GEOG 855
Spatial Data Analytics for Transportation

7.3 Getting to Know a Transportation Organization


This week, you’ll take some time to get to know the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA - pronounced "NITS-uh”). NHTSA is an agency within the USDOT responsible for reducing deaths, injuries, and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes. The agency was created by the Highway Safety Act of 1970 to administer programs that had previously been the responsibility of the National Highway Safety Bureau.

Dr. Mark Rosekind was the NHTSA Administrator under the Obama administration. Take a look at a 37-minute presentation (below) he gave at the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA) 2016 annual meeting. Also, spend some time reviewing NHTSA’s 2016-2020 strategic plan titled “The Road Ahead”.

Video: NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind's presentation at OESA Annual Conference, Nov. 2, 2016 (37:36)

NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind's presentation at OESA Annual Conference, Nov. 2, 2016
Click here for transcript of Dr. Mark Rosekind's Presentation as OESA Annual Conference (2016).

NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind's presentation at OESA Annual Conference, Nov. 2, 2016

PRESENTER: Please help me welcome Ann Wilson.


ANN WILSON: Good morning, everybody. And thank you, Julie. I also want to thank the board members of OESA and the entire membership for allowing me to participate in this great event today.

So let's take a look at this. Safety regulations, V to V, automated vehicles, AEB, NCAP, energy policy, cafe and emissions requirements, cybersecurity, NAFTA, new trade proposals with Asia and Europe, and IP protection. These are just some of the issues that are affecting the members of OESA as I stand before you today. These are issues that'll affect us this year and in the year to come.

Today I want to take a few minutes and focus on three of these issues. Safety, technology, and jobs. First, let's talk about safety.

Let's be very clear about this. All the suppliers gathered in this room are committed to safety. And that commitment has taken on a real sense of urgency nationwide.

We are witnessing a very troubling trend. In 2015, over 35,000 Americans lost their lives on the nation's highways. This was over a 7% increase over the previous year. But if you take a look at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's data for the first six months of this year, that increase continues with a 10.4% increase in fatalities for the first six months as compared to 2015.

We all know that automated vehicles will transform transportation. This is especially true when 94% of vehicle crashes are caused by human error.

For those of you who've never heard that statistic before, again, think about that. 94% of vehicle crashes are caused by human error. The promise of virtually eliminating motor vehicle crashes and expanding personal mobility to more individuals and will dramatically shift how society sees transportation.

And make no mistake about it. The members of OESA are at the forefront of this transformation. Our industry is reviewing the automated vehicle policy that was released by NHTSA in September, and we are preparing official comments for submission on November 22.

In our comments, we will be advocating for a balance that provides opportunities for suppliers to work with OEMs on innovation and not stifle it. We are heartened to see the agency create a model state plan that should go a long way in providing a federal road map rather than multiple and differing state laws.

In addition, NHTSA is also focusing on an opportunity for expanded use of the exemption interpretation process. And I know this sounds like legalese to many of you, but this could be a great benefit for emerging technologies to get needed on the road experience.

We are also anxiously awaiting the final decision by the Obama Administration to update the new car assessment program, or NCAP, to include advanced driver assistance programs. The safety benefits of these systems could be immediate because these vehicles and these technologies are on the road now. MEMA studied last year with BCG-- estimated that 10,000 lives could be saved every year if the fleet had a widespread adoption of these technologies.

So let's move, then, to technology. NHTSA last week released a document that I would encourage each of you to read. It's a cyber security best practices for modern vehicles. It is only about 25 pages long. It is actually a fairly approachable document and I would encourage you to read it.

The document states in no uncertain terms that suppliers and OEMs are required-- required to ensure the systems are free of unreasonable risk of motor vehicle safety, including those that may result due to the existence of potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities. This goes on to outline their objectives for the industry including implementation of proactive and preventive measures, real time hacking detection measures, and real time response method assessment solutions.

NHTSA expects the entire industry, particularly all manufacturers developing or integrating safety critical systems, to take part in these efforts. This is not an OEM or a tier one supplier issue only. NHTSA has made it clear that the entire industry, all suppliers, vehicle manufacturers, aftermarket and new technology providers, have a role.

