Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Low Speed Vehicles, 48313-48320 [05-16323]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 158 / Wednesday, August 17, 2005 / Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 571 [Docket No. NHTSA–05–22116] RIN 2127–AJ12 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Low Speed Vehicles National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: SUMMARY: This final rule amends the definition of ‘‘low-speed vehicle’’ (LSV) in two ways. First, it eliminates the exclusion of trucks from that class of vehicles. Second, it limits the class of LSVs to those vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of less than 1,134 kilograms (2,500 pound). DATES: Effective Date: This rule becomes effective October 3, 2005. Petitions: If you wish to submit a petition for reconsideration of this rule, your petition must be received by October 3, 2005. ADDRESSES: Petitions for reconsideration should refer to the docket number above and be submitted to: Administrator, Room 5220, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The following persons at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. For technical and policy issues: Ms. Gayle Dalrymple, Office of Crash Avoidance Standards, NVS–123 (Telephone: 202–366–5559) (Fax: 202– 493–2739). For legal issues: Mr. Christopher Calamita, Office of the Chief Counsel (Telephone: 202–366–2992) (Fax: 202– 366–3820). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Table of Contents I. Background II. Summary of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking III. Public Comments IV. The Final Rule and Response to Public Comments A. The Final Rule 1. 2,500 pound GVWR 2. The 80-pound RCL limitation B. Miscellaneous Comments V. Regulatory Analyses and Notices I. Background On June 17, 1998, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration VerDate jul<14>2003 11:00 Aug 16, 2005 Jkt 205001 (NHTSA) published a final rule establishing a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 500, ‘‘Low-speed vehicles,’’ and added a definition of ‘‘low-speed vehicle’’ (LSV) to 49 CFR 571.3 (63 FR 33194). This new FMVSS and vehicle class definition responded to the growing public interest in using golf cars and other similarly sized small vehicles to make short trips for shopping, social, and recreational purposes primarily within retirement or other planned, self-contained communities. These vehicles, many of which are electric-powered, offer comparatively low-cost, energyefficient, low-emission, quiet transportation.1 The current definition of LSV is ‘‘a 4-wheeled motor vehicle, other than a truck, whose speed attainable in 1.6km (1 mile) is more than 32 kilometers per hour (20 miles per hour) and not more than 40 kilometers per hour (25 miles per hour) on a paved level surface.’’ When we first proposed and established FMVSS No. 500, we stated that we envisioned the LSV as a small, lightweight vehicle that could not meet FMVSSs appropriate for larger and heavier vehicles.2 As originally proposed in January 1997, trucks were not excluded from the definition of LSV. We proposed the ‘‘creation of a new class of vehicle * * * with a definitional criterion of speed alone.’’ However, low-speed vehicles with ‘‘work performing features’’ (such as a street sweeper) would have been excluded under the 1997 proposed definition. After considering the comments, we limited LSVs to vehicles other than trucks. Not excluding trucks from the LSV definition would have had the unintended result of rendering some vehicles that already met FMVSSs subject to neither those standards nor even the minimum limitations applicable to LSVs. We have encouraged states to be very careful when contemplating the use of LSVs on public roads. A LSV does not have the occupant protection capability of other four-wheeled motor vehicles. Its lightness makes its occupants vulnerable in any collision with a nonLSV vehicle. The force involved in such a collision increases proportional to the square of the velocity of travel. For example, the result of a vehicle collision 1 Electric LSVs are commonly referred to as Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs). However, NEVs are not specifically defined in the Federal motor vehicle safety standards. 2 See the notice of proposed rulemaking (62 FR 1077, January 8, 1997), final rule (63 FR 33194, June 17, 1998), response to petitions for reconsideration of the final rule (65 FR 53219, September 1, 2000), and letters of interpretation of the definition of LSV. PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 48313 at 35 miles per hour (mph) is twice as severe as the same collision at 25 mph. We continue to anticipate that LSV use on roads outside confined, controlled areas will be limited by the maximum speed capability of LSVs. We expect that occupants will not want to travel at less than 25 mph in mixedvehicle traffic for other than very short trips, regardless of the extent to which states permit LSV use. Since the publication of the final rule in 1998, we have received two petitions regarding the exclusion of trucks from the definition of LSV. The first was a petition for reconsideration of the final rule by Solectria (seconded by Electric Transportation Coalition) asking us to reconsider the exclusion of trucks from the definition of LSV because Solectria manufactures a micro electric pickup truck. Solectria said its truck was ‘‘suitable’’ for many uses off the public roads, such as airports, college properties, and parks. Solectria asked that we amend the definition of LSV to exclude only trucks with a curb weight greater than 2,200 pounds. In our response to Solectria’s petition for reconsideration (65 FR 53219; Sept. 1, 2000), we reiterated the discussion from the preamble to the final rule that we believed excluding trucks from Standard 500 ‘‘ensures that such trucks must continue to meet the Federal standards that have always applied to trucks with a maximum speed of more than 20 miles per hour’’ and that we believed the decision to be ‘‘consistent with the rationale of this rulemaking, which is to eliminate a regulatory conflict involving passenger-carrying vehicles.’’ We noted that FMVSSs applicable to trucks with a maximum speed between 20 and 25 mph had not inhibited the introduction of such trucks in the past. However, we also stated, We are still considering this petition, and have not reached a decision whether to grant or to deny it. Our decision will be reflected in the notice of proposed rulemaking under consideration for establishing performance requirements for safety equipment on LSVs. Subsequently, in January 2002, the agency received a petition regarding the LSV definition from Global Electric Motorcars (GEM), a DaimlerChrysler company. GEM asked that NHTSA change the definition of LSV, ‘‘to include ‘trucks’ or vehicles designed primarily for the transportation of property or special purpose equipment, so long as they meet the existing vehicle speed limitations of the definition.’’ GEM noted that the NPRM stated ‘‘LSVs would include all motor vehicles, other than motorcycles * * * whose speed E:\FR\FM\17AUR1.SGM 17AUR1 48314 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 158 / Wednesday, August 17, 2005 / Rules and Regulations * * * does not exceed 25 mph,’’ and that the agency had recognized, ‘‘that there is no reasonable justification for subjecting low-speed vehicles like golf carts * * * to the full range of safety standards that apply to heavier, faster vehicles.’’ As a result of the petitions received from GEM and Solectria, the agency decided to reconsider the LSV definition. In a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published on December 8, 2003 (68 FR 68319), we granted the petitions by GEM and Solectria, and tentatively agreed with the petitioners that the current exclusion of trucks from the LSV definition is too broad and does not fully reflect current interpretations of that definition.3 In the NPRM, we proposed to drop the exclusion of trucks from the definition and otherwise revise our definition of a LSV. II. Summary of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking In the NPRM, we proposed to revise the definition of LSV by (1) eliminating the ‘‘other than truck’’ text from the definition, (2) limiting a LSV’s GVWR to less than 1,134 kilograms (2,500 pounds), and (3) requiring that a LSV have a rated cargo load of at least 36 kilograms (80 pounds). The current definition of LSV is: [A] 4-wheeled motor vehicle, other than a truck, whose speed attainable in 1.6 km (1 mile) is more than 32 kilometers per hour (20 miles per hour) and not more than 40 kilometers per hour (25 miles per hour) on a paved level surface. 49 CFR 571.3(b). The agency proposed the following definition: Low-speed vehicle means (a) a 4-wheeled motor vehicle, (b) whose speed attainable in 1.6 km (1 mile) is more than 32 kilometers per hour (20 miles per hour) and not more than 40 kilometers per hour (25 miles per hour) on a paved level surface, (c) whose rated cargo load is at least 36 kilograms (80 pounds), and (d) whose GVWR is less than 1,134 kilograms (2,500 pounds). The proposed definition reflected our tentative determination that there is no reasonable basis to differentiate between passenger and cargo-carrying vehicles in the definition of LSVs. At the same time, the proposed definition would be more complete and would better communicate the concept that NHTSA has always expressed: LSVs are a class of vehicles for which the FMVSS for larger vehicles are inappropriate 3 Docket No. NHTSA–03–16601. VerDate jul<14>2003 11:00 Aug 16, 2005 Jkt 205001 because of the small size of the vehicles in this class.4 In tentatively deciding to remove the exclusion of trucks from the definition of LSV, we concluded that it would be necessary to replace that limitation with an alternative limitation of what could be considered a LSV. We proposed adding a maximum GVWR limitation to the LSV definition. In the NPRM, we stated that using GVWR would be an appropriate and objective way to define LSV for several reasons. First, it would prevent attempts to circumvent the FMVSSs for cars, trucks, and multipurpose passenger vehicles by seeking to apply the LSV classification to vehicle types that are able to meet the standards. Second, GVWR would provide a means to distinguish between vehicles that the agency envisions as LSVs and traditional small vehicles that are currently certified to meet all applicable FMVSSs (e.g., Toyota Echo, Ford Focus, and Chevrolet Tracker). Third, it would enable the agency to continue to exclude from the LSV definition all heavier, slow-moving trucks (e.g., street cleaners) that are able to meet all FMVSSs applicable to trucks. Under the LSV revisions as proposed in the NPRM, these heavier, slow-moving trucks would still be required to meet all of the FMVSSs applicable to trucks. In proposing to add a GVWR limitation to the definition of LSV, we needed to determine the appropriate maximum GVWR for LSV vehicles. We proposed a GVWR of ‘‘less than 2,500 pounds.’’ We stated that this proposed ‘‘less than 2,500 pound’’ GVWR limitation for LSVs was the result of our identification of vehicles constituting a class of motor vehicles so small that they are generally unable to meet all of the FMVSSs required for passenger cars, multipurpose vehicles, and trucks. The NPRM provided a detailed comparison of vehicles less than 2,500 pounds (e.g., GEM E825 Short Bed Utility and Ford Th!nk Neighbor) to vehicles 2,500 pounds or greater, which are capable of meeting all of the applicable FMVSSs (e.g., Toyota Echo, Ford Focus, and Chevrolet Tracker). The ‘‘less than 2,500 pound’’ GVWR limitation was also proposed based on existing LSVs, GVWR submitted by companies registering with NHTSA as intending to manufacture LSVs, and the Society of Automotive Engineers Surface Vehicle Standard J–2358. In the NPRM, we noted that the ‘‘less than 2,500 pound’’ GVWR limitation would include some vehicles that are currently certified to the FMVSSs, such as the Honda Insight. Such a vehicle would, of course, not be considered a LSV unless it also met the other limitations specified in the LSV definition (e.g., a maximum attainable speed of 25 mph). We proposed the ‘‘less than 2,500 pound’’ GVWR limitation to accommodate electric LSVs, which are heavier than internal combustion engine models. The increased weight of electric LSVs can be attributed to their heavier electric propulsion systems and their need for battery storage. The agency did not propose a LSV definition with maximum GVWR greater than 2,500 pounds, in part, because there are currently not any performance requirements for service brakes and tires that are appropriate for these vehicles. In addition, we proposed an additional limitation of a minimum rated cargo load (RCL) of 80 pounds. The proposed RCL minimum was intended to ensure some load carrying capacity in addition to the regulatory requirement of 150 pounds per designated seating position (as defined in 49 CFR 571.3). We proposed the LSV definition changes because we believed they would make the definition more complete, clarify the definition as to the type of vehicle NHTSA intended to exclude from the FMVSSs for cars, trucks and multipurpose passenger vehicles under the LSV definition, and allow manufacturers of LSVs more flexibility in the design of their products without sacrificing the safety of the vehicles’ users. Further, the crash avoidance and crash protection requirements for a LSV are appropriate for that vehicle’s size and anticipated usage, regardless of whether the vehicle is designed to transport passengers or cargo. 4 NHTSA has consistently stated that the main reason for excluding LSVs from compliance from other FMVSSs was that requiring such compliance was inappropriate for these small, lightweight vehicles. We noted that a separate class for LSVs was appropriate based on its low operating speed, and limited areas of use—most notably in planned environments, such as retirement communities. Further, these vehicles could not meet FMVSSs more appropriate for larger, heavier vehicles, such as the 30 m.p.h. barrier crash standards. 