National Highway Traffic Safety Administration August 2005 – Federal Register Recent Federal Regulation Documents
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Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Occupant Protection in Interior Impact
This document responds to petitions for reconsideration requesting changes to a final rule published on February 27, 2004 (February 2004 final rule). The February 2004 final rule amended the upper interior impact requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 201, ``Occupant protection in interior impact.'' Among other matters, to address the safety consequences of certain new vehicle designs, the February 2004 final rule added new targets to door frames and seat belt mounting structures found in some vehicles. This document amends the definition of ``seat belt mounting structure'' to ensure that the definition is not unnecessarily broad, and clarifies several issues related to existing target relocation procedures. This document also delays the implementation of the new requirements for door frames and seat belt mounting structures from September 1, 2005 until December 1, 2005.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Cargo Carrying Capacity
In this notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), we (NHTSA) seek to address the problem of motor home and travel trailer overloading by proposing to amend the Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) on tire selection and rims for motor vehicles other than passenger cars. We are also proposing a related amendment to our safety standard for tire selection and rims for light vehicles. We propose to require manufacturers of motor homes and travel trailers over 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) GVWR to provide information to consumers in a label that is intended to inform the consumer about the vehicle's cargo carrying capacity (CCC). This information would be helpful both at the time the consumer is making a purchase decision and also as the consumer uses his or her vehicle. We also propose to require that the size of tires on the same motor homes and travel trailers be the same as the size of the tires listed on the tire information label required by the standard on tire selection and rims for motor vehicles other than passenger cars. We are limiting our CCC label to motor homes and travel trailers with a GVWR greater than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) as these are the vehicles that have large open interior areas that consumers fill with cargo. Recreational vehicles (RV) with GVWRs equal to or less than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) will be required to have less detailed CCC information as a result of an amendment to the FMVSS on tire selection and rims, which becomes effective September 1, 2005. It should be noted that on June 1, 2007, the FMVSS on tire selection and rims for motor vehicles other than passenger cars will apply to vehicles with a GVWR greater than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) and the FMVSS on tire selection and rims will apply to vehicles with a GVWR equal to or less than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds). It is our belief that this proposed rule complements the efforts of the recreational vehicle industry to provide consumers with information in order to help reduce overloading motor homes and travel trailers. This rulemaking responds to a petition from Ms. Justine May. In addition, this proposed rule would provide regulatory relief for dealers from a labeling requirement in the safety standard on tire selection and rims for light vehicles. The standard's requirement may currently require dealers which add even small amounts of weight to re- label the vehicles. Under the proposed amendment, dealers that add weight in excess of 0.5 percent of the vehicles' gross vehicle weight ratings would be required to disclose this extra weight on labels affixed to the vehicles. Dealers could add lesser amounts of weight without needing to change or add labels.
Make Inoperative Provisions; Vehicle Modifications To Accommodate People With Disabilities
To facilitate further the modification of vehicles to accommodate individuals with disabilities, this final rule expands the existing exemptions from the ``make inoperative'' provision of the Vehicle Safety Act. Responding to petitions for rulemaking from members of the mobility industry, this document expands the exemption to include exemptions from provisions of the advanced air bag requirements, the child restraint anchorage system requirements, and the upper interior head protection requirements.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Child Restraint Systems
This document responds to Section 4(b) and Section 3(b)(2) of Anton's Law, which directed NHTSA to initiate rulemaking on child restraint system safety, with a specific focus on booster seats and restraints for children who weigh more than 50 pounds (lb). After the enactment of Anton's Law, this agency increased the applicability of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 213, Child restraint systems, from restraints recommended for children up to 50 lb to restraints recommended for children up to 65 lb. Today's document proposes a further expansion, to restraints recommended for children up to 80 lb. It also proposes to require booster seats and other restraints to meet performance criteria when tested with a crash test dummy representative of a 10-year-old child. Section 4(a) and all other provisions of Section 3 were addressed in rulemaking documents issued previously by NHTSA.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Motorcycle Controls and Displays
In this document, we (NHTSA) amend the Federal motor vehicle safety standard on motorcycle controls and displays to require that the rear brake control on scooters without a clutch be located on the left handlebar. In doing so, we have selected the second of two alternative proposals that were set forth in a notice of proposed rulemaking published in November 2003. This final rule also includes requirements for motorcycles with single-point (combined) braking for supplemental rear brake controls. This final rule also makes two additional minor changes to the standard. The first change removes a potentially confusing abbreviation, and the second change clarifies requirements for motorcycle speedometer labeling.