Your DC team is working closely with Brian Doherty, the MEMA CTO and drafting comments to the best practices. But I would also encourage each of you, just as Julie was encouraging you before, to be involved in these discussions.

Finally, let's discuss jobs. MEMA just completed with IHS an updated economic footprint study for the United States. The results were not surprising, but they are remarkable.

Motor vehicle suppliers directly employ over 871,000 Americans. Of that number, 524,000 are jobs that are directly tied to light vehicle manufacturers.

So those of you who have been patiently listening to me discuss automated vehicles and cybersecurity and are thinking that is not what is utmost on your mind, think of those job numbers. How did they impact the US workforce?

Is it worker training? Is it new requirements? Is it job retention? Is it trade? And let's work together to address those issues.

So thank you for your attention to me. But then I want to move on to the reason why we're all here today.

This morning, I have the great honor of introducing the administrator of NHTSA, Dr. Mark Rosekind. Dr. Rosekind is going to give us the benefit of some of his thoughts on some of the issues that I've discussed and a few more, I'm sure.

And then we will have a chance to take some of your questions. And I hope you keep them coming in. We could have a good dialogue about what's to come. So please join with me in welcoming Dr. Mark Rosekind.


MARK ROSEKIND: Good morning. The full intro is I'm a sleep scientist by training, so when I come in for a morning session and I say good morning and I only hear three voices, either more caffeine or something else. You ready? Let's do it one more time. Good morning.

AUDIENCE: Good morning.

MARK ROSEKIND: Great. Thanks for being here. What I'm going to do is cover three things this morning. I'm going to talk about the safety challenges which Ann just did a great job, but I'm going to be even more specific about the numbers. It's the context for why NHTSA has focused on some of the specific activities we'll talk about this morning.

Second, we're going to talk about our three lanes to get to zero fatalities on our roadways. And then three, we're going to close with talking about what the opportunities are.

Before I do that, something that I always get in trouble for because I can't tell where they are is if you would just join me for a moment, I want to introduce-- we have a very senior NHTSA team that's here. Would you stand because I know you're in the room?

Thank you very much. There's Nat, Allison, and Paul Hemmersbaugh, associate administrator, our director of government affairs, and chief counsel. I say that because afterwards with questions, senior leadership at NHTSA. I hope you get a chance to engage with them, please. Thank you. I'm in trouble later.

Ann's already got us started with this, but there are some numbers that everyone at NHTSA knows, starting with this one. 35,092, the number of lives that were lost on our roadways in 2015. Everybody knows that exact number because every one of those numbers is a father, mother, brother, sister, co-worker, friend. Every one of those is an individual life that we cannot bring back.

Why this is so significant is because last year we clearly have identified an immediate crisis. So Ann mentioned this. Last year, 7.2% increase in the number of lives lost. That is the largest percent increase in 50 years that we've seen on our roadways. Just to put it in perspective, over the decade before that, we saw a 25% drop in lives lost.

What does that mean? That means last year we lost 1/3 of that progress in one year. So far, the six month estimate, which again, these numbers come from us, we're looking at a 10.4% increase for the six month number. This is immediate crisis that we have to deal with. But one of the challenges we have is also look at this as a long term challenge as well, which we will talk about.

This is the number-- Ann mentioned this. NHTSA data clearly shows when you look at the last event, the last cause right before a crash occurs, 94% of the time, it's the human. This is part of the reason there is so much excitement about the technology innovation that's going on.

Can we get to all of that 94% through technology? Unknown. But the key is, look how large that opportunity is.

And just to give some perspective on this, and you folks know it, so that leaves us 6% of the other crashes. So all of you know the headlines related to defects, recalls, et cetera. What percentage of crashes does that account for?

If human behavior, human choice, human error, is 94%, how much is related to defects and recall issues? Anybody know? 2%. Why do I tell you that?

Because that 2% sure gets the headlines, right, while the 94%, which is mostly us because we're all brilliant drivers-- it's the other folks we have to worry about. But it's the 94% that really represents the opportunity where these advanced technologies can really make a difference for us.

