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May 17 -- NHTSA extends the RFI comment period until July 15, 2022.

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) requested a 60-day extension of the comment period. The requestor states that the RFI notice addresses several complex topics that would require conducting in-depth review and analysis to develop informed feedback. They suggested the additional time would allow them to conduct the detailed review of the notice and develop appropriate responses. The requestor stated that the additional time would allow for more fully developed feedback to support the agency's next steps. NHTSA determined that the requestor provided sufficient justification for an extension, and that the extension is consistent with the public interest.

NHTSA agrees that allowing additional time for the public and its stakeholders to provide comments to the questions raised in the RFI notice would better inform NHTSA regarding the various program areas and topics discussed in the RFI notice. Therefore, NHTSA is granting the aforementioned request to extend the comment period; however, NHTSA is extending it for 45 days. A 45-day extension appropriately balances NHTSA's interest in providing the public with sufficient time to comment on the questions raised in the RFI notice with its interest to pursue development of this program in a timely manner and its ability to present proposals at the 2022 Traffic Records Forum, scheduled for August 7-10, 2022.

Apr 29 -- This notice requests information from interested parties to assist the agency to develop and implement a new discretionary grant program to increase the number of States, U.S. territories, and Indian tribes electronically transferring their motor vehicle crash data to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Comments must be received on or before May 31, 2022.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), enacted as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), establishes a new program called the State electronic data collection program. Specifically, section 24108(d)(2) mandates that NHTSA provide grants to States to upgrade and standardize their State crash data systems to enable electronic data collection, intrastate data sharing, and electronic data transfers to NHTSA to increase the accuracy, timeliness, and accessibility of the data including data relating to fatalities involving vulnerable road users. Ultimately, the grants will support an increased capacity of the NHTSA data systems, including the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the Crash Reporting Sampling System (CRSS), and the Crash Investigation Sampling System (CISS), and make State crash data accessible to the public. NHTSA seeks comments from all interested parties, including State crash data owners, highway safety offices, law enforcement, and other stakeholders to help inform NHTSA's development of a grant program. This grant program is to modernize State data collection systems and to enable full electronic data transfer. All comments should be submitted via docket number NHTSA-2022-0030.

Section 24108(d) of BIL directs NHTSA to establish a new State electronic data collection program that requires NHTSA to develop and implement a new discretionary grant program. The new grant program is to provide support to States to upgrade and standardize their State crash data systems to enable electronic data collection, intrastate data sharing, and electronic data transfers to NHTSA to increase the accuracy, timeliness, and accessibility of the data including data relating to fatalities involving vulnerable road users. See Public Law 117-58, 24108(d)(3). Eligible States may use these grants for the costs of equipment to upgrade a statewide crash data repository; adoption of electronic crash reporting by law enforcement agencies and increasing alignment of State crash data with the latest Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria. This notice requests information from interested parties, including State crash data owners, highway safety offices, law enforcement, and other stakeholders to assist NHTSA in the development of a new State electronic data collection program that supports State crash data system improvements, enhances NHTSA's National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) data infrastructure where these data will be stored, and shares a subset of the resulting data with the public. NHTSA plans to utilize the information provided under this Request for Information to enhance and support the development of the State electronic data collection discretionary grant program.

The Highway Safety Act of 1966, 23 U.S.C. 401, et seq., as amended, and the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, 49 U.S.C. 30101 et seq., as amended, both authorize NHTSA to collect and analyze motor vehicle crash data to, among other things, improve all aspects of traffic safety systems and conditions, determine the relationship between motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment performance characteristics, crashes involving motor vehicles; and deaths or personal injuries resulting from those crashes. NHTSA has several data collections that support its traffic safety mission. Several of these data collections are housed within NHTSA's NCSA. As part of NHTSA's ongoing effort to obtain crash data in a more timely, accurate and efficient manner, the agency has successfully implemented a streamlined process for collecting crash data in an electronic format, known as Electronic Data Transfer (EDT).

