EC commissions “black box” study

12.00 | 17 July 2014 | | 6 comments

Black boxes could become mandatory for new vehicles, according to a report in Fleet News.

The Fleet News report says that the European Commission (EC) has asked the transport research consultancy TRL to undertake a study on the deployment of event data recorders (EDRs) in cars, light commercial vehicles, HGVs and buses and coaches. TRL’s report should be available to the EC by the end of August.

The report says says that the majority of new cars and some vans and other vehicles are already fitted with the technology but there is no mandatory requirement or functionality standardisation.

TRL’s Dr David Hynd told Fleet News: “There is a demonstrable reduction in crash rates if a driver is aware of, and is reminded that, their vehicle is fitted with a monitoring system.

“If fleet operators use recorders and feed back information to drivers, then they can expect a reduction in vehicle damage and insurance costs among other benefits.”

An EC spokesman said: “The purpose of the study is to assist the Commission in deciding whether the fitting of EDRs in all vehicles or certain categories of vehicles could result in an improvement in road safety or have other positive consequences that would justify the adoption of European Union legislative measures and to assess the costs and benefits of such measures.”

According to Fleet News, a legislative proposal could be made early next year, but would then take a further two to three years to be adopted with manufacturers being given a lead time to become compliant.



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    George Orwell once again proved right. Next step – transmit the data in real time to Busybody HQ, next after that send control signals back to stop the vehicle. Like Mother-in Law in the back seat but much, much worse. Also – it’s no wonder drivers are increasingly choosing to hang on to their old cars not buy new, or buy even older ones.

    Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield
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    But then they can easily be tampered with if in the wrong hands as our latest tragic incident in Ukraine/Russia suggests.

    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Regarding data ownership, yes the police have problems knowing with current devices whether they have to serve notice on the vehicle owner or the insurer. Did you know that the “SOS” boxes that are becoming mandatory for new vehicles contain EDRs? This means that the police will know they can serve notice to get the data from the vehicle owner of all vehicles registered after the implementation date.

    Mark, Caerphilly
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    The problem with journey recorders is that they are not as accurate as one might think. Insurance companies are already cancelling cover for clients because they have detected excess speed, yet the information given suggests the reader was wrong and an apology has now been given. There is much more to do before any legislation is enacted and these blips are ironed out. If you consider SAT NAV giving you a heads up on speed cameras, yet there is nothing on the road you are on; but it has picked up an adjacent road with cameras. These kinds of things are happening already for speed detection and it needs a fine tuning before any prescriptive inclusion is announced.

    Barry Kenward – Hampshire
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    Just be aware that there is a big differnce between event data recorders (EDR’s) and journey data recorders (JDR’s). The EDR’s will record only that data in the minutes leading up to a trigger event such as a crash or an emergency stop, but JDR’s as their name suggests will record the whole journey. There are also issues with data ownership with these things which need to be fully resolved before any legislation can be passed.

    I use similar gadgets to these to analyse a rider’s performance and abilities, but it does require a certain expertise to identify that data which is relevant from that which isn’t. For example the rate of heading change a rider can achieve tells me a great deal about how safely they are riding, but you can imagine that for the unskilled and unsophisticated observer the speed they are riding might be of greater interest. Data only has value if you have a theoretical framework in which to analyse it and so far there is not much evidence that such a framework exists.

    Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon
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    The TRL spokesperson says “There is a demonstrable reduction in crash rates if a driver is aware of, and is reminded that, their vehicle is fitted with a monitoring system”; if this is demonstrably true, then why the delay whilst another study is commissioned?
    Apart from inducing drivers of vehicles so equipped to be more aware of their actions behind the wheel, we will have far more robust pre-accident data to work with than Stats 19 can possibly give us.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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