Highway Safety Programs; Determination of Effectiveness
Highway Safety Programs; Determination of Effectiveness
Rodney E. Slater/Howard M. Smolkin (Federal Register)
January 14, 1994
[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 10 (Friday, January 14, 1994)]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-445]
[Federal Register: January 14, 1994]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Federal Highway Administration
23 CFR Part 1205
[NHTSA Docket No. 93-20; Notice 1]
Highway Safety Programs; Determination of Effectiveness
AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Department of Transportation
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).
SUMMARY: The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991
(ISTEA) was signed into law December 18, 1991. Section 2002(a) of
ISTEA, Highway Safety Programs, requires that the Secretary of
Transportation either designate six key areas as priority highway
safety programs or submit a report to congress describing the reasons
for not prioritizing these programs. The six program areas involve:
Speed control, Use of occupant protection devices, Driving while
impaired, Motorcycle safety, School Bus Safety, and Police Traffic
Services. The existing National Priority Program Areas address four of
the six areas identified by the Act, but do not include Speed Control
or School Bus Safety. The agencies have reviewed existing data and
statistics regarding deaths and injuries attributable to these two
areas and have considered the availability of existing countermeasures
related to speed control and school bus safety, and tentatively propose
to include Speed Control as a Priority Program Area, but have
tentatively concluded that School Bus Safety does not warrant being
included as a Priority Program. Interested persons are invited to
submit comments on this proposal.
DATES: Comments on this document must be received no later than
February 28, 1994.
ADDRESSES: Commenters should reference the docket and notice numbers of
this document and be submitted (preferably in ten copies) to: Docket
Section, room 5109, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 7th Street,
SW., Washington, DC 20590. Docket hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
In NHTSA: Ms. Marlene Markison, Office of Regional Operations, NRO-01,
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 7th Street, SW.,
Washington, DC 20590, telephone: (202) 366-0166; or Ms. Kathy DeMeter,
Office of Chief Counsel, National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration, telephone: (202) 366-1834. In FHWA: Ms. Julie Cirillo,
HHS-112, Federal Highway Administration, telephone: (202) 366-2170.
The State and Community Highway Safety Grant Program (the 402
program) was established under the Highway Safety Act of 1966, 23
U.S.C. 402. The Act required the establishment of Uniform Standards for
State Highway Safety Programs to assist the States and local
communities in organizing their highway safety programs.
Eighteen such standards were established and have been administered
at the Federal level by FHWA and NHTSA. NHTSA is responsible for
developing and implementing highway safety programs relating to the
vehicle and driver, while FHWA has similar responsibilities in program
areas involving the roadway.
Until 1976, the 402 program was principally directed towards
achieving State and local compliance with the 18 Highway Safety Program
Standards, which were considered mandatory requirements with financial
sanctions for noncompliance. Under the Highway Safety Act of 1976,
Congress provided for a more flexible implementation of the program so
that the Secretary would not have to require State compliance with
every uniform standard or with each element of every uniform standard.
As a result, the standards became more like guidelines for use by the
States. Management of the program then shifted from enforcing standards
to one of problem identification, and countermeasure development and
evaluation, using the standards as a framework for the State programs.
In 1981, Congress passed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of
1981, Public Law 97-35, revising the section 402 program. The Act
directed the agencies to conduct rulemaking to determine those State
and local highway safety programs most effective in reducing accidents,
injuries, and fatalities.
On April 1, 1982, NHTSA and FHWA issued a joint final rule (47 FR
15116) identifying six National Priority Program Areas which the
agencies then considered to be the most effective highway safety
programs. The six program areas included one FHWA program area, Safety
Construction and Operational Improvements, and the following NHTSA
Program Areas: Occupant Protection, Alcohol Countermeasures, Police
Traffic Services, Emergency Medical Services, and Traffic Records.
