Auto Service World
Feature   May 1, 2002   by Auto Service World

Bodyshop News: Crash Data Recorder Standard Could Improve Safety

An industry group is working to create a standard protocol for crash data recorders in vehicles.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association (IEEE-SA) has begun working to create the first universal standard for motor vehicle event data recorders (MVEDR) much like those that monitor crashes on aircraft.

The IEEE standards project, IEEE P1616 “Motor Vehicle Event Data Recorders,” brings together U.S. and Canadian industry and government experts to formulate a minimum performance protocol for the use of onboard tamper-and crash-proof memory devices for all types and classes of highway and roadway vehicles. This international standard will help manufacturers develop devices the public commonly refers to as black boxes for autos, trucks, buses, ambulances, fire trucks, and other vehicles.

The MVEDR standard will define what data should be captured, including date, time, location, velocity, heading, number of occupants and seat belt usage. It will also define how that information should be obtained, recorded and transmitted.

Currently, each vehicle manufacturer uses its own data protocols, which makes it difficult for companies to develop access devices and systems that can aid in crash reconstruction. Presently, only General Motors and some Ford vehicles have readily accessible systems.

The use of these crash data recorders is heralded as an important step toward improving vehicle safety as well as reducing insurance costs due to injury and fraud.

“The more accurate the data we gather on highway crashes, the better chance we have to reduce the devastating effects of crashes,” says Jim Hall, co-chair of the IEEE P1616 Working Group and former head of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

“That’s why it’s so important to have recorders that objectively track what goes on in vehicles before and during a crash to complement the subjective input we now get from victims, eyewitnesses and police reports. The NTSB considers this so important that it features automatic crash sensing and recording devices high on its current list of the ‘Most Wanted’ transportation safety improvements.”

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