Make Inoperative Exemptions; Vehicle Modifications To Accommodate People With Disabilities, Ejection Mitigation, 65352-65356 [2012-26353]

Download as PDF 65352 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 208 / Friday, October 26, 2012 / Proposed Rules 1. http://www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments. 2. Email: jacksonjohnson.berla@epa.gov. 3. Mail: Berla Jackson-Johnson, Environmental Protection Agency, Waste Enforcement & Materials Management Branch, 11201 Renner Blvd., Lenexa, Kansas 66219. 4. Hand Delivery or Courier. Deliver your comments to Berla JacksonJohnson, Environmental Protection Agency, RCRA Enforcement and State Programs Branch, 11201 Renner Blvd., Lenexa, Kansas 66219. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Regional Office’s normal hours of operation. The Regional Office’s official hours of business are Monday through Friday, 8:00 to 4:30, excluding legal holidays. Please see the direct final rule which is located in the Rules section of this Federal Register for detailed instructions on how to submit comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Berla Jackson-Johnson at 913–551–7720, or by email at jacksonjohnson.berla@epa.gov. In the final rules section of the Federal Register, EPA is authorizing the changes by an immediate final rule without prior proposal because the Agency views this as a noncontroversial revision amendment and anticipates no relevant adverse comments to this action. A detailed rationale for the approval is set forth in the direct final rule. If no relevant adverse comments are received in response to this action, no further activity is contemplated in relation to this action. If EPA receives relevant adverse comments, the direct final rule will be withdrawn and all public comments received will be addressed in a subsequent final rule based on this proposed action. EPA will not institute a second comment period on this action. Any parties interested in commenting on this action should do so at this time. Please note that if EPA receives adverse comment on part of this rule and if that part can be severed from the remainder of the rule, EPA may adopt as final those parts of the rule that are not the subject of an adverse comment. For additional information, see the direct final rule which is located in the rules section of this Federal Register. emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Dated: October 11, 2012. Karl Brooks, Regional Administrator, Region 7. [FR Doc. 2012–26427 Filed 10–25–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:27 Oct 25, 2012 Jkt 229001 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 49 CFR Part 595 [Docket No. NHTSA–2012–0149] RIN 2127–AL17 Make Inoperative Exemptions; Vehicle Modifications To Accommodate People With Disabilities, Ejection Mitigation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). AGENCY: This NPRM proposes to amend NHTSA’s regulation regarding, ‘‘Make Inoperative Exemptions, Vehicle Modifications to Accommodate People With Disabilities,’’ to include a new exemption relating to the Federal motor vehicle safety standard for ejection mitigation. The regulation facilitates the mobility of physically disabled drivers and passengers. This document responds to a petition from Bruno Independent Living Aids. DATES: You should submit your comments early enough to ensure that the Docket receives them not later than December 26, 2012. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments to the docket number identified in the heading of this document by any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Docket Management Facility: U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001. • Hand Delivery or Courier: 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. • Fax: 202–493–2251. Instructions: For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the Public Participation heading of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http://www. regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading below. Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 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 (65 FR 19477 through 78). For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to http://www.regulations. gov or the street address listed above. Follow the online instructions for accessing the dockets. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gayle Dalrymple, NHTSA Office of Crash Avoidance Standards, NVS–123 (telephone 202–366–5559), or Deirdre Fujita, NHTSA Office of Chief Counsel, NCC–112 (telephone 202–366–2992) The mailing address for these officials is: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (49 U.S.C. Chapter 301) (‘‘Safety Act’’) and NHTSA’s regulations require vehicle manufacturers to certify that their vehicles comply with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSSs) (see 49 U.S.C. 30112; 49 CFR part 567) at the time of manufacture. A vehicle manufacturer, distributor, dealer, or repair business, except as indicated below, may not knowingly make inoperative any part of a device or element of design installed in or on a motor vehicle in compliance with an applicable FMVSS (see 49 U.S.C. 30122). NHTSA has the authority to issue regulations that exempt regulated entities from the ‘‘make inoperative’’ provision (49 U.S.C. 30122(c)). The agency has used that authority to promulgate 49 CFR part 595 subpart C, ‘‘Make Inoperative Exemptions, Vehicle Modifications to Accommodate People with Disabilities.’’ 49 CFR part 595 subpart C sets forth exemptions from the make inoperative provision to permit, under limited circumstances, vehicle modifications that take the vehicles out of compliance with certain FMVSSs when the vehicles are modified to be used by persons with disabilities after the first retail sale of the vehicle for purposes other than resale. The regulation was promulgated to facilitate the modification of motor vehicles so that persons with disabilities can drive or ride in them. The regulation involves information and disclosure requirements and limits the E:\FR\FM\26OCP1.SGM 26OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 208 / Friday, October 26, 2012 / Proposed Rules emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS extent of modifications that may be made. Under the regulation, a motor vehicle repair business that modifies a vehicle to enable a person with a disability to operate or ride as a passenger in the motor vehicle and that avails itself of the exemption provided by 49 CFR part 595 subpart C must register itself with NHTSA. The modifier is exempted from the make inoperative provision of the Safety Act, but only to the extent that the modifications affect the vehicle’s compliance with the FMVSSs specified in 49 CFR 595.7(c) and only to the extent specified in 595.7(c). Modifications that would take the vehicle out of compliance with any other FMVSS, or with an FMVSS listed in 595.7(c) but in a manner not specified in that paragraph, are not exempted by the regulation. The modifier must affix a permanent label to the vehicle identifying itself as the modifier and the vehicle as no longer complying with all FMVSS in effect at original manufacture, and must provide and retain a document listing the FMVSSs with which the vehicle no longer complies and indicating any reduction in the load carrying capacity of the vehicle of more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds). FMVSS No. 226 ‘‘Ejection Mitigation’’ and Part 595 On January 19, 2011,1 the agency published a final rule which established a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 226, ‘‘Ejection Mitigation,’’ to reduce the partial and complete ejection of vehicle occupants through side windows in crashes, particularly rollover crashes. The standard applies to passenger cars, and to multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4,536 kg (10,000 pounds) or less, except walk-in vans, vehicles with modified roofs and convertibles. Also excluded from this standard are law enforcement vehicles, correctional institution vehicles, taxis and limousines, if they have a fixed security partition separating the first and second or second