When you think about it, though, what's the only acceptable goal for us? It really is zero. And especially as my clock is ticking down, I get more bold and basically say, there really is morally, aspirationally, no other goal we can have. No one has a right to decide, above zero, what would be acceptable. Only zero is acceptable.

The challenge is, when are we going to get there? And what do we do to actually get there? And we're going to talk about NHTSA's three lanes in just a moment.

So one of the things that we've done over the last couple of years is basically work in these three areas. And so I'm going to go through each one of these briefly to give you a sense of the activities that are going on. And one of the ways that I'm going to end, I'll tell you now, we are in this together. And so when I say industry, it is everybody.

So Ann, and Julie, sometimes when they talk, it's like, do we-- where do we need to highlight the supplier side? You're just included, folks. There is no exception for you. You're just included. This is the entire industry and you are part of it, which is why talking about this stuff with you here is just a great opportunity.

So let's talk about proactive vehicle safety just to start with. And what I want to do is just highlight-- in the last couple of years, we've tried to make this very dramatic change. For 50 years, NHTSA and the industry has mostly been reactive, right? And that's what you see up here, is the traditional approach.

So what you're going to try and do is survive the crash, mitigate it if you can, as opposed to the proactive approach which is a transition we've made over the last couple of years, and that is basically avoid the crash altogether. Prevent it. So I'm not going to go through all of these, but the whole idea, again, don't fix the defect after the fact. Instead, you want to prevent. That's what proactive is.

So proactive vehicle safety is something that's under way. I say that because we've already seen some really great successes. Many of you are familiar with our proposals to upgrade NCAP. That started at NHTSA in 1978, and really, it's been enhanced a bit. But really what we've done is proposed the most significant upgrade to that program in almost 40 years.

One of the things we did was put an emphasis on 100% recall completion. A point we have made is that if you identify a defect but you don't get those remedies in place, you still have a problem. The safety risk will continue to exist. And part of the problem previously, of course, is that everyone said, well, 70% is the average. What do people go for? They went for the average.

And I bring this up because just two days ago, we put out a press release. Volvo commercial trucks, 16,000 vehicles with a steering column problem, extremely severe. And after about nine months with FMCSA, with NHTSA, they had 100% recall completion on those 16,000 vehicles before any negative outcomes. No bad crashes, no injuries, no fatalities, all of that done before anything bad happened.

So it can be done. And that's why, literally a press release a couple of days ago, to highlight the success there.

The other thing I just want to highlight here-- AEB, really important. Automatic emergency braking. Because what did we do? September 11 we challenged the industry and said, what can you do to try and make that a standard technology on vehicles?

This is democratizing these technology advances in safety. Rather than just have it a high priced option on our high priced cars, how do we make it standard? We announced that in September, but then in March was able to actually bring forth 20 global automakers representing 99.6% of the new market, are going to make AEB standard by 2022.

Why that's so significant is that was without a regulation. And that is most significant because regulation probably would have taken us three to four years longer. You can count the lives saved, injuries prevented, crashes prevented, by coming out with that collaborative approach rather than waiting for the regulation.

And so another point is the 18 of those global automakers have also come together for some proactive safety principles. And they've been applied already, things like 100% recall, collaborating on cybersecurity.

Let's talk about the second lane, highly automated vehicles. You really can't look at any media today and miss this, right?

So what I want to highlight here, though, is this really epitomizes the proactive approach. The top there is survive it, mitigate it. The bottom is avoid a crash altogether. And that's what we're seeing now.

One of the things that's in the policy I'm going to talk about in just a moment is we have adopted basically to say, let's have the five levels of SAE automation. They're changing recently. But there used to be a NHTSA scale, an SAE-- now it's all SAE.

But I put this up because one of the things that's critical for everybody is to realize, when folks start talking autonomous vehicles, new technology, there's all kinds of different pieces to that. That's what this is and the next slide show you.

There are five different levels of automation. And they represent not just how the human's involved, but how much the operating system, the car, is monitoring the vehicle as well as the environment.

