Black box for cars will be mandatory from 2024
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Black box for cars will be mandatory from 2024

Data recording with Event Data Recorder before and after an accident

Contribution from ADAC: Airplanes have a black box from which events before and shortly after a crash can be read. A device like this is also used for cars: The so-called Event Data Recorder (EDR) records a short period of time before and after the crash in the event of an accident. Many vehicles are already equipped with an EDR; from July 7, 2024, the black box will be mandatory for all newly registered vehicles.

The ADAC gives an overview of what the EDR can do and what data protection looks like.

The purpose of EDR is to gain a better understanding of an accident through recorded data. The EDR is usually installed in the airbag control unit, as all relevant information from acceleration sensors comes together here - this information is also used to trigger the EDR's data recording.

Data such as speed, engine speed, steering angle and whether the airbag was triggered are recorded. The recording is triggered in a time window of five seconds before and 300 milliseconds after the crash.

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The data is stored locally in the vehicle and remains there. With the help of certain tools, they can be read out via the ODB interface or directly on the airbag control unit. In terms of data protection law, ownership of the data from the EDR lies with the driver or owner. However, in order to find out how an accident occurred in connection with civil or criminal proceedings, a court or the public prosecutor's office can commission an expert to read the data from the EDR.

However, the data from the EDR should not be used as the only source for accident reconstruction. Rather, they serve as an additional element to the evidence at the scene of the accident and the damage to the vehicles involved. They can support traditional accident reconstruction, but not replace it. The EDR only saves data about your own vehicle and not about other road users. Video recordings are also not possible with it.

Text: ADAC Photo credit: Harleysite

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