I.  Background


    A.  Event Data Recorders

    Event data recorder devices have been used in other transportation sectors, such as railroads. Over the past several years, there has been considerable interest in the safety community regarding possible safety benefits from the use of event data recorders (EDRs) in motor vehicles.

    EDRs collect vehicle crash information. [1] Some systems collect only vehicle acceleration/deceleration data, while others collect these data plus a host of complementary data, such as driver inputs (e.g., braking and steering) and vehicle systems status.

    The way in which this is accomplished may be described in the following somewhat simplified manner. The EDR monitors several of the vehicle's systems, such as speed, brakes, and several safety systems. It continuously records and erases information on these systems so that a record of the most recent 8-second period is always available. If an "event" occurs, i.e., if a crash meeting a pre-determined threshold of severity occurs, then the EDR moves the last 8 seconds of pre-crash information into its long-term memory. In addition, it records and puts into its long-term memory up to 6 seconds of data relating to what happens after the start of the crash, such as the timing and manner of deployment of the air bags.

    The information collected by EDRs aids investigations of the causes of crashes and injury mechanisms, and makes it possible to better identify and address safety problems. Thus, the information can be used to improve motor vehicle safety.

    EDRs have been installed as standard equipment in an increasingly large number of light motor vehicles in recent years, particularly in vehicles with air bags. We estimate that 65 to 90 percent of model year 2004 passenger cars and other light vehicles have some recording capability, and that more than half record such things as crash pulse data. We do not have more precise estimates because not all vehicle manufacturers have provided us detailed information on this topic.

    Vehicle manufacturers have made EDR capability an additional function of the vehicle's air bag control systems. The air bag control systems were necessarily processing a great deal of vehicle information, and EDR capability could be added to the vehicle by designing the air bag control system to capture, in the event of a crash, relevant data in memory.

    EDRs have become increasingly more advanced with respect to the amount and type of data recorded.

    B.  Chronology of Events Relating to NHTSA's Consideration of Event Data Recorders.

    NHTSA's Special Crash Investigations (SCI) program first utilized EDR information in support of an agency crash investigation in 1991. This was done in cooperation with the vehicle's manufacturer, General Motors (GM). Throughout the 1990s, NHTSA's SCI team utilized EDRs as one of their investigative tools. From 1991 through 1997, SCI worked with manufacturers to read approximately 40 EDRs in support of its program.

    In 1997, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued Safety Recommendation H-97-18 to NHTSA, recommending that we "pursue crash information gathering using EDRs."  NTSB recommended that the agency "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, utilizing current or augmented crash sensing and recording devices." Also, in that year, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in a study conducted for NHTSA about advanced air bag technology, recommended that we "study the feasibility of installing and obtaining crash data for safety analyses from crash recorders on vehicles."

    In early 1998, NHTSA's Office of Research and Development (R&D) formed a Working Group comprised of industry, academia, and other government organizations. The group's objective was to facilitate the collection and utilization of collision avoidance and crashworthiness data from on-board EDRs.

    In 1999, NTSB issued a second set of recommendations to NHTSA related to EDRs, H-99-53 and 54, recommending that we require EDRs to be installed on school buses and motor coaches.

    In 2000, NHTSA sponsored a second working group related to EDRs, the NHTSA Truck & Bus EDR Working Group. This Working Group collected facts related to use of EDRs in trucks, school buses, and motor coaches.

    In August 2001, the NHTSA-sponsored EDR Working Group published a final report on the results of its deliberations. [2] Highlights of the Working Group findings were the following:

    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. Studies of EDRs in Europe and the U.S. have shown that driver and employee awareness of an on-board EDR reduces the number and severity of drivers' 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 these 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 utilize proprietary technology and require the manufacturer to download and analyze the data.

    In 2001, NHTSA developed a website about highway-based EDRs located at the following address:

    The final report of the NHTSA Truck and Bus EDR Working Group was published in May 2002. [3]  The record of this Working Group is in Docket No. NHTSA-2000-7699.

    C.  Petitions for Rulemaking.

    1.  Petitions from Mr. Price T. Bingham and Ms. Marie E. Birnbaum

    In the late 1990s, the agency denied two petitions for rulemaking asking us to require the installation of EDRs in new motor vehicles. (63 FR 60270; November 9, 1998 and 64 FR 29616; June 2, 1999.)