The April 1982 final rule provided that these National Priority
Program Areas would be eligible for Federal funding under an expedited
procedure under the 402 program (23 CFR 1205.4.). It also established a
mechanism by which other, non-priority programs identified by a State
may be eligible for Federal funding. (23 CFR 1205.5 (a) and (b).)
Periodic Review and Determination of Priority Programs
On April 2, 1987, the enactment of the Surface Transportation and
Uniform Relocation Assistance Act of 1987 (Pub. L. 100-17) revised 23
U.S.C. 402. The changes provided for a periodic review of the
effectiveness of the various programs eligible for funding under
section 402 in reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities. The periodic
review procedure was believed to be the best method of ensuring the
continued relevance of the section 402 program to changing
circumstances and traffic safety needs, and for ensuring that Federal
funds continue to be used for the most effective programs.
The legislation also provided that the terms ``standard'' and
``standards'' within 23 CFR Part 1204 be replaced with the words
``guideline'' and ``guidelines.'' The purpose of this amendment was to
conform the language of section 402 to the current implementation of
Pursuant to these amendments, NHTSA and FHWA conducted a rulemaking
action to review those programs most effective in reducing crashes,
injuries and fatalities. In a final rule issued on April 6, 1988, (53
FR 1255) the agencies determined that the National Priority Program
Areas should continue to include the one FHWA program area, Roadway
Safety (formerly, Safety Construction and Operational Improvements),
and the five NHTSA program areas that had been identified in 1982. In
addition, the agencies determined that a sixth NHTSA area, Motorcycle
Safety, should also be included.
On May 3, 1991, NHTSA/FHWA published a joint NPRM (56 FR 20387)
proposing to add Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety as one of the National
Priority program areas. The public comments supported that proposal and
resulted in the addition of that area as one of the National Priority
Program Areas eligible for the expedited funding process.
As a result of these prior rulemaking actions, the National
Priority Program Areas currently include the following:
1. Alcohol and Other Drug Countermeasures
2. Police Traffic Services
3. Occupant Protection
4. Traffic Records
5. Emergency Medical Services
6. Motorcycle Safety
7. Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety and
8. Roadway Safety
The agencies apply three criteria to determine whether a program
area should be identified as a National Priority Program under 23 CFR
Whether the problem is of national concern;
Whether effective countermeasures have been developed in
this area which address this concern; and
Whether State programs in the area appear to be among the
most effective in reducing crashes, injuries, and fatalities as
compared to other traffic safety program areas.
In determining whether a problem is of national concern, the
agencies consider the relative magnitude of the problem.
Today's notice is being issued to solicit comments on a proposal of
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to expand this list of National
Priority Program Areas to include Speed Control, and to obtain comments
on the agencies' preliminary determination that School Bus Safety
should not be added as a National Priority Program Area at this time.
The agencies have considered relevant data, statistics, and other
available information in reaching this conclusion and now seek public
comments from interested parties on these tentative determinations. The
following discussion highlights the key issues and factors considered
by the agencies in making these preliminary determinations. (In a
separate notice published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal
Register, the agencies are requesting comments on revisions and
amendments to Highway Safety Program Guidelines relating to several
program areas including Speed Control.)
Speed Control as a National Priority Area
Is Speeding a Problem of National Concern?
The issue of speed control has received considerable attention by
NHTSA and FHWA. Over the course of the agencies' history, we have
funded and promoted many programs and initiatives addressing the
problem. Speeding is defined as not only exceeding the posted speed
limit, but also driving too fast for conditions. Some common
conclusions from these programs and initiatives indicate that higher
speeds and speeds too fast for conditions (whether or not travelling in
excess of the speed limit) adversely affect the safety of motorists.
Speeding is Becoming More Prevalent
While many speed/traffic surveys are taken, reliable data on travel
speed are relatively limited, and often difficult to compare. The most
reliable speed data are those reported by the States for National
Maximum Speed Limit (NMSL) roadways posted at 55 mph. The Federal
Highway Administration (FHWA) publishes an annual report containing a
compendium of speed monitoring data submitted by each State. Analyses
of recent speed monitoring data by the FHWA indicate that speeds at
which many motorists travel have increased in recent years.
