Frequently Asked Questions.
HOW LONG HAVE VEHICLES' HAD BLACK BOXES?
The first boxes appeared on select 1974 GM vehicles, but commercial availability begins with 1994 GMs. For example, the Chevy Silverado, Tahoe, and Suburban platforms have been outfitted with these capabilities since 1997. Around 2000 GM equipped almost all of the US fleet. Most other US manufactures followed suit in the mid-2000's.
WHAT DATA COMES OFF OF THE BOX?
The progression of technology has naturally created a large discrepancy between the amount of data stored during an event from a 1997 Silverado and today’s model. However, one can expect to have 5 seconds of driving trend before the impact: speed, throttle, brakes, rpm, etc; various safety system self-diagnostic checks, and Delta V. Delta V is a great indicator of accident severity, and in newer vehicles the direction in which the forces occurred (front, rear, lateral) are recorded.
WHEN IS DATA RECORDED?
While driving data is being processed continuously, it is typically only saved under two conditions. When your vehicle’s safety system (airbags) activate but do not fire. These near misses, or non-deployment events, are usually temporarily saved. Secondly, the airbags have deployed and this data is in a more permanent state.
HOW LONG ARE "NEAR-MISSES" SAVED?
The length for which a near miss is saved is predetermined by the manufacture. However these events are typically saved for 1-2 months of usual driving routine, or 250 engine cycles.
HOW DO YOU RETRIEVE THE DATA?
The data can be retrieved by various methods through the vehicle's electrical system. The most convenient is the diagnostic port under the dash, just like a Check Engine Light scanner. It can also be accessed through the fuse box by isolating and powering the necessary system circuits. Eventually, the physical device in the vehicle must be acessed to make imaging the crash data possible.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE DATA AFTER YOU SEND IT TO US?
The raw crash data file will be stored in a secure server for the purpose of records. After 30 days all data is destroyed, per our data policy; Keep only as much data as you need for as long as you need it. If you would like data stored longer, CD/DVD, USB drives and secure device storage are available.
DOES THE DATA GO BAD?
No, but data spoilage is a reality due to improper imaging practices. This is why all of our techs are certified and trained to the latest industry standards. While the data itself does not have shelf life, the statute of limitations for bringing suit far exceed the shelf life of a wrecked vehicle, due to either salvage or recycling. Time dictates the availability of this valuable data. Also, given the severity of the event, this data can be automatically deleted after so many engine cycles. Our business model attempts to create the feasibility for the extraction of data and storage for later use. Get the data you can, when you can.
IS THIS A CRASH ANALYSIS?
No, we do not apply the raw crash data to your specific collision. The pre-crash and impact data are easy to understand in tables and simple line graphs for your information and usage as you see fit. We also offer tools to help you understand the data you receive.
WHAT CAN THIS DATA DO FOR ME?
More complete preliminary reviews, increase credibility of witnesses and support denial of negligence. With the relatively low cost of our services, in conjunction with a collision report and photos, we can give you a more complete preliminary review of the evidence available. This raw crash data could provide the credibility you need for your witness. In some cases, the data might completely support your denial of negligence. Additionally, in some situations it is not cost efficient to hire an expert. Our services are a cost efficient means to an end.
IS THE DATA RELIABLE?
Check and Balance of Your Experts! Although this data is typically extremely reliable, the reality is that this data is electronic and unfortunately electronic devices fail long before the physics related to an auto accident. The reconstruction of an auto accident should be based on the physical evidence and the use of electronic data to further verify these findings. The electronic data should not be used as a crutch in which to build the reconstruction of an auto collision around. Additionally, events maybe recorded that do not pertain to this accident or may negatively affect your interests in this accident. Having this data at hand is to your advantage due to your control over the assimilation of this information.
WHAT IF WE HAVE THE BLACK BOX ALREADY IN OUR POSSESSION?
Mail it in! Most manufactures have designated the Airbag Control Module (ACM) to store the data we are trying to extract. When an airbag deploys and the vehicle is due to be repaired the ACM is a serviceable part and is required to be replaced. If requested the ACM can be obtained from the shop at the time of the repairs and mailed in for us to image the data.