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Full text of "Federal motor vehicle safety standards and regulations, with amendments and interpretations"

EffacHva: January 1, IMt 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO.201 

Occupant Protection In Interior Impact — Passenger Cars 

(Docket No. 19) 



Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 201, issued 
January 31, 1967, and published in the Fedend 
Register, February 3, 1967 (32 F.R. 2413), speci- 
fies requirements for instrument panels, seat 
backs, protrusions, sun visors, and armrests to 
afford impact protection for occupants of passen- 
ger cars manufactured after January 1, 1968. 

Parties adversely affected by the Standard 
were permitted to petition for reconsideration 
on or before March 6, 1967, pursuant to 23 CFR 
215.17. By order dated March 29, 1967, the 
Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Trans- 
portation consolidated the 27 petitions related 
to Standard No. 201 and ordered that a hearing 
on reconsiderations be held. 

On April 21, 1967, the Federal Highway Ad- 
ministration issued an order directing that a 
rule-making hearing be held pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 
553 (formerly sec. 4 of the Administrative Pro- 
cedure Act (60 Stat. 238, 5 U.S.C. 1003). The 
hearing was held May 22 and 23, 1967, at Detroit, 
Mich., and May 24 and 25, 1967, at Washington, 
D.C. On June 22, 1967, the presiding officer 
submitted his Report of Recommended Findings 
to the Federal Highway Administration. 

On June 8 and 9, 1967, and July 6 and 7, 1967, 
meetings were held by the National Highway 
Safety Bureau with domestic and foreign auto 
industry engineers in which detailed engineering 
discussions of all problems of compliance with 
the Standard were held. 

After review of the evidence presented at the 
hearings ordered by the Federal Highway Ad- 
ministration, the report of the presiding officer. 



and the Bureau's analysis of the engineering 
meetings with the industry, I have determined 
that Standard 201 issued January 31, 1967, should 
be superseded by a new Standard that specifies 
initial requirements to afford impact protection 
for occupants, and that certain related definitions 
should be amended accordingly. 

Good cause is shown that an effective date 
earlier than 180 days after issuance is in the 
public interest and notice and public procedure 
hereon are unnecessary since these amendments 
relieve restrictions and impose no additional 
burden on any person. 

In consideration of the foregoing. Part 371, 
Initial Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, 
is amended by superseding § 371.21, Motor Ve- 
hicle Safety Standard No. 201 (32 F.R. 2413), 
with a new Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 
201 .. . and by amending § 371.3(b). . . . 

These amendments are made under the author- 
ity of sections 103 and 119 of the National Traffic 
and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 (15 U.S.C. 
1392, 1407) and the delegation of authority of 
March 31, 1967 (32 F.R. 5606), as amended 
April 6, 1967 (32 F.R. 6495), and becomes effec- 
tive January 1, 1968. 

Issued in Washington, D.C, on August 11, 
1967. 

Lowell K. Bridwell, 

Federal Highway Administrator 

32 F.R. 11776 
August 16, 1967 



PART 571 ; S 201— PRE 1-2 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENTS TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS 

NO. 201 

Occupant Protection in Interior Impact 
(Docket No. 78-116; Notice 2) 



ACTION: Final rule. 

SUMMARY: This notice amends Federal Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204 to 
extend their applicability to light trucks, buses and 
multipurpose passenger vehicles (MPV's). The 
notice is issued in response to the rising death and 
injury toll involving these vehicles and to petitions 
by the Center for Auto Safety and the Insurance 
Institute for Highway Safety requesting that these 
standards be extended to those vehicles. Applying 
these standards to light trucks, buses and MPV's 
will reduce occupant deaths and injuries in those 
vehicles by requiring the use of energy absorbing 
material on such interior components as the instru- 
ment panel and seat backs (Standard No. 201), by 
limiting the amount of force that can be exerted on 
the driver's chest by the steering wheel in frontal 
crashes (Standard No. 203), and by limiting the 
rearward movement of the steering assembly in 
frontal crashes (Standard No. 204). 

EFFECTIVE DATE: The effective date for the 
extension of applicability of Standards Nos. 201, 
203 and 204 is September 1, 1981. 

ADDRESS: Petitions for reconsideration should 
refer to the docket number and be submitted to: 
Docket Section, Room 5108, National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, 
S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590. 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 

Mr. William Smith, Office of Vehicle Safety 
Standards, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., 
Washington, D.C. 20590 (202-426-2242) 



SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice 
amends Standard No. 201, Occupant Protection in 
Interior Impact, and Standard No. 203, Impact 
Protection for the Driver From the Steering 
Control System, to extend the applicability of those 
standards to trucks, buses and multipurpose 
passenger vehicles (MPV's) with a gross vehicle 
weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds or less. 
This notice also amends Standard No. 204, 
Steering Control Rearward Displacement, to 
extend its applicability to trucks, buses and MPV's 
with an unloaded vehicle weight of 4,000 pounds or 
less, instead of all trucks, buses and MPV's with a 
GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less, as originally 
proposed in the agency's November 9, 1978, notice 
of proposed rulemaking (43 FR 52264). As explained 
below, the agency is initially limiting the extended 
applicability of Standard No. 204 while it studies 
methods for dealing with final-stage manufacturer 
certification difficulties. Similar possible problems 
with Standard No. 212-76, Windshield Mounting, 
and Standard No. 219-75, Windshield Zone Intru- 
sion, led the agency to propose changes in the 
testing procedures for those standards (44 FR 
45426). 

For the purposes of Standard No. 204, the agency 
has determined that these problems would not be 
encountered in applying the standard to vehicles 
with an unloaded vehicle weight of 4,000 pounds or 
less and testing them at their unloaded vehicle 
weight. Approximately 75 percent of the current 
sales of light trucks, buses and MPV's with a 
GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less have an unloaded 
vehicle weight of 4,000 pounds or less. 

This final rule was preceded by a notice propos- 
ing the extension of the applicability of Standards 



PART 571; S 201-PRE-3 



Nos. 201, 203 and 204 in November 1978 (43 FR 
52264). Private citizens, safety organizations, 
manufacturers and a manufacturer trade associa- 
tion submitted comments on the proposal. NHTSA 
has considered all of those comments and the most 
significant ones are discussed below. 

Safety Need 
Citing the need to reduce the number of deaths 
and injuries in light trucks, buses and MPV's, the 
American Automobile Association, the Center for 
Auto Safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway 
Safety and State Farm Insurance Companies 
supported application of the standards to those 
vehicles. 

Although it did not object to extending the 
applicability of Standard Nos. 201, 203 and 204 to 
light trucks, buses and MPV's, General Motors 
argued that manufacturers should be given a 
longer lead time to comply with the standards 
because of the lack of urgent safety need. GM said 
that allowing a longer leadtime was desirable to 
ensure compliance, "without costly accelerated 
[design] programs." Using data from the agency's 
"Explanation of Rulemaking," GM said that light 
trucks, buses and MPV's have a fatality rate of 
22.4 fatalities per billion miles, compared with a 
rate of 25.3 fatalities per bOlion miles for 
passenger cars. The data GM used covers fatalities 
during 1977 in all model year vehicles. A new 
analysis done by NHTSA of 1977 fatalities, 
reported by the agency's Fatal Accident Reporting 
System, shows that although older model year 
light trucks, buses and MPV's may have had a 
lower fatality rate than passenger cars, beginning 
with the 1973 model year, the combined fatality 
rate for light trucks, buses and MPV's began 
surpassing that of passenger cars. The analysis 
shows that recent model year passenger cars have 
a considerably lower fatality rate than light trucks, 
buses and MPV's. (A copy of that analysis has been 
placed in the docket.) 

In addition to being higher than the combined 
fatality rate for all sizes of passenger cars, the 
combined fatality rate of light trucks, buses and 
MPV's is far higher than the rate for full-size 
passenger cars. Full-size cars are typically the 
safest of cars and many of them are comparable in 
size and weight to light trucks, buses and MPV's. 
In theory, occupants of larger and heavier vehicles, 
such as trucks, buses and MPV's, should experience 



less harmful crash forces, and thus presumably incur 
fewer or less severe injuries, than occupants of 
smaller lighter vehicles. Volkswagen has previously 
objected to a comparison of full-size passenger 
fatality rates with those for vans, arrguing that 
vans are comparable in weight to intermediate, not 
full-size passenger cars. Although the unloaded 
weight of vans and intermediate-size passenger 
cars may be comparable, vans have a higher gross 
vehicle weight rating which means that those 
vehicles can, in actual use, be loaded with substan- 
tially more weight than intermediate and even full- 
size passenger cars. 

Volkswagen also questioned the safety need for 
the proposed reulmaking because of the voluntary 
compliance by VW and some other companies with 
the standards. Although the voluntary effort by 
some companies is commendable, most manufac- 
turers do not comply with all of the standards in all 
of their vehicles. Some of the manufacturers who 
have taken steps to comply with the standard 
presumably were in part motiwated by prior 
NHTSA rulemaking notices proposing to apply 
Standards Nos. 201,203 and 204 to light trucks, 
buses and MPV's (35 FR 14936, 14936 and 16805). 
In the absence of a regulation, there is no 
assurance that non-complying manufacturers will 
produce complying vehicles and that manfacturers 
producing currently complying vehicles will 
continue to comply. Manufacturers who currently 
comply should experience only minor economic 
impacts, such as conducting certification tests as a 
result of compelling other manufacturers to 
comply. 

Effectiveness 

The Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association 
(MVMA) questioned the potential effectiveness of 
Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204. MVMA argue 
that a study done bySherman and Huelke of light 
truck and van accidents found that the standards 
would have little effect in those vehicles. However, 
a NHTSA analysis of the crashes reviewed by 
Sherman and Huelke found that a number of the 
crashes clearly edmonstrated the benefits of equip- 
ping light trucks and vans with energy absorbing 
instrument panels and steering columns and devices 
to limit the rearward displacement of the steering 
column. For example, Sherman and Huelke studied 
a 15-20 mph head-on crash of a 1976 Chevrolet 



PART 571; S 201-PRE-4 



pickup truck into a tree. The Chevrolet was equipped 
with a padded instrument panel, and energy- 
absorbing steering column and a device to limit the 
rearward displacement of the steering column. They 
reported, "the results of this case show that both of 
the major energy absorbing components appeared to 
have completely activated, both by the vehicle crash 
and driver impact, providing maximum benefit to the 
driver. Had this vehicle been one of the other vehicle 
cases discussed in this section, we feel that the in- 
juries sustained by the driver would have been much 
more severe." 

NHTSA believes further that the Sherman and 
Huelke study provides information indicating that 
there is a need for even more improvements in 
light trucks and vans, such as providing energy- 
absorbing padding for the lower instrument panel. 
The agency is studying the question of making 
appropriate changes in the performance 
requirements of the standards to require more pro- 
tection. However, NHTSA considers it important 
not to delay extending the current benefits of 
Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204 while it reviews 
possible changes to the standards. 

MVMA also argued that a comparison of the 
injury experience of passenger car steering 
assemblies with the experience of steering 
assemblies in light trucks and vans shows that 
Standards Nos. 203 and 204 "would provide little 
benefit" in those vehicles. Using data from the 
agency's original analysis of the injury experience 
of passenger cars produced before and after 
Standards Nos. 203 and 204 took effect, MVMA 
said that the primary benefit of the standards is to 
reduce moderate instead of severe-to-fatal injuries. 
It pointed out that 65.6 percent of the steering 
assembly related injuries in pre-standard cars were 
minor, 22.7 percent were moderate and 11.9 per- 
cent were severe- to-fatal. In post-standard, cars 
78.8 percent of the steering assembly related 
injuries were minor, 10.2 percent were moderate 
and 11.0 were severe-to-fatal. Thus, in post- 
standard cars, many previously moderate injuries 
were only minor injuries. Using data from a 
Calspan study of light truck and van injuries, 
MVMA said that 83.5 percent of the steering 
column related injuries in those vehicles are minor, 
4.1 percent are moderate and 12.4 percent are 
severe-to-fatal. MVMA said that the Calspan data 



indicate that there is "little room" for a passenger 
car-type of injury experience change from moderate 
to minor injuries in light trucks and vans. 

However, the Calspan data cited by MVMA are 
not comparable with the NHTSA data and prob- 
ably underestimate the percentage of moderate 
and severe-to-fatal steering assembly related 
injuries in light trucks and vans. The Calspan data 
include injuries from all types of impacts (front, 
rear and side). The NHTSA data, on the other 
hand, cover only frontal crashes, the type of 
crashes which are most likely to cause severe-to- 
fatal steering assembly related injuries. Thus, the 
percentage of moderate and severe-to-fatal 
injuries found in the NHTSA data should be 
greater. In addition, an updated NHTSA analysis 
of passenger car injury experience, discussed 
below, shows that Standards Nos. 203 and 204 are 
effective in reducing both moderate and severe-to- 
fatal injuries. Further, even if the actual light 
truck and van injury distribution were the same as 
found by Calspan, Standards Nos. 203 and 204 
would be effective in reducing the number of 
severe-to-fatal injuries. 

Several manufacturers and the MVMA objected to 
the agency's use of passenger car data to estimate 
the potential effectiveness of the three standards in 
light trucks, buses and MPV's. They argued that the 
agency should instead have conducted a study com- 
paring the accident experience of light trucks, buses 
and MPV's that currently comply with the standards 
with the experience of those that do not comply. As 
explained below, NHTSA concludes that such a study 
is impractical and that the agency's original and 
updated analyses of passenger car effectiveness data 
are valid and support application of the standards to 
light trucks, buses and MPV's. 

The primary difficulty in conducting a study of 
current light trucks, buses and MPV's is that there 
is no conclusive information identifying which 
vehicles are currently in compliance with the 
standard, since no manufacturer is required to 
certify compliance. For example, International 
Harvester (IH) requested NHTSA to conduct a 
study of currently complying light trucks, buses 
and MPV's, saying that its Scout models were 
designed to comply with the performance re- 
quirements of Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204. 
However, IH said that if the NHTSA applies the 



PART 571; S 201-PRE-5 



requirements of Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204. 
However, IH said that if the NHTSA applies the 
standards to light trucks, buses and MPV's, it will 
have to retest the Scout, which "could conceivably 
require some additional redesigning for compliance 
assurance." NHTSA belives that the analysis the 
agency conducted of pre- and post-1968 passenger 
car injury experience, where it was known that 
passenger cars manufactured on or after January 1, 
1968, had to comply with Standards Nos. 201, 203 
and 204, provides a sound basis for estimating the 
potential effectiveness of the standards in other 
types of vehicles. 

Using information recently made available from 
the agency's National Crash Severity Study, 
NHTSA has again compared injuries sustained by 
occupants of cars manufactured before Standards 
Nos. 201, 203 and 204 went into effect with injuries 
sustained by occupants of cars manufactured after 
the standards went into effect. As with the 
agency's first analysis, cited in the November 9, 
1978, notice for this rulemaking, the new analysis 
examined injuries caused by components covered 
by Standard No. 201, such as instrument panels, 
seat backs, arm rests and sun visors. The analysis 
found that Standard No. 201 reduced severe to 
fatal occupant injuries (i.e., injuries with an 
abbreviated injury scale ranking of 3 or more) by 
approximately 38 percent. The analysis also found 
that the probability of an occupant injured in a 
crash being injured by a component covered by 
Standard No. 201 was 25.7 percent. Thus, 
multiplying the probability of injury (i.e., 25.7 
percent) by the effectiveness of the standard in 
reducing serious and fatal injuries (i.e., 38 percent) 
the analysis estimated that the overall reduction in 
severe to fatal injuries attributable to Standard 
No. 201 is 9.3 percent. 

A similar comparison was made for occupant 
injuries in cars manufactured before and after 
Standards Nos. 203 and 204 went into effect. The 
comparison examined two sets of driver injuries 
that occurred in frontal crashes. One set consisted 
of injuries that could be specifically attributed to 
contact with the steering assembly; the other set 
consisted of neck, chest and abdominal injuries sus- 
tained by drivers in frontal crashes, the types of 
steering assembly-related injuries the standards 
are designed to reduce. The comparison found that 
Standards Nos. 203 and 204 reduced severe to 
fatal injuries by an average of 20.9 percent. The 



probability of an injured driver receiving an injury 
attributable to the steering assembly was an 
average of 19.4 percent. The analysis estimated 
that Standards Nos. 203 and 204 produced an 
overall average reduction of 3.7 percent in severe 
to fatal driver injuries. 

Loading Requirements 

At present, Standard No. 204 does not specify 
the loading requirements for vehicles in the 30 mph 
fixed barrier crash test required by the standard. 
In conducting Standard No. 204 compliance tests 
for passenger cars, the agency has loaded 
passenger cars to their unloaded vehicle weight 
(i.e., the weight of the vehicle with all the fluid, 
such as gas, oil and water, necessary for its opera- 
tion but without any occupants or cargo). This is 
the least severe loading condition used in the 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards that 
involve crash testing. This notice makes a technical 
amendment to Standard No. 204 to incorporate the 
agency long-standing loading practices. Those 
practices were publicly announced in the 
compliance test procedures publicly released by the 
agency when Standard No. 204 first went into 
effect in 1968. Passenger car certification informa- 
tion provided by manufacturers to NHTSA shows 
that they have consistently used unloaded vehicle 
weight as the loading condition in their testing. In 
some instances, manufacturers have voluntarily 
used more severe loading conditions in their 
certification testing. 

Commercial Vehicles 

Several final stage manufacturers and United 
Parcel Service requested the agency to exempt 
vehicles used in commercial applications from the 
standards. A similar exemption has previously 
been sought by the Truck Body and Equipment 
Association (TBEA) for Standard No. 212-76, 
Windshield Mounting, and Standard 219-75, 
Windshield Zone Intrusion. As with the TBEA 
request, NHTSA concludes that such an exemption 
should not be adopted since it is not in the interest 
of safety and is based on vehicle use instead of 
vehicle type. Such an exemption would mean that 
standards would be applied on the basis of the 
commercial or private use of the vehicle and not 
upon the safety needs of a particular vehicle type. 
Since the safety needs of similar vehicles usually 
are similar, it would be inappropriate to treat one 
set of vehicles differently merely because they are 
used commercially. 



PART 571; S 201-PRE-6 



The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety 
Act contemplates the application of the standards 
based on vehicle type instead of vehicle use. Basing 
a standard on vehicle use would present this agency 
with difficult enforcement problems. It would also 
place a manufacturer in the difficult position of 
having to assess in advance the potential future 
use of the vehicle it produces. In addition, basing 
standards application on vehicle use does not 
recognize that a vehicle may have two or more uses 
during its lifetime. 

For all these reasons, the agency concludes that 
applying standards based on vehicle use would not 
be appropriate. 

Walk-In Vans 

GM, MVMA and several final-stage manufac- 
turers requested the agency to exempt walk-in 
vans (i.e., the "step-van" city delivery type of vehicle 
that permits a person to enter the vehicle without 
stooping) from Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204. 
In the case of Standard No. 201, they argued that 
this type of vehicle frequently has none of the com- 
ponents covered by the standard, such as arm 
rests, sun visors and instrument panels to the right 
of the steering assembly. However, those vehicles 
do have an instrument panel in front of the driver 
and some walk-in vans do have a front passenger 
seat and an instrument panel in front of that seat 
which may be struck by an occupant during a 
crash. Applying Standard No. 201 to those vehicles 
will require the instrument panel to be padded to 
cushion occupant impacts. Based on the proven 
effectiveness of Standard No. 201 in passenger 
cars, the agency is extending the performance 
requirements of the standard to include walk-in 
vans and MPV's. 

The manufacturers argued that walk-in vans 
should be exempt from Standards Nos. 203 and 
204 also. They said that the driver steering 
assembly configuration found in walk-in vans 
makes it improbable that compliance with the 
standard will reduce drivers' injuries. They noted 
that the steering column is mounted in those 
vehicles at an angle of 55-60 degrees, compared to 
the mounting angle of 30 degrees found in conven- 
tional trucks, and the columns in walk-in vans 
move upward rather than rearward in a crash. The 
manufacturers also argued that these vehicles are 
generally used in urban areas, where there is more 



slow speed traffic than in rural areas. They pointed 
out that because of these factors, the agency has 
previously exempted walk-in vans from Standards 
Nos. 212-76, Windshield Retentim, and 219-75, 
Windshields Zone Intrusion. The agency agrees 
that current energy absorbing steering column 
designs probably would provide little, if any, pro- 
tection in walk-in vans because of their uniques 
driver/ steering column configuration, and thus is 
exempting walk-in vans for the present. 

Belts in Forward Control Vehicles 

Although they did not object to requiring lap- 
shoulder belts in forward control vehicles as pro- 
posed in the agency's November 9, 1978 notice, 
several manufacturers and the MVMA objected to 
what they interpreted as a conflict between the 
agency's proposal and the current requirements of 
Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection. 
They argued that the agency's proposal not only 
would require lap and shoulder belts in forward 
control vehicles, but would also require such belts 
in open-body vehicles, convertibles and walk-in 
vans, which currently only have to have lap belts. 
The agency's proposal was directed only toward 
forward control vehicles and was meant to 
supersede the current requirements for those 
vehicles set in Standard No. 208. For organiza- 
tional simplicity, the agency is making a technical 
amendment to Standard No. 208 so that all belt 
requirements are centralized in that standard. The 
amendment only adopts the proposed change to 
the forward control vehicle belt requirements. It 
does not change the current belt requirements for 
open-body vehicles, convertibles and walk-in vans. 

MVMA requested the agency to require lap and 
shoulder belts in forward control vehicles for only 
one model year. MVMA did not provide any 
justification for that request. NHTSA believes that 
the important protection of lap and shoulder belts 
should be available to all forward control vehicles 
manufactured on or after September 1, 1981, and 
declines to adopt the MVMA request. 

Upgrading of Standard 

In their comments, the Center for Auto Safety 
and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 
renewed their requests that the agency set new 
performance requirements for Standard No. 203 to 
provide additional protection in angular impacts. 
The agency has conducted some preliminary 
testing to determine what additional requirements 



PART 571; S 201-PRE-7 



may be appropriate to increase protection in 
angular impacts. In additional, the agency's 
National Center for Statistics and Analysis has 
recently begun a special study to collect accident 
data on 1973 and later model vehicles to gather 
additional information on the effectiveness of 
energy . absorbing steering assemblies in angular 
and other crashes. Based on that data, NHTSA 
will make a determination of what further changes 
are needed in the standard. 

The American Automobile Association asked the 
agency to delay application of Standard No. 203 
until upgraded performance requirements are 
developed. However, because the agency does not 
want to delay providing the occupants of light 
trucks, buses and MPV's with the safety benefits 
of Standard No. 203, the agency is extending the 
standards to those vehicles while it continues to 
consider the feasibility of additional performance 
requirements. 

NHTSA is also considering possible additional 
requirements for Standard No. 201. The agency 
has scheduled a meeting for December 11, 1979, so 
that the public can present its views and ideas on 
ways of improving protection for children invilved 
in vehicle collisions. In the September 4, 1979, 
notice announcing the meeting, the agency 
specifically asked for comments on possible 
improvements to the interior padding of vehicles to 
provide additional protection for children (44 FR 
51623). 

Heavy Trucks 

In the November 9, 1978 notice, NHTSA 
announced that it was evaluating whether to 
extend the applicability of Standards Nos. 201, 203 
and 204 to heavy trucks (i.e., trucks with a GVWR 
of more than 10,000 pounds) and solicited 
commens on appropriate performance 
requirements for those vehicles. In their com- 
ments, the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Associa- 
tion, Freightliner and International Harvester all 
opposed an extension of the standards to trucks 
with a GVWR greater than 10,000 pounds, arguing 
that there is no data showing a safety need for 
applying the standards to those vehicles. They also 
argued that because of the size and weight of heavy 
trucks, occupants in these vehicles do not 
experience the same energy transfers in a crash 
than passenger car occupants experience and thus 
theoretically should incur fewer or less severe 



injuries. At the agency's recent meeting on heavy 
truck safety, several participants provided in- 
formation on the need for greater crash protection 
for drivers of heavy trucks. NHTSA is currently 
analyzing that information to determine what 
additional heavy truck reguylatory action may be 
needed. 

Miscellane<ms Comments 

MVMA pointed out that Standard No. 201 
currently requires two sun visors in a vehicle and 
requested that a second visor not be required if 
there is no front passenger seat. NHTSA agrees 
that such a change is appropriate and has made the 
necessary amendment to the standard. 

Jeep Corp. objected to the application of 
Standard No. 201 to open-body MPV's, arguing 
that for Jeep to locate padding in the expected 
head impact area it would have to raise its padding 
or lower its seat, both of which it claimed would 
interfere with the driver's forward visibility. 
Jeep's comment apprars to reflect a misunder- 
standing of Standard No. 201. The performance 
requirements of the standard only apply to areas of 
the instrument panel that are within the head 
impact area of each designated seating position. 
(The head impact area is the portion of the 
vehicle's interior that can be contacted by a head- 
form representing an occupant's head.) Thus, if a 
portion of Jeep's vehicle instrument panel is not 
within the head impact area, it does not have to 
comply. For protions of the panel that are within 
the head impact area. Jeep can make structural 
changes to the instrument panel to meet Standard 
No. 201 without adding additional padding. 
Therefore, Jeep's requested exemption for all 
open-body vehicles is denied. 

One final stage manufactuere, Boyertown Auto 
Body Works, asked NHTSA whether its driver 
side instrument panel was within the exceptions to 
Standard No. 201 and, if not, sought to have its in- 
strument panel constured to be a console assembly, 
which is exempt from the standard. Such an inter- 
pretation is not acceptable since Boyertown clearly 
labels the area in question as an instrument panel 
in its engineering drawings. However, according 
to the engineering drawing provided by Boyer- 
town, the limited section on teh instrument panel 
of concern to Boyertown is within the area 
exempted by S3. 1.1(d) of the standard. That 
section provides that the area of the interior 
immediately forward of the steering column is 
exempt from the standard. 



PART 571; S 201-PRE-8 



Costs and Leadtime 

NHTSA has considered the economic and other 
impacts of this final rule and determined that they 
are not significant within the meaning of 
Executive Order 12044 and the Department of 
Transportation's policies and procedures for 
implementing that order. The agency's assessment 
of the benefits and economic consequences of this 
proposal are contained in a regulatory evaluation 
which has been places in the public docket. As 
explained previously, copies of the regulatory 
evaluation can be obtained by writing NHTSA's 
docket section at the address given in the begin- 
ning of this final rule. 

As previously detailed in this notice, the agency 
has examined the effectiveness of Standards Nos. 
201, 203 and 204 in passenger cars and concluded 
that those standards have brought about a substan- 
tial reduction in overall injuries occurring to the 
passengers in those vehicles. Because they share 
the same driving environment as occupants in 
passenger cars, occupants in light trucks, buses 
and MPV's face a similar risk of injury posed by 
hazardous instrument panels and rigid steering 
columns. Based on its evaluation of the effec- 
tiveness of Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204 in 
passenger cars, the agency has concluded that 
applying those standards to light trucks, buses and 
MPV's can result in a reduction of 120 to 240 
fatalities and 4,400 to 8,900 serious injuries per 
year when all those vehicles comply with the 
standards. 

The agency's cost estimate for meeting 
Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204 in light trucks, 
buses and MPV's take into account that many 
manufacturers have equipped some of their 
vehicles with components designed to meet the 
performance requirements of the standards. Those 
components may need little or no redesigning to 
fully comply with the standards. For example, 
American Motors, Chrysler, Ford, General 
Motors, International Harvester and Volkswagen 
commented that some, if not all, of their vehicles 
currently have components designed to comply 
with the standards or they will install such com- 
ponents in some of their vehicles by the 1981 model 
year. 

Only two manufacturers, Nissan and Ford, pro- 
vided any information about the costs associated 
with complying with the standards. Nissan said 



that the cost associated with complying with all 
three standards was $30. Ford estimated the cost 
for compliance with Standard No. 201 as $10 per 
vehicle; based on preliminary design assumptions, 
Ford put the cost of complying with Standards 
Nos. 203 and 204 in its van-type trucks, buses and 
MPV's at $120 per vehicle. 

To provide the agency with additional informa- 
tion about the estimated costs of complying with 
the three standards, NHTSA contracted with the 
John Z. DeLorean Corp. to evaluate current 
vehicles and determine what changes would be 
needed to bring the vehicles into compliance. Bases 
on its review of ciu-rent foreign and domestic light 
trucks, buses and MPV's, DeLorean concluded 
that the total cost of compliance with the three 
standards would add a sales weighted average of 
$16 to the retail price of those vehicles. The 
DeLorean study reported that the vehicles requir- 
ing the most changes to meet Standards Nos. 201, 
203 and 204 were van-type trucks, buses and 
MPV's made by GM and Ford. DeLorean 
estimated that GM and Ford van-types vehicles 
would require a $27 increase in consumer price to 
comply with Standards Nos. 203 and 204 and a 
price increase ranging between $6 and $15 to 
comply with Standard No. 201. The agency 
believes that the substantial difference between 
DeLorean's and Ford's estimate of the cost of 
compliance with Standards Nos. 203 and 204 may 
be due to Ford's overestimate of the anticipated 
changes needed in the vehicles based on its 
preliminary design asssum.ptions. 

The agency's November 1978 notice proposed an 
effective date of September 1, 1980, for Standard 
No. 201 for all vehicles and for Standards Nos. 203 
and 204 for nonforward control vehicles. An effec- 
tive date of September 1, 1981, was proposed for 
Standards Nos. 203 and 204 for forward control 
vehicles to allow manufacturers additional time to 
make the necessary changes in those vehicles. In 
their comments on Standard 201, Chrysler and 
Ford said they could meet the standard in all their 
vehicles by the proposed effective date. Nissan, 
Toyo Kogyo and International Harvester (IH) 
requested from 18 to 24 months leadtime. General 
Motors requested 2V2 years' leadtime and 
American Motors requested 3 years. As a part of 
its NHTSA-funded study of the costs of complying 
with the standard, the DeLorean Corp. also 
examined the leadtime necessary to comply with 



PART 571; S 201-PRE-9 



the standard, the DeLorean Corp. also examined 
the leadtime necessary to comply with the stan- 
dards. For Standard No. 201, the DeLorean study 
concluded that only one year was needed for all 
vehicles except van-type trucks, buses and MPV's 
manufactured by Chrysler and CM, which needed 
two years. 

For Standards Nos. 203 and 204, Chrysler said 
that all its vehicles, except its incomplete forward 
control van-type vehicles, can comply by 
September 1, 1980. Chrysler did not provide an 
estimate of leadtime needed for its incomplete 
forward control vans. Nissan, Toyo Kogo and IH 
requested from 18 to 24 months leadtime. Ford 
said its 1980 model year F-series trucks and 
Bronco models would comply with the standards 
and the Courier truck chassis cab imported by Ford 
would comply by September 1, 1981. Ford 
requested until September 1, 1982, for its van-type 
trucks, buses and MPV's. General Motors 
requested 2V2 years for all its vehicles and 
American Motors requested three years. 

The DeLorean study concluded that 18-24 
months of leadtime was needed for all models, 
except those made by Ford, which would requu-e 
three years. DeLorean made its estimate of lead- 



time for Ford based on an assumption that Ford 
would need extra steering assembly tooling 
facilities. However, since Ford plans to introduce 
complying components on its 1980 model F series 
trucks and Bronco models, Ford has apparently 
developed the needed tooling capacity. 

Based on its analysis of the DeLorean study and 
of the industry's comments, NHTSA concludes 
that setting an effective date of September 1, 
1981, will allow sufficient time for all manufac- 
turers to comply with the standards. This action 
provides an additional year for all light trucks, 
buses and MPV's to meet Standard No. 201 and for 
nonforward control vehicles to meet Standard No. 
201 and for nonforward control vehicles to meet 
Standards Nos. 203 and 204. 

The principal authors of this notice are William 
Smith, Office of Vehicle Safety Standards, and 
Stephen Oesch, Office of Chief Counsel. 

Issued on November 20, 1979. 

Joan Claybrook 
Administrator 

44 F.R. 68470 
November 29, 1979 



PART 571; S 201-PRE-lO 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO 
FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 201 

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Standard 
No. 201, Occupant Protection in Interior Impact 



[Docket No. 82-12; Notice 2] 



ACTION: Final rule. 

SUMMARY: Standard No. 201, Occupant 
Protection in Interior Impact, sets requirements 
for instrument panels, interior compartment 
doors, seat backs, sun visors, and arm rests to 
lessen injuries to persons thrown against them in 
crashes. At the request of Blue Bird Body Co., the 
agency proposed excluding school buses from the 
standard since they have to meet the 
requirements of Standard No. 222, School Bus 
Passenger Seating and Occupant Protection. The 
agency agrees that the seat back requirements of 
the two standards overlap and therefore has 
decided to exclude school buses from the seat 
back requirements of Standard No. 201. The 
other requirements of Standard No. 201 do not 
overlap with Standard No. 222 and therefore they 
will continue to apply to school buses. 

DATE: The final rule is effective December 22, 
1982. 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On June 10, 
1982 (47 F.R. 25169) the agency proposed an 
amendment to Standard No. 201, Occupant 
Protection in Interior Impact, that would exclude 
school buses from the seat back requirements of 
the standard. The agency issued the proposal in 
response to a request from Blue Bird Body Co., a 
school bus manufacturer. Blue Bird argued that 
since school buses have to comply with Standard 
No. 222, School Bus Occupant Seating and Crash 
Protection, whose requirements cover the same 
aspects of performance, they should not have to 
comply with Standard No. 201. 



The only comment received by the agency 
supported adoption of the proposal. Because the 
agency has determined that compliance with the 
requirements of Standard No. 222 provides 
adequate protection, the agency has decided to 
adopt the proposal to exclude school buses from 
complying with the redundant seat back 
requirements of Standard No. 201. 

Additional 201 Requirements 

In addition to the requirements for seat backs, 
Standard No. 201 sets performance requirements 
for instrument panels, interior compartment 
doors, sun visors and arm rests to prevent or 
reduce injuries to persons thrown against them in 
crashes. Since Standard No. 222 does not contain 
any performance requirements for those specific 
items, it is not appropriate to exempt school 
buses complying with Standard No. 222 from 
those requirements of Standard No. 201. 

Future Rulemaking 

The one commenter to the docket, Mr. Edward 
deR. Cayia, proposed a change to the test 
procedures to Standard No. 201 and Standard No. 
222. He pointed out that the two standards use 
different test devices in the head impact test of 
the standards. Standard No. 201 uses a 15-pound, 
6.5 inch diameter headform. Standard No. 222 
uses a headform that has two joined hemispheres 
with a total weight of 11.5 pounds; the one sphere 
has a diameter of 6.5 inches and the second, which 
is centered and protrudes from the first, has a 
2-inch diameter. Mr. Cayia said that the Standard 



PART 571; S 201-PRE 11 



No. 222 headform is a more accurate evaluate the headforms to determine which 

representation of the human facial structure. would be the most appropriate and, based on that 

The agency agrees that it would be desirable to evaluation, will decide what rulemaking action is 

have a uniform headform for the head impact necessary, 

tests of the two standards. The agency intends to Issued on November 15, 1982. 



Raymond A. Peck, Jr. 
Administrator 
47 F.R. 52450 
November 22, 1982 



PART 571: S 201-PRE 12 



MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 201 
Occupant Protection in Interior Impact— Passenger Cars 



51. Purpose and scope. This standard 
specifies requirements to afford impact protection 
for occupants. 

52. Application. This standard applies to 
passenger cars and to multipurpose passenger 
vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR of 10,000 
pounds or less. 

53. Requirements for passenger cars and for 
trucl(s, buses and multipurpose passenger vehicles 
with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less manufactured 
on or after September 1, 1981. 

S3.1 Instrument panels. Except as provided in 
S3. 1 . 1 , when that area of the instrument panel that 
is within the head impact area is impacted in accor- 
dance with S3. 1.2 by a 15 pound, 6.5 inch diameter 
head form at a relative velocity of 15 miles per 
hour, the deceleration of the head form shall not 
exceed 80g continuously for more than 3 
milliseconds. 

53.1.1 The requirements of S3.1 do not apply 
to- 

(a) Console assemblies; 

(b) Areas less than 5 inches inboard from the 
juncture of the instrument panel attachment to the 
body side inner structure; 

(c) Areas closer to the windshield juncture than 
those statically contactable by the head form with 
the windshield in place; 

(d) Areas outboard of any point of tangency on 
the instrument panel of a 6.5 inch diameter head 
form tangent to and inboard of a vertical 
longitudinal plane tangent to the inboard edge of 
the steering wheel; or 

(e) Areas below any point at which a vertical line 
is tangent to the rearmost surface of the panel. 

53.1.2 Demonstration procedures. Tests shall 
be performed as described in Society of 
Automotive Engineers Recommended Practice 
J921, "Instrument Panel Laboratory Impact Test 
Procedure," June 1965, using the specified in- 
strumentation or instrumentation that meets the 



performance requirements specified in Society of 
Automotive Engineers Recommended Practice 
J977, "Instrumentation for Laboratory Impact 
Tests," November 1966, except that— 

(a) The origin of the line tangent to the instru- 
ment panel surface shall be a point on a transverse 
horizontal line through a point 5 inches horizontally 
forward of the seating reference point of the front 
outboard passenger designated seating position, 
displaced vertically an amount equal to the rise 
which results from a 5 inch forward adjustment of 
the seat or 0.75 inches; and 

(b) Direction of impact shall be either— 

(1) In a vertical plane parallel to the vehicle 
longitudinal axis; or 

(2) In a plane normal to the surface at the 
point of contact. 

S3.2 Seat Backs. Except as provided in 
S3. 2.1, when that area of the seat back that is 
within the head impact area is impacted in accor- 
dance with S3. 2. 2 by a 15 pound, 6.5 inch diameter 
head form at a relative velocity of 15 miles per 
hour, the deceleration of the head form shall not 
exceed 80g continuously for more than 3 
milliseconds. 

53.2.1 IThe requirements of S3. 2 Ho not apply 
to seats installed in school buses whic comply with 
the requirements of Standard No. 222, "School 
Bus Passenger Seating and Occupant Protection" 
(49 CFR 571.222) or to rearmost, side-facing, back- 
to-back, folding auxiliary jump, and temporary 
seats. (47 F.R. 52450 November 22, 1982. Effec- 
tive: December 22, 1982)1 

53.2.2 Demonstration procedures. Tests shall 
be performed as described in Society of 
Automotive Engineers Recommended Practice 
J921, "Instrument Panel Laboratory Impact Test 
Procedure," June 1965, using *.he specified 
instrumentation or instrumentation that meets the 
performance requirements specified in Society of 



(Rev. 12/22/82 



PART 571; S 201-1 



Automotive Engineers Recommended Practice 
J977, "Instrumentation for Laboratory Impact 
Tests," November 1966, except that— 

(a) The origin of the Hne tangent to the upper- 
most seat back frame component shall be a point 
on a transverse horizontal line through the seating 
reference point of the right rear designated 
seating position, with adjustable forward seats in 
their rearmost design driving position and 
reclinable forward seat backs in their nominal 

N design driving position; 

(b) The direction of impact shall be either— 

(1) In a vertical plane parallel to the vehicle 
longitudinal axis; or 

(2) In a plane normal to the surface at the 
point of contact; 

(c) For seats without head restraints installed, 
tests shall be performed for each individual split or 
bucket seats back at points within 4.0 inches left 
and right of its centerline, and for each bench seat 
back between points 4.0 inches outboard of the 
centerline of each outboard designated seating 
position; 

(d) For seats having head restraints installed, 
each test shall be conducted with the head 
restraint in place at its lowest adjusted position, at 
a point on the head restraint centerline; and 

(e) For a seat that is installed in more than one 
body style, tests conducted at the fore and aft 
extremes identified by application of subparagraph 
(a) shall be deemed to have demonstrated all 
intermediate conditions. 

S3.3 Interior compartment doors. Each interior 
compartment door assembly located in an instru- 
ment panel, console assembly, seat back, or side 
panel adjacent to a designated seating position 
shall remain closed when tested in accordance with 
either S3.31(a) and S3.3.1(b) or S3.3.1(a) and 
S3.3.1(c). Additionally, any interior compartment 
door located in an instrument panel or seat back 
shall remain closed when the instrument panel or 
seat back is tested in accordance with S3.1 and 
S3. 2. All interior compartment door assemblies 
with a locking device must be tested with the 
locking device in an unlocked position. 

S3.3.1 Demonstration procedures. 

(a) Subject the interior compartment door latch 
system to an inertia load of lOg in a horizontal 
transverse direction and an inertia load of lOg in a 
vertical direction in accordance with the procedure 



described in section 5 of SAE Recommended 
Pactice J839b, "Passenger Car Side Door Latch 
Systems," May 1965, or an approved equivalent. 

(b) Impact the vehicle perpendicularly into a fixed 
collision barrier at a forward longitudinal velocity of 
30 miles per hour. 

(c) Subject the interior compartment door latch 
system to a horizontal inertia load of 30g in a 
longitudinal direction in accordance with the pro- 
cedure described in section 5 of SAE Recommended 
Practice J839b, "Passenger Car Side Door Latch 
Systems," May 1965 or an approved equivalent. 

53.4 Sun visors. 

53.4.1 A sun visor that is constructed of or 
covered with energy-absorbing material shall be 
provided for each front outboard designated 
seating position. 

53.4.2 Each sun visor mounting shall present 
no rigid material edge radius of less than 0.125 
inch that is statically contactable by a spherical 6.5 
inch diameter head form. 

53.5 Armrests. 

53.5.1 General. Each installed armrest shall 
conform to at least one of the following: 

(a) It shall be constructed with energyabsorbing 
material and shall deflect or collapse laterally at 
least 2 inches without permitting contact with any 
underlying rigid material. 

(b) It shall be constructed with energy-absorbing 
material that deflects or collapses to within 1.25 
inches of a rigid test panel surface without permit- 
ting contact with any rigid material. Any rigid 
material between 0.5 and 1.25 inches from the panel 
surface shall have a minimum vertical height of no" 
less than 1 inch. 

(c) Along not less than 2 continuous inches of its 
length, the armrest shall, when measured vertically 
in side elevation, provide at least 2 inches of 
coverage within the pelvic impact area. 

53.5.2 Folding armrests. Each armrest that 
folds into the seat back or between two seat backs 
shall either— 

(a) Meet the requirement of S3.5.1; or 

(b) Be constructed of or covered with energy- 
absorbing material. 



33 F.R. 15794 
October 25, 1968 



PART 571; S 201-2 



Iffcdiv*: JoiHiory 1, 19*9 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 202 

HmkI RMtraints— PasMng«r Cart 
(Dockat No. 8) 



A proposal to amend §371.21 of Part 371, 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, by 
adding a new standard, Head Restraints — Pas- 
senger Cars; was published in the Federal Reg- 
ister on December 28, 1967 (32 F.R. 20866). 

Interested persons have been afforded an op- 
portunity to participate in the making of the 
amendment. 

Several comments requested that the use of a 
50th percentile adult male manikin be permitted 
in demonstrating compliance with the Standard. 
The Administration feels that a 50th percentile 
manikin is not representative of a large enough 
percentage of the public, but recognizes that cer- 
tain modifications to a 50th percentile manikin 
may result in a suitable test device. Therefore, 
the Standard has been modified to permit use 
of an approved equivalent test device. 

A comment from an equipment manufacturer 
and an equipment manufacturers' association as- 
serted that the Standard should not require that 
motor vehicle manufacturers provide head re- 
straints at the time of vehicle manufacture, but 
that each customer should be free to equip his 
vehicle with head restraints of his own choice, 
maintaining that the installation of head re- 
straints is a relatively simple matter and that 
there appears to be virtually no technological 
advantage in requiring factory installation. The 
Administration has determined that safety dic- 
tates that head restraints be provided on all 
passenger cars manufactured on or after January 
1, 1969, and that a head restraint standard that 
merely specified performance requirements for 
head restraint equipment would not insure that 
all passenger cars would be so equipped, and 
would not, therefore, meet the need for safety. 
Furthermore, the Administration has determined 
that the performance of a head restraint is de- 



pendent upon the strength of the structure of 
the seat to which it is attached, as well as the 
compatibility of the head restraint with its 
anchorage to the seat structure. 

Some of the comments expressed concern that 
the proposed Standard would exclude the use of 
head restraints that are integral with the seat 
back. The Administration did not intend to 
imply that "add-on" head restraint devices are 
the only available means of providing appro- 
priate levels of protection. Such protection may 
be achieved by the use of a restraint system that 
is integral with the seat back. 

Some comments noted that when testing head 
restraints that are adjustable to a height of more 
than 27.5 inches above the seating reference point, 
the load would not be applied to the appropriate 
portion of the head restraint. To provide the 
necessary flexibility, the Standard has been modi- 
fied to specify that the point of load application 
and the point of width measurement be deter- 
mined relative to the top of the head restraint 
rather than the seating reference point. 

Some comments stated that the 8g perform- 
ance requirement would be incomplete without 
the inclusion of a time duration requirement. 
The Administration has concluded that a mini- 
mum time duration of 80 milliseconds is appro- 
priate and the Standard has been so modified. 

Some comments requested that the location of 
the head restraint relative to the torso line be 
measured without a load being applied to the 
head restraint. The Administration feels that 
this measurement would be unrealistic and, 
therefore, the Standard requires that the meas- 
urement be taken during the application of the 
132-pound initial load. 

Many comments requested a more precise de- 
scription of the method to be used in locating 



PART 671; S 202— PRE 1 



MmHvc: JoiMiory 1, 1969 



the test device's reference line and torso refer- 
ence line. Therefore, the Standard has been 
modified to provide the necessary clarification. 

Some comments claimed that lead time would 
be a problem; however, the Administration be- 
lieves that the need to protect the public from 
neck injury outweighs the possible lead time 
problems. 

Several comments requested clarification of the 
term "approved representation of a human ar- 
ticulated neck structure." "Approved" is defined 
in § 371.3(b) as "approved by the Secretary." 
The Secretary would approve the neck structure 
of a test device if it could be demonstrated by 
technical test data that the arli^^ilation of the 
neck structure represented that of a human neck. 
Approval could only be given to a structure 
sufficiently described in performance parameters 
to ensure reliable and reproducible test data. 



In consideration of the foregoing, § 371.21 of 
Part 371, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Stand- 
ards, is amended by adding Standard No. 202 . . . 
Effective January 1, 1969. 

(Sees. 103 and 119 of the National Traffic and 
Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966; 15 U.S.C. 
1392, 1407; and the delegation of authority of 
Mar. 31, 1967, 32 F.R. 5606; as amended Apr. 6, 
1967, 32 F.R. 6495; July 27, 1967, 32 F.R. 11276; 
Oct. 11, 1967, 32 F.R. 14277; Nov. 8, 1967, 32 
F.R. 15710, and Feb. 8, 1968) 

Issued in Washington, D.C., on February 12, 
1968. 

Lowell K. Bridwell, 

Federal Highway Administrator 

33 F.R. 2945 
February 14, 1968 



PART 671; S 202— PRE 2 



EKacHva: Jonuory 1, 19*9 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 202 

Head Restraints — Passenger Cars 
(Docket No. 8) 



Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 202, issued 
February 12, 1968, and published in the Federal, 
Register February 14, 1968 (33 F.R. 2945), speci- 
fies requirements for head restraints to reduce 
the frequency and severity of neck injury in 
rear-end and other collisions to occupants of 
passenger cars manufactured after January I, 
1969. 

Pursuant to 23 CFR 216.35 (32 F.R. 15818), 
interested persons could petition the Federal 
Highway Administrator for reconsideration on 
or before March 15, 1968. 

Several petitioners questioned the 80 milli- 
second duration requirement of the 8g dynamic 
test on the grounds that it imposes a more severe 
load on the seat back than is required in Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standard No. 207, Anchorage of 
Seats — Passenger Cars. The Administrator has 
determined that the demonstration procedure 
should be revised to incorporate a half-sine wave 
•cceleration pulse shape with an amplitude of 8g 
and a base (duration) of 80 milliseconds. This 
revised loading is closer to actual crash condi- 
tions, and is more consistent with existing seat 
strength requirements. The demonstration pro- 
cedure has been revised to include the half-sine 
wave pulse shape. 

Several petitioners questioned the method for 
establishing the displaced torso line for the static 
test on the grounds that it did not take into 
account the compression of the seat back cushion 
by the torso under load. The Administrator has 
determined that the Standard should be revised 
to take into account seat back cushion compres- 
sion in establishing the displaced torso line, and 
the demonstration procedure has been revised 
accordingly. 



One petitioner questioned the procedure out- 
lined for establishing the dummy reference line 
for the dynamic test. The procedure made use 
of the torso line of the 95th percentile dummy 
or test device and there is no commonly accepted 
definition of this torso line. The Administrator 
has revised the procedure for establishing dummy 
torso reference lines to make use of the SAE 
two-dimensional manikin, with its torso line 
established in accordance with SAE Aerospace — 
Automotive Drawing Standards. 

One petitioner questioned the requirement that 
a spherical head form be used to apply the static 
load because tests have shown that this head 
form tends to slip under the foundation structure 
of the head restraint, thus showing an unrealistic 
loss of load. The Administrator has revised the 
demonstration procedure to include a cylindrical 
head form as an alternative. 

One petitioner requested that the static load 
requirement of 200 pounds for head restraints 
adjusted to a height of 27.5 inches be changed 
to an equivalent moment about the seating refer- 
ence point. This would permit the manufacturer 
who has a head restraint which adjusts higher 
than 27.5 inches to subject his head restraint to 
less than a 200 pound static load. This petition 
is denied. The Administrator has determined 
that the 200 pound static load should remain in 
the Standard to ensure that all head restraints 
sustain this load to meet the needs of safety. 

Since this amendment provides clarification, 
relieves a restriction, and imposes no additional 
burden, notice and public procedure are unnec- 
essary. 

In consideration of the foregoing, ■§ 371.21 of 
Part 371, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
No. 202, which becomes effective January 1, 1969, 



PART 571; S 202— PRE 3 



MMHva: January 1, 1969 

is amended by revising sections 5.1 and 5.2 (re- Issued in Washington, D.C., on April 11, 1968. 

lating to the demonstration procedures). . . . 

(Sees. 103, 119, National TraflSc and Motor Lowell K. Bridwell, 

Safety Act of 1966 (15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407); Federal Highway Administrator 
delegation of authority of March 31, 1967 (32 

F.R. 5606), as amended April 11, 1968 (33 F.R. 33 F.«. 5793 

5803)) April 16, 1966 



PABT 671; S 202— PRE 4 



MacHv*: January I, 1«M 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 202 

Head Restraints — Passenger Cars 
(Docket No. 8) 



Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 202 (33 
F.R. 2945), as amended (33 F.R. 5793), specifies 
requirements for head restraints to reduce the 
frequency and severity of neck injury in rear- 
end and other collisions to occupants of passenger 
cars manufactured after January 1, 1969. 

Paragraph S4 (b)(2) of the Standard provides 
that a head restraint qualifying under the static 
procedure shall have a lateral width of 10 inches 
for use with bench-type seats and 6.75 inches for 
use with individual type seats when measured 
2.5 inches belosv the top of the head restraint. 

One manufacturer has petitioned the Admin- 
istrator for reconsideration of the method by 
which the lateral width of the head restraint is 
to be measured. The petitioner requests that the 
Standard be revised to permit the width to be 
measured either 2.5 inches below the top of the 
head restraint of 25 inches above the seating 
reference point. 

Measurement of width 2.5 inches below the top 
of the head restraint may present possible diffi- 
culties for manufacturers of vehicles with head 
restraints which are integrated into the seat back. 
These manufacturers may elect to exceed the 
minimum required height of 27.5 inches to ac- 
commodate tall occupants and taper the top por- 
tion of the head restraint to provide minimum 
visibility restriction. In this case, the head re- 
straint, when measured 2.5 inches below the top, 
might meet the minimum width requirement. 

The Administrator has determined that the 
procedure for measuring head restraint lateral 
width should be revised since it is in the public 
interest to encourage the additional protection 
offered by seat backs higher than the minimum 
height requirement of this Standard. Accord- 
ingly, the Standard is being amended to permit 



measurement of head restraint width either 2.5 
inches below the top of the head restraint or 25 
inches above the seating reference point. 

Paragraph S5.1(c) of the Standard provides 
that the magnitude of the acceleration curve for 
the dynamic test shall not be less than that of a 
half-sine wave having tl^e amplitude of 8g and 
a duration of 80 milliseconds not more than 20% 
above the half -sine wave. 

One manufacturer has requested an interpre- 
tation of the term "not more than 20% above the 
half-sine wave." 

It is necessary that a test tolerance be allowed 
because of equipment variances. However, the 
tolerance must be properly limited to prevent 
very severe accelerations which might fail the 
seat back without properly testing the head re- 
straint. The intent of the "20%" limitation was 
to establish a half-sine wave upper limit curve 
having an amplitude of 9.6g and a duration of 
96 milliseconds. 

Accordingly, the Standard is being amended 
to require that the magnitude of the acceleration 
curve be not more than that of a half-sine wave 
curve having an amplitude of 9.6g and a duration 
of 96 milliseconds. In addition, the equation for 
the lower limit curve is being deleted since it 
imposes an unnecessary restriction on the lateral 
location of the curve. By removing the equation, 
the limit curves can then be moved laterally with 
respect to each other to allow for normal test 
variances. 

Since these amendments provide clarification 
and an alternate means of compliance, relieve 
restrictions, and impose no additional burden, 1 
find that for good cause shown notice and public 
procedure are unnecessary, and that an effective 



PART 571; S 202— PRE 6 



MmHv*i JoiHMiy I, If** 

date for these amendments of less than 180 days lations of the Office of the Secretary of Trans- 
is in the public interest. porUtion (49 CFR 1.4(c)). 

In consideration of the foregoing, Section issued in Washington, D.C., on October 8, 

371.21 of Part 371, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety jg^ 
Standard No. 202, as amended, is further amended 

effective January 1, 1969 t n tt r» • j n 

, •' '. J J ii iv Lowell K. Bndwell, 

These amendments are made under the author- , tt- i. * j • --l i. 

• TcT .• ,,^o J lift **u m *• -1 T~.«-. Federal Highway Administrator 
ity of Sections 103 and 119 of the National Traffic ^ •' 

and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 

1392, 1407) and the delegation of authority-con- 33 F.t. 15065 

tained in Section 1.4(c) of Part 1 of the Regu- October 9, 1961 



PART 671; S 202— PRE 6 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE 
SAFETY STANDARD NO. 202 

Head Restraints 

(Docket No. 88-24; Notice 02) 

RIN 2127-AC06 



ACTION: Final rule. 

SUiVliVIARY: This final rule extends the applicability 
of Standard No. 202, Head Restraints, to trucks, 
multipurpose passenger vehicles (MPV's) and buses 
with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 
pounds or less. National estimates of accident data for 
1982-85 indicate that approximately 17,800 whiplash 
injuries occurred annually to front seat occupants 15 
years and older in light trucks and vans involved in 
rear impacts. 4.6 percent of all occupants in light 
trucks in reported rear impacts suffered whiplash 
injuries and 34.4 percent of those injured in rear 
impacts suffered whiplash injuries. Limiting the rear- 
ward motion of an occupant's head in a rear impact 
crash by a head restraint should help reduce those 
injuries since research has demonstrated the effective- 
ness of Standard No. 202 in reducing whiplash injuries. 

EFFECTIVE DATES: The effective date of changing 
the Code of Federal Regulations to reflect the amend- 
ments in this notice is November 9, 1989. The expanded 
application of the standard takes effect September 1, 
1991. Each truck, bus and multipurpose passenger 
vehicle that is manufactured on or after that date, and 
has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or 
less, must comply with the requirements of the stan- 
dard. 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On December 
13, 1988 (53 FR 50047), the agency proposed extending 
the applicability of Standard No. 202, Head Restraints, 
to trucks, buses and multipurpose passenger vehicles 
(MPV's) with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 
pounds or less. (This notice will occasionally use the 
term "light trucks and vans" to refer to trucks, MPVs 
and buses with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less.) The 
agency's proposal responded to a petition for rule- 
making from Mr. Dale T. Fanzo requesting that 
NHTSA require head restraints "on vehicles other 
than passenger cars," and a petition from Mr. Mark 
Goodson requesting that NHTSA issue a safety 
standard that would "minimize spinal, cerebral. 



cranial, and vertebral injuries that occur when light 
trucks ... are involved in rear end collisions." 
Specifically, Mr. Goodson suggested that the glazing 
material used for the rear window in light trucks 
should have "safety features so as to minimize com- 
pression of the head and spine due to striking the rear 
glass." The agency proposed a September 1, 1991 
effective date for the amendment. 
The Standard. 

Standard No. 202 reduces the frequency and severity 
of neck injuries in rear impacts and other collisions by 
requiring a head restraint of a specified height, width 
and strength, for the driver position and the right front 
seating position. The restraint is intended to limit 
rearward motion of an occupant's head in a rear 
impact crash, thereby preventing whiplash injury due 
to hyperextension of the neck. 

Whiplash injuries typically occur in the soft tissues 
(such as the intervertebral discs, ligaments and skeletal 
muscle) joining together the vertebrae that support the 
head (i.e., the cervical spine). Whiplash commonly 
occurs when the head is thrown suddenly rearward 
with a snap during a rear impact crash. Whiplash 
injuries may not be immediately apparent after the 
crash, and some crash victims may not develop 
symptoms of pain or discomfort until several days 
after the accident . Neck pain and stiffness are the most 
common whiplash symptoms. If the cervical nerves 
and spine are injured, the head, shoulder, arms or 
upper back also could be affected. Whiplash can be 
difficult to cure because of differing physiological 
responses among victims. The symptoms can last 
several days, or can cause long term (i.e., a year or 
more) disability. Data indicate that whiplash victims 
miss an average of four days of work. (National Crash 
Severity Study, June, 1980.) 

In general, motor vehicle manufacturers currently 
use two types of head restraints to meet the require- 
ments of Standard No. 202. "Integral head restraints" 
use the design of the seat to meet Standard No. 202. 
Typically, they consist of a seat back that is extended 
high enough to meet the height requirement of the 
standard and a seat structure strong enough to with- 



PART571;S202— PRE7 



stand the required force levels. The integral head 
restraint is a nonadjustable or "automatic" device 
requiring no action on the part of the occupant, 
regardless of his or her height, to be effective. 
"Adjustable head restraints" consist of a separate 
cushion that is attached to the seat back, typically by 
sliding metal shafts. Adjustable head restraints provide 
sufficient vertical motion to accommodate different 
occupant seating heights. 

In 1982, NHTSA published a report on the effective- 
ness and costs of Standard No. 202. ("An Evaluation of 
Head Restraints, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Stan- 
dard 202," NHTSA, February 1982.) The report showed 
that both integral and adjustable head restraints 
significantly reduce the overall injury risk in rear 
impact crashes. Integral restraints reduce the overall 
risk by approximately 17 percent, and adjustable 
restraints by 10 percent. (Integral restraints were 
found to be nearly twice as effective as adjustable head 
restraints because 75 percent of the latter are left in 
the lowest position by occupants. In that position, the 
adjustable head restraint does not adequately protect 
an occupant of average or greater height.) 
The Proposal. 