    The first petitioner, Mr. Price T. Bingham, a private individual, asked the agency to initiate rulemaking to require air bag sensors to be designed so that data would be recorded during a crash, allowing it to be read later by crash investigators. The petitioner cited a concern about air bag deployments that might be "spontaneous," but did not limit the petition to that issue.

     The second petitioner, Ms. Marie E. Birnbaum, also a private individual, asked us to initiate rulemaking to require passenger cars and light trucks to be equipped with "black boxes" (i.e., EDRs) analogous to those found on commercial aircraft.

    In responding to these petitions, NHTSA stated that it believed EDRs could provide information that is very valuable in understanding crashes, and that can be used in a variety of ways to improve motor vehicle safety. The agency denied the petitions because the motor vehicle industry was already voluntarily moving in the direction recommended by the petitioners, and because the agency believed "this area presents some issues that are, at least for the present time, best addressed in a non-regulatory context."

    2.  Petition from Dr. Ricardo Martinez

    In October 2001, the agency received a petition from Dr. Ricardo Martinez, President of Safety Intelligence Systems Corporation and former Administrator of NHTSA, asking us to "mandate the collection and storage of onboard vehicle crash event data, in a standardized data and content format and in a way that is retrievable from the vehicle after the crash."

     According to the petitioner, understanding what happens in a crash is essential to preventing injuries and deaths. Dr. Martinez stated that this information is the cornerstone of safety decision-making, whether it is designing the vehicle, making policy, identifying a potential problem or evaluating the effectiveness of safety systems.

    The petitioner argued, however, that despite the high-tech nature of motor vehicles today, current methods of crash investigation rely on "analyzing the ‘archaeology of the crash,' subjective witness statements, and expert opinion to determine the ‘facts.'"  Dr. Martinez also noted that the movement from mechanical to electrical systems and sensors means that physical evidence of the crash is diminishing. For example, anti-lock brakes reduce skid marks, making it more difficult to make determinations about wheel and vehicle behavior.

    According to Dr. Martinez, field investigations of motor vehicle crashes are costly, time consuming, laborious, and often inaccurate. The petitioner stated that there is a significant difference (sometimes more than 100%) between derived crash severity calculations and those directly measured by a vehicle. The petitioner also stated that because of costs and limitations of current crash investigations and reconstructions, the total number of cases available for analysis are limited and skewed toward the more serious crashes. Dr. Martinez stated that, as a result, current data bases are recognized to have major deficiencies because of the small number of crashes they contain and the bias of the information.

    The petitioner noted that today's vehicles generate, analyze and utilize tremendous amounts of vehicle-based information for operations such as engine and speed control, braking, and deployment of safety systems. For example, increasingly sophisticated air bag systems make "decisions" based on vehicle speed, crash direction and severity, occupant size and position, and restraint use. However, not all vehicles capture and store this information. Further, not all of the data elements and formats for this information are standardized.

    Dr. Martinez argued that the increasing sophistication and decreasing costs of information technology has created the opportunity to now mandate the capture, storage, and retrieval of onboard crash data. The petitioner stated that rulemaking should standardize the collection of existing information as a minimal data set in a standardized format for storage and retrieval. He stated that the NHTSA-sponsored Working Group on EDRs, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) have all begun work on minimum data sets for EDRs. The petitioner also called for requirements to ensure the crash survivability of the collected data.

    Dr. Martinez noted that the agency had previously denied similar petitions based the belief that the automotive industry was already voluntarily moving in the direction recommended by the petitioners and that some issues associated with this area are best addressed in a non-regulatory context. The petitioner argued, however, that an agency rulemaking along the lines discussed above is necessary because overall the industry's response has been "sluggish and disjointed." Dr. Martinez stated that much of the information is proprietary to each individual manufacturer and there is no standardization of the data elements or format of information. The petitioner also stated that while some manufacturers have provided EDRs in their vehicles, others have said they will only install EDRs if the government mandates the devices.

    The petitioner also argued that a NHTSA rulemaking would greatly accelerate the deployment of ACN. He noted that the FCC is currently implementing rules to require automatic location information for emergency calls made from wireless phones. According to Dr. Martinez, the nexus between vehicles and communications provides the basis for ACN. The petitioner stated that only a small amount of vehicle information, such as crash severity, restraint use, direction of force and location (if available) is of use to emergency providers. However, the advent of advanced ACN is dependent upon the standardized collection of crash information in the vehicle.