5 Comments were submitted by: (1) National Golf Car Manufacturers Association (NGCMA); (2) Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA); (3) Mr. Walter W. Harsch; (4) Harley Holt & Associates; (5) C.C. Chan; (6) Ms. Lauren Brooks; (7) Voltage Vehicles; (8) ZAP; (9) ZAP Latin America, S.A.; (10) Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates); (11) Tiger Truck, L.L.C.; (12) California Manufacture of Electric Vehicle (CAMEV); (13) The Honorable Lynn Woolsey, Member of Congress; (14) Mr. Alex Campbell; (15) DaimlerChrysler (parent PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 III. Public Comments We received sixteen comments on the NPRM.5 Comments were received from E:\FR\FM\17AUR1.SGM 17AUR1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 158 / Wednesday, August 17, 2005 / Rules and Regulations LSV manufacturers, LSV distributors, an industry organization representing golf cart manufactures, public interest groups, individual members of the public, and a member of Congress. A few commenters expressed concern about expanding the definition by removing the truck exclusion. However, a majority of commenters supported the removal of this exclusion, while expressing concern with and opposition to the proposed GVWR and RCL limits. Comments regarding the proposed limits generally found the limits to be too restrictive. IV. The Final Rule and Response to Public Comments A. The Final Rule Today’s document establishes the definition of LSV as proposed in the December 2003 NPRM, except that we are not specifying a minimum RCL. The definition of LSV is revised as follows: Low-speed vehicle means a vehicle, (a) that is 4-wheeled, (b) whose speed attainable in 1.6 km (1 mile) is more than 32 kilometers per hour (20 miles per hour) and not more than 40 kilometers per hour (25 miles per hour) on a paved level surface, and (c) whose GVWR is less than 1,134 kilograms (2,500 pounds). This definition eliminates the exclusion of trucks from the LSV definition. A vehicle equipped with a cargo bed or other form of cargo carrying capacity may now be classified as a LSV, so long as the vehicle complies with the other provisions of the definition. The definition established in today’s document better expresses our concept of ‘‘LSV.’’ As previously expressed, ‘‘LSV’’ is intended to comprise a class of vehicles for which the FMVSSs for cars, trucks, and multi-purpose vehicles are inappropriate because of the small size of these vehicles. Today’s definition defines the limits of that size and permits the manufacture of LSVs designed for a more utilitarian function through the incorporation of greater cargo carrying capacity. LSVs with greater cargo carrying capacity offer a flexible and economical alternative to trucks in the appropriate environments, such as gated and retirement communities. The application of the full range of FMVSSs to which cars, trucks, and multipurpose passenger vehicles are subject, is equally inappropriate to these small, lightweight vehicles, whether they are designed to carry primarily passengers or property. company of petitioner GEM); and (16) Donahue Gallagher Woods, L.L.P. (Donahue). VerDate jul<14>2003 11:00 Aug 16, 2005 Jkt 205001 Two commenters, NGCMA and Advocates, opposed removing the truck exclusion from the definition of LSV. NGCMA asserted that NHTSA failed to consider numerous industry standards concerning LSV performance and safety (specifically standards SAE J–2358, ISO 391–6:2003, and ASME 56.8) and that the agency should consider all of the ramifications inherent in industrial truck function and performance (e.g., existing truck FMVSSs, fuel and battery acid containment, brake performance criteria, reverse warning signal horns). NGCMA also argued that including trucks in the LSV classification will have the unintended anti-competitive effect of replacing currently available off-road light utility vehicles (with an operating speed of less than 20 mph) with LSV trucks, which may offer tax advantages. Finally, NGCMA argued that one vehicle, the Frazer-Nash 4XLSV NEV would be excluded from the definition of LSV because it has a GVWR of 3,304 lbs.6 We have carefully considered NGCMA’s comments. We note that we have considered industry standards related to LSVs and specifically mentioned SAE J–2358 in the NPRM. Further, because of the limited speed and intended environment of operation, we have determined that the full range of standards applicable to trucks is not applicable to ‘‘truck-like’’ LSVs, i.e., those designed with greater cargo carrying capacity. Removal of the truck exclusion from the definition of LSV will permit vehicles with a maximum speed between 20 and 25 mph that are manufactured primarily to transport property to be manufactured as motor vehicles. These vehicles will also be manufactured primarily for use on public roads. The vehicles discussed by NGCMA that have maximum speed capabilities below 20 mph are off-road vehicles, i.e., vehicles not manufactured for use on public roads. The off-road vehicles and the ‘‘truck-like’’ LSVs are manufactured for two different operating environments. Therefore, we do not anticipate that these vehicles will be in direct competition in the marketplace. We have also considered the economic impacts as required under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, discussed in greater detail below. We also note that the Frazer-Nash 4XLSV mentioned in NGCMA’s comments is equipped with a cargo bed. While the vehicle would not be 6 The Frazer-Nash was mentioned in a comparison table in the NPRM. We understand NGCMA’s comment to argue that the Frazer-Nash would have been considered a LSV under our old definition, but not our new definition. PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 48315 considered a LSV under the new definition because it exceeds the ‘‘less than 2,500 pound’’ GVWR limitation, it would also not have been considered an LSV under the previous definition because of the cargo bed. Advocates generally opposed removing the truck exception. Advocates stated that that this rulemaking will expose many people to unnecessary risks of injuries and death because their use of LSVs that fail to conform to basic Federal safety standards for occupant protection. Advocates argued that this rule will expand the types and variety of LSVs thereby guaranteeing that even more LSVs will operate on public roads without benefit of major advances in federally regulated safety equipment and occupant crashworthiness. Advocates also argued that LSV trucks operating with speeds as high as 25 mph will result in more severe crashes, all other things being equal, because of the increased mass of these larger LSVs when they collide, especially with roadside fixed objects. Advocates did not provide an estimate of the increase in LSVs operated on public roads (and occupants exposed) that will result from this final rule. Although we are including vehicles with greater cargo carrying capacity in the definition of LSV, we are also limiting the definition through establishing a maximum GVWR. The limitations on GVWR limitation in combination with the existing maximum speed limit of 25 mph will generally act to restrict the use of these vehicles to the appropriate environments. Given these limitations, we do not expect that operators of these vehicles will drive them in mixedvehicle traffic for other than very short trips. Advocates also argued that the rule would result in more severe crashes because of the 25 mph speed limitation and increased LSV mass. We did not propose to change the speed limitation in this rulemaking. As to mass, the GVWR limitation will prevent larger, heavier trucks from being classified as LSVs. Instead, truck LSVs will be similar to current LSVs. 1. 2,500 Pound GVWR Limiting LSVs to a GVWR of ‘‘less than 2,500 pounds’’ is consistent with the safety and practicability concerns that originally gave rise to the LSV class. When we created this vehicle class, we did so in response to the growing use of LSVs on roads in planned environments, such as retirement and gated communities. To strike an appropriate balance between competing E:\FR\FM\17AUR1.SGM 17AUR1 48316 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 158 / Wednesday, August 17, 2005 / Rules and Regulations considerations such as safety, practicability and mobility, we sought then and continue to seek now to define the LSV class narrowly in recognition of the LSV’s low operating speed and its limited use on roads in planned communities. By removing the truck exclusion we recognize that the LSV requirements are applicable to some vehicles designed for more work-related operation. Manufacturers and the public are provided the advantages of LSVs that may be designed primarily to carry cargo. By limiting the GVWR, vehicles for which the LSV requirements are not appropriate are excluded from the LSV definition, i.e., vehicles designed for use outside of planned communities or that could be designed to meet the FMVSS requirements for cars, trucks, and multipurpose vehicles. The GVWR limit prevents attempts to circumvent FMVSSs for cars, trucks, and multi-purpose passenger vehicles by applying the LSV classification to vehicle types that are able to meet the standards. Defining a LSV as having a maximum GVWR of less than 2,500 pounds also provides an objective means for delineating between the vehicles for which the LSV requirements are appropriate and those vehicles that can be designed to meet the full set of FMVSSs. This approach will also ensure that heavier, slow moving trucks (i.e., street sweepers) continue to be excluded from the LSV definition. A variety of commenters, i.e., DaimlerChrysler, ZAP, ZAP Latin America, Voltage Vehicles, C.C. Chan, Donahue, Ms. Lauren Brooks, EDTA, Harley Holt, Mr. Alex Campbell, CAMEV, and Representative Lynn Woolsey, expressed concern with or objected to setting the GVWR limit at 2,500 pounds. Concern was raised specifically with regard to the limits impact on the utility of electrically powered LSVs, the impact on the LSV industry, and on LSVs designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities. ZAP Latin America, ZAP, C.C. Chan, and EDTA commented that limiting the GVWR to less than 2,500 would limit the range of an electrically powered LSV (arguing that the GVWR limit would result in reducing the number or size of the batteries in these vehicles) and limit the ability of manufacturers to equip these vehicles with amenities. ZAP and CAMEV requested that NHTSA consider a higher GVWR limit. ZAP and C.C. Chan argued that a higher GVWR limitation would allow for market demands for increased range (resulting in heavier vehicles due to battery VerDate jul<14>2003 11:00 Aug 16, 2005 Jkt 205001 weight) and solid doors, windows, heating and air conditioning, and advanced hybrid systems. CAMEV argued that the ‘‘less than 2,500 pound’’ GVWR limitation, as proposed, would cut the driving range of an electric powered vehicle from 35 miles to 22 miles, as a result of having to reduce the weight for battery capacity from 800 pounds to 625 pounds. This decreased range, it argued, would have the effect of limiting applications of LSVs. Donahue, Mr. Alex Campbell, Representative Lynn Woolsey, C.C. Chan, and Harley Holt argued that the ‘‘less than 2,500 pound’’ GVWR provision of the LSV definition would significantly impact or materially harm the LSV industry. Concern was raised regarding the impact of the proposed rule existing companies, particularly, ZAP, Voltage Vehicles of Windsor California, and RAP of Windsor California, as well as on the most widely accepted existing LSVs. As stated above, we are adopting the 2,500 pound GVWR limit in the definition of LSV to provide the appropriate balance between the intended function of these vehicles and safety. Again, the LSV class was established to recognize vehicles manufactured for operation in limited, and typically closed environments. The LSV class is not intended to include vehicles manufactured for operation in mixed traffic. A maximum GVWR of less than 2,500 pounds will enable LSV manufacturers to design a LSV with sufficient range and amenities, suitable for operating in these communities. Given that vehicles fully compliant with FMVSS exist under 2,500 lbs and that the LSV class was created for vehicles that were too small to meet the FMVSS, there is no reason for vehicles over 2,500 lbs not be fully FMVSS compliant, and thus a great deal safer than a 2,500 lb GVWR LSV. As noted in the 1998 final rule, the operation of LSVs in an environment with heavier, faster moving vehicles raises obvious safety concerns. Because LSVs are much lighter than conventional vehicles and are not subject to the same Federal motor vehicle safety standards, they are less crashworthy than conventional vehicles. Thus, LSV drivers, especially those unused to the limited acceleration capabilities of LSVs, and passengers will be exposed to a greater risk of injury or death when operating an LSV on roadways with a posted speed limit of 35 mph, or when attempting to cross a roadway with a posted speed limit greater than 35 mph. PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 We believe that, as LSVs become equipped with additional amenities, such as air conditioning, solid doors, and batteries for extended range, they lose the basic characteristics of a special vehicle designed for transportation within a planned, limited environment. Instead, these vehicles take-on the profile of a small, traditional passenger car vehicle, and in some cases, may be marketed as a small passenger car or as a substitute for a small passenger car. Even with a 25 mph speed limitation, we are concerned that LSVs that have characteristics and attributes of traditional passenger cars will be more likely to be used outside of planned communities and instead, more regularly mix with traffic. We currently require small vehicles, such as the Honda Insight, to be fully compliant with all FMVSSs. We do not believe that it is in the interests of safety to make an exception from our normal FMVSS standards for such vehicles. Moreover, there is no reason why vehicle with a GVWR greater than 2,500 pounds cannot be designed to comply with all the safety standards applicable to traditional passenger cars. While the EDTA agreed that the GVWR provided an appropriate method for restricting the size of LSVs, it commented that the 2,500 pound limit is overly restrictive and would reduce the flexibility to develop new products in the future with different propulsion configurations or additional features. EDTA stated that the proposed GVWR does not take into consideration the increased weight associated with additional features necessary to comply with revised safety requirements or performance standards. DaimlerChrysler noted that its vehicles are powered by an electric propulsion system, which adds 300 pounds to a comparably