Average Fuel Economy Standards for Light Trucks; Model Years 2008-2011
This notice proposes to reform the structure of the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) program for light trucks and proposes to establish higher CAFE standards for model year (MY) 2008-2011 light trucks. Reforming the CAFE program would enable it to achieve larger fuel savings while enhancing safety and preventing adverse economic consequences. During a transition period of MYs 2008-2010, manufacturers may comply with CAFE standards established under the reformed structure (Reformed CAFE) or with standards established in the traditional way (Unreformed CAFE). This will permit manufacturers to gain experience with the Reformed CAFE standards. In MY 2011, all manufacturers would be required to comply with a Reformed CAFE standard. The reform is based on vehicle size. Under Reformed CAFE, fuel economy standards are restructured so that they are based on a measure of vehicle size called ``footprint,'' the product of multiplying a vehicle's wheelbase by its track width. Vehicles would be divided into footprint categories, each representing a different range of footprint. A target level of average fuel economy is proposed for each footprint category, with smaller footprint light trucks expected to achieve more fuel economy and larger ones, less. Each manufacturer would still be required to comply with a single overall average fuel economy level for each model year of production. A particular manufacturer's compliance obligation for a model year is calculated as the harmonic average of the fuel economy targets in each size category, weighted by the distribution of manufacturer's production volumes across the size categories. The proposed Unreformed CAFE standards are: 22.5 miles per gallon (mpg) for MY 2008, 23.1 mpg for MY 2009, and 23.5 mpg for MY 2010. The Reformed CAFE standards for those model years would be set at levels intended to ensure that the industry-wide costs of the Reformed standards are roughly equivalent to the industry-wide costs of the Unreformed CAFE standards in those model years. For MY 2011, the Reformed CAFE standard would be set at the level that maximizes net benefits, accounting for unquantified benefits and costs. We believe that all of the proposed standards would be set at the maximum feasible level, while accounting for technological feasibility, economic practicability and other relevant factors. Since a manufacturer's compliance obligation for a model year under Reformed CAFE depends in part on its actual production in that model year, the obligation cannot be calculated with absolute precision until the final production figures for that model year become known. However, a manufacturer could calculate its obligation with a reasonably high degree of accuracy in advance of that model year, based on its product plans for the year. Prior to and during the model year, the manufacturer would be able to track all of the key variables in the formula used for calculating the obligation (e.g., distribution of production among the categories and vehicle fuel economy). This notice publishes estimates of the compliance obligations, by manufacturer, for MYs 2008-2011 under Reformed CAFE, using the fuel economy targets proposed by NHTSA and the product plans submitted to NHTSA by the manufacturers in response to a request for product plans published in December 2003. This rulemaking is mandated by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), which was enacted in the aftermath of the energy crisis created by the oil embargo of 1973-74. The concerns about energy security and the effects of energy prices and supply on national economic well-being that led to the enactment of EPCA remain alive today. Sustained growth in the demand for oil worldwide, coupled with tight crude oil supplies, is the driving force behind the sharp price increases seen over the past several years. Increasingly, the oil consumed in the U.S. originates in countries with political and economic situations that raise concerns about future oil supply and prices. We recognize that financial difficulties currently exist in the motor vehicle industry and that a substantial number of job losses have been announced recently at large full-line manufacturers. Accordingly, we have carefully balanced the cost of the rule with the benefits of conservation. We believe that, compared to Unreformed CAFE, Reformed CAFE would enhance overall fuel savings while providing vehicle makers the flexibility they need to respond to changing market conditions. Reformed CAFE would also provide a more equitable regulatory framework by creating a level-playing field for manufacturers, regardless of whether they are full-line or limited-line manufacturers. We are particularly encouraged that Reformed CAFE would reduce the adverse safety risks generated by the Unreformed CAFE program. The transition from the Unreformed to the Reformed system would begin soon, but ample lead time is provided before Reformed CAFE takes full effect in MY 2011. We recognize also that our proposals were derived from analyses of information from a variety of sources, including the product plans submitted by the manufacturers in early 2004. We fully anticipate that the manufacturers will respond to this proposal by providing revised plans that reflect events since then. We will evaluate the revised plans, the public comments, and other information and analysis in selecting the most appropriate standards for MYs 2008-2011.
