Member States warned on need for access to in-vehicle crash data

  • April 19, 2021

ETSC, together with a coalition of organisations, has written to EU Member State representatives to outline concerns over specifications for in-vehicle Electronic Data Recorders which will be mandatory in the EU starting from 2022.

The issue relates to the need to record location, date and time events on the devices.  Such information is critical to road safety researchers and in-depth collision  investigations, which, as in the aviation sector, can be used to help prevent a similar situation occurring in the future.

While robust data privacy requirements were written into the legislation, ETSC and other expert organisations believe that the European Commission’s interpretation is too strict.  While there should be tight controls on who can access location and time data, the organisations believe it is absolutely essential that it is available to certain authorised parties.

Furthermore, the original purpose of requiring the devices was to provide a data source to improve road safety.  Ruling out the recording of location and time information would render the device data virtually useless to road safety researchers.

In recent years, with the rise of automated systems in vehicles, it has become ever more necessary for crash investigators and road safety researchers to understand which systems were active at the time of the crash.  The crash last weekend of a Tesla vehicle in the United States with, apparently, no driver in the driver seat, is a case in point.

Electronic Data Recorders only store data when a collision occurs.  There is no question of EDRs being used to continuously track vehicle movements.

The letter from ETSC and others also reiterates concerns over the weakening of technical standards for Intelligent Speed Assistance technology, also mandatory starting in 2022.  The organisations believe the requirements for the systems will result in vastly inferior safety benefits compared to the system envisaged at the time the legislation was developed.

Download the letter