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Q: United States cars which dont have Event Data Recorders ( No Answer,   13 Comments )
Subject: United States cars which dont have Event Data Recorders
Category: Sports and Recreation > Automotive
Asked by: dogbreath-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 08 Jul 2003 23:41 PDT
Expires: 07 Aug 2003 23:41 PDT
Question ID: 226853
I am concerned that I have suddenly found out that the General Motors
car I am driving in the US has an Event Data Recorder which records
all key info like speed, in the 5 seconds prior to an air bag
deployment (i.e. an accident).  In a lawyer-rich(!) culture like the
US, I am concerned that if I am involved in any car accident, lawyers
for other parties will obtain my data, and if I am over any speed
limit or other fault, I will be sued for $$$, even if the accident was
not actually caused by anything wrong that I might have done.

Anyway I have decided I cant take this legal risk, so will be selling
my GM car and getting a new one.   Hence I need a list of all the cars
(Domestic and imported) being sold in the US that do NOT have Event
Data Recorders (or which can be disabled).   I also need to know if
any of the AVIS rental car fleet in US are without these, since I also
use AVIS a lot.

If you need to make phone calls to dealers, manufacturers, etc let me
know and I will increase the price of the question, or add a tip.

Clarification of Question by dogbreath-ga on 10 Jul 2003 11:12 PDT
There is a good list of Ford and GM cars that DO have EDRs on the
Harris Technical Services site  I
believe that there are several other manufacturers including imported
cars which have installed them as well, so I am after some definitive
stuff on makes/models that DEFINITELY DON’T have them. Also, would be
interested if there are any ways that the manufacturer can disable the
EDR at the time of purchase of a new car if the buyer requests it.  I
suspect a telephone call to a couple of local dealers in the US might
provide some extra information (so looking for a US based researcher
ideally + happy to pay for such extra effort with large tip)

Also if anyone from the motor industry is reading this and can provide
any comments on ways of disabling EDRs without completely losing the
airbag systems, that input would be much appreciated.  Harris
Technical has a warning about disabling the EDR causing you to lose
other safety features:  (Probably a
huge new business opportunity for some entrepreneurs if it can be

BTW, so much for the car owner having ownership of the black box (EDR)
information, there have already been legal cases of lawyers for
drivers involved in accidents successfully subpoenaing the other
drivers EDR information.  Sometimes only one of them has a car with an
EDR and that can put this person in a worse litigation position than
the person whose car does not have one, irrespective of whose fault
the accident really was.

Clarification of Question by dogbreath-ga on 14 Jul 2003 08:31 PDT
Did some more research myself & just received this official answer 
"The EDR is an integral component of the air bag system. Disabling the
EDR will disable the air bags and possibly other components. There is
no recommended procedure to disable the EDR.".  Looks like I am just
left with the option of selecting a vehicle that does not have an EDR.
 I would have liked a Cadillac Escalade, but looks like that is ruled
out, so a Lincoln Navigator looks nearly as good and EDR-free as far
as I can see.

Ref some comments on this question, we should not get fixated just on
driving speed, these “black boxes” (EDRs) also provide other
information on how you reacted just before an accident.   Try being on
the wrong side of some vexatious litigation from an American personal
injury lawyer and see how your views on life change.  They are not
interested in right or wrong, guilty or innocent, just in extracting
as much money as possible from anyone whom they think can pay it.  
Using your own EDR, any innocent driving mistake you made could be the
basis for expensive litigation against you that probably would not be
possible if your car did not have an EDR.   IMHO, leaving US personal
injury lawyers with any potential advantages over you is simply stupid
in today’s litigation culture.  Also, insurance companies are always
keen to find reasons not to pay out on larger claims, and they
actually own the EDR data if your car is written off!    Anyone
beginning to feeling concerned?   I suspect many people are going to
get a serious shock when they understand the full possible
implications of what has been slipped into some of their cars without
their knowledge or consent.

BTW, it’s rather ironic that the sponsored links that have appeared at
the top of this question are for things like Personal Injury Lawyers –
just the sort of people this question is designed to avoid!

Clarification of Question by dogbreath-ga on 16 Jul 2003 10:10 PDT
Just done some more research with local car dealers:

Lincoln Navigator  - looks free of EDRs
Porsche Cayenne - all Porsches have EDRs - so they are out
Toyota Landcruiser - spent ages trying to find out and they were
unable to tell me
Landrover Range Rover - still investigating but seem to be free of
EDRs (and dealers seem to be doing some good deals on these SUVs right
now which makes them quite interesting).

I suggest everyone asks this question when they are buying a new car -
you should at least know if you car may testify against you some day
in the future. And do please post your answers.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: United States cars which dont have Event Data Recorders
From: techtor-ga on 08 Jul 2003 23:45 PDT
Your best bet would be a used car, and an old one (80's, early 90's).
I assume the event data recorder is being required by law in your
Subject: Re: United States cars which dont have Event Data Recorders
From: dogbreath-ga on 08 Jul 2003 23:54 PDT
Actually there is no law requiring it in the US or anywhere else.  It
seems to have started turned up 3-4 years ago when certain
manufacturers (particularly General Motors) added them to all their
new cars without letting anyone know.  It was originally to help crash
investigations of airbag deployment problems.  I dont know, but I
suspect it was to give the manufacturers a legal defence in any law
suits when air bags cause deaths themselves, e.g. to small children.

