Event Data Recorder (EDR) Technology – Your Car Records Your Driving

Event Data Recorder (EDR) Technology – Your Car Records Your Driving

It is not uncommon to have a dispute regarding who caused a car accident. I often hear allegations that the other car was speeding or ran through a stop sign. Unfortunately, many times no independent witnesses come forward to share their recollection of events and we are left with a “he said she said” type of a case. An experienced personal injury lawyer knows that most newer vehicles contain an “Event Data Recorder” which can serve as the independent witness needed to solve the mystery of who is responsible for the crash.

What Is An Event Data Recorder In Cars?

Most car owners have never heard of the acronym “EDR” unless they have recently been involving in an automobile accident whereby crash investigators will be looking for this nifty gadget. In simple words, the EDR is just like the flight data recorder, one of the black boxes of an airplane. The Event Data Recorder or EDR is the modern car’s ‘black box’ that records important driving data of the vehicle right up to the time of the crash. Majority of modern vehicles already come with this ‘electronic all-seeing eye’ already installed. An experienced accident personal injury attorney will know how to retrieve this data to assist in investigating your claim and reconstructing the accident.

The ‘Event’

The EDR will not keep track of the performance of the vehicle or how one is driving on a constant basis. Instead, the EDR is set up to identify ‘events’ which are closely linked to car accidents and triggers the black box to record important information. Triggering ‘events’ are those which cause airbag deployment or a sudden, unnatural change in velocity. As such, an Event Data Recorder is a device that records pertinent data related to an ‘event’ on the vehicle.

What is ‘Seen’

The EDR takes a snapshot of a certain ‘event’ on the vehicle to aid crash investigators in their task of putting up a most likely scenario on what caused the vehicular crash. These ‘events’ can be the behavior of the occupants such as who is buckled up for safety during the ride or how many individuals were in the car at the time of the accident. It can also include data about the inputs of the driver such as steering wheel direction, braking and acceleration. The EDR also ‘sees’ the yaw angle, position, and speed of the vehicle as well as any other data that may have occurred immediately before the crash. These pieces of information can help crash investigators put the sequence of events to help explain why the crash occurred.

Why the EDR is Important In Personal Injury Cases

Our personal injury law firm has successfully used EDR to win our clients cases. For example, in one case, our client was involved in a crash at a 4 way stop. The other driver blamed our client for not stopping at the stop sign and speeding through the intersection. The police officer found no witnesses and couldn’t determine who caused the crash.  Our engineers downloaded the EDR from our client’s vehicle and determined our client came to a full stop just seconds before the accident. As she entered the intersection, her vehicle maintained a slow and steady acceleration rate only reaching speeds of 12 MPH at which point the impact happened. Despite having no witnesses, we gathered the necessary evidence to exonerate our client of any fault. In another case, our client was forced to make an emergency stop in his vehicle on the roadway. His vehicle was then hit from behind.  We were able to download the EDR from the driver who rear-ended our client. We learned that the rear driver was (a) traveling over the speed limit and (b) did not hit his brakes until less than 1/4 seconds before impact–despite the fact it was a clear day on a straight road with hundreds of yards of visibility. We concluded that the driver was not paying attention to the road ahead and was the true cause of the crash.


Often times, preserving the EDR is time sensitive…especially if the car is totaled and sold to a salvage yard. If liability is being disputed in your case, or if your claim is high value, it is important to preserve the EDR as it may become crucial in winning your case down the road.

Contact Aronberg & Aronberg today for a consultation after your vehicle accident.

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