Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108; Lamp, Reflective Devices and Associated Equipment, 30993-30996 [E9-15314]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 123 / Monday, June 29, 2009 / Proposed Rules the human environment. A preliminary environmental analysis checklist supporting this determination is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES. This proposed rule involves establishing a safety zone under figure 2–1, paragraph (34)(g), of the Instruction. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this proposed rule. List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165 Harbors, Marine safety, Navigation (water), Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Security measures, Waterways. For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend 33 CFR part 165 as follows: PART 165—REGULATED NAVIGATION AREAS AND LIMITED ACCESS AREAS 1. The authority citation for part 165 continues to read as follows: Authority: 33 U.S.C. 1226, 1231; 46 U.S.C. Chapter 701, 3306, 3703; 50 U.S.C. 191, 195; 33 CFR 1.05–1, 6.04–1, 6.04–6, 160.5; Pub. L. 107–295, 116 Stat. 2064; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1. request authorization to do so from the Command Center (COMCEN). The COMCEN may be contacted on VHF–FM Channel 16. (3) All persons and vessels shall comply with the instructions of the Coast Guard Captain of the Port or the designated representative. (4) Upon being hailed by U.S. Coast Guard patrol personnel by siren, radio, flashing light, or other means, the operator of a vessel shall proceed as directed. (5) The Coast Guard may be assisted by other Federal, State, or local agencies. Dated: June 17, 2009. D.L. Leblanc, Commander, U.S. Coast Guard, Acting Captain of the Port San Diego. [FR Doc. E9–15187 Filed 6–26–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–15–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 571 [Docket No. NHTSA–2001–8876] § 165.T11–201 Safety zone; Paddle for Clean Water; San Diego; California cprice-sewell on PRODPC61 with PROPOSALS 2. Add a new temporary zone § 165.T11–201 to read as follows: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108; Lamp, Reflective Devices and Associated Equipment (a) Location. The limits of the safety zone would be as follows: 32°45.00′ N, 117°15.12′ W; 32°45.10′ N, 117°15.30′ W; 32°44.55′ N, 117°15.38′ W; 32°44.43′ N, 117°15.19′ W; along the shoreline to 32°45.00′ N, 117°15.12′ W. (b) Enforcement Period. This section will be enforced on September 13, 2009 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. If the event concludes prior to the scheduled termination time, the Captain of the Port will cease enforcement of this safety zone and will announce that fact via Broadcast Notice to Mariners. (c) Definitions. The following definition applies to this section: designated representative, means any commissioned, warrant, and petty officers of the Coast Guard on board Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary, and local, State, and Federal law enforcement vessels who have been authorized to act on the behalf of the Captain of the Port. (d) Regulations. (1) Entry into, transit through or anchoring within this safety zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port of San Diego or his designated on-scene representative. (2) Mariners requesting permission to transit through the safety zone may VerDate Nov<24>2008 15:27 Jun 26, 2009 Jkt 217001 AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DOT. ACTION: Denial of petition for rulemaking. SUMMARY: This document denies a petition for rulemaking submitted by General Motors on December 20, 2001. The petitioner requested that the agency amend the Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) on lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment to require the installation of daytime running lamps on passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses that have a gross vehicle weight rating under 4,536 kilograms (10,000 lbs). NHTSA has reviewed the petition and performed an extensive analysis of real world crash data. Based on the results of our study we were unable to find solid evidence of an overall safety benefit associated with daytime running lamps and are therefore denying the petition for rulemaking. The agency maintains its neutral position with respect to the safety benefits from the use of daytime running lamps. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For non-legal issues, you may call Mr. Markus Price, Office of Crash Avoidance PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 30993 Standards (Phone: 202–366–0098; FAX: 202–366–7002). For legal issues, you may call Mr. Ari Scott, Office of the Chief Counsel (Phone: 202–366–2992; FAX: 202–366– 3820). You may send mail to these officials at: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. Summary II. Background III. Petition IV. Agency Analysis and Decision a. NHTSA Studies and Comparison b. Differences in Statistical Methodology V. Conclusion I. Summary This document denies a 2001 petition from General Motors (GM) requesting that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandate the installation of daytime running lamps (DRLs) on all vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) under 4,536 kilograms (10,000 lbs). The rationale for denying the petition is that, overall, studies of the effectiveness of DRLs have not indicated that they are an effective means of preventing crashes. While GM presented studies that appear to indicate a degree of effectiveness, NHTSA’s own studies contradict that finding. Furthermore, for reasons described in detail below, a careful analysis of the various studies of DRL effectiveness indicates flaws in the studies GM cites and that NHTSA should place greater weight on its own studies. Given the information currently available, the agency has been unable to determine if there are any demonstrable safety benefits associated with mandating DRLs, and therefore has decided that leaving them as a manufacturer option is the best course of action. II. Background Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108; Lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment, establishes lighting requirements for motor vehicles. Daytime Running Lamps (DRLs) are steady burning lamps that illuminate when the regular headlamps are not required for driving. While FMVSS No. 108 does not require DRLs, it does specify requirements that they must meet if a vehicle manufacturer voluntarily decides to install them.1 The requirements for DRLs were first established on January 11, 1993 in 1 See E:\FR\FM\29JNP1.SGM 49 CFR 571.108, S7.10.1, Table I–a. 29JNP1 30994 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 123 / Monday, June 29, 2009 / Proposed Rules cprice-sewell on PRODPC61 with PROPOSALS response to a petition from General Motors (GM) that asked the agency to facilitate the introduction of DRLs on motor vehicles. At that time, GM’s view was that an amendment ‘‘would allow manufacturers to install DRLs on new vehicles without being in violation of the multitude of State laws’’ which at that time had ‘‘the unintended effect of prohibiting them.’’ Also, GM did not believe that there was justification for mandating DRLs as standard equipment because there was not yet evidence of a ‘‘national safety need’’ in the United States. As a result of GM’s petition, FMVSS No. 108 was amended to permit, but not require, DRLs that comply with various marking and performance requirements.2 III. Petition On December 20, 2001, GM petitioned the agency requesting that DRLs be made required equipment on passenger vehicles, trucks and buses that have a gross vehicle weight rating under 4,536 kilograms (10,000 lbs). In support of its petition, GM provided information from a study that reported a 5 percent decrease in daytime multiple vehicle crashes and a 9 percent reduction in vehicle to pedestrian crashes.3 GM claimed that this report ‘‘demonstrates that DRLs are preventing crashes and injuries, and saving lives.’’ The data supporting this study were collected in 12 States from the years 1994 to 1997, using vehicle registration as a measure of exposure, and the ratio of crash rates estimated by the Poisson regression statistical method (described in detail below). As an update to the 2000 study, GM most recently sponsored a study written by Steffey, Lau, and Ray of Exponent, Inc in 2008.4 This study examined vehicles manufactured by GM, Saab, Toyota, Subaru, Volkswagen and Volvo. Crash data were analyzed from 18 States between the years 1996 and 2005. This study used two mathematical methods to determine if there was a link between DRLs and crash rates, the ratio of odds ratio method and the ratio of crash rates. This study reported the impact of DRLs on various types of vehicle crashes including head-on, rural area, highway, rain/fog, angle, urban area, sideswipe, pedestrian, and motorcycle. The Steffey et al. (2008) study reported a statistically significant reduction in crashes associated with DRLs. For passenger cars, it reported a reduction in daytime head-on multivehicle crashes of 12.35 percent using 2 See 59 FR 3501 January 11, 1993. No. NHTSA–2001–8876–11. 4 Docket No. NHTSA–2001–8876–15. 3 Docket VerDate Nov<24>2008 15:27 Jun 26, 2009 Jkt 217001 the ratio of crash rates method. This study also reported a significant reduction in rural area daytime multivehicle crashes of 9.1 percent for passenger cars using this method.5 Similar results were reported for light trucks. Similar to the 2001 GM study, this study reported a 5 percent decrease in daytime multiple vehicle crashes, but contrary to the 2001 study, a nonsignificant increase in vehicle to pedestrian crashes of 2.5 was observed. No statistically significant results were found for fatal crashes. This study also analyzed the data using the ratio of odds ratio technique. GM stated that this methodology produced findings that correlated DRLs with a reduction in certain crash types. However, NHTSA’s analysis found, with regard to the overall crash rates experienced by vehicles equipped with DRLs, the Steffey et al. study’s analysis using the ratio of odds ratios method did not produce a statistically significant decrease in the crash rates of those vehicles.6 IV. Discussion and Analysis After carefully reviewing the data in GM’s petition, NHTSA has come to the conclusion that the evidence linking DRLs to lower incidents of crashes is not persuasive. To begin, NHTSA believes that one of the statistical techniques used in the two GM studies, the ratio of crash rates method, is less effective in this case than the ratio of odds ratio method used in the three NHTSA studies (to be fair, this methodology was also employed in the Steffey et al. study). Additionally, certain correlations in the GM study raise questions as to the validity of its findings. Contrary to this, NHTSA’s studies do not show that DRLs are an effective means of crash avoidance. Given these issues, NHTSA does not believe that the case has been made to incorporate a change to require DRLs. A. NHTSA Studies and Comparison In 2000, NHTSA published a study that examined the effectiveness of DRLs installed on passenger cars manufactured in the 1990s.7 In that study, no statistically significant results were found using the ratio of odds ratio method. In 2004, NHTSA again reported on the effectiveness of DRLs on crashes 5 Docket No. NHTSA–2001–8876–15 Steffey et al., p. 21. 6 Docket No. NHTSA–2001–8876–15 Steffey et al. page 38. 7 DOT HS 808 645 Table 24 & 25 Available at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/ncsa/pdf/ DRL7_RPT.pdf. PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 within the U.S.8 Again, using a broader data set and a different control group, no results using the ratio of odds ratio method produced statistical significance. In 2008, NHTSA completed a new study on the effectiveness of DRLs.9 The data source is FARS (2000–2005), and State data from 9 States (2000–2005). The results of this NHTSA study (2008) are inconclusive regarding overall DRL effectiveness. When both light truck and cars are evaluated together, the result of DRL installation is a non-statistically significant decrease in two vehicle, all severity crashes of 0.3 percent (¥2.5– 3.1, 0.95 confidence). A statistically significant decrease of 5.7 percent (0.7– 10.7, 0.95 confidence) in two vehicle type crashes for light trucks is somewhat offset by a non-significant 2 percent (¥5.4–1.4, 0.95 confidence) increase in passenger car crashes of the same type and severity. Further complicating attempts to find a definitive pattern of safety impact that DRLs have, this study finds a nonsignificant increase of 12.2 percent (¥50.1–25.7, 0.95 confidence) in light truck-motorcycle crashes. Contrarily, it also reports that a non-significant decrease of 1.2 percent (¥18.5–20.9, 0.95 confidence) is observed for passenger cars of the same crash type. Continuing, this study was also unable to