at 3 seconds before AE. Engine RPM decreased to 800 RPM, which is typical idle
speed, suggesting that the engine did not
stall. Clearly the SDM data is contrary to
the claim that the engine stalled and consistent with the proper operation of the
engine. The claim against the repair shop
Figure 3 is a view of a vehicle that
rear ended another on a rainy day, one
week after the brakes were repaired. The
driver claimed that the brakes failed and
brought a subrogation action against the
Figure 4 is a view of the SDM data
dump showing the vehicle speeds from
5 seconds before AE to 1 second before
AE. This deceleration rate is consistent
with proper function of the brake system in anti-lock mode on a slick surface.
Scan tool testing found no problems with
the anti-lock brake controller. Again, the
usage of this data helped in evaluating a
claim against the repair shop.
Event data recorder (EDR) data should
be obtained as soon as possible since continued use of the vehicle, repairs to the
vehicle, or disposal of the vehicle can result in loss of the data. Most jurisdictions
rule that the EDR data is the property of
the owner of the vehicle, and permission
must be received in order to download.
Finally, the data obtained from an EDR
download is not a guarantee that the
insured will be exonerated, but is often
helpful when other sources of information such as witnesses and vehicle visual
inspections are unremarkable.
Charles C. Roberts, Jr., Ph.D., P.E., is
president of C. Roberts Consulting
Engineers, Inc., which provides
professional engineering services in
accident reconstruction, failure analysis,
fire causation, explosion analysis, and
biomechanics. He may be reached
at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more
information, visit www.croberts.com.
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