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NHTSA hosted a workshop on the effects of light-duty vehicle mass and size on vehicle safety on February 25, 2011. Our purpose was to bring together experts in the field to discuss some of the overarching questions that NHTSA must grapple with in our upcoming CAFE rulemaking.

Panelists discussed how statistical analysis can help the agency evaluate the effect of vehicle mass and size on safety, and how consideration of vehicle structural crashworthiness, occupant safety, and advanced vehicle design can help inform the agency’s understanding of what levels of mass reduction might be appropriate to consider for CAFE rulemaking.

A number of research projects currently are ongoing at NHTSA and other agencies and in the private sector to help to answer these questions. NHTSA held the workshop to help kick off the dialogue process between the agency and stakeholders and to set a good baseline for further discussions.

The workshop was at NHTSA headquarters. Due to space constraints, NHTSA offered a streaming live webinar to expand participation. A recording of the webinar is accessible below, as are printable versions of all the presentations.

Workshop materials
Panel 1: Statistical Evidence of the Roles of Mass and Size on Safety
Panel 2: Engineering Realities – Structural Crashworthiness, Occupant Injury and Advanced Vehicle Design
How do I comment on the workshop proceedings?

NHTSA strongly encourages interested parties to submit written comment on the workshop proceedings to the mass-safety docket. We suggest that you submit your comments by March 30 to ensure that the agency will have time to consider fully in the upcoming CAFE NPRM.

However, we will leave the docket open throughout the rulemaking period and encourage you to check back as we will upload new studies and information as it becomes available. The docket can be accessed at; you can input the docket number NHTSA-2010-0152 at that website and upload comments electronically, or you can contact Rebecca Yoon (202-366-2992) at NHTSA for assistance with submitting comments.