There are less comprehensive data collected for roadways which have
speed limits of less than 55 mph, including the many rural highways and
urban/suburban streets and roads which are posted at lower speeds for
reasons of road design, traffic patterns, volume, and safety. These
non-NMSL roads account for 74 percent of the total paved road mileage
in the U.S. and for approximately 47 percent of all traffic deaths. The
lack of empirical data makes it difficult to identify the extent of the
speeding problem on these non-NMSL roads. A recent FHWA study of these
roads entitled Assessment of Current Speed Zoning Criteria found that:
(1) On average, seven out of ten motorists exceeded posted limits; (2)
average speeds ran approximately two to six mph above posted limits;
and (3) prevailing 85th percentile speeds ran approximately eight to
twelve mph above posted limits. The observations of law enforcement
executives and other highway safety officials confirm that speeds are
increasing on these roads.
Speed surveys on the Interstate highways also show that average
speeds and the percent of traffic travelling at high speeds have also
increased on these roads. For example, the percent of vehicles
exceeding 65 mph (on roadways with a 65 mph speed limit) were estimated
to be 47 percent in 1990 (up from 37% in 1988) while those exceeding 70
mph accounted for approximately 19 percent (up from approximately 16
percent in 1988).
After Congress amended the NMSL in 1987 to permit 20 States to
increase the speed limit to 65 mph on rural interstates as a
demonstration program, NHTSA issued a detailed report on the effects of
the increase. This interim report indicated that average speeds
increased somewhat on rural interstates. The latest NMSL research,
contained in the agency's Report to Congress on the Effects of the 65
mph Speed Limit through 1990 (NHTSA, May 1992), shows the average
travel speed on rural 65 mph Interstates in 1990 was 65 mph (up from 63
mph in 1988); the 85th percentile speed was 71 mph (up from 69 mph in
1988); and fatalities on rural interstates were an estimated 30 percent
higher in 1990 than the number expected, based on historical trends,
had the speed limit remained at 55 mph. A series of focus group
discussions held by NHTSA with the general public suggest that most
drivers recognize speeding as a violation of the law, but few regard
the violation as a serious offense.
These studies all suggest that the motoring public does not view
speeding per se as an immediate risk to their personal safety.
Excessive Speed Causes Crashes
Speeding is one of the most prevalent reported factors associated
with crashes. Studies identify correlations between speeding and other
factors including alcohol involvement, young drivers, male drivers,
motorcyclists, and nighttime driving. Speeding is cited as a
contributing factor in approximately 11 percent of all police-reported
crashes and in approximately 34 percent of all fatal crashes (NHTSA,
Fatal Accident Reporting System, 1991). It is estimated that in 1991,
13,909 fatalities and 77,277 moderate to critical injuries occurred in
speed-related crashes. The economic cost of all speed-related crashes
(including all injury levels) was over $18 billion.
Excessive speed has long been recognized as one of the prime
factors contributing to motor vehicle crashes. This contribution has
Drivers have less time to react when travelling at higher
speeds since speed increases the distance a vehicle travels during the
time it takes for a driver to react to a perceived danger;
Speed increases the total stopping distance necessary to
halt a vehicle; and
Speed reduces a driver's ability to steer safely around
curves on highways, or objects in the roadway.
A major speed-related factor which has been linked to crash
involvement is speed variance: The difference in speed among vehicles
in the traffic stream. Speed variance is calculated in terms of
standard deviation from the mean speed. For example, ten vehicles all
traveling at 55 mph on the same highway would have a mean speed of 55
mph and a standard deviation of zero, whereas five vehicles traveling
at 65 mph and five vehicles traveling at 45 mph would have a mean speed
of 55 mph but a standard deviation of 10.5.