NHTSA proposed extending Standard No. 202 to 
light trucks and vans because national estimates of 
accident data indicated that approximately 17,800 
whiplash injuries occurred annually to front seat 
occupants 15 years and older in light trucks and vans 
involved in rear impacts. (NHTSA limited its evaluation 
to persons 15 years and older because current seat 
backs seem to be high enough to provide sufficient 
head support to most children younger than 15 years 
old.) Those data were for 1982-1985, when approx- 
imately 25 percent of the light trucks and vans were 
equipped with front seat head restraints. 4.6 percent of 
all occupants in light trucks and vans in reported rear 
impacts suffered whiplash injuries and 34.4 percent of 
those injured in rear impacts suffered whiplash 
injuries. The agency tentatively concluded that these 
injury rates could be significantly reduced by applying 
Standard No. 202 to light trucks and vans. Further, 
accident data also indicated that there are 11,046 head 
injuries annually due to impacts with the rear window 
and/or window frame structure of pickup trucks. The 
agency thought that head restraints in light trucks 
might also prevent some minor head injuries to light 
truck occupants. 

NHTSA also proposed extending the standard 
because increasing numbers of light trucks and vans 
are being used to transport passengers instead of or in 
addition to property. The Census Bureau's "Truck 
Inventory and Use Survey" shows that pickup truck 
use has changed from 1967 to 1982 from being 51 
percent personal transportation to 66 percent personal 
transportation, and from 26 percent agricultural use to 
12 percent agricultural use. NHTSA stated that the 



greater use of light trucks as passenger carrying 
vehicles is leading to increases in the number of light 
trucks and vans on the road, the number of persons 
transported in such vehicles, and consequently, the 
number of persons exposed to accident situations 
where whiplash and other injuries are likely to occur. 
In addition, the agency believed that as the use of light 
trucks and vans increases, and as the likelihood that 
an accident would occur involving a light truck or van 
increases, the overall number of rear impact collisions 
into these vehicles would increase. 

Additional information on these and other matters 
discussed in this notice can be found in the agency's 
final regulatory evaluation, which analyzes in detail 
the impacts of this rulemaking action. This regulatory 
evaluation has been placed in Docket No. 88-24; Notice 
2. 

Based on an analysis of the comments received in 
response to the notice and other available information, 
NHTSA has decided to adopt the proposal and extend 
the applicability of the standard to light trucks and 
vans. The issues raised by the commenters and the 
reasons for the agency's decision are discussed below. 
Support for the Extension. 

The commenters generally supported the proposed 
extension of the standard, although some commenters 
raised concerns about particular issues, such as the 
leadtime, permitting the use of only integral restraints, 
and the effect of the standard on school buses. 

Chrysler said that it supports the proposed extension 
and that it plans to have head restraints on all its 
pickups, vans and sport utility vehicles before the 
proposed effective date of September 1, 1991. Ford also 
supported the amendment, and stated that it had 
decided prior to issuance of the NPRM to include head 
restraints on all of its future light trucks and vans. 
Ford said it will achieve 100 percent compliance by the 
proposed effective date. General Motors said it does not 
oppose the proposal, but questioned whether head 
restraints would significantly reduce whiplash inj uries 
in light trucks and vans. GM stated that it plans to 
provide head restraints or high back bucket seats as 
standard equipment on 80 percent of the projected 
sales volume of its light truck, van and utility model 
production for the 1992 model year. GM asked that 
NHTSA phase-in head restraint requirements for light 
trucks and vans to enable the manufacturer to meet 
the standard without having todesign, test and install 
head restraints in vehicles slated to be discontinued 
after model year 1992, which comprise the remaining 
20 percent of its projected sales volume. 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) 
also supported the proposed extension, stating that the 
standard would significantly reduce neck and head 
injuries to front seat occupant in rear impact crashes. 
IIHS implied that the extension would be consistent 
with its longstanding position that passenger car 



PART571;S202-PRE8 



standards should be applied to light trucks and vans. 
That commenter said that whiplash injuries are a 
major source of economic loss, due to the extended 
period of time whiplash victims suffer pain from their 
injury. 

IIHS believed that "passenger carrying vehicles" 
should be required to have only integral (non-adjust- 
able) head restraints, since these restraints are less 
expensive and more effective in reducing injuries than 
adjustable ones. This suggestion for an integral-only 
requirement was echoed by the American Insurance 
Association and Motor Voters. The American Insurance 
Association also asked that NHTSA consider requiring 
head restraints for rear seats. 

NHTSA has decided to adopt the proposed extension 
to light trucks and vans to reduce whiplash injuries in 
those vehicles. NHTSA is not excluding any sub- 
classes of light trucks from the amendment (based on 
weight, size, type of use, etc.). No commenter supported 
such an exclusion when asked to comment on the 
possibility of one in the NPRM. Further, the agency 
believes this amendment is practicable and meets the 
need for safety. The agency disagrees with GM that 
the agency does not have a reliable basis for assessing 
the effectiveness of head restraints in light trucks and 
vans. Since the injury mechanism and types of injuries 
are similar for passenger cars and light trucks, the 
effectiveness estimates should be similar. While the 
rear window in some light trucks may reduce whiplash 
injuries, a head restraint could reduce some of the head 
injuries resulting from head impacts with the rear 
window, and could reduce ejections through the rear 
window simply by reducing the area through which 
occupants are ejected. 

The agency believes the amendment would not 
affect visibility significantly or in a way that affects 
safety. In its comment, Chrysler said that the loss in 
rearward visibility for short drivers will be minimal 
and will not depreciate motor vehicle safety to a 
measurable degree. Chrysler stated that the anatomy 
of the neck is such that the driver is able to look around 
his or her head restraint when looking to the rear, 
unless the head restraint is unusually wide. Further, 
Chrysler said the passenger-side head restraint gen- 
erally is not a problem because it is usually in Hne with 
the B-pillar. No commenter raised concerns about 
potential loss of visibility. 

NHTSA has excluded vehicles over 10,000 pounds 
GVWR from this amendment in light of the apparent 
absence of a safety need for such an extension. 
National accident data estimates for 1982-1985 indicate 
that occupants of trucks with a GVWR greater than 
10,000 pounds received an annual average of 1,400 
whiplash injuries (compared to an annual 17,800 
whiplash injuries for occupants of light trucks in the 
same time period). Further, while NHTSA estimates 
that 14.8 percent of front seat occupants in passenger 



cars and 4.6 percent of front seat occupants in light 
trucks received whiplash injuries in rear end collisions, 
the whiplash injury rate for occupants of heavy trucks 
is only 2.5 percent. Since the whiplash injury rate for 
heavy trucks is relatively low, and because the agency 
is aware of no indications that heavy trucks are 
becoming more similar in appearance or use to pas- 
senger cars, the same consideration for applying 
Standard No. 202 to light trucks and vans do not apply 
to vehicles with GVWR's greater than 10,000 pounds. 

NHTSA is not extending the standard to rear seats, 
in light of the few injuries (81 annually) found in the 
accident data (compared to 17,800 whiplash injuries 
annually for light truck and van front seat occupants). 
No commenter provided information showing a need 
for extending the standard to the rear seating positions. 

This extension excludes the right outboard front 
seating position on small school buses. The agency 
concludes that this seat should be excluded because 
passenger seats on small school buses must already 
meet their own seat back height and strength require- 
ments under Standard No. 222, School Bus Seatingand 
Crash Protection. It appears that a vast majority of the 
occupants of that seating position are children for 
whom current seat backs provide the type of head 
support that would be offered by a head restraint. 

Mid Bus Inc., a school bus manufacturer, expressed 
concerns about the compatibility of a requirement for a 
driver's head restraint with the requirements for head 
impact protection under Standard No. 222. Standard 
No. 222 limits the acceleration and force distribution of 
impacts on "contactable surfaces" in the "head impact 
zone." Mid Bus said that a driver's head restraint on 
its vehicles would fall within the head impact zone for 
the passenger seated directly behind the driver. Con- 
sequently, Mid Bus said it would have to "repad or 
replace the driver's seat" to comply with both FMVSS 
Nos. 202 and 222. Mid Bus seemed to ask NHTSA to 
exempt a driver's seat meeting Standard NO. 202 from 
the head impact protection requirements of Standard 
No. 222. (Mid Bus made unexplained references to its 
compliance with Standard No. 208 {Occupant Crash 
Protection) as reason for an exemption from the school 
bus head impact protection requirements. NHTSA 
believes the commenter meant to refer to Standard No. 
202, not 208.) 

NHTSA does not believe that the two standards are 
incompatible. There are current designs, such as high 
back seats, that could be used to meet both standards 
without having to reposition the driver's seat. NHTSA 
notes that head restraints on passenger cars are now 
included in the area of a seat back that must meet the 
head impact protection requirement of Standard No. 
201, Impact Protection in Interior Impact. In order to 
comply with Standard No. 201*8 impact requirements, 
passenger car manufacturers install energy absorbing 
materials (e.g. , padding) in the head restraint. (Standard 



PART571;S202-PRE9 



No. 20rs requirement for seat backs exclude school 
buses since head impact requirements are specified by 
Standard No. 222.) Since head restraints are currently- 
manufactured with padding or other energy absorbing 
material to meet head impact protection requirements, 
NHTSA believes it is practicable for school bus man- 
ufacturers to meet both Standard Nos. 202 and 222 
without degrading school bus safety. 

NHTSA is not requiring that head restraints be 
integral, as requested by several commenters. The 
desirability of such a requirement is outside the scope 
of this rulemaking proceeding and need not be further 
addressed in this final rule. However, the agency will 
continue to monitor injuries in rear end crashes to 
determine if further rulemaking is desirable. 

The regulatory language specified in this amendment 
differs from the NPRM, in that NHTSA has separated 
the requirements for light trucks and vans from the 
passenger car requirements. This change was intended 
only to clarify the standard; the standard is extended 
to light trucks and vans as proposed. 
Rear Windows. 

NHTSA requested comments on a number of issues 
relating to Mr. Goodson's belief that the rear window 
in light trucks should provide protection against head 
and neck injuries resulting from impact with that 
window. 

No commenter believed that the rear window would 
be an acceptable substitute for a head restraint. 
Several commenters provided information on whether 
the window could be made safer by means such as 
using laminated glass, or glass-plastic glazing. Com- 
menters generally agreed with the agency that many 
parameters would influence the effectiveness of the 
rear windows, such as the size and shape of the 
glazing, the spatial relationship between the window 
and the occupant, the angle of installation and the 
window mounting. As NHTSA stated in the NPRM, 
the agency was not proposing to require improvements 
to pickup truck rear windows. However, the agency is 
researchingglass-plasticglazingand may review issues 
relating to rear windows in the future, including 
information on potential costs and benefits associated 
with these windows. 
Leadtime 

The current availability of engineering and man- 
ufacturing resources needed to implement the proposed 
extension of Standard No. 202 is illustrated by the 
availability of head restraints as standard or optional 
equipment on roughly 64 percent of the 1986 light 
truck and van models. Commenters indicate that 
approximately 91 percent of the 1992 model year light 
truck and van fleet would have head restraints in the 
absence of this amendment. No manufacturer showed 
that installation of head restraints is impracticable by 
the proposed effective date of the amendment. 

The agency declines to phase in the requirements of 
the amendment as requested by GM. Phased-in require- 



ments are extraordinary measures that are taken only 
for compelling reasons, such as consumer acceptability 
of a requirement (e.g., automatic restraints), none of 
which GM provided. Phased-in requirements are also 
more difficult to administer and enforce. Under re- 
quirements made applicable to all vehicles in a class of 
vehicles manufactured on or after the effective date, it 
is obvious from a vehicle's date of manufacture whether 
the vehicle must comply with the requirement. How- 
ever, it is not obvious from the date of manufacture 
alone whether a vehicle must comply with a phased-in 
requirement. 

GM implied that the effective date of the amendment 
should be delayed because the safety benefits of the 
rule are not significant enough to warrant the ex- 
penditure of resources to design, test and install head 
restraints in vehicles that will be discontinued in one 
or two years. NHTSA has sought to minimize the 
burdens of this rule on manufacturers to the extent 
possible by providing adequate leadtime. However, the 
agency has not said that no burdens would be imposed 
on manufacturers by this rule. In view of the safety 
benefits of this rulemaking and of the current avail- 
ability of head restraints as standard or optional 
equipment on light trucks and vans, NHTSA believes 
that the burdens imposed on GM by the 1991 date are 
reasonable and practicable. 

For the reasons given above, the agency has decided 
to adopt the September 1, 1991 effective date. NHTSA 
recognizes that most vehicles will be able to comply 
before that date. However, the agency finds good cause 
for an effective date later than one year from the date 
this rule has been issued to ensure that all vehicles can 
be modified as necessary by the September 1, 1991 
date. 
Costs and Benefits. 

NHTSA has examined the effect of this rulemaking 
action and determined that it is not major within the 
meaning of Executive Order 12291. It is, however, 
significant within the meaning of the Department of 
Transportation's regulatory policies and procedures 
because it concerns a matter in which there is great 
public interest. The economic effects of this rulemaking 
action are discussed in detail in the regulatory impact 
analysis. 

NHTSA estimates that the average cost per affected 
vehicle is approximately $29.45 ($22 per vehicle plus 
$7.45 lifetime fuel penalty cost accounting for 7 ad- 
ditional pounds of weight per vehicle). Based on the 
estimated number of vehicles that will not have head 
restraints by the September 1, 1991 effective date (8.71 
of the fleet), the estimated total consumer cost of the 
amendment is $12.4 million. The agency estimates 
that this rulemaking action annually will reduce an 
estimated 510 to 870 injuries. 

NHTSA requested information from commenters on 
whiplash injuries and their costs (including data 
relating to the cost of the more minor whiplash injuries 



PART 571; S202— PRE 10 



and/or the cost of the more severe whiplash injuries, 
with some indication as to what percent of all whiplash 
injuries are represented by these costs). The agency 
explained that whiplash injuries are not like the 
typical AIS 1 (minor cuts or bruises) or even AIS 2 
(moderate injuries — broken bones, etc.) injuries, be- 
cause whiplash injuries often involve longer term pain 
and stiffness. These effects, along with rehabilitation 
therapy, often last a year or longer. 

Information from Mr. Donald Segraves of the All- 
Industry Research Advisory Council indicate that 
nearly half (49.2 percent) of all injury claims paid by 
automobile insurance companies involve a reported 
neck sprain or strain. Neck sprain and strain were the 
most severe injury in about 19 percent of all injury 
claims paid. The total payment, including pain and 
suffering, for an average insurance claim for neck 
sprain or strain was $2,943. (This information can be 
found in the docket to this rulemaking.) 

In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA amends 
49 CFR Part 571 as set forth below. 

Paragraph S2 of Standard No. 202, Head Restraints, 
is revised to read as follows: 

S2. Application. This standard applies to passenger 
cars, and to multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks 
and buses with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less 

Paragraph S4 is revised to read as follows: 

S4. Requirements. 

54.1 Each passenger car shall comply with S4.3. 

54.2 Each truck, multipurpose passenger vehicle 
and bus with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less, 
manufactured on or after September 1, 1991, shall 
comply with S4.3. 

54.3 Performance levels. Except for school buses, a 
head restraint that conforms to either (a) or (b) shall be 
provided at each outboard front designated seating 
position. For school buses, a head restraint that 
conforms to either (a) or (b) shall be provided for the 
driver's seating position. 

(a) It shall, when tested in accordance with S5.1, 
during a forward acceleration of at least 8g on the seat 
supporting structure, limit rearward angular displace- 
ment of the head reference line to 45° from the torso 
reference line; or 



(b) It shall, when adjusted to its fully extended 
design position, conform to each of the following— 

(1) When measured parallel to torso line, the top of 
the head restraint shall not be less than 27.5 inches 
above the seating reference point; 

(2) When measured either 2.5 inches below the top of 
the head restraint or 25 inches above the seating 
reference point, the lateral width of the head restraint 
shall not be less than— 

(i) 10 inches for use with bench-type seats; and 
(ii) 6.75 inches for use with individual seats; 

(3) When tested in accordance with S5.2, the rear- 
most portion of the head form shall not be displaced to 
more than 4 inches perpendicularly rearward of the 
displaced extended torso reference line during the 
application of the load specified in S5.2(c); and 

(4) When tested in accordance with S5.2, the head 
restraint shall withstand an increasing load until one 
of the following occurs: 

(i) Failure of the seat or seat back; or 
(ii) Application of a load of 200 pounds. 

4. The introductory test of S5.1 is revised to read as 
follows: 

55. 1 Compliance with S4.3(a) shall be demonstrated 
in accordance with the following with the head restraint 

in its ful'v extended design position: 

***** 

5. The introductory test of S5.2 is revised to read as 
follows: 

55.2 Compliance with S4.3(b) shall be demonstrated 
in accordance with the following with the dead restraint 

in its fully extended design position: 

***** 

Issued on: September 19, 1989 



Jeffrey R. Miller 
Acting Administrator 

54F.R. 39183 
September 25, 1989 



PART 571; S202-PRE 11-12 



MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 202 
Head Restraints— Passenger Cars 



51. Purpose and Scope. This standard speci- 
fies requirements for head restraints to reduce 
the frequency and severity of neck injury in 
rear-end and other colHsions. 

52. Application. [This standard appHes to 

passenger cars, and to multipurpose passenger 

vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR of 10,000 

pounds or less. (54 F.R. 39183— September 25, 1989. 

Effective: November 9, 1989. The expanded application of the 
standard takes effect September 1, 1991. Each truck, bus and 
multipurpose passenger vehicle that is manufactured on or after 
that date, and has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 
pounds of less, must comply with the requirements of the 
standard.)] 

53. Definitions. "Head restraint" means a de- 
vice that limits rearward angular displacement 
of the occupant's head relative to his torso line. 

54. Requirements. 

S4.1 [Each passenger car shall comply with S4.3. 

4.2. Each truck, multipurpose passenger vehi- 
cle and bus with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less, 
manufactured on or after September 1, 1991, shall 
comply with S4.3. 

S4.3 Performance Levels. Except for school 
buses a head restraint that conforms to either (a) 
or (b) shall be provided at each outboard front 
designated seating position. For school buses, a 
head restraint that conforms to either (a) of (b) 
shall be provided for the driver's seating position. 

(a) It shall, when tested in accordance with S5.1, 
during a forward acceleration of at least 8g on the 
seat supporting structure, limit rearward angular 
displacement of the head reference line to 45" from 
the torso reference line; or 

(b) It shall, when adjusted to its fully extended 
design position, conform to each of the following— 

(1) When measured parallel to torso line, the 
top of the head restraint shall not be less than 
27.5 inches above the seating reference point; 



(2) When measured either 2.5 inches below the 
top of the head restraint or 25 inches above the 
seating reference point, the lateral width of the 
head restraint shall be not less than— 

(i) 10 inches for use with bench type seats; 
and 
(ii) 6.75 inches for use with individual seats; 

(3) When tested in accordance with S5.2, the 
rearmost portion of the head shall not be dis- 
placed to more than 4 inches perpendicularly 
rearward of the displaced extended torso 
reference line during the application of the load 
specified in S 5. 2(c); and 

(4) When tested in accordance with S5.2, the 
head restraint shall withstand an increasing load 
until one of the following occurs: 

(i) Failure of the seat or seat back; or, 

(ii) Application of a load of 200 pounds. 

(54 F.R. 39183— September 25, 1989. Effective: 
November 9, 1989. The expanded application of the standard 
takes effect September 1, 1991. Each truck, bus and multipur- 
pose passenger vehicle that is manufactured on or after that 
date, and has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or 
less, must comply with the requirements of the standard.)] 

S5. Demonstration Procedures. 

S5.1 [Compliance with S.4(a) shall be demon- 
strated in accordance with the following with 
the head restraint in its fully extended design 
position: (54 F.R. 39183— September 25, 1989. Effec- 
tive: November 9, 1989. The expanded application of the stand- 
ard takes effect September 1, 1991. Each truck, bus and 
multipurpose passenger vehicle that is manufactured on or after 
that date, and has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 
pounds or less, must comply with the requirements of the 
standard.)! 

(a) On the exterior profile of the head and 
torso of a dummy having the weight and seated 
height of a 95th percentile adult male with an 
approved representation of a human, articulated 
neck structure, or an approved equivalent test 



(Rev. 9/25/89) 



PART 571; S 202-1 



device, establish reference lines by the following 
method: 

(1) Position the dummy's back on a hori- 
zontal flat surface with the lumbar joint in a 
straight line. 

(2) Rotate the head of the dummy rear- 
ward until the back of the head contacts the 
same horizontal surface in (1). 

(3) Position the SAE J-826 two-dimen- 
sional manikin's back against the flat surface 
in (1), alongside the dummy with the h-point 
of the manikin aligned with the h-point of the 
dummy. 

(4) Establish the torso line of the manikin 
as defined in SAE Aerospace-Automotive 
Drawing Standards, Sec. 2.3.6, P. El. 01, 
September 1963. 

(5) Establish the dummy torso reference 
line by superimposing the torso line of the 
manikin on the torso of the dummy. 

(6) Establish the head reference line by ex- 
tending the dummy torso reference line onto 
the head. 

(b) At each designated seating position having 
a head restraint, place the dummy, snugly re- 
strained by a Type 1 seat belt, in the manufac- 
turer's recommended design seated position. 

(c) During a forward accleration applied 
to the structure supporting the seat as described 
below, measure the maximum rearward angular 
displacement between the dummy torso reference 
line and the head reference line. When graph- 
ically depicted, the magnitude of the acceleration 
curve shall not be less than that of a half-sine 
wave having the amplitude of 8g and a duration 
of 80 milliseconds and not more than that of a 
half-sine wave curve having an amplitude of 
9.6g and a duration of 96 milliseconds. 



S5.2 (Compliance with § 4.3(b) shall be 

demonstrated in accordance with the following 

with the head restraint in its fully extended design 

position: (54 F.R. 39183— September 25, 1989. Effec- 
tive: November 9, 1989. The expanded application of the stand- 
ard takes effect September 1, 1991. Each truck, bus and 
multipurpose passenger vehicle that is manufactured on or after 
that date, and has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 
pounds or less, must comply with the requirements of the 
standard.)] 

(a) Place a test device, having the back pan 
dimensions and torso line, (centerline of the 
head room probe in full back position) of the 
three dimensional SAE J-826 manikin, at the 
manufacturer's recommended design seated po- 
sition. 

(b) Establish the displaced torso reference 
line by applying a rearward moment of 3300 in. 
lb. about the seating reference point to the seat 
back through the test device back pan located 
in (a). 

(c) After removing the back pan, using a 6.5 
inch diameter spherical head form or a cylindri- 
cal head form having a 6.5 inch diameter in 
plain view and a 6-inch height in profile view, 
apply, perpendicular to the displaced torso refer- 
ence line, a rearward initial load 2.5 inches below 
the top of the head restraint that will produce 
a 3300 in. lb. moment about the seating reference 
point. 

(d) Gradually increase this initial load to 
200 lbs. or until the seat or seat back fails, 
whichever occurs first. 



33 F.R. 15065 
October 9, 1968 



Rev. 9/25/89) 



PART 571; S 202-2 



EffMllva: May 27, 1975 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 203 
Impact Protection from the Steering Control System 
(Docket No. 74-33; Notice 2) 



This notice amends Standard No. 203, Impact 
protection from the steering control system^ 49 
CFR § 571.203, to exclude from its requirements 
some passenger cars which meet the frontal bar- 
rier crash requirements of Standard No. 208, 
Occupant crash protection, 49 CFR § 571.208. 

The NHTSA proposed this exclusion of ve- 
hicles from the requirements of Standard No. 
203 at the request of General Motors, to permit 
development of an air cushion restraint system 
at the driver's position as a means of meeting 
the frontal barrier crash protection requirements 
(S5.1) of Standard No. 208 (39 F.R. 34062, Sep- 
tember 23, 1974). General Motors sought the 
exclusion because its modification to the steering 
control system to incorporate the air cushion sys- 
tem and accept higher loads exerted during a 
crash makes conformity of the column with 
Standard No. 203 difficult and sometimes impos- 
sible. 

Comments were received from General Motors 
Corporation and Volvo of America Corporation, 
in support of the proposal. Renault. Inc., 
Peugeot, Inc., and Mercedes-Benz of North 
America, Inc., supported the proposal and sug- 
gested that the exception be extended to passive 
straint systems that incorporate seat belts. These 
comments argue that the use of passive belts will 
be high and that the protection offered by Stand- 
ard No. 203 would in nearly all cases be redun- 
dant to that of Standard No. 208. 

As a general matter, the NHTSA has main- 
tained that the redundant occupant crash protec- 
tion offered by standards (e.g.. Standard No. 212, 
Windshield retention) is justified for those sit- 
uations where the primary occupant crash pro- 
tection system fails, or multiple collisions occur. 



Redundant protection is particularly justified in 
the case of passive seat belts because of the 
greater likelihood that seat belt protection will 
be rendered inoperative by an occupant than will 
crash-deployed protection. 

In this case, the NHTSA has made the limited 
determination that the redundant protection of- 
fered by Standard No. 203 is not justified where 
it directly interferes with development of a more 
advanced, convenient, and effective restraint sys- 
tem. In contrast, it is ob\'ious that passive sys- 
tems which utilize belt assemblies do not require 
modifications of steering control systems and 
there is, therefore, no reason to sacrifice the re- 
dundant protection. These petitions to expand 
the scope of the proposed exception are accord- 
ingly denied. 

American Motors Corporation has suggested 
that, an exception not be granted in this case 
until future requirements of Standard No. 208 
are established, and that General Motors' devel- 
opmental work be undertaken on the basis of a 
temporary exemption under 49 CFR Part 555. 
This approach has not been adopted by the 
NHTSA. In light of the financial commitments 
that might be involved, this agency has con- 
cluded that General Motors is entitled to the 
assurance that their developments on advanced 
Standard No. 208 systems will not be barred by 
Standard No. 203 in the future. 

In consideration of the foregoing, paragraph 
S3 (application) in Standard No. 203 (49 CFR 
§ 571.203) is amended. . . . 

Effective date: [30 days following date of 
publication of the amendment in the Federal 
Register]. Because this amendment relieves a 
restriction, it is found for good cause shown that 



PART 571; S 203— PRE 1 



Effective: May 27, 1975 

an effective date sooner than 180 days from the Issued on April IT, 1975. 

date of its publication in the Federal Register 

is in the public interest. James B. Gregory 

(Sec. 103, 119, Pub. L. 89-563, 80 Stat. 718 Administrator 

(15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407); delegation of authority 40 F.R. 17992 

at 49 CFR 1.51.) April 24, 1975 



PART 571; S 203— PRE 2 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENTS TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS 

NO. 203 

Impact Protection for the Driver From the Steering Control System 
(Docket No. 78-116; Notice 2) 



ACTION: Final rule. 

SUMMARY: This notice amends Federal Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204 to 
extend their applicability to light trucks, buses and 
multipurpose passenger vehicles (MPV's). The 
notice is issued in response to the rising death and 
injury toll involving these vehicles and to petitions 
by the Center for Auto Safety and the Insurance 
Institute for Highway Safety requesting that these 
standards be extended to those vehicles. Applying 
these standards to light trucks, buses and MPV's 
will reduce occupant deaths and injuries in those 
vehicles by requiring the use of energy absorbing 
material on such interior components as the instru- 
ment panel and seat backs (Standard No. 201), by 
limiting the amount of force that can be exerted on 
the driver's chest by the steering wheel in frontal 
crashes (Standard No. 203), and by limiting the 
rearward movement of the steering assembly in 
frontal crashes (Standard No. 204). 

EFFECTIVE DATE: The effective date for the 
extension of applicability of Standards Nos. 201, 
203 and 204 is September 1, 1981. 

ADDRESS: Petitions for reconsideration should 
refer to the docket number and be submitted to: 
Docket Section, Room 5108, National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, 
S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590. 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 

Mr. William Smith, Office of Vehicle Safety 
Standards, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., 
Washington, D.C. 20590 (202-426-2242) 



SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice 
amends Standard No. 201, Occupant Protection in 
Interior Impact, and Standard No. 203, Impact 
Protection far the Driver From the Steering 
Control System, to extend the applicability of those 
standards to trucks, buses and multipurpose 
passenger vehicles (MPV's) with a gross vehicle 
weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds or less. 
This notice also amends Standard No. 204, 
Steering Control Rearward Displacement, to 
extend its applicability to trucks, buses and MPV's 
with an unloaded vehicle weight of 4,000 pounds or 
less, instead of all trucks, buses and MPV's with a 
GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less, as originally 
proposed in the agency's November 9, 1978, notice 
of proposed rulemaking (43 FR 52264). As explained 
below, the agency is initially limiting the extended 
applicabihty of Standard No. 204 while it studies 
methods for dealing with final-stage manufacturer 
certification difficulties. Similar possible problems 
with Standard No. 212-76, Windshield Mounting, 
and Standard No. 219-75, Windshield Zone Intru- 
sion, led the agency to propose changes in the 
testing procedures for those standards (44 FR 
45426). 

For the purposes of Standard No. 204, the agency 
has determined that these problems would not be 
encountered in applying the standard to vehicles 
with an unloaded vehicle weight of 4,000 pounds or 
less and testing them at their unloaded vehicle 
weight. Approximately 75 percent of the current 
sales of light trucks, buses and MPV's with a 
GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less have an unloaded 
vehicle weight of 4,000 pounds or less. 

This final rule was preceded by a notice propos- 
ing the extension of the applicability of Standards 



PART 571; S 203-PRE-3 



Nos. 201, 203 and 204 in November 1978 (43 FR 
52264). Private citizens, safety organizations, 
manufacturers and a manufacturer trade associa- 
tion submitted comments on the proposal. NHTSA 
has considered all of those comments and the most 
significant ones are discussed below. 

Safety Need 
Citing the need to reduce the number of deaths 
and injuries in light trucks, buses and MPV's, the 
American Automobile Association, the Center for 
Auto Safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway 
Safety and State Farm Insurance Companies 
supported application of the standards to those 
vehicles. 

Although it did not object to extending the 
applicability of Standard Nos. 201, 203 and 204 to 
light trucks, buses and MPV's, General Motors 
argued that manufacturers should be given a 
longer lead time to comply with the standards 
because of the lack of urgent safety need. GM said 
that allowing a longer leadtime was desirable to 
ensure compliance, "without costly accelerated 
[design] programs." Using data from the agency's 
"Explanation of Rulemaking," GM said that light 
trucks, buses and MPV's have a fatality rate of 
22.4 fatalities per billion miles, compared with a 
rate of 25.3 fatalities per billion miles for 
passenger cars. The data GM used covers fatalities 
during 1977 in all model year vehicles. A new 
analysis done by NHTSA of 1977 fatalities, 
reported by the agency's Fatal Accident Reporting 
System, shows that although older model year 
light trucks, buses and MPV's may have had a 
lower fatality rate than passenger cars, beginning 
with the 1973 model year, the combined fatality 
rate for light trucks, buses and MPV's began 
surpassing that of passenger cars. The analysis 
shows that recent model year passenger cars have 
a considerably lower fatality rate than light trucks, 
buses and MPV's. (A copy of that analysis has been 
placed in the docket.) 

In addition to being higher than the combined 
fatality rate for all sizes of passenger cars, the 
combined fatality rate of light trucks, buses and 
MPV's is far higher than the rate for full-size 
passenger cars. Full-size cars are tjrpically the 
safest of cars and many of them are comparable in 
size and weight to light trucks, buses and MPV's. 
In theory, occupants of larger and heavier vehicles, 
such as trucks, buses and MPV's, should experience 



less harmful crash forces, and thus presumably incur 
fewer or less severe injuries, than occupants of 
smaller lighter vehicles. Volkswagen has previously 
objected to a comparison of full-size passenger 
fatality rates with those for vans, arrguing that 
vans are comparable in weight to intermediate, not 
full-size passenger cars. Although the unloaded 
weight of vans and intermediate-size passenger 
cars may be comparable, vans have a higher gross 
vehicle weight rating which means that those 
vehicles can, in actual use, be loaded with substan- 
tially more weight than intermediate and even full- 
size passenger cars. 

Volkswagen also questioned the safety need for 
the proposed reulmaking because of the voluntary 
compliance by VW and some other companies with 
the standards. Although the voluntary effort by 
some companies is commendable, most manufac- 
turers do not comply with all of the standards in all 
of their vehicles. Some of the manufacturers who 
have taken steps to comply with the standard 
presumably were in part motivvated by prior 
NHTSA rulemaking notices proposing to apply 
Standards Nos. 201,203 and 204 to light trucks, 
buses and MPV's (35 FR 14936, 14936 and 16805). 
In the absence of a regulation, there is no 
assurance that non-complying manufacturers will 
produce complying vehicles and that manfacturers 
producing currently complying vehicles will 
continue to comply. Manufacturers who currently 
comply should experience only minor economic 
impacts, such as conducting certification tests as a 
result of compelling other manufacturers to 
comply. 

Effectiveness 

The Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association 
(MVMA) questioned the potential effectiveness of 
Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204. MVMA argue 
that a study done bySherman and Huelke of light 
truck and van accidents found that the standards 
would have little effect in those vehicles. However, 
a NHTSA analysis of the crashes reviewed by 
Sherman and Huelke found that a number of the 
crashes clearly edmonstrated the benefits of equip- 
ping light trucks and vans with energy absorbing 
instrument panels and steering columns and devices 
to limit the rearward displacement of the steering 
column. For example, Sherman and Huelke studied 
a 15-20 mph head-on crash of a 1976 Chevrolet 



PART 571; S 203-PRE-4 



pickup truck into a tree. The Chevrolet was equipped 
with a padded instrument panel, and energy- 
absorbing steering column and a device to limit the 
rearward displacement of the steering column. They 
reported, "the results of this case show that both of 
the major energy absorbing components appeared to 
have completely activated, both by the vehicle crash 
and driver impact, providing maximum benefit to the 
driver. Had this vehicle been one of the other vehicle 
cases discussed in this section, we feel that the in- 
juries sustained by the driver would have been much 
more severe." 

NHTSA believes further that the Sherman and 
Huelke study provides information indicating that 
there is a need for even more improvements in 
light trucks and vans, such as providing energy- 
absorbing padding for the lower instrument panel. 
The agency is studying the question of making 
appropriate changes in the performance 
requirements of the standards to require more pro- 
tection. However, NHTSA considers it important 
not to delay extending the current benefits of 
Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204 while it reviews 
possible changes to the standards. 

MVMA also argued that a comparison of the 
injury experience of passenger car steering 
assemblies with the experience of steering 
assemblies in light trucks and vans shows that 
Standards Nos. 203 and 204 "would provide little 
benefit" in those vehicles. Using data from the 
agency's original analysis of the injury experience 
of passenger cars produced before and after 
Standards Nos. 203 and 204 took effect, MVMA 
said that the primary benefit of the standards is to 
reduce moderate instead of severe-to-fatal injuries. 
It pointed out that 65.6 percent of the steering 
assembly related injuries in pre-standard cars were 
minor, 22.7 percent were moderate and 11.9 per- 
cent were severe-to-fatal. In post-standard, cars 
78.8 percent of the steering assembly related 
injuries were minor, 10.2 percent were moderate 
and 11.0 were severe-to-fatal. Thus, in post- 
standard cars, many previously moderate injuries 
were only minor injuries. Using data from a 
Calspan study of light truck and van injuries, 
MVMA said that 83.5 percent of the steering 
column related injuries in those vehicles are minor, 
4.1 percent are moderate and 12.4 percent are 
severe-to-fata,l. MVMA said that the Calspan data 



indicate that there is "little room" for a passenger 
car-type of injury experience change from moderate 
to minor injuries in light trucks and vans. 

However, the Calspan data cited by MVMA are 
not comparable with the NHTSA data and prob- 
ably underestimate the percentage of moderate 
and severe-to-fatal steering assembly related 
injuries in light trucks and vans. The Calspan data 
include injuries from all types of impacts (front, 
rear and side). The NHTSA data, on the other 
hand, cover only frontal crashes, the type of 
crashes which are most likely to cause severe-to- 
fatal steering assembly related injuries. Thus, the 
percentage of moderate and severe-to-fatal 
injuries found in the NHTSA data should be 
greater. In addition, an updated NHTSA analysis 
of passenger car injury experience, discussed 
below, shows that Standards Nos. 203 and 204 are 
effective in reducing both moderate and severe-to- 
fatal injuries. Further, even if the actual light 
truck and van injury distribution were the same as 
found by Calspan, Standards Nos. 203 and 204 
would be effective in reducing the number of 
severe-to-fatal injuries. 

Several manufacturers and the MVMA objected to 
the agency's use of passenger car data to estimate 
the potential effectiveness of the three standards in 
light trucks, buses and MPV's. They argued that the 
agency should instead have conducted a study com- 
paring the accident experience of light trucks, buses 
and MPV's that currently comply with the standards 
with the experience of those that do not comply. As 
explained below, NHTSA concludes that such a study 
is impractical and that the agency's original and 
updated analyses of passenger car effectiveness data 
are valid and support application of the standards to 
light trucks, buses and MPV's. 

The primary difficulty in conducting a study of 
current light trucks, buses and MPV's is that there 
is no conclusive information identifying which 
vehicles are currently in compliance with the 
standard, since no manufacturer is required to 
certify compliance. For example. International 
Harvester (IH) requested NHTSA to conduct a 
study of currently complying light trucks, buses 
and MPV's, saying that its Scout models were 
designed to comply with the performance re- 
quirements of Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204. 
However, IH said that if the NHTSA applies the 



PART 571; S 203-PRE-5 



standards to light trucks, buses and MPV's, it will 
have to retest the Scout, which "could conceivably 
require some additional redesigning for compliance 
assurance." NHTSA belives that the analysis the 
agency conducted of pre- and post- 1968 passenger 
car injury experience, where it was known that 
passenger cars manufactured on or after January 1, 
1968, had to comply with Standards Nos. 201, 203 
and 204, provides a sound basis for estimating the 
potential effectiveness of the standards in other 
types of vehicles. 

Using information recently made available from 
the agency's National Crash Severity Study, 
NHTSA has again compared injuries sustained by 
occupants of cars manufactured before Standards 
Nos. 201, 203 and 204 went into effect with injuries 
sustained by occupants of cars manufactured after 
the standards went into effect. As with the 
agency's first analysis, cited in the November 9, 
1978, notice for this rulemaking, the new analysis 
examined injuries caused by components covered 
by Standard No. 201, such as instrument panels, 
seat backs, arm rests and sun visors. The analysis 
found that Standard No. 201 reduced severe to 
fatal occupant injuries (i.e., injuries with an 
abbreviated injury scale ranking of 3 or more) by 
approximately 38 percent. The analysis also found 
that the probability of an occupant injured in a 
crash being injured by a component covered by 
Standard No. 201 was 25.7 percent. Thus, 
multiplying the probability of injury (i.e., 25.7 
percent) by the effectiveness of the standard in 
reducing serious and fatal injuries (i.e., 38 percent) 
the analysis estimated that the overall reduction in 
severe to fatal injuries attributable to Standard 
No. 201 is 9.3 percent. 

A similar comparison was made for occupant 
injuries in cars manufactured before and after 
Standards Nos. 203 and 204 went into effect. The 
comparison examined two sets of driver injuries 
that occurred in frontal crashes. One set consisted 
of injuries that could be specifically attributed to 
contact with the steering assembly; the other set 
consisted of neck, chest and abdominal injuries sus- 
tained by drivers in frontal crashes, the types of 
steering assembly-related injuries the standards 
are designed to reduce. The comparison found that 
Standards Nos. 203 and 204 reduced severe to 
fatal injuries by an average of 20.9 percent. The 



probability of an injured driver receiving an injury 
attributable to the steering assembly was an 
average of 19.4 percent. The analysis estimated 
that Standards Nos. 203 and 204 produced an 
overall average reduction of 3.7 percent in severe 
to fatal driver injuries. 

Loading Requirements 

At present, Standared No. 204 does not specify 
the loading requirements for vehicles in the 30 mph 
fixed barrier crash test required by the standard. 
In conducting Standard No. 204 compliance tests 
for passenger cars, the agency has loaded 
passenger cars to their unloaded vehicle weight 
(i.e., the weight of the vehicle with all the fluid, 
such as gas, oil and water, necessary for its opera- 
tion but without any occupants or cargo). This is 
the least severe loading condition used in the 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards that 
involve crash testing. This notice makes a technical 
amendment to Standard No. 204 to incorporate the 
agency long-standing loading practices. Those 
practices were publicly announced in the 
compliance test procedures publicly released by the 
agency when Standard No. 204 first went into 
effect in 1968. Passenger car certification informa- 
tion provided by manufacturers to NHTSA shows 
that they have consistently used unloaded vehicle 
weight as the loading condition in their testing. In 
some instances, manufacturers have voluntarily 
used more severe loading conditions in their 
certification testing. 

Commerical Vehicles 

Several final stage manufacturers and United 
Parcel Service requested the agency to exempt 
vehicles used in commercial applications from the 
standards. A similar exemption has previously 
been sought by the Truck Body and Equipment 
Association (TBEA) for Standard No. 212-76, 
Windshield Mounting, and Standard 219-75, 
Windshield Zone Intrusion. As with the TBEA 
request, NHTSA concludes that such an exemption 
should not be adopted since it is not in the interest 
of safety and is based on vehicle use instead of 
vehicle type. Such an exemption would mean that 
standards would be applied on the basis of the 
commercial or private use of the vehicle and not 
upon the safety needs of a particular vehicle type. 
Since the safety needs of similar vehicles usually 
are similar, it would be inappropriate to treat one 
set of vehicles differently merely because they are 
used commercially. 



PART 571; S 203-PRE-6 



The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety 
Act contemplates the application of the standards 
based on vehicle type instead of vehicle use. Basing 
a standard on vehicle use would present this agency 
with difficult enforcement problems. It would also 
place a manufacturer in the difficult position of 
having to assess in advance the potential future 
use of the vehicle it produces. In addition, basing 
standards application on vehicle use does not 
recognize that a vehicle may have two or more uses 
during its lifetime. 

For all these reasons, the agency concludes that 
applying standards based on vehicle use would not 
be appropriate. 

Walk-In Vans 

GM, MVMA and several final-stage manufac- 
turers requested the agency to exempt walk-in 
vans (i.e., the "step-van" city delivery type of vehicle 
that permits a person to enter the vehicle without 
stooping) from Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204. 
In the case of Standard No. 201, they argued that 
this type of vehicle frequently has none of the com- 
ponents covered by the standard, such as arm 
rests, sun visors and instrument panels to the right 
of the steering assembly. However, those vehicles 
do have an instrument panel in front of the driver 
and some walk-in vans do have a front passenger 
seat and an instrument panel in front of that seat 
which may be struck by an occupant during a 
crash. Applying Standard No. 201 to those vehicles 
will require the instrument panel to be padded to 
cushion occupant impacts. Based on the proven 
effectiveness of Standard No. 201 in passenger 
cars, the agency is extending the performance 
requirements of the standard to include walk-in 
vans and MPV's. 

The manufacturers argued that walk-in vans 
should be exempt from Standards Nos. 203 and 
204 also. They said that the driver steering 
assembly configuration found in walk-in vans 
makes it improbable that compliance with the 
standard will reduce drivers' injuries. They noted 
that the steering column is mounted in those 
vehicles at an angle of 55-60 degrees, compared to 
the mounting angle of 30 degrees found in conven- 
tional trucks, and the columns in walk-in vans 
move upward rather than rearward in a crash. The 
manufacturers also argued that these vehicles are 
generally used in urban areas, where there is more 



slow speed traffic than in rural areas. They pointed 
out that because of these factors, the agency has 
previously exempted walk-in vans from Standards 
Nos. 212-76, Windshield Retention, and 219-75, 
Windshields Zone Intrusion. The agency agrees 
that current energy absorbing steering column 
designs probably would provide little, if any, pro- 
tection in walk-in vans because of their uniques 
driver/ steering column configuration, and thus is 
exempting walk-in vans for the present. 

Belts in Forward Control Vehicles 

Although they did not object to requiring lap- 
shoulder belts in forward control vehicles as pro- 
posed in the agency's November 9, 1978 notice, 
several manufacturers and the MVMA objected to 
what they interpreted as a conflict between the 
agency's proposal and the current requirements of 
Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection. 
They argued that the agency's proposal not only 
would require lap and shoulder belts in forward 
control vehicles, but would also require such belts 
in open-body vehicles, convertibles and walk-in 
vans, which currently only have to have lap belts. 
The agency's proposal was directed only toward 
forward control vehicles and was meant to 
supersede the current requirements for those 
vehicles set in Standard No. 208. For organiza- 
tional simplicity, the agency is making a technical 
amendment to Standard No. 208 so that all belt 
requirements are centralized in that standard. The 
amendment only adopts the proposed change to 
the forward control vehicle belt requirements. It 
does not change the current belt requirements for 
open-body vehicles, convertibles and walk-in vans. 

MVMA requested the agency to require lap and 
shoulder belts in forward control vehicles for only 
one model year. MVMA did not provide any 
justification for that request. NHTSA believes that 
the important protection of lap and shoulder belts 
should be available to all forward control vehicles 
manufactured on or after September 1, 1981, and 
declines to adopt the MVMA request. 

Upgrading of Standard 

In their comments, the Center for Auto Safety 
and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 
renewed their requests that the agency set new 
performance requirements for Standard No. 203 to 
provide additional protection in angular impacts. 
The agency has conducted some preliminary 
testing to determine what additional requirements 



PART 571; S 203-PRE-7 



may be appropriate to increase protection in 
angular impacts. In addition, the agency's 
National Center for Statistics and Analysis has 
recently begun a special study to collect accident 
data on 1973 and later model vehicles to gather 
additional information on the effectiveness of 
energy absorbing steering assemblies in angular 
and other crashes. Based on that data, NHTSA 
w^ill make a determination of what further changes 
are needed in the standard. 

The American Automobile Association asked the 
agency to delay application of Standard No. 203 
until upgraded performance requirements are 
developed. However, because the agency does not 
want to delay providing the occupants of light 
trucks, buses and MPV's with the safety benefits 
of Standard No. 203, the agency is extending the 
standards to those vehicles while it continues to 
consider the feasibility of additional performance 
requirements. 

NHTSA is also considering possible additional 
requirements for Standard No. 201. The agency 
has scheduled a meeting for December 11, 1979, so 
that the public can present its views and ideas on 
ways of improving protection for children involved 
in vehicle collisions. In the September 4, 1979, 
notice announcing the meeting, the agency 
specifically asked for comments on possible 
improvements to the interior padding of vehicles to 
provide additional protection for children (44 FR 
51623). 

Heavy Tnicks 

In the November 9, 1978 notice, NHTSA 
announced that it was evaluating whether to 
extend the applicability of Standards Nos. 201, 203 
and 204 to heavy trucks (i.e., trucks with a GVWR 
of more than 10,000 pounds) and solicited 
comments on appropriate performance 
requirements for those vehicles. In their com- 
ments, the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Associa- 
tion, Freightliner and International Harvester all 
opposed an extension of the standards to trucks 
with a GVWR greater than 10,000 pounds, arguing 
that there is no data showing a safety need for 
applying the standards to those vehicles. They also 
argued that because of the size and weight of heavy 
trucks, occupants in these vehicles do not 
experience the same energy transfers in a crash 
than passenger car occupants experience and thus 
theoretically should incur fewer or less severe 



injuries. At the agency's recent meeting on heavy 
truck safety, several participants provided in- 
formation on the need for greater crash protection 
for drivers of heavy trucks. NHTSA is currently 
analyzing that information to determine what 
additional heavy truck regulatory action may be 
needed. 

Miscellaneous Comments 

MVMA pointed out that Standard No. 201 
currently requires two sun visors in a vehicle and 
requested that a second visor not be required if 
there is no front passenger seat. NHTSA agrees 
that such a change is appropriate and has made the 
necessary amendment to the standard. 

Jeep Corp. objected to the application of 
Standard No. 201 to open-body MPV's, arguing 
that for Jeep to locate padding in the expected 
head impact area it would have to raise its padding 
or lower its seat, both of which it claimed would 
interfere with the driver's forward visibility. 
Jeep's comment appears to reflect a misunder- 
standing of Standard No. 201. The performance 
requirements of the standard only apply to areas of 
the instrument panel that are within the head 
impact area of each designated seating position. 
(The head impact area is the portion of the 
vehicle's interior that can be contacted by a head- 
form representing an occupant's head.) "Thus, if a 
portion of Jeep's vehicle instrument panel is not 
within the head impact area, it does not have to 
comply. For portions of the panel that are within 
the head impact area. Jeep can make structural 
changes to the instrument panel to meet Standard 
No. 201 without adding additional padding. 
Therefore, Jeep's requested exemption for all 
open -body vehicles is denied. 

One final stage manufacturer, Boyertowm Auto 
Body Works, asked NHTSA whether its driver 
side instrument panel was within the exeptions to 
Standard No. 201 and, if not, sought to have its in- 
strument panel construed to be a console assembly, 
which is exempt from the standard. Such an inter- 
pretation is not acceptable since Boyertown clearly 
labels the area in question as an instrument panel 
in its engineering drawings. However, according 
to the engineering drawing provided by Boyer- 
town, the limited section on the instrument panel 
of concern to Boyertown is within the area 
exempted by S3. 1.1(d) of the standard. That 
section provides that the area of the interior 
immediately forward of the steering column is 
exempt from the standard. 



PART 571; S 203-PRE-8 



Costs and Leadtime 

NHTSA has considered the economic and other 
impacts of this final rule and determined that they 
are not significant within the meaning of 
Executive Order 12044 and the Department of 
Transportation's policies and procedures for 
implementing that order. The agency's assessment 
of the benefits and economic consequences of this 
proposal are contained in a regulatory evaluation 
which has been places in the public docket. As 
explained previously, copies of the regulatory 
evaluation can be obtained by writing NHTSA's 
docket section at the address given in the begin- 
ning of this final rule. 

As previously detailed in this notice, the agency 
has examined the effectiveness of Standards Nos. 
201, 203 and 204 in passenger cars and concluded 
that those standards have brought about a substan- 
tial reduction in overall injuries occurring to the 
passengers in those vehicles. Because they share 
the same driving environment as occupants in 
passenger cars, occupants in light trucks, buses 
and MPV's face a similar risk of injury posed by 
hazardous instrument panels and rigid steering 
columns. Based on its evaluation of the effec- 
tiveness of Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204 in 
passenger cars, the agency has concluded that 
applying those standards to light trucks, buses and 
MPV's can result in a reduction of 120 to 240 
fatalities and 4,400 to 8,900 serious injuries per 
year when all those vehicles comply with the 
standards. 

The agency's cost estimate for meeting 
Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204 in light trucks, 
buses and MPV's take into account that many 
manufacturers have equipped some of their 
vehicles with components designed to meet the 
performance requirements of the standards. Those 
components may need little or no redesigning to 
fully comply with the standards. For example, 
American Motors, Chrysler, Ford, General 
Motors, International Harvester and Volkswagen 
commented that some, if not all, of their vehicles 
currently have components designed to comply 
with the standards or they will install such com- 
ponents in some of their vehicles by the 1981 model 
year. 

Only two manufacturers, Nissan and Ford, pro- 
vided any information about the costs associated 
with complying with the standards. Nissan said 



that the cost associated with complying with all 
three standards was $30. Ford estimated the cost 
for compliance with Standard No. 201 as $10 per 
vehicle; based on preliminary design assumptions. 
Ford put the cost of complying with Standards 
Nos. 203 and 204 in its van-type trucks, buses and 
MPV's at $120 per vehicle. 

To provide the agency with additional informa- 
tion about the estimated costs of complying with 
the three standards, NHTSA contracted with the 
John Z. DeLorean Corp. to evaluate current 
vehicles and determine what changes would be 
needed to bring the vehicles into compliance. Bases 
on its review of current foreign and domestic light 
trucks, buses and MPV's, DeLorean concluded 
that the total cost of compliance with the three 
standards would add a sales weighted average of 
$16 to the retail price of those vehicles. The 
DeLorean study reported that the vehicles requir- 
ing the most changes to meet Standards Nos. 201, 
203 and 204 were van-type trucks, buses and 
MPV's made by GM and Ford. DeLorean 
estimated that GM and Ford van-types vehicles 
would require a $27 increase in consumer price to 
comply with Standards Nos. 203 and 204 and a 
price increase ranging between $6 and $15 to 
comply with Standard No. 201. The agency 
believes that the substantial difference between 
DeLorean's and Ford's estimate of the cost of 
compliance with Standards Nos. 203 and 204 may 
be due to Ford's overestimate of the anticipated 
changes needed in the vehicles based on its 
preliminary design asssumptions. 

The agency's November 1978 notice proposed an 
effective date of September 1, 1980, for Standard 
No. 201 for all vehicles and for Standards Nos. 203 
and 204 for nonforward control vehicles. An effec- 
tive date of September 1, 1981, was proposed for 
Standards Nos. 203 and 204 for forward control 
vehicles to allow manufacturers additional time to 
make the necessary changes in those vehicles. In 
their comments on Standard 201, Chrysler and 
Ford said they could meet the standard in all their 
vehicles by the proposed effective date. Nissan, 
Toyo Kogyo and International Harvester (IH) 
requested from 18 to 24 months leadtime. General 
Motors requested 2V2 years' leadtime and 
American Motors requested 3 years. As a part of 
its NHTSA-funded study of the costs of complying 
with the standard, the DeLorean Corp. also 
examined the leadtime necessary to comply with 



PART 571; S 203-PRE-9 



the standard. For Standard No. 201, the DeLorean 
study concluded that only one year was needed for 
all vehicles except van-type trucks, buses and 
MPV's manufactured by Chrysler and GM, which 
needed two years. 

For Standards Nos. 203 and 204, Chrysler said 
that all its vehicles, except its incomplete forward 
control van-type vehicles, can comply by 
September 1, 1980. Chrysler did not provide an 
estimate of leadtime needed for its incomplete 
forward control vans. Nissan, Toyo Kogyo and IH 
requested from 18 to 24 months leadtime. Ford 
said its 1980 model year F-series trucks and 
Bronco models would comply with the standards 
and the Courier truck chassis cab imported by Ford 
would comply by September 1, 1981. Ford 
requested until September 1, 1982, for its van-type 
trucks, buses and MPV's. General Motors 
requested 2V2 years for all its vehicles and 
American Motors requested three years. 

The DeLorean study concluded that 18-24 
months of leadtime was needed for all models, 
except those made by Ford, which would require 
three years. DeLorean made its estimate of lead- 
time for Ford based on an assumption that Ford 



would need extra steering assembly tooling 
facilities. However, since Ford plans to introduce 
complying components on its 1980 model F series 
trucks and Bronco models. Ford has apparently 
developed the needed tooling capacity. 

Based on its analysis of the DeLorean study and 
of the industry's comments, NHTSA concludes 
that setting an effective date of September 1, 
1981, will allow sufficient time for all manufac- 
turers to comply with the standards. This action 
provides an additional year for all light trucks, 
buses and MPV's to meet Standard No. 201 and for 
nonforward control vehicles to meet Standards 
Nos. 203 and 204. 

The principal authors of this notice are William 
Smith, Office of Vehicle Safety Standards, and 
Stephen Oesch, Office of Chief Counsel. 

Issued on November 12, 1979. 



Joan Claybrook 
Administrator 



44 F.R. 68470 
November 29, 1979 



PART 571; S 203-PRE-lO 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO 
FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 203 

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; 
Impact Protection for the Driver from the Steering Control Systems 

[Docket No. 81-10; Notice 2] 



ACTION: Final rule. 

SUMMARY: This notice amends Standard No. 
203, Impact Protection for the Driver from the 
Steering Control System, to modify the current 
limitation on the amount of force imposed on the 
steering column during the compliance test which 
simulates a crash. The standard will now allow 
the force measured on the steering column to 
exceed 2,500 pounds for a cumulative duration of 
not more than 3 milliseconds. The agency has 
concluded that this amendment will not pose an 
unreasonable risk to safety. 

EFFECTIVE DATE: This amendment is effective 
December 2, 1982. 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In response 
to a petition for rulemaking from General Motors 
(GM), NHTSA issued a notice in October 1981 (49 
F.R. 48260) that proposed an amendment to 
Standard No. 203, Impact Protection for the 
Driver from the Steering Control System (46 
CFR 571.203). The notice proposed modifying the 
current 2,500 pound limitation on the amount of 
force imposed on the steering column. The force 
is measured during an impact test in which a hard 
rubber block simulating the human torso strikes 
the steering column at 15 miles per hour. 

GM sought the change because a mechanical 
interference between several parts in its tilting 
and telescoping steering wheel cause the force 
measured in the Standard No. 203 impact test to 
momentarily increase above 2,500 pounds. The 
mechanical interference only occurs when the 
steering wheel is fully telescoped and tilted down 



15 degrees. GM requested and the agency 
proposed to prohibit forces above 2,500 pounds 
only if they cumulatively exceeded 3 milliseconds 
in duration. 

To support its request, GM presented data 
from three sled tests simulating 30 mile-per-hour 
frontal barrier crashes in which an unrestrained 
Part 572 anthropomorphic test dummy struck the 
steering column. The GM tests showed that the 
momentary increase in force levels measured on 
the steering column do not cause a corresponding 
increase in the resultant acceleration in the test 
dummy's chest. (Resultant acceleration is the 
criterion used in Standard No. 208, Occupant 
Crash Protection, as a means of determining 
whether forces are potentially harmful.) 

This notice amends Standard No. 203 to adopt 
the proposed change. Significant comments 
submitted to the docket are addressed below. 

Five commenters, American Motors, Chrysler, 
Ford, General Motors, and Volkswagen, 
supported adoption of the proposed amendment. 
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 
(IIHS) and the Center for Auto Safety (CFAS) 
filed comments opposing the amendment. 

IIHS argued that the GM test data considered 
by the agency do not demonstrate that the short 
duration force levels permitted by the 
amendment will not pose an unreasonable risk of 
injury to the driver. IIHS objected that GM had 
not discussed the relationship between the 30 
mile-per-hour impact tests the automaker 
conducted with instrumented Part 572 test 
dummies and the 15 mile-per-hour impact tests 
GM conducted with the body block in accordance 
with the requirements of Standard No. 203. IIHS 



PART 571; S203-PRE 11 



said that it is difficult to make a straightforward 
comparison between the two tests because one 
involves use of a full-size test dummy 
representing a 50th percentile male while the 
other uses a simple hard rubber block 
representing only the upper torso and head of a 
human. In addition, IIHS stated that the 
force/deflection characteristics of the test dummy 
and the torso block are significantly different. 

The agency believes that of the two tests, the 
30 mile-per-hour sled test conducted by GM is 
more representative of an actual vehicle crash. In 
GM's sled test, the unrestrained test dummy was 
placed on a vehicle seat behind the steering 
column as in an actual vehicle. In the simplified 15 
mile-per-hour test of Standard No. 203, the torso 
block is accelerated toward the column, usually 
by a pendulum, and then released to strike the 
column. 

