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Entries in Black Box (7)


US Senate Passes Bill 1813 Mandating Event Data Recorders (EDRs) in Passenger Vehicles by 2015

Benjamin Smith
Principal Technical Analyst

Earlier this month, in the 2nd Session of the 112th Congress, the United States Senate passed Bill 1813, which mandates the presence of event data recorders (EDRs) in all vehicles sold in the US by 2015. Additionally, the US House of Representatives is considering similar legislation.

Section 31406, titled “Vehicle Event Data Recorders,” indicates that Part 563 of Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, will be revised with new regulations centered on the implementation, capabilities, ownership, and accessibility of EDRs in passenger vehicles available in the United States.

Furthermore, Part D (revisions) of Section 31406 requires that EDRs record data for a “reasonable” amount time before, during, and after an airbag deployment or rollover and that these data be accessible by means of “commercially available equipment” in a “specified data format.”

Read the document (pdf) regarding Senate Bill 1813 released by the Government Printing Office (GPO)


How to Interpret Heavy Vehicle EDR Data, Day 3

William Messerschmidt
Principal Technical Analyst 

Today marked the third day of the TU HVEDR class, which is the day we set aside for field work and demonstrations.

In the morning, participants got to begin hands-on ECM downloads of Detroit Diesel, Caterpillar, and Cummins ECMs. Dr. Daily and his graduate students also assisted in demonstrating actual data transmissions over the J1939 network.

Freightliner of Tulsa brought a brand new 2012 Freightliner Cascadia with DDEC 10 electronics. Participants got to download the truck using DDEC Reports and DDDL 7 software and see (on a clean, new truck) the parts specific to Sustained Catalytic Reduction (SCR), like the Aftertreatment Control Module (ACM) and Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) tank.

In the afternoon, we went to the Tulsa Fairgrounds and had the chance to test two fully instrumented Kenworth tractors, which were donated by Melton Transportation. Tests were performed with a Road Relay 4 attached, with a Safety Pass Pro attached, and with parameter changes made to some of the trucks' parameters. Using a Video VBox 4, we were able to capture CAN data on vehicle speed, engine speed brake, and clutch status (and other parameters as well).

Thanks to the assistance of the Tulsa Fire Department, Freightliner of Tulsa, Melton Transportation, today's field day was a very successful event!


MSC Participates in the 2011 SAE World Congress

Benjamin Smith
Principal Technical Analyst, MSC of MS

For the third consecutive year, MSC was involved with the publication and presentation of new research for the SAE World Congress. This year MSC was represented by Benjamin Smith who coauthored a new research paper, "Data Extraction Methods and their Effects on the Retention of Event Data Contained in the Electronic Control Modules of Detroit Diesel and Mercedes-Benz Engines," (SAE 2011-01-0808), with David Plant and Timothy Austin.

This paper was presented along with research such as Ruth and Daily's paper on Event Data Recorder (EDR) accuracy, Bare, Everest, Floyd, and Nunan's research paper on sensing diagnostic module (SDM) pre-crash data transfer, and Austin and Farrell's paper on Caterpillar Electronic Control Module (ECM) snapshot data. In addition to the research papers presented, some of the technical sessions and discussions addressed accident reconstruction topics including drag sled accuracy and usage, forensic photogrammetry, and diesel engine retarder acceleration rates. 


EDR (Black Box) Data Retrieval

MSC is an industry leader in Heavy Vehicle Event Data Recorder (HVEDR) technology. Our employees have authored peer-reviewed research, developed software tools, and performed HVEDR downloads and analysis from New York to California.

Along with our experience with HVEDRs, MSC has been actively involved in using the Crash Data Retrieval Tool (CDR Tool), which can access up to 25 seconds of valuable pre-crash event data in passenger cars. CDR Tool version 3.5 currently supports Event Data collection from many General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Isuzu, and Mitsubishi vehicles.

The event data that are downloaded—such as brake circuit status, airbag deployment status, seatbelt use status, wheel speed, engine RPM, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, and so on—depend on the type of passenger car. View a comprehensive vehicle coverage list.

MSC’s staff has a great deal of experience with the preservation and analysis of these data.

Benjamin Smith received Bosch-certified CDR training from the Collision Safety Institute in San Diego, CA. Having carried out hundreds of crash investigations, Ben has performed over 300 CDR downloads. Email Ben Smith.

While serving as a crash investigator for a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contractor, Kevin Jones received his CDR training directly from employees of NHTSA, the National Automotive Sampling System, and the US DOT Traffic Safety Institute. He performed over 300 CDR downloads as part of that NHTSA contract. Email Kevin Jones.

Bill Messerschmidt received Bosch-certified CDR training through the Collision Safety Institute in San Diego, CA. Bill has participated in CDR validation testing with W. Rusty Haight and was an invited speaker at the First and Second Annual Crash Data Retrieval Tool Conferences. Bill is one of only two individuals to have authored peer-reviewed research on both heavy vehicle and passenger vehicle EDRs. Email Bill Messerschmidt.

When handled properly and interpreted correctly, “black box” data from both passenger cars and heavy vehicles can provide invaluable clues about crash-causation and mishap prevention.


MSC in Wisconsin Trooper Magazine

In February, Messerschmidt Safety Consulting was honored by inclusion in the cover story of the Spring 2010 issue of Wisconsin Trooper magazine. Wisconsin Trooper is the official quarterly publication of the Wisconsin State Trooper Association.

During 2009, Troopers from the Wisconsin State Patrol (WSP) made important contributions to two Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) technical papers. Sergeant Duane Meyers coauthored a technical paper with Dr. L. Daniel Metz, which looks at tire/road friction at high speeds (“Controlled Braking Experiments with and without ABS,” forthcoming SAE 2010-01-1000), and Trooper Tim Austin coauthored a technical paper with representatives of several other organizations (including MSC) on the effect that power failure has on event data recorders (EDRs) in heavy trucks (“Simulating the Effect of Collision-Related Power Loss on the Event Data Recorders of Heavy Trucks,” forthcoming SAE 2010-01-1004).

Wisconsin’s Technical Reconstruction Unit, of which Meyers and Austin are members, continues to make meaningful and valuable contributions to forensic science, accident investigation and reconstruction, and criminal justice. We at MSC are privileged to have had the opportunity to work with the WSP and to have been included in the Trooper Association’s quarterly magazine.