Letter to NCSA on Acura MDX Fire Fatalities

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

May 4, 2004

Mr. Joseph S. Carra, Director

National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
400 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20590

Dear Mr. Carra:

The attached article recounts a fatal crash that occurred on March 4, 2004 in Pacific Palisades, CA. A father and daughter were killed in the accident, apparently due to fire-related causes. The accident occurred in a church parking lot and adjacent garage, with the vehicle clearly in motion prior to the crash. 

In the attached letter of October 20, 2003, you write:

For the purposes of uniformity, ANSI defines "In Transport" as the state or condition of a transport vehicle "within the portion of a transport way". When this is applied to motor vehicles, "in transport" means in motion OR on a roadway. [Emphasis Added]

We are interested as to whether this crash would result in a Vehicle Level Record in the FARS database. In other words, would this situation qualify under the definition of "in transport," even though it appears to have occurred in an area that would not be considered a "roadway"? Furthermore, will the accident be included in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data for 2004?

Thank you for your assistance with this inquiry, and we look forward to your response. If you have any questions, please contact me at (202) 328-7700 x113. 


Michael Brooks

Staff Attorney