Research studies such as those in 55: A Decade of Experience
(Transportation Research Board, 1984) have shown that motor vehicle
crashes are more likely where speed variance is greater. As speed
variance increases, vehicles come close to each other more frequently.
This leads to more frequent lane changes and passing maneuvers as the
faster drivers seek to avoid slower vehicles. Data from the National
Crash Severity Study (1979) show that vehicles travelling 20 mph above
the average speed experience a crash risk 11 times greater than those
travelling at the average speed. This data implies that crashes can be
reduced by controlling speed variance. Controlling speed variance is
especially critical on roadways with speed limits less than 65 mph,
where conflicting actions and reactions typically cause much larger
variations in speed.
Speed Increases the Severity of Crashes
The trend toward increased speeds is cause for concern because of
the reduced margin for error and the increase in severity for those
vehicles involved in crashes. As the speed of a car increases from 20
mph to 80 mph, a factor of four, the energy of the impact delivered in
a collision with a fixed object goes up by a factor of sixteen. The
chance of death or serious injury increases dramatically for every 10
mph increase in vehicle speed for the crash involved vehicle. The
National Crash Severity Study (NHTSA, 1979) revealed that a driver
crashing with a 50 mph change in velocity is twice as likely to be
killed as one crashing with a 40 mph change in velocity. In short,
crashes at higher speeds increase the potential for more deaths and
Have Effective Speed Control Countermeasures Been Developed?
Enforcement personnel have several effective countermeasures
available for speed control which have been developed by new
technology. Traditional methods of speed control once involved the use
of stopwatches and pneumatic hoses stretched across the roadway to
determine vehicle speeds. Later developments included the introduction
of radar and VASCAR which more precisely measured vehicle speeds and
reduced the degree of possible operator error. Currently laser speed
measuring devices with an extremely high degree of accuracy are
becoming available to the law enforcement community.
NHTSA has taken an active role in identifying and evaluating new
law enforcement technology. After evaluating new devices, NHTSA has
established demonstration programs to introduce those devices into the
law enforcement community to further advance speed control efforts.
These demonstration programs have included enforcing speed limits using
radar, VASCAR, laser speed measuring devices, aerial speed measurement,
photo radar, electronic signing and saturation patrols.
NHTSA studies show that one of the best methods to obtain
compliance with speed limits is to combine an aggressive enforcement
campaign with a vigorous public information and education effort.
Public service announcements (PSA) regarding speed are regularly
developed and distributed by NHTSA. Furthermore, other effective
countermeasures, such as saturation patrols and multi-agency, multi-
jurisdictional enforcement efforts, have been developed and furnished
to the law enforcement community. These programs can easily become a
part of an agency's traffic enforcement program.
Several highway design and traffic control measures have also
demonstrated effectiveness for speed control. Freeway design,
culminating in the Interstate System, eliminated all at-grade
intersections thus providing for free flow traffic. This singular
design characteristic resulted in significant reduction in speed
variance and the promotion of uniform operating speed. Speed variances
on the Interstate System have traditionally been in the range of 6-9
miles per hour while speed variances on non-freeway facilities can be
as great as 20 miles per hour.
In addition, the need to control speed for varying conditions has
led to the development of variable message speed signs. These devices,
first used on the New Jersey Turnpike in the late 1960's have had
widespread implementation on all types of facilities and warn drivers
of impeding congestion, weather conditions, construction, and incidents
which required reduction in operating speed. Real time regulatory
variable speed limits are now being tested in the State of Washington.