Light Truck Average Fuel Economy Standards-Model Years 2008-2011; Request for Product Plan Information
The purpose of this request for comments is to acquire new and updated information regarding vehicle manufacturers' future product plans to assist the agency in analyzing the proposed light truck corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for MY 2008-2011, which are discussed in a companion document published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register. The agency is seeking information that will help it assess the effect of the proposed standards on fuel economy, manufacturers, consumers, the economy, and motor vehicle safety.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Rearview Mirrors
On September 5, 2000, AM General Corporation submitted a petition for rulemaking seeking to amend the Federal motor vehicle safety standard for rearview mirrors to permit certain vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 4,536 kilograms (kg) (10,000 pounds) to be equipped with passenger-side convex mirrors. The standard currently requires vehicles in that weight class to be equipped with mirrors of unit magnification in that location. The agency granted the petition on May 23, 2001 and began to gather data to evaluate the request, including information obtained from a January 22, 2003 Request for Comments. Based on analysis of the available data, NHTSA is terminating this rulemaking proceeding, because we have determined that convex mirrors are not an adequate substitute for mirrors of unit magnification in terms of providing safety benefits associated with allowing the driver to better judge the distance and speed of oncoming vehicles, particularly during lane change maneuvers.
Retroactive Certification of Commercial Motor Vehicles by Motor Vehicle Manufacturers
This document completes NHTSA's consideration of its responsibilities to help implement the obligations of the United States under the North American Free Trade Agreement. The agency had proposed regulations to permit retroactive certification of foreign domiciled vehicles that, while built in compliance with U.S. standards applicable at the time of manufacture, had not been labelled as such. At the same time, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had proposed to require all commercial motor vehicles operating in the U.S. to have labels certifying compliance with the Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS). After reviewing the comments on the NHTSA and FMCSA proposals, the Department has decided on a more effective and less cumbersome approach to ensuring that commercial motor vehicles were built to the FMVSS (or the very similar Canadian motor vehicle safety standards) and operate safely in the United States. FMCSA requires Mexican-domiciled carriers applying to operate in the United States to certify in their applications that their vehicles were manufactured or retrofitted in compliance with the FMVSSs applicable at the time they were built, and will confirm that certification during the pre-authority safety audit and subsequent inspections. In addition, enforcement through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations focuses on real world, operational safety and incorporates the various FMVSS applicable through the useful life of the vehicle. FMCSA will not require vehicles to have labels certifying their compliance with the standards in effect when they were built, and NHTSA is not proceeding with a retroactive certification approach or the related proposal for a new recordkeeping and retention rule. We have also decided against placing a definition of the term ``import'' in the Code of Federal Regulations. After considering the comments, we have concluded that creating a new regulation to define the term serves no regulatory function and is unnecessary for the promotion of motor vehicle safety.
General Motors Corporation, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance
Nissan Motor Company and Nissan North America, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance
Eaton Aeroquip, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Occupant Crash Protection; Anthropomorphic Test Devices; Instrumented Lower Legs for 50th Percentile Male and 5th Percentile Female Hybrid III Dummies
On February 3, 2004, NHTSA published a notice in the Federal Register requesting comments on whether to propose adding a high speed frontal offset crash test to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 208, ``Occupant crash protection.'' The notice informed the public about recent testing the agency conducted to assess the benefits and/or disbenefits of such an approach. Based on our analysis of those comments, and other information gathered by the agency, we have decided to withdraw the rulemaking proceeding to amend FMVSS No. 208 to include a high speed frontal offset crash test requirement. Additional research and data analyses are needed to make an informed decision on rulemaking in this area. Additionally, we have decided to withdraw the related rulemaking proceeding to amend part 572 to include lower leg instrumentation until further testing necessary for federalization is completed.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Roof Crush Resistance
As part of a comprehensive plan for reducing the serious risk of rollover crashes and the risk of death and serious injury in those crashes, this document proposes to upgrade the agency's safety standard on roof crush resistance in several ways. First, we are proposing to extend the application of the standard to vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) or less. Second, we are proposing to increase the applied force to 2.5 times each vehicle's unloaded weight, and to eliminate an existing limit on the force applied to passenger cars. Third, we are proposing to replace the current limit on the amount of roof crush with a new requirement for maintenance of enough headroom to accommodate a mid-size adult male occupant. Because the impacts of this rulemaking would affect and be affected by other aspects of the comprehensive effort to reduce rollover-related injuries and fatalities, we are also seeking comments on some of those other aspects.
