In August 2006, NHSTA established a new set of guidelines on Event Data Recorders, or vehicle ‘black boxes’. While vehicle black boxes had been around in some vehicles for over two decades, Part 563 required manufacturers of model year 2012 and newer passenger vehicles and light trucks that voluntarily equipped their vehicles with a black box must record 15 data elements at a minimum in a standardized format to allow for crash data to be accessed with publicly available equipment.
In addition to what and how the data was collected, the new government regulations also defined requirements for survivability of the black box in severe collisions. Part 563 provided written notification in the owner’s manual of the existence of the black box and its purpose as well.
The black box is designed to record data such as: whether or not the driver and passenger seat belts were buckled; to what extent the driver was depressing (if at all) the accelerator and/or brake pedal; and how fast the vehicle was traveling leading up to the collision. While Part 563 does not mandate the installation of an event data recorder device in all passenger vehicles, nearly all manufacturers currently utilize this technology within their fleets and have complied with the regulation.
Table I – Data Elements Required for All Vehicles Equipped With an EDR/Black Boxes
|Data element||Recording interval/time1|
(relative to time zero)
|Data sample rate|
(samples per second)
|Delta-V, longitudinal||0 to 250 ms or 0 to End of Event Time plus 30 ms, whichever is shorter||100|
|Maximum delta-V, longitudinal||0-300 ms or 0 to End of Event Time plus 30 ms, whichever is shorter||N/A|
|Time, maximum delta-V||0-300 ms or 0 to End of Event Time plus 30 ms, whichever is shorter||N/A|
|Speed, vehicle indicated||−5.0 to 0 sec||2|
|Engine throttle, % full (or accelerator pedal, % full)||−5.0 to 0 sec||2|
|Service brake, on/off||−5.0 to 0 sec||2|
|Ignition cycle, crash||−1.0 sec||N/A|
|Ignition cycle, download||At time of download3||N/A|
|Safety belt status, driver||−1.0 sec||N/A|
|Frontal air bag warning lamp, on/off2||−1.0 sec||N/A|
|Frontal air bag deployment, time to deploy, in the case of a single stage air bag, or time to first stage deployment, in the case of a multi-stage air bag, driver||Event||N/A|
|Frontal air bag deployment, time to deploy, in the case of a single stage air bag, or time to first stage deployment, in the case of a multi-stage air bag, right front passenger||Event||N/A|
|Multi-event, number of event||Event||N/A|
|Time from event 1 to 2||As needed||N/A|
|Complete file recorded (yes, no)||Following other data||N/A|
1 Pre-crash data and crash data are asynchronous. The sample time accuracy requirement for pre-crash time is −0.1 to 1.0 sec (e.g., T = −1 would need to occur between −1.1 and 0 seconds.)
2 The frontal air bag warning lamp is the readiness indicator specified in S4.5.2 of FMVSS No. 208, and may also illuminate to indicate a malfunction in another part of the deployable restraint system.
3 The ignition cycle at the time of download is not required to be recorded at the time of the crash, but shall be reported during the download process.
When you need to have your vehicle’s black box retrieved and the data interpreted and analyzed, contact one of ARCCA’s other Certified Crash Data Retrieval Technicians/Data Analysts.