The agencies believe that Federal, State, and local governments
should have balanced programs that use the most cost-effective
strategies for decreasing crash risks from speeding. This includes: (1)
Targeting enforcement where speeding has a significant impact on public
safety and accompanying it with public information and education; (2)
using a variety of techniques and technologies for speed control; (3)
understanding who speeds, where, and why; and (4) ensuring that posted
speed limits are appropriate for conditions. These efforts can be
further enhanced through the development of comprehensive speed control
programs which include establishment of appropriate criteria for the
setting and posting of speed limits, focused attention upon roadway
construction and condition, posting of appropriate roadway signs,
elimination of hazards adjacent to the roadway, and establishment of
research projects to further study the characteristics and consequences
of speeding in order to develop improved countermeasures and
NHTSA submitted a report to Congress in 1991 entitled Speed
Enforcement Program Plan to identify methods to address the speeding
problem. The plan relies heavily upon programs and projects that have
proven to be most effective and outlines speed control initiatives that
have proven successful. The plan also stresses a law enforcement
commitment to controlling speed on all public roads, using state-of-
the-art equipment, with a strong emphasis on public information and
education designed to increase driver compliance with speed limits.
Are State Speed Control Programs Effective in Reducing Crashes,
Injuries, and Fatalities?
The State programs that have been conducted to date demonstrate
that speed control countermeasures are extremely effective in reducing
deaths and injuries. For example, the New York State Police 55 mph
enforcement project was successful in decreasing the number of drivers
traveling at the highest rates of speed (often considered to be
``professional speeders''). While average speed declined slightly from
61.6 to 61.3 mph, the percent of drivers exceeding 70 mph declined from
6.9% to 5.1%. The percent exceeding 65 mph declined from 24.1% to
21.4%, and the percent exceeding 60 mph declined from 56.4% to 55.7%.
This success is believed to have ultimately led to reductions in the
number of fatal crashes, fatalities and serious injuries suffered in
In South Carolina, it is believed that the state's rural initiative
involving sheriffs contributed to a significant reduction in crashes,
injuries, and fatalities in 1991 as compared to 1989. During that
period, the state experienced 12,472 fewer crashes, 2,331 fewer
injuries and 106 fewer fatalities. South Carolina's PSA campaign also
received widespread recognition from across the State and is believed
to have contributed to the reduction of crashes during the time the
campaign was operational.
During the first year of the St. Louis enforcement operation,
ending September 1991, the average speed dropped from 62 mph to 61 mph
on the 55 mph roadways in the metro area, as a result of the police
agencies issuing 3,698 citations and 5,600 warnings for speeding during
the Operation Gateway period. This cooperative program is continuing
and is expected to result in further speed decreases on the involved
roadways in the metro St. Louis area.
Similarly, the speed control efforts targeting commercial vehicles
appear to be effective, with early results from the 1987 Commercial
Motor Vehicle Enforcement project in California indicating that all
crashes where commercial vehicles were at fault decreased by 3.5% (from
810 in 1986 to 782 in 1987) in the five test sites throughout the
State. Further, the number of accidents caused by commercial vehicles
which resulted in injuries in these test sites also declined by 11.2%
(from 259 in 1986 to 230 in 1987). Accompanying that reduction was a
corresponding decrease in the societal cost of injuries and fatalities
resulting from such crashes.
Determination Regarding Speed Control
The agencies believe it is clear that excessive speed does
represent a significant traffic safety problem. Speeding is a problem
throughout the country in all regions and on all types of roads.
Numerous countermeasures have been developed that have proven to be
most effective in addressing this problem.
The agencies, therefore, tentatively conclude that Speed Control
meets all requisite criteria and propose to include it as a National
Priority Program Area.
School Bus Safety as a National Priority Area
Is School Bus Safety a Problem of National Concern?
The safety of children in school buses has been a primary concern
of parents and school systems ever since buses began to be used to
transport children. That concern has helped develop school buses into
the safest form of transportation in the country. According to the
National Safety Council's ``Accident Facts'' (1991), during the 1989-90
school year, it is estimated that 380,000 buses were used to transport
22 million pupils approximately 3.8 billion miles (21 million miles per
school day). The National Safety Council statistics also indicate
fatality rates per hundred million passenger miles in 1989 were 1.12
for passenger cars and 0.04 for school buses.
