National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 563

Docket No. NHTSA-2004-18029

RIN 2127-AI72

Event Data Recorders


    AGENCY:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation.

    ACTION:  Notice of proposed rulemaking.

    SUMMARY:  This proposal addresses event data recorders (EDRs), i.e., devices 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.

    DATES:  You should submit your comments early enough to ensure that Docket Management receives them not later than [INSERT DATE 60 DAYS AFTER DATE OF PUBLICATION IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER].

    ADDRESSES:  You may submit comments [identified by the docket number in the heading at the beginning of this document] by any of the following methods:

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  The following persons at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, DC, 20590:

    For technical and policy issues:

    For legal issues:



  1. Background
    1. Event Data Recorders
    2. Chronology of Events Relating to NHTSA’s Consideration of Event Data Recorders
    3. Petitions for Rulemaking
      1. Petitions from Mr. Price T. Bingham and Ms. Marie E. Birnbaum
      2. Petition from Dr. Ricardo Martinez
    4. October 2002 Request for Comments
      1. Safety Benefits
      2. Technical Issues
      3. Privacy Issues
      4. NHTSA’s Role in the Future of Event Data Recorders
      5. Other Comments
    5. Event Data Recorders and the Implementation of Automatic Collision Notification Systems
  2. Proposal and Response to Petition
    1. Data Elements to be Recorded
    2. Data Standardization
    3. Data Retrieval
    4. Functioning of Event Data Recorders and Crash Survivability
    5. Privacy
    6. Leadtime
    7. Response to Petition from Dr. Martinez
  3. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices
  4. Submission of Comments