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Regulatory Scoring Agency: HHS Rule title: Motorcoach Crash Protection RIN 2127-AK56 RIA Separate? Yes Stage Publication Date Proposed Rule 8/18/2010 Rule summary: In accordance with NHTSA’s 2007 Motorcoach Safety Plan and DOT’s 2009 Departmental Motorcoach Safety Action Plan, NHTSA is issuing this NPRM to propose to amend the Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) on occupant crash protection (FMVSS No. 208) to require lap/shoulder seat belts for each passenger seating position in new motorcoaches. This NPRM also proposes to require a lap/shoulder belt for the motorcoach and large school bus driver’s seating positions, which currently are required to have either a lap or a lap/shoulder belt. Although motorcoach transportation overall is a safe form of transportation in the United States, several motorcoach crashes in 2008 have illustrated that motorcoach rollover crashes, while a relatively rare event, can cause a significant number of fatal or serious injuries in a single event. NHTSA’s safety research on motorcoach seat belts, completed in 2009, shows that the installation of lap/shoulder belts on motorcoaches is practicable and effective. We believe that the seat belt assemblies that would be installed on motorcoach passenger seats pursuant to this rulemaking could reduce the risk of fatal injuries in rollover crashes by 77 percent, primarily by preventing occupant ejection in a crash. Openness Score Comments 1. How easily were the RIA, the proposed rule, and any supplementary materials found online? 4 See Topic 1 Tab 2. How verifiable are the data used in the analysis? 3 See Topic 1 Tab 3. How verifiable are the models and assumptions used in the analysis? 3 See Topic 1 Tab 4. Was the Regulatory Impact Analysis comprehensible to an informed layperson? 2 See Topic 1 Tab Total Openness (Sum of 1-4) 12 Analysis Score Comments 5. How well does the analysis identify the desired outcomes and demonstrate that the regulation will achieve them? 4 See Topic 2 Tab 6. How well does the analysis identify and demonstrate the existence of a market failure or other systemic problem the regulation is supposed to solve? 1 See Topic 2 Tab 7. How well does the analysis assess the effectiveness of alternative approaches? 2 See Topic 2 Tab 8. How well does the analysis assess costs and benefits? 2 See Topic 2 Tab Total Analysis (Sum of 5-8) 9 Use Score Comments 9. Does the proposed rule or the RIA present evidence that the agency used the Regulatory Impact Analysis? 3 See Topic 3 Tab 10. Did the agency maximize net benefits or explain why it chose another alternative? 3 See Topic 3 Tab 11. Does the proposed rule establish measures and goals that can be used to track the regulation’s results in the future? 1 See Topic 3 Tab 12. Did the agency indicate what data it will use to assess the regulation’s performance in the future and establish provisions for doing so? 2 See Topic 3 Tab Total Use (Sum of 9-12) 9 Total Score 30 Rule Title RIN Openness Agency Pub Date RIA separate? Total (G+H+J) Analysis 2127-AK56 Motorcoach Crash Protection HHS 8/18/2010 Yes 30 12 9 Quality (G+H) Use 1 2 3 45 5A 5B 21 9 4 3 3 2 4 5 5 5C 5D 5E 6 6A 6B 6C 6D 7 3 4 3 1 1 0 1 0 2 7A 7B 7C 7D 8 8A 8B 8C 8D 3 1 3 1 2 5 4 0 1 8E 8F 8G 8H 8I 9 10 11 12 1 2 5 1 0 3 3 1 2 Openness Criterion Score Com. No. Comment The Federal Register notice and the RIA can be found on regulations.gov via a RIN or keyword search. However, the notice is filed under "rules" rather than "proposed rules." A link to the Federal Register notice is also three clicks from the DOT home page -- select NHTSA from the drop- 1. How easily were the RIA , down menu, then "laws and regulations," then "seat belts" for a list the proposed rule, and any of recent initiatives. The RIA supplementary materials document does not appear to be on found online? 4 1 the DOT web site. Data on fatalities, crashes, and injuries appear to be from government databases, but only a reader already knowledgeable about these data could find them based on the information given. Some data sources are cited but not linked. Some data are sourced 2. How verifiable are the data to discussions with manufacturers or used in the analysis? 3 2 bus companies. Several "simplifying assumptions" used to estimate motorcoach injuries seem pulled from thin air. Some other quantitative assumptions are "based on" studies of things other than motorcoaches, but it is not clear how the authors got from the results of other studies to the assumptions used in this RIA. Potential substantial retrofit costs for small operators are 3. How verifiable are the dismissed with an undocumented models and assumptions assumption that they do not compete used in the analysis? 