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Informer: Event data recorder not new feature in cars

Last Modified: Friday, July 26, 2013 2:55 PM

By Andrew Perzo / American Press

Is it true that newer cars have event data recorders built into their computers that record accident information — speed, how fast you applied the brakes — and is there any way to disable them?

Carmakers have for several years equipped their vehicles with event data recorders, which are triggered by impacts and gather data in the five or so seconds just before, during and after a crash.

Several message boards and websites offer information on how to disable EDRs. But the devices are so integrated into vehicle electronic systems that The Informer wouldn’t recommend it.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2006 established technical requirements for event data recorders, the use of which the agency began studying in the late 1990s.

The rules set data-gathering and data-retrieval standards for EDRs installed after Sept. 1, 2012. The regulations don’t mandate use of the devices, but a proposed new set of rules would require their inclusion in cars manufactured after Sept. 1, 2014.

The information that EDRs gather, as listed on the website of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety:

Change in forward crash speed.

Maximum change in forward crash speed.

Time from beginning of crash at which the maximum change in forward crash speed occurs.

Speed vehicle was traveling.

Percentage of engine throttle, percentage full (how far the accelerator pedal was pressed).

Whether or not brake was applied.

Ignition cycle (number of power cycles applied to the EDR) at the time of the crash.

Ignition cycle (number of power cycles applied to the EDR) when the EDR data were downloaded.

Whether or not driver was using safety belt.

Whether or not frontal airbag warning lamp was on.

Driver frontal airbag deployment: time to deploy for a single stage airbag, or time to first stage deployment for a multistage airbag.

Right front passenger frontal airbag deployment: time to deploy for a single stage airbag, or time to first stage deployment for a multistage airbag.

Number of crash events.

Time between first two crash events, if applicable.

Whether or not EDR completed recording.


Entergy has no plans for smart meters here

Does Entergy plan to install smart meters in the area?

The utility has no immediate plans to do so, said Chip Arnould, an Entergy spokesman.

The company initiated a pilot program in New Orleans and Baton Rouge a few years ago, but Entergy hasn’t completed its evaluation of the initiative yet, Arnould said.

Smart meters transmit energy use data to utilities and allow the companies to connect and disconnect power remotely, saving time and money, he said.

Entergy does have some digital meters that allow for remote reading and diagnostic functions, but they’re not true smart meters, Arnould said.

“Just because it has a digital faceplate doesn’t mean it’s a smart meter,” he said.


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The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email

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