Mercedes-Benz, U.S.A. LLC; Receipt of Application for a Temporary Exemption From Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108, 58786-58788 [05-20277]

Download as PDF 58786 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 194 / Friday, October 7, 2005 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration First Meeting: RTCA Special Committee 207/Airport Security Access Control Systems National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2005–22653, Notice 1] Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of RTCA Special Committee 207, Airport Security Access Control Systems. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The FAA is issuing this notice to advise the public of a meeting of RTCA Special Committee 207, Airport Security Access Control Systems. DATES: The meeting will be held November 17, 2005, from 9 a.m.– 5 p.m. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at RTCA, Inc.—MacIntosh-NBAA & Hilton-ATA Rooms, 1828 L Street, NW., Suite 805, Washington, DC 20036. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: (1) RTCA Secretariat, 1828 L Street, NW., Suite 805, Washington, DC, 20036; telephone (202) 833–9339; fax (202) 833–9434; Web site http://www.rtca.org. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92– 463, 5 U.S.C., appendix 2), notice is hereby given for a Special Committee 207 meeting. The agenda will include: • November 17: • Opening Plenary Session (Welcome, Introductions, and Administrative Remarks). • Review of previous meeting summary. • Update by FAA. • Presentations by TSA/JPDO. • Presentations by ICAO. • Discussions on vendor presentations. • Division of work into subgroups. • Closing Plenary Session (Other Business, Establish Agenda for Next Meeting, Date and Place of Next Meeting). Attendance is open to the interested public but limited to space availability. With the approval of the chairmen, members of the public may present oral statements at the meeting. Persons wishing to present statements or obtain information should contact the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. Members of the public may present a written statement to the committee at any time. Dated: October 3, 2005. Natalie Ogletree, FAA General Engineer, RTCA Advisory Committee. [FR Doc. 05–20281 Filed 10–6–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–M VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:27 Oct 06, 2005 Jkt 208001 Mercedes-Benz, U.S.A. LLC; Receipt of Application for a Temporary Exemption From Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of receipt of application for a temporary exemption. AGENCY: SUMMARY: In accordance with the procedures of 49 CFR 555.6(b), Mercedes-Benz, U.S.A. LLC (‘‘MBUSA’’) has applied for a Temporary Exemption from S.5.5.10 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108. The basis of the application is to facilitate the development and field evaluation of new motor vehicle safety feature providing a level of safety at least equal to that of the standard. We are publishing this notice of receipt of the application in accordance with the requirements of 49 CFR 555.7(a), and have made no judgment on the merits of the application. DATES: You should submit your comments not later than November 7, 2005. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: George Feygin in the Office of Chief Counsel, NCC–112, (Phone: 202–366– 2992; Fax 202–366–3820; E-Mail: George.Feygin@nhtsa.dot.gov). I. Background MBUSA petitioned the agency on behalf of its parent corporation, DaimlerChrysler AG.1 The petition seeks a temporary exemption from S5.5.10 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108. In short, S5.5.10 specifies that with certain exceptions not applicable to this petition, all lamps, including stop lamps must be wired to be steady-burning.2 In order to develop and evaluate an innovative brake signaling system in the United States, MBUSA seeks a temporary exemption from the ‘‘steadyburning’’ requirement as it applies to stop lamps. This system is currently available in Europe on the S-class, CLclass, and SL-class Mercedes vehicles. 1 For more information on MBUSA go to http:// www.mbusa.com. 2 See S5.5.10 of 49 CFR § 571.108. Turn signal lamps, hazard warning signal lamps, school bus warning lamps must be wired to flash. Headlamps and side marker lamps may be wired to flash for signaling purposes. Motorcycle headlamps may be wired to modulate. PO 00000 Frm 00125 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 MBUSA states that the system enhances the emergency braking signal by flashing three stop lamps required by FMVSS No. 108 during strong deceleration. In addition, after emergency braking, the system automatically activates the hazard warning lights of the stopped vehicle until it starts to move again or the lights are manually switched off. The petitioner states that this signaling system reduces the following drivers’ reaction time by attracting their attention, and also enhances visibility of the stopped vehicle, thus helping to reduce the incidence and severity of rear end collisions. NHTSA previously denied petitioner’s request to permanently amend FMVSS No. 108 to allow flashing brake signaling systems. Among the reasons for the denial