The "Vehicle Safety Data Sheet" ( VSDS)
a proposal by Ron Moore
When responders are summoned to hazmat calls, one source of critical information on the properties of the chemicals involved comes from Material Safety Data Sheet( MSDS) forms. These standardized forms are required to be provided by chemical product manufacturers. In adition to use at hazardous material emergencies, MSDS forms are also used in training and pre-incident planning for target hazard occupancies.
In the field of vehicle rescue, I feel it is just as important that responding personnel quickly know the exact type and location of certain features on the crashed vehicles they confront on the street. To immediately know the location of items such as all front and side impact airbags, airbag crash sensors, the vehicle battery, fuel tank and seatbelt pretensioners would be extremely valuable.
Information such as this, immediately available at a crash scene, can improve responder safety and improve our vehicle rescue operational efficiency. A more efficient extrication effort can reduce victim entrapment time thereby reducing injuries and potentially increasing the chances of survival for occupants trapped in vehicles.
Based upon the success of the nationwide hazardous material MSDS concept, I propose a new vehicle safety standard requiring safety information be provided by the manufacturer of the vehicle. This information form shall be known as the "Vehicle Safety Data Sheet" or "VSDS". The VSDS information shall be present on each vehicle in the form of a factory-installed adhesive decal (placard) about the size of a postcard. The VSDS placard shall be mounted in a minimum of two separate and standardized locations on every vehicle sold in the US beginning with the 2000 model year. The VSDS placards will allow all emergency responders to go to the crash vehicle and obtain critical safety information right at the scene.
The VSDS placard design-
The VSDS placard is to consist of a line drawing. The diagram shall represent the actual vehicle looking down from the top. The front of the vehicle will always be at the bottom of the form. The perspective is slightly three-dimensional, allowing for a bird's eye of the vehicle as seen from above and slightly to the driver's side.
The VSDS shall use black ink and be printed on a safety yellow background adhesive label. An additional red color ink along with simple and easily understood symbols shall be used to locate specific safety items on the VSDS diagram such as battery, fuel tank and airbag units.
On the VSDS placard artwork, all vehicle doors will be shown in the open position. Drawn in this manner, the VSDS placard will indicate door hinge locations and which way a door opens. (If it is a third door on an extended cab pickup truck that opens backwards, for example, the VSDS diagram will reveal this fact). The VSDS form will incorporate only artwork icons and some simple text that any fire, EMS or law enforcement responder will be able to read and understand. ( Even at 3AM in the middle of a rain storm)
The VSDS motor vehicle safety standard must require and standardize on two VSDS mounting locations. These VSDS locations shall remain the same for ALL vehicles regardless of make, model or style. These locations should be remote from each other. With two separate locations, responders will have the greatest chance of at least one VSDS placard being available to responders at any crash. In order for this system to work, it is essential that the VSDS placard be in two locations and that the locations remain the same on every vehicle.
I propose requiring one VSDS placard to be applied to the underside of every hood. This primary location would be accessed by opening the hood allowing the VSDS form to be read by responders standing outside the vehicle.
A standard location is needed for a second VSDS placard. A location on the underside of the trunk lid would be good but not every vehicle has a trunk. A second exterior location that would be suitable for all types of vehicles is under or behind the rear license plate. For this location to work, rescuers would have to quickly unscrew the license plate to reveal the VSDS placard information. Another location to consider for the second VSDS placard is on the inside of the fuel filler door if slight modifications are made to the design of the filler door hinge. Potentially a removable form, (laminated placard) could be secured inside this small fuel door.
The second VSDS placard could also be required to be inside the vehicle. The best inside location that would work for all vehicles would be glued to the inside of the driver's side sunvisor. This is a location currently used by automakers for posting airbag safety notices as required by current motor vehicle safety standards. This location inside the vehicle would allow first responder law enforcement and EMS personnel inside the crashed vehicle to quickly learn of important safety information without having or requiring any effort to open the hood or remove license plates.
The information displayed on the VSDS placard is specific for the actual vehicle the VSDS form is applied to. The VSDS diagram reveals specific features and options on the vehicle as actually provided by the manufacturer. The VSDS placard diagram shall include locations of;
---all airbag units ( dual front airbags, side torso, side head protection, knee airbag, foot airbag, rear seat passenger airbags, etc)
---all airbag crash sensor locations and sensor mode of operation (electrical, mechanical, pressure sensitive design),
---airbag system control module,
---engine or alternative power plant location, (ex: hybrid vehicle with gasoline engine and electric motor)
---primary electrical wiring (from battery to starter and from battery to battery for dual systems)
---fuel tank or fuel cell position, type of material and tank capacity,
---fuel line routing (fuel tank to engine)
---hinge/latch locations for all front, side, sliding doors, rear doors or hatchback, rear tailgate, trunk, etc.
