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Your Car’s EDR Can Tell You What Happened In A Car Accident


What if we told you that your car had a device in it that tracked almost every move you make with the vehicle? It knew when you used the infotainment system, how fast you were going, when you applied the brakes, and how fast you took curves or turns. You’d probably think that was a bit creepy. But it exists, to some extent, in your car’s electronic data records, or EDR.

Your Car’s Black Box

The EDR is like the black box in a plane that is often retrieved after an accident to see what the plane and the pilots were doing in the moments leading up to the accident. The black box allows experts to determine what caused a crash, by recording everything the pilots do and say (although your car’s EDR does not record your voice, or sounds in the car, the way a plane’s black box would record what pilots say over their radios).

Almost every modern car has some form of EDR built into it, since about 2014, even though there is no law that specifically requires them. You can check online to see if your car’s make, model and year, was one that included an EDR.

Unlike a plane’s black box however, a car’s EDR usually doesn’t continuously record. Usually, it will record the seconds before and some time after an accident only (the EDR will overwrite itself continually, but stop overwriting when it detects an accident)

Don’t Remove Them

EDRs are hardwired into your car, as a part of many of the car’s vital systems and technology. That means that you should never try to remove the EDR, as you will probably cause serious damage to your car (or void your car’s warranty). Many EDRs even have some connection to the airbag, so removing them would risk losing vital safety features.

Pulling and Using the EDR Information

Often, when there is dispute about how an accident happened, the EDR can be pulled and read by experts with knowledge of how to extract and interpret the EDR’s information.

In fact, in many criminal cases, where police try to use EDR information to show a Defendant may have broken the law, constitutional challenges are raised as to whether there is any right to privacy in what is recorded in an EDR, but that is rarely a concern in a civil, car accident case.

Challenges to information in an EDR and using it in trial may relate to relevance, as parties may dispute that the information relayed by an EDR is complete, and some attorneys may have concern that EDR information is too persuasive to a jury, and that it will override, in the jury’s mind, the testimony presented at trial.

We can help you use technology to prove your car accident case in trial. Contact the Tampa personal injury lawyers Barbas Nunez Sanders Butler & Hovsepian if you are injured in any kind of car accident. Schedule a consultation today.


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