Crash data analysis refers to the acquisition, evaluation and analysis of vehicle-borne data stored within certain electronic devices. Although the majority of vehicles on the UK roads are fitted with such devices, due to the propriety software installed on them, only a limited selection is accessible. For our clients who have successfully used this crash data analysis service, they have been rewarded with significant and evidentially robust findings.


Event Data Recorders

Modern-day vehicles have what is commonly referred to as black boxes fitted, and when their data is extracted, they provide a wealth of information. The term black box is borrowed from the nickname of flight data recorders on aeroplanes, although these are orange in colour. The more technical names for such items include Restraint Control Module (RCM), Airbag Control Module (ACM) or Sensing Diagnostic Module (SDM); they are collectively referred to as Event Data Recorders (EDRs) or Crash Data Recorders (CDRs).

A big difference between flight data recorders and automotive event data recorders is that flight data recorders store all kinds of data from the entire trip made by the aeroplane, while automotive event data recorders typically record their data in a continuous loop of temporary memory. They tend to write over the information every five seconds or so until an event occurs. While it would be great to have the whole trip data, event data recorders were not put inside of vehicles to record every movement occurring during a journey, in the same way, aviation flight recorders do, but rather their primary function is to sense vehicle forces and accelerations, and then to decide within milliseconds whether or not to deploy the airbags and other restraints.

Event data recorders have evolved from a simple diagnostic and energy reserve devices to a data-rich component with increasing application to forensic collision investigation. The analysis of any extracted data from event data recorders may provide up to five seconds of pre-impact vehicle parameters such as speed, steering input, the percentage of engine throttle, accelerator/brake pedal positions, acceleration rates, drive modes, and other such data.

There are two primary types of events that event data recorders store: deployment events and non-deployment events.

When event data recorders sense higher than normal accelerations and deploy the airbags, they record a deployment event with the parameters above permanently locked into their memory. 

Event data recorders also record non-deployment events, which occur when the vehicle experiences higher than normal accelerations that were sufficient enough to effectively wake up the system, but which they decided against airbag deployment; these are common to low-speed collisions. Like deployment events, event data recorders for non-deployment events also store pre-activation event data. However, this data is vulnerable and can be overwritten. 

Event data recorders range in design, scope and complexity and collect collision related information that can offer valuable evidence to use in collision reconstructions. They are accessible via devices such as the Bosch Collision Data Retrieval tool which can image or download the data. These are in widespread use in the USA, with over 90% of vehicles having one, and are now becoming more common elsewhere, yet their application is vehicle specific. For the USA, in 2012 Part 563 of Title 29 - Transportation of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) specifying the national requirements for vehicles to be equipped with event data recorders. Unfortunately, there are no current plans to adopt this in the UK.

In the main, there are only a few manufacturers of the event data recorder hardware, the most prominent being Bosch. We may then think that the Bosch CDR tool would extract all the information from all of its devices. However, this is incorrect. While Bosch and other manufacturers may sell their hardware to motor vehicle manufacturers, it is the motor vehicle manufacturers themselves who install their propriety software. Therefore, the Bosch CDR tool can only extract the information from certain event data recorders.

In 2018 the retrieval hardware kit for Tesla vehicles became available.

Although the majority of heavy goods vehicles rarely have driver airbags, some do contain other forms of event data recorders. These typically store up to one minute of pre-activation data.

Ordinarily, the forces during pedestrian collisions fail to meet the deployment thresholds. However, with the advances in pedestrian safety features, such as pedestrian airbags, there are now occasions when stored event data is available for low-speed pedestrian collisions.

Although still very rare, there is increasing use of event data recorders in some motorcycles.

Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Crash Data Analysis
Crash Data Analysis
Crash Data Analysis
Crash Data Analysis


Fees & Lead Times

Our service level agreements for fees and lead times for our crash data retrieval services vary due to the complexity of each case and any additional investigative services required.

Please contact us to discuss your requirements.



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