Yes you are right that getting an older car would solve the problem,
but I really do want to get a new car (I like the safety features of
recent cars, just not this one!).  There are certainly some new cars
being sold today without them.
Subject: Re: United States cars which dont have Event Data Recorders
From: jimmyjrosu-ga on 09 Jul 2003 05:20 PDT
Heres an Idea: DONT BREAK THE LAW!!!!  Slow down. Too many people die
each year due to speed.  A person speeding should be charged with
attempted murder.
Subject: Re: United States cars which dont have Event Data Recorders
From: journalist-ga on 09 Jul 2003 05:40 PDT
Yup, it appears that Big Brother is everywhere.  The last I heard, the
event recorders were considered the sole property of the vehicle
owner.  I believe I heard about them on NPR last year (? can't recall)
And you never know when laws will change making event recorders the
property of law enforcement...Your best bet is an older model car or
finding a mechanic that can strip the recorder from your car without
any damage to the vehicle.
Subject: Re: United States cars which dont have Event Data Recorders
From: journalist-ga on 09 Jul 2003 07:16 PDT
More info:

"The litigation relied, in part, on data stored by a "black box" that
General Motors Inc. began installing in some of its vehicles in 1990."
From "Wright vs. CSX Transportation" at

So, since 1990, some cars have had this.  I also found this mentioned
about a Ferrari having an EDR:

"California v. Michael Beeler, San Diego Superior Court, Case No.
SCD158974 (2002).