equipped internal combustion engine LSV. As such, DaimlerChrysler recommended a two-tiered GVWR maximum for the definition of a LSV: a 2,500-pound GVWR limitation for internal combustion LSVs, and a 2,800-pound limitation GVWR for electric powered LSVs. DaimlerChrysler argued that this would allow it to present customers with a choice between internal combustion and electric propulsion systems for vehicles carrying the same payload. ZAP Latin America was also concerned that the GVWR limitation would diminish its ability to compete with internal combustion automobiles (since internal combustion automobiles are likely to have a greater range than electric LSVs). The LSV definition does not specify a propulsion system. A LSV may be E:\FR\FM\17AUR1.SGM 17AUR1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 158 / Wednesday, August 17, 2005 / Rules and Regulations powered by an electrical motor, an internal combustion (IC) engine, or some other type of propulsion system. Each propulsion type has its own advantages. The advantage of the lighter weight of IC propulsion is an advantage that already exists. However, DaimlerChrysler noted that the majority of LSVs are electric. Mr. Walter Harsch commented that it is not the ‘‘norm’’ for ‘‘working’’ vehicles to be electric, but he anticipates the trend to move toward electric vehicles. The fact that electric LSVs are successful in the market indicates that any advantage of the IC vehicle due to greater load capacity under our GVWR restriction will be overcome by other attractions of the electric vehicle to consumers. Therefore, it does not appear that this final rule creates a new disadvantage for electric vehicles. While IC vehicles are able to carry more weight, since they do not need batteries, this advantage seems to be countered by consumers’ preference for electricpowered vehicles. Further, we considered the amount of weight necessary for battery reserve in electric vehicles when we proposed our ‘‘less than 2,500 pound’’ GVWR limitation. The intent of the LSV definition is to recognize a class of vehicles for which the full range of safety standards applicable to cars, trucks, and multipurpose passenger vehicles is not appropriate because of the LSVs’ small size and limited use. We found that the lightest fully FMVSS compliant vehicle is about 2100 pounds GVWR. By setting the LSV maximum GVWR at 2500 pounds we have allowed 400 lbs for batteries for electric propulsion. ZAP Latin America, Ms. Lauren Brooks, and C.C. Chan argued that a safety-based approach should include heavier LSVs in the definition because heavier LSVs are safer or because LSVs are made heavier for safety purposes. For example, ZAP Latin America commented that it makes a heavier LSV for safety purposes. Lauren Brooks and C.C. Chan stated that lighter vehicles have a much higher risk of a fatal crash (citing DOT HS 662 Vehicle Weight, Fatality and Crash Compatibility of Model Year 1991–99 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks). C.C. Chan commented that passengers would be safer behind a solid door rather than being in open air, and that the current weight would limit the ability for these vehicles to have solid doors and windows, making them less safe. In a crash with a traditional, heavier vehicle, a LSV would be at a disadvantage. This is why we believe that the use of LSVs should be restricted VerDate jul<14>2003 11:00 Aug 16, 2005 Jkt 205001 to planned communities. The commenters cited our study on Vehicle Weight, Fatality and Crash Compatibility of Model Year 1991–99 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks. This study involved vehicles that fully comply with all of our FMVSSs for passenger cars and trucks. The study did not involve LSVs. As we stated above, heavier vehicles (i.e., vehicles over 2,500 pounds GVWR) that take-on the profile of a small car, and contain solid doors, air conditioning systems, and batteries for extended range, are more likely to be used on roads outside of neighborhoods and planned communities. We do not believe that it is appropriate to encourage such use. These heavier vehicles can instead be designed to meet the full set of FMVSSs. Therefore, we believe that the ‘‘less than 2,500 pound’’ GVWR restriction helps to ensure that the vehicles will be limited in the geographic scope of their use, as NHTSA originally intended, thereby reducing the risk to occupants from mixing with other vehicles. We believe that ‘‘less than 2,500 pounds’’ GVWR is adequate for a LSV that operates in planned communities. We also believe that increasing the maximum GVWR for a LSV would be inconsistent with the interests of safety, as discussed above. Finally, we believe that as a vehicle becomes heavier and increasingly resembles a small vehicle, by having features such as doors, it is more likely that the vehicle will be mixed with heavier vehicles, and can and should meet the full range of FMVSSs. Voltage Vehicles and Donahue both commented that limiting the weight of the LSV would limit the ability of manufacturers to offer LSVs to accommodate people with disabilities. Voltage Vehicles stated that it has been working to develop a wheelchair accessible version of the ZAP World Car. Voltage Vehicles stated that its current modifications would add as much as 200 to 350 pounds to the GVWR of the vehicle, which already has a GVWR of approximately 3,000 pounds. We note that the vehicles described by Voltage Vehicles would exceed the GVWR limit established in this final rule prior to the modifications for accommodating people with disabilities. We also note that existing LSV can be modified to accommodate individuals with disabilities while maintaining a GVWR below 2,500 pounds. Braun Corporation modifies the GEM LSV with a turning seat and a hoist for a wheelchair or scooter. The GEM eL, which is a LSV that is accessible to PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 48317 occupants with mobility impairments, has a GVWR of 2,300 pounds. It could easily accommodate a heavy power wheelchair and still have capacity for the occupant, another passenger, and special equipment. The agency also received a comment from Mr. Walter Harsch requesting that LSVs be limited according to ‘‘curb weight’’ as opposed to GVWR. However, curb weight describes only the weight of the vehicle and not its capacity. GVWR is a description of the maximum possible weight of the fully loaded vehicle. GVWR is more pertinent to safety. The agency has determined that a GVWR limit of 2,500 pounds in conjunction with the 25 mph speed limitation, provides a more appropriate definition for a LSV. We believe that GVWR is necessary to limit this class of vehicle to vehicles that are used in planned communities and cannot be designed to meet the full set of FMVSSs. Also, we stated in the original final rule and the NPRM to this rulemaking, we did not intend for heavier, slow-moving vehicles (e.g., street sweepers), or vehicles that can be designed to meet the full set of FMVSSs, to be included in the LSV class. 2. The 80-Pound RCL Limitation The agency is not adopting the minimum RCL requirement as proposed. The proposed minimum RCL was intended to address safety concerns regarding the overloading of vehicles. In its comments DaimlerChrysler agreed with our proposal. Although the proposed RCL limit was a minimum, ZAP argued that LSVs are used for many purposes, some of which are for cargo loads that may exceed 80 pounds. Harley Holt commented that the selection of an 80-pound minimum rated cargo load simply because it is the estimated weight of two golf bags is inappropriate when applied to LSVs that would be sold and used to transport property. Harley Holt suggested that there be no minimum value specified for rated cargo load. We have carefully considered the comments on our proposed 80-pound RCL limitation, and have decided not to include the limitation in the final rule. We note that it is important for safety, for all classes of vehicles, that vehicles not be driven in an overloaded condition. However, we believe that the ‘‘less than 2,500 pound’’ GVWR limitation in addition to the other limiting attributes of the definition negate the need to specify a RCL to accomplish this goal. E:\FR\FM\17AUR1.SGM 17AUR1 48318 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 158 / Wednesday, August 17, 2005 / Rules and Regulations B. Miscellaneous Comments In the NPRM, we requested comments on several additional issues. In response to our inquiry of whether GVWR is the most appropriate method for restricting the size of LSVs, DaimlerChrysler commented that it agreed with the method but also suggested a minimum height limitation to aid the conspicuity of LSV vehicles. We have reviewed DaimlerChrysler’s comments and note that we have recently addressed the LSV conspicuity issue. For further details, please see our original final rule (63 FR 33194, June 17, 1998) and our recent termination of rulemaking (70 FR 7222, Feb. 11, 2005) where we determined that there is an absence of data showing a conspicuity-related safety problem with current LSV designs. ZAP and C.C. Chan commented that NHTSA should consider broadening the LSV definition to include 3-wheeled vehicles. ZAP noted that many low speed vehicles in Europe have 3 wheels. However, the 4-wheel limitation distinguishes a LSV from a ‘‘motor cycle’’ or a ‘‘motor-driven cycle’’ as defined in 49 CFR § 571.3. Motorcycles and motor-driven cycles are separately regulated. Our proposal to change the LSV definition does not change the relationship in how we regulate LSVs and motorcycles or motor-driven cycles. Any such change is beyond the scope of this rulemaking and would require us to do further analysis and provide for public comment on such a change. Several commenters, i.e., Mr. Alex Campbell, Representative Lynn Woolsey, and EDTA, commented that the government should be working to reduce the restrictions for zero-emission forms of transportation, and promote the use of technologies that provide environmental benefits. As we stated in the June 1998 final rule, we believe that the creation of the LSV class would help, not hurt, communities reach environmental goals. We believe that the promulgation of FMVSS No. 500 was a pragmatic, flexible and necessary approach to regulating the safety of LSVs. The adoption of the GVWR limitation is necessary to balance the utility of the LSV with safety concerns. Eliminating the truck exclusion further increases the flexibility of the LSV class and may provide additional environmental benefits by permitting the manufacture of a vehicle that could be operated in lieu of a truck in the appropriate operating environments. V. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices Executive Order 12866 and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures VerDate jul<14>2003 11:00 Aug 16, 2005 Jkt 205001 Executive Order 12866, ‘‘Regulatory Planning and Review’’ (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993), provides for making determinations whether a regulatory action is ‘‘significant’’ and therefore subject to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review and to the requirements of the Executive Order. The Order defines a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ as one that is likely to result in a rule that may: (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or Tribal governments or communities; (2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency; (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President’s priorities, or the principles set forth in the Executive Order. This rulemaking document was not reviewed under Executive Order 12866, ‘‘Regulatory Planning and Review.’’ The agency is aware of only one LSV (the imported ZAP Worldcar) currently produced that will no longer be classified as a LSV under the final rule. This impact will not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. As discussed below in Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis, the manufacturer of this vehicle has two options: (1) To redesign the vehicle to comply with the full set of FMVSSs, or (2) to reduce the weight and GVWR of the vehicle so that it meets LSV class limitations. This final rule will permit current LSV manufacturers to produce LSVs for more work oriented functions. In the petitions for rulemaking received by the agency and the comments on this rulemaking, manufacturers stated that the definition adopted today will allow them to expand production to meet a consumer need. Regulatory Flexibility Act Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) of 1996), whenever an agency is required to publish a notice of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must prepare and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the effect of the PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 rule on small entities (i.e., small businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions). No regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of an agency certifies the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. SBREFA amended the Regulatory Flexibility Act to require Federal agencies to provide a statement of the factual basis for certifying that a rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. I certify that the proposed amendment will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The following is the agency’s statement providing the factual basis for the certification (5 U.S.C. 605(b)). The final rule directly affects motor vehicle manufacturers, specifically, manufacturers of LSVs. North American Industry Classification System Codes (NAISC) code number 336111, Automobile Manufacturing, prescribes a small business size standard of 1,000 or fewer employees. NAISC code number 336211, Motor Vehicle Body Manufacturing, prescribes a small business size standard of 1,000 or fewer employees. The establishment of the new category of motor vehicles, low-speed vehicles, under FMVSS No. 500, in 1998, provided small business with the opportunity to expand into a new market. This final rule will further permit the manufacture of LSVs to meet additional needs, but it will also limit the market for LSVs to those under 2,500 pounds GVWR. The previous definition of LSV did not limit the GVWR of motor vehicles that could be defined as a LSV. In 2003, over 30 manufacturers had registered with NHTSA as intending to manufacture LSVs. One-third of these manufacturers listed the intended GVWR range as including vehicles over 2,500 pounds. However, to our