NHTSA Rejects Request for Delay of Black Box Standards
August 14, 2012 6:59 PM
Event data recorder (EDR) or "black box"
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers wanted to push the setting of black box standards to September 2013
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) declined the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers' request to delay
set standards for "black boxes"
The black boxes, called event data recorders (EDRs), are used in autos to record the last moments
before an accident
to identify its cause. Automakers have been using them for awhile now, but the NHTSA's new standards, which are to be set September 1, could force auto companies to replace their current EDRs for more expensive ones.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents automakers like Detroit's Big Three, wanted to delay the setting of EDR standards to September 2013. The group said automakers with older EDRs can meet the new regulations by disabling these older versions, but only as long as the new rules set standards for the devices -- not mandate them.
The NHTSA rejected the request in an eight-page letter, saying that it has already cooked up some ways to help automakers comply without having to spend extra money. Besides, the new standards have already been delayed several times since the rules were finalized in August 2006.
"The agency has made it a priority to work toward a proposed standard that would mandate these devices on all passenger vehicles on the nation's roadways," said Lynda Tran, NHTSA spokeswoman. "NHTSA remains committed to proposing a standard in the coming months that will help save lives by ensuring both automakers and the agency have the necessary data to make continued improvements in vehicle safety."
According to NHTSA, EDRs are already in 91.6 percent of vehicles today, and it would only cost about $24.4 million to boost this number to 100 percent. This is based on the sale of 15.5 million light vehicles annually.
Back in April, the U.S. Senate passed a bill called the
"Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act,"
also called "MAP21." The bill aimed to place EDRs in all 2015 model year vehicles, but also had a bit of a downside -- the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) could strip Americans of their passports if they owed enough tax money.
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