And I put this up because one of the classic questions is, when are autonomous vehicles going to be on the road? People love to forecast this, et cetera. And one of the things I like to say is this stuff is already here.

So for example, here are nine different technologies that are already available on vehicles. I'm not going to review all these, but when you think about it, when is this technology coming? It is already here.

And what's interesting is these are just nine different ones that are available now. So again, when you say, when is autonomous driving here? Well, a level five fully autonomous that you can go to a dealer online and buy one? That's not here. And I love watching everybody predict when it will be. But we'll see how that turns out.

But I put these nine up because I also wanted to highlight, there's all kinds of other technology innovation going on, like this. A driver alcohol detection system for safety. So here's the 10th one. This has gone from research-- we've just spent some time accelerating toward deployment on this.

This basically has two sensors. One, air. So if you're 0.08, it will actually pick up alcohol content just from breathing in the vehicle. And the other is a touch sensor. So through the skin, it would actually pick up if you're 0.08, preventing that vehicle from starting.

So a lot of people who are into drunk driving that understand the issues here, think of DADS as literally the seat belt for drunk driving. So while we talk about the autonomous driving part, the other piece is huge other safety opportunities here as well.

Another thing that we're still working on and have fingers crossed to see is vehicle to vehicle communication. So a lot of people talk about automated vehicles, but connected vehicles really represents-- those two together, automated and connected, really represent the safest, most efficient, most productive, most effective for everybody system. And I put that up because you can see here, when cars can communicate and trucks can communicate with each other, the infrastructure, pedestrians, we're talking about an overall much safer system.

So one of the things, just with some of our data looking at a couple of applications with the intersection, a left turn assist, or a through the intersection detection, you're looking at non-impaired driving crashes, potentially eliminating 80% of those, just with those two applications of vehicle to vehicle. So it's not just automated, but it's connected systems as well. And now we're not just talking vehicle to vehicle, but we're talking the whole system, infrastructure as well as pedestrians, and V2X because who know what else is out there?

But that's why in this realm, and it's been mentioned, on September 20, we came out with the Federal Automated Vehicles policy. So it was in January that Secretary Fox actually announced that President Obama was proposing a $3.9 billion over 10 years to look at vehicle research.

But the other thing the secretary said was in six months, we're going to come out with a policy to address this issue. And that was really significant because up until that time, there were a few pages, if you will, about some guidance, some thoughts, et cetera. This really is a comprehensive approach to dealing with automated vehicles.

So this is the approach we have. First of all, everything we talk about, safety is always at the top of the list. So it's about safety first. That's going to be critical for any discussions you have with us, any actions we take.

The other is-- again, this is a model for proactive. So the framework that's proposed here-- people were shocked, frankly. This document's 112 pages long. What most people expected was thousands and thousands of pages of regulation. We did not take that approach.

The secretary liked to say, we're writing the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. So it's a framework. That's why it's only 112 pages. And it's not only the proactive part, but the ideas to facilitate innovation.

If we just prescribe, this is the way everything has to be designed, tested, deployed, that puts everybody in a box. Instead, we're looking for everybody-- and there's a 15 point safety letter everybody's probably heard about. And basically what we're doing is inviting innovation.

So when we've got five people in the front row here, we're hoping that we'll have five different approaches to those 15 items in the letter. That's how you nurture, support, and facilitate innovation rather than saying, all of you have to be in the same box.

In fact, if you think about it, people have been asking, is there a rule-making roadmap here? Well, what all of us would want is be as innovative as you can, send in those lists, show us the innovation, bring the data, and at some point, there's going to be some best practices. What's that based on? Well, that's based on one, or two, or at the top of the list, the best data that shows the greatest safety.

At some point, that best practice would probably be the basis for rule-making, would a different path to take than just coming out with rule-making that could take years and years. And that's why the bottom line I'm going to highlight, there's a lot about data in there, but nimble and flexible I put in there because I think it's pretty critical for everyone to realize-- if we took 6 to 10 years for regulation, by the time it came out, everything from a technology standpoint would be generations too late.

And so part of what's really critical here is to have nimble and flexible built into this, which is why a commitment was made to review this policy and update it on an annual basis. So these are the four elements in there. I hope you've had a chance to read it all. There's no quiz, so you don't have to worry about that.

