NHTSA has issued a Final Rule in response to Petitions for Reconsideration for Part 563 Event Data Recorders
On August 9, 2012, NHTSA published a Final Rule (Vol. 77, Number 154; Docket No.NHTSA-2012-0099) amending requirements for voluntarily installed event data recorders (EDRs). This action responds to three Petitions for Reconsiderations (Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Automotive Safety Council and Honda Motor Co.) addressing the August 2011 Part 563 Final Rule. The Association of Global Automakers and Nissan North America both filed comments supporting the petitions. The Agency granted some aspects of the petitions and denied others.
The effective date for this Final Rule is October 9, 2012. Except as noted below, passenger cars, trucks and busses with a gross vehicle weight rating of 3,855 kg (8500 lbs) or less and an unloaded vehicle weight of 2495 kg (5500 lbs) or less (except walk-in van-type trucks or vehicles designed exclusively for the US Postal Service), voluntarily equipped with an EDR and manufactured on or after September 1, 2012 and manufacturers of those vehicles must comply with this Final Rule. The compliance date for vehicles built in 2 or more stages and altered vehicles is September 1, 2013.
Items addressed in the referenced petitions and the NHTSA responses include the following:
Steering Input - Petitioners stated that implementing the new EDR requirement to report steering input in percent would impose an unnecessary complex proliferation of EDR calibrations to match vehicle builds, and requested to reinstate the original input range to -250 degrees CW to 250 degrees CCW with a resolution specification of 5 degrees. SAE International (SAE) submitted to the 2011 Final Rule docket what they described as a technical amendment to the steering input parameter. Response: In consideration of the petitions and the supporting information subsequently provided by Bosch, NHTSA is reverting back to the steering input data element range of -250 degrees CW to 250 degrees CCW that was in the 2008 Final Rule. No change was made based upon SAE's comments. NHTSA did not believe the changes suggested by SAE could be considered technical amendments. The SAE comments will treated as a Petition for Rulemaking and will be considered under NHTSA plans for publishing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the near future to explore the potential for, and future utility of, capturing additional EDR data in light vehicles.
Data Clipping Flag - All three petitioners requested that the agency consider delaying the requirement that an EDR must flag the first occurrence of input that saturates or clips the sensor. Response: NHTSA agreed with Honda, the Alliance, ASC, and GAM that the data clipping flag requirement should be delayed, and are providing one extra year of lead time for this particular requirement to give manufacturers additional flexibility.
End of Event Time - To avoid potential revisions to the EDR software and require evaluation prior to implementation, petitioners requested a change to the end of event time definition. Response: Denied.
Occupant Size Classification - Petitioners requested clarification on the revisions to the occupant size classifications definition. They stated that the current definition is misleading in that it may now include the 5th percentile female (as defined in 49 CFR Part 572, subpart O) in the same category as an adult, particularly in the driver's designated seating position. Response: Denied - NHTSA has intended for the occupant size classification to be inclusive of the 5th percentile female as defined in 49 CFR Part 572, Subpart O.
Non-Reversible Deployment of Restraints - Petitioners requested that NHTSA clarify the requirements for data capture by EDRs in events utilizing non-reversible deployable restraints other than air bags. They stated their belief that the agency intended to allow capture and recording of deployments of devices such as pretensioners at the option of the manufacturer, but that the current regulatory text in 49 CFR 563.9(b) does not specify this optional nature. Response: Denied - NHTSA believes that section 563.9(b) is clear that when a memory buffer is available, EDRs must capture and record current event data that does not involve deployment of an air bag. If the memory buffers are full, manufacturers may either overwrite any previous data that does not involve deployment of an air bag, or not record the current event data if it does not involve deployment of an air bag.
Multi Event Storage - Petitioners requested clarification on the locking of events involving side impact air bags. They commented that the regulatory text could be interpreted to mean that if a side impact deployment occurs first, it would be locked and a subsequent secondary frontal air bag deployment would not be recorded. It further suggested that this would not be in keeping with the agency's intent to record frontal air bag deployments. Response: NHTSA agrees that if a side impact deployment occurs first and the EDR records lateral delta-V, this event would need to be locked; however, a subsequent event (including the deployment of a frontal air bag) would not need to be recorded, but it could be allowed at the option of the manufacturer. The Agency referred to the preambles of the previous rulemakings on the subject.
Technical Workshop - Petitioners requested NHTSA consider holding a technical workshop to ensure that all stakeholders are properly prepared to comply with Part 563. Response: Denied.
Compliance Test Procedures - Petitioners urged NHTSA to publish a Part 563 compliance test procedure as soon as possible. Response: NHTSA is working with the SAE EDR committee to ensure that any compliance test procedure issued would consider the SAE J1698 Vehicle Event Data Interface recommended industry practices, as appropriate. The test procedure and accompanying documents will be provided in the docket for the 2011 Final Rule.
Petitions for this Final Rule must be received by NHTSA on or before September 24, 2012. NHTSA.