and third rows and if they are produced by more than one manufacturer or are altered (within the meaning of 49 CFR 567.7). To assess compliance with FMVSS No. 226, the agency adopted a test in which an impactor is propelled from inside a test vehicle toward the windows. The ejection mitigation safety system is required to prevent the impactor from moving more than a specified distance beyond the plane of 1 76 FR 3212. VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:27 Oct 25, 2012 Jkt 229001 a window. In the test, the countermeasure must retain the linear travel of the impactor such that the impactor must not travel 100 millimeters (mm) beyond the location of the inside surface of the vehicle glazing. This displacement limit serves to control the size of any gaps forming between the countermeasure (e.g., the ejection mitigation side curtain air bag) and the window opening, thus reducing the potential for both partial and complete ejection of an occupant. To ensure that the systems cover the entire opening of each window for the duration of a rollover, each side window will be impacted at up to four locations around its perimeter at two time intervals following NHTSA’s manual deployment of the countermeasure. The agency anticipated that manufacturers will meet the standard by means of air bag technology, and possibly supplement the technology with advanced glazing. Vehicle manufacturers may newly install ejection mitigation air bag curtains, or will more likely modify existing side impact air bag curtains. The existing side impact air bag curtains will be made larger so that they cover more of the window opening, made more robust to remain inflated longer, and made to deploy in both side impacts and in rollovers using sensors. In addition, after deployment the curtains will be tethered near the base of the vehicle’s pillars or otherwise designed to keep the impactor within the boundaries established by the performance test. We estimated the new requirements will save 373 lives and prevent 476 serious injuries per year. The final rule adopted a phase-in of the new requirements, starting September 1, 2013. FMVSS No. 226 is a new regulation and currently, 49 CFR Part 595 does not provide for an exemption for vehicles that are modified to accommodate people with disabilities. Petition for Rulemaking On May 17, 2011, Bruno Independent Living Aids (Bruno) submitted a petition for rulemaking to amend § 595.7 to include an exemption from the requirements of FMVSS No. 226. Bruno manufactures a product line it calls ‘‘Turning Automotive Seating (TAS).’’ A TAS seat replaces the seat installed by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Bruno states that the purpose of the TAS is— To provide safe access to private motor vehicles for mobility-impaired drivers or passengers, semi-ambulatory or transferring from a wheelchair. The Bruno TAS replaces the OEM seat in a sedan, minivan, van, PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 65353 pickup, or SUV. In its various configurations the Bruno TAS seat pivots from the forwardfacing driving position to the side-facing entry position, extends outward and lowers to a suitable transfer height, providing the driver and/or passengers a convenient and safe entry into the vehicle. The transfer into the seat takes place safely, while outside the vehicle, and the occupant remains in the seat during the entry process, using the OEM seatbelts while traveling in the vehicle. Exiting the vehicle is accomplished by reversing the process. A further TAS option is a mobility base, which converts the automotive seat into a wheelchair, that eliminates a need for transferring from the seat altogether. The petitioner believes that the TAS method of vehicle entry and exit is safer than using a platform lift to enter a vehicle or entering and exiting unassisted. Bruno refers to a September 2010 notice of proposed rulemaking 2 (NPRM) that was published in response to a previous petition from Bruno to amend part 595.7(c)(15) to expand a reference in the exemption relating to FMVSS No. 214 ‘‘Side impact protection.’’ In June 2011,3 the agency published a final rule in that rulemaking. The final rule provided an exemption from FMVSS No. 214’s moving deformable barrier and pole tests as applied to a designated seating position that must be modified by changing the restraint system and/or seat at that position to accommodate a person with a disability. Bruno states in its current petition that FMVSS No. 226 will enhance the side air bag technology of FMVSS No. 214 and that these enhanced side air bags present much of the same difficulties when accommodating the transportation needs of mobility impaired persons as those discussed in the rulemaking for FMVSS No. 214. Bruno states: ‘‘Where the FMVSS 226 ejection mitigation system is an OEM seat component (e.g., seat back), it cannot be replaced within [sic] the TAS replacement seat due to the large variety of seat designs and ICU interfaces encountered. Also, the OEM seat can rarely, if ever, be structurally modified to fit the TAS mechanism.’’ Thus, Bruno believes that an exemption from FMVSS No. 226 is warranted. Response to Petition NHTSA proposes to amend § 595.7(c) to add an exemption for FMVSS No. 226. However, we request comments on the necessity of the exemption. In the June 2011 final rule amending 49 CFR 595.7(c) to update and expand a reference in an exemption relating to FMVSS No. 214, we stated: 2 75 3 76 E:\FR\FM\26OCP1.SGM FR 59674. FR 37025. 26OCP1 65354 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 208 / Friday, October 26, 2012 / Proposed Rules emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Removing an OEM seat that has a side air bag and replacing it with an aftermarket seat that does not would likely make inoperative the system installed in compliance with FMVSS No. 214. Making some other substantive modification of the OEM seat or restraint system to accommodate a person with a disability could also affect the measurement of the injury criteria specified in the standard. We believe that an exemption from the make inoperative provision with regard to the pole test in FMVSS No. 214 is needed to permit modification of the vehicle’s seating system to accommodate a person with a disability. This is comparable to the position taken by NHTSA with regard to the make inoperative exemption for frontal air bags required by FMVSS No. 208. See 595.7(c)(14). Thus, we conclude today that the inclusion of S9 of FMVSS No. 214 in § 595.7(c)(15) is needed. Bruno states that FMVSS No. 226 will enhance side curtain and torso air bags, and that ‘‘these enhanced side curtain and torso air bags present much the same difficulties when accommodating the transportation needs of mobility impaired person as those discussed in the cited [FMVSS No. 214] NPRM.’’ We do not quite agree with the petitioner’s statements. FMVSS No. 226 is likely to affect side curtain air bags but will not affect torso air bags or seat components. Further, there are significant differences between the requirements in FMVSS Nos. 214 and 226. The MDB and pole tests specified in FMVSS No. 214 are full vehicle dynamic crash tests conducted with instrumented 5th percentile adult female and 50th percentile adult male dummies. To meet the performance requirement of FMVSS No. 214, side air bags providing head and torso protection are typically provided in the seat. The seating procedures for locating the dummies in the vehicle are specified in the standard. By removing the seat that contains an air bag to accommodate a person with a disability or installing a seat at a different location when compared to the original seat position, as Bruno does when installing the TAS seat, the vehicle may no longer be compliant with the FMVSS No. 214 requirements. In contrast, the performance requirements specified in FMVSS No. 226 are based on a component test of the ejection mitigation countermeasure (which heretofore consists of curtain air bags that deploy from the headliner and not the seat). The ejection mitigation air curtain retains the impactor within the vehicle. Impact locations would be determined based on the shape of the window