Notice of Technical Workshop and Demonstration-Wednesday, September 21, 2005
This notice announces that NHTSA will hold a compliance test program workshop to discuss and demonstrate the Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance (OVSC) Laboratory Test Procedure (TP) for the agency's safety standard for tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS). Vehicle manufacturers, tier-one TPMS suppliers, TPMS component manufacturers, and other interested persons with technical knowledge of TPMS who wish to participate in the workshop are asked to pre-register and are invited to submit related technical issues for discussion at the meeting.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Seat Belt Assemblies
This final rule amends the Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) for seat belt assemblies to redefine the requirements and to establish a new test methodology for emergency-locking retractors. Specifically, this final rule establishes a new acceleration-time corridor, adds a figure illustrating the new acceleration-time corridor, provides a tolerance on angle measurements, and adopts the same instrumentation specifications currently found in other FMVSSs containing crash tests.
Identification Requirements for Buses Manufactured in Two or More Stages
This document proposes to amend Part 567 to require that, in addition to the vehicle identification number, additional information be recorded on the certification label of each bus manufactured in two or more stages. The information would identify the bus body manufacturer and various vehicle attributes. This document also proposes to add a new Part 584 to require manufacturers of bus bodies for buses manufactured in two or more stages to obtain a manufacturer's identifier and to provide information to NHTSA about the bus bodies manufactured.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Controls, Telltales and Indicators
In this document, we update our standard regulating motor vehicle controls, telltales and indicators. The standard specifies requirements for the location, identification, and illumination of these items. This rule extends the standard's telltale and indicator requirements to vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 4,536 kg (10,000 pounds) and greater, updates the standard's requirements for multi-function controls and multi-task displays to make the requirements appropriate for advanced systems, and reorganizes the standard to make it easier to read. The standard requires, among other things, that certain controls, telltales and indicators be identified by specified symbols or words. While we proposed to expand the list of items for which specified identification is required, we decided, for purposes of this rule, to include only the items and identification previously specified in this standard or in another of our standards.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Low Speed Vehicles
This final rule amends the definition of ``low-speed vehicle'' (LSV) in two ways. First, it eliminates the exclusion of trucks from that class of vehicles. Second, it limits the class of LSVs to those vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of less than 1,134 kilograms (2,500 pound).
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Theft Protection
Our safety standard on theft protection specifies vehicle performance requirements intended to reduce the incidence of crashes resulting from theft and accidental rollaway of motor vehicles. As a result of technological advances in the area of theft protection, the terminology used in the regulatory text of the Standard has become outdated and incompatible with key-locking systems that employ electronic codes to lock and unlock the vehicle, and to enable engine activation. This document proposes to amend and reorganize the regulatory text of the Standard so that it better correlates to modern theft protection technology and reflects the agency's interpretation of the existing requirements. The proposed requirements would not impose any new substantive requirements on vehicle manufacturers.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Bus Emergency Exits and Window Retention and Release
This document responds to petitions for reconsideration of an April 19, 2002 final rule amending Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 217, ``Bus emergency exits and window retention and release.'' That final rule amended the standard to reduce the likelihood that wheelchair securement anchorages will be installed in locations that permit wheelchairs to be secured where they block access to emergency exit doors. Petitioners requested reconsideration of the final rule's use of transverse vertical and horizontal planes to define the area around the side and rear emergency exit doors where wheelchair anchorages may not be located. This request is granted. Petitioners also asked NHTSA to reconsider the ``DO NOT BLOCK'' warning label. This request is denied. This final rule applies to new school buses equipped with wheelchair securement anchorages. Nothing in this final rule requires school buses to be so equipped.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Occupant Crash Protection
This document denies a petition for rulemaking to amend the definition of frontal air bag system in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 208, ``Occupant crash protection.'' NHTSA has addressed this issue in a recent final rule dated November 19, 2003, and in an interpretation letter dated July 19, 2004.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Fuel System Integrity
This document responds to a petition for reconsideration from DaimlerChrysler Corporation of a final rule relating to the agency's upgrade of rear and side impact tests in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 301, Fuel System Integrity. Among other matters, that final rule provided manufacturers of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) an additional year of lead time to certify their vehicles to the amended side impact requirements, but did not provide for a phase-in of those requirements for those vehicles. On reconsideration, NHTSA is providing manufacturers of those vehicles a two year phase-in for the side impact requirements. Ninety percent of the vehicles manufactured on or after September 1, 2005 must meet the upgraded side impact requirements, with 100 percent of the vehicles manufactured on or after September 1, 2006 meeting the requirements.
