Airbag, Air Bag Deployment Black Box Crash Data Retrieval Information for GM, Pontiac, Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, Saturn, and Hummer Vehicles

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Vetronix crash data retrieval tool (CDR) collects General Motors vehicle crash data via the air bag system SDM.

For many years, airplane crash investigators have had the benefit of retrieving data from the flight-data recorder. This information has proven invaluable for helping to determine what happened in the critical time before a crash. In 1997, the National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) made the recommendation that vehicle manufacturers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration work together to gather information on vehicle crashes using onboard collision sensing and recording devices. As a result, General Motors expanded the data downloaded to permanent memory in the air bag sensing and diagnostic module at deployment or in a near deployment collision. Since 1973, when GM first introduced air bag-equipped cars, some crash data has been recorded. As explained in the owner's manuals of GM vehicles, the amount of recorded data has expanded with time and technology. The capability to record pre-crash data was included with some 1999 GM vehicles following the NTSB's recommendation. The Vetronix CDR System helps further the NTSB's recommendation by creating a product that downloads the data stored in recordable airbag modules.

General Motors has authorized Vetronix Corporation of Santa Barbara, California, to develop software, hardware and interface cables to allow the recorded data to be downloaded to commonly used computers. Data useful to researchers and investigators, such as delta-V, driver seat belt usage, and pre-impact data is stored and displayed in an easy-to-read format. This new tool also allows the investigator to input other pertinent information, such as weather conditions, and export the data to a remote database. Interface cables that connect directly to the airbag module are available for vehicles that cannot be powered up after a crash. is one company that currently offers airbag crash data retrieval via the air bag SDM module for General Motors (GM) vehicles. This can only be done using the Vetronix CDR equipment and a PC. The airbag SDM module recorder can offer extremely important vehicle data in the final 5 seconds leading up to an accident event. offers this information to individuals, insurance companies, rental car fleets, etc.

GM airbag SDM recorded data coverage includes most 1994 and newer Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Cadillac, GM trucks, Saturn, and Hummer vehicles.

GM dealers do not use the Vetronix CDR. The GM factory/dealership Tech 2 diagnostic scanner will not collect the crash deployment data.

Air Bag SDM 'Black Box' Crash Data Available (depending on year and model)

Vehicle speed (in five one-second intervals preceding impact)

Engine speed (in five one-second intervals preceding impact)

Brake status (in five one-second intervals preceding impact)

Throttle position (in five one-second intervals preceding impact)

Driver's seat belt state (On/Off)

Passenger's airbag enabled or disabled state (On/Off)

Airbag Warning Lamp status (On/Off)

Time from vehicle impact to airbag deployment

Maximum Delta-V for near-deployment event

Delta-V vs. time for frontal airbag deployment event

Time from vehicle impact to time of maximum Delta-V

Time between near-deploy and deploy event (if within 5 seconds)

More information about GM airbag SDM black box modules and the Vetronix CDR can be seen at this website:
800 N. Woodstone Ln

Nashville, TN 37211


Telephone 615 479 1900



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