Hepler Broom, LLC

Vehicle Infotainment System Data Cannot be Overlooked

February 4, 2021

In most car-truck accident cases, the trucking company is at a huge data disadvantage. While the truck’s electronic control module is a treasure trove of data for a claimant, the trucking company rarely has equivalent data from the claimant’s vehicle. That is quickly changing.

Like a semi’s ECM, a late model vehicle’s infotainment system contains voluminous data about the vehicle and its operation in the critical seconds before a collision. With a proper download, the infotainment system will reveal the vehicle’s second-by-second speed, its location, and other valuable data about braking, turning, and vehicle operation. If a driver or passenger connected their cell phone to the vehicle’s Bluetooth, the infotainment system download could also indicate whether the call, text, or internet functions were in use at or before the time of the impact.

The speed of the claimant’s vehicle is often a major factor in assessing liability. The infotainment download will provide key, significant data mere seconds before the impact. The download may also contain several days’ worth of the same information. The downloads are often several thousand pages in length. The amount of data depends upon the vehicle’s manufacturer. We have found Ford vehicles contain the most information, followed by GMC and Chrysler. Foreign vehicles generally do not contain as much information as American-made vehicles.

The Takeaway

Immediately after any accident, trucking companies and claims handlers should send a preservation letter and demand an inspection and download of the other vehicle’s infotainment system. If the other party does not agree, immediately seek court intervention. Additionally, care must be taken to ensure a proper download. A download can take up to 12 hours, and the system must be connected to a power source the entire time. Therefore, the best practice is to remove the infotainment system from the vehicle and have an expert engineer perform a bench download.

For more information about vehicle infotainment systems and how to use this data for accident investigation and claims handling purposes, please contact HeplerBroom attorney Michael Reda or Adam McGonigle of the firm’s Trucking & Transportation practice area.

COVID-19 Updates

HeplerBroom LLC COVID-19 Response

HeplerBroom has been diligently working on its response and continuity plan to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to keep the health and safety of our employees, their families, and our clients as our top priority.

To help ensure everyone's continued health and well-being, effective March 17, 2020, all attorneys and staff began working remotely. We continue to assess the situation and will return to our physical offices when appropriate.

To ensure this, the firm has identified essential personnel in each office who will make certain that critical firm functions that cannot be done remotely continue to be handled. We have put in place protocol for those essential personnel to make sure they are keeping healthy per the CDC cleaning and sanitizing recommendations. All teams have back-up personnel and procedures that we will follow to make sure all deadlines are met and clients receive the same great service and work product that we have always been proud to provide.

HeplerBroom's IT department has been working hard to make sure all remote employees are set up with equipment and access from home to limit disruption to our clients. Maintaining security and confidentiality has remained, and will continue to remain, at the forefront of all processes and procedures, at all levels throughout the firm.

The firm has created emergency communication measures to communicate any changes to this plan to employees and are communicating on a regular basis with any and all new resources and helpful information during this uncertain time.

During these fluid and unpredictable times, HeplerBroom will continue its commitment to great service and results for our clients, all while keeping safe and healthy.

Wishing you and your families good health.

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