Equally important, the anthropomorphic test 
dummy specified in Part 572 of the agency's 
regulations is more representative of a human 
than the torso block used in Standard No. 203. 
The simplified torso block was developed before 
human-like test dummies were available. The 
area representing the chest of the torso block is 
significantly harder and stiffer than a human 
chest. As a result of that hardness and stiffness, 
an impact with that surface is more likely to 
produce the sudden, short increases in 
acceleration than is a more flexible surface 
designed to be similar to the human chest. The 
chest of the Part 572 anthropomorphic test 
dummy is based on testing done with cadavers 
and human volunteers and thus is more 
representative of the actual human chest. Thus, 
the agency believes that the GM testing is a 
better measure of the forces that would be 
imposed on a driver's chest in an actual crash. As 
explained more fully below, the agency is 
considering changes to Standard No. 203 that 
would improve its test procedures and 
requirements. 

IIHS's second objection was that GM had not 
demonstrated that the Part 572 dummy and the 
injury criteria used in GM's testing are suitable 
for assessing whether the forces generated in the 
testing are likely to be injurious. IIHS said that 
the Part 572 dummy was designed specifically 
with the air bag in mind, which distributes forces 
over a large area to reduce injuries, and was not 



designed to be sensitive to the effects of large 
concentrated loads. IIHS and CFAS both 
emphasized that concentrated forces are known 
injury producers. 

The Part 572 test dummy was designed to be 
used in the automatic restraint system testing of 
Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection. 
During and after its development, the test 
dummy has been used extensively to measure 
loads generated by automatic and conventional 
belt systems as well as air bag systems. The 
injury criterion used in the GM testing is the 
same as the chest injury criterion adopted in 
Standard No. 208. At present, the Part 572 test 
dummy and the Standard No. 208 chest injury 
criterion are the only generally recognized and 
accepted measures of potential injury to the 
chest. The data from the GM testing, using 
available test dummies, show that the resultant 
acceleration measured in the chest were within 
the limits set by the agency in Standard No. 208. 
Thus, the agency concludes that based on 
available data, the short duration forces 
experienced in the Standard No. 203 impact test 
do not pose an unreasonable risk of injury. 

Future Rulemaking 

Several commenters requested the agency lo 
make several technical and other amendments to 
the standard. GM requested the agency to amend 
the standard to adopt the updated version of the 
Society of Automotive Engineers recommended 
practice currently incorporated in Standard No. 
203. Volkswagen recommended that the agency 
consider, for reasons of international 
harmonization, modifying the standard to adopt 
the alternative head impact test procedure 
contained in the European regulation on steering 
columns. Economic Commission for Europe 
Regulation 12. 

IIHS and CFAS both criticized the agency for 
not upgrading the performance requirements of 
the standard and urged the agency to do so 
quickly. IIHS devoted a substantial portion of its 
submission to changes in the test procedures and 
requirements for the standard. Ford said that, 
before making any changes to the standard, the 
agency should determine whether any changes 
would compromise the field performance of 
current steering systems. 



PART 571: S203-PRE 12 



As mentioned in the notice of proposed 
rulemaking for this rule, the agency actively is 
considering possible improvements to Standard 
No. 203. The agency agrees, as Ford pointed out, 
that steering columns meeting Standard No. 203 
have been proven to be injury reducers. 
However, the agency's technical report 
(Publication No. DOT HS 805-705) evaluating 
Standard No. 203 and Standard No. 204, Steering 
Column Rearward Displacement, also suggested 
areas for improving the standards. The agency 
will consider CFAS's. GM's, IIHS's, and 
Volkswagen's suggested changes during the 
process of evaluating possible changes to the 
standard. 

At present, a number of research projects are 
being conducted for the agency on energy- 
absorbing steering columns. For example. 



Calspan is conducting a special study (contract 
DTNH22-80-C-07450) of data gathered during the 
National Crash Severity Study. The study is 
identifying conditions leading to both more and 
less successful operation of energy-absorbing 
steering columns, determining the relationship of 
energy-absorbing column compression and column 
intrusion to injury severity and comparing 
performance between specific energy-absorbing 
column designs. The agency is also working with 
Minicars, Inc., to conduct static and dynamic 
testing of steering columns to rate their 
protective capability. Based on the Calspan, 
Minicar and other research, the agency will make 
a determination of what, if any, changes to 
propose to the standard. 
Issued on October 5, 1982. 



Raymond A. Peck, Jr. 
Administrator 
47 F.R. 47840 
October 28, 1982 



PART 571; S203-PRE 13-14 



MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 203 
Impact Protection for the Driver from the Steering Control System— Passenger Cars 

(Docket Nos. 2 and 3; Notice 1) 



51. Purpose and scope. This standard 
specifies requirements for steering control 
systems that will minimize chest, neck, and facial 
injuries to the driver as a result of impact. 

52. Application. This standard applies to 
passenger cars and to multipurpose passenger 
vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR of 10,000 
pounds or less. However, it does not apply to 
vehicles that conform to the frontal barrier crash 
requirements (S5.1) of Standard No. 208 (49 CFR 
571.208) by means of other than seat belt 
assemblies. It also does not apply to walk-in vans. 

53. Definitions. "Steering control system" 
means the basic steering mechanism and its 
associated trim hardware, including any portion of 
a steering column assembly that provides energy 
absorption upon impact. 

54. Requirements. Each passenger car and 
each multipurpose passenger vehicle, truck and 
bus with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less 
manufactured on or after September 1, 1981, shall 
meet the requirements of S5.1 and S5.2. 

S4.1 Except as provided in S4.2, when the 
steering control system is impacted by a body block 
in accordance with Society of Automotive 
Engineers Recommended Practice J944, "Steer- 
ing Wheel Assembly Laboratory Test Procedure," 
December 1965 or an approved equivalent, at a 
relative velocity of 15 miles per hour, the impact 
force developed on the chest of the body block 
transmitted to the steering control system shall 
not exceed 2,500 pounds. 



54.2 A Type 2 seat belt assembly that conforms 
to Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 209 shall be 
installed for the driver of any vehicle with forward 
control configuration that does not meet the 
requirements of S4.1. 

54.3 The steering control system shall be so 
constructed that no components or attachments, 
including horn actuating mechanisms and trim 
hardware, can catch the driver's clothing or 
jewelry during normal driving maneuvers. 

S5. Impact protection requirements. 

55.1 [When the steering control system is 
impacted in accordance with Society of Automotive 
Engineers Recommended Practice J944, "Steering 
Wheel Assembly Laboratory Test Procedure," 
December 1965, or an approved equivalent, at a 
relative velocity of 15 miles per hour, the impact 
force developed on the chest of the body block 
transmitted to the steering control system shaO not 
exceed 2,500 pounds, except for intervals whose 
cumulative duration is not more than 3 milliseconds. 
(47 F.R. 47840-October 22, 1982. Effective: 
December 2, 1982)1 

55.2 The steering control system shall be so 
constructed that no components or attachments, 
including horn actuating mechanisms and trim 
hardware, can catch the driver's clothing or 
jewelry during normal driving maneuvers. 

Interpretation 

The term "Jewelry" in paragraph S4.3 refers to 
watches, rings, and bracelets without loosely 
attached or dangling members. 

32 F.R. 2414 
February 3, 1967 



(Rev. 12/2/82) 



PART 571; S 203-1-2 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENTS TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS 

NO. 204 

Steering Control Rearward Displacement 
(Docket No. 78-116; Notice 2) 



ACTION: Final rule. 

SUMMARY: This notice amends Federal Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204 to 
extend their applicability to light trucks, buses and 
multipurpose passenger vehicles (MPV's). The 
notice is issued in response to the rising death and 
injury toll involving these vehicles and to petitions 
by the Center for Auto Safety and the Insurance 
Institute for Highway Safety requesting that these 
standards be extended to those vehicles. Applying 
these standards to light trucks, buses and MPV's 
will reduce occupant deaths and injuries in those 
vehicles by requiring the use of energy absorbing 
material on such interior components as the instru- 
ment panel and seat backs (Standard No. 201), by 
limiting the amount of force that can be exerted on 
the driver's chest by the steering wheel in frontal 
crashes (Standard No. 203), and by limiting the 
rearward movement of the steering assembly in 
frontal crashes (Standard No. 204). 

EFFECTIVE DATE: The effective date for the 
extension of applicability of Standards Nos. 201, 
203 and 204 is September 1, 1981. 

ADDRESS: Petitions for reconsideration should 
refer to the docket number and be submitted to: 
Docket Section, Room 5108, National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, 
S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590. 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 

Mr. William Smith, Office of Vehicle Safety 
Standards, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., 
Washington, D.C. 20590 (202-426-2242) 



SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice 
amends Standard No. 201, Occupant Protection in 
Interior Impact, and Standard No. 203, Impact 
Protection for the Driver From, the Steering 
Control System, to extend the applicability of those 
standards to trucks, buses and multipurpose 
passenger vehicles (MPV's) with a gross vehicle 
weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds or less. 
This notice also amends Standard No. 204, 
Steering Control Rearward Displacement, to 
extend its appHcability to trucks, buses and MPV's 
with an unloaded vehicle weight of 4,000 pounds or 
less, instead of all trucks, buses and MPV's with a 
GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less, as originally 
proposed in the agency's November 9, 1978, notice 
of proposed rulem.aking (43 FR 52264). As explained 
below, the agency is initially limiting the extended 
applicability of Standard No. 204 while it studies 
methods for dealing with fmal-stage manufacturer 
certification difficulties. Similar possible problems 
with Standard No. 212-76, Windshield Mounting, 
and Standard No. 219-75, Windshield Zone Intru- 
sion, led the agency to propose changes in the 
testing procedures for those standards (44 FR 
45426). 

For the purposes of Standard No. 204, the agency 
has determined that these problems would not be 
encountered in applying the standard to vehicles 
with an unloaded vehicle weight of 4,000 pounds or 
less and testing them at their unloaded vehicle 
weight. Approximately 75 percent of the current 
sales of light trucks, buses and MPV's with a 
GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less have an unloaded 
vehicle weight of 4,000 pounds or less. 

This final rule was preceded by a notice propos- 
ing the extension of the applicability of Standards 



PART 571; S 204-PRE-l 



Nos. 201, 203 and 204 in November 1978 (43 FR 
52264). Private citizens, safety organizations, 
manufacturers and a manufacturer trade associa- 
tion submitted comments on the proposal. NHTSA 
has considered all of those comments and the most 
significant ones are discussed below. 

Safety Need 
Citing the need to reduce the number of deaths 
and injuries in light trucks, buses and MPV's, the 
American Automobile Association, the Center for 
Auto Safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway 
Safety and State Farm Insurance Companies 
supported application of the standards to those 
vehicles. 

Although it did not object to extending the 
applicability of Standard Nos. 201, 203 and 204 to 
light trucks, buses and MPV's, General Motors 
argued that manufacturers should be given a 
longer lead time to comply with the standards 
because of the lack of urgent safety need. GM said 
that allowing a longer leadtime was desirable to 
ensure compliance, "without costly accelerated 
[design] programs." Using data from the agency's 
"Explanation of Rulemaking," GM said that light 
trucks, buses and MPV's have a fatality rate of 
22.4 fatalities per billion miles, compared with a 
rate of 25.3 fatalities per billion miles for 
passenger cars. The data GM used covers fatalities 
during 1977 in all model year vehicles. A new 
analysis done by NHTSA of 1977 fatalities, 
reported by the agency's Fatal Accident Reporting 
System, shows that although older model year 
light trucks, buses and MPV's may have had a 
lower fatality rate than passenger cars, beginning 
with the 1973 model year, the combined fatality 
rate for light trucks, buses and MPV's began 
surpassing that of passenger cars. The analysis 
shows that recent model year passenger cars have 
a considerably lower fatality rate than light trucks, 
buses and MPV's. (A copy of that analysis has been 
placed in the docket.) 

In addition to being higher than the combined 
fatality rate for all sizes of passenger cars, the 
combined fatality rate of light trucks, buses and 
MPV's is far higher than the rate for full-size 
passenger cars. Full-size cars are typically the 
safest of cars and many of them are comparable in 
size and weight to light trucks, buses and MPV's. 
In theory, occupants of larger and heavier vehicles, 
such as trucks, buses and MPV's, should experience 



less harmful crash forces, and thus presumably incur 
fewer or less severe injuries, than occupants of 
smaller lighter vehicles. Volkswagen has previously 
objected to a comparison of full-size passenger 
fatality rates with those for vans, arrguing that 
vans are comparable in weight to intermediate, not 
full-size passenger cars. Although the unloaded 
weight of vans and intermediate-size passenger 
cars may be comparable, vans have a higher gross 
vehicle weight rating which means that those 
vehicles can, in actual use, be loaded with substan- 
tially more weight than intermediate and even full- 
size passenger cars. 

Volkswagen also questioned the safety need for 
the proposed reulmaking because of the voluntary 
compliance by VW and some other companies with 
the standards. Although the voluntary effort by 
some companies is commendable, most manufac- 
turers do not comply with all of the standards in all 
of their vehicles. Some of the manufacturers who 
have taken steps to comply with the standard 
presumably were in part motivvated by prior 
NHTSA rulemaking notices proposing to apply 
Standards Nos. 201,203 and 204 to light trucks, 
buses and MPV's (35 FR 14936, 14936 and 16805). 
In the absence of a regulation, there is no 
assurance that non-complying manufacturers will 
produce complying vehicles and that manfacturers 
producing currently complying vehicles will 
continue to comply. Manufacturers who currently 
comply should experience only minor economic 
impacts, such as conducting certification tests as a 
result of compelling other manufacturers to 
comply. 

Effectiveness 

The Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association 
(MVMA) questioned the potential effectiveness of 
Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204. MVMA argue 
that a study done bySherman and Huelke of light 
truck and van accidents found that the standards 
would have little effect in those vehicles. However, 
a NHTSA analysis of the crashes reviewed by 
Sherman and Huelke found that a number of the 
crashes clearly edmonstrated the benefits of equip- 
ping light trucks and vans with energy absorbing 
instrument panels and steering columns and devices 
to limit the rearward displacement of the steering 
column. For example, Sherman and Huelke studied 
a 15-20 mph head-on crash of a 1976 Chevrolet 



PART 571; S 204-PRE-2 



pickup truck into a tree. The Chevrolet was equipped 
with a padded instrument panel, and energy- 
absorbing steering column and a device to limit the 
rearward displacement of the steering column. They 
reported, "the results of this case show that both of 
the major energy absorbing components appeared to 
have completely activated, both by the vehicle crash 
and driver impact, providing maximum benefit to the 
driver. Had this vehicle been one of the other vehicle 
cases discussed in this section, we feel that the in- 
juries sustained by the driver would have been much 
more severe." 

NHTSA believes further that the Sherman and 
Huelke study provides information indicating that 
there is a need for even more improvements in 
light trucks and vans, such as providing energy- 
absorbing padding for the lower instrument panel. 
The agency is studying the question of making 
appropriate changes in the performance 
requirements of the standards to require more pro- 
tection. However, NHTSA considers it important 
not to delay extending the current benefits of 
Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204 while it reviews 
possible changes to the standards. 

MVMA also argued that a comparison of the 
injury experience of passenger car steering 
assemblies with the experience of steering 
assemblies in light trucks and vans shows that 
Standards Nos. 203 and 204 "would provide little 
benefit" in those vehicles. Using data from the 
agency's original analysis of the injury experience 
of passenger cars produced before and after 
Standards Nos. 203 and 204 took effect, MVMA 
said that the primary benefit of the standards is to 
reduce moderate instead of severe-to-fatal injuries. 
It pointed out that 65.6 percent of the steering 
assembly related injuries in pre-standard cars were 
minor, 22.7 percent were moderate and 11.9 per- 
cent were severe-to-fatal. In post-standard, cars 
78.8 percent of the steering assembly related 
injuries were minor, 10.2 percent were moderate 
and 11.0 were severe-to-fatal. Thus, in post- 
standard cars, many previously moderate injuries 
were only minor injuries. Using data from a 
Calspan study of light truck and van injuries, 
MVMA said that 83.5 percent of the steering 
column related injuries in those vehicles are minor, 
4.1 percent are moderate and 12.4 percent are 
severe-to-fatal. MVMA said that the Calspan data 



indicate that there is "little room" for a passenger 
car-type of injury experience change from moderate 
to minor injuries in light trucks and vans. 

However, the Calspan data cited by MVMA are 
not comparable with the NHTSA data and prob- 
ably underestimate the percentage of moderate 
and severe-to-fatal steering assembly related 
injuries in light trucks and vans. The Calspan data 
include injuries from all types of impacts (front, 
rear and side). The NHTSA data, on the other 
hand, cover only frontal crashes, the type of 
crashes which are most likely to cause severe-to- 
fatal steering assembly related injuries. Thus, the 
percentage of moderate and severe-to-fatal 
injuries found in the NHTSA data should be 
greater. In addition, an updated NHTSA analysis 
of passenger car injury experience, discussed 
below, shows that Standards Nos. 203 and 204 are 
effective in reducing both moderate and severe-to- 
fatal injuries. Further, even if the actual light 
truck and van injury distribution were the same as 
found by Calspan, Standards Nos. 203 and 204 
would be effective in reducing the number of 
severe-to-fatal injuries. 

Several manufacturers and the MVMA objected to 
the agency's use of passenger car data to estimate 
the potential effectiveness of the three standards in 
light trucks, buses and MPV's. They argued that the 
agency should instead have conducted a study com- 
paring the accident experience of light trucks, buses 
and MPV's that currently comply with the standards 
with the experience of those that do not comply. As 
explained below, NHTSA concludes that such a study 
is impractical and that the agency's original and 
updated analyses of passenger car effectiveness data 
are valid and support application of the standards to 
light trucks, buses and MPV's. 

The primary difficulty in conducting a study of 
current light trucks, buses and MPV's is that there 
is no conclusive information identifying which 
vehicles are currently in compliance with the 
standard, since no manufacturer is required to 
certify compliance. For example, International 
Harvester (IH) requested NHTSA to conduct a 
study of currently complying light trucks, buses 
and MPV's, saying that its Scout models were 
designed to comply with the performance re- 
quirements of Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204. 
However, IH said that if the NHTSA applies the 



PART 571; S 204-PRE-3 



standards to light trucks, buses and MPV's, it will 
have to re test the Scout, which "could conceivably 
require some additional redesigning for compliance 
assurance." NHTSA belives that the analysis the 
agency conducted of pre- and post- 1968 passenger 
car injury experience, where it was known that 
passenger cars manufactured on or after January 1, 
1968, had to comply with Standards Nos. 201, 203 
and 204, provides a sound basis for estimating the 
potential effectiveness of the standards in other 
types of vehicles. 

Using information recently made available from 
the agency's National Crash Severity Study, 
NHTSA has again compared injuries sustained by 
occupants of cars manufactured before Standards 
Nos. 201, 203 and 204 went into effect with injuries 
sustained by occupants of cars manufactured after 
the standards went into effect. As with the 
agency's first analysis, cited in the November 9, 
1978, notice for this rulemaking, the new analysis 
examined injuries caused by components covered 
by Standard No. 201, such as instrument panels, 
seat backs, arm rests and sun visors. The analysis 
found that Standard No. 201 reduced severe to 
fatal occupant injuries (i.e., injuries with an 
abbreviated injury scale ranking of 3 or more) by 
approximately 38 percent. The analysis also found 
that the probability of an occupant injured in a 
crash being injured by a component covered by 
Standard No. 201 was 25.7 percent. Thus, 
multiplying the probability of injury (i.e., 25.7 
percent) by the effectiveness of the standard in 
reducing serious and fatal injuries (i.e., 38 percent) 
the analysis estimated that the overall reduction in 
severe to fatal injuries attributable to Standard 
No. 201 is 9.3 percent. 

A similar comparison was made for occupant 
injuries in cars manufactured before and after 
Standards Nos. 203 and 204 went into effect. The 
comparison examined two sets of driver injuries 
that occurred in frontal crashes. One set consisted 
of injuries that could be specifically attributed to 
contact with the steering assembly; the other set 
consisted of neck, chest and abdominal injuries sus- 
tained by drivers in frontal crashes, the types of 
steering assembly-related injuries the standards 
are designed to reduce. The comparison found that 
Standards Nos. 203 and 204 reduced severe to 
fatal injuries by an average of 20.9 percent. The 



probability of an injured driver receiving an injury 
attributable to the steering assembly was an 
average of 19.4 percent. The analysis estimated 
that Standards Nos. 203 and 204 produced an 
overall average reduction of 3.7 percent in severe 
to fatal driver injuries. 

Loading Requirements 

At present, Standared No. 204 does not specify 
the loading requirements for vehicles in the 30 mph 
fixed barrier crash test required by the standard. 
In conducting Standard No. 204 compliance tests 
for passenger cars, the agency has loaded 
passenger cars to their unloaded vehicle weight 
(i.e., the weight of the vehicle with all the fluid, 
such as gas, oil and water, necessary for its opera- 
tion but without any occupants or cargo). This is 
the least severe loading condition used in the 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards that 
involve crash testing. This notice makes a technical 
amendment to Standard No. 204 to incorporate the 
agency long-standing loading practices. Those 
practices were publicly announced in the 
compliance test procedures publicly released by the 
agency when Standard No. 204 first went into 
effect in 1968. Passenger car certification informa- 
tion provided by manufacturers to NHTSA shows 
that they have consistently used unloaded vehicle 
weight as the loading condition in their testing. In 
some instances, manufacturers have voluntarily 
used more severe loading conditions in their 
certification testing. 

Commerical Vehicles 

Several final stage manufacturers and United 
Parcel Service requested the agency to exempt 
vehicles used in commercial applications from the 
standards. A similar exemption has previously 
been sought by the Truck Body and Equipment 
Association (TBEA) for Standard No. 212-76, 
Windshield Mounting, and Standard 219-75, 
Windshield Zone Intrusion. As with the TBEA 
request, NHTSA concludes that such an exemption 
should not be adopted since it is not in the interest 
of safety and is based on vehicle use instead of 
vehicle type. Such an exemption would mean that 
standards would be applied on the basis of the 
commercial or private use of the vehicle and not 
upon the safety needs of a particular vehicle type. 
Since the safety needs of similar vehicles usually 
are similar, it would be inappropriate to treat one 
set of vehicles differently merely because they are 
used commercially. 



PART 571; S 204-PRE-4 



The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety 
Act contemplates the application of the standards 
based on vehicle type instead of vehicle use. Basing 
a standard on vehicle use would present this agency 
with difficult enforcement problems. It would also 
place a manufacturer in the difficult position of 
having to assess in advance the potential future 
use of the vehicle it produces. In addition, basing 
standards application on vehicle use does not 
recognize that a vehicle may have two or more uses 
during its lifetime. 

For all these reasons, the agency concludes that 
applying standards based on vehicle use would not 
be appropriate. 

Walk-In Vans 

GM, MVMA and several final-stage manufac- 
turers requested the agency to exempt walk-in 
vans (i.e., the "step-van" city delivery type of vehicle 
that permits a person to enter the vehicle without 
stooping) from Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204. 
In the case of Standard No. 201, they argued that 
this type of vehicle frequently has none of the com- 
ponents covered by the standard, such as arm 
rests, sun visors and instrument panels to the right 
of the steering assembly. However, those vehicles 
do have an instrument panel in front of the driver 
and some walk-in vans do have a front passenger 
seat and an instrument panel in front of that seat 
which may be struck by an occupant during a 
crash. Applying Standard No. 201 to those vehicles 
will require the instrument panel to be padded to 
cushion occupant impacts. Based on the proven 
effectiveness of Standard No. 201 in passenger 
cars, the agency is extending the performance 
requirements of the standard to include walk-in 
vans and MPV's. 

The manufacturers argued that walk-in vans 
should be exempt from Standards Nos. 203 and 
204 also. They said that the driver steering 
assembly configuration found in walk-in vans 
makes it improbable that compliance with the 
standard will reduce drivers' injuries. They noted 
that the steering column is mounted in those 
vehicles at an angle of 55-60 degrees, compared to 
the mounting angle of 30 degrees found in conven- 
tional trucks, and the columns in walk-in vans 
move upward rather than rearward in a crash. The 
manufacturers also argued that these vehicles are 
generally used in urban areas, where there is more 



slow speed traffic than in rural areas. They pointed 
out that because of these factors, the agency has 
previously exempted walk-in vans from Standards 
Nos. 212-76, Windshield Retention, and 219-75, 
Windshields Zone Intrusion. The agency agrees 
that current energy absorbing steering column 
designs probably would provide little, if any, pro- 
tection in walk-in vans because of their uniques 
driver/ steering column configuration, and thus is 
exempting walk-in vans for the present. 

Belts in Forward Control Vehicles 

Although they did not object to requiring lap- 
shoulder belts in forward control vehicles as pro- 
posed in the agency's November 9, 1978 notice, 
several manufacturers and the MVMA objected to 
what they interpreted as a conflict between the 
agency's proposal and the current requirements of 
Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection. 
They argued that the agency's proposal not only 
would require lap and shoulder belts in forward 
control vehicles, but would also require such belts 
in open-body vehicles, convertibles and walk-in 
vans, which currently only have to have lap belts. 
The agency's proposal was directed only toward 
forward control vehicles and was meant to 
supersede the current requirements for those 
vehicles set in Standard No. 208. For organiza- 
tional simplicity, the agency is making a technical 
amendment to Standard No. 208 so that all belt 
requirements are centralized in that standard. The 
amendment only adopts the proposed change to 
the forward control vehicle belt requirements. It 
does not change the current belt requirements for 
open-body vehicles, convertibles and walk-in vans. 

MVMA requested the agency to require lap and 
shoulder belts in forward control vehicles for only 
one model year. MVMA did not provide any 
justification for that request. NHTSA believes that 
the important protection of lap and shoulder belts 
should be available to all forward control vehicles 
manufactured on or after September 1, 1981, and 
declines to adopt the MVMA request. 

Upgrading of Standard 

In their comments, the Center for Auto Safety 
and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 
renewed their requests that the agency set new 
performance requirements for Standard No. 203 to 
provide additional protection in angular impacts. 
The agency has conducted some preliminary 
testing to determine what additional requirements 



PART 571; S 204-PRE-5 



may be appropriate to increase protection in 
angular impacts. In addition, the agency's 
National Center for Statistics and Analysis has 
recently begun a special study to collect accident 
data on 1973 and later model vehicles to gather 
additional information on the effectiveness of 
energy- absorbing steering assemblies in angular 
and other crashes. Based on that data, NHTSA 
will make a determination of what further changes 
are needed in the standard. 

The American Automobile Association asked the 
agency to delay application of Standard No. 203 
until upgraded performance requirements are 
developed. However, because the agency does not 
want to delay providing the occupants of light 
trucks, buses and MPV's with the safety benefits 
of Standard No. 203, the agency is extending the 
standards to those vehicles while it continues to 
consider the feasibility of additional performance 
requirements. 

NHTSA is also considering possible additional 
requirements for Standard No. 201. The agency 
has scheduled a meeting for December 11, 1979, so 
that the public can present its views and ideas on 
ways of improving protection for children involved 
in vehicle collisions. In the September 4, 1979, 
notice announcing the meeting, the agency 
specifically asked for comments on possible 
improvements to the interior padding of vehicles to 
provide additional protection for children (44 FR 
51623). 

Heavy Trucks 

In the November 9, 1978 notice, NHTSA 
announced that it was evaluating whether to 
extend the applicability of Standards Nos. 201, 203 
and 204 to heavy trucks (i.e., trucks with a GVWR 
of more than 10,000 pounds) and solicited 
comments on appropriate performance 
requirements for those vehicles. In their com- 
ments, the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Associa- 
tion, Freightliner and International Harvester all 
opposed an extension of the standards to trucks 
with a GVWR greater than 10,000 pounds, arguing 
that there is no data showing a safety need for 
applying the standards to those vehicles. They also 
argued that because of the size and weight of heavy 
trucks, occupants in these vehicles do not 
experience the same energy transfers in a crash 
than passenger car occupants experience and thus 
theoretically should incur fewer or less severe 



injuries. At the agency's recent meeting on heavy 
truck safety, several participants provided in- 
formation on the need for greater crash protection 
for drivers of heavy trucks. NHTSA is currently 
analyzing that information to determine what 
additional heavy truck regulatory action may be 
needed. 
Miscellaneous Comments 

MVMA pointed out that Standard No. 201 
currently requires two sun visors in a vehicle and 
requested that a second visor not be required if 
there is no front passenger seat. NHTSA agrees 
that such a change is appropriate and has made the 
necessary amendment to the standard. 

Jeep Corp. objected to the application of 
Standard No. 201 to open-body MPV's, arguing 
that for Jeep to locate padding in the expected 
head impact area it would have to raise its padding 
or lower its seat, both of which it claimed would 
interfere with the driver's forward visibility. 
Jeep's comment appears to reflect a misunder- 
standing of Standard No. 201. The performance 
requirements of the standard only apply to areas of 
the instrument panel that are within the head 
impact area of each designated seating position. 
(The head impact area is the portion of the 
vehicle's interior that can be contacted by a head- 
form representing an occupant's head.) Thus, if a 
portion of Jeep's vehicle instrument panel is not 
within the head impact area, it does not have to 
comply. For portions of the panel that are within 
the head impact area, Jeep can make structural 
changes to the instrument panel to meet Standard 
No. 201 without adding additional padding. 
Therefore, Jeep's requested exemption for all 
open-body vehicles is denied. 

One final stage manufacturer, Boyertown Auto 
Body Works, asked NHTSA whether its driver 
side instrument panel was within the exeptions to 
Standard No. 201 and, if not, sought to have its in- 
strument panel construed to be a console assembly, 
which is exempt from the standard. Such an inter- 
pretation is not acceptable since Boyertown clearly 
labels the area in question as an instrument panel 
in its engineering drawings. However, according 
to the engineering drawing provided by Boyer- 
town, the limited section on the instrument panel 
of concern to Boyertown is within the area 
exempted by S3.1.1(d) of the standard. That 
section provides that the area of the interior 
immediately forward of the steering column is 
exempt from the standard. 



PART 571; S 204-PRE-6 



Costs and Leadtime 

NHTSA has considered the economic and other 
impacts of this final rule and determined that they 
are not significant within the meaning of 
Executive Order 12044 and the Department of 
Transportation's policies and procedures for 
implementing that order. The agency's assessment 
of the benefits and economic consequences of this 
proposal are contained in a regulatory evaluation 
which has been places in the public docket. As 
explained previously, copies of the regulatory 
evaluation can be obtained by writing NHTSA's 
docket section at the address given in the begin- 
ning of this final rule. 

As previously detailed in this notice, the agency 
has examined the effectiveness of Standards Nos. 
201, 203 and 204 in passenger cars and concluded 
that those standards have brought about a substan- 
tial reduction in overall injuries occurring to the 
passengers in those vehicles. Because they share 
the same driving environment as occupants in 
passenger cars, occupants in light trucks, buses 
and MPV's face a similar risk of injury posed by 
hazardous instrument panels and rigid steering 
columns. Based on its evaluation of the effec- 
tiveness of Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204 in 
passenger cars, the agency has concluded that 
applying those standards to light trucks, buses and 
MPV's can result in a reduction of 120 to 240 
fatalities and 4,400 to 8,900 serious injuries per 
year when all those vehicles comply with the 
standards. 

The agency's cost estimate for meeting 
Standards Nos. 201, 203 and 204 in light trucks, 
buses and MPV's take into account that many 
manufacturers have equipped some of their 
vehicles with components designed to meet the 
performance requirements of the standards. Those 
components may need little or no redesigning to 
fully comply with the standards. For example, 
American Motors, Chrysler, Ford, General 
Motors, International Harvester and Volkswagen 
commented that some, if not all, of their vehicles 
currently have components designed to comply 
with the standards or they will install such com- 
ponents in some of their vehicles by the 1981 model 
year. 

Only two manufacturers, Nissan and Ford, pro- 
vided any information about the costs associated 
with complying with the standards. Nissan said 



that the cost associated with complying with all 
three standards was $30. Ford estimated the cost 
for compliance with Standard No. 201 as $10 per 
vehicle; based on preliminary design assumptions. 
Ford put the cost of complying with Standards 
Nos. 203 and 204 in its van-type trucks, buses and 
MPV's at $120 per vehicle. 

To provide the agency with additional informa- 
tion about the estimated costs of complying with 
the three standards, NHTSA contracted with the 
John Z. DeLorean Corp. to evaluate current 
vehicles and determine what changes would be 
needed to bring the vehicles into compliance. Bases 
on its review of current foreign and domestic light 
trucks, buses and MPV's, DeLorean concluded 
that the total cost of compliance with the three 
standards would add a sales weighted average of 
$16 to the retail price of those vehicles. The 
DeLorean study reported that the vehicles requir- 
ing the most changes to meet Standards Nos. 201, 
203 and 204 were van-type trucks, buses and 
MPV's made by GM and Ford. DeLorean 
estimated that GM and Ford van-types vehicles 
would require a $27 increase in consumer price to 
comply with Standards Nos. 203 and 204 and a 
price increase ranging between $6 and $15 to 
comply with Standard No. 201. The agency 
believes that the substantial difference between 
DeLorean's and Ford's estimate of the cost of 
compliance with Standards Nos. 203 and 204 may 
be due to Ford's overestimate of the anticipated 
changes needed in the vehicles based on its 
preliminary design asssumptions. 

The agency's November 1978 notice proposed an 
effective date of September 1, 1980, for Standard 
No. 201 for all vehicles and for Standards Nos. 203 
and 204 for nonforward control vehicles. An effec- 
tive date of September 1, 1981, was proposed for 
Standards Nos. 203 and 204 for forward control 
vehicles to allow manufacturers additional time to 
make the necessary changes in those vehicles. In 
their comments on Standard 201, Chrysler and 
Ford said they could meet the standard in all their 
vehicles by the proposed effective date. Nissan, 
Toyo Kogyo and International Harvester (IH) 
requested from 18 to 24 months leadtime. General 
Motors requested 2V2 years' leadtime and 
American Motors requested 3 years. As a part of 
its NHTSA-funded study of the costs of complying 
with the standard, the DeLorean Corp. also 
examined the leadtime necessary to comply with 



PART 571; S 204-PRE-7 



the standard. For Standard No. 201, the DeLorean 
study concluded that only one year was needed for 
all vehicles except van-type trucks, buses and 
MPV's manufactured by Chrysler and GM, which 
needed two years. 

For Standards Nos. 203 and 204, Chrysler said 
that all its vehicles, except its incomplete forward 
control van-type vehicles, can comply by 
September 1, 1980. Chrysler did not provide an 
estimate of leadtime needed for its incomplete 
forward control vans. Nissan, Toyo Kogyo and IH 
requested from 18 to 24 months leadtime. Ford 
said its 1980 model year F-series trucks and 
Bronco models would comply with the standards 
and the Courier truck chassis cab imported by Ford 
would comply by September 1, 1981. Ford 
requested until September 1, 1982, for its van-type 
trucks, buses and MPV's. General Motors 
requested 2V2 years for all its vehicles and 
American Motors requested three years. 

The DeLorean study concluded that 18-24 
months of leadtime was needed for all models, 
except those made by Ford, which would require 
three years. DeLorean made its estimate of lead- 
time for Ford based on an assumption that Ford 



would need extra steering assembly tooling 
facilities. However, since Ford plans to introduce 
complying components on its 1980 model F series 
trucks and Bronco models. Ford has apparently 
developed the needed tooling capacity. 

Based on its analysis of the DeLorean study and 
of the industry's comments, NHTSA concludes 
that setting an effective date of September 1, 
1981, will allow sufficient time for all manufac- 
turers to comply with the standards. This action 
provides an additional year for all light trucks, 
buses and MPV's to meet Standard No. 201 and for 
nonforward control vehicles to meet Standards 
Nos. 203 and 204. 

The principal authors of this notice are William 
Smith, Office of Vehicle Safety Standards, and 
Stephen Oesch, Office of Chief Counsel. 

Issued on November 12, 1979. 



Joan Claybrook 
Administrator 



44 F.R. 68470 
November 29, 1979 



PART 571; S 204-PRE-8 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD 

NO. 204 

Steering Control Rearward Displacement— Passenger Cars 

(Docket No. 3) 



ACTION: Final rule; correction. 

SUMMARY: On November 29, 1979, NHTSA 
published in the Federal Register a final rule 
extending the applicability of Standard No. 204, 
Steering Control Rearward Displacement, to light 
trucks, buses and multipurpose passenger vehicles 
with an unloaded vehicle weight of 4,000 pounds or 
less (44 FR 68470). In amendment number 5 on 
page 68475 describing the changes made to Stand- 
ard No. 204, the notice said that a new section S6 
was added to the standard. However, the notice 
did not provide the text for a new section S6. The 
reference to a new section S6 is an error. No such 
section was to be added to Standard No. 204. The 
purpose of this correction is to make clear that the 
only changes to Standard No. 204 are the amend- 
ments to sections S2 and S4 and the addition of a 



new section S5. All of those changes are fully 
described on page 68475 of the November 29, 1979, 
Federal Register notice. 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 

Mr. William Smith, Office of Vehicle Safety 
Standards, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., 
Washington, D.C. 20590 (202-426-2242) 
Issued on January 28, 1980. 



Michael M. Finkelstein 
Associate Administrator 
for Rulemaking 

45 F.R. 7551 
February 4, 1980 



PART 571; S 204-PRE 9-10 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE 
SAFETY STANDARD NO. 204 

Steering Control Rearward Displacement 
(Docket No. 78-16; Notice 6) 



ACTION: Final rule. 

SUMMARY: This final rule amends Standard No. 

204, Steering Control Rearward Displacement, to 
extend its coverage of trucks, buses, and multi- 
purpose passenger vehicles. The standard currently 
applies to trucks, buses, and multipurpose pas- 
senger vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating 
(GVWR) of 10,000 pounds or less and an unloaded 
vehicle weight of 4,000 pounds or less. This final 
rule raises the unloaded vehicle weight limitation 
to 5,500 pounds. Agency research has consistently 
shown that steering assemblies are a major source 
of driver-related injuries in light trucks and 
multipurpose passenger vehicles (e.g., van-type 
passenger vehicles and utility vehicles). Limiting 
the amount of steering column displacement should 
help reduce those injuries since research has 
demonstrated the effectiveness of Standard No. 
204 in reducing steering column-related injuries. 

DATES: The effective date of changing the Code of 
Federal Regulations to reflect the amendments in 
this notice is January 7, 1988. The expanded 
application of the standard takes effect September 
1, 1991. Each truck, bus, and multipurpose pas- 
senger vehicle that is manufactured on or after 
that date, and has a gross vehicle weight rating of 
10,000 pounds or less and an unloaded vehicle 
weight of 5,500 pounds or less must comply with 
the requirements of the standard. 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On November 
9, 1978 (43 FR 53364), the agency proposed 
extending the applicability of Standard No. 204, as 
well as that of two other passenger car standards, 
to trucks, buses, and multipurpose passenger 
vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) 
of 10,000 pounds or less. The agency proposed these 
changes since research has indicated that additional 
safety improvements were needed to reduce 
steering assembly-related injuries to drivers of 
light trucks, utility and van-type vehicles. Based 
on the demonstrated effectiveness of steering 
assembly-related improvements in passenger cars, 
the agency amended Standard No. 204, Steering 
Column Rearward Displacement, on November 29, 
1979 (44 FR 68470) to extend its applicability to 
vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less and 



an unloaded vehicle weight of 4,000 pounds or less. 
The agency explained that it took that action while 
it continued to study methods for dealing with 
certification problems, which were fully discussed 
in the November 1979 notice, experienced by final- 
stage manufacturers of vehicles that have an 
unloaded vehicle weight greater than 4,000 pounds. 
On April 4, 1985 (50 FR 13403), NHTSA proposed 
to complete this rulemaking action by extending 
the benefits of Standard No. 204 to additional 
vehicles. Based on an analysis of the comments 
received in response to the notice, NHTSA has 
decided to adopt the proposal and extend the 
applicability of the standard to vehicles that have a 
gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 
pounds or less and an unloaded weight of greater 
than 4,000 pounds, but not greater than 5,500 
pounds. The issues raised by the commenters and 
the reasons for the agency's decision are discussed 
below. 

Support for the extension 

The commenters generally supported the pro- 
posed extension of the standard, although several 
of the commenters raised concerns about the lead- 
time. Chrysler said that it "generally concurs with 
the appropriateness of extending the applicability" 
of the standard. Chrysler said that most of its 
vehicles could comply with two years of leadtime. 
It did, however, request one year of additional 
leadtime for forward control vehicles, saying that 
the "very short front end and limited crush space 
on forward control vehicles requires the develop- 
ment of a very efficient energy management system 
to maximize passenger compartment integrity 
and control displacement of the steering assembly." 
Ford said that it did not object to the proposed 
extension, but questioned whether the strength- 
ening of a vehicle's front end to limit steering 
column intrusion could make the vehicle more 
aggressive in impacts with other vehicles. General 
Motors (GM) also questioned whether the structural 
changes made to comply with the standard would 
adversely affect the safety of occupants in vehicles 
struck by the light trucks, buses, and multipurpose 
passenger vehicles covered by the proposed rule. 
GM asked the agency to defer adoption of a final 
rule until this issue is resolved. 



PART 571; S204-PRE 11 



The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 
(IIHS) also supported the proposed extension saying 
that "the need for protection of drivers of these 
vehicles from steering assembly-related injuries 
has increased due to the growing popularity and 
increased numbers of vehicles in this weight range." 
IIHS urged the agency to consider an earlier 
effective date noting that some manufacturers 
may have already redesigned their steering 
columns in response to the earlier final rule 
extending the standard to some light trucks, vans, 
and multipurpose passenger vehicles. 

NHTSA has decided to adopt the proposed 
extension to light trucks, MPV's and buses with 
unloaded vehicle weight up to 5,500 pounds to 
reduce occupant deaths and injuries in those 
vehicles. NHTSA disagrees with Ford and GM 
that the extension will promote more aggressive 
vehicle designs and negatively affect the safety of 
occupants of passenger cars and vehicles not 
covered under today's rule. The vehicles affected 
by this final rule have already been designed to 
withstand the 30 mile per hour barrier impact 
tests required by Standards No. 212, 219, and 301. 
Neither GM nor Ford provided any information 
indicating why and to what degree further 
strengthening of the vehicle's frontal structure is 
needed to comply with Standard No. 204. NHTSA 
believes steering column designs are capable of 
limiting steering column intrusion without having 
to increase frontal stiffness. Therefore, the agency 
believes that extending the applicability of the 
standard need not increase the aggressivity of the 
vehicles covered by the standard. 

Effect on final stage manufacturers 

Winnebago Industries filed comments addressing 
the concern of small incomplete and final-stage 
manufacturers, such as itself. Winnebago explained 
that it manufactures a front wheel drive multi- 
purpose vehicle which consists of components 
supplied by a variety of companies. It expressed 
concern that if the proposed requirements were 
adopted, the burden of redesigning the affected 
vehicle components might fall on the final-stage 
manufacturer, which has limited engineering and 
financial resources. Winnebago said that final- 
stage manufacturers would have to conduct the 
necessary testing to determine whether the re- 
designed vehicle complied with the standard. 

The agency has considered the compliance 
difficulties described by Winnebago for final-stage 
manufacturers and has determined that the 5,500 
pound unloaded weight limit of this adopted 



extension of Standard No. 204 provides sufficient 
relief from those problems. As described in the 
proposal to this rule, the effect of this rule on the 
multi-stage manufacturing process has been ad- 
dressed in past rulemaking actions. A brief 
summary is appropriate. 

In November 1978, NHTSA proposed to extend 
Standard No. 204 and two other companion 
standards to all multipurpose passenger vehicles, 
trucks and buses with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or 
less. The final rule issued in November 1979 
extended Standard No. 204's applicability only to 
those vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or 
less and an unloaded vehicle weight of 4,000 
pounds or less. NHTSA explained that it took that 
action while it continued to study methods for 
dealing with certification difficulties experienced 
by final-stage manufacturers of vehicles having an 
unloaded vehicle weight greater than 4,000 pounds. 
NHTSA then completed its evaluation of possible 
solutions to those certification difficulties, and in 
rulemaking on Standard Nos. 212, Windshield 
Mounting, and 219, Windshield Zone Intrusion (45 
FR 22044; April 3, 1980), the agency provided the 
5,500 pound unloaded vehicle weight limit as a 
reasonable means of reducing compliance problems 
for final-stage manufacturers without com- 
promising occupant safety. 

Amending Standard No. 204 to adopt the 5,500 
pound weight limit thus completes the original 
plan of the agency to upgrade the performance of 
steering columns for multipurpose passenger 
vehicles, light trucks and buses, and succeeds in 
making test requirements consistent wherever 
possible. NHTSA is aware of no indications that 
final-stage manufacturers are experiencing com- 
pliance problems with Standards Nos. 212 and 219 
notwithstanding the 5,500 pound unloaded vehicle 
weight limit provided for their benefit, and is 
aware of no data showing that the 5,500 pound 
limit will provide insufficient relief in the case of 
Standard No. 204. In the absence of evidence 
substantiating the claims that the 5,500 pound 
limit will not provide the intended relief, NHTSA 
is proceeding with the extension of Standard No. 
204 as proposed. 

Use of a driver test dummy 

As presently codified in the Code of Federal 
Regulations, the text of Standard No. 204 is followed 
by a note setting forth two agency interpretations 
concerning the test procedures of the standard. 
The agency adopted these interpretations soon 
after the original standard was issued in 1967. The 



PART 571; S204-PRE 12 



first interpretation states that a driver test dummy 
may be used during a compliance test without 
measuring the impact force developed on the chest. 
The agency has never used a driver test dummy in 
its compliance test because of the possibility that 
the test dummy could interfere with the rearward 
displacement of the steering column. In addition, 
the use of such a dummy would preclude the use of 
a scratch tube device for measuring steering control 
dynamic displacement, which is the measurement 
device the agency has used in its compliance 
testing. (A scratch tube is a metal tube mounted to 
the steering column that has a sharp marking 
device that scratches the tube during a crash to 
indicate the amount of steering column displace- 
ment.) NHTSA explained that it was proposing to 
delete the interpretative note on the use of the test 
dummy since the agency believed the note was 
unnecessary, and because the agency understood 
that no manufacturer used a test dummy when 
conducting Standard No. 204 compliance tests. 

Both Ford and GM objected to the proposed 
deletion of the interpretative note permitting the 
use of a driver test dummy. Ford explained it does 
combined compliance tests for Standards Nos. 204, 
208, 212, 219, and 301 and noted that all of those 
tests, except for Standard No. 204, require the use 
of a test dummy in the driver's seat. GM opposed 
the proposed deletion because it uses a photographic 
technique for measuring steering column intrusion 
which is not affected by the presence of a test 
dummy. 

Although Ford and GM have provided new 
information on manufacturers' use of a test dummy 
for Standard No. 204 compliance testing, NHTSA 
still believes that the interpretative note is un- 
necessary and will delete it from the standard. 
NHTSA is aware of no reason for keeping the note 
in the standard. In fact, as explained below. Ford's 
and GM's comments indicate that the note en- 
gendecs some confusion about the nature of the 
compliance test procedures set forth in our motor 
vehicle safety standards, and this gives the agency 
further reason for deletion. 

It appears that Ford and GM object to removing 
the interpretative note because they believe such 
an amendment to Standard No. 204 is com- 
mensurate with a prohibition against the use of the 
test dummy. That belief reflects a misunder- 
standing of the compliance test procedures es- 
tablished by the Federal motor vehicle safety 
standards. The compliance testing procedure in 
any of the safety standards specify the procedures 
NHTSA will undertake in its compliance tests. 
Manufacturers, in certifying their vehicles, must 



exercise due care in ensuring that their vehicles 
will comply with the applicable motor vehicle 
safety standards when tested by this agency under 
the procedures set forth in the standards. Man- 
ufacturers are free to choose the manner in which 
to satisfy this "due care" standard and are )iot 
compelled to test their vehicles only in accordance 
with the procedures specified by any standard. 
Thus, NHTSA's removal of the test dummy note in 
Standard No. 204 does not prohibit manufacturers 
from continued use of a test dummy. This amend- 
ment does not reduce in any manner their preroga- 
tive to use a test dummy or any other device to 
determine compliance, and does not preclude them 
from demonstrating, in the event a potential non- 
compliance arises, that they have exercised due 
care in ensuring that their vehicles will comply 
with Standard No. 204 when tested by NHTSA 
with the scratch tube device described in the test 
procedures for the standard. 

Crash test speed correction factor 

The second NHTSA interpretation concerning 
Standard No. 204 explains how to correct steering 
column rearward displacement measurements for 
impact sp^-eds greater than 30 mph. NHTSA 
adopted the interpretation at a time when it was 
not possible to control closely a vehicle's impact 
speed in a barrier crash. At present, however, the 
test speeds for barrier impact tests can be precisely 
controlled to within ± 0.5 mph of the intended 
impact speed. Because of this advance in the state- 
of-the-art of impact testing, NHTSA believed that 
there was no longer a need for a correction factor 
and thus the agency proposed deleting it. 

Ford objected to the proposed deletion of the 
interpretative note providing a formula for ad- 
justing steering column displacement based on 
differences in impact speeds. Ford said that it 
conducts much of its barrier crash tests at 35 mph 
to determine how its vehicles will perform in the 
agency's New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) 
crash tests, which uses a 35 mph crash test. Ford 
said it is concerned that if it cannot use the formula 
to adjust the steering column displacement 
measured in 35 mph tests, it will have to conduct 
another test at 30 mph, to verify that its vehicles 
comply with Standard No. 204. Ford said that 
since the current formula has an upper limit of 33 
mph, it should be changed to 35 mph to promote the 
use of crash tests at that higher speed. 

In addition. Ford said that use of the formula 
promotes international harmonization since the 
regulations of the Economic Commission for 



PART 571; S204-PRE 13 



Europe (ECE) uses a barrier impact speed of 50 
km/h, which is equal to 31.1 mph. Ford said that 
because "manufacturers typically aim for test 
speeds above that required by the ECE standards 
in order to assure that all tests are at least equal to 
the required speed, actual test speeds would 
probably range from 31 to 32 mph." Further, 
because Ford was concerned that it would be no 
longer able to base its safety certification of current 
production or future carryover models on tests that 
relied on the speed correction factor, it asked the 
agency to provide a suitable period for man- 
ufacturers to adjust to the removal of the in- 
terpretative formula. 

NHTSA believes the interpretative note on the 
speed correction factor should be removed from 
Standard No. 204 for the same reasons the agency 
is removing the note on the test dummy. As 
explained above, NHTSA is removing the notes to 
improve the clarity of the standard. The agency is 
not limiting in any manner the ability of man- 
ufacturers to use the testing devices and mech- 
anisms described in the notes. Because the speed 
correction factor note in Standard No. 204 is not a 
form of "permission" allowing manufacturers to 
test their vehicles at speeds other than 30 mph, its 
removal should not affect manufacturers' com- 
pliance testing. Manufacturers may continue to 
combine their Standard No. 204 testing with the 
tests conducted for the NCAP and the ECE 
standards. Of course, manufacturers should ensure 
that their vehicles will meet the requirements of 
Standard No. 204 at 30 mph. 

Barrier test procedures 

GM was the only commenter to specifically 
address the proposed amendments to incorporate 
several test requirements that are used in the 
agency's other crash test standards. GM supported 
the proposed changes saying that it already has 
followed those test procedures in its own compliance 
tests. 

NHTSA has decided to adopt the changes as 
proposed. The pre-impact test procedures adopted 
in today's final rule require latching the vehicle's 
door, disengaging the parking brake, placing the 
transmission in neutral and inflating the vehicle's 
tires to the manufacturer's specified tire pressure, 
positioning an adjustable steering wheel at its mid- 
position, and filling the fuel tank to 90 to 95 percent 
of its capacity. These procedures have been followed 
in the agency's other crash test standards and 
adopting them in Standard No. 204 will make the 
agency's standards more consistent. 



Leadtime 

At the time that Standard No. 204 was originally 
e.xtended to trucks, buses and multipurpose 
passenger vehicles, the agency provided approx- 
imately two years of leadtime. This leadtime was 
based on a cost and engineering analysis performed 
for the agency that estimated the required leadtime 
as 18 to 24 months. In the April 1985 notice, the 
agency proposed to provide two years of leadtime 
for the proposed extension of the standard. 

In their comments, manufacturers requested 
from two to three years of leadtime to make the 
necessary changes. As discussed earlier, Chrysler 
said that most of its vehicles could comply with two 
years of leadtime. However, it requested one year 
of additional leadtime for forward control vehicles. 
Ford also indicated that "most of its current 
production of trucks, buses, and multipurpose 
passenger vehicles in the 4,000 to 5.500 pound 
weight range, including all conventional trucks in 
this weight range, would meet the column displace- 
ment limits." However, it also said that some of its 
van-type vehicles may have to be redesigned to 
comply with the requirements. Thus, Ford re- 
quested the agency to provide one additional year 
of leadtime. Winnebago Industries said it would 
need three years of leadtime — one year to assess 
the performance of its current vehicles and two 
years to make the necessary design changes. 

GM indicated that its vehicles could comply with 
two years of leadtime. GM said "it is expected that 
the C and K model Blazer, Suburban, and pickup 
truck models, and the standard size van models 
would require design changes to meet the proposed 
requirements." GM estimated that it would require 
"up to 25 months of lead time from design to 
production." GM also suggested that the standard 
might make it necessary for GM to have to impose 
new weight and center of gravity restrictions on its 
incomplete vehicles in the short term. In the longer 
term, restrictions may not be needed. 

After carefully consideringeach of the comments, 
the agency has decided to set a September 1, 1991 
effective date for the extended requirements of 
Standard No. 204. This date provides a sufficient 
amount of time to manufacturers who will be 
redesigning their vehicles to achieve compliance. 
While NHTSA acknowledges that manufacturers' 
comments indicate that many of their vehicles 
already comply with the standard and others will 
be able to comply with minimal design changes, 
the agency recognizes that the amount of redesign 
necessary to comply with the requirements of the 
standard will vary considerably from vehicle to 



PART 571; S204-PRE 14 



vehicle. The agency realizes that, as Chrysler 
observed in its comments, preparing an effective 
design for forward control vehicles can be difficult 
because of the lack of frontal structural in those 
vehicles. The effective date of this amendment to 
Standard No. 204 will accommodate redesigning 
efforts by all manufacturers without penalizing 
those who are faced with the more complex re- 
evaluation of their vehicles. 

NHTSA has provided the long leadtime period 
also to enable manufacturers to coordinate their 
Standard No. 204 design changes with those 
necessary to achieve compliance with new require- 
ments adopted for dynamically testing light trucks 
and multipurpose passenger vehicles with manual 
safety belts. NHTSA has adopted a September 1, 
1991 effective date for the safety belt rule, and the 
agency recognizes that manufacturers will be re- 
evaluating their vehicles and making necessary 
design changes to ensure that they can meet the 
new requirements. To avoid imposing excessive 
costs resulting from manufacturers having to make 
two separate sets of design changes, NHTSA has 
decided to set the September 1, 1991 effective date 
for both Standard Nos. 204 and 208. 

Cost and benefits 

NHTSA has examined the effect of this rule- 
making action and determined that it is not major 
within the meaning of Executive Order 12291 or 
significant within the meaning of the Department 
of Transportation's regulatory policies and pro- 
cedures. The agency has placed in the docket a 
regulatory evaluation of the economic and other 
effects of this rulemaking action. This regulatory 
evaluation has been placed in Docket No. 78-16; 
Notice 6. Any interested person may obtain a copy 
of this regulatory evaluation by writing to: NHTSA 
Docket .Section, Room 5109, 400 Seventh Street, 
S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590, or by calling the 
Docket Section at (202) 366-4949. 

To briefly summarize the regulatory evaluation, 
the agency estimates that the modifications 
necessary to comply with the standard will cost 
approximately $4.05 for trucks and $20.04 for 
multipurpose passenger vehicles and buses. The 
cost differential is due to the differences in vehicle 
configuration which, of course, affect the extent of 
the modifications needed to comply with Standard 
204. Because buses and multipurpose passenger 
vehicles, such as vans, have generally shorter front 
ends and higher steering column angles, and also a 
steering gear box that is mounted forward of the 
chassis frame, they typically require an additional 



intermediate steering shaft with double universal 
joints to meet the standard's limit on rearward 
displacement of the steering control. In contrast, 
light trucks would need only a co-axial slip joint to 
comply, which is less expensive than the the double 
"U" joint shaft described above. Since most of the 
vehicles in the 4,000-5,500 pound unloaded vehicle 
weight fleet are trucks, the average cost per 
affected vehicle is in the $7 to $9 range. Based on 
the estimated number of vehicles that are not 
currently in compliance, the total consumer cost of 
the amendment is $2.8 to $6.7 million per year. The 
agency estimates that this rulemaking action 
annually will reduce an estimated 12 to 23 fatalities 
and 146 to 275 serious injuries once all vehicles in 
the fleet meet the standard. 

Regulatory Flexibility Act 

NHTSA has also considered the impacts of this 
rulemaking action under the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act. I certify that it will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The primary cost effect of this final rule 
will be on incomplete vehicle manufacturers, which 
are large corporations. Although many final-stage 
manufacturers are small businesses, NHTSA 
estimates that most of those businesses would not 
be significantly affected by the requirements 
adopted today. The impacts on small businesses 
are discussed briefly below and in more detail in 
the agency's final regulatory evaluation, which has 
been placed in the docket for this final rule. 

NHTSA estimates that a substantial number of 
final -stage manufacturers will not be significantly 
affected by this final rule because of the 5,500 
pound limit on unloaded vehicle weight adopted 
today. In many instances, businesses involved in 
the final-stage manufacturing of a vehicle are 
adding substantial items of heavy work-performing 
equipment to a truck chassis, or are otherwise 
manufacturing vehicles with an unloaded vehicle 
weight of greater than 5,500 pounds. Since today's 
rule extends Standard No. 204 only to vehicles with 
an unloaded vehicle weight of 5,500 pounds or less, 
NHTSA believes most vehicles completed by final- 
stage manufacturers would not be covered by the 
requirements adopted today. 

In the case of vehicles that will be covered by the 
steering column displacement test requirement, 
converters and final-stage manufacturers have a 
number of different alternatives. The manufac- 
turers of the truck or van chassis used by final 
stage manufacturers are required to provide 
information on what center of gravity, weight, and 



PART 571; S204-PRE 15 



other limitations must be foiiowed for the vehicle to 
remain in compliance with all the agency's safety 
standards. Final-stage manufacturers and con- 
verters can stay within the limitations prescribed 
by the original chassis manufacturer and thus the 
final vehicle will continue to comply. They may 
also choose to finish the vehicle outside of the limits 
imposed by the original manufacturer and do the 
necessary testing or engineering analysis to show 
that the vehicle still complies with the steering 
column displacement requirement. Finally, alterers 
or final-stage manufacturers that use a chassis 
intended for a completed vehicle of 10,000 pounds 
or less GVWR may complete the vehicle so that its 
unloaded vehicle weight if greater than 5,500 
pounds, or use a vehicle with a GVWR greater 
than 10,000 pounds, and not be covered by the 
standard. 