But it's a pretty straightforward read. Vehicle performance guidance-- again, there's a 15 item safety checklist, basically, a letter that has to be sent in. What does that do?

Proactive means we actually have people looking at safety before anything gets on the road rather than our usual reactive, only looking at things afterwards, when there is a problem. There's a model state policy. What everybody talks about is a patchwork of laws and policies across the country.

We put-- just slam on the brakes here. It would just freeze everything that's going on. And so what we have is a model state policy which very much focuses on what the federal role is versus what the states role are. And we're very clear.

States actually don't have to do anything in this area. If they choose to, we identify some areas they could actually address if they wanted to do that.

The last two have to do with basically tools, authorities, and our regulatory things that we have available to us right now. So we look at the current ones, in particular, we talk about interpretations and exemptions. I want to highlight that because it can often take years to get an interpretation or exemption through the agency.

We actually made a commitment for simple, straightforward interpretations, to get those done in 60 days. Complex ones done in 90 days. Exemptions, for a simple one, potentially in six months. Why are those critical?

Means we have tools now that you could use fairly quickly to get stuff on the road for different kinds of field operational tests. Collect the data to show whether your innovation is really going to make a difference or not.

And then the final section is looking at, what's the future hold? Again, for 50 years we've been reactive. If we want to look to the future, what are 12 different things that we might be able to use? And just to be clear, we don't actually propose anything. We just identified 12 that need discussion so we can figure out what the future will need for us to get these accelerated onto the roadways.

So here's another number that is really important. We actually did a study looking at the last 50 years of 14 technologies that are out there. And seat belts are at the top, airbags are number two. 613,501 lives have been saved by technology.

We know technology can make a difference. And we know it can save lives. This is what our excitement is about.

Now, is that the only thing we need to be focused on? Absolutely not. And that's why this last lane has to do with us a human, that 94%.

And NHTSA's already been involved in this tremendously. We have a huge number of programs focused on our behavior. These are national programs that hopefully all of you are familiar with.

What's clear, though, is that we have to wonder, what are we going to do? Well, it ends up we actually published something that talks about the strategies at work. There are about 120 strategies in here. And we know what actually works.

So for the immediate crisis, the rise that we see going on now, we know that there are strategies that will work. But is that the only thing we can do? That's this guy, right? If we keep doing the same thing but expect a different outcome, they call that insanity. Thank you, I heard you. You're really there.

So we have an immediate crisis, we can do the stuff we know that works but if we keep doing that, we're never going to get to zero. And so that's why September 20 we announced the autonomous vehicles policy. And then on October 5 we actually talked about a new Road to Zero coalition.

And it has two specific goals. First is the immediate near-term. Let's apply all the stuff we know that works. But we're also identifying specific money, specific support for innovation. Where to identify the gaps where stuff can be improved or new things can be applied to deal with the immediate increase in fatalities that we're seeing?

But really, the longer term challenge is going to be addressed by the second bullet there. And that is, we have a group that's coming together to create a 30 year scenario based plan on how to get to zero.

They're sweet and started with zero as a goal. We have vision zero toward zero, a lot of different programs focused on this at states, at city level. What has been missing, really, is putting all of those together and having the long term plan.

People are just counting lives lost, crashes, year by year. We need a 30 year plan. And it starts with a scenario that says you wake up in 30 years and no one lost their life on our roadways. And then you look at the milestones to get you there.

So that's why this effort is really very different. Deal with the immediate crisis. It'll take about 12 months or so, at least, to come up with that 30 year plan to figure out how we get to zero.

That's being done with three different agencies within DOT. This has never happened before. So it's not only NHTSA, but it's the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

So the three surface modes at DOT have come together. We are partnering with the National Safety Council to do this. And I mention that because while those groups are the coordinators for all of this, we already have 75 organizations participating. This is all inclusive.

So whether it's used in individual company, OESA as an organization, everyone needs to participate. Everyone needs to take part in this. The only way we get it to zero is if all of us are participating and take responsibility.

