St. Louis, MO
Posted - 02/03/2011 : 8:48 AM
M$F is trying to use its position to get a further stranglehold on states and have a weapon to shut down or take over state programs it doesn't deem as fit. They are asking NHTSA to require language that would override state laws in such a way that would consolidate their power over the state programs. In this way, even if a state does not require the program to meet or exceed national standards, they still may be required to and, I suspect the goal of this is to limit which states get the money the Highway Bill will make available. This may bring up memories of that federal attempt to require helmet laws to get federal funding...
Also, M$F is clearly trying to prepare the way for a system of manufacturer dealership based training and insert their further programming into legitimacy. Here are the excerpts and the full letter follows:
From a letter, "RE: Proposed Amendments to Highway Safety Program Guidelines [Docket No. NHTSA 2005 23090]", dated March 24, 2006 and signed by Kathy Van Kleeck:
"MSF recommends that the amendment to section IV addressing curriculum to be modified from "a mandate to use the State approved curriculum" to "a mandate to use a State approved curriculum that meets nationally recognized standards for curriculum, materials, student evaluation, quality assurance and training, professional development and approval of instructors." Any rider training program adopted by an individual state should provide the best possible training with the highest standards practicable. NHTSA should encourage states to utilize only those safety programs that meet those highest standards."
Otoh, if we're going to talk about highest standards as the national standards, that would be TOMS so maybe it wouldn't be that bad.
M$F is also attempting to insert requirements that would allow it's manufacturer funders to do whatever they want in terms of rider training regardless of the state laws:
"We support the amendment to section IV that urges states to establish a plan to "address the backlog of training, if applicable." MSF is committed to providing rider training to all riders who wish to be trained. A rider who does not receive training due to factors such as a significant waiting period before enrollment or an outright inability to be enrolled in a class may choose to ride without training. It should be every state's goal to provide timely and adequate training to any new rider who seeks training."
Setting aside the silly fallacies in that statement, we see it's nothing but an attempt to set up a justification for Buche's masters' wishes.
Furthermore, M$F is trying to use NHTSA to promote their own products:
"MSF also suggests that an amendment to be added to section IV dealing with experienced and older riders. NHTSA should encourage states to offer continued training to experienced motorcyclists and to offer courses specifically targeted towards the unique issues pertaining to aging/older riders. Offering a suite of course options that benefit riders of all ages and skill levels is the best way to ensure that riders maintain skills and understand new challenges."
GOVERNMENT RELATIONS OFFICE
1235 SOUTH CLARK STREET, SUITE 600
ARLINGTON, VA 22202
(703) 416 0444
Fax (703) 416 2269
March 24, 2006
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Docket Management, Room PL 401
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20590
RE: Proposed Amendments to Highway Safety Program Guidelines [Docket No. NHTSA 2005 23090]
Dear Sir or Madam:
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) submits the following comments in response to the request for public comments by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding proposed Amendments to Highway Safety Program Guidelines [Docket No. NHTSA 2005 23090].
MSF is a not for profit organization sponsored by BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio/Vespa, Suzuki, Triumph, Victory and Yamaha. Since 1973, the MSF has set internationally recognized standards that promote the safety of motorcyclists with rider education courses, operator licensing tests, and public information programs. The MSF works with the federal government, state agencies, the military, and others to offer training for all skill levels so riders can enjoy a lifetime of safe, responsible motorcycling.
First, the MSF would like to thank NHTSA for recognizing the importance of motorcyclist safety and for developing a highway safety program guideline for motorcycle safety. We are generally supportive of the proposed changes but appreciate the opportunity to comment on some specific provisions of the proposed amendments.
I. Program Management
MSF supports both the proposed amendments to section I and the provisions that remain unchanged or slightly altered. Adding a provision encouraging states to "collect and analyze data on motorcycle crashes, injuries and fatalities" will help states develop strategies to effectively target resources to prevent the most prevalent and/or dangerous types of crashes involving motorcyclists. In addition the amendments that encourage collaboration among state agencies and organizations and coordination of motorcycle safety projects with the general motoring public would serve to increase communication and provide for a more thorough and comprehensive program. However, we would also recommend the collection and analysis of intermediate data such as measures of skill development, attitude change, and knowledge gains, rather than focusing entirely on the final outcomes. Due to the relative infrequency of crashes and fatalities, focusing only on these data points misses a great deal of meaningful data.
Also in section I, MSF particularly supports the addition of the provision that would encourage states to ?routinely evaluate motorcycle safety programs and services." Without routine evaluations it is impossible to ensure that resources are being utilized effectively. The worst possible outcome of a comprehensive motorcycle safety program would be for resources to be wasted on ineffectual programs and projects when routine evaluation can help ensure that funds and human capital are being spent wisely and with the intent of increasing motorcyclist safety.
III. Motorcycle Operator Licensing
In addition to the referenced guidelines, MSF advocates the cross referencing of training data with operator licensing records, especially in those states that require safety training completion as a prerequisite to licensing. Collecting information on training after a crash has occurred is very difficult. If this information can be captured on the license record at the time of training, it can follow riders through their riding experience along with their crash involvement record and provide valuable information.