find a clear pattern of effectiveness between States. An overview of the results finds some positive and some negative results depending on crash type and crash severity. When all crashes are considered, a non-significant decrease of 0.1 percent is observed, demonstrating the overall safety benefits of DRLs in this study are inconclusive. The agency is aware of some groups’ concerns that DRLs may have a detrimental impact on motorcycle safety. The concern is that as motorcycles have historically been the only class of vehicles using DRLs, as other vehicle classes begin to use DRLs the unique conspicuity provided to motorcycles by DRLs will be diminished. Neither the GM, nor the agency’s studies are able to establish new evidence with respect to this concern. Therefore, the potential ‘‘masking effect’’ is still unknown and was not considered in this denial notice analysis. The agency believes that the result derived based on the ratio of odds ratios are more plausible and defendable than those based on crash rates used in GM’s study. The Steffey et al. study found a 8 DOT HS 809 760 Appendix B Available at http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/809760.PDF. 9 HS 811 029. E:\FR\FM\29JNP1.SGM 29JNP1 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 123 / Monday, June 29, 2009 / Proposed Rules Another limitation regarding this GM study is the different time period for which vehicle registration was recorded compared to the times that the crashes occurred. The registration numbers were recorded as a snapshot in time on July first, but the crashes occurred throughout the entire year. This time difference may cause inaccuracies in the number of vehicles in the exposure group. 4.28 percent decrease in nighttime multi-party car crashes as a result of DRL installation. It also found a 3.67 percent decrease in single vehicle light truck crashes. Additionally, the report found that DRLs would reduce nighttime fatal crashes by 11.4 percent for passenger cars and daytime singlevehicle crashes by 9.4 percent for light trucks.10 These results cast doubt on the validity of the GM study because we do not believe these crash types are plausibly affected by DRL installation. The authors claim these numbers ‘‘serve as useful control groups and benchmarks for comparison.’’ 11 The agency respectfully disagrees, and believes this may demonstrate the lack of control for changes that may have occurred during the study period. DRLEffect B. Differences in Statistical Methodology As discussed above, numerous studies exist that attempt to quantify the crash risk relative to the installation of DRLs. Among these studies, various statistical techniques have been used for determining the effectiveness in real world crashes, including the ratio of odds ratios method (used in the NHTSA 30995 studies), and the ratio of crash rates method (used in the GM studies). NHTSA believes that the ratio of odds ratios is the most effective means for the analysis in these studies. The primary statistical technique used in the studies submitted by GM in support of its petition is the ratio of crash rates method. This was used in the 2001 GM study, and was also used in certain parts of the 2008 Steffey et al. study. This technique compared the ratio of crashes to the number of vehicles of that type registered. This collision rate is calculated and compared for both vehicles with DRLs and for vehicles without DRLs. This comparison reportedly represents the effectiveness of the DRL. This is mathematically represented as follows: CrashesDRL CollisionRateDRL Vehicles-in-UseDRL = = Crashesno- DRL CollisionRateno- DRL Vehicles-in-Useno- DRL Continuing, this expression is modeled using a Poisson regression model to estimate the overall DRL effect across all model pairs. Because this method uses vehicle registration as the measure of exposure, it may not reflect the actual on-road exposure of vehicles in use that, in actuality, may be involved in a crash. For example, this methodology would assign equal weight to a vehicle driven five miles per day as to a vehicle driven 25 miles per day, despite the fact that the latter vehicle is far more exposed to the risk of a crash. The ratio of odds ratios method, which was used in NHTSA’s studies and in some parts of the Steffey et al. study, avoids using vehicle registration as a method of exposure. This method compares the ratio of target crashes in the daytime with control crashes in the daytime. It continues by calculating the ratio of target crashes at night compared to the control crashes at night. The ratio of these ratios is then considered the odds of a vehicle becoming involved in a DRL relevant crash. This ratio is calculated for both a group of DRLequipped vehicles, and for a group of vehicles which do not have DRLs installed. A comparison of the two groups’ odds then determines the effectiveness of the DRL. This method is demonstrated as follows: DRL-EQUIPPED VEHICLES Light condition Target crashes Control crashes Daytime .............................................................. Nighttime ............................................................ N1 ...................................................................... N3 ...................................................................... N2. N4. NON-DRL VEHICLES Light condition Target crashes Daytime .............................................................. Nighttime ............................................................ N5 ...................................................................... N7 ...................................................................... R= 10 Docket No. NHTSA–2001–8876–15 Steffey et al., p. 24–25. VerDate Nov<24>2008 15:27 Jun 26, 2009 N5 N 6 N ∗ N8 ÷ = 5 N 7 N8 N6 ∗ N7 R1 R2 Jkt 217001 R2 = EP29jN09.012</MATH> N1 N 2 N ∗ N4 ÷ = 1 N3 N 4 N 2 ∗ N3 N6. N8. 