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Event Data Recorders

As of Sept. 1, 2014, all new cars, light trucks, vans and SUVs sold in the United States must be equipped with an Event Data Recorder (EDR) in accordance with 49CFR563.

This requirement is for all new cars, including imports and hybrids, with a gross vehicle weight of less than 8,500 pounds. 

A current list of vehicles with an EDR on board is available here.

The EDR record, once created, must include specific information, cover specified time frames, approximately 5 seconds, and at established resolution. Typical records include vehicle speed, throttle position, brake application, engine speed and velocity change through the collision. Some vehicles also record steering input angles.

EDRs do not record location, date or time, audio or video, however, many consumer grade automotive GPS units record significant information. This includes, speed, direction, time of day and date. GPS recorded data may extend over several months. Contact Harris Technical Services for more information on recovering GPS data records.

Many auto manufacturers have installed EDRs in their vehicles voluntarily prior to the implementation of 49CFR563. These EDRs do not necessarily create records that are compliant with the federal regulation and there is no requirement that they be modified.

Not all models by these manufacturers have an EDR for all years. The type and amount of recorded data varies considerably. The conditions that must exist, air bag deployment or non-deployment, front, rear or side impact and/or rollover, to create a record also varies. 

EDR Case Law

    United States and Canadian trials where evidence from a Motor Vehicle Event Data Recorder was introduced.

State Statutes on Motor Vehicle Event Data Recorders.

    Full text of all state EDR statutes. The information is current as of August 07, 2014.

Analysis of Event Data Recorder Data for Vehicle Safety Improvement

U.S. Dept. of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT Report 810935, April 2008.

Thinking Outside the Black Box: How creative thinking turned an electronic safety tool into a criminal informant.

     This article is by Mary W. Craig, Associate Professor of Law at Faulkner University’s Jones School of Law in Montgomery, Alabama.

U.S. Dept. of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Final Rule, 49 CFR Part 563, Event Data Recorders, Aug. 21, 2006.

    Final ruling by NHTSA on 49CFR563.

Event Data Recorders - State Statutes and Legal Considerations

    This article, by Jim Harris, Harris Technical Services, appeared in the Accident Reconstruction Journal, Vol. 18, No. 1, Jan/Feb 2008.

The Double Edged Sword that is the Event Data Recorder

A 2006 paper by
Andrew (Sandy) Askland, College of Law, Arizona State University, on EDRs and privacy.