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Event Data Recorders

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Event Data Recorders

Christopher J. Bonanti
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
August 14, 2012

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 157 (Tuesday, August 14, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 48492-48493]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-19762]



National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 563

[Docket No. NHTSA-2008-0004]

Event Data Recorders

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

ACTION: Denial of petition for rulemaking.


SUMMARY: On February 17, 2009, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers 
petitioned for NHTSA to initiate rulemaking to delay by one year the 
effective date of regulations establishing requirements related to 
event data recorders (EDRs) voluntarily installed on light vehicles. 
The petitioner suggested that the delay would enable vehicle 
manufacturers to retain current EDR functionality across all vehicle 
models and avoid disabling legacy EDR systems for a limited number of 
vehicle models. The agency is denying the petition since the 
implementation of the August 2006 final rule has already been delayed 
by two years and we have recently published a final rule responding to 
the remaining petitions for reconsideration. We believe these latest 
amendments alleviate the most significant areas of concern expressed by 
the Alliance and will not necessitate further delays in implementation.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical and policy issues, 
    David Sutula, Office of Crashworthiness Standards, NVS-112. 
Telephone: (202) 366-3273. Facsimile: (202) 366-7002.
    For legal issues, contact:
    Mr. David Jasinski, Office of the Chief Counsel, NCC-112. 
Telephone: (202) 366-4332. Facsimile: (202) 366-3820.
    Both persons may be reached by mail at the following address:
    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE., West Building, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20590.


Table of Contents

I. Background
II. Petition for Rulemaking
III. Analysis and Agency Decision

I. Background

    In August 2006, NHTSA issued a final rule \1\ amending 49 CFR Part 
563 (Part 563) to establish uniform performance requirements for the 
accuracy, collection, storage, survivability and retrievability of 
onboard motor vehicle crash EDRs voluntarily installed in light 
passenger vehicles. Specifically, the regulation applies to passenger 
cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses with a gross 
vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 3,855 kg (8,500 pounds) or less and an 
unloaded vehicle weight of 2,495 kg (5,500 pounds) or less,\2\ that are 
voluntarily equipped with an EDR. The final rule aimed to standardize 
the data obtained through EDRs so that such data would provide 
information to enhance the agency's understanding of crash events and 
safety system performance, thereby potentially contributing to safer 
vehicle designs and more effective safety regulations. The final rule 
was intended to be technology-neutral, so as to permit compliance with 
any available EDR technology that meets the specified performance 

    \1\ 71 FR 50998.
    \2\ Walk-in van-type trucks or vehicles designed to be sold 
exclusively to the U.S. Postal Service are excluded.

    On January 14, 2008,\3\ the agency responded to petitions for 
reconsideration on the August 2006 final rule and the following 
amendments were made to Part 563:

    \3\ 73 FR 2168.

     We clarified the event storage definitions to alleviate 
any uncertainties in multiple event crashes;
     Revised certain sensor ranges and accuracies to reflect 
current state of the art technologies;
     Clarified the recorded data reporting format;
     Specified vehicle storage conditions during compliance 
     Clarified the required data elements and scope of covered 
sensors; and
     Revised the effective date to provide sufficient time for 
manufacturers and suppliers to comply with the rule.

The agency made these changes to encourage a broad application of EDR 
technologies in motor vehicles and maximize the usefulness of EDR data 
for vehicle designers, researchers and the medical community, without 
imposing unnecessary burdens or deterring future improvements to EDRs 
that have been voluntarily installed. The final rule also provided two 
additional years of lead time to provide manufacturers more time to 
implement the necessary changes to EDR architectures within their 
normal product development cycles.\4\

    \4\ NHTSA issued a Federal Register notice on February 8, 2008 
(73 FR 8408) to correct the placement of decimal points for data in 
Table II of the final rule.

    In response to the January 2008 final rule, the agency received 
three petitions for reconsideration from the Alliance of Automobile 
Manufacturers (Alliance), the Association of International Automobile 
Manufacturers, Inc., Technical Affairs Committee (AIAM) \5\ and Mr. 
Thomas Kowalick, a private citizen. The agency also received two 
requests for interpretation from the Automotive Occupant Restraints 
Council and Robert Bosch, LLC.

    \5\ At the time of its submission, the AIAM Technical Affairs 
Committee members included: American Honda Motor Co., American 
Suzuki Motor Corp., Aston Martin Lagonda of North America, Inc., 
Ferrari North America, Inc., Hyundai Motor America, Isuzu Motors 
America LLC, Kia Motors America, Inc., Maserati North America, Inc., 
Nissan North America, Inc., Peugeot Motors of America, Subaru of 
America, ADVICS North America, Inc., Delphi Corporation, Denso 
International America, Inc., and Robert Bosch Corporation.

    On August 5, 2011,\6\ the agency published a final rule responding 
to these petitions and made the following clarifications and amendments 
to Part 563:

    \6\ 76 FR 47478.

