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New Regulations Black Box / Data Recorders 2012

By Perry Zucker

Auto Black Box / Event Data Recorder  versus Airplane  Black Box


Some groups are attempting to draw parallel references from the automobile black box to the airplane black box / flight recorders; this is the furthest thing from the truth and is a big misconception of the auto black box. Unlike, the airplane "Black Box", which has the capability of recording positioning, actual travel velocity (speed and direction), safety device(s) utilization, mechanical problems, operating errors, as well as audio in the compartment.  The auto black box cannot perform most of the aforementioned.

New Regulations Section 31406 of Senate Bill 1813 - 49 CFR Part 563


As per the new regulation (S.1813), which states "Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall revise part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, to require, beginning with model year 2015, that new passenger motor vehicles sold in the United States be equipped with an event data recorder that meets the requirements under that part.”

These regulations would require minimum data from vehicles, which are as follows:  Vehicle speed, crash forces, brake status, engine throttle state, airbag information, seat status. More advanced vehicle systems might be able to read addition data, but is not required under Section 31406 of Senate Bill 1813 - 49 CFR Part 563.

It bears mentioning that the Event Data Recorder (EDR) can be read by special equipment which includes but not limited to: special software, male/female plugs / harnesses,  computer and a printer.
What Vehicles Can Be Read By The Black Box / Event Data Recorder / EDR / CDR


Crash Data Retrieval software, was installed in 96% of the model year 2013 vehicles, e.g.: Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Fiat, Ford, Lincoln, GM, Honda, Nissan, Infiniti.  

Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and some vehicle manufacturers (O.E.M.) is opposite to the new 2012-2013 NHTSA regulations, on a base level.

Automobile Black Box (EDR) - Errors (Potential)


The Auto Black Box / (EDR) data recorders does not measure travel velocity of a vehicle. This is an important factor, which is based on road conditions and vehicle positions in relationship to the referenced roadway. Secondly, there are no expressed industry and/or government standards concerning the accuracy and/or reliable of this device. Indeed these important elements can make a big difference between the disposition of a pending legal case.


Conclusion - Issues With New NHTSA Regulations / Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS)


The new regulations never addressed the following:  reliability of said device, environmental factors, travel speed, calibration method(s), accuracy level with respect to travel speed.  


The "Auto Black Box" (EDR) is currently, not being used for the original intended purpose, which was for diagnosing vehicle related problems by vehicle technicians / mechanics. Motorists should be very concerned about this device. The automobile black box should never be used as a stand-alone device. The use of physical evidence, such as impact data, skid / yaw marks, initial / resting positions of vehicle(s), in conjunction with the black box, as well as the answers to many tough questions will indeed have to be addressed regarding privacy issues, admissibility, and common sense is essential to obtain the correct resultant, in the use of  auto "Black Box" event data recorders.


Auto Black Box readout

On or about December 2012,  President Obama administration gave the green light to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to require all new vehicles (less than 8500 lbs), by September 2014 (model 2015) that are sold in America to install an Event Data Recorder (EDR) or in certain circles the  "Auto Black Box";  Section 31406 of Senate Bill 1813 , Mandatory Event Data Recorders, MAP-21- 49 CFR Part 563 / Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS)

Auto Black Box Readings

Auto Black Box- Legal

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