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New Car Assessment Program; Technical Report; Correlation of NCAP Performance With Fatality Risk in Actual Head-On Collisions

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  NHTSA

New Car Assessment Program; Technical Report; Correlation of NCAP Performance With Fatality Risk in Actual Head-On Collisions

Donald C. Bischoff (Federal Register)
January 11, 1994


[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 7 (Tuesday, January 11, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-568]


[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: January 11, 1994]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
[Docket No. 79-17; Notice 40]

 

New Car Assessment Program; Technical Report; Correlation of NCAP 
Performance With Fatality Risk in Actual Head-On Collisions

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DOT.

ACTION: Request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: This notice announces the publication by NHTSA of a Technical 
Report concerning the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). The report 
examines the Correlation of NCAP Performance with Fatality Risk in 
Actual Head-On Collisions. In NCAP, frontal crash tests of 
approximately 35 passenger vehicles are conducted each year and the 
test results are made available to the public, in response to the Motor 
Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act of 1972. The Department of 
Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 
1992 directed ``NHTSA to provide a study to the House and Senate 
Committees on Appropriations comparing the results of New Car 
Assessment Program (NCAP) data from previous model years to determine 
the validity of these tests in predicting actual on-the-road injuries 
and fatalities over the lifetime of the models.'' In December 1993, 
NHTSA submitted a report to Congress, titled Response to the NCAP FY 
1992 Congressional Requirements, summarizing the agency's analyses of 
head-on collisions and other types of crashes. This Technical Report 
documents the agency's analysis of head-on collisions. The agency seeks 
public review and comment on the technical report. Comments received 
will be used to improve future analyses of the correlation of NCAP 
performance and fatality or injury risk.

DATES: Comments must be received no later than April 11, 1994.

ADDRESSES:

    Report: Interested persons may obtain a copy of the report free of 
charge by sending a self-addressed mailing label to Ms. Glorious Harris 
(NAD-51), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh 
Street SW., Washington, DC 20590.
    Comments. All comments should refer to the docket and notice number 
of this notice and be submitted to: Docket Section, Room 5109, Nassif 
Building 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC 20590. (Docket hours, 
9:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday.) It is requested but not 
required that 10 copies of comments be submitted.
    Submissions containing information for which confidential treatment 
is requested should be submitted (3 copies) to Chief Counsel, National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, room 5219, 400 Seventh Street 
SW., Washington, DC 20590, and 7 copies from which the purportedly 
confidential information has been deleted should be sent to the Docket 
Section.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Mr. Frank Ephraim, Chief, Evaluation Division, Office of Strategic 
Planning and Evaluation, Plans and Policy, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration, room 5208, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, 
DC 20590 (202-366-1574).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) has 
gauged the performance of vehicles in frontal impact tests since model 
year 1979. In response to Congressional direction, the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration studied the relationship between vehicle 
test scores in NCAP and the fatality risk in crashes of vehicles on the 
road. This study is based on head-on collisions, where the effect of 
crashworthiness can be separated from the effects of extraneous factors 
that influence fatality rates (drivers, roadways, mileage). Collisions 
between two 1979-91 passenger cars in which both drivers were wearing 
safety belts were selected from the Fatal Accident Reporting System. 
There were 396 collisions (792 cars) in which both cars were identical 
with or very similar to vehicles which had been tested in NCAP. In the 
analyses, adjustments were made for the relative weights of the cars, 
and for the age and sex of the drivers--factors which substantially 
affect fatality risk.
    There are statistically significant correlations between NCAP 
scores for head injury, chest acceleration and femur loading and the 
actual fatality risk of belted drivers. A composite NCAP score, based 
on the test results for all three body regions, has excellent 
correlation with fatality risk: In a head-on collision between a car 
with good composite score and a car of equal weight with poor score, 
the driver of the car with the better NCAP score has, on average, a 20 
to 25 percent lower risk of fatal injury. Slightly smaller, but still 
significant fatality reductions are obtained even when the NCAP scores 
for just one body region (just HIC, or chest g's, or femur load) are 
used to partition the fleet into ``good'' and ``poor'' performance 
groups. The borderline between good and poor NCAP scores that optimizes 
the differences in actual fatality risk is close to the criteria 
specified in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 208 for each 
of the three body regions.
    Cars built from 1979 through 1982 had, on the average, the poorest 
NCAP scores. Test performance improved substantially in 1983 through 
1986 models, and continued to improve in 1987 through 1991 cars. In 
parallel, fatality risk for belted drivers in actual head-on collisions 
decreased by 20 to 25 percent in model years 1979-91, with the largest 
decreases just after 1982. The 35 mph test speed for NCAP is 5 mph 
higher than the test speed for FMVSS 208. By now, most passenger cars 
meet the FMVSS 208 criteria at the NCAP test speed. The study shows 
that achievement of this enhanced level of test performance has been 
accompanied by a significant reduction in actual fatality risk. 
However, being a statistical study, it does not address what portion of 
the fatality reduction was directly ``caused'' by NCAP. Also, these 
results do not guarantee that any individual make-model with low NCAP 
scores will necessarily have lower fatality risk than another make-
model with higher NCAP scores.
    NHTSA welcomes public review of the technical report and invites 
the reviewers to submit comments about the data and the statistical 
methods used in the report. The agency is interested in learning of any 
additional data that could be used to expand or improve the analyses, 
such as information about the curb weights of cars and light trucks.
    Those persons desiring to be notified upon receipt of their 
comments in the rules docket should enclose, in the envelope with their 
comments, a self--addressed stamped postcard. Upon receiving the 
comments, the docket supervisor will return the postcard by mail.

    Issued on: January 5, 1994.
Donald C. Bischoff,
Associate Administrator for Plans and Policy.
[FR Doc. 94-568 Filed 1-10-94; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-M

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