PICTURE THIS. A driver
is going down the highway
with the cruise control on.
As the vehicle approaches
stopped traffic ahead, the
driver presses on the brake
pedal to slow down. Instead
of coming to a stop, the
vehicle accelerates aggressively, causing the driver to
swerve off to avoid the vehicle ahead and resulting in
a head-on collision with another vehicle.
The driver insists that the
But what really happened?
Actual information retrieved
from the vehicle shows that
the brake pedal was never
depressed prior to the collision. Actually, the driver
inadvertently applied the accelerator pedal which sent
the car flying into oncoming traffic, causing property
damage and injury.
This data was retrieved
from the vehicle’s event
data recorder (EDR), which
is much like an automobile’s “black box”
— a source of vital information that can
be invaluable for confirming details related to the accident and for investigating
reported equipment malfunctions.
Here is a list of common scenarios
where retrieving the crash data may be
1. Investigate reported steering,
accelerator, or brake malfunctions
2. Determine seatbelt status at time
3. Identify if there were any
passengers in the vehicle at time
4. Obtain recorded speed prior to impact
5. Determine vehicle odometer
mileage at time of impact
6. Identify whether any diagnostic
trouble codes were present at time
7. Determine if cruise control was in
use prior to impact
8. Preserve data for any future
9. Determine if vehicle in drive, park,
reverse or neutral at time of impact
10. Investigate reported malfunction
of airbags — did not deploy or
reportedly deployed but no impact
How to choose a service
provider for your Crash Data
• Are they knowledgeable?
Ask for the certifications
and experience of those
retrieving the data. Make
sure they can perform the
task and interpret the in-
• Is their service easy to
use? Can they manage
the entire crash data retrieval process, from project acceptance to storage
of evidence. Contact them
once the accident occurs
and ensure they can coordinate the shipping of
the module to their facility
and then send you a PDF
of the module’s recorded
• Can they expedite data
processing? Time is of
the essence in these situations. Are they able to im-age and email crash data
within 3 business days of
receiving the module?
• Do they offer storage and evidence
handling? After imaging the crash
data from the module, ensure that
the company can securely store the
module, or ship it to you directly.
You will need this capability as the
subrogation process can be lengthy
and you should partner with a vendor that has experience with subro
Are you taking full advantage of CDR
capabilities in vehicle accident subrogation?
By Dave Riggs, General Manager — Donan Component Testing Laboratory
STORE MODULE OR SHIP IT BACK
Typically, once the airbags have deployed, the module cannot be reused
and must be replaced. We can preserve the module in our secure storage
facility for any future use with the claim or we can return the module.
DELIVERABLE: PDF FILE CONTAINING THE DATA
After retrieving the ACM we will send you a PDF
file containing the crash data downloaded from
the module. A sample crash data file can been
CRASH DATA IMAGED FROM THE MODULE
At the DONAN lab the crash data will be
obtained from the module by a certified
crash data retrieval technician.
AIRBAG CONTROL MODULE REMOVAL
A DONAN engineer can be dispatched to the vehicle
to remove the Air Bag Module (ACM), or we can
coordinate with the body shop or local mechanic to
have the ACM removed and shipped to the Donan lab.
An accident occurs and you need to know, or confirm, basic
details surrounding the accident- for example whether the vehicle
was in drive or in reverse, or if the seat belts were buckled.