    The defendant was operating a Ferrari and lost control in a curve.
He crossed the painted center median striking a Saturn and killing the
driver. The CDR Tool was used to download the SDM from the Saturn and
the Ferrari module was downloaded by the module manufacturer. "
Subject: Re: United States cars which dont have Event Data Recorders
From: airbornelemming-ga on 09 Jul 2003 09:40 PDT
The comment from someone above "A person speeding should be charged
attempted murder." is rather an ignorant simplistic point of view to
express. On that basis the majority of drivers in America have at some
time in their lives been guilty of "attempted murder". In some
circumstances, excess speed can be completely reckless but in some
other circumstances it is not and all police authorities recognise
this distinction.
Subject: Re: United States cars which dont have Event Data Recorders
From: jimmyjrosu-ga on 09 Jul 2003 11:16 PDT
in regards to your comment.  Yes, almost everyone, at some point, goes
over the speed limit.  Unsually only by a few miles an hour though. 
There are people, like the person posting this question that
intentionally speed.  They should be prosecuted.  So attemmpted murder
wouldnt be the right charge except after repeated offenses.  Ignorance
is not being able to realize that people die as a direct result of
people speeding.  Ignorance is being too arrogant to think that your
driving will ever result in death.  My best friends daughter(8 yrs
old) was killed by a person traveling at 33 mph in  a 25mph speed
zone.  The investigaters concluded that had the person been going only
25 they would have had the time to stop.  Not only that, but if she
had been hit at only 25 she would have probably lived.
Dont talk to me about ignorance.
Subject: Re: United States cars which dont have Event Data Recorders
From: airbornelemming-ga on 09 Jul 2003 12:00 PDT
I am sorry to hear of the tragic death of this child on the roads. 
All accidental deaths anywhere and in any manner are tragic and ways
of reducing all accidental deaths are worthwhile.
However there are often more than one opinion on to improve society
when looked at from the macro level. I for one do not wish to live in
the sort of draconian Big Brother state that is being suggested with
arbitrary "attempted murder" charges flying around. For me another
possible definition of ignorance might be believing that you have a
monopoly on answers on what is right for improving society as a whole.
 None of us have that.
Subject: Re: United States cars which dont have Event Data Recorders
From: jimmyjrosu-ga on 09 Jul 2003 13:50 PDT
Hardly anyone wants to live in a "Big Brother" society, yet, the data
recorder the question was about is hardly that.  IF it only records
speed, things like that, and is ONLY used to determine your speed at
THE TIME of the accident, that is hardly big brother.  That is up for
debate still I agree.  One thing though would be the cameras on the
highway, I like that idea.  PUBLIC roads.
Maybe I will post a question on this topic to see what everyone else
thinks.  Interesting topic.
Subject: Re: United States cars which dont have Event Data Recorders
From: trueparent-ga on 09 Jul 2003 19:41 PDT
Speed kills. So why does jimmyjrosu-ga drive?  For many decades, we've
been killing about 50,000 per year in auto accidents. But does
jimmyjrosu-ga want the death penalty for owning a driver's license?
No, because jimmyjrosu-ga drives, and speeds.  What a simpleton,
trying to impose his own guilt on us all, and hide behind the skirts
of an innocent, dead, 8 year old.
Here's a historic run-down, (no pun intended?).
For about two decades, the Fed. Govt. mandated two requirements, for
corrupt reasons which most likely can never be proven.
1)	States must accept the lowest bid for building/repaving a road.
2)	States cannot require any guarantee of the durability of the road
After a couple of decades of this, the roads were falling apart, so
the Fed. Govt. mandated the 55 mph speed limit, ON ROADS WHOSE ANGLES
The stated reasons for this speed limit were "safety" and "gas
economy". Both reasons were lies.  The real reason, was that the
preceding corruption had caused horrendous roads, and tires slapping
the pavement at 55 mph do less damage than at 75 mph.
Now, the clincher. It used to be, that if you received a speeding
ticket outside your home state, the only way they could get you to
pay, was to immediately escort you downtown, and hold you until you
paid the fine.  Very messy, and time consuming.  Then, the
"reciprocal" agreements started popping up, whereby (State A) would
suspend your license for not paying a fine for a ticket received in
(State B), and vice-versa.
Now, any local yokels with jurisdiction over a mile of interstate
highway, could write tickets all day long --- very lucrative (taxation
without representation), to say the least.
But that's not the worst of it.  The Fed. Govt. saw that some states,
(such as Montana), were not issuing speeding tickets, so they secretly
measured the speed of the traffic, and threatened the State to cut off
huge federal funding, if they did not issue speeding tickets.
Now, the local yokels had to take part in the corruption, whether they
liked it or not.  Of course, every State paid taxes to the Fed. Govt.,
so the "federal funding" was not a "federal gift", but it could be cut
off, nevertheless.
If roads are engineered to be safe at 75 mph, then issuing speeding
tickets at 80 mph or 90 mph makes perfect sense, since you might
indeed lose control of your car beyond the road's limits.  But today,
that is not the case.  Of course, the 75 mph has not returned, because
that would be an admission of guilt by those corrupt politicians that
got us here.  So, you might see 60 mph, or whatever, but the (taxation
without representation) is so lucrative, that we will probably never
see 75 mph again.
Most people today do not understand why, on most highways, we are all
like a herd of zebras, all over the "speed limit", and looking at the
flashing squad car predator handing out a ticket, and just happy it
wasn't us, this time.  It's because of governmental corruption.
Americans "smell" the corruption, and they know that the roads were
ENGINEERED TO BE SAFE AT 75 MPH.  Even the police know, that when the
majority of traffic is doing 75 mph, it is the car doing 55 mph that
causes the accidents, although it is not always IN the accident.  It
is most likely the ignorant, simplistic folks like jimmyjrosu-ga, who
would probably be in the center lane, doing 55 mph, causing accidents
all around, and saying, "What a good boy am I".
Oh, and by the way, we are required by law to wear seat belts, not
because it is always "safer" to do so, but because the insurance
companies successfully lobbied for those laws. That's because it's
much cheaper, if a rear lap belt cuts a child in two, leaving them
paralyzed for life, than for a "head injury" to occur, which requires
very expensive "human care" for the rest of your life, if your head
hits the windshield. That's also why we have "air bags", that will
indeed kill you, even if you are not in an accident.  Even if it
doesn't kill you, ask a State Trooper sometime, what kind of injuries
an "air bag" can do to you, even in a minor accident that wouldn't
have hurt you at all.
I for one am very happy for your question, dogbreath-ga.  Thanks for
the "heads up".  I sure would like to see that list of cars that do
NOT have the EDR, as a notice to the manufacturers, that they have
been caught with their pants down, and they could already be losing
sales because of it.  Then, they might not be so perverse as to make
it difficult/unsafe to "disconnect" the thing.
Subject: Re: United States cars which dont have Event Data Recorders
From: cynthia-ga on 10 Jul 2003 12:48 PDT

Why not order a car, the car of your choice, direct from the factory?
A custom order, _without_ the EDR... If it's not a law to have them,
well, ask it to be left out.

Ford is finishing up a new online "build-a-car" web site, and I'm sure
this is possible with and of the large manufacturers.
Subject: Re: United States cars which dont have Event Data Recorders
From: dogbreath-ga on 14 Jul 2003 08:36 PDT
Cynthia and others, thanks for your comments.  See my question
clarifications above that make it sound like you cant have a car
manufactured with out EDR's if they are part of the standard car. I
will continue to research this issue.  Any more information on EDRs
and new wehicles that don't have them would be appreciated.
Subject: Re: United States cars which dont have Event Data Recorders
From: logandiagnostic-ga on 08 Mar 2005 05:52 PST
Being we deal with air bag crash every day.....we will offer this.....

Everyone is recording crash data in their air bag systems.

Only GM and Ford have released limited public access to the stored
crash data. That being said, Toyota and Chrysler should soon have
crash data available. Problem enforcement seems to be the
only ones that know about the crash data...

To access the data you need a specfic tool. The Vetronix CDR. GM
dealers cannot access the crash data using the GM dealer diagnostic
tool Tech 2. We actually have the Vetronix equipment to access the
crash data. We offer this service as public access. The equipment can
be seen here: 

Being GM techs we deal only with GM products. The crash data can be
very helpful in legal litigation. Our view is any GM accident should
have the crash data downloaded. Crash data is even recorded without
air bag deployment.

Any further questions can be directed to us either by our website or by email at .

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