EDR Research

Research Sources:
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Office of Technology Assessment
  • National Transportation Safety Board
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
  • Federal Highway Administration
  • National Academies of Science Transportation Research Board
  • National Cooperative Highway Research Program
  • Society of Automotive Engineers
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  • Enhanced Safety Vehicle Conference
  • Docket Management System
  • American Trucking Associations - The Maintenance Council
  • State Initiatives
  • Universities & Colleges
  • Vehicle and aftermarket Manufacturers
  • Global Initiatives - Europe, Asia, Australia
Research Reports
  • Preliminary Evaluation of Advanced Air Bag Field Performance using Event Data Recorders
    by H. Clay Gabler (Virginia Tech), Craig P. Thor (Virginia Tech), and John Hinch (NHTSA), August 2008, DOT HS 811 01

    ABSTRACT: This report describes a preliminary evaluation of the field performance of occupant restraint systems designed with advanced air bag features including those specified in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208 for advanced air bags, through the use of event data recorders. Although advanced restraint systems have been extensively tested in the laboratory, we are only beginning to understand the performance of these systems in the field. Because EDRs record many of the inputs to the advanced air bag control module, these devices can provide unique insights into the characteristics of field performance of air bags. This research program investigates the feasibility of using EDR data to evaluate advanced air bags. Specifically, this report discusses (1) the development of an expanded EDR dataset based on data retrieved from NASS/CDS 2005, SCI, and CIREN in-depth crash investigations, (2) the validation of the accuracy of EDRs in full-scale crash tests, and (3) the feasibility of using EDRs to monitor the performance of advanced air bag restraints in real-world crashes


    Final Report [PDF]

  • Analysis of Event Data Recorder Data for Vehicle Safety Improvement
    by Marco P. daSilva, Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (VRTC), Cambridge, MA., April 2008, DOT HS 810 935 Analysis of Event Data Recorder Data for Vehicle Safety Improvement

    ABSTRACT: The Volpe Center performed a comprehensive engineering analysis of Event Data Recorder (EDR) data supplied by NHTSA to assess its accuracy and usefulness in crash reconstruction and improvement of vehicle safety systems.  The Volpe Center gathered and analyzed 2,541 EDR files downloaded from the National Automotive Sampling System (NASS), Special Crash Investigations (SCI), and Crash Injury Research & Engineering Network (CIREN) databases supplied by NHTSA.  The analyses focused on EDR file format and potential improvements, assessment of crash types where EDR data exists, review of EDR data for accuracy and completeness, EDR data comparisons with existing crash data, review of pre-crash, crash, and post-crash data for usefulness in better understanding the crash reconstruction, identification of error sources, and determination of methods by which researchers could use the EDR data to improve their crash case information. The results of the engineering analysis show that EDR data can objectively report real-world crash data and therefore be a powerful investigative and research tool, by providing very useful information to crash reconstructionists and vehicle safety researchers.  Due to significant limitations however, EDR data should always be used in conjunction with other data sources.
Final Report [PDF]
  • National Cooperative Highway Research Program Research Project Statement, Project 17-24, FY 2002 Use of Event Data Recorder Technology for Roadside Crash Data Analysis

    ABSTRACT: An important function of the Transportation Research Board is the stimulation of research toward the solution of problems facing the transportation community. One of the techniques employed by technical committees in support of this function is the identification of problems, and the development and dissemination of research problem statements. The aim of this activity is to provide information to governmental agencies, research institutes, industry, the academic community and others in allocating scarce resources to the solution of transportation problems. There is a critical need to obtain accurate and reliable real-world crash data to improve vehicle and highway safety. The use of event data recorder information has the ability to profoundly affect roadside safety. EDRs are capable of capturing vehicle dynamics data, such as vehicle speed; lateral and longitudinal acceleration-time histories; principal direction of force on the vehicle; the status of braking, steering, seat belt usage, and air bag deployment; and other valuable crash information. This represents a new source of objective data for the highway and vehicle safety community because it will provide a real-world connection between controlled test results and actual field performance of vehicles and highway design features. EDRs have the potential to capture a large number of crash-related and other data elements for a wide range of users with different data needs. The data elements related to improving vehicle safety and driver performance are being used, but little has been done to apply the data elements to roadside safety analysis. Research can identify data elements relevant to roadside safety and improve methods to retrieve, store, and access these data.(Source: Transportation Research Board)
Project Statement
Final Report
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Press Release Announcing World's First Automotive Black Box Standard (9/28/04)

ABSTRACT: Driven by a lack of uniform scientific crash data needed to make vehicle and highway transportation safer and reduce fatalities, the IEEE has created IEEE 1616, the first universal standard for motor vehicle event data recorders (MVEDRs) much like those that monitor crashes on aircraft and trains.

Sponsor: IEEE Vehicular Technology/Land Transportation

Title: IEEE 1616: Standard for Motor Vehicle Event Data Recorders (MVEDRs)

Status: Approved Publication of IEEE, Published Date: Dec 10, 2004

Contact: For non technical questions, including pricing, availability and ordering, please contact IEEE Customer Service at 800-678-IEEE (in the U.S.and Canada); or 732-981-0060 (outside the U.S. and Canada); or send a detail email to customer- service@ieee.org. To purchase this standard, or for pricing and availability go to http://shop.ieee.org/ieeestore and type in the standard number.

History: PAR APP: Dec. 06, 2001, BD APP: Sept. 23, 2004

Project scope: Motor Vehicle Event Data Recorders (MVEDRs) collect, record, store and export data related to motor vehicle pre-defined events. This standard defines a protocol for MVEDR output data compatibility and export protocols of MVEDR data elements. This standard does not prescribe which specific data elements shall be recorded, or how the data are to be collected, recorded and stored. It is applicable to event data recorders for all types of motor vehicles licensed to operate on public roadways, whether offered as original or aftermarket equipment, whether stand-alone or integrated within the vehicle.

Project purpose: Many light-duty motor vehicles, and increasing numbers of heavy commercial vehicles, are equipped with some form of MVEDR. These systems, which are designed and produced by individual motor vehicle manufacturers and component suppliers, are diverse in function, and proprietary in nature. The continuing implementation of MVEDR systems provides an opportunity to voluntarily standardize data output and retrieval protocols to facilitate analysis and promote compatibility of MVEDR data. Adoption of the standard will therefore make MVEDR data more accessible and useful to end users.

Press Release FULL DOCUMENT

  • ITSC 2004 -- Automotive Black Box Panel - All Things Considered, 7th International IEEE Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems, October 3-6, Washington, DC.

