The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending
that event data recorders, more commonly known as “black boxes,” be required in
all new cars in the United States.
The recommendation was made in a report
regarding an accident in Santa Monica, CA. On July 16, 2003, a 1992 Buick
LeSabre driven by an 86-year-old man was approaching an intersection near the
city’s farmer’s market.
When the other car stopped, the Buick
hit it and then continued through the farmer’s market. Ten people were killed,
and 63 were injured.
In their report, NTSB officials said the
accident was likely caused by the driver of the Buick when he hit the
accelerator instead of the brake. Instead of slowing, he accelerated into the
crowd of pedestrians.
But further into the report, the agency
concludes that “a significantly higher level of science could have been applied
to assessing and understanding the driver’s behavior” if the vehicle had been
equipped with a data recorder.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s proposed rulemaking on
standards governing voluntary, rather than mandatory, installation of event
data recorders in light-duty vehicles will not result in obtaining the maximum
highway safety benefits from this technology,” NTSB officials wrote in the
issue of event data recorders also reappeared recently in a case involving
trucking. Electronic on-board recorders, as they are called on trucks, were
mentioned in a recent appeals court ruling on the hours-of-service rules.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the
District of Columbia said the FMCSA should have
collected and analyzed data on the costs and benefits of requiring electronic