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Motorcycle Crash Causation Pilot Study Timeline/FOIA request.

On December 4th, 2009, we submitted a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request for the documents for the Westat contract with NHTSA.

We received a response on April 6th and we are publishing the entire content of the FOIA package. We redacted ET's address, but otherwise the entire response is included. It's a 3.8 MB .pdf file, contact us if you have trouble downloading it.

We are also told that the Westat technical report, submitted in December 2009, is expected to be available on the NHTSA website by May 1st.

Timeline

We created the following table, documenting the original project deliverables and tracking their escalating delays throughout revised scheduled in the eight amendments to the contract. It's a bit of a mess, not of our making, and we did our best to straighten it out a bit and collate it.

The Money Trail

The Westat contract amount was split into a fixed fee plus reimbursement for actual expenses. NHTSA redacted the split between the fixed fee and the actual costs under FOIA section (b) (2), but we note the original contract amount of $467,103, and the revision 5 amount of $527,098 to bring the final cost to $994,201. This is the same amount as the SAETEA-LU study funding for 2006. We would question how the April 23, 2008 revision 5 just happens to match the amount allocated in 2006, which is annotated in the SAETEA-LU document as actual funding for 2006. How did the Feds know in 2006 what the 2008 contract revision was going to call for? Or more likely, why was the costs plus fee amount in April 2008 calculated to be exactly the same as the 2006 funding?

We have one other verified amount, $150,440, which was mentioned in revision 5 as the actual amount paid under the contract up to February 29, 2008. At that point, only a few deliverables up to work plan, which were due by Oct 27 2005 under the initial contract were complete

Summary

Was there an attempt to bypass the intent of the study to be done at OSU by funneling almost half of the SAFETEA-LU funding to the NTHSA-controlled pilot study. We have a copy of the OECD guidelines and we will be examining items like the training costs and duration, which ended up being in excess of the initially contracted amount, which appeared to hew to the OECD requirements.

Here's the information, we'll have more in May when the final study report is released. The source for the table below, except where noted and linked, is the FOIA document, available for download here. Everything on this page is solid, verified fact taken directly from official documents, except as noted.

We should note that the successive and cumulative delays in the pilot project might have been caused by either party to the contract, or by outside forces including politics, lobbying and the issues caused by the reduction of SAFETEA-LU funding from the original $2.8M. The issues of matching funding required by the SAFETEA-LU act and the demands for additional funding by OSU may have factored in. But the pilot was clearly a disaster, fraught with delays and cost overruns, and it seems that funding was available by 2006 to pay for it.

We are following up on this.

NHTSA/Westat Pilot Study Timeline
Date

Event

Funding Notes
Aug 10 2005 SAFETEA-LU passes. Section 5511 and 5101 have funding for the new study. OSU is earmarked to perform the study as pork. Total funding was eventually reduced to $2,402,000 from the Feds and a total of $3,187,000 from all sources. See our funding sources section.
Sept 1 2005 NHTSA signs contract with Westat to perform the study pilot, training and systems/methodology development. $467,103 later increased, see below. Contract.
Sept 8 2005 Contract deliverable C.4.1, OECD report read by Westat due   Memo should be on file at NHTSA (Week 1 after contract signed). This piece was complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007.
Sept 15 2005 Contract deliverable C.4.2, Kick-Off Meeting due   (Week 2 after contract signed). This piece was complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007.
Sept 22 2005 C.4.3, File revised work plan due   Work Plan document should be on file at NHTSA (Week 3 after contract signed).
Sept 29 2005 C.4.3, NHTSA reviews work plan due under initial contract   (Week 4) This piece was complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007.
Oct 13 2005 C.4.5, Westat submits Data Collection and Doc. Plan due under initial contract   (Week 6) This piece was not claimed as complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007.
Oct 20 2005 C.4.5, NHTSA reviews Data Collection and Doc. Plan due under initial contract   (Week 7)
Oct 27 2005 C.4.5, Westat submits final Data Collection and Doc. Plan due   (Week 8) document should be on file at NHTSA. This piece was not claimed as complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007.
Nov 24 2005 C.4.6, Westat submits OMB document (Office of Management and Budget) to NHTSA due under initial contract.   (week 12) This piece was not claimed as complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007.
Dec 8 2005 C.4.6, NHTSA reviews OMB document due under initial contract.   (week 14) This piece was not claimed as complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007.
Dec 15 2005 C.4.6, Westat submits OMB document to OMB due under initial contract.   (week 15) This piece was not claimed as complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007.
Feb 23 2006 C.4.6, OMB approves Westat OMB submission due under initial contract.   (Week 28) document should be on file at NHTSA This piece was not claimed as complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007.
Mar 23 2006 C.4.6, Westat selects the study site due under initial contract.   (Week 32) This piece was not claimed as complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007.
Mar 30 2006 C.4.4, Westat prepares draft memo of understanding (MOU) due under initial contract.   (Week 33) This piece was not claimed as complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007.
Apr 6 2006

