NHTSA to propose a rule requiring EDRs in all new light vehicles

In a Friday statement, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that, in the coming days, it intends proposing a rule which will require all new light vehicles to have requiring event data recorders (EDRs) - devices that will be quite similar to, but a much less complex version of, the crash data-recording `black boxes' in airplanes.

With the review of the EDR-related proposal by the NHTSA having been duly completed by the White House Office of Management Budget, the NHTSA can now go ahead with finalizing the EDR standard for all cars and trucks manufactured on or after September 1, 2014.

Given the fact that nearly 90 percent of new vehicles - including all vehicles manufactured by General Motors, Ford Motor, Toyota and Mazda - have the EDRs, the NHTSA has estimated that, assuming that 15.5 million vehicles are sold every year, the automakers will have to spend $24.4 million in incremental costs to have the EDRs in all vehicles.

About the need to have EDRs on all new light vehicles, NHTSA administrator David Strickland said in an e-mailed statement that EDRs can provide "critical safety information" which might not otherwise be available to the safety agency for evaluating the happenings that led to a vehicle crash.

Strickland further added: "A broader EDR requirement would ensure the agency has the safety-related information it needs to determine what factors may contribute to crashes across all vehicle manufacturers."