was the need for additional data on safety benefits of flashing brake lamps. The petitioner argues that granting this temporary exemption would allow them to provide the information NHTSA found lacking. MBUSA requests a two-year exemption period. In accordance with the requirements of 49 CFR § 555.6(b)(5), MBUSA will not sell more than 2,500 exempted vehicles in any twelve-month period within the twoyear exemption period. For addition details, please see the MBUSA petition at http://dms.dot.gov/search/ searchFormSimple.cfm, Docket No. NHTSA–2005–22653. The following (Parts II–VI) summarizes MBUSA’s petition in relevant part. II. Description of the New Motor Vehicle Safety Feature The petitioner states that its brake signaling system provides two innovative safety-enhancing features. First, three stop lamps required by FMVSS No. 108 flash at a frequency of 5 Hz in the event of strong deceleration. This occurs if the velocity is >50 km/h (31 mph) and at least one of the following conditions is met: 1. Deceleration is >7 m/s2; or 2. The brake assist function is active; or 3. The Electronic Stability Program (ESP) control unit detects a panic braking operation. The petitioner states that the activation criteria ensures that the enhanced brake signals are only activated when truly needed. Thus, the brake lights will flash only in severe braking situations, and will flash at a relatively high frequency that allows for fast recognition. Further, using the panic brake signal from the ESP control unit as a trigger would activate the system only when the achievable E:\FR\FM\07OCN1.SGM 07OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 194 / Friday, October 7, 2005 / Notices deceleration is substantially smaller than the demanded one. Thus, the stop lamps would not flash in routine situations. Second, after emergency braking, the system automatically activates the hazard warning lights of the stopped vehicle until it starts to move again, or the lights are manually switched off. III. Potential Benefits of the New Motor Vehicle Safety Feature The petitioner states that the brake signaling system provides important safety enhancements not found in a vehicle equipped with a traditional brake signaling system. First, the flashing system reduces the following driver’s reaction time and encourages maximum deceleration of following vehicles. The petitioner expects especially strong benefits during adverse weather conditions and for inattentive drivers. Second, the activation of hazard warning lamps on the stopped vehicle also enhances vehicle recognition after it came to a complete stop. The petitioner believes that together, these features will help to reduce rear end collisions and improve safety. The petitioner is aware of the agency’s longstanding restriction on flashing stop lamps, in the interest of standardized, instantly recognizable lighting functions. However, MBUSA believes its system will be easily recognizable, and would not interfere with NHTSA’s objectives. IV. The Petitioner’s Research and Testing The petitioner states that the development of the innovative brake light system is based on careful research and testing. The activation criteria for the flashing brake lights were established with the help of a driver behavior study. The petitioner further states that field studies have demonstrated that the brake light system can significantly reduce driver reaction times. MBUSA used a driver braking behavior study to understand how often rapid deceleration braking occurs in the United States. The study followed 96 subjects using 15 Mercedes-Benz vehicles equipped with a driver behavior and vehicle dynamics recorder. The study indicated that one emergency braking maneuver occurred for every 2291 miles driven. The study also suggested that, based on the criteria described in the previous section, only 23 out of 100,000 braking maneuvers would activate the flashing stop lamps. The petitioner concludes that the flashing brake light will occur rarely, VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:27 Oct 06, 2005 Jkt 208001 which will help to avoid ‘‘optical pollution’’ and enhance the effectiveness of the brake light system.3 MBUSA sponsored additional field and driving simulator studies, which showed that ‘‘appropriately designed flashing brake lights significantly reduce drivers’’ reaction times and thus can reduce the incidence and severity of rear-end collisions.’’ 4 Specifically, the study compared reaction times in emergency braking situations among conventional brake lights, conventional brake lights combined with hazard warning lights, flashing brake lights with a flashing frequency of 4 Hz, and flashing brake lights with a flashing frequency of 7 Hz. The petitioner states that the study showed that flashing brake lights reduce driver reaction time by an average of 0.2 seconds, which is a reduction sufficient to meaningfully reduce the number and/ or severity of rear end collisions. MBUSA argues that even higher reduction in reaction time would occur under real-world driving conditions, where drivers are less focused on the driving task and subject to more sources of distraction. The study also showed positive effects from the flashing brake light signal under adverse weather