Small organizations and governmental units 
should not be significantly affected. Those entities 
may be purchasing new vehicles covered by today's 
final rule, including some multistage manufactured 
vehicles. There might be a relatively small price 
increase for some vehicles, but NHTSA anticipates 
no significant impacts for any small entity. 

For the reasons set out in the preamble, section 
571.204 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regula- 
tions is amended as follows: 

51. Purpose and scope. This standard specifies 
requirements limiting the rearward displacement 
of the steering control into the passenger compart- 
ment to reduce the likelihood of chest, neck, or head 
injury. 

52. Application. This standard applies to pas- 
senger cars and to multipurpose passenger vehicles, 
trucks, and buses. However, it does not apply to 
walk-in vans. 

53. Definitions. 

"Steering column" means a structural housing 
that surrounds a steering shaft. 

"Steering shaft" means a component that trans- 
mits steering torque from the steering wheel to the 
steering gear. 

S4 Requirements. 

84. 1 Vehicles manufactured before September 
1,1991. 

When a passenger car or a truck, bus, or multi- 
purpose passenger vehicle with a gross vehicle 
weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less and an 



unloaded vehicle weight of 4,000 pounds or less is 
tested under the conditions of S5 in a 30 mile per 
hour perpendicular impact into a fixed collision 
barrier, the upper end of the steering column and 
shaft in the vehicle shall not be displaced more 
than 5 inches in a horizontal rearward direction 
parallel to the longitudinal axis of the vehicle. The 
amount of displacement shall be measured relative 
to an undisturbed point on the vehicle and shall 
represent the maximum dynamic movement of the 
upper end of the steering column and shaft during 
the crash test. 



54.2 Vehicles manufactured on or after Sep- 
tember 1, 1991. 

When a passenger car or a truck, bus, or multi- 
purpose passenger vehicle with a gross vehicle 
weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less and an 
unloaded vehicle weight of 5,500 pounds or less is 
tested under the conditions of S5 in a 30 mile per 
hour perpendicular impact into a fixed collision 
barrier, the upper end of the steering column and 
shaft in the vehicle shall not be displaced more 
than 5 inches in a horizontal rearward direction 
parallel to the longitudinal axis of the vehicle. The 
amount of displacement shall be measured relative 
to an undisturbed point on the vehicle and shall 
represent the maximum dynamic movement of the 
upper end of the steering column and shaft during 
the crash test. 

S5 Test conditions. The requirements of S4 
shall be met when the vehicle is tested in accordance 
with the following conditions. 

55.1 The vehicle, including test devices and 
instrumentation, is loaded to its unloaded vehicle 
weight. 

55.2 Adjustable steering controls are adjusted 
so that a tilting steering wheel hub is at the 
geometric center of the locus it describes when it is 
moved through its full range of driving positions. A 
telescoping steering control is set at the adjustment 
position midway between the forwardmost and 
rearwardmost position. 

55.3 Convertibles and open-body type vehicles 
have the top, if any, in place in the closed passenger 
compartment configuration. 



PART 571; S204-PRE 16 



55.4 Doors are fully closed and latched but not Issued on November 18, 1987 
locked. 

55.5 The fuel tank is filled to any level from 90 

to 95 percent of capacity. i^ Cf h 

55.6 The parking brake is disengaged and the ^'^"^ K. &ieea 
. . • • .„„, Admmistrator 

transmission is in neutral. 

55.7 Tires are inflated to the vehicle man- 52 F.R. 44893 
ufacturer's specifications. November 23, 1987 



PART 571; S 204-PRE 17-18 



MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 204 

Steering Control Rearward Displacement— Passenger Cars 

Multipurpose Passenger Vehicles, Trucks and Buses 

(Docket No. 3) 



51. Purpose and scope. This standard specifies 
requirements limiting tlie rearward displacement 
of the steering control into the passenger compart- 
ment to reduce the likelihood of chest, neck, or 
head injury. 

52. Application. This standard applies to 
passenger cars and to multipurpose passenger 
vehicles, trucks and buses. 

53. Definitions. 

"Steering column" means a structural housing 
that surrounds a steering shaft. 

"Steering shaft" means a component that 
transmits steering torque from the steering wheel 
to the steering gear. 

[S4. Requirements. 

54.1 Vehicle manufactured before September 1, 
" 1991. 

When a passenger car or a truck, bus, or 
multipurpose passenger vehicle with a gross vehi- 
cle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less and an 
unloaded vehicle weight of 4,000 pounds or less is 
tested under the conditions of S5 in a 30 mile per 
hour perpendicular impact into a fixed collision 
barrier, the upper end of the steering column and 
shaft in the vehicle shall not be displaced more 
than 5 inches in a horizontal rearward direction 
parellel to the longitudinal axis of the vehicle. The 
amount of displacement shall be measured relative 
to an undisturbed point on the vehicle and shall 
represent the maximum dynamic movement of the 
upper end of the steering column and shaft during 
the crash test. 

54.2 Vehicle manufactured on or after September 1, 
1991. 

When a passenger car or a truck, bus, or 
multipurpose passenger vehicle with a gross vehi- 



cle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less and an 
unloaded vehicle weight of 5,500 pounds or less is 
tested under the conditions of S5 in a 30 mile per 
hour perpendicular impact into a fixed collision 
barrier, the upper end of the steering column and 
shaft in the vehicle shall not be displaced more 
than 5 inches in a horizontal rearward direction 
parallel to the longitudinal axis of the vehicle. The 
amount of displacement shall be measured relative 
to an undisturbed point on the vehicle and shall 
represent the maximum dynamic movement of the 
upper end of the steering column and shaft during 
the crash test. 

S5 Test Conditions. The requirements of S4 
shall be met when the vehicle is tested in accor- 
dance with the following conditions. 

55.1 The vehicle, including test devices and in- 
strumentation, is loaded to its unloaded vehicle 
weight. 

55.2 Adjustable steering controls are adjusted 
so that a tilting steering wheel hub is at the 
geometric center of the locus it describes when it is 
moved through its full range of driving positions. A 
telescoping steering control is set at the adjust- 
ment position midway between the forwardmost 
and reawardmost position. 

55.3 Convertibles and open-body type vehicle 
have the top, if any, in place in the closed 
passenger compartment configuration. 

85.4 Doors are fully closed and latched but not 
locked. 

S5.5The fuel tank is filled to any level from 90 to 
95 percent of capacity. 

55.6 The parking brake is disengaged and the 
transmission is in neutral. 

55.7 Tires are inflated to the vehicle manufac- 
turer's specifications. (52 F.R. 44893— November 23, 
1987. Effective: January 7, 1988)1 



(Rev. 11/23;87) 



PART 571; S 204-1 



Interpretations of the steering column may be corrected to 30 

(1) When conducting the barrier collision test, a miles per hour by means of the following formula: 
driver dummy may be used without measuring the Di_ Vi^ 

impact force developed on the chest. Dz " V 2^ 

(2) In the event that the vehicle impacts the 

barrier at a velocity not less than 30 miles per hour 32 F.R. 2414 

nor more than 33 miles per hour, the displacement February 3, 1967 



PART 571; S 204-2 



■ffwMv*: S^ptambM 19, 19M 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 205 

Glazing Matarials — PaM*ng«r Cars, Multipurpos* V«hiclos, MotorcyclM, Trucks, and 

Bus«s 

(Docket No. 9) 



Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 206 (32 
F.R. 2414) as amended (32 F.R. 10072) specifies 
requirements for glazing materials for use in 
passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, 
motorcycles, trucks, and buses. 

As a result of inquiries seeking clarification of 
the applicability of the Federal motor vehicle 
safety standards to campers, a ruling was pub- 
lished in the Federal Register on March 26, 1968 
(FHWA Ruling 68-1) (33 F.R. 5020) which 
specified that the glazing standard is applicable 
to slide-in campers because they are items of 
motor vehicle equipment for use in motor ve- 
hicles and to chassis-mount campers. 

The glazing standard requires that glazing 
materials "conform to the United States of 
America Standards Institute 'American Standard 
Safety Code for Safety Glazing Materials for 
Glazing Motor Vehicles Operating on Land 
Highways,' ASA Standard Z26.1— 1966." As a 
result, windshields and forward facing windows 
are required to be ASl laminated glass. 

The Federal Highway Administration has re- 
ceived petitions for rule making requesting that 
forward facing windows on campers be allowed 
to use AS2 or ASS laminated glass which is able 
to meet the Z26.1-1966 penetration resistance test, 
No. 26, required of ASl type glass. The requests 
point out that ASl type glass which is presently 
required for forward facing windows in campers 
is unduly expensive and unnecessary for camp- 
ers because ASl type glass must meet stringent 
optical tests. The petitioners argue that forward 
facing windows on campers should not have to 
meet these stringent optical tests because the 
windows are not used for driver visibility. 

The Administrator has determined that grant- 
ing the petitions would not reduce the protection 



afforded the public by the standard. Accord- 
ingly the glazing standard is being amended to 
allow AS2 or ASS laminated glass in forward 
facing windows of campers if the glass is able 
to meet the penetration resistance test. The 
amendment will require that forward facing 
windows in campers conform to ASl type lejni- 
nated safety glass ; or AS2 type laminated safety 
glass that meets Test 26 of Z26.1-1966; or ASS 
type laminated safety glass that meets the re- 
quirements of Test 26 of Z26.1-1966. The latter 
two glazing materials will be identified by the 
characters AS2-26 and AS3-26 respectively. 

The Federal Highway Administration has re- 
ceived a petition for rule making requesting that 
Standard No. 205 be amended so that paragraph 
S3.2 Edges be changed to provide that exposed 
edges must meet the Society of Automotive Engi- 
neers Recommended Practice J673a, Automotive 
Glazing, August 1967, instead of the SAE Rec- 
ommended Practice J673, Automotive Glazing, 
June 1960. The petition also requests that the 
words "except that the minimum edge radius 
dimension shall not be lees than the nominal 
thickness of the glazing material" be deleted 
because this requirement is already included in 
the SAE Recommended Practice J67Sa. These 
requests would allow minor imperfections in 
edging that would not diminish the safety bene- 
fits derived from the requirements but would 
allow normal manufacturing tolerances. These 
requests are granted and Standard No. 206 is 
being amended accordingly. 

The Administrator has received a petition 
concerning certification requirements for prime 
manufacturers of glazing materials; prime glaz- 
ing material manufacturers being those who fab- 
ricate, laminate or temper glazing materials. 



PART 671; S 206— PRE 1 



MNcHv*: SaplwnWr 19, IMS 



The Petitioner states that he has encountered 
practical problems in the use of certification 
labels because: (a) glass stored for appreciable 
lengths of time, covered by the label, may 
"weather" in a different manner from the re- 
maining areas of the glass (b) labels on indi- 
vidual lights of glass can produce pressure points 
due to local area loading and may result in 
breakage during shipment and storage, and (c) 
certification labels can become separated from 
the material prior to delivery from consigned 
stock distributors to non-stocking distributors. 

The Petitioner points out that Standard No. 
205 requires marking of safety glazing materials 
in accordance with paragraph 6 of the United 
States pf America Standards Institute (USASI) 
Standard Z26.1-1966. The Petitioner requests 
that the permanent marking on the glazing ma- 
terial required by Standard No. 205, with the 
addition of the symbol "DOT", be allowed as an 
alternative method of certification required under 
Section 114 of the National Traffic and Motor 
Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 (15 USC 1401). This 
petition is granted provided that the symbol 
"DOT" and an approved two digit manufac- 
turer's code number is included in the permanent 
marking. Any prime glazing material manu- 
facturer may apply for an approved two digit 



manufacturer's code number assignment to the 
Director, National Highway Safety Bureau, 
Washington, D.C. 20591. 

Since these amendments relieve restrictions, 
provide alternative means of compliance and 
create no additional burden the Administrator 
finds, for good cause shown, that it is in the 
public interest to make them effective upon date 
of issuance. 

In consideration of the foregoing. Section 
371.21 of Part 371, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard No. 205 (32 F.R. 2414) as amended 
(32 F.R. 10072) is amended. . . . 

These amendments are made under the author- 
ity of Sections 103 and 119 of the National Traffic 
and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 (15 USC 
1392, 1407) and the delegation of authority con- 
tained in section 1.4(c) of Part I of the Regu- 
lations of the Office of the Secretary (49 CFR 
1.4(c)). 

Issued in Washington, D.C, on September 13, 
1968. 

John R. Jamieson, Deputy 
Federal Highway Administrator 

33 F.R. 14162 
S«pt«mb«r 19, 19M 



PART 571; S 206— PRE 2 



WncHwi Mofch If iVvv 



PREAAABLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 205 

dcadng Matorialt 
(Dedc«f No. 23; Netic* 2) 



Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 206 speci- 
fies requirements for glazing materials for use 
in passenger cars, multipurpose passenger ve- 
hicles, motorcycles, trucks, and buses. 

As a result of inquiries seeking clarification 
of the applicability of the Federal motor vehicle 
safety standards to campers, a ruling was pub- 
lished in the Federal Register on March 26, 1968 
(33 F.R. 5020), which specified that the glazing 
standard (No. 205) is applicable to slide- in camp- 
ers because they are items of motor vehicle 
equipment for use in motor vehicles. 

Standard No. 205 requires, among other things, 
that glazing materials "conform to the United 
States of America Standards Institute 'American 
Standard Safety Code of Safety Glazing Ma- 
terials for Glazing Motor Vehicles Operating on 
Land Highways,' ASA Standard Z26.1-1966" 
(hereafter Z26.1-1966). 

By order published in the Federal Register on 
September 19, 1968 (33 F.R. 14162), section S3.2 
of the Standard was amended to allow the use 
of AS2 or AS3 laminated glass in forward facing 
windows of campers provided such glass met the 
requirements of Test 26 of Z26.1-1966. On the 
assumption that Z26.1-1966, as incorporated in 
Standard No. 205, required the use of ASl type 
laminated glass in forward facing windows of 
campers, the Administrator found that this 
amendment relieved restrictions, provided alter- 
nate means of compliance and created no addi- 
tional burdens. Accordingly, the amendment 
was made effective immediately. 

Thereafter, petitions for rec<Misideration were 
filed on the grounds, among others, that properly 
interpreted Z26.1-1966 permitted the use of ASl, 
AS2, AS3, AS4, and.ASS glazing material in 
forward facing camper windows and that, there- 



fore, the September amendment did not relax an 
existing requirement but in fact imposed addi- 
tional lestrictions upon manufacturers by limit- 
ing the types of glazing materials allowable for 
use in such windows. Consequently, it is urged 
that notice of that amendment should have been 
given and interested parties afforded an oppor- 
tunity to comment. 

The Administrator recognizes that, prior to 
the issuance of the September amendment, 
Standard No. 205 as initially promulgated could 
have been reasonably interpreted as allowing the 
use of ASl, AS2, AS3, AS4, and AS5 glazing 
materials in the forward facing windows of 
campers, that many manufacturers could have 
reasonably acted in reliance upon such a reading, 
that a great deal of confusion concerning the 
requirements has and continues to exist and that, 
in fact, comments focusing directly upon the 
proper glazing materials required in forward 
facing windows of campers have not been spe- 
cifically solicited by the Administration. In the 
light of all of these circumstances it is consid- 
ered appropriate to revoke section S3.2 — ^"Ma- 
terials for use in forward facing windows of 
campers" of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard No. 205, as amended (33 F.R. 14162), 
as well as any interpretation that would have 
required the use of ASl glass only in forward 
facing camper windows. The net effect of this 
action is to permit, subject to further rulemaking 
action,' the use of glazing materials that peti- 
tioners represent are presently being used, i.e., 
ASl, AS2, AS3, AS4, and AS5 glazing materials 
referred to in Z26.1-1966. 

Since this amendment relieves restrictions and 
creates no additional burden the Administrator 
finds good cause is shown that an effective date 
earlier than 180 days after issuance in the 



PART 571; S 205— PRE 3 



MmHv«: March 1, I9«« 



public interest and the amendment is made ef- 
fective upon date of issuance. 

In consideration of the foregoing, § 371.21 of 
Part 371, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
No. 205 as amended (33 F.R. 14162) is amended 
by revoking S3.2 — "Materials for use in forward 
facing windows of campers". 

(Sees. 103, 119, National Traffic and Motor 
Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 (15 U.S.C. 1892, 
1407) ; delegation of authority contained in 



§ 1.4(c) of Part 1 of the regulations of the Office 
of the Secretary (49 CFR 1.4(c) ) 
Issued : February 27, 1969. 

John R. Jamieson, Deputy 
Federal Highway Administrator 



* See notice of proposed rule maklDc pabllabed at 
34 F.R. 3686, which propooes gUslng requlrementi for 
forward facing windows of camiwrs. 

34 F.I. 36l« 

March 1, 1969 



PABT 671; S 206— PRE 4 



(bMpI a* M«*d In rii* lulal 
MiMM^i JuM 14, 1973 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHIQE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 205 

Glazing Materials 
(Docket No. 71-1; NoKco 3) 



The purpose of this notice is to amend Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standard No. 205, "Glazing Ma- 
terials," to permit the use of certain plastic ma- 
terials in motor vehicles in addition to those 
presently allowed ; to modify the certification and 
labeling requirements; and to modify the test for 
the chemical resistance of plastic materials. It 
also clarifies the applicability of the standard to 
motor vehicle equipment, and the provisions of 
the standard dealing with readily removable 
windows. 

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 
205 was initially published February 3, 1967 (32 
F.R. 2414), and amended July 8, 1967 (32 F.R. 
10072), September 19, 1968 (33 F.R. 14162), and 
March 1, 1969 (34 F.R. 3688). On January 9, 
1971, a notice of proposed rulemaking (Docket 
71-1, Notice 1) was published based upon peti- 
tions for rulemaking received from the Eastman 
Chemical Products, Inc., and the California 
Highway Patrol. The former requested that the 
standard be amended to allow the use of butyrate 
plastic materials, and the latter requested changes 
in the requirements of the standard dealing with 
the marking of glazing materials. This amend- 
ment responds to both of these petitions and also 
modifies the stand&rd as a result of independent 
agency action. 

Standard No. 205 is applicable to "glazing ma- 
terials for use in passenger cars, multipurpose 
passenger vehicles, trucks, buses and motorcycles." 
It is also applicable, under FHWA Ruling 68-1 
(33 F.R. 5020, March 26, 1968), to glazing for use 
in slide-in and chassis-mount campers. This 
amendment to Standard No. 205 incorporates the 
substance of FHWA Ruling 68-1 into the appli- 
cability section of the standard and specifies, in 
accordance with the notice of March 1, 1969 
(Docket 23; Notice 2, 34 F.R. 3688) the glazing 



materials that are permitted to be used in these 
equipment items. 

The notice of January 9, 1971, proposed to re- 
vise the incorporation by reference of American 
Standards Association Test (ASA) Z26.1-1966 to 
include supplement Z26.1a-1969, March 7, 1969, 
and to reflect the change in the name of the Amer- 
ican Standards Association to the American Na- 
tional Standards Institute. No objections were 
raised in the comments to these proposals, and 
they are incorporated into the standard by this 
amendment. 

The notice proposed to modify the chemical re- 
sistance tests incorporated into the standard 
(Tests 19 and 20), by deleting carbon tetrachlo- 
ride as a testing agent and by adding trichlor- 
ethylene. The tests are designed to test the 
resistance of plastic materials to chemicals that 
are commonly used to clean them. By this notice, 
carbon tetrachloride is deleted from the list of 
materials. As indicated in the notice of proposed 
rulemaking, the deletion is commensurate with 
the ban imposed by the Food and Drug Admin- 
istration on this substance because of its high 
toxicity. At the same time, the NHTSA has de- 
cided not to include either trichlorethylene or 
freon in the list of testing agents. The comments 
have indicated that these substances are not com- 
monly used as cleaning agents, and accordingly 
they are not used for test purposes. 

The major revision proposed by the notice, 
based upon a petition for rulemaking from the 
Eastman Chemical Products Co., Inc., was to al- 
low additional plastic materials to be used in 
motor vehicles. The petitioner claimed that the 
requested materials would meet any test to which 
other plastic materials are subjected, except for 
resistance to undiluted denatured alcohol (For- 



PART 671; S 205— PRE 5 



MhcNvat April I, 1973 
(Exnpt m netod In Hm IiiI*) 
MuiMd: Jun* 14, 1972 

mula SD 30), where a slight tackiness would oc- 
cur. Rather than merely exempt these plastics 
from the alcohol resistance requirement, the no- 
tice suggested that they still be subjected to the 
same chemicals as other plastics, but that if 
structural integrity were maintained, a loss of 
transparency would be allowed. The notice for 
the same reason proposed not to subject these 
materials to the abrasion and weathering tests 
applied to other plastics. Instead, the proposal 
would have required labels to be affixed to the 
material specifying cleaning agents and instruc- 
tions that would minimize loss of transparency, 
and would have restricted them to locations in 
motor vehicles where loss of transparency would 
not affect driver visibility. 

Based upon information received during the 
rulemaking process, the NHTSA has determined 
that the materials in question exhibit character- 
istics which make them satisfactory from the 
standpoint of safety for use in certain motor 
vehicle applications. Many comments, however, 
opposed the approach taken by NHTSA in the 
proposed rule, and as a result the proposed re- 
quirements have been changed. The standard as 
now amended will provide that these materials 
not be required to show resistance to undiluted 
denatured alcohol if (1) they show resistance to 
the other chemicals presently specified as testing 
agents, (2) they can meet the other tests to which 
other plastic materials are subjected, and (3) they 
are used in only limited locations in the motor 
vehicle. In addition, they must be labeled, as 
proposed, with instructions regarding cleaning 
that will minimize a loss of transparency. 

Some comments also objected to certain loca- 
tions where the additional plastic materials would 
have been allowed to be used: specifically, aux- 
iliary wind deflectors and folding doors. The 
comments suggested that transparency is an im- 
portant characteristic for glazing used in these 
locations, and that materials not resistant to For- 
mula SD 30 alcohol should not be used in them. 
The NHTSA has determined that these comments 
have merit, and has not permitted these materials 
to be used in the two locations. 

The notice of proposed rulemaking would have 
required all interior mirrors, both rearview and 
vanity-type, to be constructed of glazing ma- 



terials that meet the requirements of ANS Z26. 
As a result of comments received, the NHTSA 
has determined that the requirements should not 
be applied to interior mirrors. With regard to 
rearview mirrors, many are today constructed of 
annealed glass of a wedge shape, in the form of 
day /night mirrors. The comments have indicated 
that materials allowed to be used pursuant to 
ANS Z26 do not make satisfactory day/night 
mirrors. As these mirrors have clear safety ad- 
vantages when used in night driving conditions, 
the NHTSA has determined that their elim- 
inaticm would not be in the best interests of 
safety. With reference to other vehicle interior 
mirrors, while the use of safety glazing in them 
is preferable, there is presently a lack of data 
which shows a compelling need for changing cur- 
rent industry practices. This is especially im- 
portant where, as here, much of the equipment 
involved is not peculiarly adapted to motor ve- 
hicle usage. One particular type of mirror, a 
sun-visor mirror, falls within the purview of 
Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 201, "Oc- 
cupant Protection in Interior Impact," and will 
be dealt with as part of that standard. 

The notice of proposed rulemaking prescribed 
a scheme for the marking and certification of 
glazing materials which would have required 
prime glazing manufacturers to certify glazing 
materials by applying to the glazing material the 
symbol DOT and an appropriate code mark, to- 
gether with the marking required by section 6 
of ANS Z26. The proposal would have also 
required these markings to be in a specified 
format and in a specific location of the completed 
glazing. Other than primary manufacturers 
would have been required to certify the material 
by affixing the mark of the primary manufacturer. 

As amended Standard No. 205 will require 
prime manufacturers to certify glazing material, 
as proposed, by adding to the markings required 
by section 6 of ANS Z26 the symbol DOT and 
a code mark obtained on application to the 
NHTSA. Those who as manufacturers or dis- 
tributors cut glazing for use in motor vehicles 
from larger sheets are required to certify con- 
formity to the standard in any way they choose, 
as long as the method chosen is consistent with 
Section 114 of the National Traffic and Motor 



PART 571; S 206— PRE 6 



Vehicle Safety Act. One such method would be 
to aiBx a label to the completed piece of glazing 
containing a statement to the effect that the ma- 
terial conforms to Standard No. 205. The pro- 
posed requirement that such manufacturers label 
the material with the marking of the prime manu- 
facturer has been deleted, as is the proposed re- 
quirement that would have required the markings 
to appear in a specified order, or in specific loca- 
tions on the glazing material. 

An issue arose during the period that this 
rulemaking was under consideration concerning 
the use of plastics in side windows of buses. 
General Motors has requested an interpretation 
of Standard No. 205 that would include within 
the definition of "readily-removable windows" 
emergency escape windows which can be pushed 
out, except for one side which is hinged to the 
window frame, without the use of any special 
tools. The NHTSA has concluded that the term 
"readily removable windows" includes windows 
of this design, and in this amendment so clarifies 
Standard No. 205. 

Elective dates: The addition of glazing ma- 
terials to those already allowed imposes no addi- 
tional burdens on any person, and relieves 
restrictions on the types of glazing materials 



MmMv*: April 1, 1*73 

(Excvpl m n«t*d In Iti* lul*) 

RclitiMd: Jun* 14, 1973 

which can be used. That part of the amendment 
pertaining to the addition of these materials, 
paragraphs S5.1.1.2, S5.1.1.3, andS5.1.2, is effec- 
tive upon publication of this notice in the Federal 
Register. Similarly, both the deletion of the test 
for chemical resistance of plastics to carbon tet- 
rachloride in paragraph S5.1.1.1, and the clarifica- 
tion of "readily-removable windows" in S5.1.1.4 
relieve restrictions, and the effective date of those 
amendments is the date of publication of this 
notice. The other amendments to the standard 
are effective April 1, 1973. 

In light of the above. Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard No. 205, appearing at 49 CFR section 
571.205, is revised. . . . 

This notice is issued pursuant to the authority 
of sections 103, 114, and 119 of the National Traf- 
fic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 1392, 
1403, 1407) and the delegation of authority at 
49 CFR 1.51. 



Issued on June 14 ,1972. 



Douglas W. Toms 
Administrator 

37 F.R. 12237 
Jun* 21, 1972 



PART 571; S 205— PRE 7-8 



Effactiv*: April 1, 1973 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 205 

Glazing Materials 
(Docket 71-1; Notice 4) 



This notice responds to ijetitions for reconsid- 
eration of an amendment published June 21, 
1972 (37 F.R. 12237), to Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard No. 205, "Glazing Materials" (49 CFll 
§571.205). Petitions were received from the 
Recreational Vehicle Institute (RVI) and the 
California Highway Patrol. To the extent that 
this notice does not grant the requests of the 
petitioners, they are hereby denied. 

In the amendment of June 21, the NHTSA 
changed the application section of the standard, 
based on FHWA Ruling 68-1 (33 F.R. 5020, 
March 26, 1968) to expressly include glazing for 
use in all campers, and defined campers to include 
both slide-in or "pickup" campers (including a 
related item, pickup covers) and chassis-mount 
campers (campers mounted directly onto truck 
chassis). The 1968 ruling held that Standard 
No. 205 applied to glazing for use in slide-in 
campers, and that glazing for use in chassis- 
mount campers came within the standard when 
the camper was ultimately attached to a chassis, 
as the standard applied expressly to the glazing 
of the completed vehicle, a multipurpose pas- 
senger vehicle. The petitioner objects to this 
amendment on the basis that the recreational 
vehicle industry has distinguished between the 
two camper types, and has considered the lattei 
a motor home (a multipurpose passenger vehicle 
under Standard No. 205), and the former an 
item of motor vehicle equipment. It requests 
in its petition that this earlier distinction l)e 
retained in the standard. 

The NHTSA has determined that the petition 
of RVI in this regard should be granted, and the 
applicability section of the standard is amended 
to refer specifically both to glazing for use in 
"slide-in campers", as that term is defined in 



Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 126, Truck- 
Camper Loading, (49 CFR 571.126), and to glaz- 
ing for use in pickup covers. Chassis-mount 
campers are included in a newly defined category 
of multipurpose passenger vehicle, "motor home", 
and glazing for use in them is subject to the 
standard insofar as they are incorporated into 
completed vehicles. 

The RVI petition also requested that the re- 
quirements of the standard for glazing for use 
in . multipurpose passenger vehicles (including 
chassis-mount campers and other motor homes) 
be clarified, suggesting that the requirements be 
made identical to those for passenger car glaz- 
ing, with an exception in the case of motor homes 
for locations other than windshields, and win- 
dows directly to the right and left of the driver. 
It further requested that forward-facing win- 
dows of motor homes be considered to be "open- 
ings in the roof" under ANS Z.26. The NHTSA 
has previously, as a matter of interpretation, 
taken the position that is embodied in this amend- 
ment, that for the purposes of Standard No. 205 
glazing for use in multipurpose passenger ve- 
hicles is subject to the requirements for glazing 
for use in trucks. This is based on the definition 
of multipurpose passenger vehicle in section 
571.3: "A motor vehicle with motive power, ex- 
cept a trailer, designed to carry 10 persons or 
less, which is constructed either on a truck chassis 
or with special features for occasional off-road 
operation". The agency has decided to adhere 
to this position. 

An exception is hereby adopted for motor 
home windows other than windshields, forward- 
facing windows, and windows directly to the 
right and left of the driver. Manufacturers may 
use in these other locations any type of glazing 



PART 571; S 205— PRE 9 



EffMMv*: April 1, 1973 



allowed by the standard to be used in motor 
vehicles. This is the position previously adopted 
for slide-in campers, which have a purpose and 
use similar to motor homes. The eflfect of this 
provision is to allow the use in motor iiomes, 
except for windshields, forward- facing windows, 
and windows to the immediate right and left of 
the driver, of any item authorized for use in 
motor vehicles by Standard No. 205. Wind- 
shields and windows to the immediate right and 
left of the driver must conform to the require- 
ments applicable to trucks for those locations. 
Forward-facing windows may be manufactured 
of any item authorized for use by the Standard 
except item 6 (AS 6), item 7 (AS 7), and item 
13 (AS 13) flexible plastics. 

The California Highway Patrol has petitioned 
for reconsideration of that part of the amend- 
ment which seemed to delete a requirement that 
persons who cut glazing material must place on 
the cut material the prime manufacturer's mark- 
ing. Section 6 of ANS Z26 requires sections of 
glazing cut from pieces bearing the markings 
required by that section to be identically marked. 
The June 21 notice did not delete this provision. 
It deleted that part of the proposed requirements 
specifying that persons who cut glazing materials 
include the DOT symbol and the prime manu- 
facturer's code number. The language of the 
preamble (p. 12238, col. 3) was intended to re- 
flect only that fact. This amendment clarified 
those requirements to make it clear that persons 
who cut glazing must include the markings re- 



quired by section 6 of ANS Z26 on each cut 
piece. The amendment also provides that the 
prime manufacturer's DOT symbol and code 
number are to be affixed only to glazing items 
made by the prime manufacturer as components 
for si^ecific vehicles, and not on sheets to be cut 
into comiwnents by other persons. 

The marking provisions are further amended 
to specify that the new items of glazing material 
authorized by the amendment of June 21 be 
identified for purposes of marking by the marks 
"AS 12" and "AS 13". The use of these marks 
does not indicate approval by the American 
National Standards Institute, but is specified for 
the purijose of consistency with existing mark- 
ing requirements. 

In light of the above, Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard No. 205, Glazing Materials, appearing 
at 49 CFR § 571.205, is amended 

Eifective date: The effective date of April 1, 
1973, is retained. 

This notice is issued under the authority of 
Section 103, 114, and 119 of the National Traffic 
and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 1392, 
1403, 1407) and the delegation of authority at 
49 CFR 1.51. 



Issued o- November 8, 1972. 



Douglas W. Toms 
Administrator 

37 F.R. 24035 
Nov«mb«r 11, 1972 



PART 571; S 205— PRE 10 



Effective: December 5, 1977 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 205 

Glazing Materials 
(Docket No. 71-1; Notice 06) 



This notice amends Safety Standard No. 205, 
Glazing Materials, to permit the use of rigid 
plastic glazing in all doors and windows of buses, 
other than in windshields or in windows to the 
immediate right or left, of tlie driver. 
Effective Date: December 5, 1977. 
For Further Information Contact: 
Hugh Gates 

National Highway TraiRc Administration 
Washington, D.C. 20590 
(202-426-9511) 

Supplementary Information : This amendment 
of Safety Standards No. 205 (49 CFR 571.205) 
is based on a proposal issued December 30, 1976 
(41 FR 56837), in response to a petition for 
rulemaking from General Motors Corporation. 
Standard No. 205 currently permits plastic glaz- 
ing materials to be used in buses only in standee 
windows and in readily removable windows of 
buses having a GVWR of more than 10,000 
pounds. This amendment expands the permis- 
sible locations for plastic glazing in buses of all 
sizes to include all doors and windows, other 
than windshields or windows to the immediate 
right or left of the driver. 

As noted in the preamble to the proposal, use 
of plastics in bus side windows should reduce 
the safety hazards and maintenance costs re- 
sulting from the deliberate breakage of bus win- 
dows, since plastic glazing is more difficult to 
break than regular glass. Further, Safety Stand- 
ard No. 217, BiLs Window Retention and ReUase, 
(49 CFR 571.217) now provides for emergency 
occupant egress in buses. One of the reasons 
for the original prohibition against plastic glaz- 
ing was the fact it would l^e difficult to break 
in emegency situations. Since the issuance of 



Standard No. 217, the prohibition is no longer 
necessary. 

Comments to the proposal preceding this 
amendment were submitted by Ford Motor Com- 
pany, the Flxible Company, and the Department 
of California Highway Patrol. All three com- 
menters supported the proposed changes. Cali- 
fornia noted the experimental use of plastic 
glazing in side windows of buses by the Southern 
California Rapid Transit District. That experi- 
ment showed that plastic glazing is superior to 
glass with regard to resistance to breakage. 
Further, California noted that the abrasion- 
resistance coating on the plastic glazing used 
in the experiment was sufficient to reduce scratch- 
ing by wash-rack brushes to an acceptable level, 
during normal cleaning of the buses. 

The proposal specified the use of plastic glaz- 
ing in all doors and windows, other than wind- 
shields and windows to the inmiediate right or 
left of the driver, of buses having a GVWR of 
more than 10,000 pounds. Ford Motor Company 
recommended that the proposed changes be made 
applicable to all buses, regardless of gross ve- 
hicle weight rating. The NHTSA has deter- 
mined that Ford's comment has merit since small 
buses are also now provided with means of emer- 
gency egress (Standard No. 217) and since 
multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks are 
currently permitted to have plastic glazing in 
windows to the rear of the driver. The basic 
distinction between a small bus under 10,000 
pounds G\'1VR and a van multipuriwse passen- 
ger vehicle or van truck is the number of 
designated seating positions. Thus, the safety 
considerations for these vehicles are generally 
the same. The proposal is, therefore, made final 
in a form that includes all buses. 



PART 571; S 205— PRE 11 



Effecllva: December 5, 1977 



The Flxible Company supported the proposed 
changes and also recommended that the standard 
be amended to permit the use of Item 4 and Item 
5 plastic glazing in front of "destination and 
route numbering signs" on buses and in front of 
interior displays such as route maps or advertise- 
ments. Since these changes were not proposed, 
the NHTSA will consider them in future rule- 
making actions. 

This amendment should have only a minimal 
economic and environmental impact, since it re- 
lieves a restriction and since the increased use 
of plastics that may result will have a negligible 
effect upon the environment. 

(Because this amendment relieves a restriction 
and does not create additional obligations for 



any person, it is found that an immediate effec- 
tive date is in the public interest.) 

In consideration of the foregoing, Federal 
Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 205, Glaz- 
ing Materials (49 CFR 571.205), is amended as 
follows . . . 

(Sec. 103, 119, Pub. L. 89-563, 80 Stat. 718 
(15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407); delegation of authority 
at 49 CFR 1.50.) 

Issued on November 28, 1977. 

Joan Claybrook 
Administrator 

42 F.R. 61465 
December 5, 1977 



PART 571; S 205— PRE 12 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO 

FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 205 

Glazing Materials 
(Docket No. 71-1; Notice No. 8) 



ACTION: Final rule (interpretive amendment). 

SUMMARY: In response to a petition for rulemak- 
ing, this notice amends Safety Standard No. 205, 
Glazing Materials, to clarify that Item 5 rigid 
plastics can be used in all the vehicle locations 
that are specified in the standard for Item 12 
rigid plastics, and that Item 7 flexible plastics can 
be used in all the vehicle locations that are 
specified in the standard for Item 13 flexible 
plastics. Glazing materials that comply with Item 
5 and Item 7 test requirements, by definition, also 
comply with the less stringent Item 12 and 13 test 
requirements, respectively. Currently, however, 
the standard inadvertently prohibits the use of 
Items 5 and 7 glazing materials in some of the 
locations in which the Items 12 and 13 materials 
may be used. The purpose of this amendment is to 
modify the standard to remove that inconsist- 
ency. 

DATES: Effective date (upon publication), July 14, 
1980. 

ADDRESSES: Any petition for reconsideration 
should refer to the docket number and notice 
number specified in this notice and be submitted 
to Docket Section, Room 5108, National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh 
Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590. 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 

Mr. Edward Jettner, Office of Vehicle Safety 
Standards, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., 
Washington. D.C. 20590 (202-426-2264) 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Safety Stand- 
ard No. 205, Glazing Materials (49 CFR 571.205), 
specifies performance requirements for vehicle 



glazing as well as the locations in which par- 
ticular types of glazing may be used. The stand- 
ard incorporates by reference the American Na- 
tional Standard "Safety Code for Glazing 
Materials for Glazing Motor Vehicles Operating 
on Land Highways," Z26.1 — 1966 (hereinafter 
ANS Z26). The ANS Z26 standard defines the 
various types of glazing in terms of performance 
tests with which a particular "Item" must com- 
ply. There are currently 13 Items or types of glaz- 
ing specified in the standard. 

Safety Standard No. 205 was amended in 1972 
to allow two additional types of glazing for use in 
specified vehicle locations not required for driv- 
ing visibility (37 FR 12237, June 21, 1972). The 
first new glazing type was rigid plastic described 
as "Item 12", and the second was flexible plastic 
described as "Item 13". The test requirements 
specified for Item 12 are identical to the test re- 
quirements for Item 5 rigid plastics, and the test 
requirements for Item 13 are identical to the test 
requirements for Item 7 flexible plastics, except 
that neither Item 12 nor 13 is required to meet 
the test for resistance to undiluted denatured 
alcohol (Formula SD No. 30). Therefore, the per- 
formance requirements of the standard are more 
stringent for Items 5 and 7 than for Items 12 and 
13, respectively, because of the one additional 
test with which the former must comply. 

When Items 12 and 13 were added to the stand- 
ard, several locations in which the types could be 
used were specified which were not included for 
Items 5 and 7. Thus, the standard specifies that 
Item 12 plastics may be used as motorcycle wind- 
screens, but there is no such specification for 
Item 5 plastics. Similarly, the standard allows 
Item 13 plastics to be used in standee windows in 
buses, interior partitions, and in openings in the 
roof, but does not specify these locations for Item 
7 plastics. 



PART 571; S205-PRE 13 



Since Item 5 and 7 glazing materials must meet 
more stringent requirements, they should be al- 
lowed in all vehicle locations in which Items 12 
and 13 may be used. Last year, the Rohm and 
Haas Company petitioned the agency to amend 
Safety Standard No. 205 to remove this incon- 
sistency. This notice responds to that petition. 

The agency agrees that the standard is cur- 
rently inconsistent with regard to the locations in 
which the various types of rigid and flexible 
plastics may be used. When Items 12 and 13 were 
added to the standard, the agency inadvertently 
failed to expand the list of permitted locations for 
Items 5 and 7 so that the list would include all of 
the locations specified for Items 12 and 13. (The 
agency wishes to point out that there are several 
locations specified for Items 5 and 7 in which 
Items 12 and 13 may not be used. This is appro- 
priate since the performance requirements for 
Items 5 and 7 are more stringent.) 

The agency has determined that the change re- 
quested by the petitioner can be accomplished by 
interpretive amendment and that opportunity for 
public comment is not required. Items 5 and 7 
glazing also qualify as Items 12 and 13, respec- 
tively, because an item of glazing is only defined 
in the standard in terms of the test requirements 
it can meet. Since Items 5 and 7 glazing comply 
with all the test requirements specified for Items 
12 and 13, manufacturers would be permitted to 
mark a particular piece of glazing as Item 12 or 13 
and to use the glazing in the locations specified 
for those Items, even though that piece of glazing 
could also pass the additional test requirement 
for the higher-grade plastics. Items 5 or 7. There 
is nothing in the standard which requires a 
specific piece of glazing to be labeled with the 
highest performance Item number with which it 
can qualify, although for practical purposes this is 
generally done. In other words, Items 12 and 13 
glazing are lower performance forms of Items 5 
and 7 glazing. Therefore, Items 5 and 7 can be 
used wherever Items 12 and 13 may be used in 
the vehicle. This notice amends Standard No. 205 



to clarify this point by making the necessary addi- 
tions to the list of locations currently specified for 
Items 5 and 7. 

Since this amendment removes a current incon- 
sistency in the standard, the agency has deter- 
mined that an immediate effective date is in the 
public interest. 

The agency has determined that this amend- 
ment does not qualify as a significant regulation 
under Executive Order 12044 and the Departmen- 
tal directives implementing that Order. Since the 
amendment only clarifies existing requirements, 
there should be negligible cost or environmental 
impacts resulting from this modification. There- 
fore, no regulatory evaluation has been prepared. 

The engineer and lawyer primarily responsible 
for the development of this amendment are Ed- 
ward Jettner and Hugh Oates, respectively. 

In consideration of the foregoing. Safety Stand- 
ard No. 205, 49 CFR 571.205. is amended as set 
forth below. 

1. Paragraph S5.1.1.2 is amended by adding a 
new subparagraph "(m)" to read: 

"(m) for Item 5 safety glazing only: Motorcycle 
windscreens below the intersection of a horizon- 
tal plane 15 inches vertically above the lowest 
seating position." 

2. Paragraph S5. 1.1.3 is amended by adding the 
following phrase and new subparagraphs "(1), (m) 
and (n)" after existing subparagraph (k), to read: 

"For Item 7 safety glazing only: 
(1) Standee windows in buses, 
(m) Interior partitions, 
(n) Openings in the roof." 

Issued on July 1, 1980. 



Joan Claybrook 
Administrator 

45 FR 47150 
July 14, 1980 



PART 571; S205-PRE 14 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO 
FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 



205 



Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, 
Glazing Materials and Rearview Mirrors 

(Docket No. 71-1; Notice 8, 
Docket No. 79-19; Notice 2) 



ACTION: Final rule. 

SUMMARY: This notice amends Safety 
Standard No. 205, Glazing Materials, to 
delete the abrasion resistance requirements 
specified for Items 3, 5, 9, and 12 glazing. The 
purpose of the abrasion requirements is to 
ensure that glazing will resist scratching that 
can distort the driver's view and thus reduce 
visibility. The glazing Items specified above, 
however, can be used in vehicles only in 
window locations that are not necessary for 
driving visibility. These locations include sun 
roofs and side windows to the rear of the 
driver in trucks, multipurpose passenger 
vehicles (MPV's), and buses. Since the 
standard currently does not require glazing 
in window locations such as these to be 
transparent, there is no real need for Items 3, 
5, 9, and 12 to pass the abrasion tests. Thus, 
this notice deletes the abrasion requirements 
for these types of glazing. 

The agency has decided, however, not to 
adopt another proposed amendment to 
Standard No. 205, or a related change in 
Standard No. Ill, Rearview Mirrors. These 
amendments would have made the rear-most 
windows of trucks, MPV's, and buses having 
GVWR's of 10,000 pounds or less requisite for 
driving visibility. The proposal would have 
also required the manufacturers of such 
vehicles to install inside rearview mirrors. 

DATES: The amendment is effective on 
August 31, 1981. 



ADDRESSES: Petitions for reconsideration 
should refer to the docket and notice numbers 
and be submitted to: Docket Section, Room 
5109, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., 
Washington, D.C. 20590. (Docket hours: 7:45 
a.m. to 4:15 p.m.) 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On 

September 27, 1979, NHTSA published a 
notice of proposed rulemaking (44 F.R. 55610) 
regarding Standard No. 205, Glazing 
Materials (49 CFR 571.205). That notice 
proposed to amend the standard to delete the 
abrasion requirements for Items 3, 5, 9, and 
12 glazing. The notice also proposed to amend 
the standard to clarify that the rear windows 
of trucks, multipurpose passenger vehicles 
(MPV's), and buses having gross vehicle 
weight ratings (GVWR's) of 10,000 pounds or 
less are considered requisite for driving 
visibility. This would have required that 
glazing materials used in the rear windows of 
these vehicles have a luminous transmittance 
of at least 70 percent. On December 31, 1979, 
in a related, action, the agency published a 
notice of proposed rulemaking (44 F.R. 77224) 
regarding Standard No. Ill, Rearview 
Mirrors. That proposal would have amended 
Standard No. Ill to require that light trucks 
and vans having rear windows be equipped 
with an inside rearview mirror. The purpose 
of the two proposals was to improve 
rearward visibility for the drivers of those 
vehicles. 



PART 571; S 205-PRE 15 



Consumers, vehicle manufacturers, trade 
associations, equipment manufacturers, and 
others submitted comments in response to the 
notices. The final rule is based on a thorough 
evaluation of the data obtained in NHTSA 
research, data and views submitted in the 
comments and data obtained from other 
pertinent documents and reports. The major 
comments are discussed below, along with 
the agency's final decision on each proposal. 

The Abrasion Requirements 

Standard No. 205 specifies performance 
requirements for glazing materials to be used 
in motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment, 
and also specifies the vehicle locations in 
which various types of glazing may be used. 
The standard incorporates by reference the 
American National Standard "Safety Code 
for Safety Glazing Materials for Glazing 
Motor Vehicles Operating on Land Highways," 
Z26. 1-1966 (ANS Z26). The abrasion 
resistance requirements of Standard No. 205 
are set forth in ANS Z26 in terms of 
performance tests that the various "Items" of 
glazing must pass. (There are 13 "Items" or 
types of glazing for which requirements are 
specified in the standard.) Items 3 and 9 glass 
glazing materials are required to pass 
Abrasion Test No. 18, which allows no more 
than two (2) percent light scatter or haze 
when the glazing is abraded for 1,000 cycles. 
Items 5 and 12, which are rigid plastic glazing 
materials, must pass Abrasion Test No. 17 
(less than 15 percent light scatter or haze 
when abraded for 100 cycles). The purpose of 
the abrasion tests is to assure that glazing 
re§ists scratching which can distort the 
driver's view and thus reduce visibility. 
Visibility through the Items of glazing in 
question, however, is not required, as the 
glazing can only be used in locations not 
necessary for driving visibility. Since the 
abrasion requirements test for a quality that 
is not relevant to Items 3, 5, 9, and 12 glazing, 
NHTSA proposed that they be deleted for 
these types of glazing material. 

Several comments were submitted on this 
proposal, and virtually all were in favor of its 
adoption. Chrysler and Ford noted that the 



abrasion tests are not relevant to Items 3, 5, 9 
and 12 glazing since such Items cannot be 
used in locations requisite for driving 
visibility. GM stated that deletion of these 
tests for the Items in question would resolve 
some of the inconsistencies in the standard. 
One such inconsistency noted by GM is the 
fact that the current standard allows rigid 
plastics, which are required to pass a less 
stringent abrasion test than glass glazing 
materials, to be used in locations in which 
glass in combination with treated coatings 
would not be allowed. Rohm and Haas 
Company noted in their comments, however, 
that this proposal may permit materials to be 
used which will not be as durable and 
functional as currently used materials and 
thus will present a poor appearance. 

The agency has decided to adopt the 
proposed amendment. As emphasized by 
Ford and Chrysler in their comments, there 
is no compelling safety need for retaining the 
abrasion requirements for these four glazing 
Items since the standard prohibits their use 
in vehicle locations that are requisite for 
driving visibility. The abrasion requirements 
for these Items do serve as additional tests of 
glazing strength and durability. However, 
there are other more direct tests of these 
characteristics (such as the Impact Tests 
Nos. 8-14 of ANS Z26) that are applicable to 
these Items and that will ensure that the 
glazing remains in safe condition throughout 
its useful life. Considering that totally opaque 
glazing is permitted by the standard, there is 
no justification for imposing the abrasion 
requirements on these Items. Deletion of the 
abrasion requirements should result in cost 
savings for some vehicles, because less 
expensive types of glazing would qualify for 
installation. Manufacturers would be able to 
use plastic glazing that is more resilient and 
thus may reduce the possibility of occupant 
ejection in a crash. In light of these 
considerations, the agency has decided to 
delete the abrasion tests for Items 3, 5, 9, and 
12 glazing. 

Rear Window Visibility 

The September 27, 1979 notice also 
proposed to amend Standard No. 205 to 



PART 571; S 205-PRE 16 



clarify that the rear-most windows (if 
present) in trucks, MPV's and buses having 
GVWR's of 10,000 pounds or less are 
requisite for driving visibility. This would 
have required that glazing materials used in 
the rear windows of these vehicles have a 
luminous transmittance of at least 70 percent, 
as specified in Test No. 2 of ANS Z26. At 
present, Standard No. 205 allows the use of 
certain types of glazing (Items 3, 9, and 12) 
that are not required to have a luminous 
transmittance of 70 percent if the rear 
window is not requisite for driving visibility. 
Item 5 glazing may also be used if the rear 
window is not requisite for driving visibility 
and other means of visibility to the side and 
rear of the vehicle are provided. The 
standard does not specify, however, which 
rear windows are necessary for driving 
visibility. The proposed change would have 
resolved the indefiniteness of the present 
standard in regard to which rear windows of 
trucks, MPV's, and buses are considered 
necessary for driving visibility. 

All the comments filed regarding the 
proposed amendment disapproved of the 
change. Many commenters stated that the 
agency had presented no evidence showing 
that a safety problem exists because the rear 
windows of trucks and buses are not required 
to be transparent. The commenters suggested 
that if a vehicle is equipped with an outside 
mirror system as proposed in Docket No. 
71-3a, Notice 4, Rearview Mirror Systems, 
and meets the proposed requirements of 
Docket 70-7, Notice 05, Fields of Direct View, 
the needs of drivers for visibility, both direct 
and indirect, will be satisfied. The proposed 
amendment to Standard No. 205 would then 
be redundant. Thus many of the commenters 
argued that the proposed change should not 
be adopted, or else should be incorporated as 
part of Standard No. Ill, Rearview Mirrors, 
and made applicable only when the 
manufacturer is using inside mirrors to satisfy 
the other requirements of the standard. (On 
June 22, 1981, NHTSA published a notice in 
the Federal Register that rescinded 
Standard No. 128, Fields of Direct View (46 
F.R. 32254). That decision has no effect on 
this rulemaking proceeding.) Almost all the 



commenters felt that the purpose of the 
amendment — to increase visibility to the rear 
of certain vehicles and thereby improve 
safety — would be easily circumvented. 
Either cargo or passengers would block the 
driver's view of the rear window, or the 
owner of the vehicle would hang curtains or 
reflective film to ensure privacy. Many of the 
commenters noted that there is no requirement 
that trucks and vans even have a rear 
window. Several pointed out that the 
proposed amendment will waste fuel, because 
the 70 percent luminous transmittance 
requirement will eliminate the use of plastic 
glazing (which is lighter in weight than glass) 
and will increase the use of air conditioners 
since smoked glass windows will be 
prohibited. 

The NHTSA has decided not to adopt this 
proposed amendment to Standard No. 205. 
The agency believes that consumers would 
not derive a significant safety benefit from 
such a regulation. However, NHTSA 
encourages vehicle manufacturers to 
voluntarily use glazing which has a luminous 
transmittance of at least 70 percent in the 
rear windows of trucks, MPV's, and buses. 

Inside Rearview Mirrors 

Standard No. Ill, Rearview Mirrors, 
currently allows the manufacturers of 
MPV's, trucks and buses (other than school 
buses) that have GVWR's of 10,000 pounds or 
less the option of complying with either of 
two rearward visibility requirements. A 
manufacturer may equip those vehicles with 
inside and outside rearview mirrors which 
meet the requirements for passenger car 
mirrors. Or, it may equip the vehicle with 
larger outside mirrors on each side of the 
vehicle and forego providing any inside 
mirror. Under the latter alternative, the 
outside mirrors must be plane mirrors and 
have not less than 19.5 square inches of 
reflective surface. 

Notice 1 of Docket 79-19 proposed an 
amendment to Standard No. 111. That 
proposal would have required manufacturers 
of light trucks, MPV's, and buses (other than 
school buses) equipped with rear windows to 



PART 571; S 205-PRE 17 



install in those vehicles an inside rearview 
mirror that is similar to mirrors found in 
passenger cars. Manufacturers would have 
had the same options for compliance as 
before, except that if a manufacturer chose to 
provide only the larger outside mirrors, he 
would also have to install an inside mirror 
that provided a field of view through the full 
horizontal width of the rear window. (The 
inside rearview mirror in a passenger car 
must provide a field of view through a 20 
degree horizontal angle and through a 
vertical angle sufficiently large to provide a 
view of a level road surface extending to the 
horizon beginning at a point not greater than 
200 feet to the rear of the vehicle.) The 
proposed amendment supplemented the 
proposed changes in Standard No. 205 
regarding rear window visibility. The 
proposed amendment to Standard No. Ill 
would have enabled drivers to take full 
advantage of the more transparent glazing 
materials that would have been required in 
rear windows. 

The manufacturers and trade associations 
who submitted comments on the proposed 
amendment were unanimous in their 
opposition to it. Many emphasized that the 
research cited in support of Docket No. 71-3a, 
Notice 4, Rearview Mirror Systems, which 
proposes to upgrade Standard No. Ill, does 
not indicate a need for inside rearview mirrors 
when outside mirrors are adequate. The 
inside rearview mirror would be totally 
useless if the rear window of the vehicle is 
blocked by cargo, passengers, or the like. 
Most of the commenters noted that a pick-up 
truck manufacturer who complies with the 
large outside mirrors/inside mirror option (as 
opposed to the passenger car mirrors 
requirement) would have to install an 
extremely wide inside mirror. This would be 
necessary if the mirror was to provide a field 
of view through the full horizontal width of 
the rear window because of the close 
proximity of the mirror to the backlite. 
According to the commenters, such a wide 
mirror would interfere with the driver's 
ability to see through the windshield and 
could not be mounted in a stable, vibration- 
free manner. Some commenters noted that 



most of the affected vehicles already have 
inside rearview mirrors, despite the fact that 
most rear windows are designed only to 
admit ambient light, not for visibility. One 
second-stage manufacturer stated that 
NHTSA had underestimated the cost of the 
amendment to the ultimate consumer. 

The NHTSA has decided not to adopt the 
proposed amendment to Standard No. 111. 
Since the agency has decided not to make the 
rear windows of trucks and vans requisite for 
driving visibility, there is no need to require 
such vehicles to have an inside rearview 
mirror which would enable drivers to take 
advantage of the improved visibility the 
glazing would have provided. Also, the 
agency has observed that virtually all vehicle 
manufacturers voluntarily provide inside 
rearview mirrors as standard equipment on 
their light trucks and vans. The agency 
approves of this practice and encourages 
manufacturers to continue it. NHTSA will 
continue to study the question of whether 
inside rearview mirrors should be mandated 
for trucks, buses and MPV's as a part of 
Docket No. 71-3a, Notice 4, Rearview Mirror 
Systems. 

Costs 

The NHTSA has considered the economic 
impacts of the amendment to Standard No. 
205 that will delete the abrasion requirements 
for Items 3, 5. 9, and 12 glazing. The agency 
has determined that this rule is not a major 
rule within the meaning of Executive Order 
12291 or a significant rule under the 
Department of Transportation's policies and 
procedures for implementing that order. 
Based on that assessment, NHTSA has 
further concluded that the economic and 
other consequences of the amendment are so 
minimal that a regulatory evaluation is not 
necessary. Deletion of this requirement will 
permit the use of less expensive types of 
glazing in motor vehicles. Thus, NHTSA 
anticipates cost savings for some vehicles as 
a result of this amendment. However, the 
agency expects that the cost savings will not 
be significant. 

NHTSA has also evaluated the environmental 
impact of this amendment in accordance with 



PART 571; S 205-PRE 18 



the National Environmental Policy Act (42 Issued on August 24, 1981. 

U.S.C. § 4321 etseq.) and has determined that 

the amendment will not have a significant 

effect on the environment. Reasons for this Raymond A. Peck, Jr. 

finding can be found in the Environmental Administrator 

Assessment, copies of which will be placed in 46 F.R. 43687 

the public docket. August 31, 1981 



PART 571; S 205-PRE-19-20 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO 
FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 205 

Glazing Materials 
[Docket No. 81-04; Notice 4] 



ACTION: Final rule. 

SUMMARY: The purpose of this notice is to amend 
Safety Standard No. 205, Glazing Materials, to per- 
mit the installation of glass-plastic glazing a wind- 
shield and windows in motor vehicles and to establish 
appropriate performance requirements for such glaz- 
ing. The existing requirements of the standard do 
not permit the use of glass-plastic glazing in areas 
necessary for driving visibility because the currently 
produced materials cannot meet the abrasion 
resistance requirements of the standard. 

The agency has determined that glass-plastic glaz- 
ing should be allowed because research data and 
limited field experience indicate that such glazing 
substantially reduces lacerative injuries when vehicle 
occupants strike windows and windshields in an ac- 
cident. Although there are still certain concerns 
about potential problems with this type of glazing 
material, the agency believes these to be minor, and 
has concluded that the safety benefits derived from 
this material outweigh the possible problems. This 
amendment permits, but does not require, the use 
of glass-plastic glazing. 

EFFECTIVE DATE: November 16, 1983. 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Safety 
Standard No. 205, Glazing Materials, (49 CFR 
571.205) specifies performance requirements for the 
types of glazing that may be used in motor vehicles, 
as well as the vehicle locations in which the various 
types of glazing may be used. The standard incor- 
porates by reference the American National Stan- 
dard "Safety Code for Glazing Materials for Glazing 
Motor Vehicles Operating on Land Highways," 
Z26. 1 — 1966 (ANS Z26). The requirements in ANS 
Z26 are specified in terms of performance tests that 
the various types or "Items" of glazing must pass. 



There are 13 "Items" of glazing for which re- 
quirements are currently specified in the standard. 
Currently, the only types of glazing that may be used 
the windshield of motor vehicles are Item 1, 



in 



Safety Glazing Material for Use Anywhere in a 
Motor Vehicle, and Item 10, Bullet Resistant Glass. 

