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As of today, when incidents like sudden acceleration happen, it's extremely difficult to diagnose conclusively what the cause was. Without a mechanism to track exactly what the driver did, what the vehicle sensors detected and how the vehicle responded, it usually ends up being a he said/she said situation.
Thus, in the wake of recent allegations of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles, a movement has begun to equip all cars with black box data recorders.
Representative Gene Green (D-TX) has already introduced legislation that would mandate the installation of such event data recorders, or black boxes, in all new vehicles.

General Motors has now come out publicly in favor of the proposal. GM has been installing event data recorders in its cars since 1995 as part of the air bag system. In accidents where the airbags are triggered, GM can use the data stored in the EDR for diagnostic purposes to improve the function of its safety systems. The recorders save the last few seconds of data before a crash from a number of sensors. GM is not only supporting the installation of these recorders in all vehicles, but also supports making the data accessible so that accident causes can be more accurately determined.

[Source: General Motors]
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GM Supports Event Data Recorder (EDR) Mandate to Improve Vehicle Safety

General Motors applauds Representative Gene Green (D-TX) for his support of a Federal mandate to install Event Data Recorders (EDRs) in all new vehicles. EDRs can provide important crash related data that will help promote vehicle and occupant safety on America's roads.

"Broad EDR application and collection of data will help save lives and prevent injuries," said Michael J. Robinson, Vice President, Environment, Energy and Safety Policy.

EDRs record data for retrieval after a crash that can assist in the understanding of how the vehicle's systems performed. Data is stored for the short period just before and after a crash.

"EDRs help us understand vehicle control systems, and more importantly, provide critical crash information to help improve structural and restraint system designs across the vehicle fleet," says Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

GM began widely installing the predecessor version of today's EDRs in vehicles in the 1990 model year, and they became standard equipment in light duty vehicles in the 1995 model year. A device that allows for limited public retrieval of the data in GM EDRs has been available since 1999.

"It is essential that decisions on important safety issues be supported by the best available data, and we are convinced that EDRs can help that process," said Robinson. "We agree with those who called for mandatory installation of and greater use of the data from EDRs during recent Congressional hearings."

GM also supports wider availability of the crash data stored in EDRs. This data can help in determining crash causes more quickly, and can contribute significantly toward improving the amount and quality of real-world data in state and national safety databases, such as the NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Recording System (FARS) and National Automotive Sampling System (NASS).

"GM will work with NHTSA, Congress and others on this issue, including taking the necessary steps to assure that important concerns about privacy are adequately addressed," said Robinson.

Additional information about the use of EDRs in GM vehicles can be found at: http://www.gm.com/corporate/responsibility/safety/event_data_recorders/

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      In the US we have OBD and OBD II right? What do they use in Europe, Asia and Latin America? Don't they have similar systems to OBD there? Any chance for some open standards for these things to help reduce cost and allow better access to the data in the systems? Wouldn't that also allow easier debate on what and when the info should be allowed to be read?
      • 5 Years Ago
      How typical. A crisis takes place, then we gladly hand over our freedom in the name of safety and blah blah blah.

      It won't be long before each and every one of us injected with a digital chip.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is it any surprise that GM (Government Motors) supports a government proposal to install black-box data recorders in personal vehicles?

      In my view GM supporting this proposal is about as relevant as the Representative Green proposing the legislation, then ducking behind the podium to put on a hat and fake beard before popping up to say, "I support this too!"

      To-may-to, to-mah-to.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What a surprise Government motors coming out in support of big government.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They had better have a big red PURGE button, or a button to disable recording.
      ala opting out of DRLs.
      My gasoline powered the engine, which spun the alternator, which provided the power to operate said device.
      If I want the data gone, so be it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Read the summary. Fifteen years of installing these voluntarily. GM is on top of its game and wants this turned into legislation.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Big Brother will go away only if you vote these losers out! @ the hit yes GM has been doing this with Onstar for years, but the point is they are going along with proposed law that will mandate black boxes, because they are in bed with the government! You dont have to have Onstar in your car or you don't have to buy a GM if you do not want it! The proposed legislation will REQUIRE all auto makers that sell in America to have it. So our privacy diminishes and the cost to afford a car both initially and total cost will go up! So please wake up and get off the kool-aid!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I fell asleep twice trying to watch the Toyota hearings on C-Span's website, but I did recall this part of it...

      Delegate Norton (D-Washington D.C.) asked Sec. LaHood why the Toyota EDR is 'proprietary' that only Toyota's equipment can read them.

      This has me thinking that there should be GLOBAL standards for some things in vehicles, such as the EDR so it can be read by any govt. safety agency. Wouldn't it lower costs since the companies would only have to conform to one standard?

      Which has me thinking that the US should work with other countries and areas to come up with shared standards for things like emissions, lighting, crash-worthiness, etc. Wouldn't this allow more free trade of our products to go out globally? Wouldn't it reduce cost if a manufacturer only had to design and build to one standard to sell in the EU, Canada and the US, for example?

      I'm not saying to have crappy standards, but aren't the standards for various things (like lights) damn near the same as they are here, but off by a percentage for some ruling or something that they have to be re-engineered to be sold in other markets?

      • 5 Years Ago
      Gee... I wonder why GOVERNMENT MOTORS would ever consider being for this GOVERNMENT LEGISLATION of big brother ridiculousness...

        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, many automakers say that people make mistakes in cars (like press on gas while thinking they are pressing on brakes) this would shed some light on the this and many other issues. As long as info can be used only for crash related issues and not monitoring or other ways that limit privacy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Exactly! Don't trust anything Government Motors says, they're under the thumb of Hopey Changey now. American Leyland, basically, it it will have the same end result--CHAPTER 7!
        • 5 Years Ago

        I am sure the Obama administration had nothing to do with their appointed head of government motors agreeing to the black box.

        YEA RIGHT.

        I wholeheartedly agree. FUGM
        • 5 Years Ago
        Brian: If you're comparing Leyland to GM, you're seriously misinformed. Aside from the political landscape being completely different, so were the working conditions. Then you've got the fact that everything from the UK motoring industry came from the US, hence it was woefully ill-equipped to compete with the other European manufacturers.

        But wait, reading up on that stuff would take effort. Can't have you breaking a sweat, can we? And your favorite talk show host is on in five minutes!
        • 5 Years Ago
        You must've missed the part where it says GM has been doing this more than a decade before Obama became president...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Brian, I'm assuming you do not work in the automotive industry, just like to claim you know a lot about it.

        "all of GM's engineering talent comes from Europe" ... I suppose you're not talking about all the engineers I deal with at GM and Ford corporate, which are located in Michigan.

        ronzo, This type of recording device is beneficial to the vehicle OEM, to prove their car did nothing wrong. Toyota should want this in their vehicle so they can prove the car did not randomly suddenly accelerate, otherwise every accident now the driver is going to claim "the car suddenly accelerated, blame Toyota".

        GM is putting these boxes in already, and so is Ford from what I've seen. "black box is suddenly missing out of the taxi"

      • 5 Years Ago
      We are voting you down without responding because you can't be objective.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Brian is back. Who will return next? Matt? JDM Life?Shane?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hello clueless people... All of the American car companies have been installing these for YEARS. YEARS!!!!!

      Unless you are breaking the law the information is of no interest to anyone. Of course, standard accident reconstruction techniques have been able to determine that for decades. Never mind reality here.

      The bottom line is that Toyota has them but no one can access the data - because they are making a concerted effort at hiding something.
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