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Forensic Sciences Committee Preparing New Standard on Electronic Control Units

ASTM International Committee E30 on Forensic Sciences invites all interested parties to participate in the drafting of a proposed new standard, WK4150, Practice for the Interrogation of Non-Volatile Memory Data in Evidentiary Vehicle Electronic Control Units. The proposed standard is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee E30.05 on Engineering.

Electronic control units (ECUs) are similar to the “black boxes” found on airplanes and record and retain information when a vehicle is involved in an accident. After the accident has occurred, care must be taken in retrieving this important data without damaging or destroying it. This data is often used in legal situations to aid in determining the cause of a crash.

According to William Rosenbluth, Automotive Systems Analysis, Inc., the proposed new standard covers practices and procedures that are still not fully covered in existing standards. Forensic professionals need to be familiar with proper procedures in order to avoid errors that can jeopardize forensic findings and court credibility. “The objective of this standard is to identify procedures by which to retrieve electronic data with the highest assurance of not changing or disturbing that data, either by erasure or overwriting,” says Rosenbluth.

For further technical information, contact William Rosenbluth, Automotive Systems Analysis, Inc., Reston, Va. (phone: 703/597-7066). For membership or meeting details, contact Carolyn Sheahan, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9804). //

Copyright 2004, ASTM International