The windshield in all current vehicles is a "High 
Penetration Resistant" (HPR) windshield whose in- 
terior and exterior surfaces are made of glass, held 
together by an intervening layer or layers of plastic. 
When HPR windshields are impacted in an accident, 
both the inner and outer glass layers tend to break, 
leaving edges of broken glass on the inner surface 
(i.e., the side of the windshield facing the interior of 
the vehicle). 

To alleviate the problem of lacerative injuries 
which result from this broken glass, manufacturers 
have experimented with windshields composed of 
laminated glass to which a layer of soft plastic is 
bonded on the inner side. Saint Gobain Vitrage of 
France has developed one such windshield called 
Securiflex, which has a layer of polytirethane on the 
inner surface. The Securiflex windshield has been 
demonstrated to reduce the risk of lacerations to car 
occupants who strike the window in an accident 
because the plastic inner layer prevents the occupant 
from coming into contact with the sharp glass edges 
that are formed when the glass is broken. 

Although Securiflex has the potential for reducing 
many serious lacerative injuries, it cannot pass cur- 
rent Test No. 18, Abrasion Resistance, of Standard 
No. 205 when tested on the inner plastic side. The 
existing abrasion requirements were established in 
ANS Z26 prior to the development of glass-plastic 
glazing materials, such as Securiflex, and were 
geared specifically to symmetrical glass glazing. 
Since Securiflex cannot pass the current abrasion re- 
quu-ements, it may not be installed in motor vehicles 



PART 571; S 205-PRE 21 



manufactured in or imported into the U.S. at the pre- 
sent time. 

In light of this fact, Saint Gobain petitioned the 
agency June 1980 to amend Standard No. 205 to per- 
mit the use of glass-plastic glazing, such as Securiflex, 
by establishing performance requirements that are 
appropriate for the special use characteristics of this 
new technology (i.e., the plastic inner layer of this 
material is not exposed to the harsher environment 
outside the vehicle). 

In response to this petition, the agency issued an 
advance notice of proposed rulemaking on January 
26, 1981, concerning possible performance re- 
quirements for glass-plastic glazing (46 FR 8067). 
Following further study and a review of the infor- 
mation received in response to the advance notice, 
on March 10, 1983, the agency issued a notice of pro- 
posed rulemaking to amend Standard No. 205 to per- 
mit the installation of glass-plastic glazing materials 
(48 FR 10097). The proposal specified performance 
requirements designed particularly for glass-plastic 
glazing, recognizing the varying environmental 
demands placed on the outer and the inner surfaces 
of this material. (For a complete understanding of 
the technical issues involved in this rulemaking, as 
well as a description of the specific performance re- 
quirements proposed, interested persons should con- 
sult both the advance notice and the notice of pro- 
posed rulemaking referred to earlier.) 

As noted in the notice of proposed rulemaking, one 
of the primary issues in this rulemaking is whether 
the inner plastic side of glass-plastic glazing can ade- 
quately resist abrasion. Plastic does not resist the 
surface damage caused by rubbing and scraping as 
well as glass. Abrasion is a potential concern since 
it produces haze which scatters the light passing 
through the glazing in a way that can make it more 
difficult for the driver to see through the windows. 
Other issues which were discussed in the proposal 
included: the possible problem of delamination of 
glass-plastic glazing; rearview mirror attachment to 
the plastic surface of glass-plastic glazing; attachment 
and removal of decals in relation to the plastic side 
of glass-plastic glazing; and the effect of glass-plastic 
glazing on head impact forces (HIC values). 

A majority of comments received in response to 
the proposal supported permissible use of glass- 
plastic glazing in all vehicle locations. These suppor- 
ting comments unanimously cited the great poten- 



tial of glass-plastic glazing for reducing lacerative in- 
juries in vehicle accidents, and stated that solutions 
can be found for the potential technical problems 
associated with this material. Several commenters, 
however, voiced serious concern about the level of 
stringency of the requirements (i.e., not high 
enough), outstanding technical issues, and quality 
control problems. These commenters urged further 
research and field testing prior to amending the 
standard to permit the use of glass-plastic glazing. 
Following is a discussion of the points raised in these 
comments, along with a discussion of the agency's 
analysis and conclusions. 

Haze and Transmittance 

From the outset of this rulemaking, one of the ma- 
jor concerns about glass-plastic glazing has been the 
ability of the inner plastic liner to resist abrasion 
which could lead to haze and loss of light transmit- 
tance, thereby reducing driving visibility. The pro- 
posal specified that glass-plastic glazing materials to 
be used in areas requisite for driving visibility must 
meet Abrasion Test No. 17, allowing a haze of only 
4 percent after 100 cycles of controlled laboratory 
abrasion. 

Several commenters pointed out that there is still 
no clear relationship between haze and driver visi- 
bility (i.e., when haze becomes a safety factor), and 
stated that the levels specified in the proposal were 
only arbitrary levels. DuPont questioned what it calls 
a relaxation of the standard's requirements (HPR 
windshields must meet a 2 percent haze maximum 
after 1,000 cycles of the Taber abraser). 

The agency believes that different test procedures 
and performance requirements set for glass-plastic 
glazing are appropriate given the differences in ac- 
tual exposure between the inner plastic liner and the 
glass side of the windshield. The inner plastic liner 
will not experience the same exposure to outdoor en- 
vironmental conditions that the glass side of this glaz- 
ing will encounter. Therefore, the abrasion re- 
quirements for the two sides are not equivalent and 
the 2 percent limitation specified for the glass can- 
not be compared to the specification for the plastic 
inner liner (i.e., the latter should not be considered 
a "relaxation"). 

The specified abrasion requirement for the plastic 
side of glass-plastic glazing was tailored to the re- 
quirement for this type glazing specified by the 



PART 571; S 205-PRE 22 



Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) in ECE 
Regulation 43, which is currently recognized in some 
form by 20 European countries. The agency has also 
obtained data describing haze build up on Securiflex 
windshields in use in Europe (Docket No. 81-04-NOl, 
Entry 03A) as well as data that describe haze build- 
up and loss of transmittance of standard HPR wind- 
shields in the United States (Docket No. 81-4-NOl, 
Entry 048). These data indicate that Securiflex wind- 
shields tested to ECE Regulation 43 are, in actual 
use, no less durable than ordinary windshields. In 
light of the test data currently available, the agency 
believes that the 4 percent test limitation specified 
in the proposal for the plastic liner of glass-plastic 
glazing is sufficient to minimize the loss of transmit- 
tance and to provide adequate driving visibility. 
However, the agency does solicit any information or 
data that any party may obtain in the future concern- 
ing the relationship between haze buildup and driv- 
ing visibility. The agency also intends to monitor 
closely this aspect of glass-plastic glazing perfor- 
mance as this product is introduced in the market. 
If future information indicates that changes in the 
abrasion requirements are necessary, the agency 
will, of course, take appropriate action. 

Discoloration 

The plastic side of glass-plastic glazing is suscepti- 
ble to chemical alteration (becoming yellow or cloudy) 
when exposed to intense and prolonged ultraviolet 
radiation. Chrysler Corporation cited tests it con- 
ducted in the Arizona desert in which a glass-plastic 
windshield was exposed to direct sunlight for 2 years. 
Chrysler stated that the test results showed that the 
plastic surface became etched, hazy, and translucent 
after 1 year of exposure. That company argued that 
the proposed requirements will not insure that glass- 
plastic material performs satisfactorily throughout 
the wide range of environmental and usage condi- 
tions it vdll encounter in the United States. PPG In- 
dustries also stated that the test procedure includ- 
ed in the proposal for weathering is insufficient 
because the ultraviolet radiation in the test is only 
directed against the glass side of glass-plastic glazing. 

The agency believes that the Chrysler test in- 
volved a much more severe exposure to the sun than 
glass-plastic windshields would experience in actual 
use, because the plastic side of the windshield would 
be inside the vehicle and receive little direct 
ultraviolet exposure in most cars. The amount of 



ultraviolet light that will actually pass through the 
windshield to the inside layer of plastic should be 
minimal, since test data provided by DuPont indicate 
that the plastic inner layer in HPR windshields acts 
as an effective filter for ultraviolet light. 

The agency also believes that the proposed 
weathering test procedures (i.e., direct ultraviolet ex- 
posure of the exterior surface of the windshield and 
not the interior plastic surface) of Test No. 16 is the 
best simulation of the exposure the windshield will 
receive when it is installed in a car. Thus, the agency 
has decided not to adopt PPG's recommendation for 
changing the test procedure. 

The agency is, however, concerned about the 
potential exposure of the plastic side of the wind- 
shield in convertibles and vehicles that have no or 
removable tops. While the agency believes that a pro- 
longed test directing ultraviolet radiation against the 
plastic side of the glazing would be overly stringent, 
it does believe that it may be appropriate to set some 
requirement for directing ultraviolet radiation 
against the plastic side of glass-plastic glazing for use 
in convertibles or cars with no or removable tops. 
At this time, the agency lacks the necessary data to 
support such a requirement. As an interim solution, 
the agency has decided to prohibit the use of glass- 
plastic glazing in those vehicles until such data are 
available. This prohibition does not apply to the use 
of glass-plastic glazing in vehicles with sun roof or 
T-tops. The probability that the plastic side of the 
glazing in those vehicles would be directly exposed 
to the sun over a prolonged period is particularly 
small due to the installation angle of the windshield 
and restricted path of the sunlight through the open- 
ing in the top of the vehicle. 

Commenters also raised questions about the 
susceptibility of glass-plastic glazing to deterioration 
resulting from exposure to some chemicals. Since 
glass-plastic glazing would be exposed to various 
cleaning agents, the proposal included Test No. 19, 
Chemical Resistance, to insure that inferior plastic 
materials are not used in glass-plastic glazing. Libby- 
Owens-Ford said that in its tests, glass-plastic 
materials were damaged when exposed to one com- 
mercial glass cleaner. Information provided by the 
Maryland State Police, however, indicates that they 
have used commercial glass cleaners on their glass- 
plastic windshields without problems. Because of 
potential problems that may be associated vrith some 



PART 571; S 205-PRE 23 



commercial glass cleaners, the agency has added an 
additional generic foiTnula, typical of several chemical 
glass cleaners, including the one used in the Libby- 
Owens-Ford test, to the list specified in the chemical 
resistance test to simulate the use of commercial 
glass cleaners. 

Frost Removal 

There has been some concern that the plastic side 
of glass-plastic glazing could become overly abrad- 
ed by the scraping action of vehicle owners in the 
removal of frost. Transport Canada recently con- 
ducted a study of this problem and determined that 
the plastic surface of the glass-plastic samples tested 
did not develop haze levels in excess of 2 percent 
when subjected to frost removal scrapings. (See 
Docket No. 81-04-NO3, Entrv 13.) The tests did show 
that the plastic samples did receive fine scratches 
from the scraping and several commenters argued 
that this indicates that there is still a serious prob- 
lem. The agency disagrees and believes that the low 
haze level is within acceptable limits. If owners 
remove frost with plastic scrapers, the agency does 
not expect there to be any noticeable degradation of 
visibility through this glazing. Since the cleaning in- 
struction label will instruct owners on the proper 
method of fi-ost removal, there should be no problem. 

Decal Removal 

There has also been concern that the plastic sur- 
face of the subject glazing could be cut or abraded 
during the process of removing decals from the wind- 
shield (e.g., removing of State inspection stickers). 
The proposal discussed this problem and noted that, 
as one possible solution, special decals could be pro- 
duced which could be peeled off easily without the 
use of damaging tools. Several vehicle manufacturers 
mentioned this problem and discussed other possi- 
ble solutions. General Motors suggested that a "free 
comer" could be provided on the lower surface of 
the windshield to allow a small area of exposed glass 
(i.e., no plastic) which would serve as a decal moun- 
ting zone. Ford said that it had experimented with 
a plastic mounting which would be placed over the 
plastic inner hner of glass-plastic windshields on 
which the decals could be attached. 

The agency believes that all of these suggestions 
are possible solutions to this potential problem, and 
that manufacturers should be allowed to experiment 
with various methods. Consequently, no specific re- 
quirements regarding decal placement are included 



in this rule. The agency does not believe that the 
potential problem is insurmountable or so great that 
it should preclude the use of glass-plastic glazing. 
Since decals are ordinarily placed where they don't 
obstruct the driver's view of the road ahead, any 
damage that does result from decal removal would 
also not block that view. 

Mirror Attachment 

The notice of proposed rulemaking discussed the 
potential difficulty of attaching rearview mirrors to 
the plastic side of glass-plastic windshields, because 
of problems of adherence. As noted in the proposal, 
a review of technical material presented in SAE 
Paper 770246 (Docket No. 81-04-NOl, Entry 009) in- 
dicates that this is not an insurmountable technical 
problem. The agency also noted that Saint Gobain 
is recommending an acrylic adhesive material for 
mirror attachment. 

General Motors currently has a test fleet of 2,500 
vehicles equipped with Securiflex windshields which 
have been in the field for several months. General 
Motors does report that three mirrors have fallen off 
in this test fleet and attributes this occurrence to 
poor adhesion of the mounting button to the plastic 
(the adhesive used was that recommended by Saint 
Gobain). General Motors stated that if the adhesion 
cannot be improved, it may be necessary to provide 
a hole in the inner plastic liner so that the mirror but- 
ton can be attached directly to the glass, using cur- 
rent production methods. The agency beheves that 
this is a viable alternative. Also, the mirror could be 
attached du-ectly to the windshield header rather 
than to the windshield, as was typically done in all 
production vehicles ten years ago. Since Standard 
No. Ill, Rearview Mirrors, requires all mirrors to 
have breakaway mountings, there should not be a 
safety difference in placing the mirrors directly on 
the windshield or on the windshield header. Although 
either of these alternative solutions would involve 
some slight additional costs, the agency believes they 
offer a technically feasible solution should they 
become necessary. No commenters suggested that 
the rule should not go forward because of potential 
difficulties in this area. 

Delam,ination 

To insure that the inner plastic layer of glass-plastic 
glazing does not separate (delaminate) from the glass 
layer during use, the notice of proposed rulemaking 



PART 571; S 205-PRE 24 



specified that these materials must pass Test No. 28, 
Resistance to Temperature Change. This procedure 
involves the testing of 12-inch by 12-inch specimens 
by exposing them to extremely cold and hot 
temperatures (-40 to -1-161° F) to determine 
whether the plastic v^all delaminate from the glass. 
Several commenters stated that this test procedure 
is inadequate because the small test samples do not 
simulate the performance of entire windshields. 
These manufacturers argued that the stress placed 
on glass-plastic glazing when molded into windshields 
(i.e., the curvature) can cause delamination in certain 
glass-plastic material which is not evident when 
small, flat samples are tested. General Motors also 
noted that it would not market glass-plastic wind- 
shields without conducting the delamination tests on 
the entire windshields, regardless of the re- 
quirements of the standard. 

The agency has given careful consideration to these 
comments. However, the agency believes that this 
concern is primarily a quality control consideration 
for the manufacturer of the windshield, since 
delamination is not directly related to safety, unless 
there are instantaneous delaminations while a vehi- 
cle is being driven. The agency believes that the tests 
specified in the proposal and included in this final rule 
are adequate to insure the minimum performance of 
glass-plastic glazing in terms of delamination 
resistance. In addition to Test No. 28, this rule in- 
cludes two other tests that relate directly to 
delamination. Test No. 3, Humidity, investigates the 
behavior of the laminated construction when exposed 
to high levels of moisture (100 percent relative 
humidity). Test No. 4, Boil Test, evaluates laminated 
materials when exposed to tropical temperatures. 
The agency believes that this combination of tests 
is adequate to insure that low-quality glass-plastic 
material will not be produced, even though the tests 
involve small samples. It should be noted that Test 
No. 28, Resistance to Temperature Change, is not 
currently specified under the standard for Item 1 
HPR windshields. This additional test is specifically 
added to insure the integrity of glass-plastic material 
in terms of delamination resistance. 

Flammability and Toxicity 

The notice of proposed rulemaking included a 
specific degree of flame resistance. Test No. 24. PPG 
Industries stated that this test may not be sufficient 
because it does not measure the possibility of toxicity 



or dense smoke which can result from the burning 
of some plastics. The agency has considered this com- 
ment but does not believe that will represent a real 
problem vdth glass-plastics that comply with Test 
No. 24. For example, the Maryland State Police 
(MSP) reported to the agency that there was a fire 
in one of their vehicles equipped with a Securiflex 
windshield. MSP said that an examination of the 
windshield after the fire showed that the inner plastic 
liner was self-extinguishing. Further, the time re- 
quired to egress from a burning vehicle is sufficiently 
short that toxicity should not be pertinent. The 
agency does intend, however, to monitor glass-plastic 
windows that may be introduced in the market in 
terms of this consideration. 

General Motors also questioned whether Test No. 
24 (specified for thick plastic materials), which was 
specified in the proposal, should be included rather 
than Test No. 23 (specified for thin plastic materials). 
That company also suggested that Safety Standard 
No. 302, Flammability of Interior Materials, may 
be sufficient to insure adequate flame resistance in 
glass-plastic glazing. 

The agency specified Test No. 24, rather than 23, 
because the overall construction of glass-plastic glaz- 
ing is "thick" not "thin". Test No. 24 will evaluate 
the burning behavior of the plastic inner liner as it 
is bonded to the windshield glass, and the agency 
believes that this is a more appropriate test than Test 
No. 23. 

Relying on Safety Standard No. 302 to insure the 
flame resistance of glass-plastic glazing is not possi- 
ble since that standard only applies to vehicles and 
does not cover items of aftermarket equipment. Safe- 
ty Standard No. 205 is an equipment standard and 
the inclusion of Test No. 24 will insure that the glass- 
plastic glazing manufacturer has analyzed the flame 
resistance of its product. 

Head Injury Criterion (HIC) 

The notice of proposed rulemaking noted that some 
data indicate there may be somewhat higher occu- 
pant HIC values in crashes with glass-plastic wind- 
shields (HIC values are calculated from readings 
from instrumented dummies involved in barrier 
crash tests and are a measuring tool used to assess 
the injury-producing effects of a crash). Data 
reported by Patrick and Chou (Docket No. 81-04-NOl, 
Entry 009) show graphically that the "best fit" curve 



PART 571; S 205-PRE 25 



of HIC values for glass-plastic glazing is approx- 
imately 100 units higher than the comparable curve 
representing the standard HPR windshield. Libby- 
Owens-Ford and PPG stated concern about this mat- 
ter and suggested the need for additional testing. No 
commenter suggested a specific HIC value require- 
ment that should be included in the standard at the 
current time. 

Ford Motor Company stated that it had analyzed 
the data used by Patrick and Chou and found no 
statistically significant differences in anthropomor- 
phic test device HIC response due to differences in 
windshield tjTje. GM also reported that the only test 
it had run to date with a glass-plastic windshield pro- 
duced a HIC considerably lower than an equivalent 
test of a windshield without the inner plastic liner. 
In addition, Volkswagen reported that in all of its 
tests the HIC values with Securifle.x windshields 
were lower than those with conventional windshields. 

Currently, the cost of glazing and vehicle produc- 
tion (including fuel economy considerations) favors 
glazing of the minimum acceptable thickness and 
weight. This will help to insure that veiy thick plastic 
coatings are not used on glass-plastic windshields, 
wiiich could possibly lead to increased HIC values. 
The agency is not including any dynamic testing for 
glass-plastic windshields at the current time, since 
the available data show that glass-plastic glazing ap- 
parently does not adversely affect HIC values. In 
fact, test data supplied by some commenters show 
lower HIC values with glass-plastic glazing. The 
agency will continue to evaluate this aspect of glaz- 
ing performance, however, as glass-plastic glazing is 
introduced into the market. 

On a related issue, DuPont noted that the proposed 
definition of glass-plastic glazing would allow glass- 
plastic laminates containing only one sheet of glass, 
and states that this radical depai-ture from existing 
windshield construction could lead to unforeseen 
safety problems. Existing windshields are laminates 
of glass-plastic-glass. Securiflex is constructed of a 
typical windshield laminate with an extra layer of 
bonded plastic. 

The agency does intend to allow glass-plastic con- 
structions of only two layers if manufacturers choose 
to develop such designs. Such constructions could 
potentially be very beneficial in terms of reducing 
lacerations and ejections, while at the same time 
possibly reducing vehicle weight and cost. The agen- 



cy is aware that certain manufacturers are already 
experimenting with two-ply constructions which 
show much promise. NHTSA does not wish to 
squelch innovation in this area by restricting the con- 
struction of glass-plastic materials, and believes that 
the specified performance requirements will insure 
that inferior materials are not produced (e.g., two- 
ply materials would have to meet the impact 
resistance test specified in this rule for glass-plastic 
materials). 

Lacerations 

Libby-Owens-Ford and PPG expressed concern that 
no performance requirement was included in the pro- 
posal to measure the antilacerative characteristics 
of glass-plastic glazing. These commenters are con- 
cerned that brittle plastics could be used which might 
actually increase lacerations. The agency does not 
believe this is a valid concern because there is no 
reason a manufacturer would choose to use a hard 
plastic of such thickness that it would be brittle. 

Moreover, no reliable laceration test currently ex- 
ists. The gathering of extensive field experience is 
absolutely essential before a sound, realistic, and 
reproducible laceration test can be developed, if it 
is determined one is even needed. The SAE Glazing 
Committee established a task force which worked for 
several years, without success, trying to articulate 
a laceration test. 

The agency believes that the existing data regar- 
ding glass-plastic glazing thoroughly establish its 
great antilacerative potential. Sled-test crash simula- 
tions using test dummies having chamois-covered 
heads clearly indicate that glass-plastic constructions 
eliminate virtually all lacerations. Further, in spite 
of the short time period and small number of cars 
in the current field evaluation projects under way, 
there are already two real-world crash experiences 
which dramatically demonstrate the antilacerative 
properties of glass-plastic windshields. The Maryland 
State Police have a test fleet of 100 vehicles equip- 
ped with Securiflex windshields. One of their 
patrolmen was involved in a serious accident in which 
the officer's head struck and broke the windshield, 
yet no lacerations occurred on his face. General 
Motors has a rental test fleet of 2,500 vehicles equip- 
ped with Securiflex windshields. General Motors has 
told the agency that it is aware of 11 crashes in which 
an occupant struck the windshield. General Motors 
reported that none of the occupants in those cars suf- 



PART 571; S 205-PRE 26 



fered lacerations caused by the cutting action of 
broken windshield glass. The agency believes that 
this experience and the other existing data concern- 
ing the antilacerative properties of glass-plastic glaz- 
ing justify allowing this material at the current time 
even though no laceration index or test is currently 
available. (It should be noted that there is also no 
laceration test for e.xisting HPR windshields; it is 
known that these windshields cause thousands of 
lacerative injuries each year.) 

Ford Motor Company requested a clarification in 
the test requirements for glass-plastic glazing to 
specify that in conducting Test No. 2, Luminous 
Transmittance, data obtained from Test No. 1, Light 
Stability, rather than Test No. 16, Weathering, 
should be used. Ford's point is that in testing glaz- 
ing, Test No. 1 would precede Test No. 16. Hence, 
the data from Test No. 1 would be available for use 
in Test No. 2. Ford argues that the outcome of Test 
No. 2 would be unaffected by which test data are us- 
ed, but that this clarification would simplify test pro- 
cedures. The agency agrees vrith Ford's assessment, 
and this clarification is included in this rule. 

General Motors suggested that the term "coated 
glass" be used instead of "glass-plastic" glazing, in 
case coatings other than plastic are used in the 
future. The agency does not believe it is necessary 
to make such a change at the current time since 
"glass-plastic" is being used in the industry and is 
totally descriptive of existing and expected 
technology. 

General Motors also requested that manufacturers 
be given the option of providing a shorter, per- 
manently etched message on the windshield glass, 
rather than the cleaning instruction label specified 
in the proposal, to alert owners regarding the pro- 
per cleaning methods for glass-plastic windshields. 
The agency believes that the cleaning instruction 
label specified in the proposal is necessary because 
it would contain more information than would be 
possible with a permanently etched, short message. 
The cleaning instruction label included in this rule 
would identify the product, specify instructions and 
agents for cleaning the material that will minimize 
the loss of transparency and instructions for remov- 
ing frost and ice. The agency recognizes the value 
of having a permanently etched message on the glass- 
plastic glazing that refers drivers to the owner's 
manual for cleaning instructions. Thus, the agency 
vdll permit the optional use of permanent labels and 



urges manufacturers to use them in addition to the 
cleaning instruction label required by this rule. The 
agency vdll continue to monitor the field experience 
of glass-plastic glazing to determine whether a per- 
manent label should be required. 

The agency has determined that there is good 
cause for an immediate effective date for this rule 
because it will remove a restriction by permitting, 
but not requiring, manufacturers to install glass- 
plastic glazing in all windows of motor vehicles. The 
agency believes this technology will reduce 
thousands of lacerative injuries each year. Conse- 
quently, an immediate effective date is in the public 
interest. 

The agency has examined the impacts of this 
amendment and determined that this notice is not 
major within the meaning of Executive Order 12291 
or significant according to the Department's 
regulatory policies and procedures. The agency has 
prepared a final regulatory evaluation concerning the 
amendment, which has been placed in the public 
docket. (A free copy may be obtained by contacting 
the Docket Section.) The agency estimates that the 
consumer cost of glass-plastic glazing would be 
greater than existing laminated or tempered glass, 
although it is not possible to determine the exact in- 
crease in cost at the current time because this 
material is not being marketed. The agency 
estimates, however, that costs could be $38 to $45 
greater for glass-plastic windshields. It should be 
noted that this rule vdll allow the use of glass-plastic 
glazing, but not require its use. Therefore, any in- 
crease in cost would be determined by the number 
of manufacturers which choose this alternative 
material for certain windows in then- vehicles. The 
agency has determined, however, that cost increases 
to consumers would not be significant within the 
meaning of Executive Order 12291. Moreover, any 
increase in cost for this material would be offset to 
a certain extent by the savings which would accrue 
because of reduced lacerative injuries resulting from 
the installation of glass-plastic glazing (with the con- 
comitant reduction in medical and insurance costs). 

The agency has also considered the impacts of this 
rule under the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Few, if 
any, motor vehicle manufacturers would quality as 
small entities. Small organizations or governmental 
units that purchase vehicles equipped with glass- 
plastic glazing might have to pay a slightly higher 



PART 571; S 205-PRE 27 



price, but this option and its cost increase would be 
somewhat offset by the accruing savings discussed 
above. This amendment could have some economic 
impact on small glazing manufacturers and glazing 
dealers that would be considered small entities for 
purposes of the Act. If glass-plastic glazing were to 
become populai*, these small entities might be forced, 
through competition, to stock the new glazing in theii- 
inventories, to provide safe and secure types of 
storage, to develop new material handling pro- 
cedures (to protect the plastic inner liners), and to 
develop new shipment procedures. These possible 
impacts are all speculative at the current time since 
the agency has no information to determine how 
many manufacturers would choose the option of pro- 
ducing and installing glass-plastic glazing, and no in- 
formation on the magnitude of the above possible un- 
pacts or on the likelihood of their occurrence. Based 
on the agency's judgments regarding information 
that is currently available, I certify that the option 
included in this rule would not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. 

As noted earlier. General Motors, the Maryland 
State Police, and Ford Motor Company currently 
have (or will have) test fleets of vehicles equipped 
with glass-plastic windshields. Experience with these 
test fleets may provide more information in the 
future concerning any additional handling costs that 
are necessary to protect glass-plastic glazing 
materials. The agency will monitor these impacts as 
glass-plastic glazing is introduced in the market. 

In consideration of the foregoing, Safety Standard 
No. 205, Glazing Materials, (49 CFR 571.205) is 
amended as set forth below. 

1. Paragraph S4 is amended to add the following 
definition: 

"Glass-plastic glazing material" means a laminate 
of one or more layers of glass and one or more layers 
of plastic in which a plastic surface of the glazing 
faces inward when the glazing is installed in a vehicle. 

Existing paragraph S5. 1.2.3 is designated S5. 1.2.4 
and revised to read as follows: 

Section 5.1.2.4 Cleaning instructions. 

(a) Each manufacturer of glazing materials design- 
ed to meet the requirements of S5.1.2.1, S5. 1.2.2, or 
S5.1.2.3 shall affix a label, removable by hand without 
tools, to each item of such glazing materials. The label 



shall identify the product involved, specificy in 
tions and agents for cleaning the material tha. 
minimize the loss of transparency and instruct) 
for removing frost and ice and, at the option ol 
manufacturer, refer owners to the vehicle's Owi 
Manual for more specific cleaning and 
instructions. 

(b) Each manufacturer of glazing materials d. 
ed to meet the requirements of paragrapli ' . 
may permanently and indelibly mark the 1' 
center of each item of such glazing material, ii 
ters not less than 3/16 inch nor more than 1/4 
high, the following words, "GLASS-PLAS' 
MATERIAL-SEE OWNER'S MANUAL I 
CARE INSTRUCTIONS." 

3. A new paragraph S5. 1.2.3 is added to iv 
follows: 

Section 5.1.2.3 Item 14-Glass-Plastics. G 
plastic glazing materials that comply with the 1. 
ing requirements of S5. 1.2.4 and Tests Nos. ' 
4, 9, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 24, 26, and 28, as i 
tests are modified in (a), (b), (c), and (d) of 
paragraph, may be used anywhere in a motor \ 
cle, except it may not be used in convertible 
vehicles that have no roof, or in vehicles whose 
are completely removable. 

(a) Tests Nos. 9, 16, and 18 shall be conduct t 
the glass side of the specimen, i.e., the surface w 
would face the exterior of the vehicle. Tests No 
19, 24, and 26 shall be conducted on the plasti 
of the specimen, i.e., the surface which would 
the interior of the vehicle. Test No. 15 should hv 
ducted with the glass side of the glazing facinj. 
illuminated box and the screen, respectively. F" 
No. 19, add the following chemical to the sp 
list: an aqueous solution of isopropanol and g 
ether solvents in concentration no greater thai 
percent or less than 5 percent by weight and 
monium hydroxide no greater than 5 percent oi 
than 1 percent by weight, simulating typical co 
cial windshield cleaner. 

(b) Glass-plastic specimens shall be exposed t 
ambient air temperature of -40°C (±5 i 
(±9^) for a period of 6 hours at the commeiu. 
of Test No. 28, rather than at tht- 

'temperature specified in that test. After tes 
the glass-plastic specimens shall show no c'vi<l 
of cracking, clouding, delaminating, or . 
evidence of deterioration. 



PART 571; S 205-PRE 28 



(c) Glass-plastic specimens tested in accordance Issued on November 9, 1983. 
witii Test No. 17 shall be carefully rinsed with distill- 
ed water following the abrasion procedure and wiped 

dry with lens paper. After this procedure, the 

arithmetic mean of the percentages of light scattered _^. i^ o ^ 

by the three specimens as a result of abrasion shall ^^ '. , • • 

not exceed 4.0 percent. ^^P^^^ Admmistrator 

(d) Data obtained from Test No. 1 should be used 48 FR 52061 
when conducting Test No. 2. November 16, 1983 



PART 571; S 205-PRE 29- 30 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO 
FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 205 

Glazing Materials 

[Docket No. 81-04; Notice 5] 



ACTION: Final Rule 

SUMMARY: This notice amends Standard No. 
205, Glazing materials, to adopt by reference the 
1980 version of American National Standard Z26, 
the safety code for glazing materials promulgated 
by the American National Standards Institute. 
Adoption of the most recent version of Z26 will 
permit the use of the latest technological 
developments in glazing. This notice also amends 
the standard to permit the use of a new type of 
bullet-resistant glazing material and sets ap- 
propriate performance requirements for that 
glazing. The new glazing would be used in bullet- 
resistant shields that would be installed inside a 
vehicle behind the windshields and other areas of 
the vehicle. Since the new glazing materials are 
lightweight, small businesses would be able to 
provide ballistic protection for their employees at 
a lower cost. 

EFFECTIVE DATE: February 23, 1984. 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Safety 
Standard No. 205, Glazing materials (49 CFR Part 
571.205) sets performance requirements for glaz- 
ing materials used in motor vehicles and motor 
vehicle equipment. The standard incorporates by 
reference the American National Standard In- 
stitute's "Safety Code for Safety Glazing 
Materials for Glazing Motor Vehicle Operating on 
Land Highways" Z-26. 1-1966, as supplemented by 
Z-26.1a-1969 (ANS Z26). The requirements of 
Standard No. 205 are set forth in terms of perfor- 
mance tests that the various types or "items" of 
glazing must meet. Currently there are 14 items 
of glazing materials permitted under Standard 
No. 205. 



On November 18, 1980, NHTSA granted peti- 
tions for rulemaking filed by Rohm and Haas and 
General Electric (GE). The petitioners requested 
the agency to amend the standard to incorporate 
a revised edition of ANS Z26 that was published 
on January 26, 1977. They said that the revised 
edition would enable manufacturers to take ad- 
vantage of the latest technological developments 
in glazing and would reduce test burdens by 
eliminating unnecessary testing. 

Additionally, GE requested that Standard No. 
205 be amended to permit the use of a new type of 
bullet-resistant glazing, which could be used as a 
shield in vehicle areas requisite for driving 
visibility. This transparent barrier would be 
mounted separately inside the vehicle behind 
glazing materials that independently comply with 
the requirements of Standard No. 205. Since the 
plastic glazing materials are lightweight, GE 
claimed that small businesses would be able to 
provide ballistic protection to their employees at 
a lower cost. 

ANS Z26 Revision 

Subsequent to the Rohm and Haas and GE peti- 
tions, the American National Standards Institute 
published a 1980 revision to ANS Z26. In July 
1982, the agency proposed (47 FR 32749) to incor- 
porate the 1980 revision. (Please refer to the July 
29, 1982, notice for an extensive discussion of the 
provisions of the 1980 version of ANS Z26.) 

All commenters supported adoption of the 1980 
edition of ANS Z26, citing the advantages gained 
by using a more modern technical reference. The 
major benefits of the 1980 version are that it adds 
metric equivalents to the test procedures and 
performance requirements, eliminates certain 
tests which are not necessary to assess the 



PART 571; S205-PRE 31 



resistance to delamination and light stability of 
tempered glass, and expands the permissible 
glazing materials to accommodate technological 
advances in glazing technology, particularly for 
bullet-resistant glazing. 

The elimination of Humidity Test No. 3 and 
Boil Test No. 4 for tempered glass will not 
adversely affect safety. These tests are un- 
necessary because, unlike laminated glass, which 
contains intervening layers of glazing materials, 
tempered glass is a single layer of material and 
therefore cannot delaminate. Likewise the elimi- 
nation of ANS Z26 section 5.1.4 of Light Stabili- 
ty Test No. 1 for tempered glass also will not have 
an adverse safety effect. This section of Test No. 
1 is designed to detect decomposition of laminates 
after exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Since 
tempered glass does not contain laminates, the 
test is superfluous. The agency therefore has 
decided to incorporate by reference the 1980 ver- 
sion of ANS Z26 in Standard No. 205. 

Bullet-Resistant Shields 

In the July 29, 1982, notice, NHTSA also pro- 
posed to amend Standard No. 205 to establish a 
new item of glazing, "Item UC." The new item 
would permit the use of new plastic glazing 
materials which are lighter and less costly than 
bullet-resistant glass used on steel-armored 
vehicles. Use of these lighter glazing materials 
should increase fuel economy by reducing vehicle 
weight. 

Most commenters favored the use of the new 
bullet-resistant shields, which would be mounted 
behind glazing material that also must comply 
with Standard No. 205. Several manufacturers of 
armored vehicles and armored-vehicle equip- 
ment, however, expressed doubts about the safe- 
ty, durability, and adequacy of plastic bullet- 
resistant shields. Those comments are discussed 
below. 

Head Impact 

One of the purposes of Standard No. 205 is to 
reduce glazing-related injuries in motor-vehicle 
crashes. No commenter specifically addressed the 
possibility of injuries due to the increased use of 
bullet-resistant shields made of the new glazing 
materials. The agency recognizes that bullet- 
resistant shields are thicker and more rigid than 
ordinary safety glazing and may cause injury dur 
ing a crash. However, the same possibility exists 



for other items of bullet-resistant glazing mate- 
rials, such as currently used item AS-10 glazing 
materials. 

The agency estimates that the overall effect on 
occupant injuries due to the use of bullet- 
resistant shields is minor, since no more than 
several hundred vehicles per year will be so 
equipped and the probability of a crash leading to 
severe injuries is small. The agency also believes 
that specially armored vehicles are operated by 
trained drivers who, because of the possibility of 
having to do sudden high-speed maneuvers, will 
wear seatbelts while driving. The agency con- 
cludes that permitting the use of new bullet- 
resistant glazing materials represents a reason- 
able compromise between crash safety and pro- 
tection from armed attack. 

Shield Retention 

Several commenters said that bullet-resistant 
shields are potentially unsafe because the attach- 
ment could loosen due to the shock and vibration 
caused by high-speed maneuvering or could be 
shot off. Brinks, however, reported that it had not 
experienced any shock or vibration problem with 
the bullet-resistant shields it has used. 

The agency agrees that the shield attachment 
must be designed to accommodate shock or vibra- 
tion. These problems are no different from the 
problem of designing attachments for other items 
of automotive glazing for use as windshields or 
side windows, for example. In the absence of field 
data showing that there is an actual problem, the 
agency does not see a need to specify attachment 
requirements at this time. 

Ballistic Adequacy 

Goodyear Aerospace expressed concern that 
the public might be misled as to the ballistic ade- 
quacy of the plastic shields. The agency recog- 
nizes that there are limitations to the bullet- 
resistance of any type of glazing. However, all 
bullet-resistant glazing must meet at least one of 
the four types of bullet-resistance requirements 
set forth in Test No. 27 of ANS Z26. Standard No. 
205 requires bullet-resistant glazing to be marked 
to indicate the degree of ballistic protection pro- 
vided by that particular glazing material. The 
markings will adequately convey the necessary 
information to the purchaser, who must then 
determine whether the shield meets his protec- 
tion needs. 



PART 571; S205-PRE 32 



Light Degradation 

Moore and Sons commented that polycarbonate 
plastics degrade when exposed to ultraviolet 
radiation. It said that these materials lose their 
bullet-resisting capability as the plastic continues 
to be exposed. GE furnished data that illustrated 
that certain older types of polycarbonates are 
sensitive to ultraviolet light. However, data 
gathered on newer, improved versions of polycar- 
bonates, which are coated and ultraviolet-light- 
stabilized, show substantial resistance to this ef- 
fect. Purolator, which operates a fleet of armored 
vehicles, said that its field experience has not 
found ultraviolet light to cause a problem for the 
newer polycarbonates. 

To insure the ultraviolet-light-resistant perfor- 
mance of bullet-resistant glazing, the agency is 
adopting in the final rule a requirement that such 
glazing pass a light-stability test (Test No. 30). 
Test No. 30 provides an ultraviolet-radiation ex- 
posure similar to the light-stability test specified 
for other glazing materials for use in locations re- 
quisite for driving visibility, such as windshields. 



Chemical Durability 

Moore and Sons also expressed concern that 
plastic materials could be damaged by ordinary 
chemicals used in cleaning vehicle interiors. 
However, Saint-Gobain Vitrage, a manufacturer 
of automotive glazing, reported that bullet- 
resistant laminates such as polycarbonates have 
proved durable after extensive use. GE said that 
for over 10 years, special U.S. Government 
vehicles and vehicles designed for use in foreign 
countries have been equipped with bullet- 
resistant plastic glazing materials without any 
reported optical degradation. Based on this infor- 
mation, the agency has concluded that with nor- 
mal use, plastic ballistic shields meeting the 
chemical resistance tests set in the final rule 
should have adequate chemical durability. 

In addition, to minimize durability and optical- 
clarity problems, the agency is requiring 
manufacturers to provide cleaning instructions 
on a label on the glazing materials. The instruc- 
tions will inform owners of the proper choice of 
cleaning materials and procedure for both clean- 
ing and frost and ice removal. The agency 
believes that the labels will be adequate to avoid 
cleaning problems with ballistic shields. 



Defogging Problems 

Moore and Sons also raised questions about 
whether the close proximity of the bullet- 
resistant shield to the vehicle's windshield may 
cause inadequate defogging and defrosting. 
Goodyear and GE commented that the defogging 
or defrosting of the windshield should not be com- 
promised if an air space is maintained between 
the windshield and the ballistic shield. Since the 
final rule requires ballistic shields to be installed 
behind and separate from other glazing materials, 
the agency does not expect there to be defogging 
or defrosting problems. Likewise, the final rule 
requires the ballistic shield to be readily 
removable, thus making it easy to clean the inside 
of the windshield and other windows of the 
vehicles. 

Double Vision 

Goodyear said that the ballistic shield, because 
it is mounted behind the windshield, may cause 
multiple-image problems during nighttime driv- 
ing. This could occur whenever bright sources of 
lights, such as headlights, are viewed at an angle 
through the two separated pieces of glazing. The 
agency recognizes that the separated glazing 
materials can cause reflections under certain con- 
ditions, leading to an illusion of double vision. The 
secondary images, however, should be faint, 
because only a small amount of incoming light is 
reflected from the surface of a transparent glaz- 
ing material. As previously mentioned, GE has 
reported that plastic ballistic shields have been in 
use for 10 years without any reported optical 
problems. The agency therefore has concluded 
that the multiple-image problem, if any, should be 
minor. 

Effective Date 

Although the effective date was proposed as 3 
months after publication of the final rule, the 
agency has determined that this delay is not 
necessary. The portions of the final rule adopting 
the 1980 version of ANS Z26 will not require 
glazing-test laboratories to purchase additional 
test equipment nor require additional training in 
new test protocols. Since the provision on ballis- 
tic shields does not require the use of such glaz- 
ing, but instead gives the manufacturer the option 
of using the new glazing, having an immediate 
date will not impose any burdens on manufac- 
turers. The agency has determined that it is in 



PART 571; S205-PRE 33 



the public interest to make the new bullet- 
resistant glazing materials immediately available 
and therefore has set an immediate effective date 
for the amendments made by this notice. 

Marking 

The final rule requires prime glazing-material 
manufacturers to mark the new bullet-resistant 
glazing material as "AS IIC" materials. In addi- 
tion, this rule requires manufacturers of the 
glass-plastic glazing material permitted by the 
agency on November 16, 1983 (48 FR 52061) to 
mark those materials as "AS 14" materials. This 
marking will help insure that the materials are 
used in the appropriate locations in motor 
vehicles. 

Costs 

The agency has evaluated the economic and 
other effects of this final rule and determined 
that they are neither major as defined by Ex- 
ecutive Order 12291 nor significant as defined by 
the Department's Regulatory Policies and Pro- 
cedures. The agency has determined that the 
economic effects of this final rule are so minimal 
that a full regulatory evaluation is not required. 

The adoption of the 1980 version of ANS Z26 is 
likely to reduce costs through the elimination of 
unnecessary tests. The new bullet-resistant glaz- 
ing materials permitted by this rule will initially 
be more costly than conventional bullet-resistant 
glass. However, the final rule does not mandate 
the use of the new bullet-resistant shields; it 
merely gives manufacturers the option of using 
the new materials. Those materials will only be 
used on a very limited number of vehicles per 
year. In addition, although the new materials may 
initially be more costly, the cost may be offset by 
reduced vehicle weight and increased fuel 
economy. 

In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act, the agency has evaluated the effects of this 
action on small entities. As previously discussed, 
this rule does not mandate the use of the new 
materials; it permits their use. The rule may 
assist small businesses by providing ballistic pro- 
tection to their employees at a lower overall cost. 
Based on the agency's evaluation, I certify that 
the final rule will not have a significant economic 
effect on a substantial number of small entities. 

Finally, the agency has analyzed the effects of 
this action under the National Environmental 



Policy Act. The agency has determined that the 
final rule will not have a significant effect on the 
quality of the human environment. 

The information-collection requirements con- 
tained in this rule have been submitted to and 
approved by the the Office of Management and 
Budget (0MB), pursuant to the requirements of 
the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 (44 U.S.C. 
3501 et seq.). Those requirements have been 
approved through September 30, 1985 (0MB 
#2127-0512). 

In consideration of the foregoing. Part 571.205, 
Glazing materials, of Title 49 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations is amended as follows: 

1. Section S4 is amended by adding a new 
definition to read as follows: 

"Bullet-resistant shield" means a shield or bar- 
rier that is installed completely inside a motor 
vehicle behind and separate from glazing mate- 
rials that independently comply with the require- 
ments of this standard. 

2. Paragraph S5.1.1 is revised to read as 
follows: 

55.1.1 Glazing materials for use in motor 
vehicles, except as otherwise provided in this 
standard, shall conform to the American National 
Standard "Safety Code for Safety Glazing 
Materials for Glazing Motor Vehicles Operating 
on Land Highways" Z-26.1-1977, January 26. 1977, 
as supplemented by Z26.1a, July 3, 1980 (here- 
inafter referred to as "ANS Z26"). However, Item 
IIB glazing as specified in that standard may not 
be used in motor vehicles at levels requisite for 
driving visibility, and Item IIB glazing is not re- 
quired to pass Test Nos. 17, 30, and 31. 

3. Paragraph S5.1.2 is revised to read as 
follows: 

55.1.2 In addition to the glazing materials 
specified in ANS Z26, materials conforming to 
S5.1.2.1, S5.1.2.2., S5.1.2.3., or S5.1.2.4 may be used 
in the locations of motor vehicles specified in 
those sections. 

4. Paragraph S5.1.2.1 is amended to read as 
follows: 

S5.1.2.1 Item IIC— Safety Glazing Material for 
Use in Bullet-Resistant Shields. Bullet-resistant 
glazing that complies with Test Nos. 2, 17, 19, 20, 
21, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 32 of ANS Z26 and the 
labeling requirements of S5.1.2.5 may be only in 
bullet-resistant shields that can be removed from 
the motor vehicle easily for cleaning and mainte 
nance. A bullet-resistant shield may be used in 



PART 571; S205-PRE 34 



areas requisite for driving visibility only if the 
combined parallel luminous transmittance with 
perpendicular incidence through both the shield 
and the permanent vehicle glazing is at least 60 
percent. 

5. Paragraph S5. 1.2.2 is amended to read as 
follows: 

S5.1. 2.2 Item 12— Rigid Plastics. Safety-plastic 
materials that comply with Test Nos. 10, 13, 16, 
19, 20, 21, and 24 of ANS Z26, with the exception 
of the test for resistance to undiluted denatured 
alcohol Formula SD No. 30, and that comply with 
the labeling requirements of S5. 1.2.5, may be 
used in a motor vehicle only in the following 
specified locations at levels not requisite for driv- 
ing visibility. 

(a) Windows and doors in slide-in campers and 
pickup covers. 

(b) Motorcycle windscreens below the intersec- 
tion of a horizontal plane 15 inches vertically 
above the lowest seating position. 

(c) Standee windows in buses. 

(d) Interior partitions. 

(e) Openings in the roof. 

(f) Flexible curtains or readily removable win- 
dows or in ventilators used in conjunction with 
readily removable windows. 

(g) Windows and doors in motor homes, except 
for the windshield and windows to the immediate 
right or left of the driver. 

(h) Windows and doors in buses, except for the 
windshield and window to the immediate right 
and left of the driver. 

6. Paragraph 85.1.2.3 is amended to read as 
follows: 

S5. 1.2.3. Item 13— Flexible plastics. Safety- 
plastic materials that comply with Tests Nos. 16, 
19, 20, 22, and 23 or 24 of ANS Z26, with the ex- 
ception of the test for resistance to undiluted 
denatured alcohol Formula SD No. 30, and that 
comply with the labeling requirements of S5.1.2.5 
may be used in the following specific locations at 
levels not requisite for driving visibility. 

(a) Windows, except forward-facing windows, 
and doors in slide-in campers and pick-up covers. 

(b) Motorcycle windscreens below the intersec- 
tion of a horizontal plane 15 inches vertically 
above the lowest seating position. 

(c) Standee windows in buses. 

(d) Interior partitions. 

(e) Openings in the roof. 

(f) Flexible curtains or readily removable win- 



dows or in ventilators used in conjunction with 
readily removable windows. 

(g) Windows and doors in motor homes, except 
for the windshield, forward-facing windows, and 
windows to the immediate right or left of the 
driver. 

7. A new paragraph S5.1.2.4 is added to read as 
follows: 

S5.1.2.4 Item H — Glass-Plastics.G\a.ss-p\a.stic 
glazing materials that comply with the labeling 
requirements of S5.1.2.5 and Test Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 
12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 24, 26, and 28, as those tests 
are modified in (a), (b), (c), and (d) of this 
paragraph, may be used anywhere in a motor 
vehicle, except that they may not be used in con- 
vertibles, in vehicles that have no roof, or in 
vehicles whose roofs are completely removable. 

(a) Test Nos. 9, 16, and 18 shall be conducted on 
the glass side of the specimen, i.e, the surface 
which would face the exterior of the vehicle. Test 
Nos. 17, 19, 24, and 26 shall be conducted on the 
plastic side of the specimen, i.e., the surface 
which would face the interior of the vehicle. Test 
No. 15 should be conducted with the glass side of 
the glazing facing the illuminated box and the 
screen, respectively. For Test No. 19, add the 
following chemical to the specified list: an 
aqueous solution of isopropanol and glycol ether 
solvents in concentration no greater than 10 per- 
cent or less than 5 percent by weight and ammo- 
nium hydroxide no greater than 5 percent or less 
than 1 percent by weight, simulating typical com- 
mercial windshield cleaner. 

(b) Glass-plastic specimens shall be exposed to 
an ambient air temperature of -40°C(-i-5°) 
( - 40°F -I- 9°) for a period of 6 hours at the com- 
mencement of Test No. 28, rather than at the ini- 
tial temperature specified in that test. After test- 
ing, the glass-plastic specimens shall show no 
evidence of cracking, clouding, delaminating, or 
other evidence of deterioration. 

(c) Glass-plastic specimens tested in accordance 
with Test No. 17 shall be carefully rinsed with 
distilled water following the abrasion procedure 
and wiped dry with lens paper. After this pro- 
cedure, the arithmetic mean of the percentage of 
light scattered by the three specimens as a result 
of abrasion shall not exceed 4.0 percent. 

(d) Data obtained from Test No. 1 should be used 
when conducting Test No. 2. 

8. A new paragraph S5.1.2.5 is amended to read 
as follows: 



PART 571; S205 PRE 35 



S5.1.2.5 Cleaning instructions, (a) Each manu- 
facturer of glazing materials designed to meet the 
requirements of S5.1.2.1, S5.1.2.2, S5.1.2.3, or 
S5.1.2.4 shall affix a label, removable by hand 
without tools, to each item of such glazing mate- 
rial. The label shall identify the product involved, 
specify instructions and agents for cleaning the 
material that will minimize the loss of trans- 
parency, and instructions for removing frost and 
ice, and at the option of the manufacturer, refer 
owners to the vehicle's Owner's Manual for more 
specific cleaning and other instructions. 

(b) Each manfacturer of glazing materials 
designed to meet the requirements of paragraph 
S5.1.2.4 may permanently and indelibly mark the 
lower center of each item of such glazing mate- 
rial, in letters not less than %(, inch nor more than 
V4 inch high, the following words, "GLASS- 



PLASTIC MATERIAL-SEE OWNER'S MAN- 
UAL FOR CARE INSTRUCTIONS." 

9. The second sentence of the paragraph S6.1 is 
amended to read as follows: 

The materials specified in S5.1.2.1, S5.1.2.2, 
S5.1.2.3, and S5.I.2.4 shall be identified by the 
marks "AS llC," "AS 12," "AS13," and "AS 14," 
respectively. 

Issued on Feb. 14. 1984. 



Diane K. Steed 
Administrator 

49 FR 6732 
February 23, 1984 



PART 571; S205-PRE 36 



MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 205 



Glazing Materials 



1. Scope. This standard specifies re- 
t merits for glazing materials for use in motor 
eles and motor vehicle equipment. 

2. Purpose. The purpose of this standard is to 
ace injuries resulting from impact to glazing sur- 
s, to ensure a necessary degree of transparency 
' )tor vehicle windows for driver visibility, and to 
imize the possibility of occupants being thrown 
lUgh the vehicle windows in collisions. 

'3. Application. This standard applies to 

ing materials for use in passenger cars, 

1 purpose passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, 

orcycles, slide-in campers, and pickup covers 

gned to carry persons while in motion. 

4. Definitions. 

Bullet resistant shield" means a shield or bar- 

i hat is installed completely inside a motor vehi- 

behind and separate from glazing materials 

independently comply with the requirements 

this standard. (49 F.R. 6732-February 23, 

4. Effective: February 23, 1984)1 

'amper" means a structure designed to be 
nted in the cargo area of a truck, or attached 
; n incomplete vehicle with motive power, for the 
nose of providing shelter for persons. 

viotorhome" means a multipurpose passenger 
cle that provides living accommodations for 
5ons. 

Pickup cover" means a camper having a roof 
' sides but without a floor, designed to be 

iited on and removable from the cargo area of 

.(ck by the user. 

Slide-in camper" means a camper having a 
r, floor, and sides, designed to be mounted on 
I removable from the cargo area of a truck by 

user. 

ilass-plastic glazing material" means a 
mate of one or more layers of glass and one or 
re layers of plastic in which a plastic surface of 



the glazing faces inward when the glazing is in- 
stalled in a vehicle. 

S5. Requirements. 

S5.1 Materiais. 

S5.1.1 Glazing materials for use in motor 
vehicles, except as otherwise provided in this 
standard, shall conform to the American National 
Standard "Safety Code for Safety Glazing Materials 
for Glazing Motor Vehicles Operating on Land 
Highways," IZ-26.1-1977, January 26, 1977, as sup- 
plemented by Z26.1a, July 3, 1980 (hereinafter re- 
ferred to as "ANS Z26"). However, Item IIB glazing 
as specified in that standard may not be used in 
motor vehicles at levels requisite for driving visibility, 
and Item IIB glazing is not required to pass Test 
Nos. 17, 30, and 31. (49 F.R. 6732-February 23, 
1984. Effective: February 23, 1984).! 

55.1.1.1 The chemicals specified for testing 
chemical resistance in Tests Nos. 19 and 20 of ANS 
Z26 shall be: 

(a) One percent solution of nonabrasive soap. 

(b) Kerosene. 

(c) Undiluted denatured alcohol, Formula SD 
No. 30 (1 part 100-percent methyl alcohol in 10 
parts 190-proof ethyl alcohol by volume). 

(d) Commercial motor car gasoline. 
(Effective: 6/21/72) 

55.1.1.2 The following locations are added to 
the lists specified in ANS Z26 in which item 4, item 
5, item 8 and item 9 safety glazing may be used: 

(a)-(i) [Reserved] 

(j) Windows and doors in motorhomes, except 
for the windshield and windows to the immediate 
right or left of the driver. 

(k) Windows and doors in slide-in campers and 
pickup covers. 

(1) Windows and doors in buses except for the 
windshield, windows to the immediate right or left 
of the driver, and rearmost windows if used for 
driving visibility. 

(m) For Item 5 safety glazing only: Motorcycle 
windscreens below the intersection of a horizontal 



:/23/a4) 



PART 571; S 205-1 



plane 15 inches vertically above the lowest seating 
position. 

55.1.1.3 The following locations are added to 
the lists specified in ANS Z26 in which item 6 and 
item 7 safety glazing may be used: 

(a)-(i) IReservedl 

(j) Windows and doors in motorhomes, except for 
the windshield, forward-facing windows, and win- 
dows to the immediate right or left of the driver. 

(k) Windows, except forward-facing windows, 
and doors in slide-in campers and pickup covers. 

(1) For item 7 safety glazing only: 

(1) Standee windows in buses. 

(2) Interior partitions. 

(3) Openings in the roof. 

55.1.1.4 The following locations are added to 
the lists specified in ANS Z26 in which item 8 and 
item 9 safety glazing may be used: 

(a)-(e) [Reserved)] 

(f) Windows and doors in motorhomes, except 
for the windshield and windows to the immediate 
right or left of the driver. 

(g) Windows and doors in slide-in campers and 
pickup covers. 

55.1.1.5 The phrase "readily removable" win- 
dow as defined in ANS Z26, for the purposes of this 
standard, in buses having a GVWR of more than 
10,000 pounds, shall include pushout windows and 
windows mounted in emergency exits that can be 
manually pushed out of their location in the vehicle 
without the use of tools, regardless of whether 
such windows remain hinged at one side to the 
vehicle. 

55.1.1.6 Multipurpose passenger vehicles. Ex- 
cept as otherwise specifically provided by this 
standard, glazing for use in multipurpose 
passenger vehicles shall conform to the re- 
quirements for glazing for use in trucks as 
specified in ANS Z26. 

55.1.1.7 Test No. 17 is deleted from the list of 
tests specified in ANS Z26 for item 5 glazing 
material and Test No. 18 is deleted from the lists of 
tests specified in ANS Z26 for item 3 and item 9 
glazing material. 

S5.1.2 [In addition to the glazing materials 
specified in ANS Z26, materials conforming to 
S5.1.2.1,S5.1.2.2, S5.1.2.3orS5.1.2.4maybeused 
in the locations of motor vehicles specified in those 
sections. (49 F.R. 6732-February 23, 1984. Effec- 
tive: February 23, 1984)1 

(Rev. 2(23/84) PART 571; 



55.1.2.1 [Item 11C— Safety Glazing Material for 
Use in Bullet Resistant Shields. Bullet resistant 
glazing that complies with Test Nos. 2, 17, 19, 20, 
21, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 32 of ANS Z26 and the 
labeling requirements of S5.1.2.5 may be used only 
in bullet resistant shields that can be removed from 
the motor vehicle easily for cleaning and mainte- 
nance. A bullet resistant shield may be used in 
areas requisite for driving visibility only if the com- 
bined parallel luminous transmittance with perpen- 
dicular incidence through both the shield and the 
permanent vehicle glazing is at least 60 percent. 
(49 F.R. 6732-February 23, 1984. Effective: 
February 23, 1984)1 

55.1.2.2 [Item 12— Rigid plastics. Safety 
plastics materials that comply with Test Nos. 10, 
13, 16, 19, 20, 21 and 24 of ANS Z26, with the ex- 
ception of the test for resistance to undiluted 
denatured alcohol Formula SD No. 30, and that 
comply with the labeling requirements of S5.1.2.5, 
may be used in a motor vehicle only in the follow- 
ing specified locations at levels not requisite for 
driving visibility. 

(a) Windows and doors in slide-in campers and 
pickup covers. 

(b) Motorcycle windscreens below the intersec- 
tion of a horizontal plane 15 inches vertically above 
the lowest seating position. 

(c) Standee windows in buses. 

(d) Interior partitions. 

(e) Openings in the roof. 

(f) Flexible curtains or readily removable win- 
dows or in ventilators used in conjunction with 
readily removable windows. 

(g) Windows and doors in motor homes, except 
for the windshield and windows to the immediate 
right or left of the driver. 