knowledge at this time, there is only one U.S. manufacturer (California Manufacture of Electric Vehicles (CAMEV)) with actual plans to produce a LSV with a GVWR over 2,500 pounds. CAMEV has 1,000 or fewer employees. CAMEV has not yet manufactured a vehicle and is in the development stage. CAMEV stated that the GVWR limit of ‘‘less than 2,500 pounds’’ is not the appropriate method of restricting the size of LSVs and that the proposed GVWR would not provide enough weight allowance for the electric propulsion system, and would limit the vehicle’s applications. CAMEV stated that it is designing an electric vehicle E:\FR\FM\17AUR1.SGM 17AUR1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 158 / Wednesday, August 17, 2005 / Rules and Regulations ‘‘model Q’’ that has a GVWR of approximately 3,200 pounds. CAMEV recommended a 3,200-pound GVWR limitation. As explained above, the agency has determined that ‘‘less than 2,500 pounds’’ is an appropriate limit for LSVs and has taken into consideration the weight of electric propulsion systems. If CAMEV wants to keep the current vehicle design of over 2,500 pounds GVWR, then it must make the vehicle fully compliant with all applicable FMVSSs for a vehicle over 2,500 pounds GVWR. The cost implications of these choices are difficult to estimate. Reducing the GVWR of the vehicle may be a difficult task once a vehicle is in production. Manufacturers seeking to reduce weight of LSVs can utilize mechanical innovations, advanced material technologies, and design concepts to achieve this goal while maintaining vehicle performance. Unconventional design features and aerodynamics, along with lightweight materials reduce weight throughout the vehicle and lower drag coefficient, thus requiring less power. The development of higher efficiency propulsion systems and advanced energy storage, underway through government and industry initiatives, will accelerate the production of LSVs meeting FMVSS requirements, lower cost, and provide options in the design of the LSV package. However, weight reduction of a vehicle still in development could be accomplished with the above listed technologies without a significant economic impact to the manufacturer. Incorporating the above listed technologies would maintain the functional design of the vehicle and possibly provide benefits in fuel economy or battery life. Designing the vehicle to comply with applicable FMVSSs is another alternative. NHTSA estimates that the FMVSSs added an average of $858 (in 2003 dollars) and 125 pounds to the average passenger car in model year 2001, from 1968 cost and weight. While the cost to redesign an LSV to comply with the FMVSSs applicable to a passenger car would likely be greater than this average, we believe that the additional cost and weight attributed to specific safety technologies associated with FMVSSs would not be burdensome for a manufacturer to attain, particularly given that LSVs already must have brakes, lights, safety belts and other basic features. The agency also received comment from a business, ZAP, that imports LSV above the GVWR limit adopted in this VerDate jul<14>2003 11:00 Aug 16, 2005 Jkt 205001 final rule. ZAP stated that it has marketed over 85,000 electric vehicles since 1994, and currently imports completed vehicles made in China. ZAP did not specify how many of these vehicles were classified as LSVs or how many of these vehicles were LSVs with a GVWR greater than the limit adopted in today’s final rule. ZAP stated that its new 2004 ZAP Worldcar vehicle would no longer be classified as a LSV, since its GVWR is 3,007 pounds. However, this final rule does not prevent ZAP from continuing to sell LSVs that meet the regulatory definition. The imported vehicles could either be redesigned or certified to all FMVSSs applicable to passenger cars, as explained for CAMEV. Further, ZAP already advertises a motor vehicle with a GVWR below 2,500 pounds that is not a LSV, i.e., the SMART car. Paperwork Reduction Act NHTSA has analyzed this final rule under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–13) and determined that it will not impose any new information collection requirements as that term is defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in 5 CFR part 1320. The National Environmental Policy Act NHTSA has also analyzed this final rule under the National Environmental Policy Act and determined that it will have no significant impact on the human environment. LSV usage is very small in comparison to that of motor vehicles as a whole; therefore, any change to the LSV segment does not have a significant environmental effect. The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–4) requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits and other effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, local or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of more than $100 million annually. This final rule does not result in annual expenditures exceeding the $100 million threshold. Executive Order 13132 (Federalism) Executive Order 13132 on ‘‘Federalism’’ requires us to develop an accountable process to ensure meaningful and timely input by State and local officials in the development of ‘‘regulatory policies that have federalism implications.’’ The Executive Order defines this phrase to include regulations ‘‘that have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 48319 between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.’’ The agency has analyzed this rule in accordance with the principles and criteria set forth in Executive Order 13132 and has determined that it will not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant consultation with State and local officials or the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. In the 1998 final rule, which established the LSV definition, the agency noted that: Under the preemption provisions of 49 U.S.C. 30103(b)(1), with respect to those areas of a motor vehicle’s safety performance regulated by the Federal government, any state and local safety standards addressing those areas must be identical. Thus, the state or local standard, if any, for vehicles classified as LSVs must be identical to Standard No. 500 in those areas covered by that standard. For example, since Standard No. 500 addresses the subject of the type of lights which must be provided, state and local governments may not require additional types of lights. Further, since the agency has not specified performance requirements for any of the required lights, state and local governments may not do so either. 63 FR at 33215. In a 1998 NPRM we revised this discussion by stating that: [W]e have re-examined our statements about preemption in the preamble of the final rule. In those statements, we explained that, in view of our conscious decision not to adopt any performance requirements for most of the types of equipment required by Standard No. 500, the states were preempted from doing so. * * * As a result of reexamining our views, we have concluded that we should not assert * * * preemption in this particular situation. Accordingly, we agree that the states may adopt and apply their own performance requirements for required LSV lighting equipment, mirrors, and parking brakes until we have established performance requirements for those items of equipment. However, the states remain precluded from adopting additional equipment requirements in areas covered by Standard No. 500. 65 FR 53219, 53220; September 1, 2000. We are unaware of any existing state laws that would be preempted by today’s final rule. We recognize that California’s definition of ‘‘low-speed vehicle’’ establishes a maximum ‘‘unladen weight of 1,800 pounds’’ (Cal. Vehicle Code section 385.5).7 Unlike GVWR, the unladen weight is the weight of the vehicle without occupants 7 We also note that Hawaii has incorporated a maximum ‘‘unladen weight’’ in its definition of NEV, which is limited to electrically powered motor vehicles (HRS § 286–2). E:\FR\FM\17AUR1.SGM 17AUR1 48320 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 158 / Wednesday, August 17, 2005 / Rules and Regulations or cargo. (See, Cal. Vehicle Code Section 289). Today’s final rule does not specify a maximum unladen weight for LSVs. Therefore, consistent with our past pronouncements regarding LSVs and preemption of State law, the addition of a maximum GVWR in today’s final rule does not preempt California’s definition of LSV. This rule will not have substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, as specified in Executive Order 13132. Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform) Executive Order 12988 requires that agencies review proposed regulations and legislation and adhere to the following general requirements: (1) The agency’s proposed legislation and regulations shall be reviewed by the agency to eliminate drafting errors and ambiguity; (2) the agency’s proposed legislation and regulations shall be written to minimize litigation; and (3) the agency’s proposed legislation and regulations shall provide a clear legal standard for affected conduct rather than a general standard, and shall promote simplification and burden reduction. When promulgating a regulation, Executive Order 12988, specifically requires that the agency must make every reasonable effort to ensure that the regulation, as appropriate: (1) Specifies in clear language the preemptive effect, (2) specifies in clear language the effect on existing Federal law or regulation, including all provisions repealed, circumscribed, displaced, impaired, or modified, (3) provides a clear legal standard for affected conduct rather than a general standard, while promoting simplification and burden reduction, (4) specifies in clear language the retroactive effect, (5) specifies whether administrative proceedings are to be required before parties may file suit in court, (6) explicitly or implicitly defines key terms, and (7) addresses other important issues affecting clarity and general draftsmanship of regulations. NHTSA has reviewed this final rule according to the general requirements and the specific requirements for regulations set forth in Executive Order 12988. This final rule revises the definition of the term ‘‘low-speed vehicle (LSV)’’ in 49 CFR Part 571. This change does not preemptive any existing State law and does not have a retroactive effect. A petition for VerDate jul<14>2003 11:00 Aug 16, 2005 Jkt 205001 reconsideration or other administrative proceeding is not required before parties may file suit in court. However, this change does change a ‘‘key term’’ within the meaning of Executive Order 12988. The agency has made every effort to ensure that this key term has been explicitly defined. Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) The Department of Transportation assigns a regulation identifier number (RIN) to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. You may use the RIN contained in the heading at the beginning of this document to find this action in the Unified Agenda. Data Quality Guidelines After reviewing the provisions of the final rule, pursuant to OMB’s Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agencies (‘‘Guidelines’’) issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) (67 FR 8452, Feb. 22, 2002) and published in final form by the Department of Transportation on October 1, 2002 (67 FR 61719), NHTSA has determined that nothing in this rulemaking action would result in ‘‘information dissemination’’ to the public, as that term is defined in the Guidelines. Executive Order 13045 Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997) applies to any rule that: (1) Is determined to be ‘‘economically significant’’ as defined under Executive Order 12866, and (2) concerns an environmental, health or safety risk that NHTSA has reason to believe may have a disproportionate effect on children. If the regulatory action meets both criteria, we must evaluate the environmental health or safety effects of the planned rule on children, and explain why the planned regulation is preferable to other potentially effective and reasonably feasible alternatives considered by us. As noted earlier, this rule is not economically significant, nor does it concern a safety risk with a disproportionate effect on children. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) requires NHTSA to evaluate and use existing voluntary consensus standards in its regulatory activities unless doing so would be PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 inconsistent with applicable law (e.g., the statutory provisions regarding NHTSA’s vehicle safety authority) or otherwise impractical. In meeting that available and potentially applicable voluntary consensus standard, we are required by the Act to provide Congress, through OMB, with an explanation of the reasons for not using such standards. The agency specifically considered SAE J–2358 in the development of this final rule. Privacy Act Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all submissions received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477–78) or you may visit http://dms.dot.gov. List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 571 Imports, Motor vehicle safety, Motor vehicles, Low-speed vehicles. For reasons set forth in the preamble, NHTSA amends 49 CFR part 571 to read as follows: I PART 571—FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS 1. The authority citation for part 571 continues to read as follows: I Authority: 49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30166 and 30177; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.50. Subpart A—General 2. Section 571.3(b) is amended by revising the term ‘‘low-speed vehicle’’ to read as follows: I § 571.3 Definitions. * * * * * (b) Other definitions. * * * Low-speed vehicle (LSV) means a motor vehicle, (1) that is 4-wheeled, (2) whose speed attainable in 1.6 km (1 mile) is more than 32 kilometers per hour (20 miles per hour) and not more than 40 kilometers per hour (25 miles per hour) on a paved level surface, and (3) whose GVWR is less than 1,134 kilograms (2,500 pounds). * * * * * Issued: August 11, 2005. Ronald L. Medford, Senior Associate Administrator for Vehicle Safety. [FR Doc. 05–16323 Filed 8–16–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–U E:\FR\FM\17AUR1.SGM 17AUR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 158 (Wednesday, August 17, 2005)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 48313-48320]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-16323]



