Black Box Downloads
Vehicle Black Box and Event Data Recorder Services &
Flat Rate Fee for Colorado's Front Range Customers
Veritech is proud to announce a flat rate service fee of data downloads for customers within the Front Range of Colorado. Please click on the link below for more information:
Vehicles have evolved into very sophisticated machines which utilize numerous computerized systems to ensure the vehicle operates correctly. Modern vehicles are equipped with multiple computer systems which monitor and control various systems such as airbags and passenger restraint systems, traction and stability control systems, anti-lock brake systems, and engine control systems. Federal regulation CFR 49 part 563 mandates that every passenger car and truck manufactured after September 1, 2012 (with some limited exceptions), make pre-crash data accessible using commercially available equipment. However, for vehicles manufactured prior to September 1, 2012, only select manufactures have elected to make pre-crash data available for download. Please reach out to Veritech for information on supported vehicles with model years prior to 2012, to see if they have data recording capabilities.
What is a Black Box?
Most vehicles on the road today contain a “black box”, which is a common term for a vehicle’s Event Data Recorder (EDR, for short), Airbag Control Module (ACM), or Powertrain Control Module (PCM). Most commonly, a vehicle’s ACM is able to record digital information that can be retrieved after an accident has occurred. The ACM is designed to constantly monitor various system parameters which are used to determine whether a supplemental restraint device (SRS, such as an airbag) should be deployed during a crash or rollover incident. In the event of a crash, these system parameters are captured and stored within the ACM.
With proper training and equipment, the stored pre-crash data can be retrieved and used to help understand the specifics of a crash. Black boxes are found in many types of vehicles, including the majority of passenger vehicles on the road today, semi tractor-trailers, commercial vehicles, trains, aircraft, and even some motorcycles. Accident Reconstructionists and law enforcement professionals alike have come to acknowledge the usefulness of the data stored on these devices when analyzed properly.
Some of the useful incident related data that is often stored on an ACM includes:
Impact related delta-V (impact severity)
Additionally, this data may be captured by the ACM even if the impact was not severe enough to deploy the airbags in the accident. Contact us for more information on your specific vehicle.
Commercial Vehicle and Heavy Truck Event Data Recorders
The engine control modules (ECM) utilized in most commercial vehicles have the ability to record and store potentially valuable pre-crash information. While downloading a truck’s ECM may provide information related to the vehicle’s speed, braking and other parameters prior to an accident, it is important to understand that the ECM was not designed as a data recording device for accident reconstruction purposes. Rather, its primary purpose is for the management of engine functions. As such, the extraction and interpretation of data from an ECM requires specialized knowledge and experience in order to avoid some of the common errors associated with these recording devices.
In addition to ECM data, many newer model commercial vehicles and heavy trucks now contain auxiliary modules that record event related information, such as a vehicle’s brake control module. The information stored on these auxiliary modules can be useful to a reconstructionist, however proper analysis and interpretation is necessary, as always. The systems used to control these trucks are very complex and require specialized education in their capabilities and limitations in order to properly authenticate the data, and to correlate the given data to a subject accident.
Data Limitations for Black Box, Event Data Recorder, and Engine Control Modules
Data from passenger vehicle black boxes or commercial vehicle ECMs include some limitations. With the rise of digital information stored within a vehicle’s electrical system, there remains the issue of validating the data with real-world analysis. As with any data, proper interpretation and analysis is crucial. It is common for untrained users that obtain black box or ECM data to mis-interpret the information, or worse, come to conclusions based upon data that is inconsistent with the physical evidence of the accident. There have been many instances where black box data is recorded with some sort of stipulation or error, invalidating the retrieved information. For this reason, it is important that any black box download be confirmed by analyzing the associated physical evidence related to the crash to corroborate the data. Veritech has in-house capabilities to download a vast number of airbag control modules and event data recorders, including almost all makes and models from every major manufacturer. In addition, we are well-versed in interpreting and validating the downloaded data to ensure that it is consistent with physical evidence related to the subject accident.
The most important first step is to reach out to us and discuss your particular vehicle and crash. Data may or may not be available depending on the circumstance of the impact and the year, make, and model of your particular vehicle. Veritech engineers are trained and experienced at interpreting and understanding the vast amount of data contained in an ECM report and we can help guide you as to which reports may contain valuable information.