When a plane crashes, the National Transportation Safety Board looks for the little black box, painted bright orange or yellow. The NTSB uses the flight data recorder to investigate how and why the accident happened.
Just like planes, cars have their little black boxes. Most cars manufactured after 2014 have an event data recorder. What does an EDR do? How do you know if your car has one?
What is an EDR?
In 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wanted a rule that would require automakers to install EDRs in all cars and trucks. In 2019, the NHTSA withdrew the proposal because manufacturers were already voluntarily placing the devices in most vehicles.
An EDR is a device used to record an event such as a car crash. It tracks things like:
- Airbag deployment before, during and after the crash
In addition, the NHTSA states the EDR may also record:
- Precrash dynamics
- Driver inputs
- Vehicle crash signature
- Restraint usage
- Postcrash data
Where can you find the EDR?
You may find the EDR in a well-protected part of the car. The recorder looks like a small box that you may be under the front row seats or the center console.
As the owner, Virginia law states that only you have access unless you permit a car technician, third-party subscriber or law enforcement to use it for maintenance or as evidence in a crash.
Your owner’s manual will state if your car has an EDR. Knowing this information may help your case in the event of a car accident.