11 Docket No. NHTSA–2001–8876–15 Steffey et al. p. 20. PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\29JNP1.SGM 29JNP1 EP29JN09.011</MATH> cprice-sewell on PRODPC61 with PROPOSALS R1 = Control crashes 30996 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 123 / Monday, June 29, 2009 / Proposed Rules cprice-sewell on PRODPC61 with PROPOSALS The value of R represents the relative odds of daytime target crashes involvements between DRL-equipped vehicles and non-DRL vehicles. The agency believes the ratio of odds ratio is the optimal method because it has a strong confounding-factor-control ability. With regard to the previous example, the ratio of odds ratios would factor in a higher expected crash rate for the vehicle driven 25 miles per day than the vehicle driven five. The ratio of odds ratios avoids using crash rates because the true exposure data generally do not exist. In GM’s case, with regard to the portion of the study that utilized the ratio of crash rates method, vehicle registrations were used as the exposure data. However, registration data do not differentiate driving between DRL and non-DRL vehicles. They do not separate daytime and nighttime driving. Consequently, vehicle registrations are not considered to be an appropriate exposure measure for a DRL study. The contradicting results from the GM study demonstrate this. In contrast, the ratio of odds ratios method compares the ratio of target crashes (DRL-relevant) to control crashes (non DRL-relevant) in the daytime. The Steffey et al. study incorporated both of the methodologies in arriving at its conclusions. Using the ratio of crash rates method, the study found an overall decrease in crash rates of 4.61 percent, which was noted as statistically significant.12 However, using the ratio of odds ratios method, the same report found a non-significant decrease in the crash rates of 1.36 percent.13 Given the significant divergence in results from the different methodologies, we feel that the results from the ratio of crash rates methodology should be assigned less weight in NHTSA’s analysis of the safety effect of DRLs. V. Conclusion The agency’s 2008 DRL study is a more robust study than previous attempts by the agency to quantify the effectiveness of DRLs. This newest study was unable to find solid evidence of overall safety benefits associated with DRLs installed on passenger vehicles using the ratio of odds ratio statistical technique. While DRLs may be beneficial for certain scenarios, the agency has been unable to document overall safety benefits due to DRL installation which could serve as a basis for mandating them. NHTSA is therefore denying this petition from GM. However, the agency is willing to re12 Steffey 13 Steffey et al., p. 34. et al., p. 38. VerDate Nov<24>2008 15:27 Jun 26, 2009 Jkt 217001 examine the DRL issue if additional data is presented demonstrating overall safety benefits. Any such study should consider using the ratio of odds ratios technique as used in the latest NHTSA study, or provide compelling evidence that an alternative technique is superior at predicting the effectiveness of DRLs. In the meantime, the agency remains neutral with respect to a policy regarding the inclusion of DRLs in vehicles. Although we do not find data that provides a definitive safety benefit that justifies Federal regulation, we are not making recommendations that vehicle manufacturers should change their policies regarding DRLs. Manufacturers should continue to make individual decisions regarding DRLs in their vehicles. Authority: 49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30115, 30117 and 30166; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.50. Issued: June 23, 2009. Nathaniel Beuse, Director, Office of Crash Avoidance Standards. [FR Doc. E9–15314 Filed 6–26–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 [FWS–R8–ES–2009–0040; 92220–1113– 0000–C5] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To Delist the Lost River Sucker (Deltistes luxatus) and the Shortnose Sucker (Chasmistes brevirostris) AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of 90-day petition finding. SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 90-day finding on a petition to remove the Lost River sucker (Deltistes luxatus) and the shortnose sucker (Chasmistes brevirostris) from the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife (List) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We find that the petition does not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that removing the Lost River sucker or shortnose sucker from the List may be warranted. Therefore, we will not initiate a status review for either species in response to this petition. We ask the public to submit to us any new PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 information that becomes available concerning the status of, or threats to, the Lost River and shortnose suckers or their habitat at any time. DATES: The finding announced in this document was made on June 29, 2009. You may submit new information concerning this species for our consideration at any time. ADDRESSES: This finding is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov and http:// www.fws.gov/klamathfallsfwo. Supporting documentation we used in preparing this finding is available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1936 California Avenue, Klamath Falls, OR 97601; telephone (541) 885–8481; facsimile (541) 885–7837. Please send any new information, materials, comments, or questions concerning this finding to the above street address. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laurie Sada, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES). Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at (800) 877–8339, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires that we make a finding on whether a petition to list, delist, or reclassify a species presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. We are to base this finding on information provided in the petition, supporting information submitted with the petition, and information otherwise available in our files at the time we make the determination. To the maximum extent practicable, we are to make this finding within 90 days of our receipt of the petition, and publish our notice of the finding promptly in the Federal Register. This finding is based on the information included in and with the petition and information available in our files at the time of the petition review. Under section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act and our regulations at 50 CFR 424.14(b), our review is limited to a determination of whether the information in the petition meets the ‘‘substantial scientific or commercial information’’ threshold. Our standard for substantial information with regard to a 90-day petition finding is ‘‘that E:\FR\FM\29JNP1.SGM 29JNP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 123 (Monday, June 29, 2009)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 30993-30996]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-15314]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571

