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National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

FY 2003 Performance Plan

May 2002

I. Introduction

The mission of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce traffic-related health care and other economic costs. The agency develops, promotes, and implements effective educational, engineering, and enforcement programs toward ending preventable tragedies and reducing economic costs associated with vehicle use and highway travel.

As an integral part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the agency improves public health and enhances the quality of transportation by helping to make highway travel safer. A multi-disciplinary approach is used that draws upon diverse fields such as epidemiology, engineering, biomechanics, the social sciences, human factors, economics, education, law enforcement, and public communication to address one of the most complex and challenging problems facing our society.

NHTSA is a national and international leader in collecting and analyzing crash data, and in developing countermeasures relevant to preventing and mitigating vehicle crashes and reducing and preventing resulting fatalities and traumatic injury. The agency regulates automobile manufacturers through its safety standards program; provides national and international leadership in understanding and assessing the safety impact of advanced technologies; sponsors critical research; spurs progress in harmonizing international safety standards; and carries out innovative projects to improve traffic and vehicle safety. All aspects of engineering, education, enforcement, and evaluation are incorporated into programs to address the challenges of crash and injury prevention involving people, vehicles, and the roadway environment.

While improving traffic safety is NHTSA's primary role, NHTSA programs also make contributions to DOT's mobility, economic growth and trade, human and natural environment and national security goals, as well as advance the Department's ability to manage for results and innovation by implementing the Presidential Management Agenda (PMA).

"A visionary and vigilant Department of Transportation leading the way to transportation excellence and innovation in the 21st Century."

"Serve the United States by ensuring a safe transportation system that furthers our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people."

Safety Promote the public health and safety by working toward the elimination of transportation-related deaths and injuries.
Mobility Shape an accessible, affordable, and reliable transportation system for all people, goods and regions.
Economic Growth Support a transportation system that sustains America's economic growth.
Human and Natural Environment Protect and enhance communities and the natural environment affected by transportation.
National Security Ensure the security of the transportation system for the movement of people and goods, and support the National Security Strategy.

Strategic Management of Human Capital
Competitive Sourcing
Financial and Procurement Performance
Citizen-Centered Government
Budget and Performance Integration

This performance plan describes what NHTSA will achieve in fiscal year 2003 with the resources that are proposed in the agency's budget. The trends of highway-related fatalities and injuries are illustrated, external factors that affect these trends are discussed, and strategies and activities that NHTSA will use to achieve the goals of the agency and the Department are described.

II. Program Need

After several years on the decline, the overall number of transportation fatalities grew from 1992 to 1996, then trended downward through 1998. Since this time, transportation fatalities have been on the rise. While the increases have been small from year-to-year, the trend is headed in the wrong direction. In 1999, there were 41,717 fatalities on our Nation's roadways, up from 41,501 in 1998. In 2000, fatalities amounted to 41,821, a 0.7 percent increase from 1999. For 2001, preliminary estimates report roadway fatalities remained virtually unchanged at 41,730, a slight decrease of 0.2 percent. These fatalities account for more than 95 percent of all transportation deaths.

While fatality measures tend to receive more public attention, transportation injuries are a significant burden on individuals and on our society as well. Although injuries rank below fatalities in severity, they exact a societal toll in hospitalization, medical costs and lost productivity, to say nothing of pain and suffering. Like fatalities, this trend is dominated by highway crashes, accounting for 99% of all transportation-related injuries. For 2001, preliminary statistics indicate that approximately 3.03 million individuals were injured last year alone in motor vehicle crashes.

These deaths and injuries are a major public health problem, occurring at all ages but are particularly more significant for people ages 4 through 33, where they are the leading cause of death. Motor vehicle fatalities alone, account for nearly half the total of all traumatic injury deaths. Not surprisingly, about 20 percent of all Emergency Medical Service (EMS) calls are motor vehicle related, and motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of serious trauma. The large number of crashes has placed a considerable burden on our Nation's health care system and has affected us significantly economically - reaching $230.6 billion a year, or an average of $820 for every person living in the United States. NHTSA seeks to abate this major public health problem and avoid the pain, suffering, and economic loss to our nation by preventing highway crashes and mitigating the effects when crashes do occur.

III. NHTSA's Hierarchy of Measures

NHTSA uses the following diagram to depict how performance measures are used and how different program outputs contribute to the outcome goal of the agency, which is to save lives and prevent injuries on our Nation's highways. NHTSA programs seek to achieve progress in two intermediate outcome areas: (1) to reduce the occurrence of crashes and (2) to mitigate the consequences of crashes. Some of the programs fall exclusively under one of these categories, while others contribute to both. NHTSA programs use performance indicators to help measure the goals. A recent addition to this diagram is the Presidential Management Agenda (PMA) to advance NHTSA's ability to manage for results and innovation. Departmental Strategies are also included. Each of these strategies is described in greater detail later in this plan.


IV. Goals and Measures

Alc Fat Rate per 100M VMT Performance Measure: Reduce the Occurrence of Crashes(1)

We Aim to:

  • Reduce the rate of alcohol-related highway fatalities per 100 million VMT.

    2001: 0.61 (Preliminary)
    2002 Target: 0.55
    2003 Target: 0.53

    In previous performance plans, DOT and NHTSA measured alcohol-related highway fatalities as a percent of the total number of fatalities annually. In accordance, the 2001 and 2002 targets for alcohol-related deaths were 34% and 33%, respectively. However, DOT and NHTSA has decided that a rate--alcohol-related fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled--would track progress more accurately. A rate normalizes data for exposure. The agency analyzed data from previous years to determine the target for 2003. Preliminary data for FY 2001, (the last year for which NHTSA has alcohol data), the rate of alcohol-related fatalities was 0.61 fatalities per 100 million VMT (16,652 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes). The 2003 target of 0.53 per 100 million VMT will result in a reduction of alcohol-related fatalities to 15,600, assuming that VMT will continue to increase by an average of 2.2 percent each year. This new target also reflects a new alcohol imputation model that NHTSA will be using, starting when complete 2001 data are available.

    Belt Use, in percent Performance Measure: Mitigate the Consequences of Crashes

    We Aim to:

  • Increase seat belt use to 78 percent by 2003.

    2000: 71 percent
    2001: 73 percent
    2002 Target (Revised): 75 percent
    2003 Target (Revised): 78 percent

    Seat belt use in 2001 increased to 73 percent--an all-time high. Yet, this rate was well below the 86 percent target for 2001. That target was based on a stretch goal of 90 percent use by 2005. NHTSA determined that this performance target was also unrealistic and required revising. The agency has revised and set a new 2003 seat belt use target of 78 percent. This target is reasonable and challenging. Over the past several years the agency has been converting approximately 8.5 percent of the non-seat belt users, each year, to seat belt users. Continuing to convert this number each year becomes more difficult, as the set of "hard core" non-users becomes a higher proportion of all non-users.

    Current seat belt use prevents an estimated 11,900 fatalities and 325,000 serious injuries every year, saving $50 billion in medical care, lost productivity and other injury related costs. Conversely, the failure of crash victims to wear seat belts leads to an estimated 9,200 unnecessary fatalities and 143,000 needless injuries, costing society $26 billion. For each percentage point increase in seat belt use, 2.8 million more people buckle up, saving approximately 265 lives and preventing over 6,400 injuries each year. Achieving the 2003 target will result in 13 million more people buckling up, saving 1,193 more lives and preventing 48,100 additional injuries. NHTSA also reviewed the individual State seat belt use goals for 2003. The results of both analyses led the agency to determine that the appropriate target for 2003 is 78 percent.

    Child Occupant Fatalities (0-4 years) Performance Measure: Mitigate the Consequences of Crashes

    We Aim to:

  • Reduce the number of child occupant fatalities (0-4 years).

    2000: 539
    2001: 532 (Preliminary)
    2002 Target: Less than CY 2001
    2003 Target: Less than CY 2002

    Safety seats are the most effective restraint system available to child occupants of passenger cars. Rear-facing infant seats reduce the risk of fatal injury in a car crash by 71 percent, forward-facing safety seats for toddlers by 54 percent, and safety belts by 45 percent. NHTSA estimates that in 1998 alone, if all children 0-4 years of age had been restrained in safety seats, 173 lives could have been saved. The agency has set its annual target to reduce child occupant fatalities, 0-4 years of age, to less than the number reported in previous years. The agency's ultimate target goal is to reduce child occupant fatalities to 465 or less by 2005 (a 25% reduction from the baseline fatality rate in 1995 of 620 child occupant deaths). The agency plans to do so by, increasing restraint use among all children and ensuring that the appropriate restraint systems are used correctly.