conditions and in distraction situations. Finally, the test subjects expressed a preference for flashing brake lights when compared to other brake light symbols. The petitioner states that the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation conducted a study to evaluate the validity and operating conditions of two types of emergency brake light displays, one that flashes upon sudden braking, sand one that enlarges the lighting area of the brake lamps. The study found that flashing brake lamps reduced following drivers’ response time in the drivers’ peripheral fields of vision. The study also showed that shorter flashing intervals are more effective. Finally, the study indicated that an emergency brake light display that enlarges the lighting area is not as effective as a flashing brake lamp.5 V. How Will a Temporary Exemption Facilitate the Development and Field Evaluation of a New Motor Vehicle Safety Feature? The petitioner states that it intends to monitor the exempted vehicles and study the effectiveness of the brake signaling system. First, MBUSA will 3 Driver behavior research is described in Attachment A of the petition. 4 The study was conducted by Dr. Joerg Breuer and Thomas Unselt. 5 This study is described in greater detail in Attachment D of the petition. PO 00000 Frm 00126 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 58787 gather information about rear-end collisions of vehicles equipped with the system. This information will be combined with the parallel results from the European fleet and, according to the petitioner, may prove to be valuable in evaluating the anticipated safety benefits of the new brake light system. Second, the test fleet may enable MBUSA to evaluate acceptance of the flashing stop lamps among the American public. VI. Why Granting the Petition for Exemption Is in the Public Interest As indicated above, the petitioner argues that granting the requested exemption from FMVSS 108 would enable them to continue developing and evaluating its innovative brake signaling system, thus contributing substantially to ongoing efforts to consider the effectiveness of enhanced lighting systems in reducing rear-end crashes. MBUSA believes that the system will help to significantly reduce following driver reaction times, thus reducing rear end collisions. The petitioner also noted that rear end collisions are a significant traffic safety concern, particularly in dense traffic areas, and an important cause of rear end collisions is a following driver’s failure to detect that a leading vehicle has performed an emergency braking action. MBUSA believes that an enhanced braking signal that alerts following drivers to urgent braking situations has the potential to significantly enhance safety. VII. How You May Comment on This Petition We invite you to submit comments on the application described above. You may submit comments [identified by DOT Docket Number NHTSA–2005– 22653] by any of the following methods: • Web Site: http://dms.dot.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on the DOT electronic docket site by clicking on ‘‘Help and Information’’ or ‘‘Help/Info.’’ • Fax: 1–202–493–2251. • Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Nassif Building, Room PL–401, Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Delivery: Room PL–401 on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. E:\FR\FM\07OCN1.SGM 07OCN1 58788 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 194 / Friday, October 7, 2005 / Notices Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and docket number or Regulatory Identification Number (RIN) for this rulemaking. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http:// dms.dot.gov, including any personal information provided. Docket: For access to the docket in order to read background documents or comments received, go to http:// dms.dot.gov at any time or to Room PL– 401 on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments 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. We shall consider all comments received before the close of business on the comment closing date indicated below. To the extent possible, we shall also consider comments filed after the closing date. We shall publish a notice of final action on the application in the Federal Register pursuant to the authority indicated below. (49 U.S.C. 30113; delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.50. and 501.8) Dated: October 4, 2005. Stephen R. Kratzke, Associate Administrator for Rulemaking. [FR Doc. 05–20277 Filed 10–6–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Petition for Exemption from the Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Fuji Heavy Industries U.S.A., Inc. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Grant of petition for exemption. AGENCY: SUMMARY: This notice grants in full the petition of Fuji Heavy Industries U.S.A., Inc. (Fuji) for an exemption in accordance with § 543.9(c)(2) of 49 CFR part 543, Exemption from the Theft Prevention Standard, for the Subaru B9 Tribeca vehicle line beginning with model year (MY) 2006. This petition is VerDate Aug<31>2005 18:27 Oct 06, 2005 Jkt 208001 granted because the agency has determined that the antitheft device to be placed on the line as standard equipment is likely to be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance with the partsmarking requirements of the Theft Prevention Standard. DATES: The exemption granted by this notice is effective September 1, 2006. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Rosalind Proctor, Office of International Policy, Fuel Economy and Consumer Programs, NHTSA, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. Ms. Proctor’s telephone number is (202) 366–0846. Her fax number is (202) 493– 2290. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In a petition dated July 19, 2005, Fuji Heavy Industries U.S.A., Inc. (Fuji), requested an exemption from the parts-marking requirements of the theft prevention standard (49 CFR part 541) for the Subaru B9 Tribeca vehicle line. The petition has been filed pursuant to 49 CFR part 543, Exemption from Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard, based on the installation of an antitheft device as standard equipment for an entire vehicle line. Fuji’s submission is considered a complete petition as required by 49 CFR 543.7, in that it meets the general requirements contained in § 543.5 and the specific content requirements of § 543.6. Under § 543.5(a), a manufacturer may petition NHTSA to grant exemptions for one line of its vehicle lines per year. In its petition, Fuji provided a detailed description and diagram of the identity, design, and location of the components of the antitheft device for the vehicle line. The antitheft device is a passive transponder-based, electronic, immobilizer system. The device is automatically activated after 30 seconds if the ignition is simply moved to the ‘‘off’’ position or when the engine is shut off and the vehicle key is removed from the ignition. Fuji will install its antitheft device as standard equipment on its B9 Tribeca vehicle line beginning with MY 2006. Fuji stated that the antitheft device controls engine ignition, fuel delivery and starter motor operation. This device prevents the engine from unauthorized operation such as ‘‘hot-wiring’’. The proposed device will also have an alarm feature that will monitor the doors and key identification. The visual and audio features (and ‘‘panic’’ mode) of the standard equipment antitheft device will attract attention to the efforts of an unauthorized person to enter or move the vehicle by sounding the vehicle’s PO 00000 Frm 00127 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 horn and illuminating its 4-way flashing hazard lamps. The immobilization feature of the device will prevent the vehicle from being driven away under its own engine power in the event the ignition lock and doors have been manipulated. Fuji stated that integration of the antitheft device immobilization with the overall vehicle Controller Area Network (CAN) electrical architecture and control modules makes it nearly impossible for the immobilization features to be disabled or bypassed without also disabling all other body and engine controls. The engine will not start or run unless the ID code registered in the ignition key coincides with the code registered in the immobilizer engine control unit (ECU) of the vehicle. When the engine ECU receives a signal that the ID code matches, it allows engine fuel delivery and ignition. If the codes are not received, even with the use of a correct mechanical key, the electronic immobilization features of the key/ vehicle antitheft system interface will not be defeated. In addressing the specific content requirements of 543.6, Fuji provided information on the reliability and durability of its device. To ensure reliability and durability of the device, Fuji conducted tests based on its own specified standards. Fuji also provided a detailed list of the tests conducted and believes that the device is reliable and durable since the device complied with its specified requirements for each test. Fuji stated its belief that NHTSA has seen a trend in the past that theft rates drop dramatically on vehicles when electronic immobilization has been added to the alarm system. Fuji has concluded that the antitheft device proposed for its vehicle line is no less effective than those devices in the lines for which NHTSA has already granted full exemption from the parts-marking requirements. Based on the evidence submitted by Fuji, the agency believes that the antitheft device for the Subaru B9 Tribeca vehicle line is likely to be as effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance with the parts-marking requirements of the Theft Prevention Standard (49 CFR 541). The agency concludes that the device will provide five of the types of performance listed in § 543.6(a)(3): promoting activation; attracting attention to the efforts of an unauthorized person to enter or operate a vehicle by means other than a key; preventing defeat or circumvention of the device by unauthorized persons; preventing operation of the vehicle by E:\FR\FM\07OCN1.SGM 07OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 194 (Friday, October 7, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 58786-58788]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-20277]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2005-22653, Notice 1]