[[Page 48313]]

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571

[Docket No. NHTSA-05-22116]
RIN 2127-AJ12


Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Low Speed Vehicles

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This final rule amends the definition of ``low-speed vehicle'' 
(LSV) in two ways. First, it eliminates the exclusion of trucks from 
that class of vehicles. Second, it limits the class of LSVs to those 
vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of less than 1,134 
kilograms (2,500 pound).

DATES: Effective Date: This rule becomes effective October 3, 2005.
    Petitions: If you wish to submit a petition for reconsideration of 
this rule, your petition must be received by October 3, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Petitions for reconsideration should refer to the docket 
number above and be submitted to: Administrator, Room 5220, National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., 
Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The following persons at the National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., 
Washington, DC 20590.
    For technical and policy issues: Ms. Gayle Dalrymple, Office of 
Crash Avoidance Standards, NVS-123 (Telephone: 202-366-5559) (Fax: 202-
493-2739).
    For legal issues: Mr. Christopher Calamita, Office of the Chief 
Counsel (Telephone: 202-366-2992) (Fax: 202-366-3820).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents

I. Background
II. Summary of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
III. Public Comments
IV. The Final Rule and Response to Public Comments
    A. The Final Rule
1. 2,500 pound GVWR
2. The 80-pound RCL limitation
    B. Miscellaneous Comments
V. Regulatory Analyses and Notices

I. Background

    On June 17, 1998, the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration (NHTSA) published a final rule establishing a new 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 500, ``Low-speed 
vehicles,'' and added a definition of ``low-speed vehicle'' (LSV) to 49 
CFR 571.3 (63 FR 33194). This new FMVSS and vehicle class definition 
responded to the growing public interest in using golf cars and other 
similarly sized small vehicles to make short trips for shopping, 
social, and recreational purposes primarily within retirement or other 
planned, self-contained communities. These vehicles, many of which are 
electric-powered, offer comparatively low-cost, energy-efficient, low-
emission, quiet transportation.\1\ The current definition of LSV is ``a 
4-wheeled motor vehicle, other than a truck, whose speed attainable in 
1.6km (1 mile) is more than 32 kilometers per hour (20 miles per hour) 
and not more than 40 kilometers per hour (25 miles per hour) on a paved 
level surface.''
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    \1\ Electric LSVs are commonly referred to as Neighborhood 
Electric Vehicles (NEVs). However, NEVs are not specifically defined 
in the Federal motor vehicle safety standards.
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    When we first proposed and established FMVSS No. 500, we stated 
that we envisioned the LSV as a small, lightweight vehicle that could 
not meet FMVSSs appropriate for larger and heavier vehicles.\2\ As 
originally proposed in January 1997, trucks were not excluded from the 
definition of LSV. We proposed the ``creation of a new class of vehicle 
* * * with a definitional criterion of speed alone.'' However, low-
speed vehicles with ``work performing features'' (such as a street 
sweeper) would have been excluded under the 1997 proposed definition. 
After considering the comments, we limited LSVs to vehicles other than 
trucks. Not excluding trucks from the LSV definition would have had the 
unintended result of rendering some vehicles that already met FMVSSs 
subject to neither those standards nor even the minimum limitations 
applicable to LSVs.
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    \2\ See the notice of proposed rulemaking (62 FR 1077, January 
8, 1997), final rule (63 FR 33194, June 17, 1998), response to 
petitions for reconsideration of the final rule (65 FR 53219, 
September 1, 2000), and letters of interpretation of the definition 
of LSV.
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    We have encouraged states to be very careful when contemplating the 
use of LSVs on public roads. A LSV does not have the occupant 
protection capability of other four-wheeled motor vehicles. Its 
lightness makes its occupants vulnerable in any collision with a non-
LSV vehicle. The force involved in such a collision increases 
proportional to the square of the velocity of travel. For example, the 
result of a vehicle collision at 35 miles per hour (mph) is twice as 
severe as the same collision at 25 mph.
    We continue to anticipate that LSV use on roads outside confined, 
controlled areas will be limited by the maximum speed capability of 
LSVs. We expect that occupants will not want to travel at less than 25 
mph in mixed-vehicle traffic for other than very short trips, 
regardless of the extent to which states permit LSV use.
    Since the publication of the final rule in 1998, we have received 
two petitions regarding the exclusion of trucks from the definition of 
LSV. The first was a petition for reconsideration of the final rule by 
Solectria (seconded by Electric Transportation Coalition) asking us to 
reconsider the exclusion of trucks from the definition of LSV because 
Solectria manufactures a micro electric pickup truck. Solectria said 
its truck was ``suitable'' for many uses off the public roads, such as 
airports, college properties, and parks. Solectria asked that we amend 
the definition of LSV to exclude only trucks with a curb weight greater 
than 2,200 pounds.
    In our response to Solectria's petition for reconsideration (65 FR 
53219; Sept. 1, 2000), we reiterated the discussion from the preamble 
to the final rule that we believed excluding trucks from Standard 500 
``ensures that such trucks must continue to meet the Federal standards 
that have always applied to trucks with a maximum speed of more than 20 
miles per hour'' and that we believed the decision to be ``consistent 
with the rationale of this rulemaking, which is to eliminate a 
regulatory conflict involving passenger-carrying vehicles.'' We noted 
that FMVSSs applicable to trucks with a maximum speed between 20 and 25 
mph had not inhibited the introduction of such trucks in the past. 
However, we also stated,

    We are still considering this petition, and have not reached a 
decision whether to grant or to deny it. Our decision will be 
reflected in the notice of proposed rulemaking under consideration 
for establishing performance requirements for safety equipment on 
LSVs.

    Subsequently, in January 2002, the agency received a petition 
regarding the LSV definition from Global Electric Motorcars (GEM), a 
DaimlerChrysler company. GEM asked that NHTSA change the definition of 
LSV, ``to include `trucks' or vehicles designed primarily for the 
transportation of property or special purpose equipment, so long as 
they meet the existing vehicle speed limitations of the definition.'' 
GEM noted that the NPRM stated ``LSVs would include all motor vehicles, 
other than motorcycles * * * whose speed

[[Page 48314]]

* * * does not exceed 25 mph,'' and that the agency had recognized, 
``that there is no reasonable justification for subjecting low-speed 
vehicles like golf carts * * * to the full range of safety standards 
that apply to heavier, faster vehicles.''
    As a result of the petitions received from GEM and Solectria, the 
agency decided to reconsider the LSV definition. In a notice of 
proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published on December 8, 2003 (68 FR 68319), 
we granted the petitions by GEM and Solectria, and tentatively agreed 
with the petitioners that the current exclusion of trucks from the LSV 
definition is too broad and does not fully reflect current 
interpretations of that definition.\3\ In the NPRM, we proposed to drop 
the exclusion of trucks from the definition and otherwise revise our 
definition of a LSV.
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    \3\ Docket No. NHTSA-03-16601.
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II. Summary of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

    In the NPRM, we proposed to revise the definition of LSV by (1) 
eliminating the ``other than truck'' text from the definition, (2) 
limiting a LSV's GVWR to less than 1,134 kilograms (2,500 pounds), and 
(3) requiring that a LSV have a rated cargo load of at least 36 
kilograms (80 pounds).
    The current definition of LSV is:

    [A] 4-wheeled motor vehicle, other than a truck, whose speed 
attainable in 1.6 km (1 mile) is more than 32 kilometers per hour 
(20 miles per hour) and not more than 40 kilometers per hour (25 
miles per hour) on a paved level surface.

    49 CFR 571.3(b). The agency proposed the following definition:

    Low-speed vehicle means
    (a) a 4-wheeled motor vehicle,
    (b) whose speed attainable in 1.6 km (1 mile) is more than 32 
kilometers per hour (20 miles per hour) and not more than 40 
kilometers per hour (25 miles per hour) on a paved level surface,
    (c) whose rated cargo load is at least 36 kilograms (80 pounds), 
and
    (d) whose GVWR is less than 1,134 kilograms (2,500 pounds).

    The proposed definition reflected our tentative determination that 
there is no reasonable basis to differentiate between passenger and 
cargo-carrying vehicles in the definition of LSVs. At the same time, 
the proposed definition would be more complete and would better 
communicate the concept that NHTSA has always expressed: LSVs are a 
class of vehicles for which the FMVSS for larger vehicles are 
inappropriate because of the small size of the vehicles in this 
class.\4\
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    \4\ NHTSA has consistently stated that the main reason for 
excluding LSVs from compliance from other FMVSSs was that requiring 
such compliance was inappropriate for these small, lightweight 
vehicles. We noted that a separate class for LSVs was appropriate 
based on its low operating speed, and limited areas of use--most 
notably in planned environments, such as retirement communities. 
Further, these vehicles could not meet FMVSSs more appropriate for 
larger, heavier vehicles, such as the 30 m.p.h. barrier crash 
standards.
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    In tentatively deciding to remove the exclusion of trucks from the 
definition of LSV, we concluded that it would be necessary to replace 
that limitation with an alternative limitation of what could be 
considered a LSV. We proposed adding a maximum GVWR limitation to the 
LSV definition. In the NPRM, we stated that using GVWR would be an 
appropriate and objective way to define LSV for several reasons. First, 
it would prevent attempts to circumvent the FMVSSs for cars, trucks, 
and multipurpose passenger vehicles by seeking to apply the LSV 
classification to vehicle types that are able to meet the standards. 
Second, GVWR would provide a means to distinguish between vehicles that 
the agency envisions as LSVs and traditional small vehicles that are 
currently certified to meet all applicable FMVSSs (e.g., Toyota Echo, 
Ford Focus, and Chevrolet Tracker). Third, it would enable the agency 
to continue to exclude from the LSV definition all heavier, slow-moving 
trucks (e.g., street cleaners) that are able to meet all FMVSSs 
applicable to trucks. Under the LSV revisions as proposed in the NPRM, 
these heavier, slow-moving trucks would still be required to meet all 
of the FMVSSs applicable to trucks.
    In proposing to add a GVWR limitation to the definition of LSV, we 
needed to determine the appropriate maximum GVWR for LSV vehicles. We 
proposed a GVWR of ``less than 2,500 pounds.'' We stated that this 
proposed ``less than 2,500 pound'' GVWR limitation for LSVs was the 
result of our identification of vehicles constituting a class of motor 
vehicles so small that they are generally unable to meet all of the 
FMVSSs required for passenger cars, multipurpose vehicles, and trucks. 
The NPRM provided a detailed comparison of vehicles less than 2,500 
pounds (e.g., GEM E825 Short Bed Utility and Ford Th!nk Neighbor) to 
vehicles 2,500 pounds or greater, which are capable of meeting all of 
the applicable FMVSSs (e.g., Toyota Echo, Ford Focus, and Chevrolet 
Tracker). The ``less than 2,500 pound'' GVWR limitation was also 
proposed based on existing LSVs, GVWR submitted by companies 
registering with NHTSA as intending to manufacture LSVs, and the 
Society of Automotive Engineers Surface Vehicle Standard J-2358.
    In the NPRM, we noted that the ``less than 2,500 pound'' GVWR 
limitation would include some vehicles that are currently certified to 
the FMVSSs, such as the Honda Insight. Such a vehicle would, of course, 
not be considered a LSV unless it also met the other limitations 
specified in the LSV definition (e.g., a maximum attainable speed of 25 
mph). We proposed the ``less than 2,500 pound'' GVWR limitation to 
accommodate electric LSVs, which are heavier than internal combustion 
engine models. The increased weight of electric LSVs can be attributed 
to their heavier electric propulsion systems and their need for battery 
storage. The agency did not propose a LSV definition with maximum GVWR 
greater than 2,500 pounds, in part, because there are currently not any 
performance requirements for service brakes and tires that are 
appropriate for these vehicles.
    In addition, we proposed an additional limitation of a minimum 
rated cargo load (RCL) of 80 pounds. The proposed RCL minimum was 
intended to ensure some load carrying capacity in addition to the 
regulatory requirement of 150 pounds per designated seating position 
(as defined in 49 CFR 571.3).
    We proposed the LSV definition changes because we believed they 
would make the definition more complete, clarify the definition as to 
the type of vehicle NHTSA intended to exclude from the FMVSSs for cars, 
trucks and multipurpose passenger vehicles under the LSV definition, 
and allow manufacturers of LSVs more flexibility in the design of their 
products without sacrificing the safety of the vehicles' users. 
Further, the crash avoidance and crash protection requirements for a 
LSV are appropriate for that vehicle's size and anticipated usage, 
regardless of whether the vehicle is designed to transport passengers 
or cargo.

III. Public Comments

    We received sixteen comments on the NPRM.\5\ Comments were received 
from

[[Page 48315]]

LSV manufacturers, LSV distributors, an industry organization 
representing golf cart manufactures, public interest groups, individual 
members of the public, and a member of Congress.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ Comments were submitted by: (1) National Golf Car 
Manufacturers Association (NGCMA); (2) Electric Drive Transportation 
Association (EDTA); (3) Mr. Walter W. Harsch; (4) Harley Holt & 
Associates; (5) C.C. Chan; (6) Ms. Lauren Brooks; (7) Voltage 
Vehicles; (8) ZAP; (9) ZAP Latin America, S.A.; (10) Advocates for 
Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates); (11) Tiger Truck, L.L.C.; (12) 
California Manufacture of Electric Vehicle (CAMEV); (13) The 
Honorable Lynn Woolsey, Member of Congress; (14) Mr. Alex Campbell; 
(15) DaimlerChrysler (parent company of petitioner GEM); and (16) 
Donahue Gallagher Woods, L.L.P. (Donahue).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A few commenters expressed concern about expanding the definition 
by removing the truck exclusion. However, a majority of commenters 
supported the removal of this exclusion, while expressing concern with 
and opposition to the proposed GVWR and RCL limits. Comments regarding 
the proposed limits generally found the limits to be too restrictive.

