Police use vehicle data recorder to determine speed of crash

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Many motorists don't realize their actions behind the wheel are recorded by a device installed in their cars.

In a recent police report, the "black box" recorded an alleged drunk driver going 128 mph when he crashed into a woman, killing her.

An event data recorder, or EDR, is used by law enforcement to retrieve data from cars. Data collected could include the speed, acceleration and movement leading up to a crash.

The devices are also referred to as "black boxes," and are what police have used to determine the rate of speed Alex Rubio was traveling on Jan. 3 when he crashed into 22-year-old Princess Almonidovar.

Local auto mechanic Bob Klingenberg said the black box is a device installed in newer cars to record information related to vehicle crashes.

"It will eliminate a lot of the guess work as what happened, because it's all reported right there, and attorneys will probably like them because there's the information right there, you can't lie," said Klingenberg.

Attorney Tony Lidgett represents Rubio, who is facing vehicular manslaughter charges.

"I do believe there has to be some type of error. I would think that if someone was traveling at that speed, that someone would have said something," said Lidgett.

The police report also contains eyewitness testimony. A man referred to as "witness #2" stated that: "He immediately noticed the speed of Rubio's vehicle to be quote 'very fast' and estimated the speed to be 'like over 100 miles per hour, maybe even 120 miles per hour, it was fast.'"

Eyewitness News asked Klingenberg, who has no relation to Rubio or Almonidovar, how accurate the box readings are.

"Pretty close to being right on, give or take 5 miles an hour. Because at that speed of acceleration or deceleration, there's gonna be a little bit of lag time, as to the exact (reading). But, I think it's going to be pretty much right on the money," said Klingenberg.

Rubio was driving a 2013 Chrysler 300 when he crashed. Eyewitness News also reached out to the car's maker, which stated the black box readings are "an accurate clear reading of what the vehicle is doing."

The black boxes will be mandatory in all new vehicles starting next year.