Last two slides. First, this one. For the last two years, NHTSA's really been going through a very significant transformation. The first thing at the top there is we've had three specific things we've focused on just strategically. That is, fix the things have been broken, and I would say that's both within NHTSA but within the industry that we can. We're talking about a pivot to proactive. And I've been giving you all kinds of examples through this discussion.

And the other is, for all of us, we have to create and then own the future. We can't just wait for all of these things to happen to us. And so these three strategic approaches have been what NHTSA's actually actively been pursuing over the last two years.

And what you see below that are 12 concrete examples of things that have been accomplished and initiated over the last two years. I put at the top there the Federal Autonomous Vehicles policy and the Road to Zero. Because those two, to me, are the capstone of the last two years.

They epitomized what proactive means. And for all the work we can do in Road to Zero, autonomous and new technology innovations will be a critical element for us to get there faster than if we just do the stuff that we've been doing for a long time.

So this just gives you an example of some of the very concrete things that NHTSA's been doing. But that's why I said the last slide-- with these three lanes, one of the things I've been highlighting to everybody, there is a moment going on with people not just focused on proactive but the actions that need to be taken for all of us to be able to really reach zero lives lost on our roadways.

So I think for everyone, and this is what I started with, our suppliers, different tiers, different than the OEM-- we're in this together, folks. There are things in the AV policy that apply to you. Everyone who rides their bike, walks, which is everyone here, is in a vehicle, whether it's commercially or your own, everyone is invested in this. This is your life we're talking about, and your family, and your co-workers.

So we are in this moment right now for everyone to figure out how you're going to travel, in one lane, in all three lanes. My bottom line is, though, that this is a responsibility we all share. 35,092 should be completely unacceptable to all of us.

100% of those are preventable lives lost. And we cannot bring them back. It is tragic. That is the equivalent of a 747 crashing every week for a year.

And the increase last year, five more jumbo jets went down. If that happened in the United States in one week, that would be headlines for three months. If it happened a second week, we would shut the aviation system down until we figured out what was going on.

And yet we accept not only that high number, but increasing numbers like it's OK. It's part of the risk. It's part of the cost of getting the mobility we have today. It should not be.

And we are in a moment where we can make not just a big difference in that, but go beyond safety to mobility and sustainability with all of the opportunities in front of us.

So please join us. Please join with your colleagues. This is a path that we can only attain if we do this together. Thanks very much. I'm going to look forward to speaking with Julie and Ann. Thank you.



PRESENTER: Great, thank you so much. Thank you for being here. We appreciate your candor and speaking to this audience of suppliers. It's so key.

I need to start with a question. It rose to the top very rapidly in terms of the questions as we have them coming in. And it deals with Tesla.

And the question is, really, with the Tesla death that unfortunately occurred with their beta system software, Tesla instructed the drivers of their vehicles to simply turn off that software. The question is, if it was a more traditional OE, it would have probably been a recall. Why the difference? And what was your thought process when you saw that occur?

MARK ROSEKIND: I think we're going to get to the next question really quickly because NHTSA actually has an investigation into that right now, which is why I can't comment on that in any way. But I think that gives you an indication-- as soon as we heard about that, we gathered information and initiated investigation. So that's going on right now to determine specifics from a NHTSA perspective.

PRESENTER: OK. The next question that we have is really-- I thought it was very insightful. If you had two more years with NHTSA, what would your priorities be?

MARK ROSEKIND: Great question. So why that's so interesting personally is because I finished five years at the NTSB, came to NHTSA knowing that I only had two years. So I warned everybody, we got to sprint. And I don't mind telling you the calendar we're looking at. We are, like, running through the tape through January.

And I'm saying that because why that's so interesting is I think there have been a lot of times where I come up against something and say, you know, if you had four years, you'd be putting that not just on the list. You'd be going after it.

So I think there are-- my highlight would be that I think what I showed, our 12 things. A lot of those are initiated. But it's delivering long term on them. And if we had four years, we'd be doing that a lot more solidifying way.

So one of the things I-- story I tell is when I met the secretary about this position, he said, Mark, in two years we're not going to fix it all. We're not going to get it all done. But we could put some big markers down. Set the path. So I think part of what would be done was making sure those markers were deep and we were following them to the safety goals that we've established.

