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Vehicle Event Data Recorders

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 31 Issue: 11 Dated: November 2004 Pages: 42,44-46,48
Christa Miller
Date Published
November 2004
5 pages
This article describes the capabilities of vehicle event data recorders (EDR’s).
Vehicle event data recorders (EDR’s) have come to be regarded as an important part of crash investigations. EDR’s are tied to a vehicle’s airbag system, relying on the same electronic sensors that tell the airbag when to deploy. They are used as a complement to traditional crash reconstruction. The accuracy of EDR’s has been established through numerous controlled governmental and private industry tests. There are two types of EDR’s: original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and aftermarket. OEM’s are integrated into the vehicle by the manufacturer and cannot be turned on or off, whereas aftermarket EDR’s are added to vehicles after their construction and can be turned off. Almost all EDR systems are different, recording different types of information, including airbag status, driver’s seat positioning and seatbelt status, and engine speed. However, in order to aid with investigations, EDR standardization is being called for across the automotive industry. The proposed changes, which would take effect 2008, are outlined and include a requirement that EDR’s must record a minimum, specific dataset. The use of EDR’s as evidence in court cases is discussed, as are the practicalities of using EDR’s in crash investigations. Finally, future uses of EDR’s are explored, including the possibility of using EDR’s to wirelessly transmit event data to paramedics.