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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-17-039
Synopsis: At 4:36 p.m. eastern daylight time on Saturday, May 7, 2016, a 2015 Tesla Model S 70D car, traveling eastbound on US Highway 27A (US-27A) west of Williston, Florida, struck a semitrailer powered by a 2014 Freightliner Cascadia truck tractor. At the time of the collision, the truck was making a left turn from westbound US 27A across the two eastbound travel lanes onto NE 140th Court, a local paved road. The car struck the right side of the semitrailer, crossed underneath it, and then went off the right roadside at a shallow angle. Impact with the underside of the semitrailer sheared off the roof of the car. After leaving the roadway, the car continued through a drainage culvert and two wire fences. It then struck and broke a utility pole, rotated counterclockwise, and came to rest perpendicular to the highway in the front yard of a private residence. Meanwhile, the truck continued across the intersection and came to a stop on NE 140th Court, south of a retail business located on the intersection corner. The driver and sole occupant of the car died in the crash; the commercial truck driver was not injured.
Recommendation: TO THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION: Use the data parameters defined by the US Department of Transportation in response to Safety Recommendation H-17-37 as a benchmark for new vehicles equipped with automated vehicle control systems so that they capture data that reflect the vehicle’s control status and the frequency and duration of control actions needed to adequately characterize driver and vehicle performance before and during a crash; the captured data should be readily available to, at a minimum, National Transportation Safety Board investigators and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulators.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
Mode: Highway
Location: Williston, FL, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: HWY16FH018
Accident Reports: Preliminary Report, ​Highway HWY16FH018Collision Between a Car Operating With Automated Vehicle Control Systems and a Tractor-Semitrailer Truck Near Williston, Florida May 7, 2016
Report #: HAR-17-02
Accident Date: 5/7/2016
Issue Date: 9/28/2017
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: NHTSA (Open - Acceptable Response)

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
Date: 12/20/2018
Response: From the NTSB’s December 20, 2018 ANPRM Comment Letter: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reviewed the Department of Transportation (DOT) announcement of an updated policy for Automated Vehicles 3.0 (AV 3.0) and is providing comments. The NTSB has also considered the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), titled “Pilot Program for Collaborative Research on Motor Vehicles With High or Full Driving Automation” (83 Federal Register 196, October 10, 2018). This correspondence includes comments on both AV 3.0 and the ANPRM; we are providing two copies, one for each docket, and request that the correspondence be filed in both dockets. … The inclusion of “Key Terms and Acronyms” in AV 3.0 is encouraging because it points to the necessary expansion and continued development of standardized technical definitions applicable to automated systems. A taxonomy for common use that facilitates understanding of and communication about system capability and operational design domains was addressed in the NTSB’s report on the Williston crash (Safety Recommendation H-17-40) and in ongoing industry workgroups (see Consumer Reports webinar: “The Future of ADAS: New CR Ratings for Today’s Vehicles, Tomorrow’s Vehicles, and the Road Ahead”). A common taxonomy will allow for comparisons between manufacturers and for establishing an evaluation framework. The NTSB recognizes the DOT’s need to coordinate and continually develop automated vehicle terminology in response to the evolving technology that will be associated with Level 4 and Level 5 vehicles. AV 3.0 also introduces relevant data needs for understanding the operation and safety of HAVs (as in NTSB Safety Recommendations H-17-37, -39, and -40). However, the necessary specifications for data structure (such as standard data elements, timing, and format) have yet to be addressed. … The ANPRM makes common reference to safety, without defining the term. For the purposes of on-road testing, the definition of safe must be qualified by NHTSA and the states; the question for prequalification cannot be left to manufacturers. Following the NTSB recommendations resulting from its investigation of the fatal crash near Williston, Florida, the collection and dissemination of data to NHTSA, the DOT, and the NTSB when appropriate, is critical to establishing safety (as in NTSB Safety Recommendations H-17-37 and -39). As a final note, the DOT has an important responsibility to ensure the safe development and deployment of AV technologies, and this safety should not be voluntary. Policy thus far has carried an overarching message of promoting AV development, but a clear logic to require safety has not yet been crafted. The DOT can and should provide this required safety leadership. …

From: NTSB
Date: 8/10/2018
Response: We are encouraged by your efforts to work with SAE International to develop the data parameters recommended in Safety Recommendation H-17-37, which we issued to the DOT. We look forward to receiving updates on your collaborative efforts with SAE, as well as further details about how you plan to apply the data parameters to the recommended data benchmark as it is developed. Pending our review of the final product of these efforts, Safety Recommendation H 17 39 is classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

Date: 2/7/2018
Response: -From Heidi R. King, Deputy Administrator: As previously discussed in response to Safety Recommendation H-17-37, NHTSA will continue working with SAE International to define data parameters needed to understand automated vehicle control systems involved in a crash. Until a benchmark based on these parameters can be considered, Automated Driving System 2. 0: A Vision for Safety put forth interim crash reconstruction recommendations to entities engaged in ADS testing or deployment (see Section 1, Part 10. Data Recording). NHTSA's guidance recommends data capture on vehicle control leading up to, and during, a crash, and technical and legal capabilities for sharing relevant recorded information with government authorities. NHTSA has directed manufacturers and other entities to participate in the agency's Early Warning Reporting program to assist in identifying safety issues associated with ADSs. Given these actions and needed developments, NHTSA requests that Safety Recommendation H-17-39 be classified as "Open - Acceptable Response."

From: NTSB
Date: 9/28/2017
Response: On September 12, 2017, the NTSB adopted its report Collision Between a Car Operating With Automated Vehicle Control Systems and a Tractor-Semitrailer Truck Near Williston, Florida, May 7, 2016, NTSB/HAR-17/02. The details of this accident investigation and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the attached report, which can also be accessed at Among the Safety Recommendations are three new recommendations and two reiterated recommendations issued to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which can be found on pages 43 and 44 of the report. The NTSB is vitally interested in these recommendations because they are 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 these recommendations. When replying, please refer to the safety recommendations by number.