FAQS: Eligibility Letter Request
FAQs on communication between FHWA and entities seeking a Federal – Aid eligibility letter for a roadside hardware device or a modification to a roadside hardware device
1. Question: What is the procedure for communications between FHWA and any entity seeking a Federal-Aid eligibility letter for a roadside hardware device?
Answer: All substantive communications with FHWA that relate to a request for a Federal – Aid eligibility letter or relate to a modification of a device that is already covered by a previously issued Federal – Aid eligibility letter for a roadside hardware device must be documented in writing. The written materials must be in a format that permits FHWA to preserve copies of the documented communications. Substantive communications either request or support a request for a Federal-Aid eligibility determination by FHWA. FHWA will not take action or issue decisions, guidance, or directions relating to the eligibility of a roadside hardware device based on oral communications.
2. Question: What methods can I use to submit a formal request for a Federal-Aid eligibility letter for a roadside hardware device?
Answer: Requests should be submitted electronically using the official Office of Safety Roadside template ("FHWA Office of Safety Highway Safety Hardware - Form to Request Eligibility for Federal Aid Reimbursement") by email. FHWA will accept supporting documentation for a request for eligibility through tracked* mail delivery services such as USPS Priority Mail Express, UPS, Airborne, DHL, and FED-Ex.
3. Question: Where do I send a formal request and supporting documentation for a Federal-Aid eligibility letter?
If you send by tracked mail delivery services:
Office of Safety
Safety Design Team (HSST) Room E71-117
1200 New Jersey Ave SE
Washington, DC 20590
Attention: Roadway Departure Safety Program
If you send the request electronically, there is a form that can be completed that will be sent to a specially designated email address. The form is located here:
You may also send it to the following email address:
4. Question: What formats will FHWA accept for a formal request a Federal-Aid eligibility letter for a roadside hardware device and supporting documentation?
Answer: Your formal request should be submitted to FHWA as an electronic document. FHWA has an electronic form on its Roadside Hardware Policy and Guidance website that an entity may use to submit a request for an eligibility letter. The form is located here: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/roadway_dept/countermeasures/reduce_crash_severity/forms/FormV10_060716.pdf.
Supporting documentation may be submitted in paper or electronic format. FHWA currently has the ability to accept virus free CDs, Zip drives, external hard drives, and electronic attachments to an email. If FHWA is provided with a website containing supporting documentation, FHWA may also download that documentation onto its servers if clear written direction to do so is provided by the requester, however, this method is the least preferred method for providing supporting documentation.
5. Question: What information does FHWA need to evaluate a request for a Federal – Aid eligibility letter?
Answer: In order to evaluate a request for a Federal – Aid eligibility letter, FHWA needs the following information:
- All information and relevant supporting documentation as described in the FHWA Federal-aid Reimbursement Eligibility Process - http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/roadway_dept/countermeasures/reduce_crash_severity/acceptprocess/
- Your written request should also include a disclosure of any financial interests between the manufacturer seeking an eligibility determination and both the testing facility and testing facility employees.
6. Question: What financial interest information should be disclosed in a request for a Federal – Aid eligibility letter?
Answer: A testing facility involved in evaluating a roadside hardware device for purposes of obtaining an FHWA Fed-Aid eligibility letter, and any testing facility employee who is directly and substantially involved in the testing and evaluation of a roadside hardware device, must disclose any related financial Interest in the device or with the device manufacturer. This disclosure statement must be provided by the entity seeking an eligibility letter at the time of submission of the request for a Federal-Aid eligibility letter. FHWA will make this disclosure information publicly available. The dollar value of any financial interest is not needed by FHWA.
Financial interests include but are not limited to –
- Compensation, including wages, salaries, commissions, professional fees, or fees for business referrals (dollar values are not needed);
- Consulting relationships
- Research funding or other forms of research support;
- Patents, copyrights, and other intellectual property interests;
- Licenses or contractual relationships; or
- Business ownership and investment interests.
7. Question: Is there any specific information that must be included in all communications to or from an entity relating to a Federal-Aid eligibility letter for a roadside hardware device?
Answer: Yes. Each communication must clearly reference the name and model number or version number of the device. Each communication must clearly reference the date of the initial request for an eligibility letter if a formal request has been submitted, and or the FHWA assigned control number. Each communication should clearly identify any trade secrets or commercial or financial information that is considered privileged or confidential.
8. Question: Will FHWA communicate with an entity seeking an eligibility letter about the testing of a roadside hardware device prior to receipt of a formal request for a Federal-Aid eligibility letter?
Answer: Yes. FHWA may discuss possible testing plans with an entity seeking an eligibility letter. However, FHWA reminds all parties that these preliminary communications occur before FHWA reviews a formal eligibility request; therefore they do not constitute a final decision on the adequacy of a testing protocol or to the eligibility of the roadside hardware device for Federal-Aid reimbursement.
9. Question: Do "non-significant" modifications to roadside safety hardware devices made prior to May 18th, 2015 need to be reported to FHWA?
Answer: No. FHWA does not expect submitters to report "non-significant" modifications to roadside safety hardware devices when the modification was made prior to May 18, 2015.
On November 12, 2015, FHWA updated the FHWA Federal-aid reimbursement eligibility review process for safety hardware devices. Those revisions are discussed in two letters from FHWA, one dated May 18, 2015 and one dated November 12, 2015. In those letters, FHWA explains that if a submitter (manufacturer, crash test laboratory, state agency, and other organizations) makes any modification to any roadside safety hardware that has an existing eligibility letter from FHWA, then they must notify FHWA of such modification in order for the device to continue to be covered by the existing FHWA eligibility letter.
Prior to May 18, 2015, FHWA did not expect submitters to notify FHWA of "non-significant" modifications if the modification was thought to have no effect on how the device would slow, stop, or redirect the vehicle. Examples of these modifications included changes to the finish of surface, changes to wiring harnesses, changes using stronger materials, and/or changes in coloring and labeling. In contrast, after May 18, 2015, FHWA expects a submitter to notify FHWA of all modifications including all "non-significant" modifications. For all "non-significant" modifications, a statement from the crash test laboratory on the potential effect of the modification on the ability of the device to meet the relevant crash test criteria must be provided. See Section IV of the FHWA Federal-Aid Reimbursement Eligibility Process for Safety Hardware Devices for more information.
* Tracked delivery services are recommended as mail sent through the US Postal Service is subjected to a decontamination process that applies heat to letters and packages. This heat can damage media such as color photocopies, CDs, zip/flash drives, etc.