The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (www.nhtsa.gov) has ordered automakers to tell new car buyers if an Event Data Recorder (EDR) has been installed in their vehicle. The rule is effective with model year 2011 cars. According to NHTSA, approximately 64% of model year 2005 passenger vehicles came equipped with an EDR.
NHTSA’s new rule includes requirements designed to ensure that EDR data can be used to improve highway safety. EDRs must be made more durable to protect data during a crash, for example, and automakers must all collect the same type of crash data. NHTSA believes that having access to uniform crash information from EDRs will help investigators recreate crash scenes to determine causes.
NHTSA plans to collect EDR data from vehicle owners who are willing to share it, and the agency will use that data to support the development of new safety regulations. The agency said it expects the new rule to enhance the value of automatic crash notification systems, including the Enhanced 911 emergency response system currently under development, by making it easier for vehicles equipped with automatic crash notification features to provide accurate and immediate information to emergency personnel.
The new federal regulation will apply to all passenger vehicles and light trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 8,500 pounds or less. NHTSA will evaluate EDR use in larger vehicles. The notice is available at http://nhtsa.gov/EDRFinalRule_Aug2006.pdf