Accessing and Interpreting Heavy Vehicle Event Data Recorders
I.D. # C1022 Duration 3.5 Days

Recent advances in commercial vehicle equipment have increased the potential for incident-related data to be recorded surrounding a collision event. What some have called a "black box" is more properly referred to as a Heavy Vehicle Event Data Recorder (HVEDR) as defined by the SAE J2728 HVEDR Recommended Practice. The term HVEDR is used to describe any type of electronic function that has the capability of storing data surrounding a defined event within an electronic control module found on a heavy truck or bus and that communicates on the SAE J1939 or J1587/J1708 data communications protocol. This course highlights the various vehicle systems and triggering events that may provide data useful in a collision investigation. Guided by recognized industry experts, techniques for preservation and interpretation of HVEDR data will be explored. This highly interactive workshop includes in-class instruction, demonstrations and practical hands-on experiences for acquiring and analyzing data from commercial vehicles.

This course will include discussions on the four standards. Anyone who wishes to do so can purchase these ahead of time by contacting SAE Customer Service. Please note: purchasing the SAE Standards is not required.

This course has been approved by the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstruction (ACTAR) for 24 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Upon completion of this seminar, accredited reconstructionists should mail a copy of their course certificate and the $5 student CEU fee to ACTAR, PO Box 1493, North Platte, NE 69103.

Please note, attendees are required to bring their laptops to this seminar to utilize the electronic handout materials and participate in hands-on data extraction and analysis exercises.  
Note: Last day of class ends at approximately 12:30 pm

Learning Objectives
Upon completion of this workshop, you will be able to:
  • Identify the potential sources of HVEDR data available on commercial vehicles
  • Utilize various methodologies for accessing and imaging data from HVEDRs while preserving the data in its original electronic format within the control module
  • Compile documentation of the vehicle and the imaged HVEDR data to properly establish foundational facts that tie the data to the vehicle and to ensure the reliability of incident specific data
  • Properly interpret data from HVEDRs and understand the limitations of this data
  • Analyze HVEDR data in the context of collision reconstruction

Who Should Attend
This course is a must for anyone involved in the investigation and analysis of commercial vehicle crashes who needs to understand the types of event data that are available on commercial vehicles, how it is generated, how it is accessed from the vehicle, and how to apply it in a collision reconstruction. In addition, this course can be valuable to the motor carrier safety manager, independent adjusters, claims managers or attorneys handling commercial vehicle collisions.

An undergraduate engineering degree or a strong technical background is highly recommended. A basic knowledge of college physics and calculus, as well as a familiarity with commercial motor vehicles is expected.

***Please be advised that this course involves one or more of the following: driving and/or riding in a vehicle; participating in a vehicle demonstration; and/or taking part in an offsite tour using outside transportation. You will be required to sign a waiver on-site and produce a valid driver¿s license from your state/country of residence.***

Seminar Content
  • Primer on Multiplexed Vehicle Electronics Systems and Vehicle Data Networks
    • Network architecture -- SAE J1587/J1708; SAE J1939
    • Industry standards for EDR devices -- SAE J2728; TMC RP1210; Other industry standards; Potential government regulations
  • Accessing and Imaging Data
    • Through in-cab diagnostic port
    • Direct to module (benchtop)
    • Truck-in-box simulators
  • HVEDR Devices and Data Currently Available on Heavy Vehicles
    • Engine control systems --Detroit Diesel; Mercedes-Benz; Cummins
    • Small Group Hands-On Imaging HVEDR Data
  • HVEDR Devices and Data Currently Available on Heavy Vehicles (continued)
    • Electronic Control Units - Caterpillar; Mack; Volvo; International; PACCAR
    • Active Safety Systems - VORAD; ABS & Stability Control Systems; Collision Warning & Active Braking Systems; Lane Departure Systems
    • Small Group Hands-On Imaging HVEDR Data
  • Inspecting the Vehicle
    • Chassis & powertrain identification and health
    • Vehicle configuration
    • Collision damage
  • Validation Studies and the Accuracy/Reliability of HVEDR Data
  • Interpreting and Applying HVEDR Data
    • Determining whether data imaged from a HVEDR is related to an incident of interest
    • Determining where impact occurred in dataset
    • Comparing vehicle speed to engine speed
    • Determining gear selection
    • Determining travel distance
    • Determining acceleration/deceleration
    • Determining driver inputs
    • Rollover signatures
    • Rear impacts
  • Group Projects
    • Students will split into small groups and will work on a group project that will include a vehicle inspection, skid mark measurements, HVEDR imaging, and analysis of the HVEDR data and comparison to the documented physical evidence. Note: Students will want to wear appropriate clothing to inspect a heavy truck. Also, students may want to document their project with cameras, camcorders, tape measures, etc.
DAY FOUR (Formal class ends at 12:30 pm; students may have additional hands-on practice beyond 12:30 pm as long as the trucks remain available)
  • The Future of HVEDR
  • Hands-on Workshop