PRESENTER: And so Ann, how does that-- those goals, if you will, the markers that have been set down-- how does that line up with what you see as suppliers' priorities for the coming years?

ANN WILSON: Well, I think a couple of things. As I look around the audience, there's a lot of you I interact with on a lot of basis and you interact with other folks on the DC staff and with other people in your teams, too.

But there's a whole bunch of you who are very involved in the safety process and fuel efficiency who don't interact with Dr. Rosekind's team, don't interact with us, and we need to change that. So, I think that's one piece of it.

I do think we have been-- and I know you've heard this from me before-- want to make sure that suppliers are fully involved as you develop these policies and guidelines because suppliers have a unique position on them and I think it's important for us to do that. But that's incumbent on both us and on the agency. It's not just on the agency, but it's incumbent on us to bring information and data and our viewpoints to the agency. So, I would think that would be my first one for two years.

MARK ROSEKIND: Can I comment?



MARK ROSEKIND: If you didn't get the message, this opportunity is for everybody. Ann and I have talked about this a lot. Anyone who's sitting there thinking, well, but that doesn't apply to me, wrong.

Everybody, whether you think or not that this is specifically in your lane, the reality is, whether it's personal or business, you have a role in this. And the only way we're going to get to zero is through all doing this together. And so the opportunity part is for everybody. And anyone who sits back and says it doesn't touch them is wrong.

You got to participate in some way. And the other thing, thanks for mentioning that-- because the policy that's out is still in a 60 day comment period. So you can actually put comments into the docket. By November 22 it closes and we have a November 10 meeting that just got announced, it's on our website, that's going to actually look at two things.

One is overall comments so you can come and make a few minute testimony, basically, about the overall policy. And the second part is we're looking for information about creating a template for that safety letter. So November 10, same thing. You could come and give us input of what you actually think belongs in that safety letter. And we're doing those on the 10th so we can do that before we close the 22nd comments.

And one more thing. When you read the policy you will see we actually have 23 next steps that are outlined in there. So this is not a, make the comment and you're done. This is nimble, flexible. There'll be many other opportunities which is, take advantage of it.

PRESENTER: We have a number of questions that have come up with regard to the increase in fatalities. The question as to, what do you think is causing that? How do we stop people from texting? So what do you think the causes are? And if it's texting or being on your phone or distracted that way, what's the thought process at NHTSA behind that?

MARK ROSEKIND: I think we've been looking at two pieces of it. One is, if you look at the data in more detail, you realize that vehicle miles traveled has gone way up.

And some of that is good because what it represents is higher employment, younger people getting out there, better weather. I mean, I saw this data. It's like, better weath-- yeah, people are out. They've got more disposable income. And about half of the increase could potentially be due to that.

The other half, unfortunately, are all the problems we already know that exist. So things like distraction, drowsy driving, speeding, drunk driving-- drug driving is becoming much more of a significant issue. All of those things that we know are classic. Basically, when you put people on the road, they're at risk for all of these things we already know and they just take more lives and create more crashes.

ANN WILSON: So Julie, can I say one thing?


ANN WILSON: MEMA worked with many of the companies here, and many of the companies here have worked individually on a lot of the technology that's currently on the road. And we've worked very closely with Dr. Rosekind and his staff on this.

And this is one reason why-- I know I went through in my five minutes very quickly, but why the new car assessment program is so important. We really think it's critical for us to get information into consumers' hands so that when they're purchasing a vehicle they-- you've got the AEB but you've got blind spot detection. There's other kinds of technologies that are out there that maybe can't get to the root cause of some of these accidents but can help prevent some of them.

So I encourage those of you to watch this as it progresses, watch NHTSA's views, DOT's views on this, and watch our views on this, because we think that this is a very important-- the idea of an automated vehicle is really tantalizing. But there are concrete steps that we really think that we can take together now.

PRESENTER: I have one last question here and then I'll offer you some time for closing comments if you have any. But this question I thought was very interesting. Are we seeing an increase in traffic deaths related at all to age, either aging at the more senior or the younger side of it?

