 15 items:

  • Change in forward crash speed
  • Maximum change in forward crash speed
  • Time from beginning of crash at which the maximum change in forward crash speed occurs
  • Speed vehicle was traveling
  • Percentage of engine throttle, percentage full (how far the accelerator pedal was pressed)
  • Whether or not the brake was applied
  • Ignition cycle (number of power cycles applied to the EDR) at the time of the crash
  • Ignition cycle (number of power cycles applied to the EDR) when the EDR data was downloaded
  • Whether or not driver was using the safety belt
  • Whether or not frontal airbag warning lamp was on
  • Driver frontal airbag deployment: time to deploy for a single stage airbag, or time to first stage deployment for a multistage airbag
  • Right front passenger frontal airbag deployment: time to deploy for a single stage airbag, or time to first stage deployment for a multistage airbag
  • Number of crash events
  • Time between first two crash events, if applicable
  • Whether or not EDR completed recording

 

NEW LEGISLATION PASSED IN DECEMBER 2012 – all vehicles must have EDR by 2015. Therefore, in 2015, all vehicles sold in the US will be downloadable.

 

Use of Information Recorded by EDR:

  • Great care should be taken when using the EDR image
  • Various errors can occur due to damage of electrical system during collision
  • Image should not be used as a stand-alone piece of evidence. Analyst generally look at the momentum, energy & crush damage, & then compare their speed estimates to the number coming out of the EDR to create a complete view of the accident

Insurance/Claim Considerations

  • Duty to investigate claims filed under their policy, failure to investigate EDR could constitute failure to properly investigate
  • Preserve evidence as to not spoil claim
  • Carrier may have duty to take reasonable steps to preserve EDR data to defend its insured against further liability
  • Both sides may need to attend downloading of vehicles