The relative safety of school buses is evident from the following
table, which shows all vehicle occupant fatalities. Included are the
number of preschool (0-4) and school-age children (5-18) who were
fatally injured in motor vehicle crashes in 1990, and the type of
vehicle in which they were riding at the time.
Table 1.--Occupant Fatalities by Vehicle Type and Age Group Fatal Accident Reporting System 1990
Age of occupant
0-4 5-12 13-18 19+ Unknown
Total..................... 37,134 623 716 4,292 31,466 37
Passenger Car................. 24,092 476 457 3,042 20,086 31
Light Truck/Van............... 7,387 101 164 701 6,419 2
Medium Truck.................. 134 2 0 7 125 0
Heavy Truck................... 571 2 4 7 556 2
Motorcycle.................... 3,244 2 27 310 2,904 1
School Bus.................... 13 0 5 2 6 0
Other Bus..................... 19 0 1 4 14 0
On/Off Road Vehicle........... 1,214 33 35 149 997 0
Other Vehicle................. 296 4 19 55 218 0
Unknown....................... 164 3 4 15 141 1
School bus-related crashes result in fatalities not only to
occupants of school buses and other vehicles, but also to pedestrians.
Pedestrians accounted for 28 percent of the total school bus-related
fatalities from 1986 through 1990. In crashes involving school buses
during that period, an average of 38 pedestrians were fatally injured
each year, with 72 percent being struck by the bus, while the remaining
28 percent were struck by another vehicle. Approximately 75 percent of
pedestrian fatalities involving school buses from 1986-1990 were of
school age (less than 20 years of age); of these, approximately 69
percent were struck by the bus.
The National Safety Council reports that during the 1989-1990
school year, most of these pedestrian fatalities involved individuals
who were either approaching or leaving a loading zone and that more
than half of the pupil pedestrian victims were struck by the school bus
which they were boarding or exiting. The National Academy of Science's
Special Report No. 222, ``School Bus Safety,'' (1989) states that
injuries received at bus stops tend to be more severe than injuries
received on board a bus. The report also states that, as pedestrians,
children between the ages of five and six are particularly vulnerable
and account for more than one-half of the young pedestrians fatally
injured by school buses.
School bus crashes have a much different effect on the population
as a whole than automobile crashes. When a child is fatally injured in
a school bus crash there is a greater sense of loss and a greater sense
of tragedy. For this reason, school bus fatalities and crashes often
receive a high degree of public attention and draw an immediate and
passionate response from the community. However, the number of
fatalities in school bus crashes is small, particularly when
considering exposure and when compared to the number of fatalities
related to other priority programs.
In 1991, passenger cars were involved in 82.8 percent of all
traffic crashes and 67.9 percent of all fatal crashes; whereas school
buses were involved in only 0.4 percent of all traffic crashes and in
0.3 percent of all fatal crashes. These data demonstrate that the
safety problem related to school buses is not great when compared to
that of other types of vehicles.
Have Effective School Bus Safety Measures Been Developed?
Although statistics demonstrate that school buses already provide a
remarkably safe form of transportation, the agency has taken steps to
further improve school bus safety. At the request of Congress, the
National Academy of Sciences (NAS) studied school bus safety to
determine which safety measures would be ``most effective'' in
protecting school children while boarding, exiting and riding in school
buses. (See, ``Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance
Act of 1987,'' Pub. L. 100-17, 204(a), 101 Stat. 219, April 2, 1987.)
In May 1989, the National Research Council (NRC), an agency of the NAS,
issued a report entitled ``Improving School Bus Safety,'' Special
Report No. 222. The report confirmed the high level of safety provided
by the Nation's school bus fleet, and also suggested measures that
could further improve the safety of school buses.