MARK ROSEKIND: I didn't pay you to say that. Because it actually ends up-- tomorrow we have an older driving event in Washington looking specifically at this issue. Because there have been a lot of claims about that. But as a scientist, I'm always like, claims and hypotheses are one thing. Data, something different.

So tomorrow we're actually going to be looking at not only what does the data tell us, but what are the new, innovative things we could do to address that special group? It ends up-- folks that are older have, like, a five times higher risk. And that's just because anatomy and physiology is different. Their body reacts differently in a crash. And so we're going to be looking at that tomorrow, actually.

PRESENTER: Any comments that you'd like to make as we close?

MARK ROSEKIND: I think I would just close with-- the slide about NHTSA's transformation is really to share the opportunity with everyone that our couple of years have been focused on such a significant shift from 50 years of being reactive to trying to get proactive. Let's avoid crashes and all the problems.

That's pretty major. It's going to be a pretty significant culture change for everybody. And you can't do that just in two years. That's why you need everybody involved. And what I'm hoping is that what NHTSA's done is work with folks, all the industry, and safety advocates, and everyone else, you can think of, to get those markers down.

PRESENTER: Ladies and gentlemen, please help me thank both Ann and Dr. Rosekind. Thank you for all your candor.


Credit: NHTSANews
Figure 6 - NHTSA's Strategic Goals and Objectives 2016-2020
Strategic Goal Strategic Objectives
  • Reduce Fatalities and Injuries.
  • Increase Survivability From Crashes.
  • Reduce Economic Costs.
Proactive Vehicle Safety
  • Promote the Proactive Safety Principles.
  • Enhance ODI.
  • Conduct Campaigns To Improve Recall Completion Rates.
  • Inform and Empower Consumers.
  • Coordinate Global Road Safety.
Automated Vehicles
  • Safely Deploy Highly Automated Vehicles.
  • Safely Deploy V2V Communications.
  • Enable a Robust, Layered Framework for Vehicle Cybersecurity.
Human Choices
  • Promote Innovative Solutions Behavioral Safety.
  • Leverage Law Enforcement Partnerships.
  • Provide Oversight and Guidance to State Highway Safety Offices.
Organizational Excellence
  • Improve NHTSA's Ability to Deliver Quality Data and Analysis.
  • Strengthen Mission Critical Information Technology.
  • Properly Identify Human Capital Needs.
  • Improve Financial Performance.

Credit: THE ROAD AHEAD, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Strategic Plan 2016—2020 (USDOT, NHTSA October 2016)

A few of NHTSA’s areas of focus are briefly described below:

Vehicle Safety Ratings and Recalls

NHTSA plays a large role in accepting and tracking vehicle safety complaints which can ultimately lead to safety recalls. They also administer the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) which assesses and scores vehicle models using a 5-star safety rating. Safety rating and recall information is compiled and made available to consumers. Using this information, consumers can quickly determine how specific vehicles perform in front-end, side, and rear-end collisions in addition to rollovers. NHTSA also compiles safety information on car seats, tires, and other equipment.

Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS)

DDACTS is a model which NHTSA developed in association with the Department of Justice (DOJ). It uses the temporal and spatial analysis of crash and crime data to identify the optimal deployment of highly visible law enforcement personnel and vehicles. Detailed information about the model is available in the DDACTS Operational Guidelines.

National 911 Program

The purpose of the National 911 Program is to promote and coordinate 911 services across the U.S. NHTSA is currently promoting and rolling out the Next Generation of 911 (NG911) which will modernize 911 systems based on advances in technology which have occurred since 911 was first put in place 50 years ago.

Office of Vehicle Safety Research

The Office of Vehicle Safety Research is a NHTSA Office that develops and implements research programs designed to reduce crashes, fatalities, and injuries. Some of their research activities can be found here.

National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA)

The NCSA is an office within NHTSA which provides analytical and statistical support to the agency through data collection, crash investigations, and data analysis. One of NCSA’s responsibilities is to maintain and enhance FARS. They also produce many useful and interesting publications summarizing information gathered by NHTSA.