    Finally, the petitioner stated that he believes privacy issues can be overcome by ensuring that the vehicle owner is the one who owns the data collected by the EDR and can provide permission for its use and transmission. The petitioner stated that EDR data does not have personal identifier information and is only stored in the event of a crash. He also noted that current crash information in the form of police reports and insurance claims have much more personal identifying information than the information in EDRs.

    The petition from Dr. Martinez was submitted shortly after the NHTSA EDR Working Group had published its final report on the results of its deliberations. As discussed in more detail in the next section of this document, in October 2002, after the second working group had completed its work, we decided to request public comments on what future role the agency should take related to the continued development and installation of EDRs in motor vehicles. We decided to respond to Dr. Martinez's petition after considering those comments.

    D.  October 2002 Request for Comments

    On October 11, 2002, NHTSA published in the Federal Register (67 FR 63493) (Docket No. NHTSA-02-13546), a request for comments concerning EDRs. The agency discussed its involvement with EDRs over the past few years, and explained that particularly since the two NHTSA-sponsored working groups had completed their work, it was requesting comments on what future role the agency should take related to the continued development and installation of EDRs in motor vehicles. The agency discussed a range of issues, including safety benefits, technical issues, privacy issues, and the role of the agency, and asked a number of questions.

    We received comments representing light and heavy vehicle manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, vehicle users, the medical community, advocacy organizations, safety research organizations, crash investigators, insurance companies, academia, and government agencies. We also received comments from a number of private individuals.

    A summary of the comments follows. To keep the summary short, we do not discuss all comments on particular topics, but instead discuss representative comments. In addition, since this NPRM concerns light vehicles and not heavy vehicles, the summary focuses primarily on comments relevant to EDRs in light vehicles.

    1.  Safety Benefits 

    A wide variety of commenters expressed the belief that EDRs will improve vehicle safety by providing necessary and accurate data for crash analysis, information for potential injury prediction, and data for vehicle/roadway design improvement.

    NTSB stated that the issue of automatic recording devices for all modes of transportation has been on its "Most Wanted" list since 1997. That organization noted that on-board recording devices have proven themselves to be extremely valuable in other modes of transportation, particularly aviation. NTSB stated that effective implementation of on-board recording in highway vehicles can have a similar, positive impact on highway safety.

    The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Alliance), which represents most large manufacturers of light vehicles, stated that its members recognize that EDRs have the potential to contribute to the quality of field performance data, roadway designs and emergency response systems. That organization also stated that it is possible that EDRs could improve existing safety databases both with respect to the accuracy of existing data elements and through the addition of new data elements that are not currently available.

    The Automotive Occupant Restraints Council, which represents manufacturers of safety belts and air bags, stated that it believes that the installation of EDRs and capture of data related to vehicle crashes has the potential to greatly improve highway safety by providing crash data that can be utilized in designing improved occupant restraint systems.

    The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety stated that research literature and practical experience make it abundantly clear that data obtained from EDRs after crashes and near-crash events can be used to substantially improve traffic safety.

    The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) stated that EDRs have enormous potential to aid researchers in understanding the circumstances and precursors of crashes as well as in providing more reliable information on crash severities. That organization stated that a better understanding of these issues ultimately could lead to improved vehicle safety.

    The American Automobile Association (AAA) stated that in the effort to reduce the number and severity of crashes, not enough has been in the collection and analysis of scientific data to fully understand the dynamics and trends in crash causation. According to that association, data from EDRs provide an objective measurement of what actually occurred during those last seconds before a crash. AAA stated that obtaining information about the "crash pulse" should yield important benefits in vehicle design by identifying the types of changes that manufacturers could pursue to build more crash-friendly vehicles.

    A number of commenters from the medical community, including the National Association of EMS Physicians, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the William Lehman Injury Research Center, and the University of Alabama Center for Injury Sciences, supported the emergency medical system (EMS) connection for improved medical treatment, including support for real time data transmission and easy download capability at a crash scene by EMS personnel.

    With regard to possible crash prevention aspects of EDRs, some commenters stated that they do not believe or know of any research supporting the premise that, by itself, a driver's knowledge of the presence of an EDR would have any appreciable direct effect on crash prevention. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute stated that it had conducted two large instrumented truck-driving studies and based on the results their researchers believe that the commercial drivers would not change their driving behavior because of the existence of an on-board EDR.

