Crash Data Retrieval System

The Accident Investigation Division (AID) is responsible for investigating critical injury and fatal crashes. According to PennDOT, between 2013 and 2017 there were an average of 14,213 reportable vehicle crashes per year in Philadelphia, and AID investigated an average of 2,318 crashes in those four years, including an average of 96 fatal crashes per year.

The CDR is a combination of computer hardware and software that enables accident investigators to retrieve, download, and print information recorded in a vehicle’s airbag and power train control module for activity which transpired during a crash. This key data is recorded on a vehicle’s Event Data Recorder (EDR). The EDR also documents seatbelt usage, engine RPM, brake system activation, and vehicle speed. With EDR information analyzed through the crash data retrieval system, AID’s crash reconstructionist can calculate impact speeds and have those speeds validated by electronically recorded data. The system effectively replicates the crash and the details leading up to it.

At present, AID has to rely on the Pennsylvania State Police to extract and interpret information retrieved from a serious accident scene. The Division is seeking an investment of $30,000 for the purchase of a Crash Data Retrieval system (CDR) and training for 10 investigators. The purchase of a CDR system for Philadelphia’s AID investigators would keep the officers current with the rapidly changing technology of crash investigations while allowing AID to be more efficient by minimizing their reliance on the availability of State Police equipment.