Quelling the Myths - Objective Data Brings Clarity
By going online to search for public commentary regarding Event Data Recorders, or EDRs, you will find many negative opinions. Many of which suffer from a misunderstanding of what data is collected, how this data can be used, and who is using it.
EDRs collect a myriad of pertinent information--pre and post accident--to help clarify what occurred on the roadway. These data points are what a vehicle’s safety system calculates--at a very high rate of speed--in order to decide to hold or deploy the airbags during a collision. After an event occurs, a snapshot of this data is saved for review. Although, to many, what is not recorded may be more important.
This is not an all-inclusive list, but items that are not recorded by an EDR include: occupant or cabin audio, GPS location, in-cabin or exterior video, radio status or volume, cell phone syncing or usage, door lock position, window position, blinker usage, etc. Some of these telematic and informatic data points are actually recorded by other systems and are not accessible with EDR equipment.
An EDR is neither a Cockpit Voice Recorder nor a long-term driver recording device.
An EDR only tracks specific situational inputs seconds before an event. It tracks data such as occupant weight, seat position and seat belt usage to calculate an advanced airbag deployment.
The data collected by an EDR is objective, scientifically sound, and has been used for years in product liability, fatality, and multi-million dollar accidents. Although eye witness statements are admissible in court as evidence, they can be unreliable. For example, imagine two individuals are standing face-to-face with one another. On the ground one draws a 6, or is it a 9? Eye witness statements can be subjective, depending on a person’s perspective.
Auto accidents happen very quickly and trying to identify who is negligent, and furthermore liable, can be difficult. Every accident involves a variety of influential factors making every accident unique. When you introduce objective data, you introduce clarity. Instead of arguing about things that are unknown, you now have known data points to quantify and help identify negligence. When one is better informed, you make better decisions.
The decisions made by legal and insurance professionals in the aftermath of an auto accident can be life altering for those involved. If a person is wrongfully accused regarding his/her actions during an accident, data retrieved from an EDR can prove which driver is at fault.