    2002 Performance Plan Evaluation: Based on its analyses of alcohol-related fatalities and seat belt use for 2003, NHTSA determined that it was necessary to change the targets for FY 2002. The previous alcohol target was based on an interpolation of an unrealistic goal. The new target rate is 0.55. The seat belt goal was based on the Buckle Up America goal of 90 percent use by 2005. The new, more realistic target is 75 percent seat belt use.

    A. Intermediate Outcomes

    As stated earlier in this report, NHTSA programs seek to achieve progress in two intermediate outcome areas: (1) to reduce the occurrence of crashes and (2) to mitigate the consequences of crashes when they do occur. The programs NHTSA implements in achieving these two outcomes are line items in the FY 2003 budget request. Each outcome objective and its program initiatives are explained in further detail below.

    Reduce the Occurrence of Crashes

    The most important function of the agency is to prevent a crash from happening. NHTSA's programs have a proven track record in decreasing highway crashes and their adverse economic impact. As a result, traffic fatalities decreased from 51,091 in 1980 to a preliminary estimate of 41,730 in 2001 (number remained virtually the same as 2000 where 41,821 traffic fatalities were reported), even as vehicle miles have increased more than 80 percent over the same time period. However much more needs to be done, and NHTSA is committed to meeting the challenge of reducing the occurrence of crashes through its FY 2003 budget request, which includes: a strong commitment to restraint use and sober driving, changing dangerous driver behaviors, and sustaining the research activities to support the agency's behavioral and vehicular programs, to name a few.

    Driver/Vehicle Performance - In addition to continuing NHTSA's research activities in rollover, lighting and visibility, braking performance, etc., the agency will continue its research to develop an understanding of the impact of in-vehicle technologies - both conventional and advanced - on driving performance and safety. This will involve research on driving capacity; driver-vehicle interactions; driver acceptance of crash avoidance safety countermeasures; driver distraction and driver workload management through the use of driving simulators; test track experiments; and on the road testing of vehicles. A major research initiative on adaptive driver interface to minimize distraction potential and driver workload management is being planned for FY 2003.

    Driver Behavior/Simulation - This program is designed to address issues of high importance to the agency by taking advantage of the unique capabilities of the National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS). Work will continue on the effects of varying levels of alcohol impairment on driver behavior and performance under different levels of demand on the driver. Work on driver distraction will also continue with a focus on the safety consequences of using in-vehicle telematics while driving. Two additional research programs will be initiated in FY 2003. These include the effects of age-related impairments on driver behavior and performance and the effects of drug use (prescription and non-prescription) on driver behavior and performance.

    Intelligent Vehicle Initiative (IVI) - The aim of this departmental research program is to develop a better understanding of why crashes occur and to determine how advanced technologies can be utilized to reduce the number of crashes and mitigate injuries when crashes do occur. NHTSA provides leadership along with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) with coordination provided by the Federal Highway Administration Intelligent Transportation System (FHWA ITS) Joint Program Office. In FY 2003, NHTSA accomplishments will include: (1) completion of the Automotive Collision Avoidance System Field Operational Test; (2) initiation of the data collection phase of the Road Departure Crash Warning System Field Operational Test; (3) completion of most of the work on the Collision Avoidance Metrics Partnership project to develop fundamental pre-competitive research on crash avoidance technology, human factors, and creation of safety-focused map data bases; (4) initiation of a Field Operational Test of a heavy vehicle, driver drowsiness alerting system; (5) continuation of the development of realizable vehicle-based countermeasures for collisions that occur at intersections; and (6) continuation of efforts to find solutions to the problem of distraction from in-vehicle systems. (Funded in FHWA budget request.)

    Heavy Vehicle Research - Funding will be used to reduce fatalities in heavy-vehicle related crashes by 50 percent by the start of 2010. This goal is also encompassed in the multi-departmental 21st Century Truck Initiative. The major focus of NHTSA's Heavy Truck program will continue to be to improve stopping performance. Decreases in stopping distances from highway speeds of up to 30 percent are believed to be possible by using disc brakes, much more powerful than front axle brakes, and electronic control brakes. Research will also begin on developing high performance lightweight materials for brake components. Development of pre-crash data recorders will help to better define the causes of heavy vehicle crashes. In addition, research on improved side and rearward visibility and the elimination of blind spots will continue, as well as research into improved truck occupant protection.

    Pneumatic Tire Research - The Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Enforcement (TREAD) Act required that the agency conduct rulemaking to revise and update existing tire standards, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) Nos. 109 and I19. The Act also required NHTSA to complete rulemaking to require a warning system in new motor vehicles to indicate when a tire is significantly underinflated. Accordingly, NHTSA initiated a tire pressure survey; assessment of pressure warning systems in light vehicles; and research into such crash prevention aspects of tire performance as high speed capability, endurance capability, and tire distortion from normal road and maneuvering conditions. This research provided a solid foundation for the required regulatory actions. It also provided a basis for additional efforts to improve the safety performance of tires. This additional work has focused on what specifications would be necessary to ensure that the time-to-tire failure during normal use is longer than the expected tire tread life.

    Section 402 State and Community Formula Grant Program - This program provides for a coordinated national highway safety program in every State, territory, and the Indian Nations. Under a formula established by the Highway Safety Act of 1966, all States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the Trust Territories are provided with grants to encourage and facilitate implementation of more effective programs to improve highway safety, including support for the more than 1,000 Safe Communities Nationwide.

    Section 410 Alcohol-Impaired Driving Countermeasures Incentive Grant Program - This program provides grants to States to encourage them to adopt and implement effective programs and laws to reduce traffic safety problems resulting from individuals driving while under the influence of alcohol. States will use their FY 2003 alcohol incentive grant funds to support a wide range of impaired driving countermeasures and programs. Significant FY 2003 programs include: sobriety checkpoint and/or safety checkpoint programs; alcohol awareness programs that target people under age 21; acquiring videotape equipment for police vehicles and training officers in its use; and assessment and screening programs for drunk driving offenders.

    Impaired Driving Program - In FY 2003, in addition to the current impaired driving programs, NHTSA will expand State enforcement demonstrations to two additional States, Indiana and Michigan. The agency will develop and pilot test new comprehensive strategies, including speeding, zero tolerance, and seat belt violations, for reaching the increasing youth population. NHTSA will continue work with the college community to reduce underage drinking and increase zero tolerance enforcement. In addition, NHTSA will focus on developing additional resources for prosecuting and adjudicating the repeat and high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) offender, including treatment and sanctioning alternatives. Action grants will be awarded to national organizations, advocacy groups, and criminal justice partners to support highly visible enforcement and prevention activities. NHTSA will continue the national impaired driving public education campaign to keep the issue in the forefront of public attention. NHTSA is continuing to work with States and other partners to implement State alcohol forums to examine State data and develop action plans and coalitions for reducing alcohol-related deaths and injuries.

    Drugs, Driving, and Youth - Drug use among youth continues at unacceptable levels. NHTSA will collaborate with other Federal agencies to deliver a systematic strategy to States and communities on the areas outlined in the Presidential Initiative on Drugs, Driving, and Youth. In FY 2003, the agency will continue to support collection of State drug-impaired driving data and complete a demonstration project using palm pilot technology for data collection. NHTSA will also continue encouraging the involvement of juvenile judges in prevention activities at the community level; the development of educational materials for diverse communities; and increase outreach efforts to include other parts of the criminal justice system, e.g., court administrators. NHTSA will continue training for drug recognition experts, law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges.

    Traffic Law Enforcement - The FY 2003 Traffic Law Enforcement program will continue its efforts to reduce impaired driving, speeding, aggressive driving, and other unsafe driving acts and continue its efforts to promote seat belt and child safety seat use as a primary responsibility of our Nation's law enforcement agencies. New initiatives will include the development of model speed enforcement guidelines based on lessons learned from the NHTSA and FHWA sponsored speed management demonstration projects; expansion of the community demonstration projects with both the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) and the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association to promote traffic safety in diverse communities; expansion of training designed to reemphasize a broad based traffic enforcement program; expansion of training for law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges to heighten emphasis on aggressive driving; creation of a model process to help law enforcement agencies improve their traffic safety planning process; sponsorship of a summit to identify the gaps in the criminal justice system and to make recommendations for corrections; and implementation of a traffic enforcement technology project to demonstrate and measure the impact of effective and efficient traditional and automated enforcement technologies. NHTSA will also continue to collaborate with Federal, State, and local partners to address the issue of racial profiling.

    Motorcycle Safety - The program focuses on preventing motorcycle crashes; decreasing alcohol-related motorcycle crash injuries and fatalities; increasing the number of properly licensed motorcyclists; and mitigating crash injuries through encouraging use of helmets and other protective gear, promoting motorcycle safety education, and supporting helmet laws. In FY 2003, the program will continue initiatives begun in FY 2002, such as support for implementing the National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety; the motorcycle rehabilitation cost study; continued collaboration with the Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System; and motorcycle training and licensing synthesis and assessment. The program will work with national organizations, especially public health groups, to educate their members about motorcycle safety issues and provide workshops and exhibits at national meetings.

    Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Pupil Transportation Safety - The pedestrian, bicycle, and pupil transportation safety programs focus on developing and implementing strategies to: (1) prevent pedestrian, bicycle, and school bus traffic-related fatalities and injuries from occurring; and (2) prevent and reduce injuries resulting from these incidents. New FY 2003 initiatives include: pilot testing and completing the school bus driver training program; working with the Head Start program to develop age-appropriate pedestrian safety training programs for children and their care givers; encouraging the adoption of innovative pedestrian enforcement strategies by providing small demonstration grants to communities; and conducting case studies to determine the effectiveness of the Texas mandate for bicycle education in elementary schools.

    National Driver Register (NDR) - The National Driver Register assists State motor vehicle administrators in communicating with other States to identify problem drivers. The total number of inquiries has increased 69.9 percent from 1993 to 2000. More importantly, during the same time period, the number of the more expensive interactive (real time) inquiries has increased 321 percent (8.5 million to 35.8 million). The FY 2003 program will continue to strive to meet its customer service goal of: (1) an average response time of four seconds, with all inquiries responded to within seven seconds; and (2) to be available for operation 99 percent of published operational hours. The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 requires the States to make NDR inquiries for all license issuances. Currently, States are required to make inquiries for all non-minimum age license applicants and encouraged to check renewals. NHTSA estimates that the number of inquiries could increase 20 to 50 percent. This requirement will have a significant impact on operating costs and could result in a shortage of funds.

    Traffic Records, Driver Licensing and Education - Traffic Records seeks to improve the timeliness, accuracy, and completeness of State traffic records systems. Driver Licensing and Education focuses on implementation of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) systems. FY 2003 funding will support State and local acquisition and analysis of traffic safety data that is necessary to effectively manage traffic safety activities such as alcohol, safety belt, and GDL programs. Funding will provide for continued support of State GDL programs. These programs have been shown to be an effective means to reduce the fatality and injury crash involvement of young novice drivers, with a 9 percent reduction in Florida, a 26 percent reduction in North Carolina, and a 27 percent reduction in Michigan.

    New/Emerging/TEA-21 Issues - NHTSA investigates new traffic risks as they emerge, such as driver fatigue, increased use of cellular phones and other electronic devices while driving, and the growing number of older drivers. FY 2003 activities include creating public education and information programs aimed at reducing crashes, injuries, and fatalities resulting from these new safety risks. NHTSA will provide materials to law enforcement officers and the drivers they stop who are drowsy (rather than impaired by drugs or alcohol); broaden the social marketing effort previously targeted to older drivers, their families, and health care providers to include State driver licensing agencies and the law enforcement community; and use new research findings to further refine public education directed toward users of cellular phones and other telematics, and other distractions to inform drivers about risks to themselves and others.

    Highway Safety Research - This behavioral research program determines the causes of crashes; identifies target populations; measures perception and awareness levels; develops and tests countermeasures; and evaluates the effectiveness of Federal, State, and local safety programs designed to reduce traffic deaths, injuries, and associated costs. In FY 2003, the Highway Safety Research program will include research and evaluation in the following areas: alcohol and drug impaired driving; pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, and school buses; emergency medical services; older drivers; new technology; and driver fatigue and inattention. New initiatives will include efforts to measure the effectiveness of programs designed to increase booster seat use; research into driver understanding and awareness of the risk of engaging in distracting tasks while driving; and conducting a demonstration of older driver assessment and remediation programs.

    Safety Defects Investigation - The Defects Investigation Program identifies motor vehicles and items of motor vehicle equipment that contain safety-related defects and ensures that they are either repaired or removed from the Nation's highways. The program has several components: screening; petition analysis; investigation; and recall management. New initiatives required by the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation (TREAD) Act, include obtaining additional data from manufacturers to get an early warning of possible safety defects to afford investigators with the information necessary to preclude undesirable consequences on our Nation's highways. NHTSA will finalize implementation of a data warehouse within the Office of Defects Investigation to accommodate the additional data required under TREAD and to provide for improved analysis of existing and new data. The data warehouse will arm statisticians and analysts with automated tools to proactively identify potential safety issues, allowing for the forecasting of emergency safety trends.

    Share the Road Safely with Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV) - In FY 2003, this program will continue to focus on the development and implementation of strategies to prevent CMV/passenger crashes from occurring and to prevent and reduce fatalities, injuries, and property damage resulting from these incidents.

    Mitigate the Consequences of Crashes

    If a crash does occur, the agency strives to reduce the severity and increase the survivability of the event. NHTSA's FY 2003 budget request includes programs aimed at accomplishing this intermediate outcome through: the encouragement of seat belt and helmet use, establishing vehicle safety standards for impact protection, supporting crashworthiness research, while also conducting compliance and defects investigations.

    Safety Systems Research (Crashworthiness) - The research program investigates potential improvements in vehicle structure and occupant compartment design, in combination with improvements in restraint systems that will lead to increased occupant protection. In FY 2003, the program will continue research in advanced frontal crashworthiness, vehicle compatibility, rollover, air bags, pedestrian injury reduction, side impact protection, and Event Data Recording. The program will be expanded to include research on advanced restraint systems, such as adaptive air bags and inflatable belt systems; pre-crash radar and other sensing technologies; and advanced technologies for automatic placement of foot pedal controls.

    National Transportation Biomechanics Research Center (NTBRC) - Biomechanics research is the cornerstone upon which many of the agency's performance-based occupant safety initiatives are and will be based. NHTSA will continue to fund seven Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) centers, as well as a variety of impact injury research, human simulation and analysis, crash test dummy component development, and biomechanics of air bag injuries research efforts. The agency is continuing its research program to understand the special crash protection needs of the elderly.

    National Occupant Protection - The FY 2003 program focuses on three major areas: seat belts, child passenger safety (including booster seats), and air bags. Strategies include expanded partnerships; public education for general and targeted audiences; highly visible enforcement of seat belt laws; passage of effective laws; and implementing new technologies. Specific activities include conducting biannual Operation ABC (America Buckles Up Children) Mobilizations; continuing TEA-21 Sections 157 and 405 incentive and innovative grants programs to the States; documenting "best practices" learned from Section 403 demonstration programs and Sections 157 and 405 grant programs; expanding partnerships with diverse organizations, and other high risk and hard to reach populations, such as youth and rural populations. Targeting minority audiences will be expanded. The agency will continue to implement recommendations from the "Blue Ribbon Panel to Increase Seat Belt Use Among African Americans." Part time seat belt users will be targeted through the Advertising Council effort. The agency will complete its demonstration project with special emphasis on using a comprehensive youth enforcement and education strategy encompassing detection of speeding offenses, zero tolerance of alcohol and seat belt violations, and law enforcement officer training.

    In addition, NHTSA will evaluate the effectiveness of 20 community, high visibility, Seat Belt Innovative Demonstration programs, initiated in FY 2002, which support the Buckle Up America initiative and State seat belt programs. The agency will expand and improve the automobile/child safety seat selection, installation, and use of database for consumers; conduct a Child Passenger Safety Week; continue a national 5-year TREAD booster seat education program to increase booster seat use for children between 40-80 pounds; provide mini-grants to national organizations representing minority populations to train culturally and linguistically proficient child passenger safety technicians in urban areas; and expand the network of public and private sector child safety seat fitting stations across the country. In addition, among air bag safety activities planned for FY 2003, the agency will educate used car buyers on air bag safety issues; expand public information and education to promote awareness of existing air bag issues and emerging air bag technologies; re-educate the public on dangers associated with the Performance Indicator interaction between air bags and front seat occupants, including individuals of short stature, pregnant women, infants, and small children.

    Section 405 Occupant Protection Incentive Grant Program -This initiative, established under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), provides grants to States to implement and enforce occupant protection programs. States must demonstrate that they are implementing specific occupant protection laws and programs, such as: a law requiring safety belt use in all seating positions; a safety belt law providing for primary enforcement; and a child passenger protection law that requires minors to be properly secured in a child safety seat or other appropriate restraint system.

    Emergency Medical Services (EMS) - The main goal of the EMS program is to support the development of comprehensive emergency medical service systems that are capable of rapidly responding and expertly caring for victims of motor vehicle crashes. In addition to ongoing activities, in FY 2003, NHTSA will: disseminate technical assistance to support Nationwide implementation of wireless E9-1-1; implement a comprehensive injury prevention curriculum for use by EMS agencies; develop a National Model Scope of Practice for EMS providers; and market EMS programs, including Bystander Care, to State and local affiliates of national organizations.