ABSTRACT: This presentation provides an overview of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association Motor Vehicle Event Data Recorder Standards Initiatives. It also provides insight on this emerging technology from the perspective of a panel of experts from government, industry and advocates.

Link: http://www.itsc2004.org/

  • Society of Automotive Engineers Standards

Document Number: J1698 - Vehicle Event Data Interface - Vehicular Output Data Definition (December 2003)

Scope: This recommended practice aims to establish a common format for displaying and presenting crash-related data recorded and stored within certain electronic components currently installed in many light-duty vehicles. This recommended practice pertains only to the post-download format of such data and is not intended to standardize the format of the data stored within any on-board storage unit, or to standardize the method of data recording, storing, or extraction. Historically, crash data recording technology in light-duty vehicles has developed and evolved based on differing technical needs of manufacturers and their customers without industry standards or government regulation. As a result, wide variations currently exist among vehicle manufacturers regarding the scope and extent of recorded data. For this reason, this recommended practice is not intended to standardize or mandate the recording of any specific data element or to specify a minimum data set. Rather, it is intended to be a compilation of data elements and parameters that various manufacturers are currently recording, as well as those elements reasonably predicted to be recorded in the foreseeable future, and to establish a common format for display and presentation of that data so recorded. This version of the recommended practice is limited in application to vehicular data recorded in single frontal-impact events. Provisions for multiple-impact events may be included in the next version. Side-impact and rollover events may be addressed at a later time.

Document Number: J1698/1 - Vehicle Event Data Interface Vehicular Output Data Definition

Scope: This document is part of the J1698 document family, and provides the definitions for event-related data items.

Document Number: J1698/2 - Vehicle Event Data Interface-Vehicular Data Extraction (May 2004)

Scope: This Recommended Practice is intended to define a common method for determining how to extract Event Data from a motor vehicle, including the Event Data Set needed to output the Event Record of data elements defined in SAE J 1698. It is intended for use by those developing tools for the purpose of Event Data Set extraction. This Recommended Practices aims to utilize existing industry standards to define a common physical interface and the protocols necessary to Event Data Set extraction. To accomplish this, the SAE J 1962 Diagnostics Connector has been designed the primary physical interface and associated industry standard diagnostic protocols have been designated for communications.

Link: http://www.sae.org

  • NHTSA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking - Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards - Event Data Recorders - Document NHTSA-2004-18029-2 06/14/04

ABSTRACT: This proposal addresses event data recorders that record safety information about motor vehicles involved in crashes. Manufacturers have been voluntarily installing EDRs as standard equipment in increasingly larger numbers of light vehicles in recent years. They are now being installed in the vast majority of new vehicles. The information collected by EDRs aids investigations of the causes of crashes and injuries, and makes it possible to better define and address safety problems. The information can be used to improve motor vehicle safety systems and standards. As the use and capabilities of EDRs increase, opportunities for additional safety benefits, especially with regard to emergency medical treatment, may become available. We are not presently proposing to require the installation of EDRs in any motor vehicles. We are proposing to (1) require that the EDRs voluntarily installed in light vehicles record a minimum set of specified data elements useful for crash investigations, analysis of the performance of safety equipment, e.g., advanced restraint systems, and automatic collision notification systems; (2) specify requirements for data format; (3) increase the survivability of the EDRs and their data by requiring that the EDRs function during and after the front, side and rear vehicle crash tests specified in several Federal motor vehicle safety standards; (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.

FULL DOCUMENT

  • NHTSA Request for Comments Regarding--Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards -- Event Data Recorders -- Document NHTSA-2002-13546-1 10/11/02

    ABSTRACT: Over the past several years, NHTSA has been actively involved with Event Data Recorders (EDRs) in motor vehicles. EDRs collect vehicle and occupant based crash information. The agency's involvement has included sponsoring two working groups, using data from EDRs in crash investigations, and conducting research and development. Particularly since the two working groups have completed their work, we request comments on what future role the agency should take related to the continued development and installation of EDRs in motor vehicles.
    FULL DOCUMENT 
  • EDRs - Summary of Findings - NHTSA EDR Working Group (8/01)

    ABSTRACT: This report documents the findings of the Event Data Recorder (EDR) working group established by the NHTSA's Motor Vehicle Safety Research Advisory Committee. In 1997, the National Transportation Safety Board issued recommendations to pursue vehicle crash information-gathering using event data recorders. In early 1998, NHTSA's Office of Research and Development launched a new effort to form a working group comprised of industry, academia, and governmental organizations. The members of the working group participated in the forum to study the state-of-the-art of EDRs. Meetings were held on a regular basis, culminating in this EDR findings report.

    The following selected findings present the highlights of the report:

  1. EDRs have the potential to greatly improve highway safety, for example, by improving occupant protection systems and improving the accuracy of crash reconstructions.
  2. EDR technology has potential safety applications for all classes of motor vehicles.
  3. A wide range of crash-related and other data elements have been identified which might usefully be captured by future EDR systems.
  4. NHTSA has incorporated EDR data collection in its motor vehicle research databases.
  5. Open access to EDR data (minus personal identifiers) will benefit researchers, crash investigators, and manufacturers in improving safety on the highways.
  6. of EDRs in Europe and the U.S. have shown that driver and employee awareness of an onboard EDR reduces the number and severity of crashes.
  7. Given the differing nature of cars, vans, SUVs, and other lightweight vehicles, compared to heavy trucks, school buses, and motor coaches, different EDR systems may be required to meet the needs of each vehicle class.
  8. The degree of benefit from EDRs is directly related to the number of vehicles operating with an EDR and the current infrastructure's ability to use and assimilate this data.
  9. Automatic crash notification (ACN) systems integrate the on-board crash sensing and EDR technology with other electronic systems, such as global positioning systems and cellular telephones, to provide early notification of the occurrence, nature, and location of a serious collision.
  10. Most systems use proprietary technology and require the manufacturer to download and analyze the data.
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  • NHTSA Event Data Recorders Summary of Findings by the NHTSA EDR Working Group, Volume II: Supplemental Findings for Trucks, Motor coaches, and School Buses, May 2002 Final Report DOT HS 809 432

ABSTRACT: Event Data Recorders (EDRs) are devices that record information related to highway vehicle crash. EDRs could have a major impact on highway safety, assisting in real-world data collection, better defining the auto safety problem, aiding law enforcement in understanding the specific aspects of a crash. This report summarizes the activities and findings of the NHTSA sponsored Truck and Bus Event Data Recorder Working Group (T&B EDR WG).