Instructor(s): John C. Steiner, Timothy Cheek, David Plant, Timothy Austin, Wes Grimes and Greg Wilcoxson


Mr. Steiner is CEO & Principal Scientist with Mecanica Scientific Services Corporation and specializes in the areas of accident reconstruction analysis including the access and analysis of Heavy Vehicle Event Data Recorders (HVEDR) and light-duty vehicle Event Data Recorders (EDR) sourced data. Mr. Steiner is an active, participating member of SAE International, the International Standards Organization (ISO), and the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM). He is Co-Chairman of the SAE J2728 Heavy Vehicle Event Data Recorder Truck & Bus Sub- Committee, which is an active Sub-Committee working to publish a Recommended Practice outlining the technical functions of an HVEDR. Mr. Steiner received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from California State University, Long Beach.


Mr. Cheek is a Principal Engineer with DELTA [v] Forensic Engineering, Inc. Since 1993, Mr. Cheek has been active in the fields of forensic engineering and accident reconstruction. He has considerable experience in both the design and development of commercial trucks as well as with the investigation of accidents involving commercial vehicles. Mr. Cheek is a member of the SAE J2728 Heavy Vehicle Event Data Recorder (HVEDR) subcommittee of the Truck & Bus Council and an organizer of the SAE Congress technical sessions on Event Data Recorder technology and has authored publications on the subject of HVEDRs. He received his Masters of Science in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Florida and is a Registered Professional Engineer in multiple states.


 Mr. Plant is the owner of D. P. Plant & Associates, a forensic engineering firm located in Washington, D.C.  He has been active in the field of forensic engineering since 1987 where his experience includes the investigation and reconstruction of motor-vehicle collisions, including collisions involving commercial vehicles of all types.  Since 2001, Mr. Plant has been active in the field of imaging the Heavy Vehicle Event Data Recorders (HVEDRs).  He is a member of SAE, the author of several SAE papers and has been an invited speaker to a number of conferences around the country on the subject of HVEDR's.  Dave obtained  B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland.


 Mr. Austin is a supervisor with the Wisconsin State Patrol's Motor Carrier Enforcement Section.  As such, he has been specially trained as a commercial motor vehicle inspector through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and is an ACTAR accredited crash reconstructionist.  Tim has served as an author on numerous SAE technical papers and other professional publications concerning HVEDR technology and has been invited to present HVEDR research at training conferences throughout the country.   Tim holds a Master of Science Degree in Engineering from the University of Wisonsin - Platteville. 

Wesley Grimes

Mr. Grimes is Director of Forensic Services for Mecanica Scientific Services, specializing in crash analysis including documenting and analyzing crashes involving heavy trucks and tractor-trailers. He has been in the field of crash reconstruction since 1981. Mr. Grimes served for several years on the SAE Accident Investigation Practices committee and was a co-organizer of the technical paper sessions on accident reconstruction for 10 years, receiving the Forest R. McFarland Award from SAE. He received his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Arizona State University, the SAE Accident Reconstruction Certificate and is a registered professional engineer in Arizona and Louisiana.

Greg Wilcoxson

 Mr. Wilcoxson is the owner of Wilcoxson Consulting LLC, an accident reconstruction business specializing in commercial vehicle reconstructions and engine control module analysis. Greg is a retired 25-year veteran of Washington State Patrol (WSP) as a trooper- detective. During his law enforcement career Greg worked 14.5 years on the WSP Major Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) and was Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) trained. The day to day caseload with the WSP exposed Mr. Wilcoxson to thousands of collisions. In addition to his SAE Accident Reconstruction Certificate and national accreditation (ACTAR #1218), Greg is an active member in good standing with several local and national accident reconstruction organizations including serving as the current vice president of the Washington Association of Technical Accident Investigators (WATAI). Greg continues his crash training and education by attending and participating in several crash related courses and conferences each year.


¿The course covers emerging technology in detail and is taught by knowledgeable and experienced instructors.¿

Rene Castaneda

Castaneda Engineering

"Without exception, this is the most advanced HVEDR course available today and is well worth the time and money."

David Wesolowski

Forensic Technician

Quest Engineering & Failure Analysis, Inc

¿Excellent course for anyone dealing with data extraction and support of Heavy Vehicle EDR's!¿

Dan Barshinger


Quest Engineering and Failure Analysis




Fees: $2499 SAE Members: $2499


CEU 2.4