The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has withdrawn a rulemaking proposal that would have rescinded federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 219, “Windshield zone intrusion,” and issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require event data recorders (EDR) in light vehicles. The agency took the windshield action because two ongoing regulatory developments “could influence vehicle designs by putting a premium on the use of lighter or less rigid materials.” Those developments are “U.S. fuel economy requirements and a global technical regulation aimed at reducing injuries to pedestrians struck by vehicles.”
Noting that 96 percent of model year 2013 passenger cars and light-duty vehicles are already equipped with EDR capability, NHTSA contends that requiring these devices would provide the agency and automakers with data that could be used to improve motor vehicle safety. Information that could be collected would include vehicle speed, whether the brakes were engaged before a crash, crash forces on impact, air bag deployment, and whether seat belts were in use. The proposal would require EDRs in most light vehicles manufactured on or after September 1, 2014. Comments are requested within 30 days of publication in the Federal Register.