Jim Adler | The Tough, Smart Lawyer
By Jim Adler June 12, 2015

You know planes have a “black box” to record data and show causes of an accident. Did you know your car also could have such a black box — called an EDR — to collect crash data? Such an “event data recorder” could be in your car without you even knowing it.

What does an EDR mean if you have a car wreck?

The bottom line is that crash data from an EDR can be used for you — or against you. Jim Adler of Jim Adler & Associates explained that on an April 28, 2015 KPRC-TV investigative report.

“It’s like Big Brother is always watching,” Adler told reporter Joel Eisenbaum of the Houston NBC affiliate. Indeed, huge troves of data can be taken from an EDR.

Federal, State Laws on EDRs

What are federal and state laws on EDRs? Actually, the devices have been voluntarily installed by manufacturers for several years, as part of federal safety guidelines for boosting traffic accident analyses. About 90% of new cars since 2012 have an EDR.

However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration isn’t satisfied. The NHTSA wants EDRs to be required on all vehicles by federal law starting in 2016.

By Texas law, EDR data belongs to the registered owner of the vehicle, though the data can be accessed by court order for a number of purposes. Fourteen other states have similar state laws, which protect owners’ privacy — to a point.

Usually EDR data can be downloaded only with the vehicle owner’s consent. But exceptions may exist when a car accident lawsuit or insurance investigations are involved.

Data An EDR Can Reveal

As for the data an EDR can reveal, that includes 15 types of crash information, such as a vehicle’s speed, acceleration, braking, steering angle and whether its seat belts were properly fastened. It also may include if passengers were on board, the passengers’ weight and if tires were adequately inflated.

All of this is collected as downloadable data — saved information which does not involve audio or video. Largely such data collection is restricted to the moments before and after a crash — the “event” in the EDR’s name. Some EDRs may transmit such data to a remote location, but most require direct downloads from the vehicle.

By federal law, an EDR is required to keep just five seconds of data from before an impact, which is added to data from immediately afterward to help explain why the accident happened and what results ensued. When retrieved, such EDR data is added routinely into the crash databases of the NHTSA.

For normal driving, data is collected and then quickly overwritten — at least until a crash occurs and data is saved as a result.

Future EDRs are expected to be even more sophisticated and elaborate in collecting even more data. This data may include GPS location, which isn’t part of EDRs’ data collection now.

As for tractor trailers, diesel trucks, semi trucks, big rigs or 18-wheelers, EDRs may be triggered by problems in the engine or sudden changes in speed which are electronically sensed.

EDRs in Cars’ Safety Systems

In passenger vehicles, the EDR is in cars’ safety systems, which includes the airbag control system. Such a safety system is responsible for making instant decisions on whether to inflate airbags, tighten seatbelts and other things in a crash.

EDRs originally were meant to provide data to indicate if such safety systems were working properly, but now they’re saving more and more data and are being used for wider purposes, including lawsuits.

Disabling an EDR

Though an EDR’s data is tamper-proof, an EDR can be disabled. For a driver, disabling an EDR would involve disabling a car’s entire safety system, which obviously is not a good idea.

However, some lawmakers are proposing bills which would allow drivers to turn off an EDR without sacrificing their safety system’s functionality. Privacy advocates favor such an approach, noting that EDRs are collecting more and more data, and without the car owner’s consent.

Do You Have an EDR?

As for whether you have an EDR, that should be indicated on your car’s owner’s manual. Keep in mind you’re less likely to have an EDR if your car was built prior to 2012.

Since not everyone looks for this information, many motorists today are unaware that their car’s functions are being tracked by an EDR. And that hidden EDR may be a blessing — or a curse — after an accident.

Indeed, in U.S. trials where EDR evidence was used, some drivers have been exonerated, or found not guilty, while others have been found to blame. As Jim Adler has noted, such EDR crash data “can be used for you — or against you.”

If you need a traffic accident attorney after a crash, alert Jim Adler & Associates today. We’ll promptly provide you with a free case review. And if we take your case, whether we use your EDR data will be your decision.

