Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Rearview Mirrors, 57549-57550 [05-19666]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 190 / Monday, October 3, 2005 / Proposed Rules pipeline found to be in satisfactory condition, considering its operating and maintenance history, at the highest actual operating pressure to which the segment was subjected during the 5 years preceding the applicable date in the second column of the table in paragraph (a)(3) of this section. Issued in Washington, DC, on September 23, 2005. Stacey L. Gerard, Associate Administrator for Pipeline Safety. [FR Doc. 05–19455 Filed 9–28–05; 8:51 am] BILLING CODE 4910–60–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 571 [Docket No. NHTSA–2002–12347] RIN 2127–AI52 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Rearview Mirrors National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of withdrawal of rulemaking. AGENCY: SUMMARY: In response to a petition for rulemaking submitted by Ms. Barbara Sanford, NHTSA published a Request for Comments (RFC) in the Federal Register on January 22, 2003 that included several questions regarding convex mirrors on commercial trucks. The Sanford petition asked the agency to amend our Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) for rearview mirrors to require that all commercial trucks traveling on interstate highways have convex mirrors affixed to their front right and left fenders in order to provide drivers of these vehicles an increased field-of-view during lane change maneuvers, which the petitioner stated is necessary to eliminate a blind spot caused by the elevated position of commercial truck drivers relative to passenger cars. Prior to receiving the Sanford petition, the agency had decided to conduct research on heavy truck mirror systems, including fendermounted mirrors. For reasons discussed in this document, the agency is withdrawing the RFC and is terminating this rulemaking, because additional research is necessary to assess the potential safety benefits of convex mirrors in this application. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For non-legal issues: Mr. David M. Hines, Office of Crash Avoidance Standards, VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:16 Sep 30, 2005 Jkt 208001 Telephone number: (202) 493–0245, FAX number: (202) 366–7002. For legal issues: Mr. Eric Stas, Office of the Chief Counsel, Telephone number: (202) 366– 2992, FAX number: (202) 366–3820. You may send mail to either of these officials at NHTSA, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20590. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 111, Rearview mirrors, does not require, nor restrict, the use of convex mirrors on heavy trucks such as the ones identified in the Sanford petition.1 Instead, multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of more than 4,536 kg (10,000 lbs.) are required to have outside mirrors of unit magnification with stable supports on both sides of the vehicle; these mirrors must be located to provide the driver a view to the rear along both sides of the vehicle and be adjustable in both the horizontal and vertical directions. Regarding the use of convex mirrors on heavy trucks in the fleet, the agency previously noted that they are being used extensively by the heavy trucking industry, and that informal surveys by NHTSA staff suggested that approximately two-thirds of large trucks (excluding cab over designs) were equipped with convex mirrors on only the right front fender and approximately half were equipped with convex mirrors on both front fenders. As noted above, NHTSA published a RFC on January 22, 2003 regarding convex mirrors on commercial trucks (68 FR 2993).2 The agency received 24 comments in response to our published RFC from automobile and automobile equipment manufacturers, trade associations, public interest groups, and individuals. These comments may be viewed at: http://dms.dot.gov/search/ searchFormSimple.cfm (Docket No. 12347).3 Several of the comments provided insight on convex mirrors generally. However, none of the responses included data demonstrating safety benefits associated with requiring convex mirrors on the front right and left fenders of commercial trucks. The agency has contracted with Virginia Tech Transportation Institute 1 Docket No. NHTSA–2002–12347. No. NHTSA–2002–12347–1. 