IV. The Final Rule and Response to Public Comments

A. The Final Rule

    Today's document establishes the definition of LSV as proposed in 
the December 2003 NPRM, except that we are not specifying a minimum 
RCL. The definition of LSV is revised as follows:

    Low-speed vehicle means a vehicle,
    (a) that is 4-wheeled,
    (b) whose speed attainable in 1.6 km (1 mile) is more than 32 
kilometers per hour (20 miles per hour) and not more than 40 
kilometers per hour (25 miles per hour) on a paved level surface, 
and
    (c) whose GVWR is less than 1,134 kilograms (2,500 pounds).

    This definition eliminates the exclusion of trucks from the LSV 
definition. A vehicle equipped with a cargo bed or other form of cargo 
carrying capacity may now be classified as a LSV, so long as the 
vehicle complies with the other provisions of the definition.
    The definition established in today's document better expresses our 
concept of ``LSV.'' As previously expressed, ``LSV'' is intended to 
comprise a class of vehicles for which the FMVSSs for cars, trucks, and 
multi-purpose vehicles are inappropriate because of the small size of 
these vehicles. Today's definition defines the limits of that size and 
permits the manufacture of LSVs designed for a more utilitarian 
function through the incorporation of greater cargo carrying capacity. 
LSVs with greater cargo carrying capacity offer a flexible and 
economical alternative to trucks in the appropriate environments, such 
as gated and retirement communities. The application of the full range 
of FMVSSs to which cars, trucks, and multipurpose passenger vehicles 
are subject, is equally inappropriate to these small, lightweight 
vehicles, whether they are designed to carry primarily passengers or 
property.
    Two commenters, NGCMA and Advocates, opposed removing the truck 
exclusion from the definition of LSV. NGCMA asserted that NHTSA failed 
to consider numerous industry standards concerning LSV performance and 
safety (specifically standards SAE J-2358, ISO 391-6:2003, and ASME 
56.8) and that the agency should consider all of the ramifications 
inherent in industrial truck function and performance (e.g., existing 
truck FMVSSs, fuel and battery acid containment, brake performance 
criteria, reverse warning signal horns). NGCMA also argued that 
including trucks in the LSV classification will have the unintended 
anti-competitive effect of replacing currently available off-road light 
utility vehicles (with an operating speed of less than 20 mph) with LSV 
trucks, which may offer tax advantages. Finally, NGCMA argued that one 
vehicle, the Frazer-Nash 4XLSV NEV would be excluded from the 
definition of LSV because it has a GVWR of 3,304 lbs.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ The Frazer-Nash was mentioned in a comparison table in the 
NPRM. We understand NGCMA's comment to argue that the Frazer-Nash 
would have been considered a LSV under our old definition, but not 
our new definition.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We have carefully considered NGCMA's comments. We note that we have 
considered industry standards related to LSVs and specifically 
mentioned SAE J-2358 in the NPRM. Further, because of the limited speed 
and intended environment of operation, we have determined that the full 
range of standards applicable to trucks is not applicable to ``truck-
like'' LSVs, i.e., those designed with greater cargo carrying capacity.
    Removal of the truck exclusion from the definition of LSV will 
permit vehicles with a maximum speed between 20 and 25 mph that are 
manufactured primarily to transport property to be manufactured as 
motor vehicles. These vehicles will also be manufactured primarily for 
use on public roads. The vehicles discussed by NGCMA that have maximum 
speed capabilities below 20 mph are off-road vehicles, i.e., vehicles 
not manufactured for use on public roads. The off-road vehicles and the 
``truck-like'' LSVs are manufactured for two different operating 
environments. Therefore, we do not anticipate that these vehicles will 
be in direct competition in the marketplace. We have also considered 
the economic impacts as required under the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 
discussed in greater detail below.
    We also note that the Frazer-Nash 4XLSV mentioned in NGCMA's 
comments is equipped with a cargo bed. While the vehicle would not be 
considered a LSV under the new definition because it exceeds the ``less 
than 2,500 pound'' GVWR limitation, it would also not have been 
considered an LSV under the previous definition because of the cargo 
bed.
    Advocates generally opposed removing the truck exception. Advocates 
stated that that this rulemaking will expose many people to unnecessary 
risks of injuries and death because their use of LSVs that fail to 
conform to basic Federal safety standards for occupant protection. 
Advocates argued that this rule will expand the types and variety of 
LSVs thereby guaranteeing that even more LSVs will operate on public 
roads without benefit of major advances in federally regulated safety 
equipment and occupant crashworthiness. Advocates also argued that LSV 
trucks operating with speeds as high as 25 mph will result in more 
severe crashes, all other things being equal, because of the increased 
mass of these larger LSVs when they collide, especially with roadside 
fixed objects.
    Advocates did not provide an estimate of the increase in LSVs 
operated on public roads (and occupants exposed) that will result from 
this final rule. Although we are including vehicles with greater cargo 
carrying capacity in the definition of LSV, we are also limiting the 
definition through establishing a maximum GVWR. The limitations on GVWR 
limitation in combination with the existing maximum speed limit of 25 
mph will generally act to restrict the use of these vehicles to the 
appropriate environments. Given these limitations, we do not expect 
that operators of these vehicles will drive them in mixed-vehicle 
traffic for other than very short trips.
    Advocates also argued that the rule would result in more severe 
crashes because of the 25 mph speed limitation and increased LSV mass. 
We did not propose to change the speed limitation in this rulemaking. 
As to mass, the GVWR limitation will prevent larger, heavier trucks 
from being classified as LSVs. Instead, truck LSVs will be similar to 
current LSVs.
1. 2,500 Pound GVWR
    Limiting LSVs to a GVWR of ``less than 2,500 pounds'' is consistent 
with the safety and practicability concerns that originally gave rise 
to the LSV class. When we created this vehicle class, we did so in 
response to the growing use of LSVs on roads in planned environments, 
such as retirement and gated communities. To strike an appropriate 
balance between competing

[[Page 48316]]

considerations such as safety, practicability and mobility, we sought 
then and continue to seek now to define the LSV class narrowly in 
recognition of the LSV's low operating speed and its limited use on 
roads in planned communities.
    By removing the truck exclusion we recognize that the LSV 
requirements are applicable to some vehicles designed for more work-
related operation. Manufacturers and the public are provided the 
advantages of LSVs that may be designed primarily to carry cargo. By 
limiting the GVWR, vehicles for which the LSV requirements are not 
appropriate are excluded from the LSV definition, i.e., vehicles 
designed for use outside of planned communities or that could be 
designed to meet the FMVSS requirements for cars, trucks, and multi-
purpose vehicles.
    The GVWR limit prevents attempts to circumvent FMVSSs for cars, 
trucks, and multi-purpose passenger vehicles by applying the LSV 
classification to vehicle types that are able to meet the standards. 
Defining a LSV as having a maximum GVWR of less than 2,500 pounds also 
provides an objective means for delineating between the vehicles for 
which the LSV requirements are appropriate and those vehicles that can 
be designed to meet the full set of FMVSSs. This approach will also 
ensure that heavier, slow moving trucks (i.e., street sweepers) 
continue to be excluded from the LSV definition.
    A variety of commenters, i.e., DaimlerChrysler, ZAP, ZAP Latin 
America, Voltage Vehicles, C.C. Chan, Donahue, Ms. Lauren Brooks, EDTA, 
Harley Holt, Mr. Alex Campbell, CAMEV, and Representative Lynn Woolsey, 
expressed concern with or objected to setting the GVWR limit at 2,500 
pounds. Concern was raised specifically with regard to the limits 
impact on the utility of electrically powered LSVs, the impact on the 
LSV industry, and on LSVs designed to accommodate individuals with 
disabilities.
    ZAP Latin America, ZAP, C.C. Chan, and EDTA commented that limiting 
the GVWR to less than 2,500 would limit the range of an electrically 
powered LSV (arguing that the GVWR limit would result in reducing the 
number or size of the batteries in these vehicles) and limit the 
ability of manufacturers to equip these vehicles with amenities. ZAP 
and CAMEV requested that NHTSA consider a higher GVWR limit. ZAP and 
C.C. Chan argued that a higher GVWR limitation would allow for market 
demands for increased range (resulting in heavier vehicles due to 
battery weight) and solid doors, windows, heating and air conditioning, 
and advanced hybrid systems.
    CAMEV argued that the ``less than 2,500 pound'' GVWR limitation, as 
proposed, would cut the driving range of an electric powered vehicle 
from 35 miles to 22 miles, as a result of having to reduce the weight 
for battery capacity from 800 pounds to 625 pounds. This decreased 
range, it argued, would have the effect of limiting applications of 
LSVs.
    Donahue, Mr. Alex Campbell, Representative Lynn Woolsey, C.C. Chan, 
and Harley Holt argued that the ``less than 2,500 pound'' GVWR 
provision of the LSV definition would significantly impact or 
materially harm the LSV industry. Concern was raised regarding the 
impact of the proposed rule existing companies, particularly, ZAP, 
Voltage Vehicles of Windsor California, and RAP of Windsor California, 
as well as on the most widely accepted existing LSVs.
    As stated above, we are adopting the 2,500 pound GVWR limit in the 
definition of LSV to provide the appropriate balance between the 
intended function of these vehicles and safety. Again, the LSV class 
was established to recognize vehicles manufactured for operation in 
limited, and typically closed environments. The LSV class is not 
intended to include vehicles manufactured for operation in mixed 
traffic. A maximum GVWR of less than 2,500 pounds will enable LSV 
manufacturers to design a LSV with sufficient range and amenities, 
suitable for operating in these communities.
    Given that vehicles fully compliant with FMVSS exist under 2,500 
lbs and that the LSV class was created for vehicles that were too small 
to meet the FMVSS, there is no reason for vehicles over 2,500 lbs not 
be fully FMVSS compliant, and thus a great deal safer than a 2,500 lb 
GVWR LSV.
    As noted in the 1998 final rule, the operation of LSVs in an 
environment with heavier, faster moving vehicles raises obvious safety 
concerns. Because LSVs are much lighter than conventional vehicles and 
are not subject to the same Federal motor vehicle safety standards, 
they are less crashworthy than conventional vehicles. Thus, LSV 
drivers, especially those unused to the limited acceleration 
capabilities of LSVs, and passengers will be exposed to a greater risk 
of injury or death when operating an LSV on roadways with a posted 
speed limit of 35 mph, or when attempting to cross a roadway with a 
posted speed limit greater than 35 mph.
    We believe that, as LSVs become equipped with additional amenities, 
such as air conditioning, solid doors, and batteries for extended 
range, they lose the basic characteristics of a special vehicle 
designed for transportation within a planned, limited environment. 
Instead, these vehicles take-on the profile of a small, traditional 
passenger car vehicle, and in some cases, may be marketed as a small 
passenger car or as a substitute for a small passenger car. Even with a 
25 mph speed limitation, we are concerned that LSVs that have 
characteristics and attributes of traditional passenger cars will be 
more likely to be used outside of planned communities and instead, more 
regularly mix with traffic. We currently require small vehicles, such 
as the Honda Insight, to be fully compliant with all FMVSSs. We do not 
believe that it is in the interests of safety to make an exception from 
our normal FMVSS standards for such vehicles. Moreover, there is no 
reason why vehicle with a GVWR greater than 2,500 pounds cannot be 
designed to comply with all the safety standards applicable to 
traditional passenger cars.
    While the EDTA agreed that the GVWR provided an appropriate method 
for restricting the size of LSVs, it commented that the 2,500 pound 
limit is overly restrictive and would reduce the flexibility to develop 
new products in the future with different propulsion configurations or 
additional features. EDTA stated that the proposed GVWR does not take 
into consideration the increased weight associated with additional 
features necessary to comply with revised safety requirements or 
performance standards.
    DaimlerChrysler noted that its vehicles are powered by an electric 
propulsion system, which adds 300 pounds to a comparably equipped 
internal combustion engine LSV. As such, DaimlerChrysler recommended a 
two-tiered GVWR maximum for the definition of a LSV: a 2,500-pound GVWR 
limitation for internal combustion LSVs, and a 2,800-pound limitation 
GVWR for electric powered LSVs. DaimlerChrysler argued that this would 
allow it to present customers with a choice between internal combustion 
and electric propulsion systems for vehicles carrying the same payload. 
ZAP Latin America was also concerned that the GVWR limitation would 
diminish its ability to compete with internal combustion automobiles 
(since internal combustion automobiles are likely to have a greater 
range than electric LSVs).
    The LSV definition does not specify a propulsion system. A LSV may 
be