[Docket No. NHTSA-2001-8876]


Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108; Lamp, Reflective 
Devices and Associated Equipment

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

ACTION: Denial of petition for rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: This document denies a petition for rulemaking submitted by 
General Motors on December 20, 2001. The petitioner requested that the 
agency amend the Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) on 
lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment to require the 
installation of daytime running lamps on passenger cars, multipurpose 
passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses that have a gross vehicle weight 
rating under 4,536 kilograms (10,000 lbs). NHTSA has reviewed the 
petition and performed an extensive analysis of real world crash data. 
Based on the results of our study we were unable to find solid evidence 
of an overall safety benefit associated with daytime running lamps and 
are therefore denying the petition for rulemaking. The agency maintains 
its neutral position with respect to the safety benefits from the use 
of daytime running lamps.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For non-legal issues, you may call Mr. 
Markus Price, Office of Crash Avoidance Standards (Phone: 202-366-0098; 
FAX: 202-366-7002).
    For legal issues, you may call Mr. Ari Scott, Office of the Chief 
Counsel (Phone: 202-366-2992; FAX: 202-366-3820).
    You may send mail to these officials at: National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 
20590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Summary
II. Background
III. Petition
IV. Agency Analysis and Decision
    a. NHTSA Studies and Comparison
    b. Differences in Statistical Methodology
V. Conclusion

I. Summary

    This document denies a 2001 petition from General Motors (GM) 
requesting that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 
(NHTSA) mandate the installation of daytime running lamps (DRLs) on all 
vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) under 4,536 
kilograms (10,000 lbs). The rationale for denying the petition is that, 
overall, studies of the effectiveness of DRLs have not indicated that 
they are an effective means of preventing crashes. While GM presented 
studies that appear to indicate a degree of effectiveness, NHTSA's own 
studies contradict that finding. Furthermore, for reasons described in 
detail below, a careful analysis of the various studies of DRL 
effectiveness indicates flaws in the studies GM cites and that NHTSA 
should place greater weight on its own studies. Given the information 
currently available, the agency has been unable to determine if there 
are any demonstrable safety benefits associated with mandating DRLs, 
and therefore has decided that leaving them as a manufacturer option is 
the best course of action.