     We removed the required standardization of the reporting 
requirements for all acceleration data requirements to address 
certification issues with data clipping, filtering and phase-shifting;
     Clarified the application of sensor tolerances to within 
the range of the applicable sensor;
     Clarified the event storage definition to alleviate 
uncertainties in multiple event crashes;
     Clarified our position regarding exclusion of peripheral 
sensors from the reporting requirements for EDRs;
     Revised requirements for the capture of event data in 
crashes that
    [cir] Involve side or side curtain/tube air bags such that EDR data 
would only need to be locked if the vehicle also captures lateral 
delta-V data, and

[[Page 48493]]

    [cir] Involve non-reversible deployable restraints other than 
frontal, side or side/curtain air bags such that EDR data would not 
need to be locked at the option of the manufacturer;
     Clarified that any non-reversible deployable restraint may 
serve as an event trigger;
     Made other minor technical and editorial corrections; and
     Denied a petition request for requiring a mechanical 
lockout device.

II. Petition for Rulemaking

    On February 17, 2009, NHTSA received a petition for rulemaking from 
the Alliance. The petitioner requested that NHTSA initiate rulemaking 
to delay the effective date of Part 563 from September 1, 2012 to 
September 1, 2013. The petitioner commented that the delay would enable 
vehicle manufacturers to retain current EDR functionality across all 
vehicle models and avoid disabling legacy EDR systems for a limited 
number of vehicle models.
    The Alliance commented that the one-year delay was necessary 
because economic conditions have resulted in significant changes to 
future product plans for many Alliance member companies. As a result, 
the product redesigns for some vehicle models equipped with older 
generation EDRs have now been extended beyond the September 1, 2012 
effective date. As a result, manufacturers of those affected vehicles 
would likely opt to disable the EDRs until such time as the vehicle 
could be redesigned.
    The Alliance further commented that the delay would enable 
manufacturers to more efficiently respond to any agency revisions to 
Part 563 based on its response to the petitions for reconsideration of 
the January 14, 2008 final rule. Most notably, the Alliance identified 
the acceleration data element and data clipping as two needed revisions 
to Part 563.
    Additionally, the Alliance commented that an effective date of 
September 1, 2013, is consistent with their original petition for 
reconsideration dated October 12, 2006.
    On March 18, 2009, the agency met with representatives from General 
Motors (GM) who presented additional data \7\ in support of the 
Alliance petition for delay of the effective date in Part 563. GM 
supported two petitions for reconsideration issues regarding the 
recording of acceleration data. Namely, GM supported restriction of the 
accuracy requirement to  10 percent for crashes where 
accelerometer data clipping does not occur, and deletion of the 
acceleration data element from Part 563. GM also commented that in at 
least one vehicle, the EDR may need to be disabled if a delay in the 
effective date is not granted.\8\

    \7\ See Docket for this notice.
    \8\ GM's position was also supported in a letter dated September 
25, 2009 and posted to Docket number NHTSA-2008-0004-0011.

    In a letter dated March 30, 2009, the AIAM supported the Alliance 
petition for delay in the effective date of Part 563. AIAM commented 
that manufacturers were provided ``essentially one development cycle 
(about four years)'' to reengineer EDRs to comply with Part 563. It 
stated that an additional delay in responding to the petitions for 
reconsideration of the January 2008 final rule will reduce the ability 
of manufacturers to implement changes during the new model development 
process and could result in EDR functionality being removed from some 
vehicles in the short term.

III. Analysis and Agency Decision

    The agency amended Part 563 in its August 5, 2011 response to 
petitions for reconsideration of the January 14, 2008 rule. In its 
response, the agency carefully considered the issues of data accuracy, 
phase-shifting, and clipping effects associated with accelerometer 
signals. In that notice, we revised Part 563 to remove the reporting 
specifications for acceleration data elements in Table III, including 
minimum range, accuracy and resolution in lieu of removing the 
acceleration data elements altogether. Through these actions, 
manufacturers may continue to use current EDR technologies and not 
incur any significant cost increases due to use of extended 
accelerometer ranges, while the agency may continue to receive 
acceleration data. We believe that these changes adequately address the 
concerns of the petitioners with regard to the data elements.
    Further, the agency believes that the aforementioned changes will 
not require manufacturers to amend their development plans for EDR 
architectures or vehicle models. The changes in the response to 
petitions for reconsideration of the January 2008 final rule will 
instead reduce their burden in complying and will impose no additional 
    We expect that denying this one-year extension will have a limited 
effect on crash data collected by the agency for research purposes. As 
noted in our Vehicle Safety Fuel Economy Rulemaking/Research Priority 
Plans 2011-2013,\9\ the agency is developing a rulemaking proposal 
requiring EDRs on light vehicles to which Part 563 applies. The 
Alliance also acknowledged in its petition that its request has a 
limited impact on the number or timing of the vehicles meeting the 
requirements by 2012. Only one vehicle manufacturer submitted data to 
the agency that demonstrated that one of their vehicle models would be 
equipped with legacy EDR systems that would need to be disabled. The 
AIAM letter of support did not provide any additional data from its 

    \9\ Docket No. NHTSA-2009-0108, page 20.

    Based on the foregoing, we do not believe that an additional delay 
in the effective date for the entire fleet is warranted, and we are 
denying the Alliance's petition for rulemaking.
    In accordance with 49 CFR Part 552, this completes the agency's 
review of the petition.

     Authority:  49 U.S.C. 30162; delegations of authority at 49 CFR 
1.50 and 501.8.

    Issued on: August 6, 2012.
Christopher J. Bonanti,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2012-19762 Filed 8-13-12; 8:45 am]

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