Europe to Require Black Box on All New Cars by July 2024

Small Trucks and Vans Must Have Event Data Recorder: Mandatory Requirement

Commonly referred to as flight data recorders, the implementation of these devices was made compulsory by leading aviation nations in the latter part of the 1960s. Despite their moniker, they do not sport a black hue; instead, they are usually colored a vibrant shade of orange for ease of location following an air mishap. This year, a comparable gadget will be required on all fresh automobile purchases within the European Union.

Beginning in July 2024, every newly registered vehicle in the European Union will be required to have an “Event Data Recorder” (EDR) as a standard component. This mandate specifically pertains to passenger cars that fall into the M1 classification, which are able to hold up to eight passengers plus the driver. Additionally, commercial vehicles in the N1 category, such as pickup trucks and vans weighing no more than 3,500 kilograms (7,716 pounds), will also be equipped with the automotive version of a black box.

It is important to emphasize that as of July 2022, there have been no approvals granted to car manufacturers who are trying to certify new vehicles in the European Union. The EU consists of 27 nations: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

Collisions can have significant financial consequences for those involved, and it can be challenging to establish responsibility in these situations. Fortunately, an Event Data Recorder (EDR) can provide valuable insight by examining the information stored within it. The EDR captures specific variables during a brief timeframe – comprising of five seconds before the accident and 0.3 seconds after the collision.

Based on the information provided by the European Commission, an EDR is responsible for recording and retaining the following data: speed, braking, the position and tilt of the vehicle on the road, and the response of the built-in safety systems. Furthermore, the EDR evaluates if the emergency call system, known as eCall, has been activated – a requirement that was enforced in the EU in April 2018. The EDR is obligated to accurately store this information and ensure its survival. In addition, it also stores details regarding the make and model of the vehicle, as well as any installed equipment.

Usually built into the airbag module, the event data recorder (EDR) cannot be manually deactivated; it will automatically activate when the airbags and seatbelt tensioners deploy. In addition, it begins recording when the vehicle’s active hood is deployed or when there is a significant shift in speed, either laterally or longitudinally, of over 8 km/h (5 mph) within a 0.15 second time frame.

The data captured by the Event Data Recorder (EDR) is the property of either the driver or the owner of the vehicle. This device functions on a sealed system and the information collected is done so anonymously, ensuring that it cannot be tampered with by unauthorized individuals. In order to protect against potential misuse, the final four digits of the vehicle’s VIN are deliberately not saved. Additionally, any other details that could potentially reveal the identity of the owner are also not logged.

Access to the data is restricted to authorized agencies for their assistance in reconstructing accidents. The necessary information can be obtained through the OBD interface, but if this connection is damaged in the event of a crash, direct access to the black box becomes imperative.

In 2012, the Obama administration put forth a suggestion to make EDRs mandatory in new cars and trucks. However, this proposal was retracted in 2019 as most automakers had already taken the initiative to install these devices in their vehicles voluntarily. In 2022, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a new regulation, requiring cars equipped with black boxes to store at least 20 seconds of pre-crash data. This marked a significant change from the previous requirement of only five seconds.

It has been estimated by the NHTSA that nearly all new cars sold in the USA, about 99.5 percent, come equipped with an event data recorder (EDR).

Source: European Commission

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