(h) Windows and doors in buses except for the 
windshield and window to the immediate right and 
left of the driver. (49 F.R. 6732-February 23, 
1984. Effective: February 23, 1984)1 

55.1.2.3 [Item 13— Flexible plastics. Safety 
plastic materials that comply with Tests Nos. 16, 
19, 20, 22, and 23 or 24 of ANS Z26, with the ex- 
ception of the test for resistance to undiluted 
denatured alcohol Formula SD No. 30, and that 
comply with the labeling requirements of S5.1.2.5 
may be used in the following specific locations at 
levels not requisite for driving visibility. 

(a) Windows, except forward-facing windows, 
and doors in slide-in campers and pick-up covers. 

S 205-2 



(b) Motorcycle windscreens below the intersec- 
tion of a horizontal plane 15 inches vertically above 
the lowest seating position. 

(c) Standee windows in buses. 

(d) Interior partitions. 

(e) Openings in the roof. 

(f) Flexible curtains or readily removable win- 
dows or in ventilators used in conjunction with 
readily removable windows. 

(g) Windows and doors in motor homes, except 
for the windshield, forward-facing windows, and 
windows to the immediate right or left of the 
driver. (49 F.R. 6732-February 23, 1984. Effec- 
tive: February 23, 1984)1 

S5.1.2.4. litem 14— Glass-Plastics. Glass- 
plastic glazing materials that comply with the 
labeling requirements of S5. 1.2.5 and Tests Nos. 1, 
2, 3, 4, 9, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 24, 26, and 28, as 
those tests are modified in (a), (b), (c), and (d) of 
this paragraph, may be used anywhere in a motor 
vehicle, except that it may not be used in conver- 
tibles, in vehicles that have no roof or in vehicles 
whose roofs are completely removable. 

(a) Tests Nos. 9, 16, and 18 shall be conducted on 
the glass side of the specimen, i.e., the surface 
which would face the exterior of the vehicle. Tests 
Nos. 17, 19, 24, and 26 shall be conducted on the 
plastic side of the specimen, i.e., the surface which 
would face the interior of the vehicle. Test No. 15 
should be conducted with the glass side of the glaz- 
ing facing the illuminated box and the screen, 
respectively. For Test No. 19, add the following 
chemical to the specified list: an aqueous solution 
of isopropanol and glycol ether solvents in concen- 
tration no greater than 10% or less then 5% by 
weight and ammonium hydroxide no greater than 
5% or less than 1% by weight, simulating typical 
commercial windshield cleaner. 

(b) Glass-plastic specimens shall be exposed to 
an ambient air temperature of -40°C ±5° 
(-40°F±9°) for a period of 6 hours at the com- 
mencement of Test No. 28, rather than at the in- 
itial temperature specified in that test. After 
testing, the glass-plastic specimens shall show no 
evidence of cracking, clouding, delaminating, or 
other evidence of deterioration. 



(c) Glass-plastic specimens tested in accordance 
with Test No. 17 shall be carefully rinsed with 
distilled water following the abrasion procedure and 
wiped dry with lens paper. After this procedure, 
the arithmetic mean of the percentage of light scat- 
tered by the three specimens as a result of abrasion 
shall not exceed 4.0 percent. 

(d) Data obtained from Test No. 1 should be used 
when conducting Test No. 2. (49 F.R. 
6732-February 23, 1984. Effective: February 23, 
1984)1 

IS5.1.2.5 Cleaning instructions. 

(a) Each manufacturer of glazing materials 
designed to meet the requirements of S5. 1.2.1, 
S5.1.2.2, S5.1.2.3 or S5.1.2.4 shall affix a label, 
removable by hand without tools, to each item of 
such glazing materials. The label shall identify the 
product involved, specify instructions and agents 
for cleaning the material that will minimize the loss 
of transparency and instructions for removing 
frost and ice and, at the option of the manufac- 
turer, refer owners to the vehicle's Owner's 
Manual for more specific cleaning and other in- 
structions. 

(b) Each manufacturer of glazing materials 
designed to meet the requirements of paragraph 
5.1.2.4 may permanently and indelibly mark the 
lower center of each item of such glazing material, 
in letters not less than 3/16 inch nor more than V4 
inch high, the following words, "GLASS PLASTIC 
MATERIAL-SEE OWNER'S MANUAL FOR 
CARE INSTRUCTIONS." (49 F.R. 6732- 
February 23, 1984. Effective: February 23, 1984)1 

S5.2 Edges. In vehicles except school buses, 
exposed edges shall be treated in accordance with 
SAE Recommended Practice J673a, "Automotive 
Glazing," August 1967. In school buses, exposed 
edges shall be banded. 

S6. Certification and marking. 

S6.1 Each prime glazing material manufac- 
turer, except as specified below, shall mark glazing 
materials manufactured by him in accordance with 
section 6 of ANS Z26. [The materials specified in 
S5. 1.2.1, S5.1.2.2, S5. 1.2.3 and S5.1.2.4 shall be 
identified by the marks "AS IIC", "AS 12", "AS 
13" and "AS 14" respectively .1 A prime glazing 



(Rev. 2/23/84) 



PART 571; S 205-3 



material manufacturer is one who fabricates, 
laminates, or tempers the glazing material. (49 
F.R. 6732-February 23 1984. Effective: February 
23.1984.) 

56.2 Each prime glazing material manufac- 
turer shall certify each piece of glazing material to 
which this standard applies that is designed as a 
component of any specific motor vehicle or 
camper, pursuant to section 114 of the National 
Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, by 
adding to the mark required by S6.1 in letters and 
numerals of the size specified in section 6 of ANS 
Z26, the symbol "DOT" and a manufacturer's code 
mark, which will be assigned by the NHTSA on the 
written request of the manufacturer. 

56.3 Each prime glazing material manufacturer 
shall certify each piece of glazing material to which 
this standard applies that is designed to be cut into 



components for use in motor vehicles or items of 
motor vehicle equipment, pursuant to section 114 
of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety 
Act. 

56.4 Each manufacturer or distributor who 
cuts a section of glazing material to which this 
standard applies, for use in a motor vehicle or 
camper, shall mark that material in accordance 
with section 6 of ANS Z26. 

56.5 Each manufacturer or distributor who 
cuts a section of glazing material to which this 
standard applies, for use in a motor vehicle or 
camper, shall certify that his product complies with 
this standard in accordance with section 114 of the 
National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. 

37 F.R. 12237 
June 21, 1972 



PART 571; S 205-4 



V 



1, l»70 
Jonwofy 1, 1973 



PREAMBLE TO FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 206 

Doer Loci'* and Door Rotontion Compononts— Passenger Cars, Multipurpose Passenger 

Vehicles, and Trucks 

(Docket No. 2-16) 



A proposal to further amend Federal Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standard No. 206, extending its 
applicability to multipurpose passenger vehicles 
and trucks, was published in the Federal Register 
on December 28, 1967 (32 F.R. 20868). 

Interested persons have been afforded an op- 
portunity to participate in the making of this 
amendment. Their comments and other available 
information have been carefully considered. 

Ejection from passenger cars and trucks, upon 
impact, has proven to be a primary cause of 
occupant injury and death. Standard No. 206 
was issued to minimize the likelihood of occu- 
pants being thrown from passenger cars by pro- 
viding, among other things, load requirements 
for door latches and door hinge ^stems. A 
study conducted by the Cornell Aeronautical 
Laboratory disclosed that the rate of occupant 
ejection from trucks is almost twice that of 
recent-model passenger cars. Moreover, the 
study revealed that the rate of severe and fatal 
injuries among truck drivers who have been 
thrown from vehicles is four times that of drivers 
who remained in the vehicle after impact. Ex- 
tending the requirements of Standard 206 to 
trucks and multipurpose passenger vehicles 
clearly meets the need for motor vehicle safety. 
This conclusion is concurred in generally by the 
oommenters. 

Several changes have been made in the text of 
the standard from that which appeared in the 
Notice of Proposed Rule Making. The title of 
the standard has been changed to more accurately 
describe the items dealt with in the standard. 
In addition, in response to some of the comments 
submitted, the category of side doors previously 
referred to as "hinged doors" has beui divided 



into two new groups — ^"hinged cargo-type doors" 
and "hinged doors except cargo-type doors," and 
separate load requirements and demonstration 
procedures have been prescribed for each. In 
light of other comments submitted, the demon- 
stration procedure for "sliding doors" has also 
been changed for reasons of practicability. Fur- 
ther, a definition of the term "cargo-type doors" 
has been inserted in the standard. The term 
"temporary doors" referred to and defined in the 
notice has been deleted. Finally, several other 
changes have been made for clarification purposes 
only. 

No multipurpose passenger vehicle manufac- 
turer objected to the proposed effective date of 
this amendment, January 1, 1970. On the other 
hand, one heavy truck manufacturer specifically 
objected to the proposed effective date on the 
ground that additional lead time would be needed 
to redesign, test, and retool, in order to comply 
with the amended standard. Several other truck 
manufacturers also considered the lead time to 
be insufficient A January 1, 1972 effective date 
for trucks was proposed by the aforesaid heavy 
truck manufacturer. The Administrator con- 
cludes that there is merit to his objection. Heavy 
truck manufacturers will require more time than 
was originally anticipated to take the steps nec- 
essary to comply with the standard. Accord- 
ingly, the effective date of this amendment, 
insofar as trucks are concerned, is extended to 
January 1, 1972. 

In consideration of the foregoing, federal 
Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 206, as 
amended, 49 C.F.R § 371J21, is amended to read 
as set forth below, effective January 1, 1970, for 
passenger cars and multipurpose passenger ve- 
hicles, and January 1, 1972, for trucks. 



PAJBT 671; S 206— PKE 1 



MbcHvat iamtory 1, 1970 

1. i»ra 



This rule-making action is taken under author- Issued on January 17, 1969. 

ity of sections 103 and 119 of the National TraflBc 

and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 (15 U.S.C. Lowell K. Bridwell, 

1392, 1407) and the delegation of authority con- Federal Highway Administrator 

tained in Part I of the Regulations of the Office 

of the Secretary of TransporUtion (49 CFR 34 F.I. 1150 

1.4(c)). January 24, 1969 



PABT 671; S 206— PRE 2 



HhcMva: Aiigmt 19, 1M9 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 206 

Door Locks and Door Retention Components — Passenger Cars, Multipurpose Passenger 

Vehicles and Trucks 

(Docket No. 2-16) 



Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 
206 (49 CFR 371.21), as amended (34 F.R. 1151), 
specifies strength requirements for door locks and 
door retention components on passenger cars, 
multipurpose passenger vehicles, and trucks. 

Paragraph S4. of Standard 206 exempts com- 
ponents of detachable doors for vehicles manu- 
factured for use without doors from the require- 
ments of the standard. This was done because 
such doors are provided not for the purpose of 
retaining the driver and passengers in case of 
collision but only as protection from inclement 
weather. 

One manufacturer has noted that strength re- 
quirements are equally inapplicable to compo- 
nents of folding and roll-up doors and has peti- 
tioned for an amendment which would treat such 
doors in the same manner as detachable doors. 
It has been determined that the petition has 
merit. Accordingly, the standard is amended to 
remove folding and roll-up doors from the re- 
quirements of the standard. 

In consideration of the foregoing, paragraph 
S4. of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
No. 206 is amended to read as follows: 

S4. Requirements. Side door components re- 
ferred to herein shall conform to this standard 
if any portion of a 90-percentile two-dimensional 



manikin as described in SAE Practice J826, 
when positioned at any seating reference point, 
projects into the door opening area on the side 
elevation or profile view. Components on folding 
doors, roll-up doors and doors that are designed 
to be easily attached to or removed from motor 
vehicles manufactured for operation without 
doors need not conform to this standard. 
• • • • • 

Correction: The paragraph title "S5.2.3 "Slid- 
ing Doors" of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard No. 206 is changed to read "S6.3 Slid- 
ing Doors". 

Since this amendment relaxes a requirement 
and imposes no additional burden on any person, 
notice and opportimity to comment thereon are 
unnecessary, and it becomes effective on publica- 
tion in the Federal Register. This notice of 
amendment is issued under the authority of sec- 
tions 103 and 119 of the National Traffic and 
Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 (15 U.S.C. 
1392, 1407) and the delegation of authority from 
the Secretary of Transportation to the Federal 
Highway Administrator, 49 CFR 1.4(c). 

Issued on August 14, 1969. 

F. C. Turner 

Federal Highway Administrator 



PART 571 ; S 206— PRE 3^ 



EffMHvai $«p»Mnb*r 1, 1972 
January t, 1973 



PREAAABLE TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO 206 

Door Locks and Retention Components 

(Docket No. 71-5; NoHco 2) 



The purpose of this notice is to amend Stand- 
ard No. 206, Door Locks and Door Retention 
Components, to require that all side doors lead- 
ing into a passenger compartment containing one 
or more seating accommodations meet the re- 
quirements of Hie standard, regardless of seat 
location or whether the seats are within the 
definition of designated seating positions. This 
notice also amends the standard to make clear 
the distinction between front and rear doors. 

I. A notice of proposed rulemaking proposing 
the extension of the requirements of the standard 
to all side doors leading into passenger compart- 
ments was published in the Federal Begister on 
February 3, 1971 (36 F.R. 1913). The three 
comments which were received in response to the 
notice were carefully considered. All of them 
supported the proposed amendment. The amend- 
ment in this notice is identical to the proposed 
amendment except for the effective date. That 
date has been changed to September 1, 1972 to 
permit adequate time for compliance. 

II. The standard specifies in S4.1.3 different 
door lock requirements for front and rear doors. 
The Standard does not, however, precisely dif- 
ferentiate between these two types of doors. The 
problem of determining whe^er a door is to be 
treated as a front door or rear door arises par- 
ticularly in connection with multipurpose pas- 
senger vehicles having a single right side door. 

To clarify the application of the requirements 
of S4.1.3, this notice amends the Standard by 
adding the word "Side" to the titles of S4.1.3.1 
and S4.1.3.2 and by adding definitions of "Side 
front door" and "Side rear door" to S3. The 
definitions adopt, as the reference point for dif- 
ferentiating between front and rear doors, the 



rearmost point on the driver's seatback, when 
the driver's seat is adjusted to its most vertical 
and rearward position. A door with 50 percent 
or more of its opening area in a side view for- 
ward of that point is a "side front door". A 
door with more than 50 percent of its opening 
area in a side view to the rear of that point is a 
"side rear door". 

These amendments to Standard No. 206 are 
clarifying and interpretive in nature. C(mae- 
quently, it is foimd that notice and opportunity 
to comment are unnecessary and that, for good 
cause shown, an effective date earlier than 30 
days after issuance is in the public interest 

In consideration of the foregoing. Motor Ve- 
hicle Safety Standard No. 206, § 671.206 of title 
49, Code of Federal Regulations, is amended .... 

Effective dates: Amendment 1. concerning the 
application of the standard is effective September 
1, 1972. Amendment 2. through 4. concerning 
the distinction between front and rear doors are 
effective January 8, 1972. 

This notice is issued under the authority of 
sections 103 and 119 of the National Traffic and 
Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 (15 U.S.C. 
1392, 1407) and the delegation of authority at 
49 CFR 1.61. 

Issued on January 4, 1972. 



Douglas W. T<Mn8 
Administrator 



37 F.t. 2S4 

January 8, 1972 



PART 671; S 206— PRE fr-6 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO 
FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 206 

Door Locks and Door Retention Components 
[Docket No. 8409; Notice 2] 



ACTION: Final rule. 

SUMIVIARY:The purpose of this notice is to amend 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 206, 
Door Locks and Door Retention Components, to 
expand the list of doors that need not conform to 
the requirements of the standard. Added to the 
list are doors with wheelchair lifts that are pro- 
vided with an audible or visual alarm which signals 
the driver when the door is unsecured and the igni- 
tion is in the "on" position. When in its stowed 
position, a wheelchair lift barricades the door and 
prevents occupant ejection from the vehicle if the 
door were to open while the vehicle is in motion or 
involved in a collision. The alarm ensures that the 
wheelchair lift is in its retracted position and the 
door is shut while the vehicle is in operation. This 
final rule completes a rulemaking action com- 
menced when a manufacturer requested an exemp- 
tion from the requirements of Standard No. 206. 

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 25, 1985. 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Paragraph 
S4 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
(FMVSS) No. 206, Door Locks and Door Retention 
Components, excludes from its requirements com- 
ponents on folding doors, roll-up doors, and doors 
that are designed to be easily attached to or 
removed from motor vehicles manufactured for 
operation without doors. Thomas Built Buses, Inc., 
(hereinafter referred to as "Thomas") requested 
that Standard No. 206 be amended to exclude from 
its requirements multipurpose passenger vehicles 
which are equipped with wheelchair lifts and 
which are designed for wheelchair occupants. 
On September 26, 1984, the agency published a 



notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the 
Federal Register (49 FR 37813) which proposed to 
exclude from the standard's requirements doors 
with wheelchair lifts that are provided with audi- 
ble alarms. The notice explained that the agency 
was proposing to expand the list of excluded doors 
to include side doors equipped with wheelchair 
lifts and audible alarms because the wheelchair 
lifts barricade the door of the vehicle if the door 
were to open while the vehicle is in motion or in- 
volved in a collision. The agency believed that it 
was unnecessary to require these doors to comply 
with the requirements of the standard, since the 
lifts would prevent ejection of the vehicle's oc- 
cupants, and since there would be an alarm which 
would ensure that the door is closed and the lift is 
in its retracted position. 

The NPRM explained that wheelchair lifts are 
designed so that they are secured in the retracted 
position by either hydraulic pressure in the exten- 
sion/retraction cylinders and mechanical latches, 
or by electrically operated drive mechanisms. 
Metal grate floors of lifts are stowed in a vertical 
position parallel to and in close proximity with the 
interior surface of the door of the vehicle. In its 
retracted position, the wheelchair lift could pro- 
vide an adequate barrier to occupant ejection from 
the vehicle if the door were to open while the vehi- 
cle is in motion or involved in a collision. An alarm 
system which is activated if the door is opened 
while the ignition is in the "on" position would en- 
sure that the wheelchair lift is in its retracted posi- 
tion and the door is shut while the vehicle is in 
operation. 

One comment to the proposal was received by 
the agency. The commenter generally supported 
the proposed amendment but suggested two 



PART 571: S206-PRE 7 



changes. The first suggestion was that a visual 
alarm, such as a flashing visible signal located in 
the driver's compartment, be allowed as an alter- 
native to the audible alarm proposed by the 
NPRM. The commenter explained that an audible 
alarm which is activated the entire time the lift 
door is open could be disturbing to special-educa- 
tion passengers. 

The agency agrees that a visual alarm con- 
spicuous to the driver would ensure that the 
wheelchair-lift door is latched and secured. This 
meets the intent of the requirement for an alarm 
system, and accommodates the needs of special- 
education passengers. This final rule thus adopts 
the first of the commenter's requested changes by 
allowing an alarm system consisting of either a 
visual signal located in the driver's compartment, 
or an alarm audible to the driver. 

The second change requested by the commenter 
was that the amendment apply to all wheelchair- 
lift doors whether or not a lift is installed at the 
time the vehicle is certified. The commenter ex- 
plained that it is common in the industry for a vehi- 
cle manufacturer to build and deliver a vehicle to a 
distributor with just the lift door installed. The 
distributor then installs the wheelchair lift prior to 
delivery to the purchaser. 

The agency does not agree that this change 
should be made to Standard No. 206. This amend- 
ment exempts doors equipped with wheelchair 
lifts and alarm systems because the lifts in their 
retracted position provide an adequate barrier to 
occupant ejection if the door were to open while 
the vehicle is in operation or involved in a collision. 
The agency believes that manufacturers should be 
prohibited from certifying their vehicles as com- 
plying with FMVSS No. 206 if the doors of those 
vehicles do not contain wheelchair lifts and alarm 
systems or locks and door-retention components 
which conform to Standard No. 206. 

The agency notes that under NHTSA's require- 
ments set forth in 49 CFR Part 568, Vehicles 
Manufactured in Two or More Stages, the com- 
menter, as the incomplete-vehicle manufacturer, is 
not prohibited from delivering the vehicle to the 
distributor without the lift installed. Under Part 
568, the distributor or other person installing the 
lift would be considered the final-stage manufac- 
turer. The incomplete-vehicle manufacturer must 
furnish a document that explains the specific con- 
ditions of final manufacture under which the com- 
pleted vehicle will conform to the applicable safety 



standards, which would include FMVSS No. 206. 
As the final-stage manufacturer, the distributor 
can install the lift and certify the vehicle as com- 
plying with all applicable safety standards. 

The agency has considered the comments on the 
NPRM and has amended FMVSS No. 206 to ex- 
clude from the requirements of the standard doors 
which contain wheelchair lifts that are provided 
with an alarm system consisting of either a 
flashing visible signal located in the driver's com- 
partment or an alarm audible to the driver, which 
is activated when the door is open. The alarms 
must be sufficient to alert the driver when the 
door is open, i.e., the audible alarm must be loud 
enough to be heard and the visual alarm must be 
conspicuous and located in the driver's compart- 
ment. This amendment excludes such doors on 
passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, 
such as vans, and trucks. 

Part 571-Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 
§571.206 [Amended] 

In consideration of the foregoing, 49 CFR 
571.206, Door Locks and Door Retention Com- 
ponents, is amended as follows: 

S4 is revised to read as follows: 

***** 

S4. Requirements. Components on any side 
door leading directly into a compartment that con- 
tains one or more seating accommodations shall 
conform to this standard. However, components on 
folding doors, roll-up doors, doors that are de- 
signed to be easily attached to or removed from 
motor vehicles manufactured for operation with- 
out doors, and side doors which are equipped with 
wheelchair lifts and which are linked to an alarm 
system consisting of either a flashing visible signal 
located in the driver's compartment or an alarm 
audible to the driver which is activated when the 
door is open, need not conform to this standard. 

Issued on March 21, 1985. 



Diane K. Steed 
Administrator 

50 FR 12029 
March 27, 1985 



PART571;S206-PRE8 



MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 206 



Door Locks and Door Retention Components— Passenger Cars, Multipurpose Passenger 

Vehicles, and Trucks 



51. Purpose and scope. This standard speci- 
fies requirements for side door locks and side 
door retention components including latches, 
hinges, and other supporting means, to minimize 
the likelihood of occupants being thrown from 
the vehicle as a result of impact. 

52. Application. This standard applies to pas- 
senger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, and 
trucks. 

53. Definitions. "Cargo-Type Door" means a 
door designed primarily to accommodate cargo 
loading including, but not limited to, a two-part 
door that latches to itself. 

"Side front door" means a door that in a 
side view, has 50 percent or more of its opening 
area forward of the rearmost point on the 
driver's seatback, when the driver's seat is ad- 
justed to its most vertical and rearward position. 

"Side rear door" means a door that, in a side 
view, has more than 50 percent of its opening 
area to the rear of the rearmost point on the 
driver's seatback, when the driver's seat is ad- 
justed to its most vertical and rearward position. 

54. Requirements. [Components on any side 
door leading directly into a compartment that 
contains one or more seating accommodations shaU 
conform to this standard. However, components on 
folding doors, roll-up doors, doors that are designed 
to be easily attached to or removed from motor 
vehicles manufactured for operation without doors, 
and side doors which are equipped with wheelchair 
lifts and which are linked to an alarm system 
consisting of either a flashing visible signal located in 
the driver's compartment or an alarm audible to the 
driver which is activiated when the door is open, need 
not conform to this standard. (50 F.R. 12031— March 
27, 1985. Effective: July 25, 1985)1 



S4.1 (Hinged Doors, Except Cargo-Type Doors. 

54.1.1 Door Latches. Each door latch and 
striker assembly shall be provided with two po- 
sitions consisting of— 

(a) A fully latched position; and 

(b) A secondary latched position. 

54.1.1.1 Longitudinal Load. The door latch and 
striker assembly, when in the fully latched posi- 
tion, shall not separate when a longitudinal load 
of 2,500 pounds is applied. When in the sec- 
ondary latched position, the door latch and 
striker assembly shall not separate when a longi- 
tudinal load of 1,000 pounds is applied. 

54.1.1.2 Transverse Load. The door latch and 
striker assembly, when in the fully latched po- 
sition, shall not separate when a transverse load 
of 2,000 pounds is applied. When in the sec- 
ondary latched position, the door latch and 
striker assembly shall not separate when a trans- 
verse load of 1,000 pounds is applied. 

54.1.1.3 Inertia Load. The door latch shall not 
disengage from the fully latched position when 
a longitudinal or transverse inertia load of 30g 
is applied to the door latch system (including 
the latch and its actuating mechanism with the 
locking mechanism disengaged). 

54.1.2 Door Hinges. Each door hinge system 
shall support the door and shall not separate 
when a longitudinal load of 2,500 pounds is ap- 
plied. Similarly, each door hinge system shall 
not separate when a transverse load of 2,000 
pounds is applied. 

54.1.3 Door Locks. Each door shall be equipped 
with a locking mechanism with an operating 
means in the interior of the vehicle. 



Rev. 3/21/85 



PART 571; S 206-1 



54.1.3.1 Side Front Door Locks. When the 
locking mechanism is engaged, the outside door 
handle or other outside latch release control shall 
be inoperative. 

54.1.3.2 Side Rear Door Locks. In passenger 
cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles, when 
the locking mechanism is engaged, both the out- 
side and inside door handles or other latch re- 
lease controls shall be inoperative. 

54.2 Hinged Cargo-Type Doors. 

54.2.1 Door Latches. 

54.2.1.1 Longitudinal Load. Each latch system, 
when in the latched position, shall not separate 
when a longitudinal load of 2,500 pounds is 
applied. 

54.2.1.2 Transverse Load. Each latch system, 
when in the latched position, shall not separate 
when a transverse load of 2,000 pounds is ap- 
plied. When more than one latch system is used 
on a single door, the load requirement may be 
divided among the total number of latch systems. 

54.2.2 Door Hinges. Each door hinge system 
shall support the door and shall not separate 
when a longitudinal load of 2,500 pounds is ap- 
plied, and when a transverse load of 2,000 pounds 
is applied. 

54.3 Sliding Doors. The track and slide com- 
bination or other supporting means for each 
sliding door shall not separate when a total 
transverse load of 4,000 pounds is applied, with 
the door in the closed position. 

S5. Demonstration Procedures. 

S5.1 Hinged Doors, Except Cargo-Type Doors. 

S5.1.1 Door Latches. 

S5.1.1.1 Longitudinal and Transverse Loads. 

Compliance with paragraphs S4. 1.1.1 and S4.1.1.2 
shall be demonstrated in accordance with para- 
graph 4 of Society of Automotive Engineers 



Recommended Practice J839b, "Passenger Car 
Side Door Latch Systems," May 1965. 

S5.1.1.2 Inertia Load. Compliance with S4. 1.1.3 
shall be demonstrated by approved tests or in 
accordance with paragraph 5 of SAE Recom- 
mended Practice J839b, May 1965. 

S5.1.2 Door Hinges. Compliance with S4.1.2 
shall be demonstrated in accordance with para- 
graph 4 of SAE Recommended Practice J934, 
"Vehicle Passenger Door Hinge Systems," July 
1965. For piano-type hinges, the hinge spacing 
requirements of SAE J934 shall not be applicable 
and arrangement of the test fixture shall be 
altered as required so that the test load will be 
applied to the complete hinge. 

55.2 Hinged Cargo-Type Doors. 

55.2.1 Door Latches. Compliance with S4.2.1 
shall be demonstrated in accordance with para- 
graphs 4.1 and 4.3 of SAE Recommended Prac- 
tice J839b, "Passenger Car Side Door Latch 
Systems," May 1965. An equivalent static test 
fixture may be substituted for that shown in 
Figure 2 of SAE J839, if required. 

55.2.2 Door Hinges. Compliance with S4.2.2 
shall be demonstrated in accordance with para- 
graph 4 of SAE Recommended Practice J934, 
"Vehicle Passenger Door Hinge Systems," July 
1965. For piano-type hinges, the hinge spacing 
requirement of SAE J934 shall not be applicable 
and arrangement of the test fixture shall be 
altered as required so that the test load will be 
applied to the complete hinge. 

55.3 Sliding Doors. Compliance with S4.3 
shall be demonstrated by applying an outward 
transverse load of 2,000 pounds to the load bear- 
ing members at the opposite edges of the door 
(4,000 pounds total). The demonstration may 
be performed either in the vehicle or with the 
door retention components in a bench test fixture. 

34 F.R. 1150 
January 24, 1969 



PART 571; S 206-2 



Effoctiva: January 1, 1972 



PREAMBLE TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD 207 

Seating Systems — Passenger Cars, Multipurpose Passenger Vehicles, Trucks, and Buses 

(Docket No. 2-12; Notice No. 3) 



The purpose of this amendment to Motor Ve- 
hicle Safety Standard No. 207 is to extend its 
application to multipurpose passenger vehicles, 
trucks and buses, to require a seat to remain in 
its adjusted position during load application, and 
to clarify and restructure the s(tandard. 

A notice of proposed rulemaking on the sub- 
ject of amending Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
No. 207, and extending it to multipurpose pas- 
senger vehicles, trucks and buses was published 
on September 20, 1969 (34 F.R. 14661). 

The need for adequately anchored seating is 
clear. A seat that tears loose on impact adds to 
the hazards that are inherent in crash situations. 
Each seat must remain in place if it is to afford 
any protection to its occupant. Standard No. 
207 accordingly established Strength require- 
ments for the anchorage of occupant seats, re- 
quired that a means be provided for keeping 
folding seats and seat backs in place, and pre- 
scribed strength requirements for seat backs and 
seat back restraints. The proposal to extend the 
standard's application to additional types of ve- 
hicles is part of an overall effort to afford occu- 
pants of these vehicles protection equal to that 
now available to occupants of passenger oars. 
The extension of Standard No. 207 is closely 
allied with the extension of standards for seat 
belt installation (208) and anchorages (210) to 
these other vehicle types. 

MosA of the comments favored the extended 
application of the standard. Some persons who 
objected voiced the fear that the seat system 
requirements would eliminate some seating con- 
figurations in multipurpose passenger vehicles 
and walk-in van-type trucks. Although manu- 
facturers of these vehicles may have to make 



design changes, it has been determined that 
strength and convenience in this case are not 
incompatible, and that the provision of adequate 
seats is not impracticable for such vehicles. It 
should also be noted that if a seat is not intended 
for use while the vehicle is in motion, and there- 
fore provides no designated seating position un- 
der the amended definition of that term in section 
571.3 of Title 49 CFR, the requirements of this 
^andard do not apply to it. 

Several respondents observed that the require- 
ments of S4.2 that a seat sustain the required 
force "in each position to which it can be ad- 
justed" would impose a substantial burden on 
power seats, whose "positions" may be very 
numerous. The intent of the paragraph is to 
insure that a seat would be able to sustain the 
specified force in any position that is usable in 
actual operations, although the manufacturer 
may choose to test it only in its most vulnerable 
positions. Thus, the manufacturer may use what- 
ever means are at his disposal to meet the mini- 
mum requirements; the standards are not in- 
tended to dictate either the nature or the quantity 
of manufacturer testing. The requirement has 
been reworded slightly and language has been 
added to make it clear that the force specified by 
subparagraph (d) is applied to the seat only in 
the rearmost position. 

The requirement that the seat withstand the 
load without leaving its adjusted position has 
been retained, but in response to another group 
of comments it has been decided to allow non- 
locking suspension type seats to travel normally 
during application of the loads required by S4.2. 
Any other method of testing would not accurately 
reflect the actual performance characteristics of 
such seats. 



PART 571; S 207— PRE 1 



MmHv*: Jonvory I, 1971 



Several comments questioned the utility of re- 
quiring a seat back restraint release to be readily 
accessible if its use is not required for normal 
exit from the vehicles. There appears to be 
merit to this argument with respect to the need 
for rear seat occupants to use the release and the 
paragraph has been altered accordingly. 

One comment stated that subparagraph S4.3.2.1 
of the proposal should be amended to require the 
restraint on a rearward- facing seat to withstand 
a rearward load equal to eight times the weight 
of the piv<*ing or folding portion of the seat. 
This suggestion has merit, and the subparagraph 
has been amended by the addition of a new sub- 
paragraph dealing expressly with rearward- 
facing seats. 

Several comments requested that addition of 
language permitting "approved physical demtm- 
strations" or "approved dynamic tests" in place 
of the static loading requirements in S4.2 and 
S4.3. For several reasons, that language has not 
been added to the amended Standard No. 207. 
The Bureau adheres to the procedures specified 
in the standard in its own testing, and it is there- 
fore essential that the procedures be set forth 
with precision. However, if a manufacturer 
develops test procedures which are equal to those 
in the standard, in the sense that the results c&n 



be accurately correlated with the standard's re- 
quirements, nothing in the Act or in the standard 
prevents him from using his testa to determine 
that his product conforms to the standard. The 
Bureau wishes to encourage new developments 
in the field of testing, and does not intend that 
the amended standard should inhibit them. 

The proposal has been further changed by in- 
corporating the substance of the test procedures 
in SAE J879b into the text of the standard and 
by adopting the accompanying drawings as 
figures 1-5 of the standard. 

Effective date: January 1, 1972. 

Several comments indicated that the proposed 
effective date of January 1, 1971, would leave 
many manufacturers unable to comply, par- 
ticularly with respect to multipurpose passenger 
vehicles and trucks. Therefore, it has been de- 
termined that there is good cause for specifying 
an effective date more than 1 year after the date 
of publication. 

Issued on September 23, 1970. 

Charles H. Hartman, 
Acting Director. 

35 F.R. 15290 
October 1, 1970 



PART 571 ; S 207— PRE 2 



Efftctiv*: January 1, 1972 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 207 

Seating Systems— Passenger Cars, Multipurpose Passenger Vehicles, Trucks and Buses 

(Docket No. 2-12; Notice No. 4) 



An amendment to Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard No. 207, Seating Systems, was pub- 
lished on October 1, 1970 (35 F.R. 15290). 
Thereafter, pursuant to §553.35 of the pro- 
cedural rules (49 CFR 553.35, 35 F.R. 5119), 
petitions for reconsideration were filed by the 
Ford Motor Company and Rolls Royce, Ltd. 

The petition of Rolls Royce, Ltd., sought to 
amend § S4:.2.1, Seat adjiistment, to permit a 
displacement of 2 inches during the application 
of the required force. The company stated that 
such an allowance was necessary to accommodate 
power seats that are continuously adjustable. 
Although the Administration has determined 
that it is not advisable to permit a specific dis- 
placement, the special circumstances of the power 
seat warrant a more explicit interpretation of the 
term "adjusted position" as employed in the 
standard. 

Some types of manual adjustment device have 
a small amount of slack, that is detected during 
the test procedure but is not an indication of 
incipient failure and is therefore not considered 
to affect the conformity of the system. In re- 
viewing the characteristics of power adjustment 
devices, the Administration has concluded that 
some similar amount of slack may exist in such 
systems and that it should not be the basis for 
a finding of non-conformity. The Administra- 
tion will consider a continuously adjustable 
power seat to have remained in its adjusted 
position despite some movement, if the move- 
ment is small and if it has stopped as the maxi- 
mum required force level is reached. 



The substance of the Ford petition was that 
the requirement for the seat back release control 
to be accessible to an occupant of the seat is not 
appropriate if the occupant does not need to use 
it to exit from the vehicle. This point was 
illustrated by the case of a seat in a truck cab 
that folds for access to a storage compartment. 
The Administration has determined that the 
situation used by Ford to illustrate its case is a 
situation in which relief from the requirement 
should be granted, but that where there is a seat- 
ing position behind the folding seat the release 
control should continue to be accessible to the 
occupant of the folding seat. This requirement 
has been a part of the standard from the outset, 
and by making the latch more easily usable 
makes it less likely to be intentionally defeated. 

Ford also indicated that it understood the 
standard to require that the seat be releasable 
from each seating position on the seat. This is 
not a correct reading of the standard. The Ad- 
ministration's interpretation continues to be that 
the release conrol must be accessible to at least 
one occupant of each folding part of a seat. 

In consideration of the foregoing, section 
S4.3.1, Accessibility of release control, in Stand- 
ard No. 207, 49 CFR 571.21, is amended 

Effective date : January 1, 1972. 



Issued on April 14, 1971. 



Douglas W. Toms, 
Acting Administrator. 

36 F.R. 7419 
April 20, 1971 



PART 571; 207— PRE 3-4 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY 

STANDARD NO. 207 



Seating Systems 
[Docket No. 86-04; Notice 2] 



ACTION: Final rule. 

SUMMARY: This notice amends Federal Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standard No. 207, Seating Systems, 
to remove an unnecessary restriction. The stand- 
ard requires most folding seats to be equipped 
with a self-locking device for restraining the hinged 
or folding seat or seat back and with a specific 
control, such as a knob, lever, push button, etc., 
for releasing that restraining device. The purpose 
of the latter requirement is to ensure that the 
restraining device can be released to enable occu- 
pants seated behind such seats to exit the vehicle. 
The requirement was worded so it applied to a 
folding or hinged seat regardless of whether any- 
one can sit behind that seat. The agency con- 
cluded that this requirement was unnecessarily 
restrictive and is therefore amending the stand- 
ard to make it clear that a specific control is not 
required if there are no seats behind the folding 
seat. 

EFFECTIVE DATE: The amendment made by this 
rule is effective April 13, 1987. 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section S4.3 of 
Standard No. 207 requires hinged or folding occu- 
pant seats or occupant seat backs, with some 
exceptions, to be equipped with a self-locking 
device for restraining the hinged or folding seat 
or seat back and a specific control for releasing 
that restraining device. The purpose of the re- 
quirement for the self-locking device is to reduce 
the forces acting on an occupant of the seat in an 
accident by preventing the seat or seat back from 
folding onto the occupant. The purpose of the re- 
quirement for the control to release the restrain- 
ing device is to ensure that occupants seated 
behind such seats are able to exit the vehicle. Sec- 
tion S4.3.1 specifies that if there is a designated 
seating position immediately behind a seat 
equipped with a restraining device, the control for 



releasing the device must be readily accessible to 
the occupant of the seat equipped with the device. 
That section also specifies that if access to the 
control is required in order to exit from the vehi- 
cle, the control must be readily accessible to the 
occupant of the designated seating position imme- 
diately behind the seat. 

On July 2, 1986, NHTSA published in the 
Federal Register (51 FR 24176) a notice of proposed 
rulemaking (NPRM) to remove an unnecessary 
restriction resulting from the language of section 
S4.3. The agency noted that it had received a let- 
ter asking whether a proposed design would meet 
that section's requirements. The design was for a 
folding seat which would be installed between the 
driver's and assistant's seats in large trucks. 
When the seat back is folded down, the back of the 
seat could be used as a console box. When the seat 
back is raised, the seat back would automatically 
be locked. To fold the seat back after locking, one 
must lift the seat back manually, thereby raising 
a pivot, in order to release the folding seat back. A 
drawing included with the letter indicated that 
no seats would be located behind the folding seat, 
either immediately to the rear or to the sides. 

The primary interpretation issue raised by the 
letter was whether section S4.3 required a specific 
control to release the restraining device for a fold- 
ing seat even if no seats are located behind that 
folding seat. The language of section S4.3 was suf- 
ficiently broad to require a control in those cir- 
cumstances. Since the purpose for requiring a 
specific control is to ensure that occupants in 
seats located behind folding seats are able to exit 
the vehicle, the agency tentatively concluded that 
the requirement should not apply if there are no 
such seats. Accordingly, NHTSA proposed to 
amend Standard No. 207 to provide an exception 
to the requirement that folding seats, have a 
specific control for releasing the required 
restraining device. Under the proposal, a specific 
control was not to be required if there are no 



PART 571; S207-PRE 5 



seats, i.e., nn desigr.ated seating positions or aux- 
iliary seating accommodations, behind the fold- 
ing seat. 

NHTSA received five comments on the NPRM. 
Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, and Volkswagen 
submitted comments agreeing with the proposal 
and its rationale. 

The fifth commenter, Mr. Robert Schlegel, 
argued that the proposal should not apply to fold- 
ing seats located in front of the cargo areas of sta- 
tion wagons, mini-vans, and certain sport cars. 
That commenter stated that while such areas are 
not designated for passenger travel, children 
often occupy the areas for short trips. That com- 
menter urged that such passengers should be able 
to move the seat back forward, if necessary to exit 
the vehicle. 

After carefully considering the comments, 
NHTSA is issuing a final rule along the lines of 
the proposal. A typographical error in the regula- 
tory text, pointed out by Ford, has been corrected. 

NHTSA shares Mr. Schlegel's concern for the 
safety of children and urges that parents and 
other drivers not permit children to travel in 
cargo areas, and instead ensure that the children 
are safely restrained in child safety seats or safety 
belts. To the extent that some children do travel 
in cargo areas, however, the agency does not 
believe that requiring specific controls to release 
the restraining device of folding seats located in 
front of such areas would result in any safety 
benefits. Children typically enter such areas by 
climbing over the forward seat or, for some 
vehicles, through a transverse rear door, and can 
thus easily exit the vehicle in one or both of these 
manners. 

This amendment becomes effective in 30 days. 
Since the amendment does not impose any new 



itquirciiienlsbut instead relieves an unnecessary 
restriction, the agency finds good cause for an 
effective date within that time period. 

The agency has analyzed this amendment -^nd 
determined that it is neither "major" within the 
meaning of Executive Order 12291 nor "signifi- 
cant" within the meaning of the Department of 
Transportation regulatory policies and procedures. 
The agency has determined that the economic 
effects of this amendment are so minimal that a 
full regulatory evaluation is not required. Since 
the amendment relieves a restriction, it is con- 
ceivable that it will result in some minor, non- 
quantifiable cost savings. 

In consideration of the foregoing, §571.207 is 
amended as follows: 

S4.3 is revised to read as follows: 

S4.3. Restraining device for hinged or folding 
seats or seat backs. Except for a passenger seat in 
a bus or a seat having a back that is adjustable 
only for the comfort of its occupants, a hinged or 
folding occupant seat or occupant seat back shall— 

(a) be equipped with a self-locking device for 
restraining the hinged or folding seat or seat 
back, and 

(b) if there are any designated seating positions 
or auxiliary seating accommodations behind the 
seat, either immediately to the rear or the sides; 
be equipped with a control for releasing that 
restraining device. 

Issued on: Mar. 10, 1987 



Diane K. Steed 
Administrator 

52 F.R. 7867 
March 13, 1987 



PART 571; S207-PRE 6 



MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 207 



Seating Systems— Passenger Cars, Multipurpose Passenger Vehicles, Trucks and Buses 

(Docket No. 2-12; Notice No. 3) 



SI. Purpose and scope. This standard estab- 
lishes requirements for seats, their attachment 
assemblies, and their installation to minimize 
the possibiilty of their failure by forces acting 
on them as a result of vehicle impact. 

52. Application. This standard applies to pas- 
senger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, 
trucks and buses. 

53. Definition. "Occupant seat" means a seat 
that provides at least one designated seating 
position. 

54. Requirements. 

84.1 Driver seat. Each vehicle shall have an 
occupant seat for the driver. 

54.2 General performance requirements. When 
tested in accordance with S5, each occupant seat, 
other than a side-facing seat or a passenger seat 
on a bus, shall withstand the following forces: 

(a) In any position to which it can be ad- 
justed— 20 times the weight of the seat applied in 
a forward longitudinal direction; 

(b) In any position to which it can be ad- 
justed— 20 times the weight of the seat applied 
in a rearward longitudinal direction; 

(c) For a seat belt assembly attached to the 
seat— the force specified in subparagraph (a), if 
it is a forward facing seat, or subparagraph (b), 
if it is a rearward facing seat, in each case ap- 
plied simultaneously with the forces imposed on 
the seat by the seat belt assembly when it is 
loaded in accordance with section S4.2 of Fed- 
eral Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 210; and 

(d) In its rearmost position— a force that 
produces a 3,300 inch-pound moment about the 
seating reference point for each designated seat- 
ing position that the seat provides, applied to the 
upper cross-member of the seat back or the 



upper seat back, in a rearward longitudinal di- 
rection for forward-facing seats and in a forward 
longitudinal direction for rearward-facing seats. 

S4.2.1 Seat adjustment. Except for vertical 
movement of nonlocking suspension type occupant 
seats in trucks or buses, the seat shall remain in its 
adjusted position during the application of each 
force specified in S4.2. 

S4.3 Restraining device for hinged or folding 
seats or seat backs. Except for a passenger seat 
in a bus or a seat having a back that is adjustable 
only for the comfort of its occupants, a hinged 
or folding rxupant seat or occupant seat back 
shall be equipped with a self-locking device for 
restraining the hinged or folding seat or seat 
back and a control for releasing that restraining 
device. 

54.3.1 Accessibility of release control. If 

there is a designated seating position immediately 
behind a seat equipped with a restraining device, 
the control for releasing the device shall be 
readily accessible to the occupant of the seat 
equipped with the device and, if access to the 
control is required in order to exit from the 
vehicle, to the occupant of the designated seat- 
ing position immediately behind the seat. 

54.3.2 Performance of restraining device. 
S4.3.2.1 Static force. 

(a) Once engaged, the restraining device for 
forward-facing seat shall not release or fail when 
a forward longitudinal force equal to 20 times 
the weight of the hinged or folding portion of 
the seat is applied through the center of gravity 
of that portion of the seat. 

(b) Once engaged, the restraining device for 
a rearward facing seat shall not release or fail 



PART 571; S 207-1 



when a rearward longitudinal force equal to 8 
times the weight of the hinged or folding portion 
of the seat is applied to the center of gravity of 
that portion of the seat. 

S4.3.2.2 Acceleration. Once engaged, the re- 
straining device shall not release or fail when the 
device is subjected to an acceleration of 20 g. in 
the longitudinal direction opposite to that in 
which the seat folds. 

S4.4 Labeling. Seats not designated for oc- 
cupancy while the vehicle is in motion shall be 
conspicuously labeled to that effect. 

S5. Test procedures. 

S5.1 Apply the forces specified in S4.2(a) and 
S4.2(b) as follows: 

S5.1.1 If the seat back and the seat bench are 
attached to the vehicle by the same attachments, 
secure a strut on each side of the seat from a 
point on the outside of the seat frame in the 
horizontal plane of the seat's center of gravity to 
a point on the frame as far forward as possible 
of the seat anchorages. Between the upper ends 
of the struts place a rigid cross-member, in front 
of the seat back frame for rearward loading and 
behind the seat back frame for forward loading. 
Apply the force specified by S4.2(a) or S4.2(b) 
horizontally through the rigid cross-member as 
shown in Figure 1. 



RIGID MEMBER 




HORIZONTAL REARWARD^ 
FORCE THROUGH THE 
CENTER OF GRAVITY 



DIAGONAL STRUT ATTACHED 
AS FAR FORWARD OF FRONT 
ATTACHING POINT AS POSSIBLE 



HORIZONTAL FORWARD FORCE 
THROUGH THE CENTER 
OF GRAVITY 



S5.1.2 If the seat back and the seat bench are 
attached to the vehicle by different attachments, 
attach to each component a fixture capable of 
transmitting a force to that component. Apply 



forces equal to 20 times the weight of the seat 
back horizontally through the center of gravity 
of the seat back, as shown in Figure 2, and apply 
forces equal to 20 times the weight of the seat 



CENTER OF GRAVITY 
OF SEAT BACK 



LOAD CELL 



FORWARD 

HORIZONTAL 

FORCE 




REARWARD 

HORIZONTAL 

FORCE 



bench horizontally through the center of gravity 
of the seat bench, as shown in Figure 3. 



HORIZONTAL 
FORCE 




CENTER OF GRAVITY 
OF SEAT CUSHION 



REARWARD 
J\ HORIZONTAL 
^^ FORCE 



LOAD CELL 



FIGURE 3 



S5.2 Develop the moment specified in S4.2(d) 
as shown in Figure 4. 

RIGID MEMBER 



HORIZONTAL FORCE (P) TO 
SEAT BACK AT UPPER 
CROSSMEMBER 



SEATING REFERENCE 
POINT 



^4r 




MOMENT (Px D) COMPUTED ABOUT THE 
SEATING REFERENCE POINT 

FIGURE 4 



PART 571; S 207-2 



S5.3 Apply the forces specified in S4.3.2.1 (a) 
and (b) to a hinged or folding seat as shown in 
figure 1 and to a hinged or folding seat back as 
shown in Figure 5. 



S5.4 Determine the center of gravity of a seat 
or seat component with all cushions and uphols- 
tery in place and with the head restraint in its 
fully extended design position. 



HORIZONTAL FORCE THROUGH 
THE CENTER OF GRAVITY 




RIGID SUPPORT 



SEAT IN LATCHED POSITION 
FIGURES 



35 F.R. 15290 
October 1, 1970 



PART 571; S 207-3-4 



EffKtiv*: January 1, 1972 

August 15, 1973 

August 15, 1975 

August 15, 1977 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection in Passenger Cars, Multipurpose Passenger 
Vehicles, Trucks, and Buses 

(Docket No. 69-7; NoHce No. 9) 



The purpose of this amendment to Standard 
No. 208, 49 CFR 571.21, is to specify occupant 
crash protection requirements for passenger cars, 
multipurpose passenger vheicles, trucks, and 
buses manufactured on or aft«r January 1, 1972, 
with additional requirements coming into effect 
for certain of those vehicles on August 15, 1973, 
August 15, 1975, and August 15, 1977. The re- 
quirements effective for the period beginning on 
January 1, 1972, were the subject of a notice of 
proposed rulemaking published September 25, 
1970 (35 F.R. 14941), and appear today for the 
first time in the form of a rule. The require- 
ments for subsequent periods were issued in rule 
form on November 3, 1970 (35 F.E. 16927), and 
are reissued today in amended form as the result 
of petitions for reconsideration. 

The substantive rulemaking actions that pre- 
ceded this amendment are as follows: 

(a) May 7, 1970 (35 F.R. 7187)— Proposed 
requirements and a schedule for the adoption of 
passive restraint systems and interim active 
systems. 

(b) September 25, 1970 (35 F.R. 14941) — 
Proposal for a modified interim set of require- 
ments effective January 1, 1972. 

(c) November 3, 1970 (35 F.R. 16927)— Rule 
amending Standard No. 208 to specify require- 
ments for passive restraints, effective July 1, 
1973. 

(d) November 3, 1970 (35 F.R. 16937)— Pro- 
posed additional requirements and conditions to 
be contained in Standard No. 208. 

Following issuance of the November 3 amend- 
ment, petitions for reconsideration were filed 
pursuant to § 553.35 of the procedural rules (49 
CFR 553.35, 35 F.R. 5119) by Japan Automobile 



Manufacturers Association, Inc., American 
Safety Belt Coimcil, Peugeot, Inc., American 
Motors Corp., Volvo, Inc., Ford Motor Co., 
Chrysler, Chrysler United Kingdom, Ltd., Inter- 
national Harvester Co., Automobile Manufac- 
turers Association, General Motors Corp., Volks- 
wagen of America, Inc., Takata Kojyo Co., Ltd., 
Renault, Inc., American Motors (Jeep), Rolls- 
Royce, Ltd., American Safety Equipment Corp., 
Hamill Manufacturing Co., Energy Systems 
Division (Olin), American Association for Auto- 
motive Medicine, Checker Motors Corp., Eaton 
Yale and Towne, Inc., and the American 
Academy of Pediatrics. 

Concurrently with the evaluation of the peti- 
tions, the Administration has reviewed the com- 
ments received in response to the September 25 
and November 3 proposals, and the interim 
occupant protection requirements are combined 
herein with the requirements for later periods. 

The standard establishes quantitative criteria 
for occupant injury, as determined by use of 
anthropomorphic test devices. For the head, the 
criterion is a severity index of 1,000, calculated 
according to SAE Information Report J885a; 
for the upper thorax, it is a deceleration of 60g 
except for a cumulative period of not more than 
3 milliseconds; and for the upper legs it is an 
axial force of 1,400 pounds. A fourth criterion 
is that the test devices must be contained by the 
outer surfaces of the passenger compartment. 

For systems that provide complete passive pro- 
tection there are three vehicle impact modes in 
which a vehicle is required to meet the injury 
criteria. In the frontal mode, the vehicle im- 
pacts a fixed collision barrier perpendicularly or 
at any angle up to and including 30° in either 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 1 



MmMv*: 1/1/72; t/IS/rS; 
i/IS/rS; 1/15/77 



direction from the perpendicular while traveling 
longitudinally forward at any speed up to 30 
m.p.h. In the lateral mode, the vehicle is im- 
pacted on its side by a barrier moving at 20 
m.pii. In the rollover mode, the vehicle is rolled 
over from a speed of 30 m.pJi. 

On January 1, 1972, a passenger car will be 
required to provide one of three options for oc- 
cupant protection : ( 1 ) Passive protection system 
that meets the above injury criteria in all im- 
pact modes at all seating positions; (2) lap belts 
at aU positions, with a requirement that the front 
outboard positions meet the injury criteria with 
lap-belted dummies in a 30-m.p.h. perpendicular 
barrier crash; or (3) lap-and-shoulder-belt sys- 
tems at the front outboard positions that restrain 
test dummies in a 30-m.p.h. barrier crash without 
belt or anchorage failure, and lap belts in other 
positions. 

Both the second and third options require 
warning systems that activate a visible and 
audible signal if an occupant of either front out- 
board position has not extended his lap belt to a 
specified length. Lap belts furnished under the 
second or third options must have emergency- 
locking or automatic-locking retractors at all out- 
board positions, front and rear. Shoulder belts 
furnished under the third option must have 
either manual adjustment or emergency -locking 
retractors. 

On August 15, 1973, a passenger car will be 
required to provide one of two options for oc- 
cupant protection: (1) Passive protection that 
meets the injury criteria in all impact modes at 
all seating positions; or (2) a system that pro- 
vides passive protection for the front positions 
in a perpendicular frontal fixed barrier crash, 
that includes lap belts at all seating positions 
such that the injury criteria are met at the front 
positions both with and without lap belts 
fastened in a perpendicular frontal fixed barrier 
crash, and that has a seat belt warning system 
at the front outboard positions. 

On and after August 15, 1975, a passenger car 
will be required to meet the injury criteria in all 
impact modes at all seating positions by passive 
means. 

Multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks 
with gross vehicle weight ratings of 10,000 
pounds or less manufactured from January 1, 



1972, to August 15, 1975, will have the option of 
meeting the injury criteria in all impact modes 
at all seating positions by passive means, or of 
providing a seatbelt assembly at each designated 
seating position. From August 15, 1975, to 
August 15, 1977, these vehicles will be required 
to meet one of the two options permitted pas- 
senger cars during the period August 15, 1973, to 
August 15, 1975. On and after August 15, 1977, 
they will be required to meet the full passive 
crash protection requirements that become effec- 
tive for passenger cars on August 15, 1975. For- 
ward control vehicles, however, may continue to 
use belt systems, and certain other specialized 
types of vehicles may continue to provide only 
head-on passive protection. 

Multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks 
with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds 
manufactured on or after January 1, 1972, will 
have the option of providing protection by pas- 
sive means that meet all the crash protection re- 
quirements or of installing seat belt assemblies 
at all seating positions. Buses manufactured 
after January 1, 1972, will be required to pro- 
vide one of these options for the driver's seating 
position. 

The remainder of this preamble is separated 
into sections dealing with (I) the comments re- 
ceived in response to the September 25 proposal 
for the interim system, (II) the petitions for 
reconsideration of the November 3 rule on the 
requirements for later periods, and (III) the 
comments received and action taken pursuant to 
the November 3 proposal for additional require- 
ments. 

I. The September 25 proposal specified a series 
of options for occupant protection in passenger 
cars manufactured on or after January 1, 1972. 
Each option represented a significant advance 
over the level of protection afforded occupants 
by present seat belt systems. Upon consideration 
of comments requesting postp>onement of the re- 
quirements, it has been determined that com- 
pliance with one or another of the options by 
January 1, 1972, is reasonable and practicable. 
In response to the comments and other available 
information, however, certain changes have been 
made. 

In the proposal, the first option consisted of a 
passive protection system that would meet the 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 2 



EffKtiva: 1/1/72; 8/15/73; 
8/15/75; 8/15/77 



injury criteria at all seating positions in a 30 
m.p.h. perpendicular frontal impact. A large 
number of respondents (to this notice and to 
others dealt with herein), both within and out- 
side of the concerned industries, took the posi- 
tion that the requirements for installation of 
seat belts should not be dropped until the ve- 
hicles in question provided protection in angular, 
lateral, and rollover crash modes, in addition to 
the direct frontal mode. After detailed con- 
sideration of these arguments and other available 
data, it has been determined that the added cost 
of seatbelt systems is justified, even where ve- 
hicles provide passive frontal-impact protection. 
Accordingly, the first option, the only one under 
which manufacturers are allowed not to provide 
seat belts in their vehicles, requires a passive pro- 
tection system that meets the injury criteria in 
all of the impact modes mentioned above. 

The second option set forth in the proposal 
consisted of Type 1 seatbelt assemblies with a 
warning system at the front outboard positions 
and Type 1 or Type 2 assemblies at the other 
positions. The front outboard positions were 
either to meet the injury criteria in a perpen- 
dicular impact by use of the belts, or be pro- 
tected by energy absorbing materials conforming 
to amended requirements proposed for Standards 
No. 201 and 203. The latter alternative was the 
subject of several adverse comments, and in the 
light of these comments and the tentative nature 
of the proposed amendments to Standards No. 
201 and 203, the alternative has been deleted. 
As adopted, the option provides that the front 
outboard positions must meet the injury criteria 
in a perpendicular fixed barrier crash w^ith the 
test dummies restrained by Type 1 belts only. 
The wording that a vehicle should have "either a 
Type 1 or a Type 2" seatbelt assembly under this 
option has been changed to refer simply to Type 
1 (lap belt) assemblies. A manufacturer may at 
his option provide upper torso restraints, which 
do or do not attach to the lap belts. The essence 
of the second option, however, is that the vehicle 
be designed to provide protection with lap belts 
alone, in view of their much higher level of pub- 
lic use in comparison with lap-and-shoulder 
combinations. Vehicles under this option, there- 
fore, must provide lap belts that are usable 
separately. 



The third option proposed in the September 
25 notice has been adopted with vsome changes. 
It consists of an improved combination of lap 
and shoulder belts in the front outboard seating 
positions, with lap belts in other positions. The 
belts and anchorages at the front outboard posi- 
tions must be capable of restraining a dxmimy in 
a 30-m.p.h. frontal perpendicular impact with- 
out separtion of the belts or their anchorages. 

The seatbelt warning system required under 
the second and third options has been modified 
somewhat in the light of the comments, to clarify 
the requirements and to restrict its operation to 
situations where the vehicle is likely to be in 
motion. The notice proposed that the system 
operate when the driver or right front passenger, 
or both, occupied the seat but did not fasten the 
belt about them. It was stated in several com- 
ments such systems operating through the buckle 
are relatively complex and that leadtime would 
be a significant problem. Upon evaluation of 
the comments, it has been decided to provide for 
warning system operation when the driver's belt 
is not extended to a length that will accommo- 
date a 5th-percentile adult female, or when the 
right front passenger's seat is occupied and that 
belt is not extended far enough to fit a 50th- 
percentile 6-year-old. Keying the system to belt 
withdrawal is technologically simpler, and still 
provides protection against tampering. The 
notice had proposed that the system operate 
whenever the vehicle's ignition was in the "on" 
position. It w£is pointed out in the comments 
that situations arise in which the vehicle is at 
rest with the ignition on and the engine running, 
as when picking up or discharering passengers. 
To avoid the annoyance to vehicle occupants of 
the warning svstem in such situations, the stand- 
ard provides that the system shall operate only 
if the ignition is in the "on" position and the 
transmission is in a drive position. 