---door side impact collision beam design and positions,
---seatbelt types for each seating position and seatbelt pretensioner locations,
---reinforced structural areas (example: high strength-low alloy steel, B-pillar side impact reinforcement, etc)
---other important vehicle features or unique construction materials including;
-presence of magnesium or other unique alloys,
-convertible with pop-up roll bar,
-tilt & telescoping steering column,
-power seat on passenger's side,
-integrated child safety seats,
-power adustable brake and accelerator pedals,
-power sliding minivan doors,
-passenger side front airbag cutoff switches,
-thermostat controlled electric cooling fan,
For a rescuer, the vehicle will now be able to tell us just what we need to know at a glance. This VSDS information shall also be available in hardcopy form and shall be posted online so responders can use it and study it in advance during vehicle rescue and EMS training and rescue pre-planning activities.
At the present time, Firehouse magazine has corresponded on my behalf directly with Dr Richard Martinez, Director of NHTSA. He has personally replied and was enthusiastic about an effort such as this. I hope to be able to muster support from key fire service organizations such as IAFF, IAFC, and the NVFC. Political influence by the Congressional Fire Service Institute, Congressman Curt Weldon, Representative Steny Hoyer and others in the political arena will make our voices heard within the federal government and the Department of Transportation specifically.
At this time, I need a "brain trust" of interested fire service people to support this plan and recommend changes and additions to the VSDS concept presented. Through a grass-roots fire service effort, we can make VSDS placards on new vehicles a reality for model year 2000.
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02-05-1999, 08:48 AM #1rmooreFirehouse.com Guest
The Vehicle Safety Data Sheet, "VSDS"
02-05-1999, 09:17 AM #2iwood51Firehouse.com Guest
Ron, awesome idea, however, under the hood? at least one of the cars in 99% of MVA's has a frontal impact crumpling the hood making this location not useable. The fuel door, not so great as these are in different locations throughout vehicles and many are key and/or electrically operated. Do I have the answer for most suitable locations? No, but I hope someone does as this could provide all of us with a valuable tool.
02-05-1999, 09:24 AM #3rmooreFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks for your comments! This exchange of ideas is exactly what I need to make this VSDS plan work.
Through our online discussion and suggestions and comments such as yours, we'll get the 'bugs' worked out of this concept right here. Then when we really push it to those who can make things happen, we'll be sure it is the best ideas from all of us.
We definitely need TWO standard, consistent, constant, reliable locations that will work for ALL vehicles and that's the hard part.
Who else has an idea?
02-05-1999, 09:44 AM #4Dalmation90Firehouse.com Guest
A good idea is to require a consistent format on the VSDS sheets for on-line reference.
I work as I.S. Manager full time at a R&D Center. Because each manufacturer has a slightly different format for their MSDS sheets, we can't simply "import" their sheets into a generic computer database. We have to scan them in as "photocopy" basically, and those you can't search, say "show me all cars with a rear battery" If there was a consistent electronic standard for them, it would be a lot more accurate, less time consuming, and more useful for us to store MSDS on line!
I think if we come with a VSDS, it would be good to specify a standard computer format for them...
Taking it one step further...
PD calls in the license plate...license plate cross references the VIN...VIN pulls up the VSDS appropriate for the vehicle...VSDS prints out from the Mobile Data Terminal in the responding Rescue...
email me privately if you'd like at firstname.lastname@example.org and I probably can give you more details without boring the list :-)
02-05-1999, 12:17 PM #5PhredFirehouse.com Guest
YESSS! Let's go for it. How about we upgrade the techinque a little bit to make the idea more Y2K+ compliant?
There are several technologies that are suitable for storing and later displaying this type of data/information. Examples:
1) Bar Code on vehicle with a UPS or FedEx
type portable reader and display unit. Bar codes can now be other than 'bars' and can contain pages of data in very small spaces.
2) Imbeded or attached data chip (like on magnetic strip credit cards or implanted ID chips for pets, again coupled with a portable reader and display unit.