Mercedes-Benz, U.S.A. LLC; Receipt of Application for a Temporary 
Exemption From Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108

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

ACTION: Notice of receipt of application for a temporary exemption.

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

SUMMARY: In accordance with the procedures of 49 CFR 555.6(b), 
Mercedes-Benz, U.S.A. LLC (``MBUSA'') has applied for a Temporary 
Exemption from S.5.5.10 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
(FMVSS) No. 108. The basis of the application is to facilitate the 
development and field evaluation of new motor vehicle safety feature 
providing a level of safety at least equal to that of the standard. We 
are publishing this notice of receipt of the application in accordance 
with the requirements of 49 CFR 555.7(a), and have made no judgment on 
the merits of the application.

DATES: You should submit your comments not later than November 7, 2005.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: George Feygin in the Office of Chief 
Counsel, NCC-112, (Phone: 202-366-2992; Fax 202-366-3820; E-Mail: 
George.Feygin@nhtsa.dot.gov).

I. Background

    MBUSA petitioned the agency on behalf of its parent corporation, 
DaimlerChrysler AG.\1\ The petition seeks a temporary exemption from 
S5.5.10 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108. In 
short, S5.5.10 specifies that with certain exceptions not applicable to 
this petition, all lamps, including stop lamps must be wired to be 
steady-burning.\2\ In order to develop and evaluate an innovative brake 
signaling system in the United States, MBUSA seeks a temporary 
exemption from the ``steady-burning'' requirement as it applies to stop 
lamps. This system is currently available in Europe on the S-class, CL-
class, and SL-class Mercedes vehicles.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ For more information on MBUSA go to http://www.mbusa.com.
    \2\ See S5.5.10 of 49 CFR Sec.  571.108. Turn signal lamps, 
hazard warning signal lamps, school bus warning lamps must be wired 
to flash. Headlamps and side marker lamps may be wired to flash for 
signaling purposes. Motorcycle headlamps may be wired to modulate.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    MBUSA states that the system enhances the emergency braking signal 
by flashing three stop lamps required by FMVSS No. 108 during strong 
deceleration. In addition, after emergency braking, the system 
automatically activates the hazard warning lights of the stopped 
vehicle until it starts to move again or the lights are manually 
switched off. The petitioner states that this signaling system reduces 
the following drivers' reaction time by attracting their attention, and 
also enhances visibility of the stopped vehicle, thus helping to reduce 
the incidence and severity of rear end collisions.
    NHTSA previously denied petitioner's request to permanently amend 
FMVSS No. 108 to allow flashing brake signaling systems. Among the 
reasons for the denial was the need for additional data on safety 
benefits of flashing brake lamps. The petitioner argues that granting 
this temporary exemption would allow them to provide the information 
NHTSA found lacking.
    MBUSA requests a two-year exemption period. In accordance with the 
requirements of 49 CFR Sec.  555.6(b)(5), MBUSA will not sell more than 
2,500 exempted vehicles in any twelve-month period within the two-year 
exemption period. For addition details, please see the MBUSA petition 
at http://dms.dot.gov/search/searchFormSimple.cfm, Docket No. NHTSA-
2005-22653. The following (Parts II-VI) summarizes MBUSA's petition in 
relevant part.