The T&B EDR WG focused its findings in three areas: data elements, survivability of the EDR data, and discussion on when data should be collected. Twenty-eight data elements were highlighted for inclusion in EDRs. These were subdivided as follows: 13 Priority 1 elements, 13Priority 2 elements, and 2 optional elements. Based on input from the WG members, manufacturers should focus on collecting the Priority 1 data elements and include Priority 2 data elements only as sensors to measure these characteristics become more commonplace, or as technology develops that would make them more feasible for large vehicles.

The T&B EDR WG felt that technology was now sufficiently developed for the two optional data elements, but chose not to include them at this time. The T&B EDR WG assessed the need for EDR data survivability and event description. They found that typical highway-vehicle crash characteristics were different from other modes, such as airplanes and trains, and as such, found that a unique set of survivability requirements were needed.

Generally, the T&B EDR WG found that EDR data should be collected when a substantial crash occurs, and thus advised that triggering the EDR should occur when the vehicle’s deceleration exceeded 2-4 g. In the process of developing the data elements, survivability, and event description findings, the T&B EDR WG felt the need for some research effort in certain areas. These areas have been identified. In the current fleet of large vehicles, very few employ EDR technology. Summary findings include: 1) EDRs have the potential to greatly improve truck, motor coach, and school bus vehicle safety, 2) Many manufacturers of engines for use in large vehicles have included memory modules in the engine’s electronic control unit (ECU) that collect vehicle data, and 3) Manufacturers of aftermarket EDRs have had limited success in deploying EDR technology into large vehicle fleets.

FULL DOCUMENT:

  • Performance of Selected Event Data Recorders

    ABSTRACT: This report describes the findings of a study to compare the performance of selected event data recorders in recording the crash environment for severe impact conditions.
FULL DOCUMENT File: 67KB 
  • Air Bag Crash Investigations (18th ESV paper)

ABSTRACT: The performance of occupant protection systems, especially air bags, is of high interest to NHTSA. Since 1972, NHTSA has operated a Special Crash Investigations (SCI) program, which provides the agency with the flexibility to acquire detailed engineering information quickly on high visibility traffic crashes of special interest. The SCI collects in-depth crash data on new and rapidly changing technologies in real world crashes. NHTSA uses the data collected in this program and others to evaluate rulemaking actions. The data are also used by the automotive industry and other organizations to evaluate the performance of motor vehicle occupant protection systems such as air bags. This paper presents information from NHTSA's SCI program concerning crash investigations on air bag equipped vehicles. The paper provides information on data collection and findings in the NHTSA-sponsored air bag crash investigations, updating and expanding findings from the 17th Enhanced Safety of Vehicles paper “Air Bag Crash Investigations” by Chidester and Roston [Ref. 3]. Topics include air bag-related fatalities as a whole and by certification status; physical characteristics of occupants fatally injured by a deploying air bag; and an overview of special case studies available on NHTSA’s Web site.

FULL DOCUMENT

  • Assessing the Safety Benefit of Automatic Collision Avoidance Systems (18th ESV Paper)

ASTRACT: Throughout the last decade a number of advanced system concepts for improving safety, efficiency, environmental compatibility and comfort of driving have emerged. One of these, Automatic Collision Avoidance Systems (ACAS) aims to help drivers avoid accidents by alerting them to a potential collision and initiating braking. This paper assesses the safety effects of ACAS by examining driver response during emergency braking situations.

FULL DOCUMENT

  • Change of Velocity and Crash Pulse Characteristics in Rear Impacts: Real-World Data and Vehicle Tests (18th ESV Paper)

ASTRACT: Impact severity in collisions that can cause soft-tissue neck injuries are most commonly specified in terms of change of velocity. However, it has been shown from real-world collisions that mean acceleration influences the risk of these injuries. For a given change of velocity this means an increased risk for shorter duration of the crash pulse. Furthermore, dummy response in crash tests has shown to vary depending on the duration of the crash pulse for a given change of velocity. The range of duration for change of velocities suggested for sled tests that evaluate the protection of the seat from soft-tissue neck injuries are still to be established. The aim of this study was to quantify the variation of duration of the crash pulse for vehicles impacted from the rear at change of velocities suggested in test methods that evaluate the protection from soft-tissue neck injuries. Crash pulses from the same vehicle models from different generations in real-world collisions producing a similar change of velocity were also analyzed. The results from the crash tests show that similar changes of velocity can be generated with various durations of crash pulses for a given change of velocity in rear impacts. The results from real-world collisions showed that a similar change of velocity was generated with various durations and shapes of crash pulses for the same vehicle model.

FULL DOCUMENT

  • Combining Crash Recorder and Paired Comparison Techniques: Injury Risk Functions in Frontal and Rear-End Impacts with Special Reference to Neck Injuries (18th ESV Paper)

ASTRACT:   Knowledge from real-world crashes is important in the design of a crashworthy road transportation system. Such design must be based on the human injury tolerance limits. Links between impact severity and injury outcome are important and could be used in order to achieve such tolerance limits. Traditionally impact severity has been calculated with retrospective reconstruction technique, although recently, injury risk functions have been presented where impact severity has been measured with crash pulse recorders. The aims of this paper were to present injury risk functions, with special reference to neck injuries, calculated with crash recorder and paired comparison technique, and to propose a way of combining the two methods. By combining comprehensive statistical material with in depth crash recorder information, injury risk functions for injuries to different body regions were established. Risk functions for AIS1 neck injuries both in frontal and rear-end impacts have also been established. It was found that the data from the crash pulse recorder generated risk functions could be used to validate and calibrate risk functions based on the matched-paired technique. Moreover, it was found that the shape of the injury risk curves differed significantly for injuries to different body regions. It was also found that the neck injury risk differed significantly for frontal and rear-end impacts. It is concluded, that adding new techniques to the existing techniques based on reconstruction can further refine generating risk functions. The injury risks found are important for the understanding of injury tolerance limits for injuries to different body regions, but also for the understanding of injury mechanisms for different injury types.

FULL DOCUMENT

  • Crash Pulse Modeling for Vehicle Safety Research (18th ESV Paper)

ASTRACT: Computer simulation, component testing, and sled tests often require the generation of suitable, derived acceleration time histories to define a collision event. These time histories have shape, amplitude, and duration characteristics. Suitable, derived acceleration time histories should be based on a particular vehicle’s response in a staged full-scale crash test. A staged crash test includes instrumentation in order to measure acceleration time histories, force time histories and other engineering parameters. Analytical techniques are developed to derive acceleration time histories at different collision severities based on the measured acceleration time history in a particular crash test.