II. Background

    Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108; Lamps, 
reflective devices, and associated equipment, establishes lighting 
requirements for motor vehicles. Daytime Running Lamps (DRLs) are 
steady burning lamps that illuminate when the regular headlamps are not 
required for driving. While FMVSS No. 108 does not require DRLs, it 
does specify requirements that they must meet if a vehicle manufacturer 
voluntarily decides to install them.\1\
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    \1\ See 49 CFR 571.108, S7.10.1, Table I-a.
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    The requirements for DRLs were first established on January 11, 
1993 in

[[Page 30994]]

response to a petition from General Motors (GM) that asked the agency 
to facilitate the introduction of DRLs on motor vehicles. At that time, 
GM's view was that an amendment ``would allow manufacturers to install 
DRLs on new vehicles without being in violation of the multitude of 
State laws'' which at that time had ``the unintended effect of 
prohibiting them.'' Also, GM did not believe that there was 
justification for mandating DRLs as standard equipment because there 
was not yet evidence of a ``national safety need'' in the United 
States. As a result of GM's petition, FMVSS No. 108 was amended to 
permit, but not require, DRLs that comply with various marking and 
performance requirements.\2\
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    \2\ See 59 FR 3501 January 11, 1993.
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III. Petition

    On December 20, 2001, GM petitioned the agency requesting that DRLs 
be made required equipment on passenger vehicles, trucks and buses that 
have a gross vehicle weight rating under 4,536 kilograms (10,000 lbs). 
In support of its petition, GM provided information from a study that 
reported a 5 percent decrease in daytime multiple vehicle crashes and a 
9 percent reduction in vehicle to pedestrian crashes.\3\ GM claimed 
that this report ``demonstrates that DRLs are preventing crashes and 
injuries, and saving lives.'' The data supporting this study were 
collected in 12 States from the years 1994 to 1997, using vehicle 
registration as a measure of exposure, and the ratio of crash rates 
estimated by the Poisson regression statistical method (described in 
detail below).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ Docket No. NHTSA-2001-8876-11.
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    As an update to the 2000 study, GM most recently sponsored a study 
written by Steffey, Lau, and Ray of Exponent, Inc in 2008.\4\ This 
study examined vehicles manufactured by GM, Saab, Toyota, Subaru, 
Volkswagen and Volvo. Crash data were analyzed from 18 States between 
the years 1996 and 2005. This study used two mathematical methods to 
determine if there was a link between DRLs and crash rates, the ratio 
of odds ratio method and the ratio of crash rates. This study reported 
the impact of DRLs on various types of vehicle crashes including head-
on, rural area, highway, rain/fog, angle, urban area, sideswipe, 
pedestrian, and motorcycle.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ Docket No. NHTSA-2001-8876-15.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Steffey et al. (2008) study reported a statistically 
significant reduction in crashes associated with DRLs. For passenger 
cars, it reported a reduction in daytime head-on multi-vehicle crashes 
of 12.35 percent using the ratio of crash rates method. This study also 
reported a significant reduction in rural area daytime multi-vehicle 
crashes of 9.1 percent for passenger cars using this method.\5\ Similar 
results were reported for light trucks. Similar to the 2001 GM study, 
this study reported a 5 percent decrease in daytime multiple vehicle 
crashes, but contrary to the 2001 study, a non-significant increase in 
vehicle to pedestrian crashes of 2.5 was observed. No statistically 
significant results were found for fatal crashes.
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    \5\ Docket No. NHTSA-2001-8876-15 Steffey et al., p. 21.
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    This study also analyzed the data using the ratio of odds ratio 
technique. GM stated that this methodology produced findings that 
correlated DRLs with a reduction in certain crash types. However, 
NHTSA's analysis found, with regard to the overall crash rates 
experienced by vehicles equipped with DRLs, the Steffey et al. study's 
analysis using the ratio of odds ratios method did not produce a 
statistically significant decrease in the crash rates of those 
vehicles.\6\
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    \6\ Docket No. NHTSA-2001-8876-15 Steffey et al. page 38.
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IV. Discussion and Analysis

    After carefully reviewing the data in GM's petition, NHTSA has come 
to the conclusion that the evidence linking DRLs to lower incidents of 
crashes is not persuasive. To begin, NHTSA believes that one of the 
statistical techniques used in the two GM studies, the ratio of crash 
rates method, is less effective in this case than the ratio of odds 
ratio method used in the three NHTSA studies (to be fair, this 
methodology was also employed in the Steffey et al. study). 
Additionally, certain correlations in the GM study raise questions as 
to the validity of its findings. Contrary to this, NHTSA's studies do 
not show that DRLs are an effective means of crash avoidance. Given 
these issues, NHTSA does not believe that the case has been made to 
incorporate a change to require DRLs.

