Status of NHTSA’s Redesign of Its Crashworthiness Data System
What GAO Found
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) followed a reasonable process for redesigning the National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System (NASS-CDS), which is a nationally representative sample of police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has standards and guidelines that specify the professional principles and practices that agencies should follow and the level of quality and effort expected when redesigning an existing survey, such as NASS-CDS. NHTSA followed a process consistent with applicable OMB standards and guidelines. For example, NHTSA consulted with NASS-CDS users to identify their requirements and expectations in redesigning NASS-CDS and tasked the contractor, Westat, with developing proposals for a new sample design to meet users’ data needs in an effective and efficient manner. As of January 2015, NHTSA planned to replace NASS-CDS with a new sample, called the Crash Investigation Sampling System (CISS). However, NHTSA did not meet a congressional deadline to report on the benefits of increasing the size of the NASS-CDS sample. Specifically, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act required NHTSA to report, by October 1, 2013, on whether there would be a benefit to increasing the size of the NASS sample as well as to report on the resources necessary to implement NHTSA’s recommended sample size, among other things. NHTSA issued its required report in January 2015 as GAO was completing its review. In its report, NHTSA noted that increasing the size of the NASS-CDS sample would help meet the evolving needs of NASS users, but stated there was no precise answer to what an optimal sample size for NASS-CDS would be.