The seat belt system requirements have also 
been changed somewhat in response to com- 
ments. The notice had proposed to require re- 
tractors at all seating positions in those options 
specifying seat belts. Several comments stated 
tha the installation of retractors at inboard posi- 
tions would require extensive redesign of bench- 
type seats. In the light of the low occupancy 
rate for the center seats, the difficulties in meet- 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 3 



UtHv. 1/1/72; a/ 1 5/73; 
8/15/75; 8/15/77 



ing the requirement, and the short leadtime avail- 
able, the requirement for center- position retrac- 
tors has been omitted. 

The requirement that the shoulder and pelvic 
restraints be releasable at a single point by a 
pushbutton-type action has been retained. The 
Administration considers that single-point re- 
lease is, essential to the convenient operation of 
the seat belts, and that stf^ndardization of the 
buckle release device is also important, par- 
ticularly in emergency situations. However, the 
additional requirement for one-hand fastening by 
the driver has been deleted. Adjustable bench 
seats would require major redesign in many cases, 
and it has been determined that the additional 
convenience afforded the driver would not be 
sufficient to justify the cost and leadtime prob- 
lems that would result. 

A number of comments noted that no dimen- 
sions were specified in the notice for the various 
occupants, and that there were no dimensions of 
this type in general use. To remedy the problem, 
the standard provides a table of dimensions for 
various sizes of adult occupants and 50tli- 
percentile 6-year-olds. The latter set of dimen- 
sions has been adopted because of the availability 
of manikins at that size. 

In response to several comments stating that 
the proposed 8-inch distance between the oc- 
cupant's centerline and the intersection of the 
upper torso belt with the lap belt was too great, 
the distance has been reduced to 6 inches. It has 
been determined that a 6-inch distance will pro- 
vide satisfactory protection and lessen the con- 
venience problems that might be created with the 
greater distance. 

II. With few exceptions, the petitions for re- 
consideration of the November 3 amendment 
requested that the requirement for mandatory 
passive protection be postponed. The length of 
postponement requested varied from 2 months to 
several years. After full consideration of the 
issues raised by the petitions, it has been decided 
to continue to require passive protection for the 
front seating positions of passenger cars in 1973. 
In order to ease the problem of model year 
scheduling, the date is changed from July 1, 
1973, to August 15, 1973. The petitions did not 
offer sufficient reasons to change the Administra- 
tion's position as set forth in previous notices in 



this docket, that passive protection systems are a 
vitally important step in reducing the death and 
injury toll on our highways, and that the relevant 
technology is sufficiently advanced to provide this 
basic protection, in accordance with the perfpnn- 
ance requirements and the time schedule that 
have been specified. The petitions that requested 
a postponement of all passive protection require- 
ments beyond August 15, 1973, are therefore 
denied. 

However, considerable data was presented in 
the petitions to the effect that the development of 
passive systems for the various impact modes 
has not proceeded at an equal rate. It appears 
that a number of manufacturers may be unable 
to comply with the lateral crash protection re- 
quirements in 1973. Accordingly, it has been de- 
cided to establish two restraint options for the 
front seating positions of passenger cars manu- 
factured on or after August 15, 1973, and before 
August 15, 1975. A manufacturer may ehooee, 
first, to provide a passive system that meets the 
occupant crash protection requirements at all 
seating positions, in all impact modes. If he is 
unable to provide such full passive protection, 
he may choose to adopt a system that provides 
passive protection for the front occupants in a 
head-on collision, and also, includes a lap belt 
at each seating position with a seatbelt warning 
system for the front outboard positions. Under 
this option, the injury criteria must be met at 
each front position in a perpendicular barrier 
crash up to 30 m.p.h., both with and without the 
lap belts fastened. This option thus resembles 
the second option permitted during the interim 
period, except that the injury criteria must also 
be met with the test dummies unrestrained, and 
at the front center position as well as the front 
outboard positions. 

The date on which a passenger car must pro- 
vide passive means of meeting the injury criteria 
in a side impact is changed to August 15, 1975, 
to reflect the greater leadtime needed to develop 
such passive systems. To provide uniform 
phasing, and allow time for development of pas- 
sive protection in the angular-impact and roll- 
over modes, the effective date for these require- 
ments is also set at August 15, 1975. Thus, after 
August 15, 1975, each passenger car must meet 
the crash protection requirements at each seating 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 4 



t 1/1/rj; i/is/rjj 

•/15/75i 1/13/77 



position in all impact modes by means that re- 
quire no action by vehicle occupants. 

Petitions of manufacturers of multipurpose 
passenger vehicles and trucks with GVWK of 
10,000 pounds or less stated that the trucking in- 
dustry as a whole would need additional time to 
assimilate the experience of passenger car manu- 
facturers, before passive systems could be prop- 
erly installed on their vehicles. The Administra- 
tion has determined that additional leadtime is 
required for these vehicles. The standard ac- 
cordingly provides that the protection required 
for passenger cars in 1973 will be required for 
multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with 
a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less on August 15, 
1975. The protection required for passenger cars 
on August 15, 1975, will be required of these ve- 
hicles on August 15, 1977. 

The notice of proposed rulemaking published 
on November 3, 1970, proposed to make the pas- 
sive protection requirements anplicable to open- 
body type vehicles. Review of the comments and 
the petitions for reconsideration leads to the con- 
clusion that this type of vehicle, along with con- 
vertibles, walk-in van-type vehicles, motor homes, 
and chassis-mount campers cannot be satisfac- 
torily equipped with a complete passive protec- 
tion system. Accordingly, the standard provides 
that onlv the head-on passive protection system 
required for passenger cars in 1973 will be re- 
quired for each of these types on August 15, 1977, 
and thereafter. It has been further determined 
that it may not be feasible to provide passive pro- 
tection in some forward control vehicles, and such 
vehicles are therefore permitted the option of 
providing seat belt assemblies at all seating 
positions. 

A number of petitions obiected to the require- 
ment for a minimum speed below which a crash- 
deployed system may not deploy. Upon con- 
sideration of the petitions, it has been determined 
that it is preferable to allow manufacturers free- 
dom in the design of their protective systems at 
all speeds, and this requirement is hereby deleted 
from the standard. 

The injury criteria specified in the November 
3 amendment were the subject of numerous peti- 
tions. The basic objections to the head injury 
criteria were that the 70g-3-millisecond require- 
ment was too conservative, with respect to both 



acceleration levels and time factors. Review of 
these objections and a reevaluation of the infor- 
mation available to the Administration leads to 
the conclusion that the head injury criteria can 
be more appropriately based on the severity in- 
dex described in the Society of Automotive 
Engineers Information Report J885(a), June 
1966. Accordingly, the standard adopts as the 
criterion for head injury a severity index of 1,000 
calculated by the method in the SAE report. 

The severity index is based on biomechanical 
data derived from head injury studies and does 
not adapt itself readily to chest-injury usage. 
Several petitions stated that the chest injury 
criteria were set at too low a level. In some re- 
spects, a higher "g-level" on the chest actually 
increases the protective capabilities of the system, 
if properly designed, since it more effectively 
utilizes the available space in which the occu- 
pant can "ride down" the crash impact — an 
especially important factor in higher-speed 
crashes. Therefore, in accordance with data cur- 
rently available, a chest tolerance level of 60g, 
except for a cumulative period of 3 milliseconds, 
is hereby adopted. 

No data was received to support the contention 
of several petitioners that the upper leg load was 
too conservative. The maximum force level of 
1,400 pounds appears well foimded and is re- 
tained. 

Several petitions objected to the condition 
that vehicles be tested at their gross vehicle 
weight rating. Under review of the appro- 
priateness of this requirement for passenger cars 
and a review of loading patterns on trucks, it 
has been decided to alter the condition to specify 
that passenger cars are tested at a weight that 
represents their unloaded vehicle weight (re- 
cently defined in the Federal Register of Feb. 5, 
1971, 36 F.R. 2511) plus the weight of rated 
cargo capacity and the specified number of test 
devices. Trucks are to be tested at a weicrht that 
approximates a half -loaded vehicle, with the load 
secured in the cargo area, plus the specified num- 
ber of test devices. 

The use of the anthropomorphic test device de- 
scribed in SAE J963 was objected to by several 
petitioners, on the grounds that further specifica- 
tions are needed to ensure repeatability of test 
results. The Administration finds no sufficient 



PART 671; S 208— PRE 6 



Effcctiv*: \I'II71, 8/15/73; 
8/1S/7S; »I\SI77 



reason to alter its conclusion that the SAE 
specification is the best available. The NHTSA 
is sponsoring further research and examining all 
available data, however, with a view to issuance 
of further specifications for these devices. 

In response to other comments with respect to 
test conditions, the test devices' hand positions 
are adjusted to reduce apparent test variability. 
Also, the frequency filtration criteria of SAE 
Recommended Practice J211 have been sub- 
stituted for the filtration criteria employed in 
the November 3 notice. 

III. The notice of proposed rulemaking issued 
on November 3, 1970, dealt with several aspects 
of the occupant protection standard for which 
changes contemplated by the Administration, 
after review of the comments to the May 7 notice, 
were thought to require additional opportunity 
for comment. These aspects included a proposed 
deletion of the exemption from the rollover re- 
quirements previously proposed for open-body 
type vehicles, the raising of the low-velocity de- 
ployment requirement from 10 to 15 m.p.h., the 
establishment of requirements for the lateral 
component of head and chest acceleration, and 
the amendment of the test conditions for the 
lateral impact and rollover requirements. 

Since the subject of low speed deployment and 
the question of exemptions were also the subjects 
of petitions for reconsideration under the 
November 3 rule, the disposition of these matters 
has been noted in the preceding section. For the 
reasons given therein, the low-velocity deploy- 
ment requirement has been omitted, and the ex- 
emptions have been expanded to include forward 
control vehicles, convertibles, walk-in van-type 
trucks, motor homes, and chassis-mount campers. 
These type descriptions are in general use 
among manufacturers to describe vehicles shar- 
ing certain well-defined characteristics. Defini- 
tions of these types of vehicles may, as found 
necessary in the future, be added to § 571.3 
Definitions. 

Upon review of the comments and other infor- 
mation available to the Administration, it has 
been decided that the establishment of require- 
ments for the lateral component of head and 
chest acceleration is not feasible at this time. 
However, it is anticipated that biomechaiiical 
studies will shortly provide data regarding 



lateral tolerances on which a requirement can be 
based and that rulemaking action will thereupon 
resume. 

The conditions proposed for the lateral impact 
and rollover tests have been adopted as proposed 
without significant change. Comments on the 
lateral impact test revealed no significant sup- 
port for a fixed barrier collision of the type 
proposed in the May 7 notice, although several 
recommended use of the moving barrier specified 
in SAE Recommended Practice J972 and others 
requested that the height of the barrier be 
lowered from 65 inches to 3&-38 inches as speci- 
fied in SAE J972. The decision to retain the 
test and barrier dimensions as proposed in the 
November 3 notice was made after a full review 
of the SAE procedures. 

The test as adopted is considered to aflFord 
greater repeatability than the SAE procedure, 
which permits a much more complex interaction 
between the barrier and the impacted vehicle. 
The height of the barrier has been retained at 
65 inches so that it will test the head impact 
protection afforded by the vehicle when struck 
by a surface extending to head height. Pas- 
senger compartment intrusion of the type that 
might result from use of a lower barrier is the 
subject of & separate rulemaking action on side 
door strength. 

Some comments suggested that the wording of 
the proposed procedures, that the moving 
barrier undergo no deformation or nonlongi- 
tudinal movement, was unduly restrictive. The 
wording is not, however, intended to describe an 
actual test, but to establish the condition that 
the vehicle must be capable of meeting the stated 
requirements no matter how small the degree of 
deformation or nonlongitudinal movement of the 
barrier. This issue, in the case of the moving 
barrier, is thus analogous to that in the definition 
of "fixed collision barrier" (35 F.R. 11242, July 
14, 1970). To more clearly reflect this position 
and the legal similarity of the two types of 
barriers, the word "significant" is added to the 
conditions relating to movement and deformation 
of the barrier. 

Several comments stated that the rollover test 
would not produce repeatable results. Although 
refinements may be made in the procedure before 
the date on which rollover protection becomes 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 6 



mandatory, the Administration has determined 
that the test as adopted is more satisfactory than 
any other suggested thus far. The kinematics 
of a rollover type accident are such that vari- 
ability in vehicle behavior may often be more 
visible than in other test procedures. 

A number of other minor issues were raised by 
the petitions, and each has been carefully 
evaluated by the Administration. With respect 
to those objections nn/" «;n<Tgestions not specifi- 
cally mentioned ci .c uv;i n this notice, the 
petitions are hereby denied. 



Eff«<«v«: 1/1/72: •/ 15/73; 
•/IS/75; 8/1S/77 



In light of the foregoing, Motor Vehicle 
Safety Standard No. 208 in § 571.21 of Title 49, 
Code of Federal Regulations, is amended . . . 
with effective dates as specified in the text of 
the standard. 



Issued on March 3, 1971. 



Douglas W. Toms, 
Acting Administrator. 

36 F.R. 4600 
March 10. 1971 



PART 571; S 208— PKE 7-8 



fffacNv*: Ju w ury I, 1973 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 
(Docket No. 69-7; NoHce 10) 



The purpose of this notice is to respond to 
petitions for reconsideration of Motor Vehicle 
Safety Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Pro- 
tection, in § 571.21 of Title 49, Cknie of Federal 
Regulations. The petitions addressed herein are 
those dealing with seat belts and seat belt warn- 
ing systems. A notice responding to petitions 
concerning the passive protection aspects of the 
standard will be issued shortly and the standard 
republished in its entirety at that time. 

The standard as issued March 3, 1971 (36 F.R 
4600), established January 1, 1972, as the first 
date in the progressive stages of the Occupant 
Crash Protection requirements. Two petitioners, 
Mercedes-Benz and American Motors, requested 
a delay in the introduction of the interim pro- 
tection sj^stems. American Motors requested a 
delay until April 1, 1972, to allow for adequate 
compliance testing, and Mercedes requested a 
date of July 1, 1972, to avoid disruption of the 
1972 model production which begins on July 1, 
1971. Upon review of all available information, 
the NHTSA has concluded that the date is not 
unreasonably demanding, and the requests are 
denied. 

The improved seat belt systems required ip 
passenger cars that do not provide full passive 
protection were the subject of several petitions. 
Primary attention was directed to the belt warn- 
ing system and the conditions under which it 
must operate. As issued on March 3, the stand- 
ard provides that the system shall operate when 
and only when the ignition is on, the transmis- 
sion is in any forward or reverse position, and 
either the driver's lap belt is not extended at 
least to the degree necessary to fit a 5th-per- 
centile adult female or a person of at least the 
weight of a 50th-peroentile 6-year old is seated 



in the right front position and the belt is not 
extended to the length necessary to fit him. 

The intent of the transmission position require- 
ment was to require operation of the warning 
system when the vehicle was likely to be in mo- 
tion, and the effect of the "when and only when" 
phrase was to require deactivation in aU other 
positions. Some petitioners argued that rear- 
ward motion was not likely to be fast enough to 
present a hazard. Others stated, on the other 
hand, that vehicles with automatic transmissions 
should deactivate the system only in "Park", to 
encourage drivers to use that position when leav- 
ing the vehicle with the engine running. Sim- 
ilarly, it was requested that alternative means of 
warning system deactivation be permitted on 
cars with manual transmissions, with one alterna- 
tive being application of the parking brake. The 
NHTSA has found these arguments to have 
merit, and therefore amends S7.3 of the standard 
in several respects. The amended section re- 
quires, as the first condition necessary to acti- 
vate t^e warning, that the ignition be "on" and 
that the transmission be in a forward gear. Ac- 
tuation is permitted in reverse, but is no longer 
required. The section is further amended to re- 
quire that the system on a car with automatic 
transmissions shall not activate when the trans- 
mission is in "park" and that the system on a 
car with manual transmission shall not activate 
when the parking brake is on or, alternatively, 
when the transmission is in neutral. 

Several petitions stated that although the 
length necessary to fit a 50th-peroentile 6-year 
old or a Sth-percentUe adult female may be ob- 
jectively determinable, the sensor in a system may 
not exactly measure this length due to unavoid- 
able variances in production. To allow for this 



PAKT 671; S 208— PRE 9 



EffMNva: Jonwory 1, 1972 



variance, a manufacturer must calibrate the re- 
tractors so that the range of this variance will 
be beyond the minimum length, and as a result 
it is likely that the warning will continue to 
operate in some situations where a small occu- 
pant has properly fastened the belt. A similar 
objection was raised by Mercedes-Benz and il- 
lustrated by the case of a small child whose 
bouncing could cause the belt to retract far 
enough to trigger the warning intermittently. 
These objections are considered to have merit, 
and the NHTSA has therefore decided to specify 
a range of extensions below which the system 
must activate and above which it must not ac- 
tivate. The lower end of the range is an ex- 
tension of 4 inches from the normally stowed 
position, and the upper end is the extension 
necessary to fit a 50th -percentile 6-year-old child 
when the seat is in the rearmost and lowest posi- 
tion. This range will allow manufacturers a 
tolerance of several inches in most cases and will 
enable them to avoid the problems of inadvertent 
activation. 

Mercedes-Benz requested that the warning be 
deactivated by closing the buckle and stated that 
this would be simpler and more effective than 
deactivation by belt extension. Although Mer- 
cedes' objections are partially met by the amend- 
ments made by this notice to the warning sys- 
tem requirements, a related cohsequence of the 
amendments is that the extension needed to close 
the buckle would fall within the range of discre- 
tionary deactivation. There does not appear to 
be good reason to prohibit deactivation by means 
of the buckle, and the standard is therefore 
amended to permit buckle deactivation as an 
alternative to deactivation by measurement of 
the belt extension. 

General Motors requested a minimum duration 
for the warning signal beyond which it would 
not be required to operate. On review, this re- 
quest appears to satisfy the need for warning 
and to reduce the annoyance of the signal in 
situations where vmfastening of the belt is .neces- 
sary. A miniTniim activation period of one min- 
ute is therefore provided. 

One other request for amendment of the warn- 
ing system requirements has been found meri- 
torious. American Motors requested that the 



words "Fasten Belts" be permitted as an alter- 
native to "Fasten Seat Belts." The change 
would not affect the sense of the message, and 
the request is granted. Requests in other peti- 
tions for the use of symbols in place of words, 
and for a two-stage warning sequence, have been 
evaluated and rejected. 

In its petition, Chrysler requested the adoption 
of size specifications for the buttocks of a dummy 
representing a 6-year-old child, on the grounds 
that currently available dummies do not corre- 
spond to human shape and do not activate the 
Chrysler warning system as a child would. The 
problem is not considered serious enough to war- 
rant amendment of the standard in the absence 
of satisfactory data on the shape of 6-year-old 
children, and the request is denied. 

A number of petitions dealt with other aspects 
of the seat belt options. The requirement for 
retractors at all outboard seating positions, in- 
cluding the third seats in station wagons, was 
objected to by Ford and Chrysler because of 
installation diflSculties and the low frequency of 
seat occupancy. The similarity of these seating 
positions to the center positions, which are ex- 
empt from the reactor requirements, has been 
foimd persuasive and retractors are therefore 
required only for outboard positions on the first 
and second seats. 

Another petition requested that the shoulder 
belt of Type 2 assemblies should not adjust to fit 
50th-percentile 6-year olds, as presently required 
for passenger seats by S7.1.1. As pointed out in 
the petition, the previous rule had specified the 
5th-percentile adult female as the lower end of 
the range for shoulder belts. The change effected 
by the March 3 rule was inadvertent, and the 
range of occupants is therefore specified as 
being from the 5th-percentile adult female to the 
95th-percentile male. 

Correspondence from Toyo Kogyo requesting 
an interpretation of S7.1.2 has pointed out a 
need to clarify the requirement that the inter- 
section of an upper torso belt with a lap belt 
must be six inches from the occupant's center- 
line. The phrase "adjusted in accordance with 
the manufacturer's instructions" is intended to 
refer to adjustment of the upper torso belt, and 
not to the lap belt which must adjust auto- 



PART 671; S 20&— PRE 10 



Effective January 1, 1972 



matically. The section is amended to clarify this 
intent. 

The second options under the 1972 and 1973 re- 
quirements (S4.1.1.2, S4.1.2.2) are amended to 
expressly permit a Type 2 seat belt assembly 
with a detachable upper torso restraint at any 
seating position. A choice of belt systems is per- 
mitted under the third option in 1972, and there 
was no intent under the second options to limit 
all positions to Type 1 belts. 

Several requests and questions were raised re- 
garding the status of "passive" seat belt systems 
under the standard as issued March 3. Some 
belt-based concepts have been advanced that ap- 
pear to be capable of meeting the complete pas- 
sive protection options and further regulation 
of their performance does not appear necessary. 
With respect to the options other than the com- 
plete passive protection options, a question has 
been raised as to whether a passive belt must be 
used in conjunction with active belt systems or 
conform to the adjustment, latching, and warn- 
ing system requirements applicable to active 
belts. Upon review, the NHTSA has concluded 
that the passive belt system that is not capable 
of full protection in all crash modes is in some 
respects appropriately regulated by seat belt 
requirements, and is in other respects entitled to 
treatment as a passive system. 

To deal expressly with passive belts, a new 
general requirements section is added to state the 
applicability of various requirements to passive 
belts and to make it clear that redundant active 
belts need not be employed if passive belts are 
used to meet any option requiring Type 1 or 
Type 2 belts. 

Many of the requirements applicable to belts 
have been adopted because of properties that 



exist regardless of whether the system is active 
or passive. The range of the belt's adjustment, 
the elasticity and width of its webbing, and the 
integrity of its attachment hardware are all 
known to aflFect the protection given. As 
amended, the standard therefore requires a pas- 
sive belt to conform to the adjustment require- 
ments of S7.1 and to the webbing, attachment 
hardware, and assembly performance require- 
ment of Standard No. 209. The petitioners' ob- 
jections as to the application of the latching 
requirements to a system that does not require 
latching and of the warning system requirements 
to a system that would be functional unless will- 
fuly defeated have been found to have merit. 
A passive belt system is therefore not required 
to conform to S7.2 and S7.3y 

In order to assure that a passive belt or other 
passive system will not hinder an occupant from 
leaving the vehicle after a crash, the NHTSA 
proposes in a separate notice in today's issue of 
the Federal Register (36 F.R. 12866) to require 
a release for the occupant that either operates 
automatically in the event of a crash, or operates 
manually at a single point that is accessible to 
the seated occupant. 

In consideration of the foregoing. Motor Ve- 
hicle Safety Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash 
Protection, in § 571.21 of Title 49, Code of Fed- 
eral Regulations, is amended. . . . Effective 
date: January 1, 1972. 

Issued on July 2, 1971. 

Douglas W. Toms 
Acting Administrator 

36 F.R. 12858 
July 8, 1971 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 11-] 2 



EffccMv*: January 1, 1973 



Preamble to Amendment to Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 

(Docket No. 69-7; Notice 12) 



The purpose of this notice is to respond to 
petitions filed pursuant to § 553.35 of Title 49, 
Code of Federal Regulations, requesting recon- 
sideration of Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 
208, Occupant Crash Protection, 49 CFR 571.21, 
published on March 10, 1971 (36 F.R. 4600). 

The petitions covered by this notice deal with 
the passive restraint requirements, and with the 
restraint options available after August 15, 1973. 
Petitions relating to seat belts and seat belt 
warning systems were answered in a notice pub- 
lished in the Federal Register on July 8, 1971 
(36 F.R. 12858). Each request contained in the 
petitions has been evaluated. Particular requests 
relative to the March 10, 1971, rule not expressly 
mentioned in this notice or in the notice of July 
8 have been denied. 

To avoid possible confusion as to the number 
of test devices to be used in a test, the NHTSA 
is amending S5.1 at the request of American 
Motors and Greneral Motors to indicate more 
clearly that test devices are to be placed at all 
seating positions unless a lesser number is pre- 
scribed in S4. 

Several petitioners sought amendment of the 
readiness indicator requirement in S4.5.2 to 
limit the components of a deployable system 
that must be monitored. In particular, it was 
stated that the integrity of a pressure vessel 
could be diminished by a pressure gauge, and 
that the reliability of electrically activated ex- 
plosive release devices would be impaired if the 
activating wire had to be monitored. To permit 
manufacturers to avoid designs that are prone 
to deterioration, the requirement has been 
amended by omitting specific reference to com- 
pressed gases and electrical circuits. 

Several petitions requested changes with re- 
spect to the weight at which a multipurpose 



passenger vehicle, truck, or bus is to be tested. 
It was stated that the half-loaded weight speci- 
fied in the standard was imrepresentative of the 
weights of vehicles involved in crashes, and that 
it placed an imreasonably severe strain on the 
vehicle. On consideration of the data and argu- 
ments presented, it has been determined that a 
reduction in the loading of these vehicles is ap- 
propriate. The required vehicle weight is ac- 
cordingly reduced to 300 pounds plus the weight 
of the necessary anthropomorphic test devices. 
It should be noted that instrumentation is to be 
included as part of the 300 pounds. 

With regard to the placement of test devices 
in the vehicle, it was pointed out that the speci- 
fied position of the driver's right foot often pro- 
duced an unnaturally awkward result and that 
the positioning might be achieved in some cases 
only by sacrificing some portion of underdash 
padding. In response to these points, the posi- 
tioning requirement is amended to permit more 
natural placement, with the foot in contact with 
the undepressed accelerator pedal. 

The petitions included several objections to 
the requirements for rollover testing. It was 
argued that the test did not produce repeatable 
results with respect to vehicle behavior. The 
NHTSA has given serious consideration to these 
arguments, and has conducted a series of vehicle 
tests according to the procedures of the standard. 
These tests have demonstrated a high degree of 
repeatability in vehicle behavior. Occupant 
ejection in rollover accidents, and the retention 
of occupants in rollovers is a major element in 
effective crash protection. The petitions to de- 
lete the rollover test from the standard are there- 
fore denied. 

Some petitions objected to the requirement for 
barrier tests at "any angle up to 30" in either 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 13 



MmMv«: January 1, 1972 



direction from the perpendicular." The NHTSA 
is aware that such an all-angles test may be more 
demanding than a test that arbitrarily selects 
two angles, such as 15° and 30°. Manufacturers 
are free, however, to limit their testing to the 
"worst case." Since accidents occur at all angles, 
it is considered important that vehicles be capable 
of meeting the protection requirements at any 
angle within the prescribed limits. 

The lateral moving barrier test was also ob- 
jected to by several petitioners, particularly by 
manufacturers of smaller vehicles who consider 
the 4,000-pound weight of the barrier to be ex- 
cessive. The lateral moving barrier test is in- 
cluded in the standard because of the dispropor- 
tionately high number of serious injuries suffered 
in side impacts. The weight of the barrier was 
chosen to represent the average weight of do- 
mestic passenger cars, the vehicles most likely 
to strike the side of a vehicle, regardless of the 
impacted vehicle's size. The requirement is 
retained. 

The use of the Severity Index of 1000 as the 
criterion for head injury was objected to as too 
stringent, and a more lenient index requested. 
Considering the present state of the art in head 
injury measurement, it has been determined that 
a Severity Index of 1000 is the most acceptable 
criterion at this time, and it has therefore been 
retained. In a related objection, Chrysler stated 
that the 1000-Hz channel class requirement for 
accelerometers in the head was too high. In the 
judgment of the NHTSA, however, the 1000-Hz 
channel class specification as incorporated in 
SAE J211 represents an acceptable level of in- 
strument sensitivity. The requirement has there- 
fore been retained. 

In the context of the petitions regarding the 
rollover requirements, it w«s suggested that the 
requirement of S6.1 that all portions of the test 
device be contained within the passenger com- 
partment during the test was unnecessarily 
stringent. In retaining this requirement the 
NHTSA intends to require a substantial degree 
of passenger compartment integrity in all types 
of accidents. The test condition that specifies 
windows to be in the up position is retained to 
restrict random excursions of test devices, and 
to provide for consistency in the evaluation of 
test results. 



General Motors noted in its petition that there 
are a large number of State and local laws con- 
cerning the shipment, storage and use of pres- 
surized cylinders and explosive devices that 
might be used in air bag systems. Many of 
these laws are at variance with the regulations of 
the Department of Transportation's Hazardous 
Materials Regulations Board governing these 
materials (found in Chapter 1, Subtitle B, of 
Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations). If these 
State and local laws were to be applied to equip- 
ment that is part of a large proportion of the 
new passenger cars in this country, the distribu- 
tion, sale, use, and maintenance of those vehicles 
could be seriously hindered. Greneral Motors 
suggested that the Federal regulations governing 
these materials be incorporated into the require- 
ments of Standard No. 208, thus preempting all 
State and local requirements (i.e., requiring them 
to be identical) imder section 103(d) of the 
National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, 
15 U.S.C. 1392(d). The NHTSA recognizes 
this problem, and is considering various methods 
of solving it, in consultation with other con- 
cerned agencies. No regulatory action to that 
end is taken in this notice, but some such action 
is anticipated in the near future. 

Several petitioners noted that the requirements 
for anthropomorphic test devices specified in the 
standard, mainly those set forth in SAE Recom- 
mended Practice J963, do not completely define 
all the characteristics of the dummies that may 
be relevant to their (and the vehicle's) perform- 
ance in a crash test. The NHTSA considers the 
comment valid. It would actually be difficult, if 
not impossible, to describe the test dummy in 
performance terms with such specificity that 
every dummy that could be built to the specifi- 
cations would perform identically under similar 
conditions. Of course, since the dumimy is merely 
a test instnunent and not an item of regulated 
equipment, it is not necessary to describe it in 
performance terms; its design could legally be 
"frozen" by detailed, blueprint-type drawings 
and complete equipment specifications. Such an 
action does not, however, appear to be desirable 
at this time. Considerable development work is 
in process under various auspices to refine the 
dynamic characteristics of anthropomorphic de- 
vices, to determine which designs are most prac- 



PART 671; S 208— PRE 14 



Effective: January 1, 1972 



ticable, offer the most useful results, and best 
simulate the critical characteristics of the human 
body. The NHTSA is monitoring? this work 
(and sponsoring some of it), and intends to pro- 
pose amendments of the standard in accordance 
with it to add more detailed performance and 
descriptive specifications for the test dummies, 
although no changes are being made in that re- 
spect by this notice. 

In the meantime, it should be imderstood that 
the NHTSA does not intend that a manufac- 
turer's status with respect to compliance will be 
jeopardized by possible variances in test dum- 
mies permitted by the present set of specifica- 
tions. In the agency's judgment, a test dummy 
that conforms to the specifications incorporated 
by the standard is an adequate test tool for de- 
termining the basic safety characteristics of a 
vehicle. If the NHTSA concludes after inves- 
tigation that a manufacturer's tests are properly 
conducted, with dummies meeting the specifica- 
tions, and show compliance with the standard, 
and that differerces in results from tests con- 
ducted by the agency are due to differences in 
the test dummies used by each, the agency tests 
will not be considered to be the basis for a find- 
ing of noncompliance. 

A number of the petitioners sought a delay in 
the effective dates of the standard, particularly 
the August 15, 1973, date which passenger cars 
are required to provide at least head-on protec- 
tion for front-seat occupants by means that re- 
quire no occupant action. Several vehicle manu- 
facturers argued that further time is needed to 
prepare for the introduction of passive restraint 
systems in all passenger car lines. They pointed 
out that much of their effort during the past 
year has been spent refining and testing the de- 
sign of these systems in order to ensure satis- 
factory performance under the most adverse 
conditions that may be encountered by vehicles 
in use. Mandatory introduction of passive re- 
straints in all passenger cars by the August 15, 
1973, date, it was argued, would impose severe 
financial hardships, because of the difficulties 
that would be encountered jn obtaining tools, 
setting up production lines, and working out the 
inevitable production and quality-control prob- 



lems for all their vehicles simultaneously, con- 
trary to the normal practice in the industry. 

It has been determined that these petitions 
have some merit. Materials submitted to the 
docket concerning the state of passive restraint 
development indicate that systems now available 
will meet the requirements of Standard 208 for 
passive frontal crash protection, and perform 
satisfactorily in other respects. It does not now 
appear, however, that tooling and production 
leadtimes will permit manufacturers to make 
large-scale introductions of passive systems be- 
fore the fall of 1973. This agency is aware of 
the extreme dislocations, and the attendant fi- 
nancial hardships, that would be caused by re- 
quiring the world industry (to the extent of the 
vehicles sold in this country) to introduce major 
new systems in substantially all their passenger 
cars at the same time. 

For these reasons, it has been determined that 
manufacturers should be allowed additional time 
to introduce passive protection systems. To that 
end, a notice of proposed rulemaking is pub- 
lished in this issue of the Federal Register that 
would allow manufacturers of passenger cars the 
option of installing seat belt systems with igni- 
tion interlocks for the period up to August 15, 
1975. It is expected that this added leadtime 
will enable manufacturers to institute an orderly, 
phased introduction of passive systems into their 
vehicles, installing such systems in their various 
car lines, to the extent feasible, in advance of 
that date. 

The July 8 notice indicated that the standard 
would be republished in its entirety upon publi- 
cation of today's action. This has not been done, 
because of the limited number of amendments 
made by this notice. 

In consideration of the foregoing. Motor Ve- 
hicle Safety Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash 
Protection, in § 571.21 of Title 49, Code of Fed- 
eral Regulations is amended 

Effective dates: January 1, 1972, with addi- 
tional requirements effective at later dates, as 
indicated in the text of the rule published March 
10,1971 (36F.R. 4600). 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 15 



MmHv*: Jonwoiy I, 1*73 

(Sees. 103, 108, 112, 114, 119, National Traffic 
and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, U.S.C. 1392, 1397, 
1401, 1403, 1407, delegation of authority at 49 
CFR 1.51) 

Issued on September 29, 1971. 

Douglas W. Toms 
Administrator 

36 F.R. 19254 
October 1, 1971 



PABT 571; S 208— PRE 16 



MkHv*: JcmiMfy 1, 1972 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Seat Belt Installations 
(Docket No. 2-6; NoHce 5) 



The purpose of this amendment to Part 571 
of Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, is to 
add a new Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 216, 
(49 CFR § 571.216) that sets minimum strength 
requirements for a passenger car roof to reduce 
the likelihood of roof collapse in a rollover acci- 
dent. The standard provides an alternative to 
conformity with the rollover test of Standard 
208. 

A notice of proposed rulemaking on this sub- 
ject was issued on January 6, 1971 (36 F.R. 166). 
As noted in that proposal, the strength of a ve- 
hicle roof affects the integrity of the passenger 
compartment and the safety of the occupants. 
A few comments suggested that there is no sig- 
nificant causal relationship between roof de- 
formation and occupant injuries in rollover 
accidents. However, available data have shown 
that for non-ejected front seat occupants in roll- 
over accidents, serious injuries are more frequent 
when the roof collapses. 

The roof crush standard will provide protec- 
tion in rollover accidents by improving the in- 
tegrity of the door, side window, and windshield 
retention areas. Preserving the overall structure 
of the vehicle in a crash decreases the likelihood 
of occupant ejection, reduces the hazard of occu- 
pant interior impacts, and enhances occupant 
egress after the accident. It has been determined, 
therefore, that improved roof strength will in- 
crease occupant protection in rollover accidents. 

Standard 208 (49 CFR §571.208), Occupant 
Crash Protection, also contains a rollover test re- 
quirement for vehicles that conform to the "first 
option" of providing complete passive protection. 
The new Standard 216 issued herewith is in- 
tended as an alternative to the Standard 208 
rollover test, such that manufacturers may con- 



form to either requirement as they choose. Stand- 
ard 208 is accordingly amended by this notice; 
the effect of the amendment, together with the 
new Standard 216, is as follows: 

(1) From January 1, 1972, to August 14, 1973, 
a manufacturer may substitute Standard 216 for 
the rollover test requirement in the first option of 
Standard 208; Standard 216 has no mandatory 
application. 

(2) From August 15, 1973, to August 14, 1977, 
Standard 216 is in effect as to all passenger cars 
except those conforming by passive means to the 
rollover test of Standard 208, but it may continue 
to be substituted for that rollover test. 

(3) After August 16, 1977, Standard 216 will 
no longer be a substitute for the Standard 208 
rollover test. It is expected that as of that date 
Standard 216 will be revoked, at least with re- 
spect to its application to passenger cars. 

A few comments stated that on some models 
the strength required in the A pillar could be 
produced only by designs that impair forward 
visibility. After review of strengthening options 
available to manufacturers, the Administration 
has concluded that a satisfactory increase in 
strength can be obtained without reducing visi- 
bility. 

Some comments suggested that the crush lim- 
itation be based on the interior deflection of the 
test vehicle rather than the proposed external 
criterion. After comparison of the two methods, 
it has been concluded that a test based on interior 
deflection would produce results that are sig- 
nificantly less uniform and more difficult to meas- 
ure, and therefore the requirement based on ex- 
ternal movement of the test block has been 
retained. 

Several changes in detail have been made, how- 
ever, in the test procedure. A number of com- 



PABT 671; S 208— PRE 17 



EffacHva: January 1, 1973 



ments stated that the surface area of the proposed 
test device was too small, that the lO-degree pitch 
anple was too severe, and that the 5 inches of 
padded test device displacement was not enough 
to measure the overall roof strength. Later data 
available after the issuance of the NPRM (Notice 
4) substantiated these comments. Accordingly, 
the dimensions of the test block have been 
changed from 12 inches square to 30 inches by 
72 inches, the face padding on the block has 
been eliminated, and the pitch angle has been 
changed from 10 degrees to 5 degrees. 

Several manufacturers asked that convertibles 
be exempted from the standard, stating that it 
was impracticable for those vehicles to be brought 
into compliance. The Administration has deter- 
mined that compliance with the standard would 
pose extreme difficulties for many convertible 
models. Accordingly, manufacturers of con- 
vertibles need not comply with the standard; 
however, until August 15, 1977, they may comply 
with the standard as an alternative to conform- 
ity with the rollover test of Standard 208. 

A few comments objected to the optional 5,000- 
poimd ceiling to the requirement that the roof 
have a peak resistance of U^ times the imloaded 
vehicle weight. Such objections have some merit, 
if the energy to be dissipated during a rollover 
accident must be absorbed entirely by the crash 
vehicle. In the typical rollover accident, how- 
ever, in which the vehicle rolls onto the road 
shoulder, significant amounts of energy are ab- 
sorbed by the ground. This is particularly tnie 
in heavier vehicles. Some of the heavier ve- 
hicles, moreover, would require extensive rede- 
sign, at a considerably greater cost penalty than 
in the case of lighter vehicles, to meet a strength 
requirement of li^ times their weight. At the 
same time, heavier vehicles generally have a lower 
rollover tendency than do lighter vehicles. On 
the basis of these factors, it has been determined 
than an upper limit of 5,000 pounds on the 
strength requirement is justified, and it has been 
retained. 

It was requested that the requirement of 
mounting the chassis horizontally be deleted. It 
has been determined that the horizontal mounting 
jxjsition contributes to the repeatability of the 
test procedure and the requirement is therefore 
retained. 



The required loading rate has been clarified in 
light of the comments. The requirement has been 
changed from a rate not to exceed 200 pounds per 
second to a loading device travel rate not exceed- 
ing one-half inch per second, with completion of 
the te:-t within 120 seconds. 

A 1. imber of manufacturers requested that 
rei^etiti. n of the test on tne opposite front comer 
of the lO'if be deleted. It has been determined 
that, as long ^s it is clear that both the left and 
right front ix)rtions of the vehicle's roof structure 
must be capable of meeting the requirements, it 
is not necessary that a given vehicle be capable 
of sustaining successive force applications at the 
two different locations. The second test is ac- 
cordingly deleted. 

Effective date : August 15, 1973. After evalua- 
tion of the comments and other information, it 
has been determined that the structural changes 
required by the standard will be such that many 
manufacturers woulc be unable to meet the re- 
quirements ii the .) lary 1, 1973 effective date 
were retained. It h. herefore been found, for 
good cause shown, t an effective date more 
than one year after i.^fance is in the public 
interest. On or after Jam ary 1, .972, however, a 
manufacturer may substitute compliance with 
this standard for compliance with the rollover 
test requirement of Standard 208. 

In consideration of the above, the following 
changes are made in Part 571 of Title 49, Code 
of Federal Regulations: 

1. Standard No. 208, 49 CFR § 571.208, is 
amended by adding the following sentence at 
the end of S5.3, Rollover: "However, vehicles 
manufactured before August 15, 1977, that con- 
form to the requirements of Standard No. 216 
(§571.216) need not conform to this rollover 
test required." 

2. A new §571.216, Standard No. 216, Roof 
Cnish Resistance^ is added, as set forth below. 

This rule is issued under the authority of sec- 
tions 103 and 119 of the National Traffic and 
Motor Vehicle Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407, 
and the delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.51. 

Issued on December 3, 1971. 

Charles H. Hartman 
Acting Administrator 
36 F.R. 23299 
December 8, 1971 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 18 



Effcctiv*: January 1, 1973 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 
(Docket No. 69-7; Notice 15) 



The purpose of this notice is to respond to 
petitions requesting reconsideration of the 
amendments to the seat belt requirements of 
Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection, 
issued on July 2, 1971 (36 F.R. 12858, July 8, 
1971). The petitions are granted in part and 
denied in part. 

The Chrysler Corporation requested an amend- 
ment of the belt warning system requirements 
in S7.3, to provide that the system shall operate 
only when the vehicle's engine is running. Sec- 
tion S7.3.1 presently requires the warning to 
operate whenever the ignition is "on", the trans- 
mission is in a forward gear, and seat belts are 
not in use at occupied front outboard seats. 
Chrysler stated that basing the warning system 
operation on engine operation would permit 
simplification of the warning system circuitry. 
On review, the NHTSA has concluded that the 
Chrysler position has merit and that requiring 
warning system operation only when the engine 
is operating will satisfactorily include the situa- 
tions in which the vehicle is likely to be in mo- 
tion, and thereby satisfy the intent of the warning 
system requirement. S7.3.1(a) is amended ac- 
cordingly. 

It should be noted that a warning system that 
operates whenever the ignition switch is "on", 
in accordance with the prior version of S7.3.1(a), 
will continue to meet the requirement as amended, 
since such a system will of necessity operate 
when the engine is running. 

Subsequent to the adoption of the passive seat 
belt requirement, S4.5.3 (Notice 10, 36 F.R. 
12858, July 8, 1971), questions have been raised 
by Toyota, Renault and Volkswagen as to the 
configuration required of passive belts used in 
place of active belts. The NHTSA's intent in 
adopting S4.5.3 was to permit manufacturers to 



substitute a Type 2 passive assembly with a 
detachable or nondetachable shoulder belt for 
any active seat belt specified under an option of 
S4, even though the S4 option specifies a Type 1 
assembly or a Type 2 assembly with a detachable 
shoulder belt. The agency also intended to per- 
mit the substitution of Type 1 passive assemblies 
where an option does not require a Type 2 as- 
sembly. Thus a passive belt used at the front 
outboard seating positions to meet the third op- 
tion in the period beginning January 1, 1972 
(S4.1.1.3.1(a)) would have to be a Type 2 as- 
sembly. Although no formal petitions have been 
received on these points, it is considered advis- 
able to amend S4.5.3 to clarify its intent. 

The formal petition of JAMA with respect to 
S4.5.3 requested deletion of the requirement that 
passive seat belt assemblies must meet the as- 
sembly performance and webbing requirements 
of Standard No. 209. The basis for the request 
was JAMA's belief that the manufacturer should 
be allowed as much freedom in the design of a 
passive belt system to fit the crash characteristics 
of a particular vehicle as he would have in the 
design of other types of passive restraints. On 
reconsideration, the NHTSA has decided that 
relief from Standard No. 209 should be afforded 
if a passive belt is capable of meeting the occu- 
pant crash protection requirements of S5.1 in a 
frontal perpendicular impact and amends S4.5.3 
accordingly. 

The JAMA petition also requested the NHTSA 
to make it clear that the anchorages of a passive 
seat belt assembly need not meet the requirements 
of Standard No. 210. The installation of anchor- 
ages is required by Standard No. 210, regardless 
of the type restraint system in the vehicle. The 
NHTSA does not consider that a sufficient need 
has been shown at this time for amendment of 



PART 671; S 208— PRE 19 



Eff«<tlv«: January 1, 1972 



Standard No. 210. Anchorages installed pur- 
suant to that standard are permitted to elongate, 
so long as they sustain the maximum required 
force, and such anchorages should therefore be 
usable in new energy absorbing belt systems. 

Ford requested an increase in the minimum 
warning signal duration from 1 minute to 5 
minutes. The NHTSA has considered a variety 
of alternatives in arriving at the 1-minute level, 
and remains persuaded that it is a reasonable 
compromise between the need for warning and 
the need to avoid undue annoyance in situations 
where a belt must be temporarily unfastened. 
The petition is denied. 

JAMA requested an amendment to S7.3.3 to 
provide vehicles with automatic transmissions 
the option of shutting off the warning signal by 
use of the parking brake. Although this option 
is provided for vehicles with manual transmis- 
sion by S7.3.4 as a concession to cost and lead- 
time problems of certain manufacturers, there 
are inconveniences associated with its use on ve- 
hicles with automatic transmissions, whose 
drivers may often prefer to use the "Park" posi- 
tion rather than the parking brake. The petition 
is therefore denied. 

Greneral Motors petitioned for an amendment 
of S7.3.3 and S7.3.4 to allow warning system 
activation when the ignition is in the "start" 
position. The notice issued September 29 pro- 
posed amendments to these sections that would 
require deactivation only when the ignition is in 
the "on" position. This would permit activation 
of the system with the ignition in the "start" 



position, as requested by General Motors. No 
adverse comment lias been received on this pro- 
posal, and favorable action will be taken in the 
rule to be issued pursuant to the notice of Sep- 
tember 29. 

In another request concerning S7.3.4(b), 
JAMA suggested an amendment to i>ermit de- 
activation of the warning system whenever the 
parking brake lamp is illuminated. The NHTSA 
considers such a system to be an acceptable 
means of conforming to S7.3.4(b) under the 
present language. Since no further amendment 
is necessary, the petition for amendment is 
denied. 

In consideration of the foregoing, Motor Ve- 
hicle Safety Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash 
Protection, § 571.208 of Title 49, Code of Federal 
Regulations is amended .... 

This notice is issued under the authority of 
sections 103 and 119 of the National Traffic and 
Motor Vehicle Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407, 
and the delegation of authority by the Secretary 
of Transportation to the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administrator, 49 CFR 1.51. 

Issued on December 9, 1971. 



Charles H. Hartman 
Acting Administrator 



36 F.R. 23725 
December 14, 1971 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 20 



EffMNm: Nbiwacy 24, 1973 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHIQE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection in Passenger Gsrs, 
Multipurpose Passenger Vehicles, Trucks and Buses 

(Dock*! 69-7; NoHcs 16) 



The purpose of this notice is to amend Stand- 
ard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection, as pro- 
posed September 29, 1971 (36 F.R. 19266, October 
1, 1971) with respect to the occupant protection 
options available between August 15, 1973 and 
August 15, 1975. The amendments proposed on 
September 29 are adopted essentially as proposed, 
with minor modifications. 

The notice proposed a third occupant protec- 
tion option (S4.1.2.3) for passenger cars manu- 
factured between August 15, 1973 and August 15, 
1975. The salient feature of the new option was 
the use of seat belts equipped with an ignition 
interlock system that would prevent the engine 
from starting if any front seat occupant did not 
have his belt fastened. The belts at the front 
outboard positions would have to meet the injury 
criteria of the standard in a 30 m.p.h. frontal 
barrier crash, and any lap belt in the center 
position would have to remain intact in the same 
crash. If shoulder belts were provided at the 
front positions, they would have to be nonde- 
tachable and have emergency locking retractors. 
Additional features of the interlock system as 
specified in S7.3.5 included an antidefeat measure 
that would require the belt to be fastened after 
the occupant is seated, a requirement that un- 
fastening the belt would not stop the engine, and 
a provision for seat belt warning system opera- 
tion when the ignition is in the "start" position 
and a belt is unfastened at an occupied front seat 
position. With minor exceptions noted in the 
following discussion, the option is adopted as 
proposed. 

Several comments approved of the interlock 
option. Mr. Ralph Nader and the Center for 
Auto Safety raised procedural objections con- 



cerning the issue of placing intragovernmental 
communications in the docket. This issue is 
presently the subject of litigation in the Federal 
Courts, and would not be appropriate for dis- 
cussion herein. The Center also objected that 
both the interlock option, to begin August 15, 
1973, and the passive restraint requirement, be- 
ginning August 15, 1975, should be instituted 
one year earlier. The option that includes the 
interlock system also requires emergency-locking 
shoulder belt retractors, however, and the agency 
has determined that the 1974 model year is the 
earliest practicable time by which the option can 
be effectuated. As for the passive restraint re- 
quirement to become effective on August 15, 
1975, the reasons for setting that effective date 
were discussed at length in Notice 12 (36 F.R. 
19254, October 1, 1971), and need not be restated 
here. 

There were differences of opinion among the 
comments on the desirability of various other 
aspects of S4.1.2.3. The requirement of greatest 
concern appears to be S4.1.2.3(b), which requires 
the injury criteria to be met at the front out- 
board positions in a 30-mph frontal barrier crash 
with the test dummy restrained by the seat belt. 
It was the intent of the proposal to allow another 
means of providing the requisite level of occu- 
pant protection, not to lower the level of protec- 
tion. Present information indicates that systems 
meeting the injury criteria are available using 
current seat belt technology, and the agency 
therefore adopts the requirement as proposed. 

To allow greater diversity in belt system de- 
velopment, it has been decided to accept the 
suggestion made in a number of comments that 
conformity to Standard No. 209 should not be 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 21 



EltefMv*: Nbcvory 24, 1972 



required of belt systems that meet the injury 
criteria. Accordingly, those options that require 
a seat belt to meet the injury criteria (S4.1.1.2, 
S4.1.2.2 and S4.1.2.3) are amended by limiting 
the applicatiQn of Standard No. 209 to belts 
other than those meeting the injury criteria. A 
belt provided at a center front position is not 
required to meet the injury criteria and is there- 
fore required to conform to Standard No. 209. 

Related requests for exemption from the an- 
chorage requirements of Standard No. 210 have 
not been adopted in that they appear to be un- 
necessary. An amendment to permit anchorages 
that absorb energy by elongating under force is 
not necessary, since Standard No. 210 expressly 
permits deformation so long as the maximum 
force is sustained. In the absence of other data 
indicating a need to amend Standard No. 210, 
no change is proposed in that standard. 

Chrysler's suggestion that a shoulder belt 
shaped as an inverted Y could be used in lieu of 
a nondetachable upper torso belt has not been 
adopted, primarily because of the likelihood that 
it would often go unused. There is nothing to 
prevent a manufacturer from installing such a 
belt along with the lap belt, so long as the lap 
belt alone is capable of meeting the injury 
criteria. 

The interlock requirements were the subject of 
diverse comments. Some generally endorsed the 
requirement for interlock at all front positions, 
some stated that it should not be required at any 
position, while others suggested that it should be 
installed only at the outboard seats or only at 
the driver's seat. Several comments indicated 
doubts as to the system's reliability and ex- 
pressed concern about its possible interference 
with vehicle operation. 

Upon review of the comments, the NHTSA 
has decided to adopt the interlock system as an 
option applying to all front seating positions. 
The 1973 options, whether active or passive, are 
intended to set minimum protection requirements 
for all front seating positions. If the third op- 
tion is to give protection better than that of 
present belt systems, belt usage must be increased. 
The interlock system has the potential to in- 
crease belt usage and is therefore adopted as part 
of the third option. Exemption of the center 



front seat, as proposed by several comments, could 
result in increased occupancy of the center seat 
as an easy means of avoiding the effects of the 
interlock system. The effect of such avoidance 
would be to substantially lessen the protection 
afforded occupants, and the requests for center 
seat exemption are therefore denied. However, 
in consideration of some technical problems aris- 
ing from the placement of sensors in the center 
seats, it has been decided to change the precondi- 
tions for warning system and interlock system 
operation. It was pointed out that the center 
seat cushion may be depressed far enough to 
activate the warning signal by the weight of two 
large men in the outboard positions. To alleviate 
this problem, S7.3.1(c), S7.3.5.2(b), and S7.4.1 
(b) are changed to provide for activation by the 
weight of a child in the front non-driver posi- 
tions only when a 50th ^Jercentile adult male is 
seated in the driver's position. 

Other problems of convenience arising from 
the interlock system are dealt with by the addi- 
tion of two new subsections to S7.4. As a con- 
venience in situations such as parking garages or 
vehicles stalled in traffic, a new S7.4.3 has been 
adopted, permitting restarting of the engine 
within three minutes of shutoff without interfer- 
ence by the interlock system. To facilitate repair 
and maintenance work, a new S7.4.4 is adopted 
to permit the interlock to be overridden by a 
switch that is actuated after opening the cover 
of the engine compartment. To reduce the pos- 
sibility that the engine compartment switch will 
be misused, S7.4.4 provides that the switch will 
not defeat the interlock unless it is operated 
after each period of engine operation. 

The requirements of S7.3.3 and S7.3.4 have 
been amended by adding engine operation as a 
necessary condition for mandatory warning sys- 
tem shutoff. This limits the situation in which 
the system must not operate; it may now operate 
when the ignition is in the "start" position, as 
requested by General Motors. 

The relationship of the "start" position to 
system operation is also affected by the interlock 
system requirements. S7.3.5.4 requires the warn- 
ing system to operate when the ignition is in the 
start position to tell the driver of a vehicle with 
unbelted front seat occupants why the engine 
fails to start. 



PART 571; S 20S— PRE 22 



One additional feature of the belts used in 
interlock systems attracted considerable comment. 
The amendment to S7.1.1 that would require 
shoulder belts provided under S4. 1.2.3 to have 
emergency-locking retractors has been adopted 
as proposed. The NHTSA regards the conveni- 
ence of an emergency-locking retractor as a 
significant incentive for belt usage. In response 
to comments requesting an interpretation as to 
the number of retractors required, the standard 
permits a system with a single emergency- 
locking retractor acting on both lap and shoulder 
belts. In response to requests for allowance of 
auxiliary manual adjustment devices, such devices 
are permissible if they cannot be adjusted so as 
to cause the belt to fail the automatic adjustment 
requirements of Standard No. 208. 

General Motors raised a question concerning 
the number of test devices to be used in the 
frontal barrier crash test specified in S5.1. The 
NHTSA has interpreted the section as requiring 
test devices only in those seating positions for 
which a barrier crash test is specified by S4. 



Eihctiv*: F«brvary 24, 1972 

The question is of general interest and is con- 
sidered significant enough to warrant a clarify- 
ing amendment to S5.1 at this time. 

In consideration of the foregoing. Motor Ve- 
hicle Safety Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash 
Protection, § 571.208 of Title 49, Code of Federal 
Regulations is amended. The standard is hereby 
amended upon publication of this notice in the 
Federal Register; effective dates are as stated in 
the tejct of the standard. 

This notice is issued under the authority of 
sections 103 and 119 of the National Traffic and 
Motoc Vehicle Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407, 
and the delegation of authority by the Secretary 
of Transportation to the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administrator, 49 CFR 1.51. 

Issued on February 17, 1972. 

Douglas W. Toms 
Administrator 

37 F.R. 391 1 
February 24, 1972 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 23-24 



EffKllv*: Jun* 12, 1972 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection — Pressure Vessels and Explosive Materials 
(Docket No. 69-7; Notice 18) 



The purpose of this notice is to add a new 
section to Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208, 
Ocoupcmt Crash Protection, 49 CFR §571.208, 
dealing with pressure vessels and explosive 
devices. 

After review of the comments to the notice of 
proposed rulemaking (Docket 69-7, Notice 14, 
October 9, 1971; 36 F.R. 19705), the agency has 
concluded that its original assessment of the 
need for regulation was essentially correct and 
that a regulation should therefore be adopted. 
As indicated in Notice 14, the NHTSA sees a 
regulation of restraint systenis such as air bags 
containing explosive materials or pressure ves- 
sels as having two primary functions : to impose 
directly on manufacturers the obligation to con- 
form to Federal hazardous materials regulations, 
and to create a uniform system of regulation 
that will override any conflicting state or local 
regulation. 

The approach taken in the notice was to pro- 
pose a general incorporation of all applicable 
portions of the hazardous materials regulations 
as found in 49 CFR Parts 170-189. Most of the 
comments, while agreeing with the general in- 
tent of the proposal, objected to the breadth of 
this incorporation as too vague and too likely 
to result in difficulties of interpretation. There 
was a consensus that serious problems would 
arise as a result of the Hazardous Materials 
Regulations Board's practice of issuing special 
permits that allow shipment of regulated items 
that do not conform to the regulations. The 
majority of devices used in occupant protection 
systems vary in some way from the requirements 
of the regulations and have been shipped under 
one or more special permits. The comments 
pointed out that adoption of the regulations 



without some adjustment to allow for the exist- 
ence of special permits would effectively prohibit 
most of these devices. 

It has therefore been decided to limit the 
incorporation of the HMRB regulations by 
referencing those parts of the regulations from 
which no variances have been granted. Without 
exception, the pressure vessels used in air bag 
systems to date have been manufactured in basic 
conformity with the recently adopted Specifica- 
tion 39 (49 CFR 178.66). The variances which 
have caused the manufacturers to obtain special 
permits have been variances in the choice of 
materials and in the method of fabrication. All 
cylinders have been able to conform to the basic 
performance requirements of the specification, so 
that an incorporation into Standard 208 of the 
performance requirements of Specification 39 
would enable manufacturers to continue to make 
their present systems. 

Taken together, the performance requirements 
are considered by the NHTSA to be an adequate 
regulation of the safety of pressurized contain- 
ers in occupant restraint systems. The HMRB 
will continue to exercise its jurisdiction over the 
shipment of the systems, so that a manufacturer 
will still have to obtain a special permit in order 
to ship systems that do not conform to the speci- 
fication. The adoption of section S9 is not in- 
tended in any way to diminish the responsibili- 
ties of a manufacturer under the applicable 
regulations of the HMRB. For example, evi- 
dence of the requisite number of tests and in- 
spections will continue to be required for ship- 
ment under the HMRB regulations, even though 
failure to test and inspect will not be a violation 
of Standard 208. 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 25 



As adopted, the section consists of two sub- 
sections, the first dealing with pressure vessels 
and the second with explosives. The pressure 
vessel subsection applies to vessels that are de- 
signed to be continuously pressurized, as dis- 
tinguished from systems that are pressurized 
only during actuation. A pressure vessel that 
contains an explosive charge as well as gas under 
continuous pressure will have to conform to both 
subsections. 

