Chad Everett: What is the puropse of event crash recorders in cars? Are there similar to “Snap-shot devices?” Is there any puropose for this for car insurance companies or car insurance rating.
Response ; You bet Chad – you have hit the nail on the wall. You know what a event crash recorder is. When a traffic crash reconstructionist wanted to know the speed of a car in the seconds before it crashed into the side of a school bus, he found that information, and more, in the car’s Event Data Recorder (EDR), a feature quickly becoming standard on all cars. The recorder, a four-inch square metal box, is currently installed in most recent GM, Ford, Chrysler and Toyota vehicles.
Some commercial truck engines also have electronic control modules that will hold vehicle data that can be recovered following a crash.
In some ways similar to data recorders used on airplanes and trains, the car’s recorder springs into action as part of the air bag system.
Originally designed to improve air bag performance based on the severity of the collision, the event data recorder can tell traffic accident investigators about the car’s speed, engine RPMs, how far the accelerator pedal was pressed, if the brakes were applied, whether the driver’s seatbelt was buckled and what warning lights were on.
When an an air bag deployment collision accident occurs, the data is recorded onto a computer chip. The data can be retrieved and is presented in a report.
The data download from the EDR will usually contain 6 to 8 pages of information. A second impact can be recorded in the secondary, or non-deployment, file depending upon the circumstances of the collisions and the time interval between them.
An air bag deployment is not required for information to be recorded. There are circumstances where an air bag deployment command would be issued but the algorithm used to order the deployment determines a deployment is not warranted, such as a driver out of position before deployment is ordered. This is a “deployment level” event. Data may be recorded for “non-deployment” events. This can include rollover, sideswipe and side impact accidents.
It is also possible no data can be recovered from a data recorder. One situation where this might occur would be a catastrophic loss of electrical power during the collision. In this situation, the entire power reserve in the air bag control module capacitor is used to deploy the air bags; there is none left for the recorder and no data is stored even though the air bags deployed.
Due to the variety of circumstances in any accident and variations in the type and amount of data any device is capable of recording, there are no guarantees of what data may be recorded, or may be recoverable, in any specific case.
Event Data Recorder downloads are completed by factory trained technicians at Harris Technical Services. The technician is also a fully qualified traffic accident reconstructionist. It is important the downloaded information and the physical evidence be considered as a whole and the data between the recorder and the physical evidence be compared before coming to any conclusions.
How are crash data records helpful for car insurance companies?
Car insurance companies love devices like event crash recorder and Progressive snap shot since these devices give important information on the cars, drivers and road conditions which are all factors important for the rating of the car insurance.
We still have not come to a point when the event data recorder has been used in the court of law to establish the negligence on a drivers part. However, for insurance companies this is a priced data which can emerge. This data can help them come up with important statistical findings which later can be combined into a rating matrix. The important data that can be derived would be :
1) Driving habits of drivers- speed of car, and driving distraction.
2) Data on the car – mechanical failure or issue in the car mechanism.
3) Accidents in a particular geographical region.
4) Contibuting factors for the accident.
Why is Progressive so keen on supplying “Snap-shot” devices even for cars which it does not insure. Snap shot is a popular program for teens. You guessed it right- they want to collect data – information is going to be the key for them in pricing the teen car insurance or auto insurance rates. The more the data they have the better it is – “Snap shot” are almost an equivalent of event data recorder, one might consider them to be more modern and tech savy than the event recorders.
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