    New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) - In FY 2003, baseline funding will be used to: conduct frontal and side impact testing on approximately 70 passenger vehicles, which, when combined with carry-over test results, will cover about 80 percent of new vehicles for these most common crash modes; measure the static stability factor (rollover resistance) for approximately 100 vehicles; conduct approximately 100 tests for braking performance; and begin implementation of headlighting performance tests. Program increases will support requirements of the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act. FY 2003 will be the first year of implementation for the Child Safety Seat Rating program and the dynamic rollover-rating program. Under this program, about 50 vehicles will be tested using a rollover resistance-rating scheme that addresses dynamic aspects of untripped rollover. The Consumer Information program will develop new consumer information for the rollover, braking, and child safety ratings programs, revise and improve the Buying A Safer Car and Buying a Safer Car for Child Passengers brochures and web site information, and develop new, media campaign materials for NCAP and other vehicle safety information materials.

    Safety Standards Support - In FY 2003, funding will support new requirements for retread tires and tire pressure monitoring systems on commercial vehicles. Crash avoidance rulemaking support will be used to accommodate electronic control braking systems for heavy trucks (FMVSS No. 121); to upgrade the rearview mirror Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS No. 111) to accommodate cross view mirrors; to address issues related to nighttime glare (FMVSS No. 108); and to upgrade motorcycle braking performance (FMVSS No. 122. Other crash avoidance rulemaking support will be used to continue the collection of non-crash fatality data for assessing such problems as trunk entrapment solutions, power windows, carbon monoxide, and vehicle rollaways.

    Support also will be provided for work on crashworthiness safety standards, including: the child restraint standard upgrade and improvements in side protection for children (TREAD); occupant protection in rear impacts (including seat strength requirements); offset frontal occupant crash protection; the next generation of occupant protection systems for school buses; improvements in the side impact standard for better protection from head injuries; and extension of occupant protection requirements for fifth percentile occupants. Cost and lead time studies on bus emergency exits and window retention/release and rear impact protection also will be conducted. The program will also continue vital work in the area of enhancing safe mobility for the disabled by ensuring that adapted vehicles maintain an adequate level of safety. NHTSA is continuing its data collection efforts through an interagency agreement with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics that will conduct surveys and provide NHTSA with analyses and findings on the use of modified vehicles and adaptive equipment. Consumer Information work will develop media campaigns and materials on new and emerging vehicle safety issues.

    Vehicle Safety Compliance - The objective of the Vehicle Safety Compliance Program is to ensure that all motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment sold in the United States provide the safety benefits intended by Federal safety regulations. In FY 2003, the agency will conduct full-scale crash testing of new motor vehicles for verifying compliance with, among other things, the safety standards for frontal occupant crash protection; dynamic side impact protection; upper interior head protection; dynamic side impact protection; upper interior head protection; dynamic rear and side fuel system integrity; and side impact pole tests to assess performance of new technology for head protection introduced in new vehicles. NHTSA will also continue its equipment testing program, with emphasis on child restraint systems. In addition, the agency will expand its compliance test program to incorporate proposed new standards and revisions to existing standards that become effective during FY 2003 and beyond.

    Auto Safety Hotline - NHTSA's Auto Safety Hotline will continue to educate the public about vital transportation safety issues and provide a mechanism by which consumers can report potential safety defects in motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment. In addition to the current program, in FY 2003, the Hotline will maximize efficient use of Hotline representatives and use up-to-date features that customers have come to expect from a Hotline service.

    Vehicle Research and Test Center (VRTC) - The FY 2003 budget requests administrative funds for the operation of VRTC. The facility is the agency's in-house research, development, test, and evaluation facility located near East Liberty, Ohio.

    Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) - FARS is a data collection system that provides a census of all fatal highway crashes in the U.S. It is an essential data source for its customers (internal agency and DOT offices, other Federal agencies, States, research organizations, and interest groups). The FY 2003 budget request seeks continued funding of all current activities and includes an increase to develop, evaluate, and implement a quality assessment program to enhance the quality of FARS data through improved training initiatives for all FARS program staff, increased data and program management reporting, and technical assistance to ensure timely delivery of data. New initiatives include: geographical coding of all FARS cases to provide locational analyses capabilities; improving customer service through FARS website enhancements; and linking the FARS database with other national databases. These initiatives will expand the agency's ability to address additionally complex highway safety issues.

    National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) - Nationally representative data on crashes occurring in the United States is vitally important to the agency and other users. NASS General Estimates System (GES) data are used to assess the trend and magnitude of crashes in this country, and the NASS Crashworthiness Data System (CDS) provides more in-depth and descriptive data of occupants and vehicles in real world crashes. New Initiatives for FY 2003 include improved access of data files for on-line data retrieval and analysis; conducting investigations on vehicles equipped with advanced occupant protection system devices, child restraints, and vehicle tires; new technologies for field data collection; improving current NASS data variables; and continuing to collect data to determine real world effectiveness of child safety seats in reducing injuries to children in motor vehicle crashes in support of the TREAD Act.

    Data Analysis Program - This program provides critical analytical support to the various agency program offices to accomplish their missions, such as the development of crashworthiness and crash avoidance rulemaking, identification of target populations, and monitoring and reporting of traffic safety trends. New initiatives for FY 2003 include: reviewing new technology to upgrade, as appropriate, the current customer service response and tracking systems; improving timeliness of responding to customers' requests for the latest traffic safety crash data and information through technological and process improvement activities; reviewing and updating, when appropriate, of existing periodic reports; and conducting analysis and providing reports in support of agency programs.

    State Data Program - State crash data provide information for analyses and data collection programs that support NHTSA's mission. Program activities assist analysts and States in their efforts to understand how to improve the quality and utility of their crash data files. In FY 2003, a major activity will be to support implementation by all States of a uniform guideline for State crash data. NHTSA promotes the linkage and use of linked crash and injury State data through a collaborative funding program for States. When merged, the linked data have extraordinary value for highway safety at the national level. In the process, the linked data will be standardized and quality measures will be developed. Technical assistance, sponsoring research and meetings, demonstrating linked data usefulness, and awarding grants to additional States as they qualify with the necessary crash and medical outcome data files will continue to be priority activities.

    Special Crash Investigations (SCI) - SCI identifies and documents the effects of new technologies in a timely way so that the impact on motor vehicle crashes can be assessed quickly. SCI case investigation is the only method to document the crash circumstances, identify the injury mechanisms, evaluate safety countermeasure effectiveness, and provide an early detection mechanism for alleged or potential vehicle defects. In FY 2003, the agency will conduct in-depth investigations in the areas of: new and emerging technology in occupant protection systems, including late model vehicles with advanced frontal and side impact air bags, complex sensing systems and sophisticated deployment control modules, automatic air bag shut off systems, and advanced crash data collection systems. It will continue collaborative efforts with the automobile manufacturers for the collection of Event Data Recorder data and perform in-depth crash investigations on children properly installed in child safety seats, where the vehicles were equipped with Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH), to research new technology, child protection system performance in real world crashes.

    National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) - This program, conducted by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA), provides accurate national information on use, trends in use, and characteristics of users for different types of occupant protection devices. It develops and maintains a national probability sample of locations where restraint use is observed; develops data collection and training materials; trains data collectors; collects, processes, and tabulates data; and publishes survey results. The agency conducts a full-scale NOPUS every two years. The next full-scale survey is scheduled for 2002. NHTSA also conducts a mini-NOPUS every other year, between full-scale survey years. In these surveys, safety belt use data, needed to measure the impact of twice-annual national enforcement mobilizations, are collected. In FY 2003, a complete analysis and report on the CY 2002 full-scale NOPUS is scheduled. Also, in FY 2003, a min-NOPUS will be conducted to continue to track progress.

    Strategic Planning - Strategic Planning is a management tool for setting organizational direction and action programs so that mission and objectives can be achieved. In FY 2003, the agency will continue its strategic planning efforts to study aspects of its ability to meet its mission as effectively as possible. These areas include: improving internal communication and outreach to agency partners; integrating continuous improvement activities as a means for improving agency efficiency; and examining priorities and strategies to support decisions on resource allocation.

    Economic Analysis - Establishing program priorities and determining the potential effectiveness of proposed regulatory actions require scientifically sound methods for quantifying the economic and social consequences of injury and fatality resulting from motor vehicle crashes. This program develops such methods, where needed, and modifies existing methods to meet the agency's specific needs. In FY 2003, Economic Analysis will adapt findings from the updated report on the overall cost to society of motor vehicle injuries to focus on determining the societal burden for specific traffic safety problems and issues. In order to be able to update the estimates of societal burden more frequently, the agency plans to streamline the complex economic calculations used to develop the report.

