Austin, T., Plant, D., and LeFevre, J., "Using NFPA Compliant Fire Apparatus Vehicle Data Recorders for Collision Investigation - Weldon Type 6444," SAE Technical Paper 2015-01-1446, 2015, doi:10.4271/2015-01-1446.
The use of Heavy Vehicle Event Data Recorders (HVEDRs) in collision analysis has been well recognized in past research. Numerous publications have been presented illustrating data accuracy both in normal operating conditions as well as under emergency braking conditions. These data recording devices are generally incorporated into Electronic Control Modules (ECMs) for engines or Electronic Control Units (ECUs) for other vehicular components such as the Anti-Lock Brake System. Other research has looked at after-market recorders, including publically-available Global Positioning System (GPS) devices and fleet management tools such as Qualcomm.In 2009, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) incorporated a Vehicle Data Recorder (VDR) component into their Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus. The purpose of this was to “…capture data that can be used to promote safe driving and riding practices.” The Standard requires minimum data elements, recording times, and sample rates. These include vehicle speed, acceleration, throttle position, and other specified parameters. While the NFPA is not a regulatory agency, it serves to bring representatives from the fire suppression industry together to set accepted practices and standards.It was the intent of this research to validate the data imaged from a Weldon Type 6444 VDR as employed by fire vehicles. Data were compared to an external VBOX 3i measuring device, as well as internal J1939 Controller Area Network (CAN) data from the vehicle. Testing also incorporated an element designed to ensure that data were retained following a catastrophic loss of power. The results of this study demonstrate that the NFPA compliant Weldon Type 6444 as tested can be used with confidence during a collision investigation.