opening and are not dependent on the location of dummies and/or seat position. Therefore, it is possible, and maybe likely, that removing the original VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:27 Oct 25, 2012 Jkt 229001 seat and replacing it with a seat to accommodate a person with a disability will have no negative impact on the performance of the curtain air bags in the context of FMVSS No. 226. If this were just a matter affecting ‘‘those vehicles manufactured in compliance with FMVSS No. 226 where the ejection mitigation system is an OEM seat component’’ as petitioner describes the order requested, we do not see an obvious need for an exemption. However, the agency does recognize the possibility that the side impact sensing and electronic architecture system could be integrated with that of the ejection mitigation rollover protection system. Because of this integration, if a seat is modified or replaced to accommodate a person with a disability and the FMVSS No. 214 side impact air bag system is deactivated, tangentially the FMVSS No. 226 rollover ejection mitigation system could also be deactivated. For this reason, even though the ejection mitigation side curtain air bags’ performance in a component test would not necessarily be compromised by installing a new seat, the electronics that would deploy the restraint in a rollover could be. Thus, for vehicles in which the seat is modified or replaced, it may not be practical to exempt them from the side impact requirements and not from ejection mitigation requirements. We realize that FMVSS No. 226 requires side window coverage extending over the first three rows of vehicles, which among other things does help protect rear seat passengers from partial and full ejection. Vehicle manufacturing designs generally utilize one ejection mitigation curtain air bag per side to protect the front and the rear rows. If the side curtain air bag must be made inoperative to accommodate a disabled person in the driver’s position or in a rear passenger position (e.g., to install a TAS seat in the driver’s position or the rear seat position), ejection mitigation protection provided by the curtain would be made inoperative for the other occupants as well (even those not using a TAS seat). If a TAS seat were installed at the driver’s seat, exempting only the front window opening from FMVSS No. 226 requirements would not be possible because the rear seat on the same side where the front seat was modified makes use of the same ejection mitigation curtain air bag. We thus recognize that the petitioner’s request presents a trade-off of substantial ejection mitigation protection in exchange for continued mobility for people with disabilities and some enhancement in easier and PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 possibly safer vehicle entry and exit. Comments are requested on the proposed exemption. To achieve the maximum safety benefit of the regulations, it is our desire to provide the narrowest exemption possible to accommodate the needs of disabled persons, without unreasonably expanding its use to situations where the benefits of the exemption may be outweighed by the drawbacks of nonconformance with the safety standard. We seek comment on whether the requested exemption is needed. Would deactivating the side impact protection system also deactivate the ejection mitigation system on vehicles? If the ejection mitigation window curtains are controlled by a sensor that is separate from the FMVSS No. 214 side impact sensor system, is the requested exemption needed? If the sensor systems are distinct, could the vehicle seating system be removed or modified without negatively affecting the performance of ejection mitigation curtains? Could the exemption be only for the ejection mitigation countermeasure (curtains) on the side of the vehicle affected by the modification, rather than for both sides? Dates We are providing a 60-day comment period. In view of the September 1, 2013 phase-in date for FMVSS No. 226, and because this rulemaking would remove a restriction on the modification of vehicles for persons with disabilities, if a final rule is issued NHTSA anticipates making the amendment effective in less than 180 days following publication of the rule. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review), E.O. 13563, and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures The agency has considered the impact of this rulemaking action under E.O. 12866, E.O. 13563, and the Department of Transportation’s regulatory policies and procedures. This rulemaking document was not reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget under E.O. 12866, ‘‘Regulatory Planning and Review.’’ It is not considered to be significant under E.O. 12866 or the Department’s Regulatory Policies and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979). NHTSA has determined that the effects are so minor that a regulatory evaluation is not needed to support the subject rulemaking. This rulemaking would impose no costs on the vehicle modification industry. If anything, there E:\FR\FM\26OCP1.SGM 26OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 208 / Friday, October 26, 2012 / Proposed Rules could be a cost savings due to the proposed exemption. Modifying a vehicle in a way that makes inoperative the performance of ejection mitigation air bags would be detrimental for the occupants of the vehicle in a rollover. However, the number of vehicles potentially modified would be very few in number. This is essentially the trade-off that NHTSA is faced with when increasing mobility for persons with disabilities: when necessary vehicle modifications are made, some safety may unavoidably be lost to gain personal mobility. We have requested comments on how the agency may make the exemption as narrow as reasonably possible. emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 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 proposed rulemaking 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). The Small Business Administration’s regulations at 13 CFR part 121 define a small business, in part, as a business entity ‘‘which operates primarily within the United States.’’ (13 CFR 121.105(a)). 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. NHTSA has considered the effects of this proposed rule under the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Most dealerships and repair businesses are considered small entities, and a substantial number of these businesses modify vehicles to accommodate individuals with disabilities. I certify that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. While most dealers and repair businesses would be considered small entities, the proposed exemption would not impose any new requirements, but would instead provide additional flexibility. Therefore, the impacts on any small businesses affected by this rulemaking would not be substantial. VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:27 Oct 25, 2012 Jkt 229001 Executive Order 13132 (Federalism) NHTSA has examined today’s proposed rule pursuant to Executive Order 13132 (64 FR 43255; Aug. 10, 1999) and concluded that no additional consultation with States, local governments, or their representatives is mandated beyond the rulemaking process. The agency has concluded that the proposed rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant consultation with State and local officials or the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. The proposal does not 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.’’ This proposed rule would not impose any requirements on anyone. This proposal would lessen a burden on modifiers. NHTSA rules can have preemptive effect in two ways. First, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act contains an express preemption provision: When a motor vehicle safety standard is in effect under this chapter, a State or a political subdivision of a State may prescribe or continue in effect a standard applicable to the same aspect of performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment only if the standard is identical to the standard prescribed under this chapter. 