In accordance with the 1987 law, NHTSA reviewed the findings of the
NAS report and, on July 13, 1989, published a notice in the Federal
Register (54 FR 29629), in which the agency determined which safety
measures would be most effective in protecting the safety of school
children while boarding, exiting and riding in school buses.
NHTSA found replacing pre-1977 school buses to be a ``most
effective'' measure, because of the higher level of crashworthiness
provided by NHTSA's 1977 school bus standards, the improved mirror
systems, and other crash avoidance measures typically provided on newer
school buses. The agency also found prohibiting standees on school
buses to be a ``most effective'' measure. In addition, NHTSA found a
number of measures which address the safety of children while boarding
or exiting the bus to be ``most effective.'' They include equipping new
buses with stop signal arms and cross-view mirrors and implementing
student crossing, pedestrian safety education and school bus driver
training programs. NHTSA also identified a number of measures as
The agency took several steps to encourage the adoption of these
``effective'' and ``most effective'' measures. In FY's 1990 and 1991,
NHTSA set aside, in accordance with provisions in the Highway Safety
Act of 1987 (Title II, Pub. L. 100-17), funds to assist the States in
implementing these school bus safety measures. The funds were used by
States on measures that had been designated by NHTSA to be either
``effective'' or ``most effective'' in improving school bus safety.
In addition, NHTSA conducted a number of rulemaking actions to
upgrade the agency's school bus safety standards. For example, NHTSA
issued a final rule on May 3, 1991, requiring new school buses
manufactured after September 1, 1992, to be equipped with a stop signal
arm (56 FR 20363); a final rule on November 2, 1992, revising the
minimum requirements for school bus emergency exits and improving
access to school bus emergency doors (57 FR 49413); and a final rule on
December 2, 1992, requiring that school buses enable drivers to see,
either directly or through mirrors, certain specified areas in front of
and along both sides of the buses (57 FR 57000).
Further, as stated previously, in a final rule dated October 4,
1991, NHTSA and FHWA expanded the list of National Priority programs
areas, which are eligible for section 402 funding using an expedited
process, to include Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety. The agencies
considered the problem of school bus-related pedestrian fatalities when
they decided to add Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety to the list of
priority programs, and specifically stated, in the final rule, that
programs designed to prevent these fatalities are within the scope of
this new priority program.
Are These School Bus Safety Measures Effective in Reducing Crashes,
Injuries, and Fatalities?
As stated previously, school buses already provide the safest form
of transportation in our country. Since the number of fatalities that
are school bus-related is already so small, it is difficult to quantify
the benefits of the actions that have been taken. The agencies believe,
however, that these measures are the ones most likely to reduce or
eliminate fatal and serious injuries.
Determination Regarding School Bus Safety
Based upon the agencies' review of the available material regarding
the scope of the problem, including FHWA studies regarding bus driver
training and driver fatigue, we have determined that significant
attention has been devoted to school bus safety, and steps have been
taken to improve the already excellent safety record of this mode of
In view of the successful measures already taken, the agencies do
not view school bus transportation as a problem nearly as significant
as other highway safety program areas.
Furthermore, the states already have the ability under the section
402 program to address school bus and other highway safety programs,
and are proficient in allocating existing resources as they deem
necessary to achieve maximum safety benefits. In addition, the recent
designation of Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety as a National Priority
program area has facilitated the States' ability to address the
majority of school bus-related fatalities, which occur while children
are boarding or existing, not riding the bus.
The agencies believe that the establishment of School Bus Safety as
a priority area could result in States shifting 402 funds away from
other priority programs, and that the expenditure of an increased level
of 402 funds in this manner would not significantly affect the overall
safety of school buses.
Therefore, the agencies tentatively conclude that School Bus Safety
should not be included as a National Priority program at this time. The
agencies wish to stress that this tentative decision should not be
construed to imply that the current resources focused upon School Bus
Safety should be reduced or redirected. NHTSA and FHWA believe that all
existing efforts in this area should be continued to maintain the
impressive safety record associated with school bus transportation. The
agencies hereby request data, statistics, and other substantive
information relevant to this determination.
