Section 148: Older Drivers and Pedestrians Special Rule Interim Guidance
February 13, 2013, FHWA Office of Safety
October 1, 2012
On July 6, 2012, the President signed into law P.L. 112-141, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). MAP-21 created a Special Rule for Older Drivers. The purpose of this guidance is to clarify: 1) applicability of the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) Special Rule to States; 2) reporting older driver information to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA); and 3) implementing the Special Rule.
23 U.S.C. 148(g)(2) states: —
if traffic fatalities and serious injuries per capita for drivers and pedestrians over the age of 65 in a State increases during the most recent 2-year period for which data are available, that State shall be required to include, in the subsequent Strategic Highway Safety Plan [(SHSP)] of the State, strategies to address the increases in those rates, taking into account the recommendations included in the publication of the Federal Highway Administration entitled 'Highway Design Handbook for Older Drivers and Pedestrians' (FHWA-RD-01-103), and dated May 2001, or as subsequently revised and updated.
The Secretary will promulgate rulemaking to define performance measures, as required in 23 U.S.C. 150(d). That rulemaking is expected to address the definition of serious injuries. In the interim, to define a serious injury States should use their existing highest non-fatal injury severity code that corresponds closest to the "A" value from the common KABCO injury severity scale, most frequently called "Incapacitating Injury." Other terms used by States to describe the highest non-fatal injury severity include "Major," "Severe" and "Disabling." States should use existing reporting systems, crash data, and forms. We do not expect States will need to make any changes to their crash data systems based on this Special Rule.
How To Determine Whether The Older Drivers and Pedestrians Special Rule Applies:
To determine whether the Special Rule applies in a State, the State should consider older drivers and older pedestrians collectively. If the rate of traffic fatalities and serious injuries for drivers and pedestrians 65 years of age and older in a State increases during the most recent 2-year period, then the Older Drivers Special Rule would apply.
The number of fatalities for drivers and pedestrians 65 years of age and older from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) Annual Report File and the number of serious injuries from a State's data system for drivers and pedestrians 65 years of age and older should be added together. That amount should then be divided by the number of people in the State who are 65 years of age and older compared to total State population to determine the rate. To maintain consistency with other performance measures, States should compare the two time periods of 5-year rolling average rates of fatalities and serious injuries using a 2-year spread as described in Attachment 1. This approach provides a balance between the stability of the data (by covering multiple years) and for providing a recent accurate trend of the data (by using the most recent available data). Attachment 1 provides an example calculation. The FHWA will provide population figures for persons 65 years of age and older per 1,000 total population for 2005 through 2011. Attachment 2 provides the latest population figures that should be used. Beginning in 2013, FHWA will provide updated population figures to the States by October 30th of each year.
A State should consider the rate to have increased and the Special Rule to apply if the increase changes the rounded tenths after the decimal place. For example:
The State of Lincoln's 5-year average fatality and serious injuries per capita for drivers and pedestrians who are 65 years of age and older for the periods ending 2009 and 2011 increased from 2.12 to 2.14. Rounded to the nearest tenths, the rates for 2009 and 2011 are 2.1 and 2.1, respectively. Therefore the Special Rule would not apply to the State of Lincoln.
The State of Jefferson's 5-year average fatality and serious injuries per capita for drivers and pedestrians who are 65 years of age and older for the periods ending 2009 and 2011 increased from 2.30 to 2.39. Rounded to the nearest tenths, the rates for 2009 and 2011 are 2.3 and 2.4, respectively. Therefore, the Special Rule would apply to the State of Jefferson.
Reporting to FHWA
The first year States would determine whether the Older Driver Special Rule applies is 2013. The chart below shows the two corresponding time periods of data to use relative to the 2013-2015 year report dates.
|Report Date for Older Driver
|5-Year Moving Average of Fatalities and Serious Injuries for
Drivers and Pedestrians 65 years of age and older.
|August 31, 2013||2005-2009 to 2007-2011|
|August 31, 2014||2006-2010 to 2008-2012|
|August 31, 2015||2007-2011 to 2009-2013|
Starting August 31, 2013, States should include in their annual HSIP reports the calculations performed, verifying whether the Older Driver Special Rule applies in the State. If the Special Rule applies to a State in a given year, the State must include in its subsequent SHSP strategies to address the increases in the fatality and serious injury rates for drivers and pedestrians over the age of 65. FHWA will issue future guidance and rulemaking regarding requirements for SHSP updates.
State Implementation of the Special Rule
If a State determines that the Special Rule applies, it should conduct secondary analyses to determine whether the increase is attributable to driver fatalities and injuries and/or to pedestrian fatalities and injuries. This secondary analysis would help a State determine whether the emphasis on safety programs and countermeasures should be focused on drivers and/or pedestrians. If there has been an increase in the older driver and older pedestrian fatal and serious injuries rate, the Special Rule requires that a State include, in its subsequent SHSP, strategies to address the increases in those rates. In considering possible strategies, FHWA encourages States to take into account strategies listed in the 2001 FHWA publication, "Highway Design Handbook for Older Drivers and Pedestrians" and subsequently revised and updated versions.
Attachment 1: Example Calculation
Calculate Rate of Fatal (F) and Serious Injuries (SI) per capita for Drivers and Pedestrians 65 years of age and older for year ending in 2011 (2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007) and 2009 (2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005).
Calculate Rate for 2011
Calculate Rate for 2009
Compare Rate for 2009 to Rate for 2011
* Note: The relevant population figure can be obtained from Attachment 2 which shows number of people 65 years of age and older (per 1,000 total population).
Attachment 2: Number of People 65 Years of Age and Older (Per 1,000 Total Population)
|District of Columbia||121||123||119||119||117||115||113|
U.S. Census American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates for population 65 and older. Supporting documentation on code lists, subject definitions, data accuracy, and statistical testing can be found on the American Community Survey website (http://www.census.gov/acs/www) in the Data and Documentation section. Sample size and data quality measures (including coverage rates, allocation rates, and response rates) can be found on the American Community Survey website in the Methodology section at http://www.census.gov/acs/www/methodology/methodology_main/. Although the American Community Survey (ACS) produces population, demographic and housing unit estimates, it is the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program that produces and disseminates the official estimates of the population for the nation, States, counties, cities and towns and estimates of housing units for States and counties.
To show one calculation as an example for the numbers in Attachment 2, Alabama had 4,442,558 total population and 572,684 people 65 years and older in 2005. To get the number of people 65 years and over per 1,000 total population, one divides 572,684 by 4,442,558, which equals .129 or 129 per 1,000.