EVENT DATA RECORDERS CASE STUDIES

Case Study #1 – Liability Shift:

Thinking he had enough room, a driver turned left in front of an oncoming vehicle and a collision occurred.  Initially the left turner was held responsible for the collision.  However, electronic crash data downloaded and interpreted by MEA indicated the oncoming vehicle was traveling nearly twice the speed limit about 3 seconds before the crash.  Had the car been traveling at a more reasonable speed the cars would not have collided.  Based on our interpretation of the physical evidence, including the electronic crash data, liability was re-assessed and the speeding driver was found primarily liable for the crash.

Case Study #2 – Data Accuracy:

A road crew was working on a snow covered mountain road that was restricted to single lane alternating traffic with a speed limit of 20 mph. A tractor trailer was descending the hill when a car attempted a U-turn in front of the truck. The truck driver swerved to avoid the car and struck a pedestrian.  Electronic crash data downloaded from the truck indicated a speed of 44 mph just before the accident.  MEA’s examination of the data and the truck revealed that the rear axle drive ratio did not match the programmed settings in the on-board data recorder.  Testing showed that the electronic crash data overestimated the actual speed of the truck by 240%.  When corrected the electronic crash data indicated the truck was actually traveling at 19 mph just before the accident.

Case Study #3– EDR Memory Chip Transplant:

On a country road with no independent witnesses, two vehicles collided at an intersection and one burst into flames.  The pickup driver, who had the right-of-way, stated he was traveling at the speed limit when the other vehicle drove in front of him without stopping.  The computer module containing the electronic crash data was severely damaged by the fire and could not be downloaded using standard methods.  MEA was able to remove the memory chips from the damaged module, install them in another undamaged module and download the electronic crash data. The data corroborated the driver’s statement.