    Program Evaluation - In FY 2003, NHTSA will observe and evaluate the public response to child passenger safety measures, including how people use Universal Child Restraint Anchorages; use of booster seats and belts by children aged five-to nine-years-old; and public awareness of air bag safety warnings. Crash data collection to evaluate anti-locking braking systems and rear-impact guards for heavy trucks will continue. The evaluation of head injury protection (FMVSS No. 201) continues with cost analyses of upper-interior protection and upper-interior air bags.

    Fuel Economy - The FY 2003 program is in support of the Administration's National Energy Policy, to review and make recommendations on Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. The expanded program will include maintaining, updating, and expanding the CAFE database on fuel economy levels, vehicle characteristics, and pertinent automobile plant data; a study of manufacturers' capability to improve the fuel economy of their light duty vehicles; a review of automotive technologies related to fuel efficiency; an environmental assessment; and economic analysis.

    Odometer Fraud - Odometer tampering continues to be a serious crime and a consumer fraud issue. In addition to conducting investigations of large-scale interstate odometer fraud cases for criminal prosecution by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Odometer Fraud Staff works very closely with State enforcement agencies, supporting their enforcement programs. In FY 2003, two additional States will receive new cooperative grants to train law enforcement officers in odometer fraud investigations, and two more States will be awarded grants to enhance their existing odometer fraud programs.

    Theft Program - The objective of the theft program is to carry out activities mandated by 49 CFR Chapter 331, including issuing parts-marking requirements for high-theft vehicle lines. As required by law, the Theft Prevention Program must establish standards aimed at reducing the number of motor vehicle thefts (including passenger cars, light trucks, and multi-purpose vehicles) and provide consumers with comprehensive insurance information. Funding is needed for contract support to carry out the analysis of insurer reports required by law. The law requires that the insurance information obtained by the Secretary (agency) from insurance and rental/leasing companies shall be periodically compiled and published in a form that will be helpful to the public, including Federal, State, and local police and the Congress.

    B. Management Challenges (Including TREAD Issues)

    The Office of the Inspector General (OIG), in its Report Number: PT-2001-017, Top Ten Management Issues, dated January 18, 2001, in Item 2. Surface Transportation Safety, MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY, made three findings related to motor vehicle safety: (1) despite the combined efforts of Federal, State, and local governments, seat belt use rates have remained relatively constant, ranging from 66 to 70 percent since 1993. For 2000, seat belt use rates were at 71 percent nationwide, below the national goal of 85 percent for 2000; (2) early identification of defects by NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation can be improved; and (3) the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation (TREAD) Act requires NHTSA to conduct 10 rulemakings in the areas of defects, tires, and rollover tests. Six of the 10 rulemakings must be completed by 2002. Since the OIG found that it takes DOT, on the average, 3.8 years to complete a rule, significant management effort will be required to issue these rules in a timely manner, as required by the Act.

    NHTSA Actions

    Seat Belt Use: In response to the OIG finding (1), in FY 2003, NHTSA will expand its seat belt use strategies. Despite not reaching the 85 percent adult seat belt use nationwide goal in 2000, the agency did reach a 71 percent use rate, and in 2001, a 73 percent use rate, the highest in our Nation's history. The agency plans to expand the scope of the Buckle Up America (BUA) Campaign in all 50 States and focus on several specific opportunities for increasing seat belt use, e.g., States likely to pass primary enforcement of seat belt use laws. Building on the success of State "Click It or Ticket" campaigns in increasing seat belt use and enhancing the visibility of their seat belt enforcement efforts. In FY 2003, NHTSA will continue to encourage additional States to adopt this successful theme for their BUA campaign. A key component to increase the seat belt use rate is strong enforcement of seat belt use laws. NHTSA will continue its strong partnership with the law enforcement community and the biannual Operation ABC (America Buckles Up Children) Mobilizations. In addition, NHTSA will continue to work with industry to introduce new technologies that will encourage more people to buckle up. NHTSA also plans to widen its outreach to diverse groups (e.g., African Americans, Hispanics, rural populations, teens, etc.) and will provide grants to States to increase seat belt use rates, including incentive grants to develop innovative projects, and grant programs for increasing child safety seat use. In FY 2003, FHWA will transfer funds to NHTSA for incentive and innovative grants to increase seat belt use. Further information is located in this plan in section A. Intermediate Outcomes, under subsection Mitigate the Consequences of Crashes, Occupant Protection program summary.

    TREAD-Related Issues: In response to OIG findings (2) and (3), NHTSA issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), covering early warning data provisions, on January 22, 2001(66 FR 6532). The agency will issue the final rule by June 30, 2002. Final rules for requiring tire pressure warning systems in new vehicles and for upgrading light vehicle tire standards are required by November 2001 and June 2002, respectively. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the tire pressure warning system rulemaking was published in the Federal Register July 26, 2001. NHTSA also published an ANPRM to improve tire labeling on December 1, 2000. An NPRM proposing new requirements for tire labeling was published on December 19, 2001. The final rule is required by June 2002. The agency fully intends to meet these final rule target dates. The agency is also undertaking a number of actions in the area of child restraint safety, such as requiring clearer warning labels on child restraints, studying booster seat effectiveness, creating a child restraint safety ratings program, and collecting data to determine real world effectiveness of child safety seats in reducing injuries to children in motor vehicle crashes. A NPRM, proposing new labeling requirements for child seats was published on November 2, 2001, along with a notice on a proposed child seat rating system, published November 6, 2001. These and additional program activities related to TREAD are described within this FY 2003 performance plan and can be found in section A. Intermediate Outcomes, under subsection Reduce the Occurrence of Crashes, Safety Defects Investigation program description and in the Pneumatic Tire Research program explanation; as well as under subsection Mitigate the Consequences of Crashes, National Automotive Sampling System program narrative.

    C. Other Department of Transportation Goals

    As mentioned in the introduction of this performance plan, the Department of Transportation has established five strategic goals. While NHTSA's main focus is on the first goal, safety, the agency also contributes to the goals of mobility, economic growth and trade, human and natural environment and national security. Consequently, NHTSA's programs related to these goals are thoroughly discussed under section A. Intermediate Outcomes, subsection Mitigate the Consequences of Crashes.

    NHTSA's goal is to promote the mobility and safety for people with disabilities by addressing vehicle safety and by providing safety information to manufacturers and the public. People who are physically challenged may require special equipment and safety modifications for using a vehicle.

    In FY 2003, the agency will continue to collect and assess data to define the size and nature of the vehicle population that has been equipped with adaptive equipment and modifications in order to determine the need for any future safety standards' actions to enhance the safety of the disabled population. Support will be provided for adapted vehicle data collection using an interagency agreement with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) to conduct pertinent surveys. Under this agreement, BTS will design questions and surveys on the use of modified vehicles and adaptive equipment, conduct surveys, analyze data from surveys and other sources, and present its findings to NHTSA.

    Economic Growth and Trade
    This goal is designed to advance the country's economic growth and competitiveness, both domestically and internationally, through an efficient, flexible transportation system. Traffic safety problems associated with unsafe passenger and commercial vehicles, human behavioral issues, and roadway environment undercut all elements central to successful economic growth and trade. Lack of harmonization of vehicle safety standards between Nations can be an impediment to trade. Failure to address and solve these safety issues has a direct negative effect on many of the key elements of our economic life. The resulting loss in human resources is enormous and enduring, as is the direct societal cost for our country - now exceeding $230.6 billion annually. (See the Odometer Fraud program, the Theft program, and the Safety Standards Support program under section A. Intermediate Outcomes, subsection Mitigate the Consequences of Crashes).

    Human and Natural Environment
    NHTSA is working toward the achievement of this goal through its Fuel Economy program. Activities include an environmental impact assessment of alternative Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) levels and program structures.

    The FY 2003 program is in support of the Administration's National Energy Policy, to review and make recommendations on CAFE standards. The expanded program will include maintaining, updating, and expanding the CAFE database on fuel economy levels, vehicle characteristics, and pertinent automobile plant data; a study of manufacturers' capabilities to improve the fuel economy of their light duty vehicles; a review of automotive technologies related to fuel efficiency; an environmental assessment; and an economic analysis.

    National Security
    This goal is linked to the Departmental goal of energy efficiency to reduce the vulnerability of the U.S. economy on oil distributors. To lessen this dependability, NHTSA will review and make recommendations on Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, including expanding the program by conducting studies to assess alternative CAFE levels and program structures. Actions are more fully described under section A. Intermediate Outcomes, subsection Mitigate the Consequences of Crashes, under Fuel Economy.

