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Authorities haven’t yet pulled information from ‘black box’ of SUV Tiger Woods was driving

Posted on Thursday, April 1st, 2021

Originally posted by Scott Johnson for News4Jax.com

Attorney who specializes in trucking litigation says he’s certain event data recorder will be analyzed in crash involving golf star

One critical component of the SUV that Tiger Woods was driving when he crashed Tuesday in California will likely be analyzed as authorities investigate the accident.

The evidence of why the Genesis GV80 crashed into a median and rolled over might be stored in a device in the bowels of the SUV called the event data recorder, or electronic data recorder. It’s a device found in almost every car that is similar in concept to an airplane’s black box but is a lower-tech version.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Wednesday that the department hasn’t yet pulled information from the SUV’s event data recorder.

The device can reveal things like what speed Woods was driving and whether he turned the steering wheel in the seconds before the crash.

“It’ll have the speed, whether there was any brake application, the percentage of throttle being given, whether a seat belt was worn,” said attorney Stefano Portigliatti, who specializes in trucking litigation at Coker Law.

Portigliatti knows all about analyzing these devices in crash lawsuits, and he said he’s certain it will be analyzed in Wood’s case — but likely wouldn’t be in a similar crash with a private citizen.

“The interest in learning what happened wouldn’t be there (if it wasn’t Woods),” Portigliatti said.

Portigliatti said things like whether Tiger turned his wheel abruptly before the crash could be critical.

“Tells you what happened first. Was there a certain brake? And then a swerve and then somebody swerving to avoid something and then braking to try to adjust or regain control?” he said.

As far as accessing the device, it’s usually done in the port below the steering column — in the same area where you get your check engine light checked. Portigliatti said you will likely never have it accessed unless you’re in a crash where there’s some sort of dispute about who’s at fault.

The deputy who first showed up at the scene of the crash involving Woods said the golf star was wearing a seat belt, which likely saved his life.

Authorities said there was no evidence of drugs or alcohol. The sheriff said it was “purely an accident” on a downhill section of road known for crashes.