[[Page 48317]]

powered by an electrical motor, an internal combustion (IC) engine, or 
some other type of propulsion system. Each propulsion type has its own 
advantages. The advantage of the lighter weight of IC propulsion is an 
advantage that already exists. However, DaimlerChrysler noted that the 
majority of LSVs are electric. Mr. Walter Harsch commented that it is 
not the ``norm'' for ``working'' vehicles to be electric, but he 
anticipates the trend to move toward electric vehicles.
    The fact that electric LSVs are successful in the market indicates 
that any advantage of the IC vehicle due to greater load capacity under 
our GVWR restriction will be overcome by other attractions of the 
electric vehicle to consumers. Therefore, it does not appear that this 
final rule creates a new disadvantage for electric vehicles. While IC 
vehicles are able to carry more weight, since they do not need 
batteries, this advantage seems to be countered by consumers' 
preference for electric-powered vehicles.
    Further, we considered the amount of weight necessary for battery 
reserve in electric vehicles when we proposed our ``less than 2,500 
pound'' GVWR limitation. The intent of the LSV definition is to 
recognize a class of vehicles for which the full range of safety 
standards applicable to cars, trucks, and multipurpose passenger 
vehicles is not appropriate because of the LSVs' small size and limited 
use. We found that the lightest fully FMVSS compliant vehicle is about 
2100 pounds GVWR. By setting the LSV maximum GVWR at 2500 pounds we 
have allowed 400 lbs for batteries for electric propulsion.
    ZAP Latin America, Ms. Lauren Brooks, and C.C. Chan argued that a 
safety-based approach should include heavier LSVs in the definition 
because heavier LSVs are safer or because LSVs are made heavier for 
safety purposes. For example, ZAP Latin America commented that it makes 
a heavier LSV for safety purposes. Lauren Brooks and C.C. Chan stated 
that lighter vehicles have a much higher risk of a fatal crash (citing 
DOT HS 662 Vehicle Weight, Fatality and Crash Compatibility of Model 
Year 1991-99 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks). C.C. Chan commented that 
passengers would be safer behind a solid door rather than being in open 
air, and that the current weight would limit the ability for these 
vehicles to have solid doors and windows, making them less safe.
    In a crash with a traditional, heavier vehicle, a LSV would be at a 
disadvantage. This is why we believe that the use of LSVs should be 
restricted to planned communities. The commenters cited our study on 
Vehicle Weight, Fatality and Crash Compatibility of Model Year 1991-99 
Passenger Cars and Light Trucks. This study involved vehicles that 
fully comply with all of our FMVSSs for passenger cars and trucks. The 
study did not involve LSVs.
    As we stated above, heavier vehicles (i.e., vehicles over 2,500 
pounds GVWR) that take-on the profile of a small car, and contain solid 
doors, air conditioning systems, and batteries for extended range, are 
more likely to be used on roads outside of neighborhoods and planned 
communities. We do not believe that it is appropriate to encourage such 
use. These heavier vehicles can instead be designed to meet the full 
set of FMVSSs. Therefore, we believe that the ``less than 2,500 pound'' 
GVWR restriction helps to ensure that the vehicles will be limited in 
the geographic scope of their use, as NHTSA originally intended, 
thereby reducing the risk to occupants from mixing with other vehicles.
    We believe that ``less than 2,500 pounds'' GVWR is adequate for a 
LSV that operates in planned communities. We also believe that 
increasing the maximum GVWR for a LSV would be inconsistent with the 
interests of safety, as discussed above. Finally, we believe that as a 
vehicle becomes heavier and increasingly resembles a small vehicle, by 
having features such as doors, it is more likely that the vehicle will 
be mixed with heavier vehicles, and can and should meet the full range 
of FMVSSs.
    Voltage Vehicles and Donahue both commented that limiting the 
weight of the LSV would limit the ability of manufacturers to offer 
LSVs to accommodate people with disabilities. Voltage Vehicles stated 
that it has been working to develop a wheelchair accessible version of 
the ZAP World Car. Voltage Vehicles stated that its current 
modifications would add as much as 200 to 350 pounds to the GVWR of the 
vehicle, which already has a GVWR of approximately 3,000 pounds.
    We note that the vehicles described by Voltage Vehicles would 
exceed the GVWR limit established in this final rule prior to the 
modifications for accommodating people with disabilities. We also note 
that existing LSV can be modified to accommodate individuals with 
disabilities while maintaining a GVWR below 2,500 pounds. Braun 
Corporation modifies the GEM LSV with a turning seat and a hoist for a 
wheelchair or scooter. The GEM eL, which is a LSV that is accessible to 
occupants with mobility impairments, has a GVWR of 2,300 pounds. It 
could easily accommodate a heavy power wheelchair and still have 
capacity for the occupant, another passenger, and special equipment.
    The agency also received a comment from Mr. Walter Harsch 
requesting that LSVs be limited according to ``curb weight'' as opposed 
to GVWR. However, curb weight describes only the weight of the vehicle 
and not its capacity. GVWR is a description of the maximum possible 
weight of the fully loaded vehicle. GVWR is more pertinent to safety.
    The agency has determined that a GVWR limit of 2,500 pounds in 
conjunction with the 25 mph speed limitation, provides a more 
appropriate definition for a LSV. We believe that GVWR is necessary to 
limit this class of vehicle to vehicles that are used in planned 
communities and cannot be designed to meet the full set of FMVSSs. 
Also, we stated in the original final rule and the NPRM to this 
rulemaking, we did not intend for heavier, slow-moving vehicles (e.g., 
street sweepers), or vehicles that can be designed to meet the full set 
of FMVSSs, to be included in the LSV class.
2. The 80-Pound RCL Limitation
    The agency is not adopting the minimum RCL requirement as proposed. 
The proposed minimum RCL was intended to address safety concerns 
regarding the overloading of vehicles. In its comments DaimlerChrysler 
agreed with our proposal. Although the proposed RCL limit was a 
minimum, ZAP argued that LSVs are used for many purposes, some of which 
are for cargo loads that may exceed 80 pounds. Harley Holt commented 
that the selection of an 80-pound minimum rated cargo load simply 
because it is the estimated weight of two golf bags is inappropriate 
when applied to LSVs that would be sold and used to transport property. 
Harley Holt suggested that there be no minimum value specified for 
rated cargo load.
    We have carefully considered the comments on our proposed 80-pound 
RCL limitation, and have decided not to include the limitation in the 
final rule. We note that it is important for safety, for all classes of 
vehicles, that vehicles not be driven in an overloaded condition. 
However, we believe that the ``less than 2,500 pound'' GVWR limitation 
in addition to the other limiting attributes of the definition negate 
the need to specify a RCL to accomplish this goal.

[[Page 48318]]

B. Miscellaneous Comments

    In the NPRM, we requested comments on several additional issues. In 
response to our inquiry of whether GVWR is the most appropriate method 
for restricting the size of LSVs, DaimlerChrysler commented that it 
agreed with the method but also suggested a minimum height limitation 
to aid the conspicuity of LSV vehicles. We have reviewed 
DaimlerChrysler's comments and note that we have recently addressed the 
LSV conspicuity issue. For further details, please see our original 
final rule (63 FR 33194, June 17, 1998) and our recent termination of 
rulemaking (70 FR 7222, Feb. 11, 2005) where we determined that there 
is an absence of data showing a conspicuity-related safety problem with 
current LSV designs.
    ZAP and C.C. Chan commented that NHTSA should consider broadening 
the LSV definition to include 3-wheeled vehicles. ZAP noted that many 
low speed vehicles in Europe have 3 wheels. However, the 4-wheel 
limitation distinguishes a LSV from a ``motor cycle'' or a ``motor-
driven cycle'' as defined in 49 CFR Sec.  571.3. Motorcycles and motor-
driven cycles are separately regulated. Our proposal to change the LSV 
definition does not change the relationship in how we regulate LSVs and 
motorcycles or motor-driven cycles. Any such change is beyond the scope 
of this rulemaking and would require us to do further analysis and 
provide for public comment on such a change.
    Several commenters, i.e., Mr. Alex Campbell, Representative Lynn 
Woolsey, and EDTA, commented that the government should be working to 
reduce the restrictions for zero-emission forms of transportation, and 
promote the use of technologies that provide environmental benefits.
    As we stated in the June 1998 final rule, we believe that the 
creation of the LSV class would help, not hurt, communities reach 
environmental goals. We believe that the promulgation of FMVSS No. 500 
was a pragmatic, flexible and necessary approach to regulating the 
safety of LSVs. The adoption of the GVWR limitation is necessary to 
balance the utility of the LSV with safety concerns. Eliminating the 
truck exclusion further increases the flexibility of the LSV class and 
may provide additional environmental benefits by permitting the 
manufacture of a vehicle that could be operated in lieu of a truck in 
the appropriate operating environments.

V. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

    Executive Order 12866 and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures 
Executive Order 12866, ``Regulatory Planning and Review'' (58 FR 51735, 
October 4, 1993), provides for making determinations whether a 
regulatory action is ``significant'' and therefore subject to Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) review and to the requirements of the 
Executive Order. The Order defines a ``significant regulatory action'' 
as one that is likely to result in a rule that may:
    (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or 
adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the 
economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public 
health or safety, or State, local, or Tribal governments or 
communities;
    (2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an 
action taken or planned by another agency;
    (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, 
user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients 
thereof; or
    (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal 
mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in 
the Executive Order.
    This rulemaking document was not reviewed under Executive Order 
12866, ``Regulatory Planning and Review.'' The agency is aware of only 
one LSV (the imported ZAP Worldcar) currently produced that will no 
longer be classified as a LSV under the final rule. This impact will 
not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more.
    As discussed below in Regulatory Flexibility Act analysis, the 
manufacturer of this vehicle has two options: (1) To redesign the 
vehicle to comply with the full set of FMVSSs, or (2) to reduce the 
weight and GVWR of the vehicle so that it meets LSV class limitations.
    This final rule will permit current LSV manufacturers to produce 
LSVs for more work oriented functions. In the petitions for rulemaking 
received by the agency and the comments on this rulemaking, 
manufacturers stated that the definition adopted today will allow them 
to expand production to meet a consumer need.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., 
as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act 
(SBREFA) of 1996), whenever an agency is required to publish a notice 
of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must prepare and make 
available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that 
describes the effect of the rule on small entities (i.e., small 
businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions). 
No regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of an agency 
certifies the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. SBREFA amended the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act to require Federal agencies to provide a statement of 
the factual basis for certifying that a rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.
    I certify that the proposed amendment will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.
    The following is the agency's statement providing the factual basis 
for the certification (5 U.S.C. 605(b)). The final rule directly 
affects motor vehicle manufacturers, specifically, manufacturers of 
LSVs. North American Industry Classification System Codes (NAISC) code 
number 336111, Automobile Manufacturing, prescribes a small business 
size standard of 1,000 or fewer employees. NAISC code number 336211, 
Motor Vehicle Body Manufacturing, prescribes a small business size 
standard of 1,000 or fewer employees.
    The establishment of the new category of motor vehicles, low-speed 
vehicles, under FMVSS No. 500, in 1998, provided small business with 
the opportunity to expand into a new market. This final rule will 
further permit the manufacture of LSVs to meet additional needs, but it 
will also limit the market for LSVs to those under 2,500 pounds GVWR. 
The previous definition of LSV did not limit the GVWR of motor vehicles 
that could be defined as a LSV.
    In 2003, over 30 manufacturers had registered with NHTSA as 
intending to manufacture LSVs. One-third of these manufacturers listed 
the intended GVWR range as including vehicles over 2,500 pounds. 
However, to our knowledge at this time, there is only one U.S. 
manufacturer (California Manufacture of Electric Vehicles (CAMEV)) with 
actual plans to produce a LSV with a GVWR over 2,500 pounds. CAMEV has 
1,000 or fewer employees.
    CAMEV has not yet manufactured a vehicle and is in the development 
stage. CAMEV stated that the GVWR limit of ``less than 2,500 pounds'' 
is not the appropriate method of restricting the size of LSVs and that 
the proposed GVWR would not provide enough weight allowance for the 
electric propulsion system, and would limit the vehicle's applications. 
CAMEV stated that it is designing an electric vehicle