    D. Presidential Management Agenda (PMA)

    Also, per the introduction, the Department of Transportation's strategic plan includes a Presidential Management Agenda (PMA) designed to build an environment in DOT conducive to accomplishing its strategic agenda. The five management strategies in this goal, deal with fundamental requirements that must cut across all organizational boundaries - Strategic Management of Human Capital, Competitive Sourcing, Financial and Procurement Performance, Citizen-Centered Government and Budget and Performance Integration. NHTSA believes that its outcome goal, intermediate outcome goals, and its program strategies described in this performance plan have their primary impacts in safety. Therefore, with the exception of some initiatives in human resources strategies for improving employee satisfaction and performance and improving organizational performance and productivity, all NHTSA activities initiated under the PMA strategies have secondary impacts. Accordingly, they are discussed from the secondary impact perspective in this section, and an in-depth discussion of their primary impact is under section A. Intermediate Outcomes, subsection Mitigate the Consequences of Crashes.

    Human Resources
    The agency seeks to develop a diverse and highly skilled workforce that is knowledgeable, flexible, efficient, and resilient. New policies and practices that foster learning and development, such as participation in cross-functional teams and competency-based approaches to leadership development, will be encouraged.

    Employee Satisfaction and Performance and Organizational Performance and Productivity: The agency will continue to promote diversity and ensure that the workforce reflects the national workforce. It will improve career opportunities for women and minorities by ensuring that there are no artificial barriers to advancement and full contribution of all employees. Alternate approaches to a performance management system will be evaluated, and steps will be taken to link performance to the Department's strategic goals. The use of awards and recognition for innovation, cost-cutting, and customer service will be encouraged. Motor vehicle safety mandates have increased during the past fiscal year. The human capital component associated with these mandates requires implementing new options and acquiring new talent. At the same time, the agency has experienced critical changes in its work force, resulting in a loss of institutional knowledge, and faces a strong possibility of additional critical losses over the next several years. In FY 2003, the agency will continue its university intern program, as well as provide the necessary training and retraining to employees to allow dealing with new challenges and the changing emphasis on highway safety. It will identify workforce needs, establish specific performance measures and goals for all interns and employees, and conduct assessments every six months to determine program effectiveness.

    VII. Program Evaluations

    The objective of the program evaluation activity is to gather information about NHTSA vehicle regulatory and highway safety programs and measure their effectiveness in achieving their objectives. Evaluation of existing regulations is a requirement for Federal agencies pursuant to Executive Order 12866. After determining if and how a standard or program can be evaluated, a series of studies is conducted to collect and analyze crash or other data to determine program costs for vehicle safety equipment and to use the effectiveness and cost studies to estimate overall standard effectiveness in terms of benefits and costs to the public. NHTSA's program evaluation activities are discussed in section A. Intermediate Outcomes, subsection Mitigate the Consequences of Crashes, under the Program Evaluation description.

    VIII. External Factors

    There are a variety of external factors that affect the number of crashes, fatalities, and injuries on the road each year. The most significant factors are: the economy; the population; exposure factors, such as miles driven; and lifestyle factors, such as levels of alcohol consumption.

    The Economy
    Historically, there has been some correspondence between economic expansions and a short-term increase in fatalities. Exposure factors that increase in an expanding economy include driving for entertainment purposes, economic activity, and greater disposal income.

    During economic expansion, the trend has been for highway fatalities and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) to increase. During the 1983-1988 economic expansion, there was a 2.1 percent average annual percentage increase in the number of fatalities. However, the increase in fatalities during some years in that expansion was even greater - 3.9 percent in 1984 and 5.2 percent in 1986. During the 1992-1998 economic expansion period, the average annual percentage increase of fatalities was 0.9 percent, and VMT increased from 2,247 billion to 2,632 billion miles.

    In 1999, the number of highway fatalities held relatively flat, despite a significantly rising VMT and an expanding economy. In 2000, the number of fatalities remained about the same as the previous year, while the VMT again increased. Preliminary 2001 traffic statistics show virtually no difference in highway fatalities, equating to 41,730 compared to 41,821 in 2000, while VMT has once again risen.

    DRI-WEFA, a global insight company, predicts that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will increase by 2.3 percent in 2002, up from an increase of 1.2 percent in 2001. For 2003, it has projected an increase of 3.8 percent. Personal income rose by 4.9 percent in 2001 and is expected to increase slightly by 3.4 percent in 2002, before significantly increasing 5.8 percent in 2003. Real disposable income increased by 3.6 percent in 2001 and is projected to increase 3.3 percent, respectively, in both 2002 and 2003.

    For 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau reported a resident population of over 282 million, a more than 13 percent increase over the 1990 Census. As of year-end 2001, this number increased 0.9 percent to over 284 million. Among the resident population, the two age groups of highest risk to traffic safety are the 15-to-24 year olds and individuals over 70 years of age. The 15-to-24 year olds are estimated to make up 14.19 percent of the total resident population for 2003. In 2000, this group accounted for 24 percent of traffic fatalities. The number of people age 65 and older is projected to make up almost 13 percent of the total resident population in 2003. From 1988 to 2000, the older segment of the population grew twice as fast as the total population. In 2000, older individuals accounted for 13 percent of all traffic fatalities.

    Exposure Factors
    In 1998, there were close to 185 million licensed drivers and 208 million registered vehicles in the United States. In 1999 there were more than 187 million licensed drivers and over 216 million registered motor vehicles. Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) has been increasing an average of 2.2 percent per year, and this trend is expected to continue. In 2000, VMT totaled over 2,750 billion miles, while for 2001 preliminary estimates show VMT increased to 2,778 billion miles.

    State and Local Government Finances
    Competition has increased for resources at the State and local levels to support traffic law enforcement and local injury prevention initiatives. Major sources of competition for funds have been crime enforcement and education. At the same time, Federal support has not increased to respond to both the effects of the growing economy and the competition for funds.

    Alcohol and Drug Use
    In 2000, there were 16,653 fatalities in alcohol-related crashes - equating to 40 percent of the total fatalities for the year. Preliminary 2001 traffic estimates show alcohol-related crash deaths remained virtually unchanged at 16,652. This represents a 29.5 percent reduction from the 23,626 alcohol-related fatalities in 1988, but a four percent rise from 1999. In addition, there is growing evidence that the use of drugs by young people is on the rise after several years on the decline.

    IX. Cross-Cutting Programs

    NHTSA works closely with the other modes in the Department to help accomplish the goals set forth by the President and the Secretary.

    NHTSA works side-by-side with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on road safety and human factors issues. The two agencies are currently working together on pedestrian and bicycle safety issues and on rural speeding issues. NHTSA and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), along with FHWA, coordinate the Highway/Rail Grade Crossing program. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) consults with NHTSA on child restraint systems issues. NHTSA and the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) confer on issues regarding hazardous materials safety and overall DOT Research and Development.

    In addition, the Buckle Up America (BUA) initiative is being implemented across DOT. Each DOT mode has a wide network of partners. These partners directly touch the lives of millions of Americans, including employees, families, customers, suppliers, and in many cases, the public at large.

    Also, the Intelligent Vehicle Initiative (IVI) is an intermodal effort within the Department. DOT is embarking on a new partnership with the motor vehicle industry, State and local DOTs, and others to accelerate the development and introduction of driver assistance products to reduce crashes and the resulting injuries and fatalities. NHTSA analyzes the potential benefits and assesses the safety impacts of these products.

    Moreover, NHTSA works with agencies and organizations with complementary goals - Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the Justice Department. NHTSA and HHS work together on several public health issues, such as drinking and driving, child safety, and emergency medical services. NHTSA and the CDC are involved in a joint effort to develop a community injury prevention guide, which will feature impaired driving and occupant protection programs. NHTSA will continue to work with a large number of Federal agencies to reduce the occurrence of crashes and mitigate their consequences when a crash does occur.

    X. Conclusion

    NHTSA's FY 2003 budget request promotes the Department's highest priority - safe transportation - and reflects NHTSA's continuing role as the national and world leader in vehicle and highway safety. Currently, NHTSA programs are making significant headway in reducing highway fatalities, injuries, and their health care and related economic impacts. This performance plan includes only brief synopses of the many activities the agency is pursuing to achieve its goals. The full program request included in the FY 2003 budget submission provides greater detail.

    Appendix I - Performance Measures (Detail)

    Each table includes a description of a performance measure and associated data provided by the agencies in charge of the measure. The Scope statement gives an overview of the data collection strategy for the underlying data behind the performance measure. The Source statement identifies the databases used for the measure and their proprietary agencies. The Limitations statement describes some of the shortcomings of the data in quantifying the particular performance characteristics of interest. The Statistical Issues statement has comments, provided by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) and the agency in charge of the measure, that discuss variability of the measure and other points. The Verification and Validation statement indicates steps taken by the proprietary agencies to address data quality issues.