FULL DOCUMENT

  • Continuously Predicting Crash Severity (18th ESV Paper)

ASTRACT: In this paper we describe a preliminary version of a frontal impact crash sensing algorithm capable of continuously predicting the severity of a crash in real time. This kind of algorithms could be used to control an air bag system with a variable output inflator, which supplies a variable amount of gas into the air bag on demand. The algorithm consists of two parts linked in series. The first part categorizes the class of an event. The second part predicts the severity of the crash using a function of the occupant free flight displacement and time. Linear regression and neural network analyses were performed separately to determine the coefficients for the severity function of each crash mode. The algorithm was implemented in Simulink and validated with test data. While both analyses achieved reasonably good correlation between the severity of each event and its corresponding severity function, the neural network analysis generally provided a better correlation.

FULL DOCUMENT

  • Estimating Crash Severity: Can Event Data Recorders Replace Accident Reconstruction? (18th ESV Paper)

ASTRACT: The primary description of crash severity in most crash databases is vehicle delta-v. Delta-v has been traditionally estimated through crash reconstruction techniques using computer codes, e.g. Crash3 and WinSmash. Unfortunately, delta-v is notoriously difficult to estimate in many types of collisions including sideswipes, collisions with narrow objects, angled side impacts, and rollovers. Indeed, approximately 50 percent of all delta-v estimates in the National Automotive Sampling System / Crashworthiness Data System (NASS/CDS) 2000 are reported as unknown. The event data recorders now being installed as standard equipment by several automakers, have the potential to provide an independent measurement of crash severity, which avoids many of the difficulties of crash reconstruction techniques. This paper evaluates the feasibility of replacing delta-v estimates from crash reconstruction with the delta-v computed from EDRs. The analysis is based on 225 NASS/CDS cases from 1999 - 2001, which have corresponding EDR data sets. The potential of extracting manual seat belt use from EDRs is also discussed and compared with the corresponding results from NASS/CDS gathered by crash investigators. Although EDRs are expected to greatly enhance the investigation of a crash, it should be noted however that current EDRs are not perfect. The paper discusses the limitations of current EDR technology and the need for enhancement of future event data recorders.

FULL DOCUMENT

  • Large-Truck Crash Causation Study in the United States (18th ESV Paper)

ASTRACT: The United States Department of Transportation has been conducting a major study on the causes of large-truck crashes. An unprecedented database containing highly detailed data (over 1,000 data elements) on 1,000 serious large-truck crashes is being created. When completed, it will be the most comprehensive database on large-truck crashes in existence. The database will be made widely available to researchers around the world. This paper will describe the many pieces of information in the database and the countless uses of the data. Specific examples will be discussed that illustrate the richness, depth, quality, and the variety of the data. The paper will also discuss the methods being used to capture and describe the contributing factors and the events that led up to each crash, as well as illustrate the added value of collecting data on-scene, immediately after the crash.

FULL DOCUMENT

  • IEEE-Standards Association Project 1616 Report: Summary of Swedish Research Using Crash Recorder Data (12-04-02)

ABSTRACT: During the ninth IEEE Project 1616 meeting conducted December 3-4 in McLean, VA, Dr. Robert Thompson and Helen Fagerlind, from the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, gave a presentation. This research shows that where the EDR is mounted in the vehicle is important as different mounting locations will produce different "crash signatures."

FULL DOCUMENT

Vetronix CDR Information

ABSTRACT: Vetronix manufactures and sells tools to download EDR data from many vehicles. To answer questions related to their tools and applications, this is being provided on the EDR Web site. The United States Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. See: www.vetronix.com
  • "Speed Racers": Study to Monitor Driver Behavior to Determine the Role of Speed in Crashes

    ABSTRACT: The Georgia Institute of Technology's Drive Atlanta study, which began in the spring of 2000, got into full swing in early 2002 when technicians began installation of event data recorders and telecommunications equipment in the cars of 1,100 metro drivers randomly recruited by researchers. Researchers expect that equipment installation in participating vehicles will be completed by the summer of 2002. In exchange for their participation, drivers have been assured of the privacy of data collected from their vehicles, and given the benefits of a vehicle theft-tracking system and automated 911 notification in the event of a crash.
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  • A Report to Congress on Electronic Control Module Technology for Use in Recording Vehicle Parameters During a Crash.
ABSTRACT: In February 2002, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration submitted its Report to Congress on Electronic Control Module Technology for Use in Recording Vehicle Parameters During a Crash. The report responds to the FY2000 Senate Appropriations Committee request, Senate Report 106-55, dated May 27, 1999, that the agency work with interested parties to explore a standard of protocol for relevant operational data to be recorded on electronic control modules in trucks, and for access to that data. Among the findings are standards of protocol that should be considered for controlling access to the data. These include: (1) vehicle owner at any given time should own the collected data, and (2) the storage and retrieval of such data must protect the privacy rights of individuals in accordance with Federal and State laws.

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  • Advanced Air Bag Technology Assessment; JPL Publication 98-3; April 1998.

ABSTRACT: In 1997, NHTSA, under a joint agreement with NASA's Jet propulsion Laboratory and NHTSA, contracted with JPL to evaluate air bag performance, establish the technological potential for improved air bag systems, and identify key expertise and technology within NASA that can potentially contribute significantly to the improved effectiveness of air bags. In the final report on this project, JPL recommended (see number six) that NHTSA investigate event data recorders.

References:

Phen, R.L., et al. 1998. Advanced Air Bag Technology Assessment. Pasadena, Calif.: Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

  • Real World Experience with Event Data Recorders

    ABSTRACT: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration acquires detailed engineering information on new and rapidly changing technologies in real-world crashes utilizing the National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System (NASS CDS), Special Crash Investigations (SCI) and Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) programs. The data are used by NHTSA, the automotive industry, and consumer groups to evaluate the performance of motor vehicles in crashes. Currently, the primary metric used to represent crash severity in NHTSA programs in the delta in velocity (delta-v). The principle source for the delta-v estimates in the NHTSA programs is a computer algorithm. The reconstruction computer program has a number of limitations. As a result, only about 38 percent of the NASS cases have reported DV. Beginning with its 1994 model year vehicles, General Motors began producing a fleet of vehicles that recorded the DV. With the assistance of GM, SCI began collecting the DV from these vehicles' Event Data Recorders (EDR) on crashes of special interest to the Agency. In early 2000, a commercially available tool to read the output from General Motors vehicles' event data recorders became publicly available. NHTSA has implemented 50 of these units into their field data collection. In 2000, NHTSA and Ford Motor Company initiated a collaborative effort to perform case-by-case evaluation of the real world performance of Ford's advanced occupant protection technologies. Particularly noteworthy is the technical analysis of the information relating to occupant status, severity assessment and deployment control in researching crashes with advanced occupant protection systems. NHTSA is expanding its databases to allow event data to be stored. For the 2000 data collection year, variables were added to NASS to identify if a vehicle is equipped with an on board recorder and, if data was downloaded. Additionally, an open-format field was provided for recording the data collected. Future enhancement will include the automation of all EDR output. This paper will present information from NHTSA's NASS and SCI data collection programs concerning crash investigations of vehicles equipped with event data recorders. The focus of the paper will be to provide information on specific findings from the event data recorder compared to the physical evidence and computer reconstruction models. (Source: Augustus Chidester; John Hinch; Thomas A. Roston; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, United States of America; Paper Number 247)