Final Theft Data; Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard
This document publishes the final data on thefts of model year (MY) 2003 passenger motor vehicles that occurred in calendar year (CY) 2003. The final 2003 theft data indicate a decrease in the vehicle theft rate experienced in CY/MY 2003. The final theft rate for MY 2003 passenger vehicles stolen in calendar year 2003 (1.84 thefts per thousand vehicles) decreased by 26.1 percent from the theft rate for CY/MY 2002 (2.49 thefts per thousand vehicles) when compared to the theft rate experienced in CY/MY 2002. Publication of these data fulfills NHTSA's statutory obligation to periodically obtain accurate and timely theft data and publish the information for review and comment.
Performance of Advanced Crash Avoidance Systems; Request for Information
NHTSA has received requests asking us to extend the comment period for the notice requesting information and expressions of interest in the research program on the performance of advanced crash avoidance systems. NHTSA is seeking information from all sources for its Advanced Crash Avoidance Technologies Program (ACAT). The ACAT program seeks to determine the safety impact of new and emerging technologies that are intended to help drivers avoid crashes, reduce their severity, and prevent injuries. To provide interested persons additional time to prepare comments, we are extending the end of the comment period from August 18, 2005, to September 30, 2005. This extension will allow interested persons additional time to provide information.
Service of Process on Foreign Manufacturers and Importers
This final rule amends NHTSA's regulation on service of process on foreign manufacturers and importers to clarify existing regulatory requirements by rephrasing the regulation in a plain language, question and answer format and inserting an appendix containing a suggested designation form for use by foreign manufacturers and their agents. It also will enhance communications between foreign manufacturers and the agency by spelling out existing requirements for providing notice to NHTSA of changes in company name, address and product names, and changing the office to which foreign manufacturers must submit designation and related documents to reflect organizational changes occurring since the regulation was adopted.
Denial of Petition for Import Eligibility for 2003-2004 CF Moto CF125T-2 Motorcycles
Decision That Nonconforming 1997 Land Rover Defender 90 Multi-Purpose Passenger Vehicles Are Eligible for Importation
This document announces a decision by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that certain 1997 Land Rover Defender 90 multi-purpose passenger vehicles (MPVs) that were not originally manufactured to comply with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) are eligible for importation into the United States because they are substantially similar to vehicles originally manufactured for importation into and sale in the United States and that were certified by their manufacturer as complying with the safety standards (the U.S. certified version of the 1997 Land Rover Defender 90 MPV), and they are capable of being readily altered to conform to the standards.
Notice of Receipt of Petition for Decision That Nonconforming 1997 Ford Mustang Passenger Cars Are Eligible for Importation
This document announces receipt by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of a petition for a decision that 1997 Ford Mustang passenger cars that were not originally manufactured to comply with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) are eligible for importation into the United States because (1) they are substantially similar to vehicles that were originally manufactured for sale in the United States and that were certified by their manufacturer as complying with the safety standards, and (2) they are capable of being readily altered to conform to the standards.
Notice of Receipt of Petition for Decision That Nonconforming 2005 Harley Davidson FX, FL, and XL Motorcycles Are Eligible for Importation
This document announces receipt by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of a petition for a decision that 2005 Harley Davidson FX, FL, and XL motorcycles that were not originally manufactured to comply with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) are eligible for importation into the United States because (1) they are substantially similar to vehicles that were originally manufactured for sale in the United States and that were certified by their manufacturer as complying with the safety standards, and (2) they are capable of being readily altered to conform to the standards.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Child Restraint Systems
On June 24, 2003, the agency published a final rule mandating, in part, the use of the Hybrid III 6-year-old test dummy in compliance testing under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 213, Child restraint systems, beginning August 1, 2005. That same rule permitted optional use of the Hybrid III 6-year-old test dummy for compliance testing prior to August 1, 2005. A child restraint manufacturer filed a petition for rulemaking requesting that the date for mandatory use of the Hybrid III 6-year-old test dummy be delayed. The manufacturer stated that such a delay was necessary because of technical issues that have arisen through the use of this new test dummy. In response to this petition, we are permitting use of the Hybrid III 6-year-old test dummy or the Hybrid II 6-year-old test dummy for compliance testing under FMVSS No. 213 until August 1, 2008.
Reports, Forms and Recordkeeping Requirements; Agency Information Collection Activity Under OMB Review
In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), this notice announces that an Information Collection Request (ICR) in support of the New Car Assessment Program has been forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and comment. The ICR describes the nature of the information collections and their expected burden. The Federal Register Notice with a 60-day comment period was published on May 11, 2005 [70 FR 24859, or U.S. DOT Docket Number NHTSA-2005-21068].