3) Smart Card format (again like credit cards) would possibly allow the data to be CHANGED after the original manufacturer's data needed to be modified because of an after-market add-on or dealer installed option was added.
The original idea of a Pictogram format would be good for a few basic points of information, but Ron has 22 items listed already, and I can think of a few more 'neat things to know'. It's going to be a pretty big diagram to contain that much detail and still be readable at 3 am when you left your reading glasses on the night stand.
With the right technology picked to minimize the cost to produce and attach the data to the vehicle, multiple data "carriers" could be stuck on, glued on, sealed under the paint, etc. Having multiple locations might insure that one or more could survive an accident. With enough ID carriers stuck onto the expensive parts of a vehicle, we could almost put the thieves and chop shops out of business. [Stick one under the skin of each child born at the hospital and eliminate baby theft.] Big brother is watching you!
With a single nationwide format adopted, a cost effective data reader could be made available to anybody who wanted one --Fire, Police, EMS, service shops, insurance investigators, etc.
Phred from Ohio
02-05-1999, 03:25 PM #6Dalmation90Firehouse.com Guest
This is really beginning to intrigue me.
First, let's keep it simple.
I think on the car itself a label with a very basic run down of "what could hurt me" info would be good.
But I also think having this info kept in a centrally available database would be valuable too, especially for training.
How 'bout this for an idea...keep the info folded in a sealed pouch on the cover to the gas tank (you know, the part that flips out to expose the gas cap)?
Most cars have one, it's usually easy to find, accessible from outside of the vehicle, and even if stuck, small handtools probably could pry it open.
02-05-1999, 04:33 PM #7ZmagFirehouse.com Guest
02-05-1999, 04:42 PM #8ZmagFirehouse.com Guest
Sorry for the "Test" post, but I wasn't going to type all this for the 4th time just to have Rons board eat it for a bad password. (They are case sensative by the way)
Good idea Ron, Mnay times someone has approached me at a show telling me that I should publish a pocket manuel like the ones for EMS and fire officers containing all the info you mentioned. It dosen't take a lot of thought to realize that would be next to impossable. Just the model year updates would be a major challange. And what good would it be in the field ? How many of us can tell a 97 Nissan from a 98 at 3:00 am ? I like the bar code idea. One quick scan and you get a hand full of info. Even your local Ma and Pa grocery stores have a small hand held unit that reorders milk, bread and eggs daily. The police call in idea might work if you have police. But in rural America it won't. And while I do agree with the need for the ID label, do you really think that the fashion conscience public will stand for a big yellow label on a $40,000 ride ? Mark me down as a yes vote for the bar code system.
Mike @ Zmag
02-05-1999, 05:04 PM #9J T WhidbyFirehouse.com Guest
Ron, I agree whole heartly with you MSDS for Automobiles.
An idea I have had for some time is a scanner to read the vehicle bar code giving us all the information we need.
I realize this whould add a cost to each department for the scanner, but the value would be more than the cost.
Keep up the good work.
J. T. Whidby
02-05-1999, 08:02 PM #10PhredFirehouse.com Guest
Attn: Ron & Friends,
I think we can scrap to bar code idea and move on to something newer called "RFID" = Radio Frequency IDentification, a technology developed by Texas Instruments and IN USE by the auto industry and the gasoline marketers (Ford & Mobile Oil). Basic setup is the data is carried by a small module and is interrogated by a seperate reader via a radio signal. The module requires no power or physical attachment to the reader. Distance covered is 8 feet between module and reader. System is used by Ford for vehic security - the module is inside the ignition key, the reader and logic are in the car; if the correct key is not used, the reader/logic package disables the car. Mobile sells gas and credit card debits the owner via a module either attached to the vehicle or attached to the vehicle key. TI's writeups talk about automatic toll collection and parking lot access systems where the vehicle just drives in or through the gateway and is automatically recorded and 'paid' without the driver having to do anything. The airlines are using the system to encode and track baggage - the data module is contained in the throw away tag they hang on suitcases. I imagine the data element/module is relatively cheap - the reader/interrogator might be a different story, but if we're talking thousands of units spread all over the country, the cost of a reader with some sort of a display might be affordable.
You can look at TI's web site for lots more information hit>> www.ti.com and scroll down to the search window and enter "Tag-It" to bring up a list of LOTS of documents which discuss the system and uses.
One way to get the auto industry behind the concept might be to sell them on using it to speed up vehicle servicing - pull into you dealer and the car says hello, here's my serial number, date of sale, owner's name, and the ID of all my major components; no service writer or lost warranty card required.
oops, goofed up the link - try it now.