    FULL DOCUMENT    

  • Real-World Experience with Event Data Recorders - Presentation

    ABSTRACT: Event Data Recording Topics

  • EDR Working Group EDR Field Data Collection
  • Future EDR Programs at NHTSA
(Source: Augustus Chidester, John A. Hinch, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

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  • Lumina Civic Crash - A Case Study in Offset Frontal Collision
ABSTRACT: This PowerPoint presentation looks at a crash between a 1998 Chevy Lumina 4-door and a 1999 Honda Civic 2-door. It notes specific details of the accident, the drivers, their injuries, the vehicle statistics, the accident situation and dynamics, and the data from the accident recorders. Many photos of the crash site, the vehicles and the damage they sustained are included. A listing of injuries and their severity for each driver is also included. (Source: Source: Ford, Inova Fairfax Hospital CIREN Team)

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  • Recording Automotive Crash Event Data - Presentation No.5
ABSTRACT: This 32 slide PowerPoint presentation, presented at the National Transportation Safety Board Symposium on Recorders on May 5th, 1999, discusses the need for collecting real-world crash data in order to improve safety. Also noted are concerns of privacy, potential uses of crash data, a comparison of accident data collected by an EDR versus standard practices, and a look at the GM EDR system and its data collected, via an example. Finally, a MVSRAC objectives analysis is presented. (Source: NHTSA, May 5, 1999, National Transportation Safety Board Symposium on Recorders)

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  • Black Box Study Shows a Reduction in the Number of Accidents
ABSTRACT: The goal of the study (R-97-8) was to investigate whether if road safety could actually be increased by creating the possibility of confronting drivers when necessary with objective data about their own driving behavior being recorded by telematic monitoring devices mounted inside their vehicles. For this purpose, a study would monitor whether using this feedback mechanism would result in fewer and/or less severe road traffic accidents in actual everyday experience.

FULL DOCUMENT
  • Crash Pulse Recorders for Impact Severity and Injury Risk Assessments in Real-Life Frontal Impacts
ABSTRACT: The general objectives of this thesis were to study the importance of valid and reliable data from real-life collisions, especially the effects of inaccurate data on analyses of leg injury risks. Furthermore an objective was to develop and validate an on-board measurement device for acceleration measurements, to be used in reconstructions of primarily frontal impacts. The final objective was to conduct a large fleet field study to evaluate parameters influencing injury risks in real-life frontal car collisions. Neck injuries in frontal impacts, and frontal impacts with small partial overlap were examined more in depth. (Source: Kullgren, Anders; Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet)

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  • Utilizing Data from Automotive Event Data Recorders
ABSTRACT: In March of 2000, Vetronix Corporation unveiled a Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) system that allows users to download data from certain GM vehicles subjected to a crash event involving the deployment or near deployment of an air bag. The recording of crash event data is a by-product of the introduction of air bags and the need to measure or sense the severity of a crash by automobile manufacturers. GM has been using a sensing and diagnostic module (SDM) to measure crash severity since 1994 and started recording pre-crash data, such as vehicle speed, engine rpm, throttle position, and brake status with some 1999 model year vehicles. This paper reviews the evolution of automatic recoding devices in transportation, including the automatic EDR. The recording and retrieval of data in the GM and Vetronix system are examined with particular attention on using the data for accident reconstruction purposes. Twelve low-speed tests investigate the current threshold and sensitivity for recording data, while five case studies investigate the usefulness and limitations of the recorded data. (Source: Joe T. Correia, Ken A. Iliadis, Ed S. McCarron, Mario A. Smolej, Hastings, Boulding, Correia Consulting Engineers)

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  • The Use of Event Data Recorders in the Analysis of Real-World Crashes
ABSTRACT: Event data recorders are installed on many late-model cars and light trucks as an adjunct to air bag sensing and control systems. These devices offer tremendous potential to traffic safety researchers, affording access to a wealth of new data, enabling better understanding of on-road traffic safety issues, and providing opportunities for the development of new and effective countermeasures. The authors report on a series of test programs and pilot studies of collisions involving vehicles equipped with event data recorders. These include instrumented crash-tests which can be used to validate the quantitative results obtained from onboard recorders, and in-depth investigations of real world collisions where results obtained using standard reconstruction techniques can be compared to the electronic data relating to crash severity. Our current studies also include an evaluation of pre-crash factors involved in real-world situations, based on in-depth investigation techniques, detailed occupant interviews, and analysis of a variety of pre-crash data elements obtained from event data recorders in collision-involved vehicles. A lack of standardization as to the nature of the data recorded, the formats in which it is currently stored, the proprietary means by which data can be retrieved, and concerns relating to individual privacy, may provide substantial roadblocks to wide data accessibility. It is imperative therefore, that the traffic safety community considers the utility of these data systems at an early stage, and actively champions their further development and use if they are seen to be beneficial to the cause of furthering safe transportation. (Source: Alan German, Jean-Louis Comeau, Brian Monk, Road Safety and Motor Vehicle Regulation Directorate Transport Canada; Kevin J. McClafferty, Paul F. Tiessen, Multi-Disciplinary Accident Research Team University of Western Ontario; Joseph Chan, Transportation Centre University of Saskatchewan)

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  • Breed's Sensing Diagnostic Module (SDM)

ABSTRACT: Breed is a leader in the design, development, and manufacture of automotive safety systems and components. The company's core product divisions - Air bags inflators, seatbelts, steering wheels, and electronics - reflect its commitment to developing and producing world-class occupant safety systems. Breed's Sensing Diagnostic Module (SDM) is a single point electronic crash sensor with circuitry that implements the company's proprietary crash recognition algorithm. (Source: Breed, http://www.breedtech.com/products/SDM.html)

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  • Delphi - Accident Data Recorder 2
ABSTRACT: This two-page product announcement/advertisement provides a general product description, additional key features statistics, and drawings with dimensions. (Source: Delphi Automotive Systems)

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  • ComCARE ACN System
ABSTRACT: Thousands of Americans die each year and far more suffer severe and lasting injuries because emergency responders do not know when an auto crash or medical incident has occurred. Precious minutes and lives are lost because emergency responders cannot automatically locate a wireless 911 caller or dispatch appropriate emergency care. New technologies exist that can save minutes and lives. Automatic Crash Notification (ACN) is the next major advancement in auto safety. Telecommunications, automotive, and location technologies are converging to quickly and automatically notify emergency responders as soon as a vehicle is in a serious collision. ACN systems use wireless telecommunication technologies to immediately alert a private emergency call center when a passenger presses the car's Mayday button or the car's air bag deploys.