IV. Motorcycle Rider Education and Training
MSF recommends that the amendment to section IV addressing curriculum to be modified from "a mandate to use the State approved curriculum" to "a mandate to use a State approved curriculum that meets nationally recognized standards for curriculum, materials, student evaluation, quality assurance and training, professional development and approval of instructors." Any rider training program adopted by an individual state should provide the best possible training with the highest standards practicable. NHTSA should encourage states to utilize only those safety programs that meet those highest standards.
We support the amendment to section IV that urges states to establish a plan to "address the backlog of training, if applicable." MSF is committed to providing rider training to all riders who wish to be trained. A rider who does not receive training due to factors such as a significant waiting period before enrollment or an outright inability to be enrolled in a class may choose to ride without training. It should be every state's goal to provide timely and adequate training to any new rider who seeks training.
MSF also suggests that an amendment to be added to section IV dealing with experienced and older riders. NHTSA should encourage states to offer continued training to experienced motorcyclists and to offer courses specifically targeted towards the unique issues pertaining to aging/older riders. Offering a suite of course options that benefit riders of all ages and skill levels is the best way to ensure that riders maintain skills and understand new challenges.
V. Motorcycle Operation Under the Influence of Alcohol or Other Drugs
MSF supports section V and the proposed amendments. Impaired riding continues to play a prominent role in serious motorcycle crashes. Education programs are critical and it is imperative that riders hear, understand and apply the message that riding while impaired should never be an option. The proposed amendments would include outreach to motorcyclist clubs, law enforcement communications campaigns, workplace safety programs, event based programs and server training programs, all of which MSF supports. MSF actively initiates and participates in anti-impaired riding outreach programs like the "Take it Easy" message and others through PSA's, rider training (including the MSF riding straight module) and other education programs and we are encouraged that NHTSA is urging states to take a proactive role as well.
VII. Law Enforcement
We favor the addition of a law enforcement section. We particularly support the addition of provisions emphasizing that the role played by law enforcement personnel in motorcycle safety should include: "Developing knowledge of motorcycle crash situations, investigating crashes, and maintaining a reporting system that documents crash activity and supports problem identification and evaluation activities." An important element in any crash prevention program is understanding how and why the crashes occur. Using law enforcement personnel to document the details of crashes involving motorcyclists will allow state and local officials to better understand and prevent crashes in their jurisdictions.
We also support the training of law enforcement personnel on how to identify impaired motorcycle operators. While MSF does not believe that motorcyclists should be unfairly targeted by law enforcement personnel, we believe that law enforcement personnel should have the same tools at their disposal to remove impaired riders from the road as they do for other impaired motorists, including proper training on identifying those characteristics exhibited by those who ride under the influence. Ultimately, law enforcement personnel are the last line of defense against impaired riding, and with proper training and increased awareness, police officials can save the lives of impaired riders and others by being better able to identify those who choose to ride impaired.
VIII. Highway Engineering
The MSF agrees that "traffic engineering is a critical element of any crash reduction program," and we are pleased to note the addition of section VIII. We also agree that balancing the needs of motorcyclists must always be considered when designing roadway systems. We support the specific elements recommended including considering motorcycle needs when selecting pavement skid factors and advance warning signs to alert motorcyclists to unusual or irregular roadway surfaces; however, there are a number of other important design and maintenance measures that states should consider in their highway engineering decisions in addition to the two that NHTSA has specifically called out. These include special consideration of grating, rain groove and metal bridge decking placement, edged trap and grade crossing construction, barrier design, work zone warnings, highway joint and crack sealants and painted roadway markings.
IX. Motorcycle Rider Conspicuity and Motorist Awareness Programs
As you are aware, drivers, not motorcyclists, cause more than two thirds of car motorcycle crashes as the driver either does not see the motorcyclist, or sees him or her too late to avoid a crash. With that in mind, MSF is pleased that NHTSA included a section on Motorcycle Rider Conspicuity and Motorist Awareness Programs. We support encouraging state motorcycle safety programs, communication campaigns and state motor vehicle operator manuals to emphasize the issues of rider conspicuity and motorist awareness of motorcycles. We also endorse NHTSA's specific recommendations that state programs should address the daytime use of motorcycle headlights, bright and reflective riding gear, lane positioning, reasons why motorists do not see motorcycles, and ways that other motorists can increase their awareness of motorcyclists. We would also encourage states to require the incorporation of a motorcycle education awareness component in approved drivers education courses.
X. Communication Program
The MSF supports the inclusion of the communication program section that encourages states to develop and implement communications strategies directed at specific high risk populations as identified by data. Identifying and targeting high risk populations will enhance any communication effort. We also support using a mix of media strategies to ensure that the public is receiving the message.
XII. Program Evaluation and Data
MSF agrees with NHTSA that states should identify the frequency and types of motorcycle crashes as well as appropriate countermeasures. MSF also supports NHTSA's specific recommendations in this section. Further, we would urge that intermediary measures be identified and that the collected data support the evaluation of not only the outcome, but of the process and impact. By gaining a better understanding of which types of crashes are more prevalent and which intermediary measures are effective, states will be better able to direct resources to meet the greatest needs. An evaluation conducted at least partially by an external source would ensure the objectivity of the evaluation process.
Again, thank you for understanding the importance of motorcycle safety programs and for your continued dedication to ensuring that motorcyclists can safely enjoy our nation?s highways. We appreciate your consideration of our comments and look forward to continuing to work with NHSTA and the states to reduce motorcycle crashes.
Kathy R. Van Kleeck
Sr. Vice President