    2.  Technical Issues

    One technical issue addressed by commenters was the data elements that should be collected. Mitsubishi believes that the list should be narrow and focused on safety-related items only. Consumers Union and IIHS submitted lists of data elements. Some of the more common data elements discussed by those two include crash pulse information (such as x- and y-acceleration), safety belt usage, air bag deployment status, pre-crash data (such as brake application, engine rpm, throttle position, etc.), and the vehicle identification number. The American Trucking Association supported the 28 data elements listed by NHTSA-sponsored truck and bus working group, but the Automotive Occupant Restraints Council doubts whether these data elements are technically and economically feasible. Public Citizen believes that NHTSA should determine a minimum set of data for light duty vehicles and another set for heavy trucks.

    Another technical issue addressed by a number of commenters was how much data should be recorded. Commenters generally agreed that EDRs should collect data for a very brief period of time. IIHS, Consumers Union, Veridian Engineering, and one individual indicated data collection periods up to 10 seconds for pre-crash and post-crash data and several tenths of a second for crash data. Bendix recommended 30 to 60 seconds of pre- and post-crash data.

    On the issue of standardization of EDR data, many commenters stated that standardization is desired or helpful. The Truck Manufacturers Association believes that connectors, download protocols, and data output must be standardized. While Mitsubishi believes that standardization of EDR data is desirable, it is not sure about the safety benefits. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute believes that the data elements of EDRs should be standardized to encourage the ease of use. Public Citizen believes that standardization is the primary determinant for the program's effectiveness and would enhance efforts to monitor emerging technologies. Both the SAE and IEEE commented that they are working on drafting standards for use with EDRs.

    Several commenters addressed survivability of EDRs and EDR data. Mitsubishi believes that the EDR survivability has already been demonstrated by the existing EDRs and vehicle manufacturers should be able to determine the EDR's survivability design conditions. Both Bendix and Automotive Occupant Restraints Council believe that EDRs should be installed in a secured location to survive almost all crashes. The Automotive Occupant Restraints Council also believes that a requirement for back-up power is essential, but commented that fire resistant design is not. New Jersey DOT believes that EDR designs should be able to function after a crash, tamper resistant, and waterproof. The Truck Manufacturers Association and Veridian believe that EDRs should be designed to withstand the "standard automotive environment" including crash and environmental effects and power failure. Veridian also believes that the EDR needs to be tamperproof. An individual said that EDRs should be mechanically tamperproof and should be designed to withstand the IIHS offset frontal crash tests.

    3.  Privacy Issues

    There were many comments related to NHTSA's questions regarding privacy. Mitsubishi believes that government should set regulations for EDR data usage to protect privacy. The Center for Injury Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham believes that privacy issues can be addressed by ensuring the vehicle owner also has ownership of the data and must consent to its use.

    Some commenters specifically commented that they believe that the owner of the vehicle owns the EDR data. Veridian Engineering stated that it obtains the owner's permission before collecting data for an investigation.

    Chalmers University of Technology (in Sweden) believes that safety improvement is more important than privacy concerns. It also argued that while EDRs can provide more complete and accurate information than thorough crash reconstruction aided by current simulation software and vehicle dynamics theory, it cannot provide new information that cannot already be estimated by such reconstruction. IIHS urged that NHTSA ensure that EDR data it obtains and makes available to researchers do not contain any personal information that would indicate the identities of the occupants involved. Public Citizen believes that the use of EDR data for statistical analysis does not involve privacy concerns, and that issues between safety and privacy can be addressed by partitioning technology (to separate any personally identifying data from other data) and other means best evaluated as part of the rulemaking process. The American Trucking Associations believe that certain EDR data elements should be accessible to rescue/medical personnel.

    Consumers Union presented several potential concerns it had regarding access to EDR data, including: insurers requiring EDRs as a condition of coverage and the use of EDR data in crash-related litigation. It said that most consumers do not know about the existence of EDRs or how the data recorded by EDRs may be used in ways that directly affect them. That organization stated that consumers have "the right to know that EDRs are installed in the vehicles, that they are capable of collecting data recorded in a crash, and which parties may have access to this data."

    Regarding encryption, Veridian Engineering supports encrypted EDR data and the need for security codes to gain access to the data. Consumers Union urged that NHTSA incorporate standards concerning encryption and data access into the agency EDR requirements.

    Mitsubishi and American Trucking Associations believe that the storage and collection of EDR data raises privacy issues, and that NHTSA should address the issue accordingly. They also said that NHTSA should work with other Federal agencies to develop the privacy protection status afforded other industries. New Jersey DOT believes that identification of specific vehicle crash location and time should be limited for emergency purposes to crash victims.