3 We note that the comments in the docket also address another petition involving a request from AM General Corporation to permit vehicles with a GVWR of more than 4,536 kg and with an overall length that is less than 508 centimeters to have the option of being equipped with a passenger-side convex mirror instead of the required passengerside mirror of unit magnification. 2 Docket PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 57549 (VTTI) to conduct research on heavy truck mirror systems. The agency identified the objective of the study as assessing side and rearward visibility of heavy trucks, documenting current mirror design and aiming, developing a method to evaluate mirror fields of view, and recommending enhanced mirror design and aiming. Results of that research will be posted on our Web site (http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov) when it is completed. II. Reason for Termination After careful consideration, NHTSA has decided to withdraw this rulemaking. The agency believes further research on front fender-mounted convex mirrors is needed in order to draw appropriate conclusions as to the efficacy of these devices, and we are currently in the process of conducting such research. If this research indicates a need for future rulemaking, the agency will act accordingly. The agency arrived at this decision to terminate after reviewing the comments received and identifying the need for additional research data upon which to propose any rulemaking. While no reference to available data regarding demonstrated safety benefits of front fender-mounted convex mirrors was submitted, some responses did address the prevalence and cost of these mirrors on heavy trucks. For example, Mr. Roger Brock, an individual, referred to an informal interstate survey of tractor-trailer combinations involving 336 units that found approximately 64% of the subject trucks had a front fender-mounted convex mirror on at least one side and approximately 46% had them on both sides. The Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) responded that sales data from six manufacturers from the prior 2–3 years demonstrated a range from 7% to 72%, varying by manufacturer, of trucks sold were equipped with hood/fender-mounted convex mirrors. TMA also estimated the list prices for such mirrors to vary from $65 to $225 per mirror. The American Trucking Associations agreed that a significant portion of commercial motor vehicles currently use fender-mounted mirrors but stated that some configurations of trucks or truck tractors will not permit the use of such mirrors due to those vehicles’ specialized applications. In light of the absence of available safety data, the currently high rate of voluntary installation of convex mirrors on commercial trucks, and our as-yet incomplete research program, the agency has decided to withdraw this rulemaking. Nevertheless, the agency E:\FR\FM\03OCP1.SGM 03OCP1 57550 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 190 / Monday, October 3, 2005 / Proposed Rules remains interested in reducing truck mirror blind spots and will thoroughly review the VTTI research results in its efforts to understand the relevant safety VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:16 Sep 30, 2005 Jkt 208001 issues associated with front fendermounted convex mirrors. Authority: 49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30115, 30117, and 30166; delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.50 and 501.8. PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Issued on: September 20, 2005. Stephen R. Kratzke, Associate Administrator for Rulemaking. [FR Doc. 05–19666 Filed 9–30–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P E:\FR\FM\03OCP1.SGM 03OCP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 190 (Monday, October 3, 2005)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 57549-57550]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-19666]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571

