NHTSA declines to delay rules on data recorders
A request by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers to delay the implementation of new rules regulating event data recorders, the “black boxes” in vehicles that record crash data, was denied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In a ruling released Monday, NHTSA said the more stringent regulations would take effect, as planned, on Sept. 1. The Alliance, an industry group comprising the Detroit 3, Toyota Motor Corp., Volkswagen AG, Mercedes-Benz AG and six other automakers, petitioned the agency to delay implementing the regulations until September 2013.
Because the EDRs aren’t mandatory, the Alliance argued that some automakers will simply not include the devices in new vehicles instead of updating the technology, according to the NHTSA report. The group said an additional year would’ve allowed the companies more time to adapt.
But NHTSA said implementation of the rule, which was originally adopted in August 2006, had previously been delayed by two years to accommodate earlier petitions for revisions. NHTSA also said it made changes to the rule in 2008 and in 2011, in response to concerns brought by the Alliance and other industry groups, to make it easier and cheaper for automakers to comply with the rule.
“We believe these latest amendments alleviate the most significant areas of concern expressed by the Alliance and will not necessitate further delays in implementation,” NHTSA said in the report.
About 90 percent of new vehicles now include EDRs, but the information collected by the devices varies from automaker to automaker.
The NHTSA rule aims to standardize the devices in order to “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,” according to the report.
Assuming sales of 15.5 million vehicles annually, NHTSA estimated that it would cost automakers $24.4 million in incremental costs to put EDRs in all vehicles.
A NHTSA rule to make EDRs mandatory was proposed last year, but no progress on the proposed regulation has been made since March because the rule has been hung up in the White House Office of Management and Budget, which has yet to approve it.
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