    DOT feels strongly that full compliance with the Government Performance and Results Act requires impartial reporting of the statistical uncertainty associated with numerical performance measures. A portion of this uncertainty is related to the methodology used to calculate the performance measure and the accuracy of the underlying data. For example, the use of samples introduces uncertainty because estimates are used in lieu of actual counts. Also, there may be errors in the data collected. However, there are many other sources of variation (e.g., non-sampling errors, climate effects, new technology) and they are often difficult to quantify. Nonetheless, a combination of past data and expert judgment can enable uncertainty statements that are order-of-magnitude correct for even the most difficult problems.

    The standard error of a performance measure indicates the likely size of the chance variation in the reported number. It incorporates both the effects of measurement error, survey error, and so forth, as well as the variation that occurs naturally from year to year (i.e., even if there were no change in laws, infrastructure conditions, or human behavior, there would still be chance variation in an annual count of fatalities.) DOT success in meeting GPRA goals must be viewed in the context of this background noise.

    In many of the following Statistical Issues statements, BTS refers to regression standard error. This is a modification of the standard error to take into account linear trends in the recent past. Such adjustment is generally needed to incorporate consistent trends due to cumulative effects of such things as education programs, changing demographics, the gradual adoption of new technologies, and so forth. The underlying assumptions are that: over a short time period the trend of the measurement data is linear; for any given year the performance measure values are normally distributed; and the standard deviation is the same for all years. We believe that these assumptions lead to a conservative estimate of variability.

    The regression standard error is an estimate, calculated from the annual performance results, of this common standard deviation. It may be used in the same way as a regular standard error to set confidence intervals or describe uncertainty. For the purposes of performance measurement, it may be considered a rough approximation of the annual variability in a measure, and it will include the affects of program initiatives, influences beyond the control of the DOT (e.g., weather, petroleum prices, etc.), random chance, and errors inherent in the data.

    For further information about the source accuracy (S&A) of these data, please refer to the BTS S&A compendium available at www.bts.gov/statpol/SAcompendium.html.

    Highway Fatality Rate
    Measure: Fatalities per 100 million vehicle-miles-traveled. (VMT)(CY)
    Scope: The number of fatalities is the total number of motor vehicle traffic fatalities which occur on public roadways within the 50 states and Washington, D.C.

    Vehicle Miles of Travel (VMT) represent the total number of vehicle miles traveled by motor vehicles on public roadways within the 50 states and Washington, D.C.

    Source: Motor vehicle traffic fatality data are obtained from NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). To be included in FARS, a motor vehicle traffic crash must result in the death of a vehicle occupant or a non-motorist within 30 days of the crash. The FARS database is based on police crash reports and other state data. FARS includes fatalities on all roadways open to the public, using the National Highways System classification of roads. Pedestrian and bicycle fatalities that occur on public highways, but do no involve a motor vehicle, are not recorded in FARS. However, they constitute only a small number of fatalities.

    VMT data are derived from FHWA's Traffic Volume Trends (TVT), a monthly report based on hourly traffic count data in the Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS). Information is transmitted to NHTSA where it is reviewed for consistency and accuracy before being entered into the system. These data, collected at approximately 4,000 continuous traffic counting locations nationwide, are used to determine the percentage change in traffic for the current month from the same month of the previous year. The percentage change is applied to the nationwide travel for the same month of the previous year to obtain an estimate of nationwide travel for the current month. The data are recorded as monthly totals and cumulative yearly totals.

    Limitations: VMT data are subject to sampling errors, whose magnitude depends on how well the locations of the continuous counting locations represent nationwide traffic rates. HPMS is also subject to estimating differences in the states, even though FHWA works to minimize such differences and differing projections on growth, population, and economic conditions that impact driving behavior.
    Statistical Issues:

    The primary source of uncertainty in estimating fatality rates is the denominator.

    While the estimate of total fatalities used in the numerator is relatively accurate, the estimate of total vehicle miles in the denominator has far more variability. Based on data from 1994-2000, the annual variation in the fatality rate has a regression standard error of 0.029.

    The estimates of the number and percentages of persons killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes during 2001 are preliminary and are based on the Official Early Assessment released in April.

    Verification & Validation: Fatality data from FARS are reviewed and analyzed by NHTSA's National Center for Statistics and Analysis. Quality control procedures are built into annual data collection at 6 and 9 months, and at year's end. A study was completed in 1993, looking at samples of FARS cases in 1989 through 1990 to assess the accuracy of data being reported. VMT data are reviewed by FHWA for consistency and reasonableness.
    Comment: This data program has been in use for many years and is generally accepted for describing safety on the Nation's highways. Adjusting raw highway fatalities and injuries by VMT provides a means of portraying the changes in highway fatalities on a constant exposure basis and facilitates year-to-year comparisons.

    Highway injured persons rate
    Measure: Injured persons per 100 million vehicle-miles-traveled. (VMT) (CY) (2001)
    Scope: The number of injured persons is an estimate of the total number of persons injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes that occur on public roadways in the 50 states and Washington, D.C.

    Vehicle Miles of Travel (VMT) represent the total number of vehicle miles traveled by motor vehicles on public roadways within the 50 states and Washington, D.C.

    Source: The number of injured persons data are derived from the NHTSA's National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) General Estimates System (GES). The NASS GES is a nationally representative probability sample that yields national estimates of total nonfatal injury crashes, injured persons, and property-damage-only crashes. NASS GES data cover all roadways open to the public, using the National Highways System classification of roads.

    VMT data are derived from FHWA's report, Traffic Volume Trends (TVT), a monthly report based on hourly traffic count data in the Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS). Information is transmitted to NHTSA where it is reviewed for consistency and accuracy before being entered into the system. These data, collected at approximately 4,000 continuous traffic counting locations nationwide, are used to determine the percentage change in traffic for the current month from the same month of the previous year. The percentage change is applied to the nationwide travel for the same month of the previous year to obtain an estimate of nationwide travel for the current month. The data are recorded as monthly totals and cumulative yearly totals.


    GES data are obtained from a nationally representative sample of 60 sites. The results provide only national data, not state level data, and are subject to sampling error. The magnitude of the sampling error depends on the number of Primary Sampling Units (PSUs) in the sample and the number of crash reports sampled within each PSU.

    VMT data are subject to sampling errors, whose magnitude depends upon how well the continuous counting locations represent nationwide traffic rates. HPMS is subject to estimating differences in the states, although FHWA works to minimize such differences and differing projections on growth, population, and economic conditions which impact driving behavior.

    Statistical Issues: The estimate of the injury rate includes three main sources of uncertainty. The numerator count of injuries has a standard error of 5.1% (cf. Appendix C of Traffic Safety Facts). The denominator estimate of VMT contains both complex sampling and non-sampling errors. Based on data from 1994-2000, the annual variation in the injury rate has a regression standard error of 4.04.

    The estimates of the number and percentages of persons injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes during 2001 are preliminary and are based on the Official Early Assessment, released in April.

    Verification &Validation: Data are reviewed and analyzed by NHTSA's National Center for Statistics and Analysis. Quality control procedures are built into annual data collection at 6 and 9 months, and at year's end. A study was completed in 1993, looking at samples of FARS cases in 1989 through 1990 to assess the accuracy of data being reported. VMT data is reviewed by FHWA for consistency and reasonableness.
    Comment: This data program has been in use for many years and is generally accepted for describing safety on the Nation's highways. GES records injury severity in four classes: incapacitating injury, evident but not incapacitating injury, possible but not visible injury, and injury of unknown severity. Adjusting raw highway fatalities and injuries by VMT provides a means of portraying the changes in highway fatalities on a constant exposure basis - to facilitate year-to-year comparisons.

    Alcohol-related highway fatalities
    Measure: 1. Alcohol-related fatalities per 100 million vehicle-miles traveled.
    2. Percentage of highway fatalities that are alcohol-related. (CY) (2001)
    Scope: The number of fatalities resulting from motor vehicle traffic crashes that are alcohol-related and occur on public roadways within the 50 states and Washington, D.C.
    Source: Motor vehicle traffic fatality data are obtained from NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). FARS is a census of fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes within the 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. To be included in FARS, a crash must result in the death of a vehicle occupant or a non-motorist within 30 days of the crash. The FARS data are based on police crash reports and other state data. FARS includes fatalities on all roadways open to the public, using the National Highways System classification of roads. Pedestrian and bicycle fatalities that occur on public highways, but do not involve a motor vehicle, are not recorded in FARS. However, they constitute only a small number of fatalities. A fatal motor vehicle traffic crash is alcohol-related if either a driver or a non-motorist (such as a pedestrian) involved in the crash had a measured or estimated blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.01 grams per deciliter or above.
    Limitations: Blood Alcohol Concentration test results are not available for all drivers and non-occupants involved in fatal crashes. Missing data can result for a number of reasons - the most frequent of which is that persons are not always tested for alcohol. To address the missing data issue, NHTSA has developed a statistical model (Multiple Imputation) to estimate specific values of BAC across the full range of possible values. Estimating missing BAC in this manner will permit the estimation of valid statistics such as variances, measures of central tendency, confidence intervals and standard deviations. The statistical model is based on important characteristics of the crash including crash factors, vehicle factors, and person factors. While this measure does not link alcohol with fault in fatal crashes, the more comprehensive scope of the measure compensates for a possible undercount of the extent of the alcohol impaired driving problem. Multiple Imputation differs from the statistical model used in previous years. However, all historical series of alcohol involvement will be revised back to the 1982 data year to reflect estimates from the new methodology.
    Statistical Issues: The primary sources of uncertainty in this performance measure arise from information gaps in the number of intoxicated non-motorists, and from using the statistical model to estimate the number of intoxicated drivers.

