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U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
Washington, D.C.


NHTSA 27-04
Thursday, June 10, 2004
Contact: Tim Hurd
Telephone: (202) 366-9550

NHTSA Proposes Requirements
For Voluntarily Installed Event Data Recorders

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today proposed standard requirements for Event Data Recorders (EDR) that manufacturers choose to install in light vehicles. The proposed rule would not require the installation of EDRs.

"EDRs are in most new vehicles and are already providing valuable safety information for our crash investigators and researchers," said NHTSA Administrator Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D. "We hope that eventually this crash information will be available in real time to emergency medical systems and physicians to improve trauma care after a crash."

NHTSA is proposing, beginning in September 2008, to: (1) require that the EDRs voluntarily installed in light vehicles record a minimum set of specified data elements useful for crash investigations; (2) specify requirements for that data; (3) increase the survivability of the EDRs and their data by requiring that they function during and after  front, side and rear crash tests; (4) require vehicle manufacturers to make publicly available information that would enable crash investigators to retrieve data from the EDR; and (5) require vehicle manufacturers to include a brief, standardized statement in the owner's manual indicating that the vehicle is equipped with an EDR and describing the purposes of EDRs.

An EDR is an electronic device that detects a crash and records certain information for several seconds of time before, during and after a crash.  For instance, an EDR may record pre-crash data, such as impact speed, forces on the vehicle during the crash, safety belt use and air bag performance and allow activation of an automatic collision notification to emergency medical personnel.

NHTSA first began EDR studies after a 1997 recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board. The agency's studies of the EDR records of more than 2000 crashes led to today's proposal. 

Out of the approximately 200 million light vehicles in the US, NHTSA estimates that 15 percent of the vehicle fleet (30 million cars, pickups, vans, sport utility vehicles and multi-purpose vehicles) are equipped with EDRs that can be easily read, and that between 65 and 90 percent of new light vehicle models will be equipped with EDRs.

NHTSA will accept comments on this notice of proposed rulemaking for the next 60 days. Written comments concerning it should be sent to the DOT Docket Facility, Attn: Docket No. NHTSA 2004-18029, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh St., S.W., Washington, D.C., 20590-0001, or faxed to (202) 493-2251. The notice also will be available for viewing on the NHTSA website or at Comments may also be submitted electronically via this Web site.

U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
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Washington, DC 20590
1-800-424-9153 (TTY)