Those wishing to comment on this document should limit comments to
the safety aspects of these two programs, and submit data or statistics
which demonstrate the extent of the nation's highway safety problem
which is attributable to either Speeding or School Bus Safety, along
with any discussion of countermeasures which are or could be effective
in reducing the number of deaths and injuries in either of these two
areas. In determining whether these programs should be identified as
National Priority Programs, the agencies will determine whether the
problem is of national concern; whether effective countermeasures have
been developed to address the concern; and whether State programs
appear to be among the most effective as compared to other traffic
safety program areas.
In order to expedite the submission of comments, simultaneous with
issuance of this notice, copies of this notice will be mailed to all
Governors and Governors' Representatives for Highway Safety.
Comments should not exceed 15 pages in length. It is requested but
not required that 10 copies be submitted. Necessary attachments may be
appended to these submissions without regard to the 15-page limit. This
limitation is intended to encourage commenters to detail their primary
arguments in a concise fashion.
All comments received before the closing date indicated above will
be considered, and will be available for examination in the docket at
the above address both before and after that date. To the extent
possible, comments filed after the closing date will also be
considered. However, the rulemaking action may proceed at any time
after that date. The agencies will continue to file relevant material
in the docket as it becomes available after the closing date, and it is
recommended that interested persons continue to examine the docket for
Those persons desiring to be notified upon receipt of their
comments in the docket should enclose, in the envelope with their
comments, a pre-addressed stamped postcard. Upon receiving the
comments, the docket supervisor will return the postcard by mail.
Economic and Other Effects
The agencies have considered the impacts that would be associated
with this proposed action, and determined that it is significant within
the meaning of Executive Order 12866 and the DOT Regulatory Policies
and Procedures since it raises policy issues concerning the setting of
priority programs. This rulemaking document was reviewed under E.O.
12866. The rulemaking would not affect the level of funding available
in the highway safety program, or otherwise have a significant economic
impact. The agency has prepared a Preliminary Regulatory Evaluation
which is available in the docket.
Small Entity Impact
In compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the agencies
have evaluated the effects of this action on small entities. Based on
the evaluation, we certify that this rule will not have a significant
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. States will
be recipients of any funds awarded under the regulation and,
accordingly, the preparation of a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is
The agencies have also analyzed this action for the purpose of the
National Environmental Policy Act. The agencies have determined that
this action would not have any effect on the human environment.
This action has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and
criteria contained in Executive Order 12612 and it has been determined
that it has no federalism implication that warrants the preparation of
a federalism assessment.
Paperwork Reduction Act
The requirement relating to this proposal, that each State must
submit a highway safety plan to receive section 402 grant funds, is
considered to be an information collection requirement, as that term is
defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in 5 CFR part
1320. Accordingly, these requirements have been submitted to and
approved by OMB, pursuant to the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C.
3501 et seq.). These requirements have been approved through 11/30/95;
OMB No. 2127-0501. This NPRM would establish no new information
collection requirement, as that term is defined by the OMB in 5 CFR
List of Subjects in 23 CFR Part 1205
Grant programs, Highway safety.
In consideration of the foregoing, the agencies propose to amend 23
CFR part 1205 as follows:
1. The authority citation for part 1205 continues to read as
Authority: 23 U.S.C. 402; delegations of authority at 49 CFR
1.48 and 1.50.
2. In Sec. 1205.3, paragraph (a)(7) is added to read as follows:
Sec. 1205.3 Identification of National Priority Program Areas.
(a) * * *
(7) Speed enforcement.
* * * * *
Issued on January 4, 1994.
Rodney E. Slater,
Administrator, Federal Highway Administration.
Howard M. Smolkin,
Executive Director, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
[FR Doc. 94-445 Filed 1-13-94; 8:45 am]
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