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I went to the office and everyone was so considerate and professional , so my first impression was good, I felt like I was in good hands. Then I received a call from Vanessa Garcia, she was on top of EVERYTHING! I never had to call her, she always called me. She even called to see how I was doing , and if I needed help with anything. That is why I have absolutely no worries.read more
13:42 01 Jun 17
My lawyer Bill Adler and case manager Iris Sanchez are amazing! They constantly call and check on you . They keep you up to date through the process. They care about you as a person and not just a client. The wreck was a life changing experience that I've never been through before. I'm just glad I had the right people like Bill Adler and Iris Sanchez to help me through it. Truly satisfied.Thanks and God bless y'all!read more
Tierra Clark
Tierra Clark
18:52 19 May 17
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Tori Barroga
Tori Barroga
14:17 11 May 17
I am a Patrol Deputy for the Sheriff Office and while working one night, a drunk driver crossed the center stripe on the highway and struck my patrol vehicle head on with his pick up truck. Needless to say we (the drunk driver and I) were both lucky to survive, as the accident occurred at highway speeds. Following my release from the hospital, I knew that I would need to have someone represent me. My employer was happy to represent me in regards to prosecuting the driver for criminal charges but, can do little in respect to the recovery of financial losses for medical bills, pain and discomfort, time lost from work etc... This is how my relationship with Jim Adler and Associates began. Yep, you probably guessed correctly when you think of what made me choose the "Texas Hammer" to represent me. Those half obnoxious, half way entertaining commercials and radio announcements most Texans have been seeing and hearing on the TV and radio for years instantly came to mind. Yes, I wanted to "hammer" this S.O.B. for trying to kill me but, more importantly I was worried about the costs associated with the life long injuries I had sustained as a result of this drunk driver's negligent behavior. I contacted Jim Adler and Associates and so began our relationship. I was immediately surprised by the prompt attention and the expression of genuine concern for my well being that I received from the employees of Jim Adler's office. Now as you can imagine, lawyers are not a breed that is held in very high regard by people in my profession but, my experiences with Jim Adler's office and his employees have forced me to amend my way of thinking, at least on the civil side of the house anyway. I have to chuckle when I say that because my experience as a client of Jim Adler's firm has been exceptionally pleasant. So before I venture down one of the stereotypical and infinite number of rabbit holes associated with the relationship between members of law enforcement and lawyers; I will do my best to stay focused on my experience with Jim Adler & Associates. Upon being informed that my case had been accepted by Jim Adler's office; I was contacted by Iris Sanchez who informed me that she was to be my case manager and any questions, comments and concerns could be directed to her. I was pleasantly surprised to receive regular calls from Iris assisting with my medical appointments and future follow up appointments. Iris had informed me that Jim Adler's son, Bill Adler would be handling my case and I was even more surprised to receive several calls from Bill to discuss my case. Now you might be thinking "what's the big deal" with the person who is representing you contacting you? In reality, you are correct in that it isn't a big deal but, what is noteworthy and what separates Jim Adler's Office from the multitude of other lawyers is the genuine expressions of concern and the desire Bill Adler conveyed to me to do their best to help me. I felt an immediate connection and instantly realized I had made the correct choice in contacting Jim Adler & Associates to handle my case. One thing I think lawyers and police officers can agree on is the proverbial wheels of justice turn very slowly. Months go by and our professional relationship is never neglected. Through the unwavering attention of Iris Sanchez and Bill Adler himself, I never felt "out of the loop" so to speak and always had a clear understanding of where my case was at in regards to the legal process. In conclusion, I know my brief description of my experiences with Bill Adler and, his assistant Iris Sanchez, cannot provide the credit they deserve. Together they have done an outstanding job representing their firm/employer. If you are seeking a great firm to represent your legal interests and, take comfort in establishing a professional relationship that feels more like a friendship than a casual business acquaintance, then I highly suggest Jim Adler & Associates.read more
Erick Becker
Erick Becker
01:20 06 May 17
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Bernard Orozco
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Lorenzo Preston
Lorenzo Preston
17:23 26 Jan 17
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