 

C.4.4, NHTSA reviews draft memo of understanding (MOU) due under initial contract..   (Week 34) This piece was not claimed as complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007.
Apr 20 2006 C.4.8, Westat recruits and trains investigators due under initial contract.   (Week 36). The investigators were actually recruited by Dynamic Science of Phoenix This piece was not claimed as complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007.
May 4 2006 C.4.9, Westat prepares final memo of understanding (MOU) due under initial contract.   (Week 38) document should be on file at NHTSA This piece was not claimed as complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007.
May 18 2006 C.4.9, Westat (actually Dynamic Science) implements data collection due under initial contract.   (Week 40) This piece was not claimed as complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007. It was finally started, late under under revision 5, Oct 8 2008.
Aug 10 2006 C.4.11, Westat (actually Dynamic Science) completes data collection due under initial contract.   (Week 52) This piece was not claimed as complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007. It was finally completed under revision 5, late, in March 2009.
Nov 30 2006 C.4.12, Westat completes data analysis and submits graphic and tabular layout for Short Technical Report (STR) due under initial contract.   (Week 68) document should be on file at NHTSA This piece was not claimed as complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007.
Dec 28 2006 C.4.12, Westat submits draft Short Technical Report (STR) and journal article due under initial contract.   (Week 72) This piece was not claimed as complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007.
Jan 11 2007 C.4.12, NHTSA reviews draft Short Technical Report (STR) and journal article due under initial contract.   (Week 74) This piece was not claimed as complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007.
Jan 25 2007 C.4.12, Westat submits final Short Technical Report (STR) and journal article due under initial contract.   (Week 76) document should be on file at NHTSA This piece was not claimed as complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007.
Jan 26 2007 C.4.5 Westat submits draft Data Collection Forms due under Revision 3   They stopped using week numbers in Revision 3.
Feb 8 2007 C.4.12, Westat submits draft Full Technical Report (FTR) and data files due under initial contract.   (Week 78) This piece was not claimed as complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007.
Feb 16 2007 C.4.6, Westat submits draft OMB document (Office of Management and Budget) to NHTSA due under Revision 3    
Feb 20 2007 C.4.5 NHTSA reviews Data Collection Forms due under Revision 3   No week number provided
Feb 23 2007 C.4.6, NHTSA reviews OMB document due under due under Revision 3    
Feb 28 2007 Amendment 3 to the contract was signed, extending the contract for an additional 23 months. The termination date is moved from April 15, 2007 to the new end date of April 25 2008   This is the first contract amendment we received with that FOIA contract information. Presumably there were amendments 1 and 2 that we don't have. There was no change to the contract price in this change.
Feb 28 2007 C.4.5 Westat submits final Data Collection Forms due under Revision 3   document should be on file at NHTSA
Feb 28 2007 C.4.5 Westat completes site selection due under Revision 3   document should be on file at NHTSA
Feb 28 2007 C.4.4 Westat prepared draft MOU due under Revision 3    
Mar 2 2007 C.4.6, Westat submits OMB document to OMB due under due under Revision 3    
Mar 6 2007 C.4.6, NHTSA submits OMB document to OMB due under due under Revision 3   document should be on file at NHTSA

Mar 8 2007

C.4.12, NHTSA reviews draft Full Technical Report (FTR) and data files due under initial contract.   (Week 82) This piece was not claimed as complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007.
Mar 9 2007 C.4.6, NHTSA reviews draft MOU due under Revision 3    
Mar 22 2007 C.4.12, Westat submits final Full Technical Report (FTR) due under initial contract.   (Week 84) This piece was not claimed as complete when revision 3 was signed on Feb 28 2007. In the event, the final report was submitted in December 2009 under revision 8
Mar 23 2007 C.4.5, Westat submits Draft Coding Manual due under Revision 3.   (They stopped using the week number designation in Revision 3.
Mar 23 2007 C.4.5 NHTSA reviews Data Collection Coding Manuals due under Revision 3    
Mar 28 2007 C.4.9, Westat prepares final memo of understanding (MOU) and coordination with site due under Revision 3   document should be on file at NHTSA
Apr 3 2007 C.4.5 Westat submits final Data Collection Coding Manual due under Revision 3   document should be on file at NHTSA
April 16 2007 C.4.8 Westat recruits and trains investigators. Revision 5 changes the number of investigators to 'up to 4', but we believe three investigators were eventually recruited and trained by Dynamic Science.   The investigators were actually recruited by Dynamic Science of Phoenix
Jul 11 2005 Revision 4 to the contract NTHSC contracting officer Paul Tremont is changed to Jennifer Percer  
Jul 13 2007 C.4.6, OMB approves Westat OMB submission due under Revision 3   document should be on file at NHTSA
Jul 16 2007 C.4.10 Westat/Dynamic Science starts data collection due under Revision 3    
Nov 9 2007 C.4.11 Westat/Dynamic Science completes data collection due under Revision 3    
Jan 18 2008 C.4.11 Westat completes data analysis and submits graphic and tabular layout for short technical report due under Revision 3    
Feb 15 2008 C4.12 Westat completes draft short technical report and journal article due under Revision 3    
Feb 28 2008 C4.12 NHTSA reviews short technical report and journal article due under Revision 3    
Feb 29 2008 According to Revision 5, $150,440 of the total contract cost of 994,201 was spent up to this date. $150,440 spent to date, according to revision 5  
Mar 1 2008 C.4.5 Westat submits final Data Collection Forms due under Revision 5    

