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Mr. Toms. The disappearance of alcohol from the bloodstream is due to excretion and metabolic breakdown and precedes at a fairly constant rate of about 7 gms./hr. or a lowering of the blood alcohol concentration of 9.918 gms./100 ml. of blood. It has been maintained that many factors like fructose, exercise, etc. increase this breakdown, but none of these statements can be supported by good experimental data. There is some evidence that a cold shower or an emotional shock may change the state of intoxication without lowering the bloodalcohol concentration. The nature of this phenomenon is unexplained at this time. The NHTSA combined with the National Institute of Mental Health intends to hold a symposium on “Metabolism of Alcohol" (spring 1972) which will include an evaluation of new approaches to the sobering problem.



Mr. McFall. On page 42, why do you need a $4,250,000 contract program-$1,037,000 more than 1971—for accident investigation and analysis when you have an in-house staff of 60 positions for this same function?

Mr. Toms. We do have these go teams that are out at our major universities. The investigate spectacular crashes and go into thorough intensive review of the accidents. This has been one of our primary sources of vehicular defects.

Mr. McFall. These are part-time people who investigate accidents?
Mr. Toms. Yes, sir.

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Mr. EDWARDS. We have just completed a major milestone in our planning process where we have developed an information and data system by which we are going, in a more systematic manner, to acquire information and data from the States and from special studies for integration into the analysis mode. This will in turn support our standards. This big increment here relates to the increase in the information systems area. That is the significant thing.

Mr. Toms. One of the places I am afraid we are vulnerable, Mr. Chairman, is when we are asked what causes a crash. If we have to identify failure of the vehicle or whether the person has been on drugs or been under the influence of alcohol, we have to sort this out and be specific. This is an area where we are trying to get more information as to the role of the car and the driver.


Dr. HARTMAN. The 60 positions you mentioned are for the entire Office of Accident Investigation and Data Analysis. Only 11 are actually in accident investigations, 37 deal with our information systems. This is our National Driver Register, which is primarily a clerical position operation.

Mr. McFall. You don't really have any in-house accident teams?

Mr. Toms. We don't have anybody in our office who actually goes out and investigates crashes, no.

We depend on university professors and people in the local community.


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Mr. McFall. Also on page 42, aren't your safety information reg. ister and national driver register a duplication of information which the States already have!

Mr. Toms. There is a need, Mr. Chairman, on a national basis for some central register where the States can inquire about a driver who is licensed in one State and quickly moves to another. Drivers do attempt to evade the States by this movement. So we are the central repository to prevent this sort of thing from occurring. We only keep those serious violations on record. But we do have on these problem drivers a check that the States can use to determine whether they are licensed and whether they are under suspicion. Mr. McFall. Have the State programs improved since the establishment of this register?

Mr. Toms. Yes. Mr. McFALL. Do they provide you with additional information for your registers

Mr. Toms. Yes. Not only are they keeping the information much better, but they are now a good bit more judicious in their use of this information. We feel that we have played a role in attempting to upgrade the quality of the records in licensing.

Mr. CONTE. How soon do you estimate a fully operational safety information and data exchange system can be set up?

Mr. Toms. The complete implementation plan for the NHTSA information and data system projects the achievement of fully operational status of all of the designed components to near the end of fiscal year 1976.

That projection recognizes the current operational status of several activities which would be coordinated into the system—the National Driver Register, The National Accident Summary, and other special files such as ACIR (Automotive Crash and Injury Research) and the Vehicle Consumer Complaint File. Also recognized are our present commitments to the development of files which are also intended to become elements of the system such as the automation of the multidiscipline accident investigation reports conducted by our teams.

A number of additional requirements must be met for both the present and the planned developments to be interrelated in a system. These include both manual and computer processing capabilities and the development of additional files, especially those which will be generated by States. Our currently approved activities will initiate two developments, a fatality analysis file in support of the alcohol countermeasures program and the system directory which is a set of files describing the data which we maintain or may access.

Our information and data system has been designed for change so that current needs will always receive priority attention. It is anticipated that elements projected for later implementation, based on today's needs and knowledge, may be withdrawn from our plans as new needs emerge and occupy higher priorities. For these reasons,

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we cannot define the concept of operational status in terms of specific files and their degrees of implementation. We will need to build new files (and retire old ones) as long as we undertake new programs. We can say that the information and data system is fully operational, however, when all of our data handling-planning, implementation, operations (processing and control), and use-are coordinated, integrated, and responsive to our program requirements.

Mr. ContE. What is the operational makeup of the National Driver Register? Who has access to this Register and what safeguards have been established to protect the individual's right of privacy?

Mr. Toms. The National Driver Register (NDR) was established in 1960 by Public Law 86-660, and the Register became operational in July 1961. The original law enabled NDR to file only those withdrawals resulting from driving while intoxicated or fatality convictions. This law was amended in 1966 by Public Law 89–563, to permit the filing of virtually any kind of State of recorded driver license denial or withdrawal. This amendment also authorized Federal Government licensing officials to obtain data from the Register.

The NDR law was enacted by Congress to fill a void, namely, the need to communicate potentially dangerous driver records data to driver licensing officials in time to affect their driver licensing and/or driver improvement and control decisions.

With this congressional mandate the Register serves as a clearinghouse which State driver licensing administrators check on a voluntary basis, to locate problem drivers nationwide. The States report driver license denials and withdrawals to the Register. These reports are stored on magnetic tape for the computer searching of State and Federal inquiries on driver license applicants. The Driver Register has endeavored to maintain a response time of 24 hours (plus to and from mailing time) to all inquires.

The National Driver Register is then, a communications system which enables driver licensing officials to communicate with officials in other jurisdictions concerning denials and withdrawals of driver licenses which would not routinely come to the attention of officials without such a communications system.

Probable identifications from the Register are available only to designated State and Federal officials, and only in connection with an application for a motor vehicle license or permit.

The Federal Government is not the source or the originator of the data contained in the Register. The information stored in the Register is not the work product of Government agents in the field, nor is it the result of surveillance of unsuspecting individuals. The Register is simply a depository for State-collected and State-furnished information which is part of a State's public record. In most States, this record is available to anyone who requests it.

A number of safeguards are in effect to insure the security of the information submitted by the States. Only specified State sources may submit a revocation notice, and printouts from the Register may only be sent to specifically designated State and Federal officials. The Register staff periodically checks with the States to verify the number of records submitted by that State to the Register. The Register also provides special preaddressed, franked envelopes and special con

tainers to the States to be used for all submissions. Special format punch cards and magnetic tapes are also supplied to the State.

Further, Register personnel are carefully instructed as to their responsibilities, and all have received special clearances. The Register offices have special locks, and Register personnel, rather than normal cleaning crews, clean their offices. Obsolete records are destroyed by burning in the presence of Register personnel and computer tapes are erased before being sent to the States for additional information.

STAFF AND ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT Mr. McFall. Turn to Administrative Support. Insert pages 44 through 49. (The pages referred to follow :)

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Under the direction of the Associate Administrator for Administration, comprehensive programs are developed and implemented in all administrative areas, including personnel management; budget development, presentation and control; management and organization planning; financial management; management data systems; Management improvement; and contracting and procurement. In addition, administrative services are provided or obtained as required for effective program operations, including general administrative services, computerized data services, contracting and procurement services, and technical reference services relating to motor vehicle and traffic safety research documents. The staff expansion proposed for 1972 is required to cope with additional workload generated by the overall increase in the NHTSA program, particularly in the contract area; and to overcome present understaffing in certain areas.

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