II. Description of the New Motor Vehicle Safety Feature

    The petitioner states that its brake signaling system provides two 
innovative safety-enhancing features.
    First, three stop lamps required by FMVSS No. 108 flash at a 
frequency of 5 Hz in the event of strong deceleration. This occurs if 
the velocity is >50 km/h (31 mph) and at least one of the following 
conditions is met:
    1. Deceleration is >7 m/s\2\; or
    2. The brake assist function is active; or
    3. The Electronic Stability Program (ESP) control unit detects a 
panic braking operation.
    The petitioner states that the activation criteria ensures that the 
enhanced brake signals are only activated when truly needed. Thus, the 
brake lights will flash only in severe braking situations, and will 
flash at a relatively high frequency that allows for fast recognition. 
Further, using the panic brake signal from the ESP control unit as a 
trigger would activate the system only when the achievable

[[Page 58787]]

deceleration is substantially smaller than the demanded one. Thus, the 
stop lamps would not flash in routine situations.
    Second, after emergency braking, the system automatically activates 
the hazard warning lights of the stopped vehicle until it starts to 
move again, or the lights are manually switched off.

III. Potential Benefits of the New Motor Vehicle Safety Feature

    The petitioner states that the brake signaling system provides 
important safety enhancements not found in a vehicle equipped with a 
traditional brake signaling system. First, the flashing system reduces 
the following driver's reaction time and encourages maximum 
deceleration of following vehicles. The petitioner expects especially 
strong benefits during adverse weather conditions and for inattentive 
drivers. Second, the activation of hazard warning lamps on the stopped 
vehicle also enhances vehicle recognition after it came to a complete 
stop. The petitioner believes that together, these features will help 
to reduce rear end collisions and improve safety.
    The petitioner is aware of the agency's longstanding restriction on 
flashing stop lamps, in the interest of standardized, instantly 
recognizable lighting functions. However, MBUSA believes its system 
will be easily recognizable, and would not interfere with NHTSA's 
objectives.

IV. The Petitioner's Research and Testing

    The petitioner states that the development of the innovative brake 
light system is based on careful research and testing. The activation 
criteria for the flashing brake lights were established with the help 
of a driver behavior study. The petitioner further states that field 
studies have demonstrated that the brake light system can significantly 
reduce driver reaction times.
    MBUSA used a driver braking behavior study to understand how often 
rapid deceleration braking occurs in the United States. The study 
followed 96 subjects using 15 Mercedes-Benz vehicles equipped with a 
driver behavior and vehicle dynamics recorder. The study indicated that 
one emergency braking maneuver occurred for every 2291 miles driven. 
The study also suggested that, based on the criteria described in the 
previous section, only 23 out of 100,000 braking maneuvers would 
activate the flashing stop lamps. The petitioner concludes that the 
flashing brake light will occur rarely, which will help to avoid 
``optical pollution'' and enhance the effectiveness of the brake light 
system.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ Driver behavior research is described in Attachment A of the 
petition.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    MBUSA sponsored additional field and driving simulator studies, 
which showed that ``appropriately designed flashing brake lights 
significantly reduce drivers'' reaction times and thus can reduce the 
incidence and severity of rear-end collisions.'' \4\ Specifically, the 
study compared reaction times in emergency braking situations among 
conventional brake lights, conventional brake lights combined with 
hazard warning lights, flashing brake lights with a flashing frequency 
of 4 Hz, and flashing brake lights with a flashing frequency of 7 Hz.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ The study was conducted by Dr. Joerg Breuer and Thomas 
Unselt.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The petitioner states that the study showed that flashing brake 
lights reduce driver reaction time by an average of 0.2 seconds, which 
is a reduction sufficient to meaningfully reduce the number and/or 
severity of rear end collisions. MBUSA argues that even higher 
reduction in reaction time would occur under real-world driving 
conditions, where drivers are less focused on the driving task and 
subject to more sources of distraction. The study also showed positive 
effects from the flashing brake light signal under adverse weather 
conditions and in distraction situations. Finally, the test subjects 
expressed a preference for flashing brake lights when compared to other 
brake light symbols.
    The petitioner states that the Japanese Ministry of Land, 
Infrastructure and Transportation conducted a study to evaluate the 
validity and operating conditions of two types of emergency brake light 
displays, one that flashes upon sudden braking, sand one that enlarges 
the lighting area of the brake lamps. The study found that flashing 
brake lamps reduced following drivers' response time in the drivers' 
peripheral fields of vision. The study also showed that shorter 
flashing intervals are more effective. Finally, the study indicated 
that an emergency brake light display that enlarges the lighting area 
is not as effective as a flashing brake lamp.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ This study is described in greater detail in Attachment D of 
the petition.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