    The estimates of the number and percentages of persons killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes during 2001, included in this section, are preliminary and are based on the Official Early Assessment, released in April.

    Verification &Validation: Data are reviewed and analyzed by NHTSA's National Center for Statistics and Analysis. Quality control procedures are built into annual data collection at 6 and 9 months, and at year's end. In 1987 and 1988, an independent panel of academics reviewed and commented on the statistical methods used in measuring alcohol-related highway fatalities. This report recommended that research and development utilize a model that would permit the imputation of missing BACs as a semi-continuous variable.
    Comment: This data program has been used for many years and is generally accepted for describing safety on the Nation's highways.

    Seat belt use
    Measure: Percentage of front occupants using seat belts. (CY) (2001)
    Scope: The proportion of front seat outboard passenger vehicle occupants using shoulder belts during daylight hours.
    Source: Data for 1998, 1999, and 2000 are from the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS). NOPUS is a national, multi-stage probability sample. In the first stage, counties or groups of counties (Primary Sampling Units or PSUs) were grouped by region (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West), level of urbanization (metropolitan or not), and level of belt use (high, medium or low). Fifty PSUs were selected based on the vehicle miles of travel in those locations. In the next stage, a random sample of eight (8) Census Tracts was selected within each of the PSUs. In the final stage a sample of ten (10) roadway segments for all types of roads was selected within each Census Tract. In the even numbered years, shoulder belt use of front seat outboard (driver and right front seat) passenger vehicle (passenger cars, vans, sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks) occupants was observed during daylight hours at each of the 2,000 sampled roadway segments. Data for 2001 was derived from a Mini-NOPUS Survey, which also consisted of 2,000 observational sites. (Before the fall of 2000, the NOPUS consisted of 4,000 sampled roadway segments and the Mini-NOPUS, 2,000 of the 4,000 roadway segments. However, starting with the fall 2000 NOPUS survey, both surveys began using the same sample of approximately 2,000 observational sites.)

    Estimates of national shoulder belt use for other years shown in the graph are based on state belt use surveys. These surveys are conducted by most of the 50 States and the District of Columbia. For the years shown, these surveys varied in coverage, design, and observation methods. National averages were obtained by weighting the most recently provided state belt use estimate by the population of the state.

    Limitations: NOPUS data are based on a random sample of sites and, therefore, are subject to sampling error. For the estimate of overall national shoulder belt use from the 2001 Mini-NOPUS Survey, sampling error was estimated to be 1.3 percentage points. Additionally, observation of shoulder belt use is restricted to daylight hours.

    State belt use surveys have been conducted in many different ways. Less than half of the states conducted probability based surveys and the rest were based on other methods. Additionally, most states conducted surveys that observed use only for those occupants and vehicles covered by their state belt use law. After enactment of a grant program in the Intermodal Surface Transportation and Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991, some 24 states had surveys that met design criteria specified by NHTSA.

    Statistical Issues: The primary source of uncertainty in NOPUS is sampling errors. The most recent estimate shown in this report is based on a probability sample, and the survey bias and reweighting are complex. For State surveys, uncertainty derives from disparities among the different surveys conducted by the states, the use of non-probability samples by many of the states, the differences in persons and vehicles observed, the differing methodologies and processes followed to collect data on the persons and vehicles observed, and the procedures used to estimate overall belt use. To compute the national average from state rates for a specific year, when a state did not conduct a survey or provide NHTSA with an estimate, the most recent rate provided by that state was substituted. Also, weighting state averages by population may have overstated the contributions of some states. Based on data from 1994-2001, the annual variation in the seat belt use rate has a regression standard error of 1.3 percent.
    Verification &Validation: NOPUS data collection is managed by a survey research contractor who has the responsibility to hire and train the data collectors/observers. Before data collection begins, NHTSA reviews and approves all the training materials and Data collectors/observers must pass a 2-day training course. The data contractor also conducts on-scene "surprise" quality control visits to ensure that observations are made correctly and data are coded properly. Numerous edits are also employed in the data processing. NHTSA reviews the data provided by the contractor for consistency. NHTSA reviewed and approved the survey designs and data collection procedures for 24 states as a result of a grant program authorized by the ISTEA of 1991. NHTSA, however, did not conduct any quality review or validation of the data collection and estimation processes employed by the states during or after data collection for the years shown.
    Comment: None.

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    Appendix II
    DOT Program Evaluation

    Performance measures show if intended outcomes are occurring and assess any trends. Program evaluation uses analytic techniques to assess the extent to which our programs are contributing to those outcomes and trends. As required by GPRA, the Department's 2000 - 2005 Strategic Plan included an initial list of new program evaluations planned for those fiscal years. This appendix provides a summary of DOT's plan for managing program evaluation within the Department, a report on the FY 2001 program evaluations, and an updated list of program evaluations being conducted in FY 2002.

    Types of Program Evaluations: Program evaluation is an assessment, through objective measurement and systematic analysis, of the manner and extent to which programs achieve intended objectives.

    The purpose of this program evaluation plan is to improve the analytic content of evaluations Department-wide in order to manage DOT programs for results. This plan generally focuses on the following types of program evaluation:

    Program evaluations are retrospective, quantitative assessments of existing programs. Forecasts of the impact of proposed or planned programs are considered part of policy analysis, and are not considered in this evaluation plan.

    The aim of this plan is to identify areas of program evaluation for:

    Program Evaluation Management: DOT manages program evaluations through a Program Evaluation Council (PEC), comprised of representatives from each Operating Administration and select Secretarial Offices. The PEC reviews proposals for program evaluations, shares information across modes, and monitors ongoing evaluations.

    DOT staff, contractors, or academic institutions may do program evaluations. Internal Departmental reviews are designed to ensure that the finished evaluations are useful regardless of how they are accomplished.

    The Office of Budget and Programs and the Inspector General manage the schedule of program evaluations, fosters training and development of program evaluation skills, and reviews the quality of the program evaluation process. The Office of Budget and Programs works to ensure that the results of program evaluations are considered in the allocation of resources. The Office of the Inspector General continues its own program evaluations independent of this schedule, as deemed appropriate.

    Selected Safety Initiatives (FHWA)
    Each State is required to develop and implement, on a continuing basis, a highway safety improvement program (HSIP) that has the overall objective of reducing the number and severity of crashes and decreasing the potential for crashes on all highways. The requirements for a highway safety improvement program are to include components for planning, implementation, and evaluation of safety programs and projects. These projects are to be developed by the States and approved by the FHWA.

    The FHWA Safety Core Business Unit, in conjunction with the Office of Corporate Management, conducted a program review of the HSIP in six States - Delaware, Oregon, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and Iowa - between February and April 2001. The primary objective of this review was to document best practices of the HSIP by highlighting those practices that are uniquely best in each State and sharing this information with the safety community.

    The review team found numerous, noteworthy activities being carried out by the States. Among the general best practices identified in a number of the States visited were the following:

    Safety Data Quality Improvement (BTS)

    The Safety Data Initiative began in response to DOT's 1999 National Transportation Safety Conference, where stakeholders identified better data collection and reporting across all jurisdictions as one of the top priorities to improve safety. In September 2000, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) drafted the Safety Data Action Plan (the Plan) under the direction of the DOT Safety Council. The plan recommended ten cross-modal projects to address specific data quality problems and data gaps.

    Under the guidance of BTS, working groups have done background research aimed at the development of implementation plans for the projects outlined in the Safety Data Action Plan. The major goal of the project is to provide DOT with a new level of data quality, sufficient to identify, quantify, and minimize the risk factors in U.S. travel.

    The Safety Data Action Plan identified ten projects to focus on addressing specific shortcomings in current data collection and data quality within the various DOT database systems. These ten projects were organized into four broad areas: (1) improving the quality, comparability, and timeliness of existing data; (2) collecting better data on crash circumstances, precursors, and leading indicators; (3) expanding the use of technology in data capture; and (4) improving analytical capability. To date, four of the ten projects have been completed.

    1. For further details on the data source, scope and measurement methodology, see Appendix I - DOT Performance Plan.