    4.  NHTSA's Role in the Future of Event Data Recorders

    There were many comments on this topic. The Alliance believes that NHTSA has an important role on how to incorporate EDR data into existing databases. Mitsubishi believed that NHTSA should study the legal and privacy issues associated with the use of EDR technology.

    The Association of International Automobile Manufacturers (AIAM) stated that it would be premature for NHTSA to undertake regulation of EDRs at this time. That organization stated that rather than regulating this emerging application now, manufacturers should be permitted to develop systems on their own and work with voluntary standards organizations as a means of achieving consensus.

    The Center for Injury Sciences of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Public Citizen commented that NHTSA should mandate the installation of EDRs with a minimum set of standardized data elements.

    The Truck Manufacturers Association and Veridian Engineering believe that NHTSA should perform research and encourage development of EDR standards. Along similar lines, the American Trucking Associations and Automotive Occupant Restraints Council believe that SAE and/or IEEE should issue common EDR standards and that NHTSA should remain technically engaged and act like a catalyst.

    IIHS believes that NHTSA should encourage manufacturers to develop and establish standard practices to download and interpret information from EDRs. They also believe that, in the short term, NHTSA should work with manufacturers to increase the availability of data that currently are recorded and include this information in NASS-CDS and FARS databases.

    New Jersey DOT believes that NHTSA should continue to meet its mandate for vehicle safety and leave the privacy issues to the public through its representatives in the legislative branch.

    5.  Other Comments

    One university submitted a survey of 437 mostly college-age people. Of those surveyed, 95 percent believe that EDRs have the potential to improve vehicle safety. Over 50 percent expected great safety improvement and 90 percent said EDRs have potential safety application to all classes of vehicles. About 60 percent of these students responded that they favored safety and privacy equally, but when asked to choose between safety and privacy, over 80 percent preferred safety. Regarding NHTSA's role, about 95 percent believed that NHTSA should continue participating in the development of EDRs.


    E.  Event Data Recorders and Implementation of Automatic Crash Notification Systems

    As noted above, ACN systems integrate 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 serious crashes. Early notification can save many lives. Each year, there are about 42,000 fatalities from motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States. In these and other emergencies, more lives can be saved if emergency personnel can determine in advance the likely nature and severity of the injuries, take with them the right resources for treating those particular injuries, and more quickly locate and reach the scene of the crash. [4]

    EDRs will help make this possible since they can provide the data necessary to determine crash severity, which can be used to predict injury severity. Software has been developed for evaluating crash data and predicting injury severity. Standardizing EDR data content and format would ensure that these predictions are based on the same foundation data across the entire spectrum of new makes and models of light vehicles.

    Implementation of ACN systems requires not only incorporating improved EDRs in vehicles, but also use of advanced information and communications technology.   Implementation of wireless enhanced 911 (E911) and ACN systems can result in:

    The nation's existing 911 system is administered through thousands of Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). Prior to the advent of wireless telephones, the PSAPs were able to automatically locate nearly all 911 callers. Now, more than half of 911 calls in metropolitan areas cannot be located because they originate from mobile wireless telephones. Lack of location information is a particular problem with 911 calls made from cell phones to report crashes, since the caller is often not be able to determine and report precise location information.

    Under Federal Communication Commission rules adopted in 1996, wireless carriers must provide E911 service by 2005. [6] This service will provide location information for all wireless 911 calls, provided that the local PSAP is equipped to receive and use the information. DOT has been actively involved in providing stakeholder leadership, technical assistance, and technological innovation to accelerate full and effective implementation of E911. [7] This includes not only regulating and coordinating the service provided by wireless carriers, but ensuring that local PSAPs are able to receive and effectively use the information. [8]

    In the meantime, efforts to provide ACN services have already begun. Current ACN systems, such as GM's OnStar system, provide automatic notification that a motor vehicle has been involved in a crash, information about the nature of the crash, and the location of the crash. [9]  While current ACN systems provide the information to a private call center, which then relays this information to 911 dispatchers, future systems may be integrated with the 911 system.

    We note that in August 2003, General Motors (GM) announced the introduction of an advanced system on the new Chevrolet Malibu and Malibu Maxx. This system is part of the OnStar package. While that company's earlier ACN system provided automatic notification to the OnStar call center in the event of air bag deployment, its advanced ACN system provides automatic notification if the vehicle is involved in a moderate to severe frontal, rear or side-impact crash, regardless of air bag deployment. Also, the new system provides crash severity information.