3 3 with large operators. Description of results from crash dummy tests is highly technical and understandable only to those already familiar with the topic. Then these results are rejected in favor of data on effectiveness of seatbelts in the rear seat of cars. Then the analysis says it uses data on effectiveness of front seat restraints. So it is really not clear what research findings the benefit estimates are based on, or whether they are reasonable. The RIA document reads like it was put together in a hurry. On the plus side, most calculations are spelled out clearly. The executive summary in the 4. Was the analysis Federal Register notice does an comprehensible to an excellent job of presenting the results informed layperson? 2 4 of the analysis. Analysis Score Com. No. Comment 5. How well does the analysis identify the desired outcomes and demonstrate that the regulation will achieve them? 4 Does the analysis clearly identify ultimate outcomes that affect citizens’ quality of Fatalities and injuries avoided in motorcoach life? 5 5A accidents. Does the analysis identify how these outcomes are to RIA estimates fatalities and injuries avoided, and it be measured? 5 5B monetizes them. Does the analysis provide a Seat belts prevent ejection of passengers from coherent and testable theory seats when a motorcoach rolls over or collides. showing how the regulation Requiring seat belts will therefore reduce fatalities will produce the desired and injuries if passengers use them. But whether outcomes? 3 5C passengers use them is a big question mark. Results of crash tests and studies of automobile seatbelt use appear to show that seat belts with shoulder harnesses reduce injuries, but seat belts alone increase them. RIA notes that Australia and the EU require seat belts but claims data are insufficient to assess their effectiveness there. The Does the analysis present analysis acknowledges that seatbelt use is credible empirical support for uncertain and cites some empirical studies on seat the theory? 4 5D belt use. Seat belt use rate is uncertain, so the analysis Does the analysis estimated a range based on seat belt use rates in adequately assess Australian motorcoaches (low) and seat belt use in uncertainty about the US cars (high). The benefit-cost analysis also outcomes? 3 5E calculates a breakeven belt use rate. 6. How well does the analysis identify and demonstrate the existence of a market failure or other systemic problem the regulation is supposed to solve? 1 RIA lists a 2-sentence justification in the Regulatory Flexibility section -- few motorcoaches have seat belts. The preamble to the rule states that although motorcoach accidents are rare, they create a large number of fatalities and injuries when they occur. The analysis does not show that motorcoach users are demanding seatbelts on motorcoaches and not Does the analysis identify a being provided with them. The analysis even market failure or other mentions that some motorcoach companies have systemic problem? 1 6A started providing seatbelts in their motorcoaches. Does the analysis outline a coherent and testable theory that explains why the problem (associated with the No explanation of why passengers are not getting outcome above) is systemic the amount of safety they have shown themselves rather than anecdotal? 0 6B willing to pay for. There is no theory explaining a market failure or systemic problem, and no evidence presented to support such a theory. The closest the RIA comes to providing evidence of a problem is statistics showing that most injuries and fatalities stem from collisions or rollovers, where seat belts might help. Does the analysis present The Fed Register notice presents informative credible empirical support for statistics showing how DOT is isolating the most the theory? 1 6C significant causes of fatalities and injuries. Does the analysis adequately assess uncertainty about the existence or size of the problem? 0 6D Problem is assumed certain. 7. How well does the analysis assess the effectiveness of alternative approaches? 2 The agency considers three alternatives: the one chosen, a requirement for lap belts only, and a retrofit requirement. The Federal Register notice Does the analysis enumerate also mentions alternative strength requirements for other alternatives to address anchoring belts, but these were not subjected to the problem? 3 7A the RIA. Is the range of alternatives considered narrow (e.g., some exemptions to a regulation) or broad (e.g., performance-based regulation vs. command and control, market mechanisms, nonbinding guidance, information disclosure, addressing any government failures that caused the These are all variations on the same basic original problem)? 