EDRs and Auto Accidents: Putting the Pieces Together

EDR, Hartford personal injury attorneyYour car is an amazing machine. The modern passenger vehicle is the product of years of technological innovation and advanced research in aerodynamics, materials science, and computers. In the last decade or so, the automotive industry has borrowed heavily from the air travel sector as it continues its quest for driver and passenger safety. That is why almost every new car sold in the United States today is equipped with an event data recorder, or EDR, meaning that it is now possible for investigators to find out what was happening with the vehicle at a particular moment in time, including in the seconds leading up to a serious car accident.

Recording Important Information

In your vehicle, there are dozens—if not hundreds—of sensors and computers that are constantly measuring various functions and elements of the car’s performance. Some analyze fuel consumption, engine temperature, oil pressure, and speed, of course, but others also keep track of anti-lock brake performance, cruise control, and the status of your car’s airbags. The EDR compiles all of the data from each of the sensors and system storing it for future use, should it ever be needed.

After an Accident

When an airplane crash makes the news, it is not uncommon to hear that investigators are looking for the “black box” that will help them determine what may have led to the accident. The EDR in an automobile serves much the same purposes in the aftermath of a car accident.

Crash reconstructionists can download the recorded data from the EDR and put together a comprehensive picture of what the car was doing when the accident occurred. Qualified experts review EDR information to see if the driver applied the brakes, tried to swerve, or was wearing a seatbelt. Some EDRs even record if there were passengers in the car at the time. Using this information—along with EDR information from the other involved vehicles—it is often possible for a reconstructionist to virtually rebuild the accident scene and to determine who was at fault.

Your Rights

It is important to understand that the EDR installed in your vehicle and any data that it records belongs to you. You may voluntarily allow the police, claims adjusters, and others to have access to its data, or it can be obtained with a warrant or a court order. If you are involved in an accident causing death or serious physical injury, Connecticut law prohibits the deletion or alteration of EDR data until law enforcement has sufficient time to secure a warrant or court order.

Injured in a Car Accident?

If you have been hurt in an auto accident, the EDR in your car and that of the other party could help determine who should be held liable for your injuries. Contact an experienced Connecticut personal injury attorney for guidance. We understand the importance of gathering the pertinent details as quickly as possible, and we are prepared to go to work on your behalf immediately. Call [[phone1]] for a free consultation at Woolf Law Firm, LLC today.

 

Sources:

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/event-data-recorders/topicoverview

http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2013/03/20/174827589/yes-your-new-car-has-a-black-box-wheres-the-off-switch

http://www.crashforensics.com/automobiledatarecorders.cfm

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