CDR - Black Boxes
Benefits of Hiring an Crash Consultant

  2010 Quarterly Newsletter

If you have clients who were involved in traffic accidents or have civil lawsuits stemming from traffic
accidents, please contact Closing Velocity to see how we can help you and your clients with thorough,
detailed, and easy to follow crash analysis.

All of our experts are certified by ACTAR, the highest certification attainable in the accident reconstruction
field.  We have over 20 years of accident reconstruction and law enforcement experience, including
experience giving depositions and testifying in court.

One of the most valuable tools in crash reconstruction is Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) - also referred to as
the "Black Box."  Some examples of data that can be retrieved includes:
  • Vehicle Speed
  • RPM before and after impact
  • Percent of braking
  • Percent of throttle
  • Whether occupants were wearing seat belts

All of this information can help determine the details that lead up to an accident and who was at fault.  For
example, if the CDR reports show that a driver was accelerating prior to an accident, it may be possible to
prove the accident was caused by distracted drivers who should have been slowing down prior to
contact.  Data can be presented in graphs and charts to effectively illustrate to the courtroom the details
surrounding the drivers actions.

Currently most vehicles from Ford, GM, and Chrysler can have data downloaded via CDR, and as of
2012, the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration will require all vehicles to be downloadable.

In most states, CDR has met the Frye standard for admissibility.  
CDR can also be helpful for insurance companies determine if fraud is involved in a claim.

Evidence dissipates rapidly which is why it is imperative to have a highly trained Crash Consultant
conduct a preliminary investigation as soon as possible after a crash.

This reconstruction examination can quickly uncover many crucial details including speed estimates,
equipment failures, braking vs non braking, seatbelt usage, weather conditions, tire marks, gouge marks,
etc.  The data collected helps us determine causality and responsibility relating to an accident.  Many
municipalities do not collect this data accurately and frequently miss critical pieces of evidence.   

Closing Velocity has reconstructed many crashes within a week of the accident occurring.  By surveying a
fresh accident scene, we are able to collect evidence which can provide us with:
Scale measurements of vehicles involved to potentially determine speeds utilizing crush analysis methods.
Locate points of impact from inside the involved vehicles and determine seatbelt usage.
Locate the point of impact(s) between involved vehicles, as well as pre and post roadway evidence which
can be used to determine speeds utilizing laws of momentum.
Perform Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) downloads when applicable.  Information obtained may provide
speeds, seatbelt usage, RPMs, brake usage, percentage of throttle etc.

An example of a crash reconstructed by Closing Velocity Inc., involved (2) vehicles at a traffic light
controlled intersection.  Vehicle 1, facing westbound, was in a left turn lane waiting for eastbound traffic to
clear before he turned southbound.  Vehicle 2 was traveling eastbound.  Vehicle 1 turned left and was
subsequently struck by Vehicle 2.  
We reviewed damages sustained to Vehicle 2 and noticed contact damage and evidence the passenger's
seatbelt was not used at the time of the collision.  In addition, we were able to collect specific points of
impact, and post roadway marks to later determine speeds of both vehicles.  We determined Vehicle 2
was traveling over 10 mph above the posted speed limit.  The driver of Vehicle 1 is required to yield to
oncoming traffic when they are traveling the posted speed limit.  In addition, if Vehicle 2 was traveling the
posted speed limit, we determined Vehicle 1 would have cleared the intersection prior to Vehicle 2's
arrival.  Those points clear the responsibility of the driver of Vehicle 1.

Finally, knowing the only substantial injuries sustained in the crash were from the front seat passenger of
Vehicle 2, and we determined the front seat passenger was not wearing her seatbelt, we can argue the
responsibility of her injuries is due to her negligence to wear her seat belt.
None of this information would be available if the vehicles involved were released and the roadway
evidence could not be evaluated.

Although Closing Velocity Inc., has handled many cases which have occurred years prior, it is always
suggested we conduct a minimum of a preliminary examination to ensure all of the necessary evidence is
collected.   This preliminary examination on fresh cases allows us to collect the necessary evidence,
including tire mark measurements, location of gouge marks, and scratches, as well as scale
measurements of the vehicle involved.   We offer this suggestion as we pride ourselves on proving to our
clients with the best possible case.