V. How Will a Temporary Exemption Facilitate the Development and Field 
Evaluation of a New Motor Vehicle Safety Feature?

    The petitioner states that it intends to monitor the exempted 
vehicles and study the effectiveness of the brake signaling system. 
First, MBUSA will gather information about rear-end collisions of 
vehicles equipped with the system. This information will be combined 
with the parallel results from the European fleet and, according to the 
petitioner, may prove to be valuable in evaluating the anticipated 
safety benefits of the new brake light system. Second, the test fleet 
may enable MBUSA to evaluate acceptance of the flashing stop lamps 
among the American public.

VI. Why Granting the Petition for Exemption Is in the Public Interest

    As indicated above, the petitioner argues that granting the 
requested exemption from FMVSS 108 would enable them to continue 
developing and evaluating its innovative brake signaling system, thus 
contributing substantially to ongoing efforts to consider the 
effectiveness of enhanced lighting systems in reducing rear-end 
crashes. MBUSA believes that the system will help to significantly 
reduce following driver reaction times, thus reducing rear end 
collisions.
    The petitioner also noted that rear end collisions are a 
significant traffic safety concern, particularly in dense traffic 
areas, and an important cause of rear end collisions is a following 
driver's failure to detect that a leading vehicle has performed an 
emergency braking action. MBUSA believes that an enhanced braking 
signal that alerts following drivers to urgent braking situations has 
the potential to significantly enhance safety.

VII. How You May Comment on This Petition

    We invite you to submit comments on the application described 
above. You may submit comments [identified by DOT Docket Number NHTSA-
2005-22653] by any of the following methods:
     Web Site: http://dms.dot.gov. Follow the instructions for 
submitting comments on the DOT electronic docket site by clicking on 
``Help and Information'' or ``Help/Info.''
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Nassif Building, Room PL-401, 
Washington, DC 20590.
     Hand Delivery: Room PL-401 on the plaza level of the 
Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://
www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments.

[[Page 58788]]

    Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and 
docket number or Regulatory Identification Number (RIN) for this 
rulemaking. Note that all comments received will be posted without 
change to http://dms.dot.gov, including any personal information 
provided.
    Docket: For access to the docket in order to read background 
documents or comments received, go to http://dms.dot.gov at any time or 
to Room PL-401 on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh 
Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, except Federal Holidays.
    Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all 
comments 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.
    We shall consider all comments received before the close of 
business on the comment closing date indicated below. To the extent 
possible, we shall also consider comments filed after the closing date. 
We shall publish a notice of final action on the application in the 
Federal Register pursuant to the authority indicated below.

(49 U.S.C. 30113; delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.50. and 
501.8)

    Dated: October 4, 2005.
Stephen R. Kratzke,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 05-20277 Filed 10-6-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P