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Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) Transition

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) Transition

Gregory G. Nadeau
Federal Highway Administration
May 19, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 96 (Tuesday, May 19, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 28761-28762]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-12021]



[[Page 28761]]

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration

[Docket No. FHWA-2015-0008]


Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH) Transition

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice; request for comment.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: In issuing Federal-aid eligibility letters for roadside safety 
hardware, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) currently makes 
determinations of continued eligibility for modifications to devices 
tested to the National Cooperative Highway Research Program Report 350 
(NCHRP 350). In an effort to facilitate the implementation of the 
Manual for Assessing Safety Hardware (MASH), FHWA intends to 
discontinue issuing eligibility letters for requests received after 
December 31, 2015, for modified NCHRP 350-tested devices that do not 
involve full scale crash testing to the MASH. Modifications to NCHRP 
350-tested devices that have, in the past, been based on engineering 
analysis or finite element modeling will no longer receive FHWA 
eligibility letters. Effective January 1, 2016, all changes to NCHRP 
350-tested devices will require testing under MASH in order to receive 
a Federal-aid eligibility letter from FHWA.

DATES: Data and information must be submitted to FHWA on or before June 
18, 2015.

ADDRESSES: Mail or hand deliver data and information to the U.S. 
Department of Transportation, Dockets Management Facility, Room W12-
140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, or fax comments 
to (202) 493-2251. Alternatively, you may submit or retrieve 
information online through the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. The Web site is available 24 hours each day, 365 
days each year. Electronic submission and retrieval help and guidelines 
are available under the help section of the Web site. An electronic 
copy of this document may also be downloaded from the Government 
Printing Office's Web site at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov and the Office 
of the Federal Register's Web site at: http://www.archives.gov/federal_register. Please note that the Federal eRulemaking portal is 
unable to receive videos or any document larger than 10MB. If you would 
like to submit a video or a document that is 10MB or larger, please 
directly contact one of the individuals identified in this notice. All 
data and information must include the docket number that appears in the 
heading of this document. All data and information received will be 
available for examination and copying at the above address from 9 a.m. 
to 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Those 
desiring notification of receipt of data and information must include a 
self-addressed, stamped postcard or you may print the acknowledgment 
page that appears after submitting comments electronically. Anyone is 
able to search the electronic form of all information in any one of our 
dockets by the name of the individual submitting the information (or 
signing the information, if submitted on behalf of an association, 
business, or labor union). The DOT solicits comments from the public to 
better inform its activities. The DOT posts these comments, without 
edit, including any personal information the commenter provides, to 
www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice (DOT/
ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at www.dot.gov/privacy.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Griffith, Office of Safety, 
202-366-9469, mike.griffith@dot.gov, Federal Highway Administration, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. For legal questions, 
please contact Jennifer Mayo, Assistant Chief Counsel, FHWA Office of 
the Chief Counsel, (202) 366-1523, or via email at 
jennifer.mayo@dot.gov, Federal Highway Administration, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Guardrails, guardrail end terminals, and other roadside safety 
hardware are tested to criteria established by the American Association 
of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) through its 
committee structure in which FHWA participates. The States are guided 
by the AASHTO Roadside Design Guide (RDG) in their decisions regarding 
what roadside safety hardware to install on their roadways. In order 
for a State to receive FHWA reimbursement for roadside safety hardware, 
the hardware must be crashworthy, meaning that it meets the testing and 
evaluation guidelines in effect at the time that hardware was 
developed.
    Roadside safety hardware guidelines and testing criteria have 
evolved over the last several decades with changes in the vehicle fleet 
and the emergence of new hardware designs. From 1981 until 1993, NCHRP 
230 guidelines were used. From 1993 until 2011, NCHRP 350 guidelines 
were used. The MASH was published in 2009 and since January 1, 2011, 
all new or significantly changed devices must meet the MASH criteria.
    Not unlike other industries, each successive version of guidelines 
is meant to encourage manufacturers to advance the state of roadside 
safety hardware and to develop devices that work with a changing 
vehicle fleet under a wider range of conditions. Because of the 
extensive development and testing required, it typically takes many 
years after roadside safety hardware guidelines are established for 
products meeting those guidelines to be widely available on the market. 
Accordingly, when AASHTO adopted MASH, it did not intend or require 
that devices designed to meet previous criteria would need to be 
retested to meet the newly developed criteria. Instead, a new 
generation of devices would need to be developed to meet the newly 
adopted criteria. In the six years since the MASH was published, 
however, there have not been a significant number of MASH-tested 
devices developed and brought to market. As a result and to encourage 
the development and installation of MASH-compliant devices, FHWA and 
AASHTO agree it is time to begin the transition to requiring that new 
installations of roadway safety hardware comply with the MASH criteria.

Purpose of This Notice

    The FHWA provides technical assistance to States by issuing 
Federal-aid eligibility letters for devices deemed crashworthy. The 
FHWA also makes determinations of continued eligibility for modified 
devices that have existing eligibility letters. The purpose of this 
notice is to seek the input of industry, State Departments of 
Transportation, and the broader highway community on the impact of FHWA 
no longer issuing eligibility letters after December 31, 2015, for 
modified NCHRP 350-tested devices that do not involve full scale crash 
testing to MASH. Modifications to NCHRP 350-tested devices that have, 
in the past, been based on engineering analysis or finite element 
modeling will no longer receive FHWA eligibility letters. Please 
provide any information that FHWA should be aware of regarding impacts 
of this change.
    By taking this action, FHWA believes it will facilitate the 
implementation of MASH. Later this year, AASHTO is expected to take 
action regarding a schedule for requiring that new installations of 
roadway safety hardware comply with the MASH criteria.


[[Page 28762]]


    Authority:  23 U.S.C. 148 and 315.

    Issued on: May 13, 2015.
Gregory G. Nadeau,
Deputy Administrator, Federal Highway Administration.
[FR Doc. 2015-12021 Filed 5-18-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-22-P

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