car crash.automotiveIT

Data recorders can provide information on the cause of a car crash (Photo: Wikimedia)

The US administration wants all cars to be equipped with event data recorders (EDRs) from September, 2014.

The proposal by the US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would mean automakers have  to install in all new cars EDRs that capture valuable safety-related data in the seconds before and during a crash.

The administration said EDRs are an important additional safety feature. "This proposal will give us the critical insight and information we need to save more lives," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a press release.

NHTSA estimates that most US model year 2013 passenger cars already have EDR capability. Information that would be captured includes vehicle speed, crash force at impact, air bag deployment, seat belt use and braking activity. EDRs don't collect any personal identifying information or record conversations.

NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said EDRs are vital to understand the mechanics of a vehicle crash."A broader EDR requirement would ensure the agency has the safety-related information it needs to determine what factors may contribute to crashes across all vehicle manufacturers," Strickland said.

NHTSA already established requirements for EDRs in 2006, but installation of the devices was mandatory.

In an interview with the Detroit News, Strickland said that, when EDRs become mandatory, motorists shouldn't be allowed to turn them off. He also said privacy concerns over the devices are unfounded.