The existing EDT protocol obtains crash data using police accident reports (PAR), supplemental crash reports, and crash images from participating State crash systems through electronic data transfer processes, services, and functions. Generally, this transfer occurs on a nightly basis once the data are accepted by each State's centralized database following quality control checks. NCSA uses these data to develop a census of the participating State's crashes. This dataset supports real-time decision making; reduces the burden of data collection; and improves data quality. NCSA uses these data to identify existing and emerging highway safety trends, assess the effectiveness of motor vehicle safety standards, and evaluate new and emerging technologies.

However, only 19 States participate in the existing EDT protocol and data obtained through these processes vary in completeness from State-to-State. The BIL State electronic data collection program intends to increase the number of participating States and enhance the robustness of the data through standardization and the modernization of its systems. BIL Section 24108(d) establishes a State electronic data collection program that consists of two components. The first component, and the subject of this request for information, is a new discretionary grant program that provides grants to States for the modernization of State data collection systems to enable full electronic data transfer. Public Law 117-58, 24108(d)(2)(A). The second component is for NHTSA to update its data collection systems to manage and support State electronic data transfers. Public Law 117-58, 24108(d)(2)(B). The purpose of the grants under the State electronic data collection program is to upgrade and standardize State crash data systems to enable electronic data collection, improve intrastate data sharing and electronic data transfers to NHTSA to increase the accuracy, timeliness, and accessibility of the data, including data relating to fatalities involving vulnerable road users. Public Law 117-58, 24108(d)(3)(A). To be eligible for a grant, a State must submit a plan to implement full electronic data transfer to NHTSA and provide any other information as NHTSA may require Public Law 117-58, 24108(d)(3)(B). A State may use grant funds to: (i) Acquire or upgrade equipment for the statewide crash data repository; (ii) adopt electronic crash reporting by law enforcement agencies; and (iii) increase alignment of State crash data with the latest Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria. Public Law 117-58, 24108(d)(3)(C).

NHTSA's vision of the BIL State electronic data collection program is to support States that create centralized crash data systems to transfer uniform crash data to NHTSA. The uniformity of the crash data will align to the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC) Guideline. States currently submitting electronic data to NHTSA will be eligible for the State electronic data collection grants to modernize their systems and standardize their data consistent with this new program. NHTSA further envisions that States participating in the State electronic data collection program will have crash data collected electronically in the field by all law enforcement agencies and jurisdictions using a uniform, efficient approach (e.g., question or scenario-based software) that is consistent with the MMUCC Guideline and the statewide database's validation rules. The program will require that crash data is validated at the point records are added to the central State crash repository.

The State electronic data collection program requires that NHTSA make electronic State crash data publicly available. See Public Law 117-58, 24108(d)(4)(B). Consistent with Federal Privacy Law, 23 U.S.C. 403(e), 49 U.S.C. 30183, and U.S. Department of Transportation policy, NHTSA will withhold from public disclosure any information in the State motor vehicle crash data that would lead to the identification of individuals involved in a motor vehicle crash.

The agency is interested in information that would help develop and implement a successful State electronic data collection program. This includes information about States' existing capacity to collect, store, and transfer crash data from the State level to NHTSA; interest in moving to an electronic data collection framework; making State crash data accessible to the public; identifying potential barriers; describing the infrastructural needs to transition to an electronic data transfer protocol; and adoption of electronic crash reporting by law enforcement agencies. The information will support the development and implementation of the State electronic data collection program by taking into consideration the States' experiences and operational capacity. NHTSA has a general understanding of how data collection and information technology protocols work based on NHTSA's assessment of State traffic records systems, current State electronic data transfer, and FARS operations. However, NHTSA hereby seeks further information based on the below questions. This list is not exhaustive, and we encourage commenters to provide any further information that they believe is relevant to inform the agency as it seeks to implement a successful State electronic data collection grant program.

Question topic headings:

Data Standardization and Modernization of Information Technology (Q1-7)
Law Enforcement Electronic Crash Reporting (Q8-9)
Data Management (Q10-13)
Data Accessibility to the Public (Q14-16)

FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-09152

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