AIA Calls for Standardized Use of Event Data Recorders to Improve Vehicle Safety

February 9, 2004

At a recent meeting of the national leadership of the American Automobile Association (AAA), the American Insurance Association (AIA) urged a cooperative effort between motorists and insurers to call for the standardization and use of Event Data Recorders (EDRs) in motor vehicles. EDRs are devices that record information related to an event such as a highway vehicle crash, and research indicates that EDR data would be very useful in improving vehicle safety.

Speaking on behalf of AIA, David Snyder, AIA vice president and assistant general counsel, encouraged the groups to work together to urge the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) to standardize the use of EDRs for cars and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to mandate EDRs for trucks.

“Every day, motor vehicle crashes exact an enormous toll by causing deaths, injuries, and property damage,” explained Snyder. “Auto insurance provides compensation for losses resulting from crashes, as well as financial protection against vehicle theft and other damages. Therefore, auto insurers’ interests – increasing safety and preventing losses with tools such as EDRs – are directly in line with individual drivers, pedestrians, and other roadway users.”

EDR data could also reportedly be very helpful in improving auto accident investigations by helping to speed fault determination and ferreting out fraud.

“EDR data could be used to provide more rapid and fair resolution of auto accident cases that now often rely only on eye witness observations,” said Snyder. “With objective EDR data insurers could determine fault more rapidly and resolve claims that should be settled, while contesting those for which their policyholders were not to blame.”

EDRs have the ability and potential to have a major impact on highway safety, ranging from assisting in real-world data collection to better define the auto safety problem to aiding in law enforcement and emergency medical service response. AIA believes that EDRs will accelerate deployment of driver-assisted technologies, collision avoidance systems, vehicle diagnostic systems and advanced medical response capabilities.

AIA also reportedly recognizes the need to address privacy concerns for drivers and would encourage the development of an EDR model that is legally and technologically able to collect, store, protect and ensure a limited disclosure of information stored at remote locations. Snyder explained that the “Drivers Privacy Protection Act for Motor Vehicle Reports (MVRs)” could be used as a possible model.

“We want to reduce, to the maximum extent possible, the deaths, injuries and property damage that result from motor vehicle crashes,” continued Snyder. “EDR-related technologies include retrieving, gathering, and storing objective data which may improve highway safety and improve claim settlements.”

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