[[Page 48319]]

``model Q'' that has a GVWR of approximately 3,200 pounds. CAMEV 
recommended a 3,200-pound GVWR limitation.
    As explained above, the agency has determined that ``less than 
2,500 pounds'' is an appropriate limit for LSVs and has taken into 
consideration the weight of electric propulsion systems. If CAMEV wants 
to keep the current vehicle design of over 2,500 pounds GVWR, then it 
must make the vehicle fully compliant with all applicable FMVSSs for a 
vehicle over 2,500 pounds GVWR.
    The cost implications of these choices are difficult to estimate. 
Reducing the GVWR of the vehicle may be a difficult task once a vehicle 
is in production. Manufacturers seeking to reduce weight of LSVs can 
utilize mechanical innovations, advanced material technologies, and 
design concepts to achieve this goal while maintaining vehicle 
performance. Unconventional design features and aerodynamics, along 
with lightweight materials reduce weight throughout the vehicle and 
lower drag coefficient, thus requiring less power. The development of 
higher efficiency propulsion systems and advanced energy storage, 
underway through government and industry initiatives, will accelerate 
the production of LSVs meeting FMVSS requirements, lower cost, and 
provide options in the design of the LSV package.
    However, weight reduction of a vehicle still in development could 
be accomplished with the above listed technologies without a 
significant economic impact to the manufacturer. Incorporating the 
above listed technologies would maintain the functional design of the 
vehicle and possibly provide benefits in fuel economy or battery life.
    Designing the vehicle to comply with applicable FMVSSs is another 
alternative. NHTSA estimates that the FMVSSs added an average of $858 
(in 2003 dollars) and 125 pounds to the average passenger car in model 
year 2001, from 1968 cost and weight. While the cost to redesign an LSV 
to comply with the FMVSSs applicable to a passenger car would likely be 
greater than this average, we believe that the additional cost and 
weight attributed to specific safety technologies associated with 
FMVSSs would not be burdensome for a manufacturer to attain, 
particularly given that LSVs already must have brakes, lights, safety 
belts and other basic features.
    The agency also received comment from a business, ZAP, that imports 
LSV above the GVWR limit adopted in this final rule. ZAP stated that it 
has marketed over 85,000 electric vehicles since 1994, and currently 
imports completed vehicles made in China. ZAP did not specify how many 
of these vehicles were classified as LSVs or how many of these vehicles 
were LSVs with a GVWR greater than the limit adopted in today's final 
rule.
    ZAP stated that its new 2004 ZAP Worldcar vehicle would no longer 
be classified as a LSV, since its GVWR is 3,007 pounds. However, this 
final rule does not prevent ZAP from continuing to sell LSVs that meet 
the regulatory definition. The imported vehicles could either be 
redesigned or certified to all FMVSSs applicable to passenger cars, as 
explained for CAMEV. Further, ZAP already advertises a motor vehicle 
with a GVWR below 2,500 pounds that is not a LSV, i.e., the SMART car.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    NHTSA has analyzed this final rule under the Paperwork Reduction 
Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-13) and determined that it will not impose any 
new information collection requirements as that term is defined by the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in 5 CFR part 1320.

The National Environmental Policy Act

    NHTSA has also analyzed this final rule under the National 
Environmental Policy Act and determined that it will have no 
significant impact on the human environment. LSV usage is very small in 
comparison to that of motor vehicles as a whole; therefore, any change 
to the LSV segment does not have a significant environmental effect.

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4) requires 
agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits and 
other effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate 
likely to result in the expenditure by State, local or tribal 
governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of more than 
$100 million annually. This final rule does not result in annual 
expenditures exceeding the $100 million threshold.

Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    Executive Order 13132 on ``Federalism'' requires us to develop an 
accountable process to ensure meaningful and timely input by State and 
local officials in the development of ``regulatory policies that have 
federalism implications.'' The Executive Order defines this phrase to 
include regulations ``that have substantial direct effects on the 
States, on the relationship between the national government and the 
States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the 
various levels of government.''
    The agency has analyzed this rule in accordance with the principles 
and criteria set forth in Executive Order 13132 and has determined that 
it will not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant 
consultation with State and local officials or the preparation of a 
federalism summary impact statement.
    In the 1998 final rule, which established the LSV definition, the 
agency noted that:

    Under the preemption provisions of 49 U.S.C. 30103(b)(1), with 
respect to those areas of a motor vehicle's safety performance 
regulated by the Federal government, any state and local safety 
standards addressing those areas must be identical. Thus, the state 
or local standard, if any, for vehicles classified as LSVs must be 
identical to Standard No. 500 in those areas covered by that 
standard. For example, since Standard No. 500 addresses the subject 
of the type of lights which must be provided, state and local 
governments may not require additional types of lights. Further, 
since the agency has not specified performance requirements for any 
of the required lights, state and local governments may not do so 
either.

    63 FR at 33215. In a 1998 NPRM we revised this discussion by 
stating that:

    [W]e have re-examined our statements about preemption in the 
preamble of the final rule. In those statements, we explained that, 
in view of our conscious decision not to adopt any performance 
requirements for most of the types of equipment required by Standard 
No. 500, the states were preempted from doing so. * * * As a result 
of re-examining our views, we have concluded that we should not 
assert * * * preemption in this particular situation. Accordingly, 
we agree that the states may adopt and apply their own performance 
requirements for required LSV lighting equipment, mirrors, and 
parking brakes until we have established performance requirements 
for those items of equipment. However, the states remain precluded 
from adopting additional equipment requirements in areas covered by 
Standard No. 500.

    65 FR 53219, 53220; September 1, 2000.
    We are unaware of any existing state laws that would be preempted 
by today's final rule. We recognize that California's definition of 
``low-speed vehicle'' establishes a maximum ``unladen weight of 1,800 
pounds'' (Cal. Vehicle Code section 385.5).\7\ Unlike GVWR, the unladen 
weight is the weight of the vehicle without occupants

[[Page 48320]]

or cargo. (See, Cal. Vehicle Code Section 289). Today's final rule does 
not specify a maximum unladen weight for LSVs. Therefore, consistent 
with our past pronouncements regarding LSVs and preemption of State 
law, the addition of a maximum GVWR in today's final rule does not 
preempt California's definition of LSV.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ We also note that Hawaii has incorporated a maximum 
``unladen weight'' in its definition of NEV, which is limited to 
electrically powered motor vehicles (HRS Sec.  286-2).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This rule will not have substantial direct effect on the States, on 
the relationship between the national government and the States, or on 
the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels 
of government, as specified in Executive Order 13132.

Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    Executive Order 12988 requires that agencies review proposed 
regulations and legislation and adhere to the following general 
requirements: (1) The agency's proposed legislation and regulations 
shall be reviewed by the agency to eliminate drafting errors and 
ambiguity; (2) the agency's proposed legislation and regulations shall 
be written to minimize litigation; and (3) the agency's proposed 
legislation and regulations shall provide a clear legal standard for 
affected conduct rather than a general standard, and shall promote 
simplification and burden reduction.
    When promulgating a regulation, Executive Order 12988, specifically 
requires that the agency must make every reasonable effort to ensure 
that the regulation, as appropriate: (1) Specifies in clear language 
the preemptive effect, (2) specifies in clear language the effect on 
existing Federal law or regulation, including all provisions repealed, 
circumscribed, displaced, impaired, or modified, (3) provides a clear 
legal standard for affected conduct rather than a general standard, 
while promoting simplification and burden reduction, (4) specifies in 
clear language the retroactive effect, (5) specifies whether 
administrative proceedings are to be required before parties may file 
suit in court, (6) explicitly or implicitly defines key terms, and (7) 
addresses other important issues affecting clarity and general 
draftsmanship of regulations.
    NHTSA has reviewed this final rule according to the general 
requirements and the specific requirements for regulations set forth in 
Executive Order 12988. This final rule revises the definition of the 
term ``low-speed vehicle (LSV)'' in 49 CFR Part 571. This change does 
not preemptive any existing State law and does not have a retroactive 
effect. A petition for reconsideration or other administrative 
proceeding is not required before parties may file suit in court. 
However, this change does change a ``key term'' within the meaning of 
Executive Order 12988. The agency has made every effort to ensure that 
this key term has been explicitly defined.

Regulation Identifier Number (RIN)

    The Department of Transportation assigns a regulation identifier 
number (RIN) to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of 
Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center 
publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. You may 
use the RIN contained in the heading at the beginning of this document 
to find this action in the Unified Agenda.

Data Quality Guidelines

    After reviewing the provisions of the final rule, pursuant to OMB's 
Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, 
Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agencies 
(``Guidelines'') issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
(67 FR 8452, Feb. 22, 2002) and published in final form by the 
Department of Transportation on October 1, 2002 (67 FR 61719), NHTSA 
has determined that nothing in this rulemaking action would result in 
``information dissemination'' to the public, as that term is defined in 
the Guidelines.

Executive Order 13045

    Executive Order 13045 (62 FR 19885, April 23, 1997) applies to any 
rule that: (1) Is determined to be ``economically significant'' as 
defined under Executive Order 12866, and (2) concerns an environmental, 
health or safety risk that NHTSA has reason to believe may have a 
disproportionate effect on children. If the regulatory action meets 
both criteria, we must evaluate the environmental health or safety 
effects of the planned rule on children, and explain why the planned 
regulation is preferable to other potentially effective and reasonably 
feasible alternatives considered by us. As noted earlier, this rule is 
not economically significant, nor does it concern a safety risk with a 
disproportionate effect on children.

National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement 
Act (NTTAA) requires NHTSA to evaluate and use existing voluntary 
consensus standards in its regulatory activities unless doing so would 
be inconsistent with applicable law (e.g., the statutory provisions 
regarding NHTSA's vehicle safety authority) or otherwise impractical. 
In meeting that available and potentially applicable voluntary 
consensus standard, we are required by the Act to provide Congress, 
through OMB, with an explanation of the reasons for not using such 
standards. The agency specifically considered SAE J-2358 in the 
development of this final rule.

Privacy Act

    Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all submissions 
received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's 
complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on 
April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477-78) or you may visit 
http://dms.dot.gov.

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 571

    Imports, Motor vehicle safety, Motor vehicles, Low-speed vehicles.


0
For reasons set forth in the preamble, NHTSA amends 49 CFR part 571 to 
read as follows:

PART 571--FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS

0
1. The authority citation for part 571 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30166 and 30177; delegation of 
authority at 49 CFR 1.50.

Subpart A--General

0
2. Section 571.3(b) is amended by revising the term ``low-speed 
vehicle'' to read as follows:


Sec.  571.3  Definitions.

* * * * *
    (b) Other definitions. * * *
    Low-speed vehicle (LSV) means a motor vehicle,
    (1) that is 4-wheeled,
    (2) whose speed attainable in 1.6 km (1 mile) is more than 32 
kilometers per hour (20 miles per hour) and not more than 40 kilometers 
per hour (25 miles per hour) on a paved level surface, and
    (3) whose GVWR is less than 1,134 kilograms (2,500 pounds).
* * * * *

    Issued: August 11, 2005.
Ronald L. Medford,
Senior Associate Administrator for Vehicle Safety.
[FR Doc. 05-16323 Filed 8-16-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-U