By Bob Weaver

Airplanes have long had flight data recorders or "black boxes," devices used as an aid in investigating aircraft mishaps and crashes.

Now nearly half of all new cars and trucks have crash recording devices, a fact that has been little publicized.

An event data recorder (EDR) is a device that is built into a car that records a cars speed, steering movements and pedal usage in five second intervals, in-fact a computer that tells what may have led up to a crash.

EDR is a function integrated within one or more modules in the automobile. The EDR that is part of the airbag sensing and diagnostic module monitors airbag performance and other measures that can affect crash performance, including crash severity, engine speed, throttle position, braking and safety belt use.

Police are investigating the cause of an accident that killed a Vienna man last Tuesday, indicating the recording device is turning up evidence.

The recorders are used to help police in roadway accidents when there is little or no evidence left at the scene.

General Manager of Superior Toyota T.R. Hathaway in Parkersburg said they are becoming a growing safety feature installed in most new cars.

See earlier Herald story about this accident.