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  • Indy Race Cars Equipped with Crash Data Recorders to Improve Safety

    ABSTRACT: Not many of us make our living driving an automobile 220+ miles per hour, for hours at a time, in a high-speed, high-stakes, high-risk racing competition. But for those of us who do, the issues of safety, protection, and survivability in the event of a crash or mishap are important ones. This year for the first time Indy race cars are being equipped with onboard crash recorders for use during time trials and actual races. The Instrumented Sensor Technology, Inc.(IST) model EDR-3 environmental data recorder was selected by the GM Motorsports Technology Group late last year for installation on all 1993 Indy cars. The recorders were widely used on most Indy cars for the first time during the Indianapolis 500 race in May 1993. They are now being used regularly in all subsequent Indy car races, including the recent Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle, Michigan. The recorder was originally designed for environmental measurement of packaging/handling shock, drop, and vibration.

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  • RAMTRON
ABSTRACT: In essence FRAM is a nonvolatile RAM. Ferro-electric random access memories (FRAM) are proprietary high-performance semiconductors that retain information even when power is lost. Many believe it is the ideal memory device for a multitude of applications. FRAM has the speed of DRAM and SRAM, and unlike those memories, it needs no battery power to store data. FRAM is nonvolatile like a ROM (read-only) technology. However, ROM- based technologies such as EEPROM and Flash are very slow to write, wear out after being written a small number of times, and use a large amount of power to write. FRAM writes faster, has higher endurance, and virtually never wears out.

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  • Seat-Belt-Event Data Recorder, Click Inc., Southern Pines, NC
ABSTRACT: This is a slide from a presentation depicting a visual flow chart, of sorts, for the operation of the seat belt - event data recorder.

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  • NHTSA-99-5737 Denial of Petition - Marie Birnbaum
ABSTRACT: In this document, NHTSA denies a petition for rulemaking submitted by Marie E. Birnbaum, a private individual. The petitioner asked NHTSA to initiate rulemaking to require passenger cars and light trucks to be equipped with ''black boxes'' (data recorders) analogous to those found on commercial airliners. NHTSA agrees with the petitioner that the recording of crash data can provide information that is very valuable in understanding crashes, and which can be used in a variety of ways to improve motor vehicle safety. However, NHTSA is denying the petition because the motor vehicle industry is already voluntarily moving in the direction recommended by the petitioner. Further, NHTSA believes this area presents some issues that are, at least for the present time, best addressed in a non-regulatory context. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 49 CFR Part 571 Docket No. NHTSA-99-5737)

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  • NHTSA Denies Petition to Open Rulemaking on Crash Recorders
ABSTRACT: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration denied a petition to open a rulemaking that would require air bag sensors to be designed so data from a crash is recorded and can be read by investigators. The agency said the auto industry is already moving in that direction. NHTSA also cited a test under way on automated collision notification that uses single-point crash sensors, a global positioning system receiver and a cellular telephone to facilitate emergency services dispatch. This document denies a petition for rulemaking submitted by Price T. Bingham, a private individual. The petitioner requested that the agency initiate rulemaking to require air bag sensors to be designed so that data is recorded during a crash and can be read by crash investigators. The agency agrees that the recording of crash data from air bag sensors, as well as other vehicle sensors, can provide information that is very valuable in understanding crashes. This information can then be used in a variety of ways to improve motor vehicle safety. The agency is denying the petition because the auto industry is already voluntarily moving in the direction recommended by the petitioner. Further, the agency believes this area presents some issues that are, at least for the present time, best addressed in a non -regulatory context. (Source: NHTSA, 49 CFR Part 571, Docket No. NHTSA 98-4672)

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  • EDRs by Mode of Transportation
ABSTRACT: This matrix demonstrates the recommendations and initiatives in four modes of transportation (aviation, marine, railway and highway) to require devices that will automatically record specified information. These devices have various names in each mode, but all are categorized as automatic information recording devices. The matrix is useful in tracing the evolution of the technologies. Devices in the highway mode are commonly called event data recorders. The National Transportation Safety Board includes these devices on its list of Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements. Currently action is needed by the Federal Highway Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, various trucking associations, The United States Coast Guard, and the American Public Transit Association. (Source: J.T. Correia, E.S. McCarron, M.A. Smolejj, Hastings, Boulding, Correia Consulting Engineers)

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  • Appendix B: ITS Standards Documents
ABSTRACT: The following research was conducted in response to a request from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Joint Program Office that the National Research Council's Transportation Research Board undertake a review of JPO's Intelligent Transportation Systems Standards Program. This compendium includes one (1) section, Appendix B: ITS Standards Documents from the final report titled Standards for Intelligent Transportation Systems: A Review of the Federal Program. The entire report provides information that may be useful to researchers interested in understanding the standards development process, identifying critical standards, and detailing the existing standards. This research offers insight towards establishing standards for emerging event data recorder technologies. The entire report published by the National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 2000 is available online at: http://nationalacademies.org/trb/publications/reports/its_standards_review.pdf (Source: The National Academy Press, Washington, DC)

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  • Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria

ABSTRACT: The purpose of MMUCC is to provide a minimum, standardized data set for describing crashes of motor vehicles that will generate the information necessary to improve highway safety within each state and nationally.

Format of the MMUCC Guideline: The MMUCC Guideline, 2nd Edition (2003) consists of five major sections. The first section is an introduction to the importance of crash data and the factors that are related to the development, implementation and update of MMUCC during the past five years. The second section summarizes the changes to the MMUCC Guideline, 1st Edition (1998). The third section presents the MMUCC data elements. The fourth section provides a glossary that defines the acronyms and MMUCC terminology used in the MMUCC Guideline. The fifth and final section presents appendices that include reference information useful for MMUCC training and implementation efforts.