49 U.S.C. 30103(b)(1). This provision is not relevant to this rulemaking as it does not involve the establishing, amending or revoking or a Federal motor vehicle safety standard. Second, the Supreme Court has recognized the possibility, in some instances, of implied preemption of State requirements imposed on motor vehicle manufacturers, including sanctions imposed by State tort law. We are unaware of any State law or action that would prohibit the actions that this proposed rule would permit. Civil Justice Reform When promulgating a regulation, agencies are required under Executive Order 12988 to 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 PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 65355 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. Pursuant to this Order, NHTSA notes as follows. The preemptive effect of this proposed rule is discussed above. NHTSA notes further that there is no requirement that individuals submit a petition for reconsideration or pursue other administrative proceeding before they may file suit in court. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act Under the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (NTTAA) (Pub. L. 104–113), ‘‘all Federal agencies and departments shall use technical standards that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies, using such technical standards as a means to carry out policy objectives or activities determined by the agencies and departments.’’ Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., materials specifications, test methods, sampling procedures, and business practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies, such as the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). The NTTAA directs us to provide Congress, through OMB, explanations when we decide not to use available and applicable voluntary consensus standards. No voluntary standards exist regarding this proposed exemption for modification of vehicles to accommodate persons with disabilities. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 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 (adjusted for inflation with base year of 1995). This proposed exemption would not result in expenditures by State, local or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector in excess of $100 million annually. National Environmental Policy Act NHTSA has analyzed this rulemaking action for the purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act. The agency has determined that implementation of this action would not have any E:\FR\FM\26OCP1.SGM 26OCP1 65356 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 208 / Friday, October 26, 2012 / Proposed Rules significant impact on the quality of the human environment. Paperwork Reduction Act Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), a person is not required to respond to a collection of information by a Federal agency unless the collection displays a valid OMB control number. This proposal does not contain new reporting requirements or requests for information beyond what is already required by 49 CFR part 595 subpart C. An entity taking advantage of the exemption would simply list FMVSS No. 226 in the document described in 49 CFR 595.7(b). Plain Language Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write all rules in plain language. Application of the principles of plain language includes consideration of the following questions: • Have we organized the material to suit the public’s needs? • Are the requirements in the rule clearly stated? • Does the rule contain technical language or jargon that isn’t clear? • Would a different format (grouping and order of sections, use of headings, paragraphing) make the rule easier to understand? • Would more (but shorter) sections be better? • Could we improve clarity by adding tables, lists, or diagrams? • What else could we do to make the rule easier to understand? If you have any responses to these questions, please include them in your comments on this proposal. 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. emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 595 Motor vehicle safety, Motor vehicles. In consideration of the foregoing, we propose to amend 49 CFR part 595 to read as follows: PART 595—MAKE INOPERATIVE EXEMPTIONS 1. The authority citation for Part 595 would be revised to read as follows: VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:27 Oct 25, 2012 Jkt 229001 Authority: 49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30115, 30117, 30122 and 30166; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.95. 2. Amend § 595.7 by adding paragraph (c)(17) to read as follows: § 595.7 Requirements for vehicle modifications to accommodate people with disabilities. * * * * * (c) * * * (17) S4.2 and S5 of 49 CFR 571.226, on the side of the vehicle where a seat on that side of the vehicle must be changed to accommodate a person with a disability. * * * * * Issued on: October 23, 2012. Christopher J. Bonanti, Associate Administrator for Rulemaking. [FR Doc. 2012–26353 Filed 10–25–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 RIN 0648–BB58 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic; SnapperGrouper Fishery Off the Southern Atlantic States; Amendment 18B National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (South Atlantic Council) has submitted Amendment 18B to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic (Amendment 18B) for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. Management actions in Amendment 18B would: establish a longline endorsement program for the commercial golden tilefish component of the snappergrouper fishery; establish initial eligibility requirements for a golden tilefish longline endorsement; establish an appeals process; allocate commercial golden tilefish quota among gear groups; establish a procedure for the transfer of golden tilefish endorsements; modify the golden tilefish trip limits; and establish a trip limit for commercial fishermen who do not receive a golden tilefish longline endorsement. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Written comments must be received no later than 5 p.m., Eastern Time, on December 26, 2012. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by ‘‘NOAA–NMFS–2012– 0177’’, by any one of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Karla Gore, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http:// www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. To submit comments through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov, enter ‘‘NOAA– NMFS–2012–0177’’ in the search field and click on ‘‘search’’. After you have located the notice of availability, click on ‘‘Submit a Comment’’ link in that row. This will display the comment web form. You can enter your submitter information (unless you prefer to remain anonymous), and type your comment on the web form. You can also attach additional files (up to 10 MB) in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. Comments received through means not specified in this notice will not be accepted. For further assistance with submitting a comment, see the ‘‘Commenting’’ section at http://www.regulations.gov/ #!faqs or the Help section at http:// www.regulations.gov. Electronic copies of Amendment 18B may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web site at http:// sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sf/ SASnapperGrouperHomepage.htm. Amendment 18B includes a draft environmental assessment, an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis, a Regulatory Impact Review, and a Fishery Impact Statement. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karla Gore, telephone: 727–824–5305; email: Karla.Gore@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) requires each regional fishery management council to submit any fishery management plan or DATES: E:\FR\FM\26OCP1.SGM 26OCP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 208 (Friday, October 26, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 65352-65356]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-26353]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 595

[Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0149]
RIN 2127-AL17


Make Inoperative Exemptions; Vehicle Modifications To Accommodate 
People With Disabilities, Ejection Mitigation

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: This NPRM proposes to amend NHTSA's regulation regarding, 
``Make Inoperative Exemptions, Vehicle Modifications to Accommodate 
People With Disabilities,'' to include a new exemption relating to the 
Federal motor vehicle safety standard for ejection mitigation. The 
regulation facilitates the mobility of physically disabled drivers and 
passengers. This document responds to a petition from Bruno Independent 
Living Aids.

DATES: You should submit your comments early enough to ensure that the 
Docket receives them not later than December 26, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments to the docket number identified in 
the heading of this document by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility: U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West 
Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: 202-493-2251.
    Instructions: For detailed instructions on submitting comments and 
additional information on the rulemaking process, see the Public 
Participation heading of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this 
document. Note that all comments received will be posted without change 
to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading below.
    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 (65 FR 19477 through 78).
    For access to the docket to read background documents or comments 
received, go to http://www.regulations.gov or the street address listed 
above. Follow the online instructions for accessing the dockets.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gayle Dalrymple, NHTSA Office of Crash 
Avoidance Standards, NVS-123 (telephone 202-366-5559), or Deirdre 
Fujita, NHTSA Office of Chief Counsel, NCC-112 (telephone 202-366-2992) 
The mailing address for these officials is: National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 
20590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (49 U.S.C. 
Chapter 301) (``Safety Act'') and NHTSA's regulations require vehicle 
manufacturers to certify that their vehicles comply with all applicable 
Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSSs) (see 49 U.S.C. 30112; 
49 CFR part 567) at the time of manufacture. A vehicle manufacturer, 
distributor, dealer, or repair business, except as indicated below, may 
not knowingly make inoperative any part of a device or element of 
design installed in or on a motor vehicle in compliance with an 
applicable FMVSS (see 49 U.S.C. 30122). NHTSA has the authority to 
issue regulations that exempt regulated entities from the ``make 
inoperative'' provision (49 U.S.C. 30122(c)). The agency has used that 
authority to promulgate 49 CFR part 595 subpart C, ``Make Inoperative 
Exemptions, Vehicle Modifications to Accommodate People with 
Disabilities.''
    49 CFR part 595 subpart C sets forth exemptions from the make 
inoperative provision to permit, under limited circumstances, vehicle 
modifications that take the vehicles out of compliance with certain 
FMVSSs when the vehicles are modified to be used by persons with 
disabilities after the first retail sale of the vehicle for purposes 
other than resale. The regulation was promulgated to facilitate the 
modification of motor vehicles so that persons with disabilities can 
drive or ride in them. The regulation involves information and 
disclosure requirements and limits the

[[Page 65353]]

extent of modifications that may be made.
    Under the regulation, a motor vehicle repair business that modifies 
a vehicle to enable a person with a disability to operate or ride as a 
passenger in the motor vehicle and that avails itself of the exemption 
provided by 49 CFR part 595 subpart C must register itself with NHTSA. 
The modifier is exempted from the make inoperative provision of the 
Safety Act, but only to the extent that the modifications affect the 
vehicle's compliance with the FMVSSs specified in 49 CFR 595.7(c) and 
only to the extent specified in 595.7(c). Modifications that would take 
the vehicle out of compliance with any other FMVSS, or with an FMVSS 
listed in 595.7(c) but in a manner not specified in that paragraph, are 
not exempted by the regulation. The modifier must affix a permanent 
label to the vehicle identifying itself as the modifier and the vehicle 
as no longer complying with all FMVSS in effect at original 
manufacture, and must provide and retain a document listing the FMVSSs 
with which the vehicle no longer complies and indicating any reduction 
in the load carrying capacity of the vehicle of more than 100 kilograms 
(220 pounds).