Mar 7 2008

 

C4.12 Westat completes final short technical report and journal article due under Revision 3   document should be on file at NHTSA
Mar 28 2008 C4.12 Westat completes draft full technical report and data files due under Revision 3    

Apr 18 2008

C4.12 NHTSA reviews draft full technical report and data files due under Revision 3    
Apr 23 2008 Revision 5 of the contract is signed, extending the dates, changing deliverable due dates and increasing the cost of the project by $527,098. $467,103 is increased to $994,201 which was the final cost. This is the same amount as the SAETEA-LU study funding for 2006. The number of crashes to be investigated is set at 37 crashes or 3 months, whichever comes first. 53 crashes were eventually studied. Final due date set at Oct 16 2009
Apr 25 2008 C4.12 Westat completes final full technical report due under Revision 3   documents should be on file at NHTSA
Apr 25 2008 C.4.5, Westat submits Draft Coding Manual due under Revision 5.    
May 23 2008 C.4.5, Westat submits final Coding Manual due under Revision 5.   documents should be on file at NHTSA
Mar 30 2008 C.4.5 Westat completes site selection due under Revision 5    
Jun 4 2008 Revision 6 clarifies how the 994,201 contract cost from revision 5 is to be split between fixed fee and the costed amount but the split is redacted under FOIA section (b) (4).    
Jun 27 2008 C.4.8 Westat submits draft training manual. This step was not in the original contract and was added in revision 5    
Jul 11 2008 C.4.8 Westat recruits and trains investigators, due under Revision 5    
Jul 25 2008 C.4.8 Westat submits final training manual. This step was not in the original contract and was added in revision 5   documents should be on file at NHTSA
Jul 28 2008 C.4.8 Start crash investigator training due under revision 5    
Sept 19 2008 C.4.8 Complete crash investigator training due under revision 5    
Sept 20 2008 C.4.10 Westat/Dynamic Science starts data collection due under Revision 5    
Oct 1 2008 Draft interim report new deliverable due under revision 5    
Dec 8 2008 The data collection actually starts. It is almost three months late from the revision 5 start date   LA Times article
Dec 20 2008 C.4.10 Westat/Dynamic Science finishes data collection due under Revision 5    
Jan 20 2009 C.4.10 Westat/Dynamic Science finishes data entry and editing due under Revision 5    
Feb 9 2009 Westat submits Power Point slides and supplementary material not mentioned in original contract and due under revision 5   documents should be on file at NHTSA
Feb 12 2009 NHTSA reviews power point slides and supplementary material due under revision 5    
Feb 17 2009 Preliminary briefing by Westat to NHTSA due under revision 5    
Mar 8 2009 Approximate end date for data collection period.   53 crashes were sampled, more than the 37 authorized under this contract, according to the LA Times.
Apr 1 2009 C4.12 Westat completes draft full technical report and data files due under revision 5    
May 1 2009 C4.12 NHTSA reviews draft full technical report and data files due under revision 5    
Jun 1 2009 C4.12 NHTSA approves final full technical report and data files due under revision 5    
       
Jun 1 2009 C4.12 Westat submits final technical report for agency review due under revision 5    
Jul 17 2009 Revision 7 changes the NHTSA contact from Jenny Percer to Jessica Cicchino.    
Sept 18 2009 Agency review commends under revision 5    
Oct 16 2009 C4.12 Westat submits final technical report due under revision 5    
Oct 16 2009 Revision 8 extends the project period to the end of 2009    
Nov 15 2009 Agency review commends under revision 8    
Dec 31 2009 C4.12 Westat submits final technical report due under revision 8   We think this date was met. NHTSA has said they plan to post the report on their website May 1 2010