Importance of Crash Data: A motor vehicle crash report includes information that describes characteristics of the events, vehicles, and persons (drivers, injured and uninjured occupants, injured pedestrians and bicyclists, etc.) involved in the crash. Law enforcement investigates the crash at the scene and documents the information on the crash report. By using evidence found at the scene, and by interviewing participants and witnesses, the investigating officer may answer such questions as:

“In what directions were the involved vehicles and pedestrians moving prior to impact?”

“What occurred at the time of impact?”

“What factors may have contributed to the crash?”

Data recorded on crash reports are computerized and merged into a central, electronic crash data file at the State level. These statewide motor vehicle crash databases provide the basic information necessary for developing effective highway and traffic safety programs. Data from state crash data systems are used by local, State and Federal agencies to:

  1. Identify and prioritize highway and traffic safety problem areas;
  2. Initiate and evaluate the effectiveness of laws and policies intended to reduce deaths, injuries, injury severity and costs; and,
  3. Assess the relationship between vehicle and highway characteristics, crash propensity, and injury severity to support either the development of countermeasures or their evaluation.

At the Federal level, individual crash reports also provide the basis for national crash information systems, either as the sampling frame or as a source of data. Data from these national systems are utilized in highway safety decision making by agencies at all levels of government. By promoting MMUCC, the highway safety community is making an explicit statement that comparable data from all states is crucial to our ability to identify problems and make improvements. The MMUCC data elements, along with the state-specific data elements and the officer’s narratives and diagrams, provide critical highway safety information. Information technology is capable of capturing this data electronically, regardless of whether the data is in narrative, graphic or coded formats.

  • Automotive Black Box Data Recovery Systems
ABSTRACT: For years, airplane crash investigations have had the benefit of retrieving data from the flight-data recorder, or "black box." This data has proven invaluable for helping to determine what happened in the seconds before a crash. Now, in order to improve vehicle safety, General Motors is using similar technology in about 40 percent of its Model Year 1999 vehicles. This seven- page document provides background leading up to the current state-of-the-art from Vetronix Corp., information on how it is collected, and details thereof, figures showing data collected, a drawing of an EDR system, and availability of said system. (Source: Don Gilman, Vetronix Corp.)

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  • SAMOVAR - Safety Assessment Monitoring On-Vehicle with Automatic Recording

ABSTRACT: SAMOVAR is a project within the DRIVE II program. It focuses on low-cost in-vehicle electronic systems for recording data related to vehicle and its communications to other systems and databases. A SAMOVAR system will comprise a central interface that integrates several sub-systems as needed by any vehicle or fleet operator. The complete system will include any of the following functions:

  • monitor and record vehicle system parameters monitor and guide a driver's performance or condition, warn a driver of unsafe vehicle, driving or environment, advise a driver of location, route, other information
  • detect and record details of an accident

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  • The Automated Collision Notification System

ABSTRACT: The NHTSA-sponsored Automated Collision Notification (ACN) Project was initiated in October 1995 to design, develop, test, and evaluate a system that can detect and characterize crashes and then automatically send a data message to the public safety answering point (PSAP). The system also opens a cellular telephone voice line between the PSAP and the vehicle occupants after the data message has been received. The system detects crashes in all directions and stores the acceleration time history experienced. The ACN system is able to determine the crash change in velocity, the principle direction of crash force, whether a rollover occurred and the potential for injury in the crash. The system also includes GPS equipment and provides PSAP dispatchers with a mapped location of the crash. The ACN system has been installed in 700 vehicles in Western New York and real-world crash data and time of EMS response is being collected and analyzed. Specific details of the system are included, and analyses of incidents discussed. (Source: Bruce R. Donnelly, David Schabel, Alan J. Blatt, Verdian Arthur Carter, NHTSA)

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  • Accidents and Near-Misses Analysis by Using Video Drive-Recorders in a Fleet Test - 17th ESV CD
ABSTRACT: The drive-recorder records automobile accidents and/or near-misses data. To realize the practical use of drive-recorders in automobiles, a fleet test was conducted on 202 cars and trucks in regular use on roads. Some of the tested drive-recorders were video drive-recorders (VDR) equipped with a video recording unit to obtain visual data on accidents and near-misses from the driver's viewpoint. This was the first time for VDRs to be included in a fleet test on drive-recorders. During the fleet test period a total of 30 actual accidents occurred and were recorded, enabling the significance of adding a video recording unit to drive-recorders for obtaining useful data for accident analysis to be examined. It was found that the data collected by VDR enabled traffic accidents to be analyzed chronologically and quantitatively. It was therefore concluded that VDRs are an effective means of analyzing accidents in greater detail.

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  • Proactive Use of Highway Recorded Data via an Event Data Recorder (EDR) to Achieve Nationwide Seat Belt Usage in the 90th Percentile by 2002

ABSTRACT: This 20 page document is a paper on the needs for improving safety in automobiles by increasing safety belt use, on the reasons behind using safety belts, on promoting emerging technologies to improve safety belt use.

By combining simple technologies and incorporating these within the event data recorder program it would be feasible and possible to introduce a nationwide plan of implementation that can willfully increase seat belt usage and make our roads the safest in the world. It will be further argued in this paper that the EDR program and implementation plan could and should include positive incentives and reward the motorist and occupants for wearing safety belts while at the same time decreasing the annual costs of negligence to society.

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  • Real-World Perceptions of Emerging Event Data Recorder (EDR) Technologies - 17th Enhanced Safety Vehicles CD

ABSTRACT: This research focuses on what college-age motorists perceive to be the positive and negative aspects of implementing on board event data recorders in the highway mode of transport. The achievements and findings offer safety researchers insight as to which societal issues need to be addressed and overcome to assure successful implementation. A number of key issues ranging from perceived safety benefits versus fear of privacy invasion are included.

