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1/23/2013 - Event data recorders may soon be mandated in automobiles


Black boxes may soon be mandated in all new vehicles.

Traffic authorities recently made a proposal that could revolutionize the way in which officials piece together what happened in a car accident following an auto insurance claim.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a new rule could make it mandatory for manufacturers to equip their vehicles with event data recorders. These devices, which would likely mimic the way black boxes are used on airplanes, would be able to record crash data both during and after an accident.

Ray LaHood, secretary of the Department of Transportation, noted that the biggest benefit that may come with these devices is added safety.

"By understanding how drivers respond in a crash and whether key safety systems operate properly, NHTSA and automakers can make our vehicles and our roadways even safer," said LaHood. "This proposal will give us the critical insight and information we need to save more lives."

Some of the information that could be recorded include how fast a vehicle was traveling at the time of impact, whether the brakes were engaged, how forceful the accident was, if the air bags deployed properly and determining whether the occupants were using their seat belts.

Should the measure become law, all automakers would be required to install EDRs into vehicles before September 1, 2014.

NHTSA estimates that as it is already, more than 95% of 2013 model year passenger cars have EDR-capability.


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