FMVSS No. 226 ``Ejection Mitigation'' and Part 595

    On January 19, 2011,\1\ the agency published a final rule which 
established a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 226, 
``Ejection Mitigation,'' to reduce the partial and complete ejection of 
vehicle occupants through side windows in crashes, particularly 
rollover crashes. The standard applies to passenger cars, and to 
multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses with a gross vehicle 
weight rating of 4,536 kg (10,000 pounds) or less, except walk-in vans, 
vehicles with modified roofs and convertibles. Also excluded from this 
standard are law enforcement vehicles, correctional institution 
vehicles, taxis and limousines, if they have a fixed security partition 
separating the first and second or second and third rows and if they 
are produced by more than one manufacturer or are altered (within the 
meaning of 49 CFR 567.7).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ 76 FR 3212.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To assess compliance with FMVSS No. 226, the agency adopted a test 
in which an impactor is propelled from inside a test vehicle toward the 
windows. The ejection mitigation safety system is required to prevent 
the impactor from moving more than a specified distance beyond the 
plane of a window. In the test, the countermeasure must retain the 
linear travel of the impactor such that the impactor must not travel 
100 millimeters (mm) beyond the location of the inside surface of the 
vehicle glazing. This displacement limit serves to control the size of 
any gaps forming between the countermeasure (e.g., the ejection 
mitigation side curtain air bag) and the window opening, thus reducing 
the potential for both partial and complete ejection of an occupant.
    To ensure that the systems cover the entire opening of each window 
for the duration of a rollover, each side window will be impacted at up 
to four locations around its perimeter at two time intervals following 
NHTSA's manual deployment of the countermeasure. The agency anticipated 
that manufacturers will meet the standard by means of air bag 
technology, and possibly supplement the technology with advanced 
glazing. Vehicle manufacturers may newly install ejection mitigation 
air bag curtains, or will more likely modify existing side impact air 
bag curtains. The existing side impact air bag curtains will be made 
larger so that they cover more of the window opening, made more robust 
to remain inflated longer, and made to deploy in both side impacts and 
in rollovers using sensors. In addition, after deployment the curtains 
will be tethered near the base of the vehicle's pillars or otherwise 
designed to keep the impactor within the boundaries established by the 
performance test.
    We estimated the new requirements will save 373 lives and prevent 
476 serious injuries per year. The final rule adopted a phase-in of the 
new requirements, starting September 1, 2013.
    FMVSS No. 226 is a new regulation and currently, 49 CFR Part 595 
does not provide for an exemption for vehicles that are modified to 
accommodate people with disabilities.

Petition for Rulemaking

    On May 17, 2011, Bruno Independent Living Aids (Bruno) submitted a 
petition for rulemaking to amend Sec.  595.7 to include an exemption 
from the requirements of FMVSS No. 226. Bruno manufactures a product 
line it calls ``Turning Automotive Seating (TAS).'' A TAS seat replaces 
the seat installed by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Bruno 
states that the purpose of the TAS is--

    To provide safe access to private motor vehicles for mobility-
impaired drivers or passengers, semi-ambulatory or transferring from 
a wheelchair. The Bruno TAS replaces the OEM seat in a sedan, 
minivan, van, pickup, or SUV. In its various configurations the 
Bruno TAS seat pivots from the forward-facing driving position to 
the side-facing entry position, extends outward and lowers to a 
suitable transfer height, providing the driver and/or passengers a 
convenient and safe entry into the vehicle. The transfer into the 
seat takes place safely, while outside the vehicle, and the occupant 
remains in the seat during the entry process, using the OEM 
seatbelts while traveling in the vehicle. Exiting the vehicle is 
accomplished by reversing the process. A further TAS option is a 
mobility base, which converts the automotive seat into a wheelchair, 
that eliminates a need for transferring from the seat altogether.

    The petitioner believes that the TAS method of vehicle entry and 
exit is safer than using a platform lift to enter a vehicle or entering 
and exiting unassisted.
    Bruno refers to a September 2010 notice of proposed rulemaking \2\ 
(NPRM) that was published in response to a previous petition from Bruno 
to amend part 595.7(c)(15) to expand a reference in the exemption 
relating to FMVSS No. 214 ``Side impact protection.'' In June 2011,\3\ 
the agency published a final rule in that rulemaking. The final rule 
provided an exemption from FMVSS No. 214's moving deformable barrier 
and pole tests as applied to a designated seating position that must be 
modified by changing the restraint system and/or seat at that position 
to accommodate a person with a disability.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ 75 FR 59674.
    \3\ 76 FR 37025.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Bruno states in its current petition that FMVSS No. 226 will 
enhance the side air bag technology of FMVSS No. 214 and that these 
enhanced side air bags present much of the same difficulties when 
accommodating the transportation needs of mobility impaired persons as 
those discussed in the rulemaking for FMVSS No. 214. Bruno states: 
``Where the FMVSS 226 ejection mitigation system is an OEM seat 
component (e.g., seat back), it cannot be replaced within [sic] the TAS 
replacement seat due to the large variety of seat designs and ICU 
interfaces encountered. Also, the OEM seat can rarely, if ever, be 
structurally modified to fit the TAS mechanism.'' Thus, Bruno believes 
that an exemption from FMVSS No. 226 is warranted.

Response to Petition

    NHTSA proposes to amend Sec.  595.7(c) to add an exemption for 
FMVSS No. 226. However, we request comments on the necessity of the 
exemption.
    In the June 2011 final rule amending 49 CFR 595.7(c) to update and 
expand a reference in an exemption relating to FMVSS No. 214, we 
stated:


[[Page 65354]]


    Removing an OEM seat that has a side air bag and replacing it 
with an aftermarket seat that does not would likely make inoperative 
the system installed in compliance with FMVSS No. 214. Making some 
other substantive modification of the OEM seat or restraint system 
to accommodate a person with a disability could also affect the 
measurement of the injury criteria specified in the standard. We 
believe that an exemption from the make inoperative provision with 
regard to the pole test in FMVSS No. 214 is needed to permit 
modification of the vehicle's seating system to accommodate a person 
with a disability. This is comparable to the position taken by NHTSA 
with regard to the make inoperative exemption for frontal air bags 
required by FMVSS No. 208. See 595.7(c)(14). Thus, we conclude today 
that the inclusion of S9 of FMVSS No. 214 in Sec.  595.7(c)(15) is 
needed.

