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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-18-039
Synopsis: In this special investigation report, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) examines pedestrian safety in the United States and recommends actions to help prevent pedestrian injuries and fatalities. The investigation, which began in 2016 with a public forum on pedestrian safety, was supported by an inquiry into the causes of 15 crashes in which vehicles fatally injured pedestrians on public highways—representing only a fraction of the nearly 6,000 pedestrians killed on US roads in 2016. The report reviews the past 10 years of data on highway deaths; describes previous NTSB investigations related to pedestrian safety, including the 15 fatal pedestrian crashes as well as studies of the effects of speed and alcohol on highway crashes; summarizes the issues raised during the public forum; and makes 11 recommendations for improving pedestrian safety. The report considers vehicle-based countermeasures, such as improved headlights, vehicle designs that reduce injuries to pedestrians, and collision avoidance systems. It also reviews infrastructure designs that make streets safer for pedestrians. The report emphasizes that better data are needed—especially on pedestrian activity (exposure data) and on the types and outcomes of crashes involving pedestrians—to improve federal, state, and local decision-making related to pedestrian safety. As a result of its special investigation, the NTSB made safety recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Recommendation: TO THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTATION: Revise Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108 to include performance-based standards for vehicle headlight systems correctly aimed on the road and tested on-vehicle to account for headlight height and lighting performance.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Unacceptable Response
Mode: Highway
Location: Washington, DC
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: DCA15SS005
Accident Reports:
Report #: SIR-18-03
Accident Date: 8/24/2015
Issue Date: 10/23/2018
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: NHTSA (Open - Unacceptable Response)

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
Date: 6/10/2019
Response: Although we recognize your efforts to develop performance-based requirements and test procedures for adaptive driving beam (ADB) headlight systems, the intent of our recommendation was to improve the testing procedures and performance standards for headlight systems on all vehicles. As we discussed in our report, we believe that vehicle headlight systems require an evaluation that is more advanced than bench testing bulb output. We urge you to reconsider the scope of your ADB headlight system rulemaking to include the recommended performance-based standards for all vehicle headlight systems. Pending such action, Safety Recommendation H 18 39 is classified OPEN--UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

Date: 3/18/2019
Response: -From Jonathan Morrison, Chief Counsel: FMVSS 108 contains both equipment-based and vehicle-based requirements. NHTSA currently is working on additional vehicle-level headlighting performance requirements. On October 12, 2018, NHTSA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to permit adaptive driving beam headlighting systems that contained proposed vehicle-level requirements and test procedures for headlighting system performance. Given the commencement of a rulemaking action and our continued work on vehicle-level headlighting system performance requirements and test procedures, NHTSA requests that Safety Recommendation H-18-39 be classified as Open - Acceptable Response.

From: NTSB
Date: 10/23/2018
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation—railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline. We determine the probable cause of the accidents and issue safety recommendations aimed at preventing future accidents. In addition, we carry out special studies concerning transportation safety and coordinate the resources of the federal government and other organizations to provide assistance to victims and their family members affected by major transportation disasters. On September 25, 2018, the NTSB adopted its special investigation report Pedestrian Safety, NTSB/SIR-18/03. The details of the special investigation and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the attached report, which can also be accessed at Among the Safety Recommendations are eight issued to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which can be found on page 42 of the report. The NTSB is vitally interested in this recommendation because it is designed to prevent accidents and save lives. We would appreciate a response within 90 days, detailing the actions you have taken or intend to take to implement this recommendation. When replying, please refer to the safety recommendation by number. We encourage you to submit your response to If it exceeds 20 megabytes, including attachments, please e-mail us at the same address for instructions. Please do not submit both an electronic copy and a hard copy of the same response.