Rational Legislative and Organizational Policy for Automotive Event Data Recorders

Event data recorders (EDRs) can be invaluable tools for crash investigators. However, public opinion views this technology as new and controversial. The development of standardized and equitable organizational policy by those who employ EDR technology can help shield the technology from legislation based on popular misconceptions. This paper defines legislative and organizational policy and offers an overview of the public reaction to EDRs. Based on this reaction, future EDR policy is described as a high ambiguity-high conflict scenario, as defined by Richard Matland's ambiguity-conflict model. The application of this model shows the need for consensus building among the various interest groups involved in transportation safety. It is further argued that creation of consistent and fair organizational policy is a key first step in protecting EDR technology and facilitating consensus among various interest groups. Specific recommendations are made to assist administrators in the creation of workable policy and procedure for EDR use. These recommendations emphasize the importance of: training for EDR users; compliance with state and federal rules of evidence; consistency with existing policy; clarity in defining parameters of EDR use in employee discipline; and preventing top-down micromanagement of EDR users and technology. Workable policy is a crucial element in consensus building and public acceptance and can help protect agencies that employ EDR technology from adverse evidentiary decisions, legal liability and negative publicity.


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  • Accession Number: 01044669
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 15 2007 1:21PM