Crash Data Retrieval

Crash data retrieval is an important part of accident investigation, providing objective results and a method for validation of traditional crash reconstruction techniques.

Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) relies upon an instrument installed in most passenger cars, SUVs, and trucks called an event data recorder (EDR). An EDR is generally part of a vehicle’s airbag control module, and can be configured to store recorded information such as speed, brake use, or restraint system performance when a vehicle is involved in a crash event.

Supplemental restraint systems (SRS) monitor acceleration. The EDR function is generally triggered by sudden changes in acceleration (also called Jerk), and can help determine what the vehicles were doing before, during and after a crash event. Crash Data Services, LLC has certified crash data retrieval technicians and analysts available to access vehicle crash data for use in the reconstruction of traffic accidents.

Crash data retrieval is an important part of accident investigation, providing objective results and a method for validation of traditional crash reconstruction techniques. Our experts utilize various tools, such as the Bosch Crash Data Retrieval Tool for the download and analysis of the data stored in a vehicle’s event data recorder (vehicle black box).

While the use of event data recorders dates back to the late 1990’s in some vehicles, the standardization of black box technology did not take effect until model year 2013. As a result of Federal regulation (CFR Part 563), vehicles manufactured after September 1st, 2012 were required to record a universal data set. By 2020, the list of vehicles equipped with EDRs grew to about 99% of all models in North America.

The overwhelming majority of EDR equipped vehicles can be accessed by our experts via the Bosch Crash Data Retrieval Tool. Some additional manufacturers, such as Hyundai, Kia, or Genesis, have produced independent systems, like the GIT America Hyundai/Kia tool, for imaging of their crash data.

Crash Data Retrieval Services

While the information available from an Event Data Recorder is highly dependent upon the year, make and model vehicle, the following data may be recorded by a vehicle’s black box. Please contact us with specific vehicle inquiries. Our accident reconstruction experts are available to help.

System Status of the vehicle

VIN as programmed at the factory
Ignition cycles
Part and Serial Numbers
Number of, and time between, events
Odometer reading(s)

Data related to vehicle system failures

Faults present at start of an event
Airbag warning light status

Data related to the severity of an impact

Longitudinal and lateral delta-v
Longitudinal and lateral acceleration (g-force)

Data related to how the vehicle was being driven (Pre-Crash Data)

Speed
Accelerator pedal use
Brake use
Engine RPMs
ABS activity
Traction control activation
Gear position
Electronic stability control activation
Steering

Occupant information

Occupant status and/or size classification
Safety belt status/use by the driver and passenger(s)
Seat track position

Fee: Flat rate of $425 per car* Chicagoland area; $175/hour plus travel costs for outside of Chicagoland area (please see our policies for more information)

*The actual data available via crash data retrieval is contingent upon the specific make/model of the vehicle. Vehicle coverage changes often. Please contact us for details.

**When dealing with significant accidents, there is always the possibility that data normally collected within a vehicle’s airbag control module might be irretrievable, such as collisions where there was power loss prior to completed recording. In such cases, customers are still responsible for full payment of any crash data retrieval services.

NHTSA Ruling:

When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) made their final ruling on Event Data Recorders (EDRs), they required manufacturers:

  • Record 15 essential elements, including pre-crash data
  • Standardize 30 additional data elements if the vehicle is equipped to record more
  • Record data elements in a standardized format, with specifications for range, accuracy, resolution, sampling rate, and recording duration
  • Survive full-scale vehicle crash tests such as FMVSS Nos. 208 (30 MPH barrier test)
  • Have the capacity to record two events in a multi-event crash

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