1 7B regulatory theme -- requiring belts. Benefits of lap/shoulder belts, lap belts, and retrofit are calculated. The calculation of positive benefits for lap belts seems odd, since the crash dummy Does the analysis evaluate tests seem to show that lap belts increase injuries. how alternative approaches Benefits of retrofit are not part of the formal would affect the amount of "benefit" section but are mentioned in passing in the outcome achieved? 3 7C the section discussing cost-effectiveness. Does the analysis adequately address the baseline? That is, what the state of the world is likely to Baseline is assumed to be same incidence of be in the absence of federal injuries and fatalities experienced over the past 10 intervention not just now but years. No discussion of how safety might change in in the future? 1 7D the future in the absence of a regulation. 8. How well does the analysis assess costs and benefits? 2 Does the analysis identify and quantify incremental costs of all alternatives Costs lap belts, lap/shoulder belts, and retrofit are considered? 5 8A calculated. Costs of installing belts and additional fuel costs Does the analysis identify all are estimated. Estimates that the cost of fitting a expenditures likely to arise new motorcoach is $12,500 and estimates added as a result of the regulation? 4 8B fuel costs due to extra weight. Does the analysis identify how the regulation would likely affect the prices of goods and services? 0 8C No relevant discussion. No discussion of behavioral changes that might affect costs. Analysis acknowledges that not all Does the analysis examine passengers will use the belts and that this is a big uncertainty affecting benefits. It is surprising to see costs that stem from no other content, since the Federal Register notice changes in human behavior says the regulation does not apply to school buses as consumers and producers in part because the cost increases might lead more respond to the regulation? 1 8D students to take less safe transportation options. If costs are uncertain, does No real discussion of cost uncertainty, except the analysis present a range acknowledgement of uncertainties about costs of of estimates and/or perform retrofit. But this regulatory alternative was not a sensitivity analysis? 1 8E thoroughly studied. Identifies net benefits for lap belts and lap/shoulder belts, but not for retrofit. The alternative that Does the analysis identify maximizes net benefits varies depending on the alternative that assumptions, so it is not clear which alternative maximizes net benefits? 2 8F maximizes net benefits. Does the analysis identify the cost-effectiveness of each alternative considered? 5 8G RIA estimates cost per equivalent life saved. Does the analysis identify all parties who would bear costs and assess the incidence of Little discussion beyond a claim that this regulation costs? 1 8H will not affect the viability of small entities. Does the analysis identify all parties who would receive benefits and assess the incidence of benefits? 0 8I No discussion of incidence of benefits. Use Criterion Score Com. No. Comment The decision to require lap and shoulder belts appears motivated just as much by an NTSB recommendation issued as part of a 1999 investigation as by the RIA. DOT is not requiring seat belts in transit buses because statistics show the danger to passengers in those buses is much lower. The proposed regulation does not 9. Does the proposed rule or require retrofit due to substantial estimated costs, the RIA present evidence but the notice seeks further comment on retrofit, that the agency used the so the option has not been ruled out based on analysis? 3 9 costs yet. Of the options analyzed, DOT chose the one with the largest net benefits under one set of assumptions. However, the range of alternatives was quite narrow. It is also not clear if the chosen alternative really maximizes net benefits, since 10. Did the agency maximize another alternative maximizes net benefits under net benefits or explain why it other assumptions and net benefits of a third chose another alternative? 3 10 alternative were not calculated. 11. Does the proposed rule establish measures and goals that can be used to The Federal Register notice mentions no track the regulation's results provisions for goals or targets. These could easily in the future? 1 11 be developed based on the RIA's projections. 12. Did the agency indicate what data it will use to After the regulation is adopted, it would be easy assess the regulation's to use the same data mentioned in the RIA to performance in the future assess in the future whether significant bus and establish provisions for accidents lead to the same incidence of fatalities doing so? 2 12 and injuries from passenger ejection.
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