    For these reasons, we believe that ACN systems offer great potential for reducing deaths and injuries from motor vehicle crashes, and that improving EDRs would make a contribution toward the continued development and implementation of these systems.

    [1] Since the term "EDR" can be used to cover many different types of devices, we believe it is important to explain the term for purposes of this document. When we use the term "EDR" in this document, we are referring to a device that is installed in a motor vehicle to record technical vehicle and occupant-based information for a brief period of time (i.e., seconds, not minutes) before, during and after a crash. For instance, EDRs may record (1) pre-crash vehicle dynamics and system status, (2) driver inputs, (3) vehicle crash signature, (4) restraint usage/deployment status, and (5) certain post-crash data such as the activation of an automatic collision notification (ACN) system. We are not using the term to include any type of device that either makes an audio or video record, or logs data such as hours of service for truck operators.

    [2] Event Data Recorders, Summary of Findings by the NHTSA EDR Working Group, August 2001, Final Report (Docket No. NHTSA-99-5218-9). Persons interested in additional information about EDRs may wish to examine section 12 of the final report, which sets forth a bibliography and references.

    [3] Event Data Recorders, Summary of Findings by the NHTSA EDR Working Group, May 2002, Final Report, Volume II, Supplemental Findings for Trucks, Motorcoaches, and School Buses. (Docket No. NHTSA-2000-7699-6)

    [4] Trauma System Agenda For The Future, Coordinated through the American Trauma Society Supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, October 2002. See

    Enhanced communications among all members of the trauma care team during the pre-hospital phase will speed deployment of resources, produce more appropriate triaging, and result in better patient outcomes. Greater use of wireless technology should enable team members to speak to other hospitals and providers in the field and to give direction and assistance wherever the care is being provided. Discovery (Automatic Collision Notification -ACN), Access (wireless), and Coordination (telemedicine) all will be enhanced through improved technology.

    [5] Reducing Highway Deaths and Disabilities with Automatic Wireless Transmission of Serious Injury Probability Ratings from Crash Recorders to Emergency Medical Services Providers, Champion, Augenstein, Digges, Hunt, Larkin, Malliaris, Sacco, and Siegel. See

    Emergency medical care experience has shown that for many serious injuries, time is critical. As described by RD Stewart:

    Trauma is a time-dependent disease. "The Golden Hour" of trauma care is a concept that emphasizes this time dependency. That is in polytrauma (typically serious crash victims suffer multiple injuries) patients, the first hour of care is crucial, and the patient must come under restorative care during that first hour…. Pre-hospital immediate care seeks to apply supportive measures, and it must do so quickly, within what has been called the "Golden Ten Minutes."

    The goal in trauma care is to get seriously injured patients to a trauma center for diagnosis, critical care and surgical treatment within the "Golden Hour". To get the seriously injured patient into the operating room of a trauma center with an experienced team of appropriately specialized trauma surgeons within the "Golden Hour" requires a highly efficient and effective trauma care system. The time/life race of the "Golden Hour" to deliver patients to definitive care consists of the following elements:

      (1) Time between crash occurrence and EMS Notification,
      (2) Travel time to the crash scene by EMS,
      (3) On-scene EMS rescue time,
      (4) Transport time to a hospital or trauma center,
      (5) Emergency Department resuscitation time.

    [6] See

    The wireless E911 program is divided into two parts - Phase I and Phase II. Phase I requires carriers, upon appropriate request by a local Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), to report the telephone number of a wireless 911 caller and the location of the antenna that received the call. Phase II requires wireless carriers to provide far more precise location information, within 50 to 100 meters in most cases.

    The deployment of E911 requires the development of new technologies and upgrades to local 911 PSAPs, as well as coordination among public safety agencies, wireless carriers, technology vendors, equipment manufacturers, and local wireline carriers. The FCC established a four-year rollout schedule for Phase II, beginning October 1, 2001 and to be completed by December 31, 2005.

    [8] In August 2002, the ITS Public Safety Advisory Group Medical Subcommittee issued a document titled "Recommendations for ITS Technology in Emergency Medical Services." It may be viewed at

    [9] For additional information about ACN systems, see "Enhancing Post-Crash Vehicle Safety Through an Automatic Collision Notification System," Joseph Kanianthra, Arthur Carter and Gerard Preziotti, paper presented at the 17th International Technical Conference on the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles, 2001,