[Docket No. NHTSA-2002-12347]
RIN 2127-AI52


Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Rearview Mirrors

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

ACTION: Notice of withdrawal of rulemaking.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: In response to a petition for rulemaking submitted by Ms. 
Barbara Sanford, NHTSA published a Request for Comments (RFC) in the 
Federal Register on January 22, 2003 that included several questions 
regarding convex mirrors on commercial trucks. The Sanford petition 
asked the agency to amend our Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
(FMVSS) for rearview mirrors to require that all commercial trucks 
traveling on interstate highways have convex mirrors affixed to their 
front right and left fenders in order to provide drivers of these 
vehicles an increased field-of-view during lane change maneuvers, which 
the petitioner stated is necessary to eliminate a blind spot caused by 
the elevated position of commercial truck drivers relative to passenger 
cars. Prior to receiving the Sanford petition, the agency had decided 
to conduct research on heavy truck mirror systems, including fender-
mounted mirrors. For reasons discussed in this document, the agency is 
withdrawing the RFC and is terminating this rulemaking, because 
additional research is necessary to assess the potential safety 
benefits of convex mirrors in this application.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For non-legal issues: Mr. David M. 
Hines, Office of Crash Avoidance Standards, Telephone number: (202) 
493-0245, FAX number: (202) 366-7002. For legal issues: Mr. Eric Stas, 
Office of the Chief Counsel, Telephone number: (202) 366-2992, FAX 
number: (202) 366-3820. You may send mail to either of these officials 
at NHTSA, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 111, Rearview mirrors, 
does not require, nor restrict, the use of convex mirrors on heavy 
trucks such as the ones identified in the Sanford petition.\1\ Instead, 
multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a Gross Vehicle Weight 
Rating (GVWR) of more than 4,536 kg (10,000 lbs.) are required to have 
outside mirrors of unit magnification with stable supports on both 
sides of the vehicle; these mirrors must be located to provide the 
driver a view to the rear along both sides of the vehicle and be 
adjustable in both the horizontal and vertical directions. Regarding 
the use of convex mirrors on heavy trucks in the fleet, the agency 
previously noted that they are being used extensively by the heavy 
trucking industry, and that informal surveys by NHTSA staff suggested 
that approximately two-thirds of large trucks (excluding cab over 
designs) were equipped with convex mirrors on only the right front 
fender and approximately half were equipped with convex mirrors on both 
front fenders.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Docket No. NHTSA-2002-12347.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As noted above, NHTSA published a RFC on January 22, 2003 regarding 
convex mirrors on commercial trucks (68 FR 2993).\2\ The agency 
received 24 comments in response to our published RFC from automobile 
and automobile equipment manufacturers, trade associations, public 
interest groups, and individuals. These comments may be viewed at: 
http://dms.dot.gov/search/searchFormSimple.cfm (Docket No. 12347).\3\ 
Several of the comments provided insight on convex mirrors generally. 
However, none of the responses included data demonstrating safety 
benefits associated with requiring convex mirrors on the front right 
and left fenders of commercial trucks.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Docket No. NHTSA-2002-12347-1.
    \3\ We note that the comments in the docket also address another 
petition involving a request from AM General Corporation to permit 
vehicles with a GVWR of more than 4,536 kg and with an overall 
length that is less than 508 centimeters to have the option of being 
equipped with a passenger-side convex mirror instead of the required 
passenger-side mirror of unit magnification.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The agency has contracted with Virginia Tech Transportation 
Institute (VTTI) to conduct research on heavy truck mirror systems. The 
agency identified the objective of the study as assessing side and 
rearward visibility of heavy trucks, documenting current mirror design 
and aiming, developing a method to evaluate mirror fields of view, and 
recommending enhanced mirror design and aiming. Results of that 
research will be posted on our Web site (http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov) when 
it is completed.

II. Reason for Termination

    After careful consideration, NHTSA has decided to withdraw this 
rulemaking. The agency believes further research on front fender-
mounted convex mirrors is needed in order to draw appropriate 
conclusions as to the efficacy of these devices, and we are currently 
in the process of conducting such research. If this research indicates 
a need for future rulemaking, the agency will act accordingly.
    The agency arrived at this decision to terminate after reviewing 
the comments received and identifying the need for additional research 
data upon which to propose any rulemaking. While no reference to 
available data regarding demonstrated safety benefits of front fender-
mounted convex mirrors was submitted, some responses did address the 
prevalence and cost of these mirrors on heavy trucks.
    For example, Mr. Roger Brock, an individual, referred to an 
informal interstate survey of tractor-trailer combinations involving 
336 units that found approximately 64% of the subject trucks had a 
front fender-mounted convex mirror on at least one side and 
approximately 46% had them on both sides. The Truck Manufacturers 
Association (TMA) responded that sales data from six manufacturers from 
the prior 2-3 years demonstrated a range from 7% to 72%, varying by 
manufacturer, of trucks sold were equipped with hood/fender-mounted 
convex mirrors. TMA also estimated the list prices for such mirrors to 
vary from $65 to $225 per mirror. The American Trucking Associations 
agreed that a significant portion of commercial motor vehicles 
currently use fender-mounted mirrors but stated that some 
configurations of trucks or truck tractors will not permit the use of 
such mirrors due to those vehicles' specialized applications.
    In light of the absence of available safety data, the currently 
high rate of voluntary installation of convex mirrors on commercial 
trucks, and our as-yet incomplete research program, the agency has 
decided to withdraw this rulemaking. Nevertheless, the agency

[[Page 57550]]

remains interested in reducing truck mirror blind spots and will 
thoroughly review the VTTI research results in its efforts to 
understand the relevant safety issues associated with front fender-
mounted convex mirrors.

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30115, 30117, and 30166; 
delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.50 and 501.8.

    Issued on: September 20, 2005.
Stephen R. Kratzke,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 05-19666 Filed 9-30-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P