Phred from Ohio
[This message has been edited by Phred (edited 02-05-99).]
02-11-1999, 04:42 AM #11IckymowFirehouse.com Guest
Boy did you spark a fire in some people. Man this is great. I can't believe some of the things that you all can come up with. I want you to know I do agree with this idea 100%, but I still think it should be some thing very simple that I can walk up to a car and see it with my own two eyes. Once you involve scanners and readers it involves cost. I know that my department could most likely buy a reader but I am sure there are those small departments that respond and just would not have the funds to purchase that reader. With that said how would you feel if you just happened to be on vacation and got involved in a accedent in one of those small departments. You would be able to say " what do you mean you don't have a reader". With all the ideas talked about so far I think if a small lable with the symbols like Ron first mentioned was afixed say by the vin or maybe in the same place in the rear window it could work. Then I could walk up and see it and not have to use a reader. You could still use the bar code or the chip idea in conjunction with the lable to gain a more detailed picture, but now you are still following the KISS (keep it simple silly)idea. At the same time the departments that could or would not be able to buy a reader still have access to the info you and I have. What ever you come up with you must make it easy and convient for all to use. The car companies will have to buy into it also. After all they will be the ones installing them most likly at there cost.
02-11-1999, 09:11 AM #12iwood51Firehouse.com Guest
It didn't even occur to me to use a bar-code, mag-stripe type piece of equipment (and I'm a computer programmer by trade). I don't know about other states, but New York has a bar code already imprinted on every registration sticker which is mandated to be in one location (lower left of windshield) and it contains the VIN number of the vehicle. This is an easy cross reference to any database system setup with the manufacturer (as long as we don't have to involve the State in getting the ball rolling !!). The hand held bar code readers are not that expensive and can be uploaded in seconds (Hell, how do you think Fed-Ex can give you the location of a package and any given point).
Ron, don't let this one drop !!
One other thought for Phred, also in NYS we use an automated toll collection system that is a tag inside the windshield that is similar to the techhnology you are referring to, however, not everybody has them (only people that travel toll roads/bridges a lot) and you are also relying on a governmental municipality for co-operation in the project (can you smell a politician ?)
02-11-1999, 01:38 PM #13PhredFirehouse.com Guest
So far all of the suggested data formats have certain inherent problems or drawbacks:
The Label concept: where to put it so that it can be large enough to be read and can be seen no matter what happens to the vehicle.
The Bar Code concept: similar problem to the label - where to put it that it will survive the accident AND be able to be scanned. I've watched my UPS driver zap-read packages from 12 to 18 inches away with his laser clipboard, but is there any one location on a vehicle that never gets damaged and is always visible after an accident?
Mag Stripe concept: possibly the least durable and most easily tampered with medium;
also needs to be in a 'findable' location to be scanned.
My Tag-It RFID concept: probably the most expensive idea, at least from the reader cost standpoint, but does reduce the need to be able to 'find and see or scan' the data element. The actual reading distance is not known, but is probably directly proportional to the cost of the reader unit!
Only Ron's original Pictogram Label idea is free of cost to the Fire/Rescue end user - all the other ideas require a reader AND display unit be obtained by all users.
Does anyone out there in web-land work for a company that uses some of these systems? We need some first hand information about cost, durability, and data carrying ability.
Capt Wood: does anyone actually scan the NY State vehicle registration sticker, and from inside or outside?
And how about a Mobil Oil customer who uses their gas and go system, how does it work?
Phred from Ohio
02-12-1999, 01:41 PM #14iwood51Firehouse.com Guest
Phred, to answer your question on the scan:
Yes, they are all scanned every year when the vehicle goes in for it's emissions inspection (at least for the southeast portion of the state, emissions inspection less stringent upstate but all vehicles must still be anually inspected) and the scan is done with a hand-held barcode reader, similar to those used in department stores, from outside the vehicle.
02-12-1999, 01:52 PM #15iwood51Firehouse.com Guest
Seperate post. I have seen and used the toll collection RFID system that you are referring to. In fact there are hundreds of thousands of them in use in NY and NJ. It is referred to as EZ-Pass and you can check it out at http://www.mta.nyc.ny.us/bandt/ezintro.htm
The transmitter can be internal or external and is approximately 3" X 4" X 1/2" thick. Quite an eyesore for those that are meticulous about their vehicles. For the toll collection process, it is recommended that the unit be mounted to the inside of the windshield behind the rearview mirror. In reality, I used to throw mine up on the dashboard and it would read with no problem from approx 15' away. It is illegal, but you can hit the toll gates at approx 35-40 mph and have you unit read and the gate open (If you do it too much, they mail you a ticket for each violation !).