A. NHTSA Studies and Comparison

    In 2000, NHTSA published a study that examined the effectiveness of 
DRLs installed on passenger cars manufactured in the 1990s.\7\ In that 
study, no statistically significant results were found using the ratio 
of odds ratio method. In 2004, NHTSA again reported on the 
effectiveness of DRLs on crashes within the U.S.\8\ Again, using a 
broader data set and a different control group, no results using the 
ratio of odds ratio method produced statistical significance.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ DOT HS 808 645 Table 24 & 25 Available at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/ncsa/pdf/DRL7_RPT.pdf.
    \8\ DOT HS 809 760 Appendix B Available at http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/809760.PDF.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In 2008, NHTSA completed a new study on the effectiveness of 
DRLs.\9\ The data source is FARS (2000-2005), and State data from 9 
States (2000-2005). The results of this NHTSA study (2008) are 
inconclusive regarding overall DRL effectiveness. When both light truck 
and cars are evaluated together, the result of DRL installation is a 
non-statistically significant decrease in two vehicle, all severity 
crashes of 0.3 percent (-2.5-3.1, 0.95 confidence). A statistically 
significant decrease of 5.7 percent (0.7-10.7, 0.95 confidence) in two 
vehicle type crashes for light trucks is somewhat offset by a non-
significant 2 percent (-5.4-1.4, 0.95 confidence) increase in passenger 
car crashes of the same type and severity. Further complicating 
attempts to find a definitive pattern of safety impact that DRLs have, 
this study finds a non-significant increase of 12.2 percent (-50.1-
25.7, 0.95 confidence) in light truck-motorcycle crashes. Contrarily, 
it also reports that a non-significant decrease of 1.2 percent (-18.5-
20.9, 0.95 confidence) is observed for passenger cars of the same crash 
type. Continuing, this study was also unable to find a clear pattern of 
effectiveness between States. An overview of the results finds some 
positive and some negative results depending on crash type and crash 
severity. When all crashes are considered, a non-significant decrease 
of 0.1 percent is observed, demonstrating the overall safety benefits 
of DRLs in this study are inconclusive.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ HS 811 029.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The agency is aware of some groups' concerns that DRLs may have a 
detrimental impact on motorcycle safety. The concern is that as 
motorcycles have historically been the only class of vehicles using 
DRLs, as other vehicle classes begin to use DRLs the unique conspicuity 
provided to motorcycles by DRLs will be diminished. Neither the GM, nor 
the agency's studies are able to establish new evidence with respect to 
this concern. Therefore, the potential ``masking effect'' is still 
unknown and was not considered in this denial notice analysis.
    The agency believes that the result derived based on the ratio of 
odds ratios are more plausible and defendable than those based on crash 
rates used in GM's study. The Steffey et al. study found a

[[Page 30995]]

4.28 percent decrease in nighttime multi-party car crashes as a result 
of DRL installation. It also found a 3.67 percent decrease in single 
vehicle light truck crashes. Additionally, the report found that DRLs 
would reduce nighttime fatal crashes by 11.4 percent for passenger cars 
and daytime single-vehicle crashes by 9.4 percent for light trucks.\10\ 
These results cast doubt on the validity of the GM study because we do 
not believe these crash types are plausibly affected by DRL 
installation. The authors claim these numbers ``serve as useful control 
groups and benchmarks for comparison.'' \11\ The agency respectfully 
disagrees, and believes this may demonstrate the lack of control for 
changes that may have occurred during the study period. Another 
limitation regarding this GM study is the different time period for 
which vehicle registration was recorded compared to the times that the 
crashes occurred. The registration numbers were recorded as a snapshot 
in time on July first, but the crashes occurred throughout the entire 
year. This time difference may cause inaccuracies in the number of 
vehicles in the exposure group.
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    \10\ Docket No. NHTSA-2001-8876-15 Steffey et al., p. 24-25.
    \11\ Docket No. NHTSA-2001-8876-15 Steffey et al. p. 20.
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B. Differences in Statistical Methodology

    As discussed above, numerous studies exist that attempt to quantify 
the crash risk relative to the installation of DRLs. Among these 
studies, various statistical techniques have been used for determining 
the effectiveness in real world crashes, including the ratio of odds 
ratios method (used in the NHTSA studies), and the ratio of crash rates 
method (used in the GM studies). NHTSA believes that the ratio of odds 
ratios is the most effective means for the analysis in these studies.
    The primary statistical technique used in the studies submitted by 
GM in support of its petition is the ratio of crash rates method. This 
was used in the 2001 GM study, and was also used in certain parts of 
the 2008 Steffey et al. study. This technique compared the ratio of 
crashes to the number of vehicles of that type registered. This 
collision rate is calculated and compared for both vehicles with DRLs 
and for vehicles without DRLs. This comparison reportedly represents 
the effectiveness of the DRL. This is mathematically represented as 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP29JN09.011