    Bruno states that FMVSS No. 226 will enhance side curtain and torso 
air bags, and that ``these enhanced side curtain and torso air bags 
present much the same difficulties when accommodating the 
transportation needs of mobility impaired person as those discussed in 
the cited [FMVSS No. 214] NPRM.''
    We do not quite agree with the petitioner's statements. FMVSS No. 
226 is likely to affect side curtain air bags but will not affect torso 
air bags or seat components. Further, there are significant differences 
between the requirements in FMVSS Nos. 214 and 226. The MDB and pole 
tests specified in FMVSS No. 214 are full vehicle dynamic crash tests 
conducted with instrumented 5th percentile adult female and 50th 
percentile adult male dummies. To meet the performance requirement of 
FMVSS No. 214, side air bags providing head and torso protection are 
typically provided in the seat. The seating procedures for locating the 
dummies in the vehicle are specified in the standard. By removing the 
seat that contains an air bag to accommodate a person with a disability 
or installing a seat at a different location when compared to the 
original seat position, as Bruno does when installing the TAS seat, the 
vehicle may no longer be compliant with the FMVSS No. 214 requirements.
    In contrast, the performance requirements specified in FMVSS No. 
226 are based on a component test of the ejection mitigation 
countermeasure (which heretofore consists of curtain air bags that 
deploy from the headliner and not the seat). The ejection mitigation 
air curtain retains the impactor within the vehicle. Impact locations 
would be determined based on the shape of the window opening and are 
not dependent on the location of dummies and/or seat position. 
Therefore, it is possible, and maybe likely, that removing the original 
seat and replacing it with a seat to accommodate a person with a 
disability will have no negative impact on the performance of the 
curtain air bags in the context of FMVSS No. 226. If this were just a 
matter affecting ``those vehicles manufactured in compliance with FMVSS 
No. 226 where the ejection mitigation system is an OEM seat component'' 
as petitioner describes the order requested, we do not see an obvious 
need for an exemption.
    However, the agency does recognize the possibility that the side 
impact sensing and electronic architecture system could be integrated 
with that of the ejection mitigation rollover protection system. 
Because of this integration, if a seat is modified or replaced to 
accommodate a person with a disability and the FMVSS No. 214 side 
impact air bag system is deactivated, tangentially the FMVSS No. 226 
rollover ejection mitigation system could also be deactivated. For this 
reason, even though the ejection mitigation side curtain air bags' 
performance in a component test would not necessarily be compromised by 
installing a new seat, the electronics that would deploy the restraint 
in a rollover could be. Thus, for vehicles in which the seat is 
modified or replaced, it may not be practical to exempt them from the 
side impact requirements and not from ejection mitigation requirements.
    We realize that FMVSS No. 226 requires side window coverage 
extending over the first three rows of vehicles, which among other 
things does help protect rear seat passengers from partial and full 
ejection. Vehicle manufacturing designs generally utilize one ejection 
mitigation curtain air bag per side to protect the front and the rear 
rows. If the side curtain air bag must be made inoperative to 
accommodate a disabled person in the driver's position or in a rear 
passenger position (e.g., to install a TAS seat in the driver's 
position or the rear seat position), ejection mitigation protection 
provided by the curtain would be made inoperative for the other 
occupants as well (even those not using a TAS seat). If a TAS seat were 
installed at the driver's seat, exempting only the front window opening 
from FMVSS No. 226 requirements would not be possible because the rear 
seat on the same side where the front seat was modified makes use of 
the same ejection mitigation curtain air bag.
    We thus recognize that the petitioner's request presents a trade-
off of substantial ejection mitigation protection in exchange for 
continued mobility for people with disabilities and some enhancement in 
easier and possibly safer vehicle entry and exit. Comments are 
requested on the proposed exemption. To achieve the maximum safety 
benefit of the regulations, it is our desire to provide the narrowest 
exemption possible to accommodate the needs of disabled persons, 
without unreasonably expanding its use to situations where the benefits 
of the exemption may be outweighed by the drawbacks of nonconformance 
with the safety standard.
    We seek comment on whether the requested exemption is needed. Would 
deactivating the side impact protection system also deactivate the 
ejection mitigation system on vehicles? If the ejection mitigation 
window curtains are controlled by a sensor that is separate from the 
FMVSS No. 214 side impact sensor system, is the requested exemption 
needed? If the sensor systems are distinct, could the vehicle seating 
system be removed or modified without negatively affecting the 
performance of ejection mitigation curtains? Could the exemption be 
only for the ejection mitigation countermeasure (curtains) on the side 
of the vehicle affected by the modification, rather than for both 
sides?

Dates

    We are providing a 60-day comment period. In view of the September 
1, 2013 phase-in date for FMVSS No. 226, and because this rulemaking 
would remove a restriction on the modification of vehicles for persons 
with disabilities, if a final rule is issued NHTSA anticipates making 
the amendment effective in less than 180 days following publication of 
the rule.

Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review), E.O. 
13563, and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    The agency has considered the impact of this rulemaking action 
under E.O. 12866, E.O. 13563, and the Department of Transportation's 
regulatory policies and procedures. This rulemaking document was not 
reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget under E.O. 12866, 
``Regulatory Planning and Review.'' It is not considered to be 
significant under E.O. 12866 or the Department's Regulatory Policies 
and Procedures (44 FR 11034; February 26, 1979). NHTSA has determined 
that the effects are so minor that a regulatory evaluation is not 
needed to support the subject rulemaking. This rulemaking would impose 
no costs on the vehicle modification industry. If anything, there

[[Page 65355]]

could be a cost savings due to the proposed exemption.
    Modifying a vehicle in a way that makes inoperative the performance 
of ejection mitigation air bags would be detrimental for the occupants 
of the vehicle in a rollover. However, the number of vehicles 
potentially modified would be very few in number. This is essentially 
the trade-off that NHTSA is faced with when increasing mobility for 
persons with disabilities: when necessary vehicle modifications are 
made, some safety may unavoidably be lost to gain personal mobility. We 
have requested comments on how the agency may make the exemption as 
narrow as reasonably possible.