To put it into prospectus for our topic here, I think it is a good idea and a central location could be utilized and maybe even read through sheet-metal and/or plastic. I do not have a clue what the reader hardware and software would cost.
02-12-1999, 07:22 PM #16PhredFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks for the info. NY B&T told me who makes their hardware (Amtech, in Texas) and I requested Amtech assist with this project. They have a web site that has some information: click on> www.amtech.com .
The serious question remains: could this type of system ever be cost effective and affordable to the users (the Fire Service)?
The eyesore factor may not be a problem since the auto mfgr would be designing this into the product, it should be possible to hide it in or under the dash, out of sight.
Phred from Ohio
02-13-1999, 06:30 PM #17SCCARESCUEFirehouse.com Guest
Ron - This is a great idea. Choosing the right forum for data access will always be controversial, however, the simpler the better. Remember, sometimes it may be easier to get your foot into the door of the auto industry with the simplist method. Once there, changes will probably be easier to accomplish. the primary goal is to establish a single forum for the needed info.
One concern I have is that during the search for the "right place" to put the info on the car, we must try to anticipate the usual scenarios, which in my rural area includes vehicles on their roof, in a ditch, or soft field or on the roof, on a slope, in the woods. Which means that one must consider the ability to retrieve the info while the vehicle is upside down. That eliminates the hood and trunk area in most cases. The underside may be a good place for location #2. I am very interested in this. If I can be of any help, please let me know.
02-25-1999, 02:12 PM #18FFTrainerFirehouse.com Guest
If I have to choose one I would have to pick Phred's idea of the remote transmitter. The concept works pretty good here in NY/NJ for the EZ-Pass Toll System. You don't even have to stop so it should be pretty good if someone is standing at a stationary vehicle reading it. My only concerns would be durability of the transmitter in terms of 'surviving' the impact and cost of the system.
Also, once again we would be back to 'Where do we put it?' Don't really know enough details about whether or not the transmitter needs to be in direct 'sight' of the 'reader' to transmit or can you bury it somewhere it would be safer?
It think with regards to expense, it may be easier to assign some sort of code to each vehicle, place it somewhere on the vehicle and carry a binder in your apparatus that you could look up the number and get all the information you want. It would be somewhat similar to your pre-plan and street map books. The information would be protected from the weather, easy to read because it doesn't have to be shrunk down to fit on a sticker and more importantly it is in your control. What's to say if you put a yellow card on the inside of a gas cover, that the owner won't throw it out. We all know the "That can't happen to me, I won't need this!" line of thinking.
Let's keep this discussion going, I think it has great potential in making our difficult duties a little bit easier and more importantly, SAFER!! Sorry it's the instructor in me, I must always get a safety comment in!!
02-26-1999, 02:49 AM #19IckymowFirehouse.com Guest
The nuber thing would work, but the only thing is the book with the info in it would have to be as thick as the NY city yellow pages. To cover each manufacture and each modle along with each thing that kight even vary with in the same modle say like engine size, 2/4 door, Power seats or not, and God only knows what else. Then you are back to who will keep the book updated? Who will gather all the info for the book each year? Who payes to have it printed? The book idea coud end up being a mess. The ID card is still some thing that is simple, could be uniform with the right regulations, and cost effective. The scaner would be fine as long as the cost of the reader could be asorbed some how so ALL departments could have one irreguardless of size or finances. There has to be a way to make this work. I know GM has a system in some of there cars so if they are in an accident they will automaticly call 911 or what ever number they use so the driver can get help. With a system like this and the GPS system they they use in conjunction with this system there has to be some thing out there.
02-26-1999, 10:25 AM #20FFTrainerFirehouse.com Guest
Ok it's going to be the cost thing again, because the point of every dept. regardless of size/finances is an excellent one, but how about something similar to a credit card that you could insert into a reader similar to inserting a floppy disk into a computer. While the card is in the reader it would display a drawing of the vehicle on a small LCD display with options to get other specific information in written detail. Of course we are still back to location, but if you do something credit card sized, there has to be a way to secure it with in the gas fill lid so that it is only accessible to the rescuer on location.
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