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  • Recording Automotive Crash Event Data
ABSTRACT: The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that automobile manufacturers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration work cooperatively to gather information on automotive crashes using on-board collision sensing and recording devices. Since 1974, General Motors' air bag equipped production vehicles have recorded air bag status and crash severity data for impacts that caused a deployment. Many of these systems also recorded data during "near-deployment" events, i.e., impacts that are not severe enough to deploy the air bag(s). GM design engineers have used this information to improve the performance of air bag sensing systems and NHTSA researchers have used it to help understand the field performance of alternative air bag system designs. Beginning with the 1999 model year, the capability to record pre-crash vehicle speed, engine RPM, throttle position, and brake switch on/off status has been added to some GM vehicles. This paper discusses the evolution and contents of the current GM event data recording capability, how other researchers working to develop a safer highway transportation system might acquire and use the information, and the status of the NHTSA Motor Vehicle Safety Research Advisory Committee's Event Data Recorder Working Group effort to develop a uniform approach to recording such data. (Source: NHTSA)

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  • Reducing Highway Deaths and Disabilities with Automatic Wireless Transmission of Serious Injury Probability Ratings from Crash Recorders to Emergency Medical Services Providers

ABSTRACT: In 1997, NTSB made three particular recommendations that are helping to build an "Automatic Lifesaving System for a Safer America." The NTSB is to be commended for its recommendations on crash recorders (H-97-18 and H-97-21), for holding this symposium, and for its recommendation (H-96-13) to increase funding for motor vehicle safety efforts at the State level. To the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

H-97-18 "Develop and implement, in conjunction with the domestic and international automobile manufacturers, a plan to gather better information on crash pulses and other crash parameters in actual crashes, using current or augmented crash sensing and recording devices." [1]

To the Domestic and International Automobile Manufacturers:

H-97-21 "Develop and implement, in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a plan to gather better information on crash pulses and other crash parameters in actual crashes, using current or augmented crash sensing and recording devices." [2]

To the Governors and legislative leaders of the 50 States and territories, and to the mayor and chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia:

H-96-13 "Emphasize the importance of transporting children in the back seat of passenger vehicles through educational materials disseminated by the State. Consider setting aside one-tenth of 1 percent from all motor vehicle insurance premiums for policies written to establish a highway safety fund to be used for this and other safety efforts. (Urgent)" [3]

The first two are on the NTSB's list of "Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements." The third recommendation, when fully implemented will generate about $100 million per year for State highway safety efforts. These funds can be used to organize a nationally compatible Automatic Lifesaving System in each State. This paper addresses the building of a national Automatic Life-Saving System based on these pioneering NTSB recommendations to realize the full potential of new technologies as soon as possible. The work described herein is the result of efforts of a multidisciplinary team of trauma surgeons, emergency physicians, crashworthiness engineers and statisticians. The team examined the safety potential of communicating crash recorder data via wireless telecommunications with automatic crash notification (ACN) technology to improve emergency transport and treatment of crash victims.

The research team developed software named "urgency" for automatic and instant conversion of crash recorder data into a crash severity rating that calculates the probability of the presence of serious injuries in any given crash. Urgency software version 1.0, now in the public domain, can improve triage, transport, and treatment decision-making for highway crash victims.

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  • Safety in Numbers - Safety Data Action Plan - 10/13/00
ABSTRACT: A BTS newsletter which addresses statistics in improving safety in the highways. (Source: Prepared by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics under the direction of the DOT Safety Council)

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  • The Contribution of On Board Recording Systems to Road Safety and Accident Analysis

ABSTRACT: This paper presents onboard computer systems (black boxes), that

  • contribute to road safety by helping to reduce the number of accidents
  • provide data for accident analysis based on field experiences in the U.S. and Europe with case studies.

There are several versions of onboard computers that record the performance of drivers and vehicles. Field experiences and case studies show that feed back of these records lead to a favorable modification of drivers' behavior. Further these objective and accurate recordings allow detailed reconstruction and analysis of accidents. Discussed are aspects of EDRs, case studies involving EDRs, and conclusions. (Dr. Gerhard Lehman, Mannesmann VDO AG and Tony Reynolds, VDO North America LLC)

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  • Transportation Recorders on Commercial Vehicles
ABSTRACT: Information has been sensed, recorded and off-loaded from commercial vehicles for almost 20 years, excluding the recording of speed by tachographs. The recording devices include trip recorders, engine controls, on-board computers, wireless communications equipment, radar collision warning devices and instrument clusters. The information is used to improve driver safety, help diagnose problems, improve the efficiency of logistics for the fleet, and reduce operating costs. This paper will provide a brief history of recorders on commercial vehicles, an overview of presently available products, examples of the information available, and a projection of future recording capabilities. (Source: Paul Menig and Cary Coverdill, Freightliner Corporation)

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  • Event Data Recorders - A New Resource for Traffic Safety Research
ABSTRACT: The use of on board electronic recorders in the aviation industry is well known. In the event of a crash, the recovery of in-flight recording systems is a priority for collision investigators, and the data obtained becomes an integral part of the crash reconstruction process. Less well known is the fact that event data recorders are present on most late-model cars and light trucks. These systems offer tremendous potential to traffic safety researchers, affording access to a wealth of new data, enabling better understanding of on-road traffic safety issues, and providing opportunities for the development of new and effective countermeasures. (Source: Alan German, Transport Canada)

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  • FHWA Tech Brief - Electronic Recorder Study - FHWA-MCRT-99-007

ABSTRACT: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) petitioned the Federal Highway Administration in 1986 to initiate rulemaking to mandate the use of electronic recorders in all commercial motor vehicles required to maintain logbooks. The FHWA considered the request and a rulemaking was initiated the next year to allow the use of "automatic on board recording devices" instead of paper logbooks on a voluntary basis. In August 1995, several other organizations joined the IIHS to renew the petition for mandatory use of on board electronic recorders. The petition asserted that required use of ERs would improve CMV driver compliance with the FHWA hours-of- service regulations. This tech brief summarizes an FHWA research project initiated in response to this petition; the final report of the study is now available from the National Technical Information Service. (Contacts: Ron Knipling, HCS-30, (202)-366-2981; Neill Thomas, HCS-10, (202)-366-4009)

Note: The following research is dated (1970s) but useful in understanding an earlier attempt towards implementing automatic crash recording technologies in surface transportation.

  • Automobile Collision Data - An Assessment of Needs and Methods of Assessment, OTA - February 1975

    ABSTRACT: At the request of the House Appropriations Committee, the Office of Technology Assessment, through contract OTA-C1l, engaged Economics & Science Planning, Inc. in 1975, to undertake a study of the need for and means to assemble detailed data on actual automobile collisions so as to develop realistic automobile design standards. The study examined the desirability, utility, design and cost of crash recorders and of the alternative approaches to gathering collision data, including computer crash simulation, controlled laboratory crashes and their correlation with observed vehicle deformations, and methods to improve the accuracy of accident crash files. Specific data collection programs previously proposed to Congress by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration were studied and evaluated. This report contains the result of this effort. Several of the findings have relevance to current event data recorder initiatives.

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