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 proposed rulemaking 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). 
The Small Business Administration's regulations at 13 CFR part 121 
define a small business, in part, as a business entity ``which operates 
primarily within the United States.'' (13 CFR 121.105(a)). 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.
    NHTSA has considered the effects of this proposed rule under the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act. Most dealerships and repair businesses are 
considered small entities, and a substantial number of these businesses 
modify vehicles to accommodate individuals with disabilities. I certify 
that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on 
a substantial number of small entities. While most dealers and repair 
businesses would be considered small entities, the proposed exemption 
would not impose any new requirements, but would instead provide 
additional flexibility. Therefore, the impacts on any small businesses 
affected by this rulemaking would not be substantial.

Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    NHTSA has examined today's proposed rule pursuant to Executive 
Order 13132 (64 FR 43255; Aug. 10, 1999) and concluded that no 
additional consultation with States, local governments, or their 
representatives is mandated beyond the rulemaking process. The agency 
has concluded that the proposed rule does not have sufficient 
federalism implications to warrant consultation with State and local 
officials or the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. 
The proposal does not 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.'' This proposed rule would not impose any 
requirements on anyone. This proposal would lessen a burden on 
modifiers.
    NHTSA rules can have preemptive effect in two ways. First, the 
National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act contains an express 
preemption provision:

    When a motor vehicle safety standard is in effect under this 
chapter, a State or a political subdivision of a State may prescribe 
or continue in effect a standard applicable to the same aspect of 
performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment only if 
the standard is identical to the standard prescribed under this 
chapter.

49 U.S.C. 30103(b)(1). This provision is not relevant to this 
rulemaking as it does not involve the establishing, amending or 
revoking or a Federal motor vehicle safety standard.
    Second, the Supreme Court has recognized the possibility, in some 
instances, of implied preemption of State requirements imposed on motor 
vehicle manufacturers, including sanctions imposed by State tort law. 
We are unaware of any State law or action that would prohibit the 
actions that this proposed rule would permit.

Civil Justice Reform

    When promulgating a regulation, agencies are required under 
Executive Order 12988 to 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.
    Pursuant to this Order, NHTSA notes as follows. The preemptive 
effect of this proposed rule is discussed above. NHTSA notes further 
that there is no requirement that individuals submit a petition for 
reconsideration or pursue other administrative proceeding before they 
may file suit in court.

National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    Under the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 
(NTTAA) (Pub. L. 104-113), ``all Federal agencies and departments shall 
use technical standards that are developed or adopted by voluntary 
consensus standards bodies, using such technical standards as a means 
to carry out policy objectives or activities determined by the agencies 
and departments.'' Voluntary consensus standards are technical 
standards (e.g., materials specifications, test methods, sampling 
procedures, and business practices) that are developed or adopted by 
voluntary consensus standards bodies, such as the Society of Automotive 
Engineers (SAE). The NTTAA directs us to provide Congress, through OMB, 
explanations when we decide not to use available and applicable 
voluntary consensus standards. No voluntary standards exist regarding 
this proposed exemption for modification of vehicles to accommodate 
persons with disabilities.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 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 
(adjusted for inflation with base year of 1995). This proposed 
exemption would not result in expenditures by State, local or tribal 
governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector in excess of 
$100 million annually.

National Environmental Policy Act

    NHTSA has analyzed this rulemaking action for the purposes of the 
National Environmental Policy Act. The agency has determined that 
implementation of this action would not have any

[[Page 65356]]

significant impact on the quality of the human environment.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), a person is not 
required to respond to a collection of information by a Federal agency 
unless the collection displays a valid OMB control number. This 
proposal does not contain new reporting requirements or requests for 
information beyond what is already required by 49 CFR part 595 subpart 
C. An entity taking advantage of the exemption would simply list FMVSS 
No. 226 in the document described in 49 CFR 595.7(b).

Plain Language

    Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write all rules in 
plain language. Application of the principles of plain language 
includes consideration of the following questions:
     Have we organized the material to suit the public's needs?
     Are the requirements in the rule clearly stated?
     Does the rule contain technical language or jargon that 
isn't clear?
     Would a different format (grouping and order of sections, 
use of headings, paragraphing) make the rule easier to understand?
     Would more (but shorter) sections be better?
     Could we improve clarity by adding tables, lists, or 
diagrams?
     What else could we do to make the rule easier to 
understand?
    If you have any responses to these questions, please include them 
in your comments on this proposal.

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.

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 595

    Motor vehicle safety, Motor vehicles.

    In consideration of the foregoing, we propose to amend 49 CFR part 
595 to read as follows:

PART 595--MAKE INOPERATIVE EXEMPTIONS

    1. The authority citation for Part 595 would be revised to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30115, 30117, 30122 and 30166; 
delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.95.

    2. Amend Sec.  595.7 by adding paragraph (c)(17) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  595.7  Requirements for vehicle modifications to accommodate 
people with disabilities.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (17) S4.2 and S5 of 49 CFR 571.226, on the side of the vehicle 
where a seat on that side of the vehicle must be changed to accommodate 
a person with a disability.
* * * * *

    Issued on: October 23, 2012.
Christopher J. Bonanti,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2012-26353 Filed 10-25-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P