    Continuing, this expression is modeled using a Poisson regression 
model to estimate the overall DRL effect across all model pairs. 
Because this method uses vehicle registration as the measure of 
exposure, it may not reflect the actual on-road exposure of vehicles in 
use that, in actuality, may be involved in a crash. For example, this 
methodology would assign equal weight to a vehicle driven five miles 
per day as to a vehicle driven 25 miles per day, despite the fact that 
the latter vehicle is far more exposed to the risk of a crash.
    The ratio of odds ratios method, which was used in NHTSA's studies 
and in some parts of the Steffey et al. study, avoids using vehicle 
registration as a method of exposure. This method compares the ratio of 
target crashes in the daytime with control crashes in the daytime. It 
continues by calculating the ratio of target crashes at night compared 
to the control crashes at night. The ratio of these ratios is then 
considered the odds of a vehicle becoming involved in a DRL relevant 
crash. This ratio is calculated for both a group of DRL-equipped 
vehicles, and for a group of vehicles which do not have DRLs installed. 
A comparison of the two groups' odds then determines the effectiveness 
of the DRL. This method is demonstrated as follows:

                          DRL-Equipped Vehicles
------------------------------------------------------------------------
         Light condition            Target crashes      Control crashes
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Daytime.........................  N1................  N2.
Nighttime.......................  N3................  N4.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


                            Non-DRL Vehicles
------------------------------------------------------------------------
         Light condition            Target crashes      Control crashes
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Daytime.........................  N5................  N6.
Nighttime.......................  N7................  N8.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                      [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP29JN09.012
                                                      

[[Page 30996]]

    The value of R represents the relative odds of daytime target 
crashes involvements between DRL-equipped vehicles and non-DRL 
vehicles. The agency believes the ratio of odds ratio is the optimal 
method because it has a strong confounding-factor-control ability. With 
regard to the previous example, the ratio of odds ratios would factor 
in a higher expected crash rate for the vehicle driven 25 miles per day 
than the vehicle driven five.
    The ratio of odds ratios avoids using crash rates because the true 
exposure data generally do not exist. In GM's case, with regard to the 
portion of the study that utilized the ratio of crash rates method, 
vehicle registrations were used as the exposure data. However, 
registration data do not differentiate driving between DRL and non-DRL 
vehicles. They do not separate daytime and nighttime driving. 
Consequently, vehicle registrations are not considered to be an 
appropriate exposure measure for a DRL study. The contradicting results 
from the GM study demonstrate this. In contrast, the ratio of odds 
ratios method compares the ratio of target crashes (DRL-relevant) to 
control crashes (non DRL-relevant) in the daytime.
    The Steffey et al. study incorporated both of the methodologies in 
arriving at its conclusions. Using the ratio of crash rates method, the 
study found an overall decrease in crash rates of 4.61 percent, which 
was noted as statistically significant.\12\ However, using the ratio of 
odds ratios method, the same report found a non-significant decrease in 
the crash rates of 1.36 percent.\13\ Given the significant divergence 
in results from the different methodologies, we feel that the results 
from the ratio of crash rates methodology should be assigned less 
weight in NHTSA's analysis of the safety effect of DRLs.
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    \12\ Steffey et al., p. 34.
    \13\ Steffey et al., p. 38.
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V. Conclusion

    The agency's 2008 DRL study is a more robust study than previous 
attempts by the agency to quantify the effectiveness of DRLs. This 
newest study was unable to find solid evidence of overall safety 
benefits associated with DRLs installed on passenger vehicles using the 
ratio of odds ratio statistical technique. While DRLs may be beneficial 
for certain scenarios, the agency has been unable to document overall 
safety benefits due to DRL installation which could serve as a basis 
for mandating them. NHTSA is therefore denying this petition from GM. 
However, the agency is willing to re-examine the DRL issue if 
additional data is presented demonstrating overall safety benefits. Any 
such study should consider using the ratio of odds ratios technique as 
used in the latest NHTSA study, or provide compelling evidence that an 
alternative technique is superior at predicting the effectiveness of 
DRLs. In the meantime, the agency remains neutral with respect to a 
policy regarding the inclusion of DRLs in vehicles. Although we do not 
find data that provides a definitive safety benefit that justifies 
Federal regulation, we are not making recommendations that vehicle 
manufacturers should change their policies regarding DRLs. 
Manufacturers should continue to make individual decisions regarding 
DRLs in their vehicles.

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30115, 30117 and 30166; 
delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.50.

    Issued: June 23, 2009.
Nathaniel Beuse,
Director, Office of Crash Avoidance Standards.
[FR Doc. E9-15314 Filed 6-26-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P