A continuously pressurized vessel is required 
to conform to the requirements of Specification 
39 concerning type, size, service pressure, and 
test pressure of vessels (paragraph 2 of the 
Specification); seams (6(b)); wall thickness 
(7) ; openings and attachments (9(a) and (b)) ; 
safety devices (10); pressure tests (11); and 
flattening tests (12). The reference to the latter 
two paragraphs are drafted to make it clear that 
the quality control aspects of those paragraphs 
are not included in the standard. The remaining 
portions of Specification 39, including the in- 
spection requirements of paragraphs 3, 4, and 
15, the material specifications of paragraph 5, 
the rejected cylinder procedure of paragraph 13, 
and the markings requirement of paragraph 14, 
are not incorporated. 

Review of the explosives provisions of the 
hazardous materials regulations showed that 
some of the requirements, if applied literally, 
would not be appropriate for automotive instal- 
lations. For instance, certain types of pyrotech- 



nic inflators are categorized as explosive power 
devices and are required to be shipped in fiber- 
board or wooden containers. Neither of these 
types of containers would be proper for a system 
designed to protect occupants in a vehicle from 
the effects of a crash. The primary needs are 
for a requirement that sets limits on the sensi- 
tivity of the explosive and one that requires it 
to be in a container that will protect the occu- 
pants of the vehicle from the effects of inad- 
vertent ignition. These requirements are hereby 
adopted, in accordance with comments made by 
General Motors. 

In consideration of the foregoing, Motor Ve- 
hicle Safety Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash 
Protection, 49 CFR § 571.208, is amended. . . . 

Effective date : June 12, 1972. Because of the 
immediate need to establish a uniform system 
of regulation, good cause is found for an effec- 
tive date sooner than 180 days after issuance. 

This amendment is issued under the authority 
of sections 103 and 119 of the National Traffic 
and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. 1392, 
1407 and the delegation of authority at 49 CFR 
1.61. 



Issued on May 3, 1972. 



Douglas W. Toms 
Administrator 

37 F.R. 9222 
May 6, 1972 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 26 



EffKMv*: July 24, 1973 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 



The purpose of this notice is (1) to adopt the 
method of calculating head injury proposed in 
Notice 17 of Docket 69-7 (37 F.R. 5507) as an 
amendment to S6.2 of Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection, 
49 CFR § 571.208, and (2) to respond in part to 
petitions for reconsideration of the amendments 
to $;he standard published in Notice 16, February 
24, 1972 (37 F.R. 3911). The issue involving 
Notice 16 addressed by this notice is the appli- 
cability of the head injury criterion of S6.2 to 
seat belt restraint systems. Action on the re- 
maining issues has been scheduled for completion 
not later than July 1, 1972. 

I. Calculation of head injury criterion. 

Some substantive objections were raised to the 
proposed method of calculating the head injury 
criterion. Several comments questioned the use 
of resultant accelerations rather than the anterior- 
posterior accelerations used in the original de- 
velopment of the Wayne State University Toler- 
ance Curve. Although the curve was originally 
based on anterior-posterior acceleration data, its 
validity for resultant accelerations appears to be 
confirmed by subsequent tests using resultant ac- 
celerations computed from biaxial accelerometers. 
Resultant accelerations have therefore been used 
in the amended criterion. 

The question of the permissible level was again 
raised, with some commenters supiwrting a level 
of 1500 even under the revised method of calcula- 
tion. This agency's ix>sition is that, adequate 
justification has not been demonstrated for a 
numerical increase in the severity level, although 
adjusfments in the method of calculation adopted 
herein may have the effect of allowing greater 
cumulative accelerations than would have been 
allowed 'imder the Gadd Severity Index. With 



Occupant Crash Protection 
(Docket No. 69-7; Notice 19) 

the new calculation, the higher numerical level is 
less supportable than before and it is accordingly 
rejected. The amendment to S6.2 is adopted as 
proposed. 



II. Applicability of the head injury criterion 
to seat belt systems. 

The decision to postpone the date of mandatory 
installation of passive restraints imtil August 15, 
1975, was made in consideration of the hardship 
that would have been imposed on many manufac- 
turers by a requirement to provide passive re- 
straints by the original date of August 15, 1973. 
The injury criteria of the standard, measured in 
a barrier crash with instrumented dummies, were 
applied to belt systems as well as passive systems 
that might be used to meet the requirements of 
the standard, beginning August 15, 1973. 

Several manufacturers have petitioned for the 
removal of the injury criteria, particularly those 
for head injury, from the belt system testa. Their 
concern arises from their test results indicating 
that in many vehicles currently available belt 
systems either do not meet or only marginally 
meet the head injury criteria. They have argued 
that much, perhaps most, of the acceleration that 
contributes to the head Severity Index measure- 
ment with a shoulder-belted dummy occurs as 
the head flops loosely forward without striking 
anything in the vehicle. Actual field collision 
data, they maintain, does not indicate that this 
type of head movement by shoulder-belted ve- 
hicle occupants in a crash is a serious injury- 
producing factor. They question the correlation 
between results of the dummy tests and the actual 
protective characteristics of the belt systems. 

The NHTSA recognizes the uncertainty con- 
cerning the significance of head movement by a 
shoulder belted occupant whose head does not 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 27 



■ My S4, IVn 



strike the forward part of the vehicle, althou^ 
it considers the present evidence too scanty to 
be conclusive in either direction. It also recog- 
nizes that the leadtime for any major design or 
component changes for the 1974 models has been 
virtually exhausted. Recent materials submitted 
to the docket indicate that presently existing 
inflatable restraint systems can meet the head 
injury criteria with little difficulty. The in- 
herent limitations in lap-tuid-shoulder-belt sys- 
tems make it considerably more difficult for thoee 
systems to meet these criteria, although belt sys- 
tems have been found to provide protection at 
moderate speeds. 

For these reasons, it has been decided that a 
temporary modification in the head injury meas- 
urements for belt systems is justified. The amend- 
ment made by this notice in response to the 
petition^ affects vehicles manufactured before 
August 15, 1975, and provides that measurement 
of head acceleration begins, for purposes of com- 
puting the head injury criterion for belted dum- 
mies, only at the moment at which the head 
strikes some portion of the vehicle other than a 
belt The measurement wUl thus include any 
contact with the windshield or dashboard, for 
example, or the effects of rebound against the 
seat back, but pre-impact accelerations of the 
head wiU be excluded. 

This agency will examine closely the accident 
data bearing on the traumatic effect of non- 



impactive head accelerations, as well as such 
laboratory data as may be gathered, for example 
from cadaver studies. Work is also in progress 
concerning the correlation between diunmy and 
human behavior, with a view to more sophis- 
ticated instrumentation and measurement of ve- 
hicle performance, and to continued evaluation 
of the head injury criterion for the entire test 
crash event. 

In consideration of the foregoing, paragraph 
S6.2 of Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208, 
Occupant Crash Protection, 49 CFR § 571.208, is 
amended. . . . 

Effeotwe date : July 24, 1972. 

Because tliis amendment modifies an existing 
rule in a manner that imposes no additional sub- 
stantive requirements, it is found for good cause 
shown that an effective date less than 180 days 
from the date of issuance is in the public interest. 

Issued under the authority of sections 103 and 
119 of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle 
Safety Act, 15 n.S.C. 1392, 1407, and the delega- 
tion of authority at 49 CFR § 1.51. 

Issued on June 20, 1972. 

Douglas W. Toms 
Administrator 

37 F.t. 12393 
Jun* 23, 1972 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 28 



E(h<t<v«: January 1, 1973 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection in Passenger Cars, 
Multipurpose Passenger Vehicles, Trucks and Buses 

(Dockst No. 69-7; NoHcs 20) 



The purpose of this notice is to respond to 
petitions for reconsideration of the seat belt 
interlock requirements of Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection, 
49 CFR §571.208, as published February 24, 
1972 (37 F.R. 3911). The issues in the petitions 
relating to the applicability of the head injury 
criterion of S6.2 to seat belt systems have been 
answered in a notice published June 24, 1972 
(37 F.R. 12393). The remaining issues are dis- 
cussed herein. 

Several petitions raised issues which, while of 
considerable importance, lie outside of the im- 
mediate scope of the notice under review. Among 
these are requests to exempt vehicles that meet 
the injury criteria from the requirements of 
Standards Nos. 201, 203, 204, and 212, and to 
waive some of the requirements of Standard No. 
209 relating to the width and elongation of web- 
bing. As indicated in the Program Plan for 
Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, several of these 
matters are imder review at the present time. 
Their resolution will await the issuance of rule- 
making notices in the respective dockets. 

General Motors reiterated its opposition to the 
requirements for rollover protection and for the 
protection of rear seat occupants by passive 
means. Although these issues may be affected 
by the receipt of additional information, the 
NHTSA has not found sufficient cause to alter 
its position. 

With respect to the interlock option itself, the 
petitioners objected less to the concept of such a 
system than to the positions at which it would 
have to be installed and to the level of protection 
required of it. Some requested an indefinite 



extension of the interlock requirements beyond 
August 15, 1975, as a more or less permanent 
substitute for passive protection. Inasmuch as 
the NHTSA continues to consider the 1976 date 
to be a reasonable date for the installation of 
passive systems, it must again deny the requested 
delay. 

The application of the interlock and belt 
warning systems to the center front seating po- 
sition drew a number of adverse comments. It 
was stated hat the center seat occupancy rate 
was too low to justify the added cost of installing 
the system and that the system would be prone 
to inconvenient activation, as when two large 
men at the outboard positions depress the center 
seat cushion. On the question of cost effective- 
ness, the agency has found that the available 
data do not support the petitioners. Despite the 
relatively low occupancy rate, the incremental 
cost of installing the system is low enough to 
create a favorable ratio. The requirement for 
center seat installation is therefore retained. To 
avoid the problems of over-sensitivity, it has 
been decided to raise the threshold weight at 
which activation is required, in accordance with 
a suggestion by American Motors. The relevant 
sections (S7.3.5.2(b) and S7.4,l(b)) are accord- 
ingly amended to refer to a 5th-percentile adult 
female rather than to a 50th-percentile 6-year- 
old child. 

The petitions directed their strongest objec- 
tions to the application of the injury criteria to 
belt systems. Partial relief has been granted to 
belt systems with respect to the head injury 
criterion. The chest and femur criteria, to which 
a lesser amount of criticism has been directed, 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 29 



Htoctiv*: January I, 1973 



are not considered to present the same level of 
difficulty for belt systems of current design as 
the head. 

However, it has been decided to make an in- 
terim adjustment of the chest injury criterion 
with respect to seat belts by applying to them a 
criterion using the severity index formerly ap- 
plied to the head. The effect of this is to ease 
the requirement somewhat without permitting 
excessive long duration accelerations. A well de- 
signed belt system of the current types will be 
capable of meeting the revised criterion. It is 
expected that improvements now in prospect will 
allow belt systems to meet the 60 "g's", 3 milli- 
second criterion in 1975. Femur loads are not a 
problem for seat belt systems that do not sepa- 
rate during impact, and the femur criterion is 
therefore retained. 

Ford stated in its petition that two barrier 
tests would be required under S4.1.2.3(d) and 
(e) for some vehicles, due to the difficulty of 
placing three 50th-percentile male dummies in 
the front seat. Although it may be that correct 
placement cannot be made in Ford vehicles, Ford 
is at liberty to devise a method of testing the 
center position which imposes a stress on the 
belt system equivalent to that of a 50th-percentile 
adult male. It does not appear that the size of 
the dummies will prevent most cars from being 
tested with the dummies three abreast, if the 
manufacturers elect to conduct S4.1 .2.3.1 (d) and 
(e) as a single test. Ford's petition is therefore 
denied. 

General Motors, alone among the petitioners, 
suggested the use of a sequenced warning system 
in place of the interlock system. In part the 
company's position was grounded on the belief 
that the standard presently requires a sequenced 
warning and that the interlock is therefore a 
redundant system. In fact, the opposite is true 
under the present wording of the standard, in 
that S7.3.2 states that the warning system shall 
not operate when the belt is extended to a speci- 
fied length or, alternatively, when the belt is 
buckled. Because a sequential warning system 
would necessarily cause the signal to operate in 
some situations despite the belt's being extended 
or buckled, it would not be allowed under S7.3.2. 



In response to the GM request to substitute 
the sequenced warning for the interlock, the 
NHTSA has concluded that the interlock coupled 
with a nonsequenced warning provides a some- 
what more direct incentive to belt usage with 
less potential for causing irritation while the 
vehicle is in operation. The interlock feature is 
therefore being retained. However, in the light 
of GM's expressed preference for a sequential 
warning and in i-esponse to a petition by the 
Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association to 
permit sequential operation of the warning, it 
has been decided to amend S7.3.2 to permit 
manufacturers to use a sequenced warning in 
conjunction with the interlock system. 

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Asso- 
ciation requested the addition of the phrase 
"after the seat has been occupied" to S7.3.2(a) 
and (b). Because this would have the effect of 
requiring all warning systems to be sequenced, 
paragraphs (a) and (b) are not being amended. 
Instead, a new paragraph (c) is being added 
as a third mode of warning system shut off. Al- 
though by its terms the new paragraph applies 
only to front outboard positions, S7.3.5.3 will 
operate on it as on the other paragraphs to apply 
it to the center front position as well. 

It should be pointed out that a manufacturer 
adopting the sequential option will be free to 
incorporate anti-boimce features into the system 
to prevent its being knocked out of sequence 
when the occupant lifts off the seat momentarily. 
This is so because under S7.3.1 the warning sys- 
tem is required to operate only when the belts 
have not been extended or buckled. If the occu- 
pant, in moving about on the seat, does not un- 
buckle or retract the belt, the warning would not 
be required to operate and the manufacturer 
could therefore provide for nonoperation in such 
situations. 

Toyota has requested the application of S7.4.3 
and S7.4.4 to the warning system as well as the 
interlock. Because of the possibility that such 
an amendment would result in the warning sys- 
tem's activating unexpectedly while the vehicle 
is in motion, the petition is denied. 

Several petitions addressed the convenience 
features of the interlock system in S7.4.3 and 
S7.4.4. Chrysler stated that it understood the 



PART 671; S 208— PRE 30 



MmN*«: January 1, 1973 



reference in S7.4.3 to "after the engine has been 
stopped" to mean after the ignition has been 
turned off, so tha^ a stalled engine could be re- 
started indefinitely so long as the ignition is not 
turned off. This interpretation is essentially 
correct. The quoted phrase refers to the act of 
stopping the engine, rather than to involuntary 
engine stoppage. However, to make it clear that 
the engine may be restarted indefinitely if the 
engine has not hi^n turned off, the section is 
being amended to make its intent explicit. 

General Motors stated that it would be desir- 
able for the engine starting system to be operable 
indefinitely without interference from the inter- 
lock system after the engine is stopped so long 
as the driver has not left his seated position. 
Such a provision would be an alternate means 
of permitting restarting in emergency road sit- 
uations and it is therefore being adopted as part 
of S7.4.3. 

As amended S7.4.3 continues to refer to start- 
ing after the engine has stopped, to make it 
clear that the features of S7.4.3 will not interfere 
with the primary function of the interlock sys- 
tem. Although it is not necessary for the engine 
to operate under it" own power, the engine start- 
ing system must at least be operated in a manner 
that would start a functional engine in order for 
the convenience features to have any effect. 

A related issue arises in the context of S7.4.4, 
which refers to restarting "after each period of 
engine operation." Chrysler interprets this to 
mean the cycling of the ignition switch from 
"off" to "on" to "off" again. Although the lan- 



guage does not support this meaning, on recon- 
sideration it has been decided that there are 
advantages to an engine compartment switch that 
does not require the engine to rotate in order to 
be reset. The section is therefore being amended 
to refer to the cycling of the ignition switch 
rather than to engine operation. 

The requirement that the switch be operated 
each time in order to permit engine starting is 
being retained despite the request of several pe- 
titioners for a system that would permit unlim- 
ited restarting so long as the hood is open. The 
agency's primary objection to such a system is 
that it is too easy to override permanently. The 
system allowed by S7.4.4 may be somewhat less 
convenient, but it is also less defeatable and is 
therefore preferred. The switch may be located 
so that it will be operable by the raising of the 
hood, as requested by several petitioners. 

In consideration of the foregoing, Motor Ve- 
hicle Safety Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash 
Protection, 49 CFR § 571.208, is amended. . . . 

Effective Date: 180 days after publication in 
the Federal Register. 

Issued under the authority of sections 103 and 
119 of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle 
Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. % 1392, 1407, and the dele- 
gation of authority at 49 CFR § 1.51. 

Issued on June 30, 1972. 

Douglas W. Toms 
Administrator 

37 F.R. 13265 
July 6, 1972 



PART 571; S 208-PRE 31-32 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection in Passenger Cars, 
Multipurpose Passenger Vehicles, Trucks and Buses 

(Docket No. 69-7; Nolico 22) 



The purpose of this notice is to specify the 
effective date for the amendment to Motor Ve- 
hicle Safety Standard No. 208 published July 6, 
1972, (Notice 20; 37 F.R. 13265). In the effec- 
tive date provision of the notice, it was stated 
that the amendment became effective 180 days 
after publication in the Federal Register. Cal- 
culation of 180 days from July 6, 1972, the pub- 
lication date, results in an effective date of 
January 2, 1973. For reasons of consistency and 
clarity, it has been found preferable to establish 
January 1, 1973, as the effective date. 

The amendment to Motor Vehicle Safety 
Stendard No. 208, 49 CFR 571.208, published at 



37 F.R 13265 is therefore made effective January 
1, 1973. 

Issued under the authority of sections 103 and 
119 of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle 
Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407, and the dele- 
gation of authority at 49 CFR 1.51. 

Issued on August 3, 1972. 

Douglas W. Toms 
Administrator 

37 F.R. 16186 
Augustll, 1972 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 38-84 



EffacHva: Auguit IS, 1972 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection in Passenger Cars, 
Multipurpose Passenger Vehicles, Trucks and Buses 

(Docket No. 69-7; Notice 23) 



The purpose of this notice is to reply to peti- 
tions filed pursuant to 49 CFR 553.35 requesting 
reconsideration of the requirements of Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208 relating to seat 
belts in vehicles manufactured after August 15, 
1973, as amended by Notices 19 and 20 of Docket 
69-7 (37 F.R. 12393; 37 F.R. 13265). 

1. Seat belts and the injury criteria of S6. 
The primary objection raised by petitioners is 
that Notices 19 and 20 did not altogether revoke 
the requirement that seat belts used to meet the 
1973 interlock option must be capable of meeting 
the injury criteria of S6. Although review of 
the petitions suggests that additional modifica- 
tion of the head injury criterion is advisable, 
the NHTSA declines to grant petitioners' re- 
quest for complete relief from the injury criteria. 

Review .of the petitions for reconsideration of 
Notice 16 showed that belts would have difficulty 
meeting the full criteria. Since leadtime was 
insufficient for major design changes in belts be- 
fore 1973, it was found necessary either to re- 
move the injury criteria or modify them so that 
the changes needed to enable belts to conform 
could be made in 1973. 

Upon review, it was concluded that the injury 
criteria, even in modified form, would have the 
beneficial eflFect of regulating the overall protec- 
tion characteristics of the occupant compartment 
and belt system. Regulation of the seat belt as 
a separate component, as in Standard 209, does 
not insure that the belt will be installed in a 
manner calculated to insulate the occupant from 
injurious contact with the interior of the vehicle. 
It was therefore d^ided to retain the injury 
criteria, with such modifications as seemed neces- 



sary to allow manufacturers to conform to 
S4.1.2.3 by August 15, 1973. 

The most significant, though by no means the 
only, agent of head injury is impact with the 
vehicle interior. In reviewing the petitions on 
Notice 16, it was decided that no interim criteria 
would be acceptable that disregarded any impact- 
related accelerations. Notice 19 therefore amended 
the head injury criterion in a manner that was 
intended to include all impact accelerations and 
to disregard the effect of non-impact accelera- 
tions. As several petitioners point out, however, 
the amendment did not fully carry out this in- 
tent. S6.2, as amended, would have disregarded 
only those accelerations occurring before the 
head impacted the vehicle and would have 
counted all accelerations after that point. One 
effect of this formula was that a glancing impact, 
in itself insignificant, would cause all subsequent 
non-impact accelerations to be counted even 
though such accelerations would not be distin- 
guishable in kind from the pre-impact accelera- 
tion. To avoid this result, the agency has 
decided to include in the calculation of the head 
injury criterion only those accelerations that oc- 
cur while the head is in contact with the vehicle. 

Some petitioners suggested that even while 
the head is touching the vehicle, a significant 
part of the head's deceleration is due to the re- 
straining action of the belt and not to the surface 
the head strikes. Although there is undeniably 
more than one force that contributes to head 
deceleration, the force produced by the impacted 
surface becomes increasingly important as the 
duration of the impact increases. If the ac- 
celerations during an impact are of such an 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 36 



E4tacNv«: Awgwtl 15, 1972 



amplitude and duration that a HIC value of 
1,000 is approached, the acceleration caused by 
the belt is generally insignificant. The criterion 
therefore counts all accelerations during the im- 
pact phase. 

The chest injury criterion of S6.2 was modified 
for seat belts by Notice 20, which substituted a 
severity index of 1,000 for the 60g 3 millisecond 
criterion applied to other restraint systems. Al- 
though the use of the severity index as an indi- 
cator of chest injury has not been common 
practice, the agency has decided that it provides 
a reasonable interim measure of the effectiveness 
of the belt system. The severity index of 1,000 
is therefore retained as the criterion for belt 
systems until August 15, 1975. 

2. Passive belts and injury criteria after 
August 16, 1976. Several petitioners stated that 
any relief granted to seat belts in the period 
1973-1975 should be extended to passive belt 
systems in the period beyond 1975. However, 
the NHTSA adopted the interim criteria out of 
consideration for lead time problems, not be- 
cause it considered them to be fully satisfactory. 
The agency does not consider any criterion to be 
acceptable, on a permanent basis, that omits po- 
tentially in jury -causing accelerations from its 
computation. Even though impact accelerations 
may be the major threat to belted occupants, the 
effects of non-impact accelerations are not neg- 
ligible and should not be ignored. It is expected 
that belts will be able to meet the full injury 
criteria by 1975. The petitions requesting ex- 
tension of the modified criteria beyond 1975 are 
therefore denied. 



3. MPVs and trucks manufactured before 
August 16, 1977. The adoption of the interlock 
option for passenger cars under S4. 1.2.3 per- 
mitted multipurpose passenger vehicles and 
trucks of less than 10,000 pounds GVWR to 
continue to use belt systems (with interlocks) 
in the period between 1975 and 1977. The 
agency's intent was to permit these vehicles to 
have the same interlock system during 1975- 
1977 that is permitted for passenger cars during 
1973-1975. In response to several petitioners, 
who pointed out that S6.2 and S6.3 could be 
imderstood to require these vehicles to meet the 
full injury criteria during this period, the sec- 
tions are hereby amended to extend the injury 
criteria modifications until August 15, 1977, for 
MPV's and trucks of less than 10,000 poimds 
GVWR, 

In consideration of the foregoing. Motor Ve- 
hicle Safety Standard No. 208, Occupamt Crash 
Protection, 49 CFR 571.208, is amended 

Effective date : August 15, 1973. 

This notice is issued under the authority of 
sections 103 and 119 of the National Traffic and 
Motor Vehicle Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407, 
and the delegation of authority at 49 CFR § 1.51. 

Issued on October 18, 1972. 

Douglas W. Toms 
Administrator 

37 F.R. 22871 
October 26, 1972 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 36 



Effactiv*: Nov*mb«r 23, 1972 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 
(Docket No. 69-7; Notice 25) 



The purpose of this notice is to amend the 
injury criteria specified for the chest and femur 
under sections S6.3 and S6.4 of Motor Vehicle 
Safety Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Pro- 
tection, 49 CFR 571.208. The amendments 
adopted hereby are those proposed in a notice of 
proposed rulemaking published on October 28, 
1972 (Notice 24; 37 F.R. 23115). 

The injury criterion for the chest is amended 
with respect to all vehicles manufactured before 
August 15, 1975, by substituting a severity index 
value of 1,000 as the measure of injury potential 
in place of the criterion of 60g's for 3 milli- 
seconds. The substitution had previously been 
made for vehicles equipped with seat belt systems 
manufactured before August 15, 1975. The 
amendment made hereby is based on a finding 
that the severity index is an acceptable interim 
measure for restraint systems other than belt 
systems. 

Several comments noted an oversight in Notice 
24 concerning the application of the modified 
chest criterion to multipurpose passenger vehicles 
and trucks having GVWR's of 10,000 pounds or 
less. As a result of a previous notice ( Notice 23 ; 
37 F.R. 22871, October 26, 1972), these vehicles 
had been permitted to meet the modified criterion 
until August 15, 1977. Notice 24 failed to reflect 
this change. The omission has been corrected in 
the amended version of S6.3, and a parallel ex- 
tension has been made for vehicles other than 
passenger cars that have restraint systems other 
than belts. 

The injury criterion for the upper legs is 
amended to specify a maximum force of 1700 
pounds on each femur rather than the previously 



specified force of 1400 pounds. The new require- 
ment is considered to provide a good level of 
protection in crashes in the 30 m.p.h. range and 
allows manufacturers greater latitude in design- 
ing systems for protection at higher speeds. 

None of the comments disagreed with the pro- 
posal for an increase in force level, although the 
Ford Motor Company suggested a further amend- 
ment that would permit higher forces for a 
cumulative interval of not more than 3 milli- 
seconds, thereby disregarding extremely short 
period acceleration peaks which Ford considers 
to be artificial products of the dummy's metallic 
structure. A similar request has been made by 
General Motors in a recent petition for rulemak- 
ing. The agency has not yet completed its eval- 
uation of this issue. If favorable action is 
decided upon, a notice of proposed rulemaking 
will be issued to permit additional comment. 

In consideration of the foregoing. Motor Ve- 
hicle Safety Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash 
Protection, 49 CFR 571.208, is amended .... 

Because this amendment relieves a restriction 
and imposes no additional burden, an immediate 
effective date is found to be in the public interest. 

Eifective date : November 23, 1972. 

This notice is issued imder the authority of 
sections 103 and 119 of the National Traffic and 
Motor Vehicle Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407, 
and the delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.51. 

Issued on November 20, 1972. 

Charles H. Hartman 
Acting Administrator 

37 F.R. 24903 
November 23, 1972 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 37-38 



Efficflv*: Augutf 15, 197S 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Seat Belt Interlock Amendments 
(Docket No. 69-7; Notice 27) 



The purpose of this notice is to amend the seat 
belt interlock requirements of Motor Vehicle 
Safety Standard No. 208 (49 CFR §571.208). 
The amendments relate to the performance re- 
quirements applicable to the belts, the positions 
at which the interlock is to be provided, and the 
convenience features allowed in certain driving 
situations. 

The amendments adopted hereby were initially 
proposed in a notice published April 20, 1973 
(Docket 69-7, Notice 26; 38 F.R. 9830). Some 
of the amendments proposed in Notice 26 have 
been adopted in revised form as a result of the 
comments. One proposal, concerning an alterna- 
tive interlock system, is not adopted by this no- 
tice and awaits further rulemaking action as 
discussed below. 

I. Amendments. In Notice 26, it was proposed 
to amend Section S4.1.2.3, the section establish- 
ing the seat belt interlock option, by deleting the 
requirement that the belts in the front outboard 
positions meet the injury criteria of S5.1 and by 
deleting the requirement that the belt at the 
center front position meet a breakage test in a 
barrier crash. It was also proposed to delete the 
requirement for an interlock at the center front 
position. 

Subject to continuing reservations about the 
interlock system itself, the comments were gen- 
erally favorable to the proposed amendments. 
The mandatory requirements for meeting the 
injury criteria at the outboard positions and the 
breakage test at the center front position are 
hereby deleted, as proposed. 

There were objections to certain details of the 
proposal. Under the injury criteria version of 
S4.1.2.3, manufacturers were allowed to install 
either Type 2 seat belts (lap and shoulder belt 



combinations) or Type 1 seat belts (lap belt). 
Without the injury criteria as a control on the 
performance of the lap belt, it was proposed in 
Notice 26 to delete the Type 1 belt option under 
S4.1.2.3.1(a). Ford Motor Company stated that 
if Type 1 belts were not permitted, evaluation 
of systems employing lap belts in conjunction 
with passive upper torso restraint would be in- 
hibited. Although belts may be used with pas- 
sive restraints under the second restraint option 
in 1973 (S4.1.2.2), second option systems must 
be capable of providing fully passive protection 
in a frontal crash. To permit evaluation of 
systems that may not have full passive capability, 
it has been decided to continue to permit Type 1 
belts under the third option (S4.1.2.3(a)) on the 
condition that they are capable of meeting the 
injury criteria of S5.1 in a frontal perpendicular 
crash. 

As amended, therefore, S4.1.2.3.1(a) provides 
that at the front outboard positions a manufac- 
turer may install either a Type 2 seat belt as- 
sembly that conforms to Standard No. 209, or a 
Type 1 f«at belt assembly that meets the injury 
criteria of S5.1. Insofar as the injury criteria 
themselves are contingent upon the establishment 
of an adequate method of measurement through 
the adoption of a new test dummy, a manufac- 
turer who intends to produce vehicles with Type 
1 belts at the front outboard positions will have 
to await the adoption of the new dummy regula- 
tion and its incorporation into the options under 
S4.1.2. 

The proposed deletion of the interlock require- 
ment for the center front position (S4.1.2.3.1(b)) 
was favorably received, and the requirement is 
hereby deleted. It was stated by Ford, Chrysler, 
and American Motors that the warning system 
at that position should also be deleted. The 



PART 571 ; S 208— PRE 39 



EINctiv*: August IS, 1973 



merits of the warning system at the center posi- 
tion, in the form of increased belt usage, are 
considered by NHTSA to outweigh its draw- 
backs. Although it is fair to say that the warn- 
ing system will be somewhat more likely to fail 
with three sensors in the system than with two 
sensors, the agency does not consider the incre- 
ment to be sufficient to justify deleting the warn- 
ing system. The temporary difficulties that 
Chrysler and American Motors will experience 
in the severance of the interlock from the warn- 
ing system are also not considered sufficient 
grounds for deletion of the warning system. 
Section S4.1.2.3.1(b) is therefore adopted as pro- 
posed in Notice 26. The remaining provisions of 
S4.1.2.3 were not objected to, and are also adopted 
as proposed. 

A request to clarify section S7.4.1, by amend- 
ing the second sentence of the section to refer to 
"each occupied front outboard seating position," 
has been favorably considered and is adopted 
hereby. 

An amendment to S7.4.3 was proposed to allow 
an additional "free-start" mode, whereby the 
manufacturer could install a timer that would 
be actuated by the seat switch and that would 
allow the vehicle to be started without belt op- 
eration within a period of up to three minutes 
after the driver leaves his seat. Reaction to the 
proposal was favorable. In particular, the Na- 
tional Parking Association indicated that such a 
provision would alleviate most problems in the 
parking of cars in garages. The amendment is 
being adopted as proposed. 

The proposed addition of section S7.4.5 proved 
unexpectedly controversial, due to an apparent 
divergence of opinion on the question of whether, 
without S7.4.5, a seat bounce switch would be 
permitted for the interlock system. It has been 
the opinion of NHTSA that the interlock re- 
quirements do not permit the starter to operate 
in the event that a person who has operated the 
belt in the correct sequence gets off the seat and 
returns to it before attempting to start the car. 
The majority of manufacturers construed the 
interlock requirements as permitting operation in 
the situation just described, and had therefore 
designed their systems with seat bounce switches. 
Rather than appearing permissive, as intended, 



the 10 second bounce switch proposed by S7.4.5 
was therefore seen by most manufacturers as 
unduly restrictive. 

Upon consideration of the comments, the 
agency has concluded that the predominant va- 
rieties of bounce switch described by the com- 
ments can be accommodated by a modest revision 
of the section. Two main types of switch wen 
described, one involving a timer set for interval 
of from ten seconds to a minute and a half or 
more, and the other involving the door switches 
in the circuit, so that after being correctly se- 
quenced the system would allow the car to be 
started despite "bounces" of any duration, so 
long as the doors have not been opened. As 
adopted, the section permits a manufacturer to 
choose either system. If he chooses a timed sys- 
tem, he may allow any time up to three minutes. 
Each of the varying time periods described in 
the comments would therefore be allowed. 

The proposed alternative interlock system, 
S7.5, was treated favorably or neutrally in the 
comments, although none indicated plans to adopt 
such a system. The agency continues to regard 
the alternative system favorably, but on review 
of the comments has concluded that there is merit 
to the suggestion that the convenience features 
established for the primary interlock system 
should also be applied to the alternative system. 
In addition, it appears desirable to incorporate a 
requirement for warning system operation similar 
to that of S7.3.5.4 to tell a driver who has not 
operated his belt why the car cannot be moved. 
Final action on the proposed S7.5 is therefore 
being delayed in order to obtain comments on 
additional features of the system that are to be 
proposed in an upcoming notice. 

II. Other related matters. After the publica- 
tion of Notice 26, several comments and petitions 
were received on the subject of seat belts and the 
seat belt options. In its comment to Notice 26, 
Toyota restated its earlier request for amendment 
of Standard 209 to permit narrower webbing for 
portions of the belt that do not touch the occu- 
pant. Favorable action on this request is pro- 
posed in a notice published in today's edition of 
the Federal Register (38 F.R. 12414). 

In a petition for rulemaking submitted May 16, 
1973, Nissan Motor Company requested an 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 40 



amendment of the seat belt option that is in 
effect until August 15, 1973 (S4.1.1.3). The op- 
tion presently requires all front outboard seat 
belts to meet a breakage test in a 30 mph barrier 
crash (84.1.1.3 (c)). Nissan stated that the find- 
ing in Notice 26 that the breakage test does not 
contribute significantly to the strength of the 
belt should be extended to belts in vehicles manu- 
factured before August 15, 1973, as well as to 
belte in vehicles manufactured after that date, 
and that S4.1.1.3(c) should be deleted accord- 
ingly. The agency agrees with Nissan that that 
finding in Notice 26 is equally applicable to pre- 
August vehicles, but it does not consider an 
amendment of the standard necessary to afford 
the relief Nissan requests. Although the opinions 
in Chrysler v. DOT, 474 F.2d 659 (6th Circuit 
1972) and Ford v. NHTSA, 473 F.2d 1241 (6th 
Circuit, 1973), did not deal directly with the 
non-passive options in effect before August 15, 
1973, a side effect of the court's invalidation of 
the test dummy specifications of S8.1.8 is to 
leave the belt breakage test of S4.1.1.3(c) with- 
out a means of measurement. 

The agency has concluded that the belt break- 
age test of S4.1. 1.3(c) is without effect in the 
absence of a test dummy. It will therefore not 
seek to enforce the requirement. In view of the 
short time remaining before S4.1.1.3 and other 
current options lapse in favor of the August 15, 
1973 options, this interpretation will have a 
marginal effect on currently produced vehicles, 
all of which have been certified as complying 
with the breakage test. It may, however, be of 
benefit to manufacturers who plan to introduce 
their 1974 models prior to August 15, 1973. 

Several comments stated that the passive re- 
straint requirement for August 15, 1975, and 
August 15, 1977, should be deleted from the text 
of the standard as a result of Chrysler v. DOT, 
tupra, and reinstated only after issuance of the 
dummy regulation. A petition filed by the Center 
for Auto Safety, in contrast, seeks to have the 
August 15, 1975, date established as promptly as 
possible. The NHTSA position is that the deci- 
sion in Chrysler v. DOT suspends the mandatory 
passive restraint requirements, regardless of 
whether they remain in the text of the rule, and 
that their deletion at this time would have no 



MfecNvai AH9MI IS, IfTS 

effect other than to require additional work at ft 
later date. 

Rulemaking, in addition to that now in prog- 
ress with respect to the optional passive require- 
ments, will be necessary in order to reestablish 
the date when passive restraints will be required. 
Before such rulemaking can be initiated, NHTSA 
is obliged to consider the comments it receives on 
the proposed test dummy regulation. 

There has been some residual uncertainty as to 
the effect of the denial in Notice 26 of the peti- 
tions requesting restraint options in place of, or 
in addition to, the interlock system. The agency 
denied the petitions "to the extent that the peti- 
tions seek removal of the interlock requirement 
from the front outboard seats. . . ." It intended 
thereby to deny those petitions that would have 
added a fourth restraint option in addition to the 
interlock as well as to deny those that sought 
deletion of the interlock, and the language of 
denial in Notice 26 should be so construed. 

The alternative interlock system proposed by 
Mr. Jesse R. Hollins, which was not discussed 
in detail in Notice 26, had been reviewed at the 
time of Notice 26 and was intended to be denied. 
The agency has again reviewed Mr. Hollins' peti- 
tion and has again concluded that the benefits of 
his proposed system do not warrant the creation 
of such an alternative interlock system. His pe- 
tition is accordingly denied. 

In consideration of the foregoing. Motor Ve- 
hicle Safety Standard No. 208, 49 CFR § 571.208, 
is amended in pertinent part as set forth below. 
Because this amendment imposes no additional 
burdens an effective date earlier than 180 days 
after issuance of this notice is found to be in the 
public interest. 

Effective date : August 15, 1973. 

Issued under the authority of sections 103 and 
119 of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle 
Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407; delegations of 
authority at 38 F.R. 12147. 

Issued on June 15, 1973. 

James E. Wilson 
Associate Administrator 
Traffic Safety Programs 

38 F.R. 16072 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 41-42 



ifbctlv*: AugutI 15, 1973 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 
(Docket No. 73-8; Notico 2) 



The purposes of this notice are (1) to adopt a 
regulation that specifies a test dummy to measure 
the performance of vehicles in crashes, and (2) to 
incorporate the dummy into Motor Vehicle 
Safety Standard No. 208 (49 CFR §571.208), 
for the limited purpose of evaluating vehicles 
with passive restraint systems manufactured 
under the first and second restraint options be- 
tween August 15, 1973, and August 15, 1975. 
The question of the restraint system require- 
ments to be in effect after August 15, 1975, is 
not addressed by this notice and will be the sub- 
ject of future rulemaking action. 

The test dummy regulation (49 CFR Part 
572) and the accompanying amendment to 
Standard No. 208 were proposed in a notice 
published April 2, 1973 (38 F.R. 8455). The 
dummy described in the regulation is to be used 
to evaluate vehicles manufactured under sec- 
tions S4.1.2.1 and S4.1.2.2, (the first and second 
options in the period from August 15, 1973, to 
August 15, 1975), and the section incorporating 
the dummy is accordingly limited to those sec- 
tions. The dummy has not been specified for 
use with any protection systems after August 15, 
1975, nor with active belt systems under the 
third restraint option (S4.1.2.3). The recent 
decision in Ford v. NETS A, 473 F. 2d 1241 
(6th Cir. 1973), removed the injury criteria 
from such systems. To make the dummy ap- 
plicable to belts under the third option, the 
agency would have to provide additional notice 
and opportunity for comment. 

By invalidating the former test dummy 
specification, the decision in Chrysler v. DOT, 
472 F. 2d 659 (6th Cir. 1972), affected the re- 
straint options in effect before August 15, 1975, 
as well as the mandatory passive restraint re- 



quirements that were to be effective after that 
date. A manufacturer who built cars with 
passive restraints under one of the options would 
therefore be unable to certify the cars as com- 
plying with the standard, as illustrated by the 
necessity for General Motors to obtain a limited 
exemption from the standard in order to com- 
plete the remainder of a run of 1,000 air-bag 
equipped cars. 

The immediate purpose of this rulemaking is 
to reconstitute those portions of the standard 
that will enable manufacturers to build passive 
restraint vehicles during the period when they 
are optional. The test dummy selected by the 
agency is the "GM Hybird II". a composite 
develoi:)ed by General Motors largely from com- 
mercially available components. GM had re- 
quested NHTvSA to adopt the Hybrid II on the 
grounds that it had been successfully used in 
vehicle tests with passive restraint systems, and 
was as good as, or better than, any other im- 
mediately available dummy system. On con- 
sideration of all available evidence, the NHTSA 
concurs in this judgment. One fact weighing 
in favor of the decision is that General Motors 
lias used this dummy to measure the conformity 
of its vehicles to the passive protection require- 
ments of Standard 208, in preparation for the 
announced introduction of up to 100,000 air- 
bag-equipped vehicles during the 1974 mo^el 
year. 

No other \eliicle manufacturer has announced 
plans for the production of passive restraint 
systems during the optional phase, nor has any 
other vehicle manufacturer come forward with 
s\iggestions for alternatives to Hybrid II. The 
NHTSA would have considered other dummies 
had some other manufacturer indicated that it 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 43 



MMtIv*: AW9UII IS, 1973 



WHS planning to produce passive i-estraint ve- 
hicles during the option period and that some 
other dummy had to be selected in order to 
allow them to proceed with their plans. If there 
had been any such plans, XHTSA would have 
made every effort to insure that a test device 
satisfactory to said manufacturer would have 
been selected. 

This agency recognizes that since various types 
of dummy systems have been in use under the 
previous specification, any selection of one 
dummy, as is required by the Chi^sler decision, 
will necessitate readjustments by some manu- 
facturers. However, considering the quantity of 
GM"s production, the scope and advanced st^te 
of its passive restraint development program, 
and the fact timt the Hybrid II does not differ 
radically from other dummies currently in use, 
in the NHTSA's judgment that dummy repre- 
sents the best and least costly choice. That 
conclusion has not been contradicted by the 
comments to the docket. 

The agency will not make any final decision 
regarding reinstatement of mandatory passive 
restniint requirements without further notice and 
opportunity for comment. Should the agency 
proiKJse mandatory passive restraint require- 
ments, the question of the conformity of the 
dumniy that is chosen -with the instructions of 
the court in Chtyxler will again l)e open for 
comment. Tiie NHTSA strongly encourages the 
continuance of the dmnmy test programs men- 
tioned in the comments, in the hope that any 
problems that may arise can be identified and 
resolved before the dummy specifications for 
later periods are issued. 

The Hybrid II dummy has been found by 
XHTSA to be a satisfactory and objective test 
instrument. In sled and barrier tests conducted 
i)y GM with the GM restraint systems and in 
sled tests conducted by Calspan Corp. on behalf 
of XHTSA, the Hybrid II has produced results 
that are consistent and repeatable. This is not 
to Siiy that each test at the same nominal si>eed 
and deceleration lias produced identical values. 

In testing with impact sleds, and to an even 
greater extent with crash-tested vehicles, the 
test environment itself is complex and neces- 
Siirily subject to variations that affect the results. 
The test data show, however, that the variance 



from dummy to dummy in these tests is suf- 
ficiently small that a manufacturer would have 
no difficulty in deciding whether his vehicle 
would be likely to fail if tested by XHTSA. 

The provisions of the dummy regulation have 
been modified somewhat from those proposed in 
the notice of proposed rulemaking, largely as a 
result of comments from GM. Minor corrections 
have been made in the drawings and materials 
si)ecifications as a result of comments by GM and 
the principal dummy suppliers. The dummy 
specification, as finally adopted, reproduces the 
Hybrid II in each detail of its design and pro- 
vides, as a calibration check, a series of perform- 
ance criteria based on the observed performance 
of normally functioning Hybrid II components. 
The i)erformance criteria are wholly derivative 
and are intended to filter out dummy aberrations 
that escape detection in the manufacturing 
process or that occur as a result of impact 
damage. The revisions in the i>erformance 
criteria, as discussed hereafter, are intended to 
eliminate potential variances in the test pro- 
cedures and to hold the performance of the 
Hybrid II within the narrowest possible range. 

General Motors suggested the abandonment of 
the definition of "upright position" in section 
.572.4(c), and the substitution of a set-up pro- 
cedure in section .572.11 to serve both as a posi- 
tioning nietiiod for the ijerformance tests and 
as a meansurement method for the dummy's 
dimensions as shown in the drawings. The 
XHTSA does not object to the use of an ex- 
panded set-up procedure, but has decided to 
retain the term "upright position" with appro- 
|)riate reference to the new section 572.11 (i). 

The structural properties test of section 
572..5(c). which had proposed that the dummy 
keep its properties after being subjected to tests 
producing readings 25 percent above the injury 
criteria of Standard Xo. 208, has been revised 
to provide instead that the properties must be 
retained after vehicle tests in accordance with 
Standard Xo. 208. 

The head performance criteria are adopted as 
proiX)sed. The procedures have been amended 
to insure that the forehead will be oriented be- 
low the nose prior to the drop, to avoid inter- 
ference from the nose. In resjionse to comments 
by the Road Research Laboratory, American 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 44 



EffKtIv*: Augud IS, 1973 



Motors, an|i (tM, an interval of at least 2 hours 
between teits is specified to allow full restoration 
of compressed areas of the head skin. 

The necjc performance criteria are revised in 
several respects, in keeping with GM's recom- 
mendiitions. The pendulum impact surface, 
shpwn in Figure 4, has been modified in ac- 
cordance with GM's design. The zero time 
point has been specified as the instant the 
l)endulum contacts the honeycomb, the instruc- 
tions for determining chordal displacement have 
l)een modified, and the pulse shajje of the 
l)endulum deceleration curve has been differently 
si^ecified. The maximum allowable deceleration 
for the head has been increased slightly to 26g. 
In resi)onse to suggestions by the Road Research 
Laboratory and the Japan Automobile Manu- 
facturers Association (JAMA), as well as GM, 
a tolerance has been specified for the pendulum's 
impact velocity to allow for minor variances in 
the honeycomb material. 

With respect to the thorax test, each of the 
minor procedural changes requested by GM has 
been adopted. As with the head, a minimum 
recovery time is specified for the thorax. The 
seating surface is specified in greater detail, and 
the test probe orientation has been revised to 
refer to its height above the seating surface. 
The test probe itself is expressly stated to have 
a rigid face, by amendment to section 572.11, 
thereby reflecting the probes actually used by 
NHTSA and GM. A rigid face for the probe 
was also requested by Mercedes Benz. 

The test procedures for the spine and abdomen 
tests are si)ecified in much greater detail than 
liefore, on the basis of suggestions by GM and 
others tliat ti>e former procedures left too much 
room for \ariance. The test fixtures for the 
spinal test orientation projwsed by GM. and 
its projwsed method of load application have 
l)een adopted. The parts of the dummy to be 
assembled for these tests ai-e specifically recited, 
and an initial oO" flexion of the dummy is also 
.s|)e<'ifled. The rates of load application and 
i-enioval, and the metiiod of taking force read- 
ings ai-e eacli si)ecified. The direction of force 
application is clarified in resjionse to a comment 
by Volvo. 

The abdomen test is amended with respect to 
the initial jwint of force measurement, to re- 



solve a particular source of disagreement be- 
tween GM's data and NHTSA's. The boundaries 
of the abdominal force-deflection curve are 
modified to accord with the measurements taken 
by GM subsequent to the issuance of the notice. 
The rate of force application is specified as not 
more than 0.1 inch per second, in response to 
comments by Mercedes Benz, JAMA, and GM. 

The test procediires for the knee tests are re- 
vised to specify the type of seating surface used 
and to control the angle of the lower legs in 
accordance with suggestions by JAMA, the Road 
Research Laboratory, and GM. The instru- 
mentation specificsitions of section 572.11 are 
amended to clarify the method of attachment 
and orientation of the thorax accelerometers and 
to si^ecify tiie channel classes for the chest 
iwtentiometer, the iienduhun accelerometer, and 
the test probe accelerometer, as requested by 
se\eral comments. 

The design and assembly drawings for the 
test diunmy are too cumbersome to publish in 
the Federal Reginter. During the comment 
l)eriod on the April 2 notice, the agency main- 
tained master copies of the drawings in the 
docket and placed the reproducible mylar 
mastei-s from which the copies were made with a 
commercial blueprint facility from whom in- 
terested parties cotild obtain copies. The 
XHTSA has decided to continue this practice 
and is accordingly i)lacing a master set of 
drawings in the docket and the reproducible 
masters for these drawings with a blueprint 
facility. 

The drawings as adopted by this notice differ 
only in minor detail from those that accompanied 
the Ajiril 2 notice. The majority of the changes, 
incoriwrated into corrected drawings, have 
already Iwen given to those i)ersons who ordered 
(•oi)ies. The letter of June 13, 1973, that ac- 
companied the corrected drawings has been 
placed in the docket. The J(uie corrections are 
incorporated into the final dniwing package. 
.Vdditional adjustments are made hereby to re- 
flect lietter tlie weight distribution of separated 
segments of the dummy, to allow other materials 
to 1)6 used for head ballast, and to sjwcify the 
instrument for measuring skin thickness. The 
details of these changes are recited in a memo- 
randum incorporated into the drawing package. 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 45 



EffMtIv*: AwgutI IS, 1973 



Each of the final drawings is designated by 
the legend "NHTSA Release 8/1/73". Each 
drawing so designated is hereby incorporated as 
part of the test dummy specifications of 49 CFR 
Part 572. Subsequent changes in the drawings 
will not be made without notice and opportunity 
for comment. 

The incorporation of the Part 572 test dummy 
into Standard No. 208 makes obsolete several 
test conditions of the standard that had been 
adopted to supplement the former test dummy 
specifications. The location, orientation, and 
sensitivity of test instrumentation formerly 
specified by sections S8.1.15 through S8.1.18 are 
now controlled by Part 572 and are no longer 
necessary within Standard No. 208. Similarly, 
the use of rubber components for the head, neck 
and torso joints as specified in Part 572, supplant 
the joint setting specifications for those joints 
in section S8.1.10 of the standard. The NHTSA 
has determined that the deletion of the above 
portions of the Standard No. 208 will have no 
effect on the substantive requirements of the 
standard and that notice and public procedure 
thereon are unnecessary. 



In consideration of the foregoing. Title 49, 
Code of Federiil Regulations, is amended by the 
revision of Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 
208 (49 CFR J? 571.208). . . . 

In view of the pressing need for a test dummy 
to jjermit the continued development of passive 
restraint systems, and the fact that it presently 
only relates to a new option for compliance, the 
NHTSA finds that there is good cause to adopt 
an inunediate effective date. Accordingly, Part 
572 is effective August 1, 1973, and the amend- 
ment to Standard 208 is effective August 15, 1973. 

Issued under the authority of sections 103 and 
119 of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle 
Safety Act, P.L. 89-563, 15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407, 
and the delegation of authority at 38 F.R. 12147. 

Issued on July 26, 1973. 

James E. Wilson 
Associate Administrator 
Traffic Safety Programs 

38 F.R. 20449 
August 1, 1973 



PART 571; 8 208— PRE 46 



MPCCnV#! S#ptMllb9l' i( iWrm 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash ProtecHon 
(Docket No. 69-7; NoHco 29) 



The purpose of this notice ie to postpone the 
effective date of the requirements of Standards 
No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection, and 216, 
Roof Crush Resistance, applicable to the upcom- 
ing model year, from August 15, 1973 to Sep- 
tember 1, 1973. 

The amendment of the effective date was pro- 
posed in a notice published July 17, 1973 (38 
F.R. 19049), in response to a petition filed by 
Chrysler Corporation. Chrysler had stated that 
the build-out of their 1973 models was in danger 
of running beyond the August 15 date, due to a 
variety of factors beyond the company's control. 
In proposing the postponement of the date, the 
NHTSA noted that the August 15 date had been 
chosen to coincide with the normal changeover 
date and that a delay would not appear to have 
any effect beyond allowing a slightly prolonged 
build-out. 

The two comments submitted in response to 
the proposal were both favorable. The agency 
hae not discovered any adverse consequences of 
a delay which would make it inadvisable, and 



has therefore decided to postpone the effective 
date as proposed. 

In light of the foregoing, 49 CFR 571.208, 
Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection, 
is amended by changing the date of August 14, 
1973, appearing in S4.1.1 to August 31, 1973, 
and by changing the date of August 15, 19f3, 
appearing in S4.1i2 to September 1, 1973. The 
effective date of 49 CFR 571.216, Standard No, 
216, Roof Crush Resistance, is changed from 
August 15, 1973, to September 1, 1973. 

Because this amendment relieves a restriction 
and imposes no additional burden, an effective 
date of less than 30 days from the date of issu- 
ance is found to be in the public interest. 

(Sec. 103, 119, Pub. L. 89-563, 80 Stat. 7X8, 
15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407; delegation of authority at 
49 CFR 1.51.) 

Issued on August 10, 1978. 

James B. Gregory 
Administrator 

3« F.R. 21930 
August 14, 1973 



PABT ftTl; S 906— PRE 47-48 



MmHv«i January 10, It74 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 
(Docket No. 73-24; NoHco 2) 



This notice amends Standard No. 208, Occu- 
pant crash protection, 49 CFR 571.208, to permit 
determination of the maintenance schedule for 
crash deployed occupant protection systems by 
reference to vehicle mileage and year and date 
of vehicle manufacture. The amendment re- 
sponds to a rulemaking petition submitted by 
General Motors on May 21, 1973. 

The present procedure for determining main- 
tenance necessitates a change in labels each 
month. The two new methods published in a 
notice of proposed rulemaking on October 24, 
1973 (38 F.R. 29341), avoid the label change and 
are phrased in typical warranty terms familiar 
to consumers. All comments received were in 
favor of the proposal and the standard is being 
amended accordingly. 

In consideration of the foregoing, S4.5.1 of 
Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208, Occu- 



pant crash protection, 49 CFR 571.208, is 
amended. . . . 

Effective date: January 10, 1974. Because the 
amendment relaxes a requirement and creates no 
additional burden, it is found for good cause 
shown that an effective date earlier than one 
hundr^ eighty days after issuance is in the 
public interest. 

(Sees. 103, 119, Pub. L. 89-563, 80 Stat. 718, 
15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407; delegation of authority at 
49 CFR 1.51.) 



Issued on January 3, 1974. 



James B. Gregory 
Administrator 

39 F.R. 1513 
January 10 1974 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 49-60 



MmMv*: May 27, 1974 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 
(Docket No. 74-4; Notice 2) 



This notice amends Standard No. 208, Occu- 
pant crash protection, 49 CFR 571.208, by speci- 
fying emergency and special release requirements 
for seat belt assemblies that require no action by 
vehicle occupants (passive belts). This notice 
also sets out procedures for determination of 
whether a belt assembly qualifies as a passive 
restraint system in accordance with an interpre- 
tation published May 4, 1971 (36 F.R. 4600). 

The passive belt release mechanism was pro- 
posed to grant a petition for rulemaking by 
Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft and Volks- 
wagen of America, Inc. directed toward intro- 
duction of its passive belt system in its 1975 
model cars (39 F.R. 3834, January 30, 1974). 
The proposed release mechanism, which reflects 
comments to an earlier proposal on release from 
passive belt systems (36 F.R. 12866, July 8, 
1971) consists of a push-button latch release, 
guarded by a warning buzzer and interlock. 

With the exception of Britax, Ltd., all com- 
ments favored a requirement for a manual re- 
lease mechanism in passive belt systems, although 
most comments suggested changes in the pro- 
posal. One comment addressed to the adequacy 
of the Volkswagen belt system apparently did 
not understand that any passive belt system must 
meet the same injury criteria as any other pas- 
sive system. 

Britax pointed out the possibility of abuse of 
the manual release mechanism, but the NHTSA 
has concluded that the advantages of a release 
mechanism, as discussed in Notice 1, outweigh 
the disadvantages of possible abuse. The temp- 
tation to defeat the passive belt is less than it is 
with active belts, because the vehicle starts with 
the least inconvenience when the belt is permitted 
to work correctly. 



The American Safety Equipment Corporation 
suggested that lever or pull-knob action would 
be a more satisfactory release mechanism than 
the push-button for occupants who only use the 
release infrequently and in emergency situations. 
There is a considerable advantage in uniformity, 
however, for those who do not normally use pas- 
sive belt systems. The NHTSA specifies push- 
button action for all belt systems so that persons 
familiar with any belt system in any vehicle can 
operate the belt system of an unfamiliar vehicle. 
A person who operates typical 3-point active 
belts in his own car should be able to use the 
same push-button release action when he is a 
guest in a passive-belt equipped vehicle. 

Manufacturers suggested several changes in 
the specifications for the warning buzzer and 
interlock guarding mechanism. American Mo- 
tors recommended that the manufacturer be able 
to select either a starter interlock or the alterna- 
tive power train interlock which has been pro- 
posed by the NHTSA. While there appear to 
be no disadvantages in such an option, the inter- 
lock requirements need not be changed until the 
NHTSA has acted on the alternative interlock 
proposal. 

As proposed, the guarding features would op- 
erate if the release mechanism were unfastened. 
The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Associa- 
tion suggested addition of the option available 
in sequential interlocks, which operates the fea- 
tures if the belt length on the retractor indicates 
that the belt is not properly deployed. Such an 
option would be inappropriate, however, where 
there were no sequential system, because it would 
permit easy and permanent defeat of the system 
by knotting the belt after it had once been drawn 
from the retractor. 



PART 571; S 20&— PRE 61 



MmNv*: May 27, 1974 



The proposal would have added a reference in 
S4.1.2.2 to the S4.5.3 passive belt exception in 
order to clarify their relationship. Greneral 
Motors stated that, in actuality, the refei'ence 
confused the relationship of S4 and S4.5.3 by 
implying that the S4.5.3 exception is limited to 
S4.1.2.2. The proposed addition will not be 
made. 

Volkswagen suggested a clarification of the 
S7.2(b) latch mechanism requirement to remove 
the implication that a lap belt is required with 
the upper toreo restraint, and this change has 
been made. 

Volkswagen, in a March 8, 1974, letter request 
for interpretation, and Greneral Motors in its 
comments, addressed the broad question of what 
constitutes a "passive" restraint system — one 
that requires "no action by vehicle occupants" — 
as those concepts are used in Standard No. 208. 
The NHTSA published an interpretation of 
what constitutes a "passive" restraint system on 
May 4, 1971 (36 F.R. 4600) : 

The concept of an occupant protection 
system that requires "no action by ve- 
hicle occupants" as used in Standard No. 
208 is intended to designate a system 
that requires no action other than would 
be required if the protective system were 
not present in the vehicle. 

The NHTSA responded to Volkswagen's re- 
quest with a letter further- interpreting this 
concept as follows: 

The question of what constitutes "no action by 
vehicle occupants" in a vehicle equipped with 
(presumptively) passive belts is best considered 
in two stages: (1) entry and exit from the ve- 
hicle, and (2) positioning of the belt for safety 
and comfort. 

Entry and exit action "that requires no action 
other Aan would be required if the protective 
system were not present in the vehicle" means 
that a person is not hampered in his normal 
movements by the presence of the belt system. 
A test of this ie whether a human occupant of 
approximately the dimensions of the 50th percen- 
tile adult male finds it necessary to take addi- 
tional actions to displace the belt or associated 
components in order to enter or leave Hie seating 



position in question. An example of impermis- 
sible action would be the necessity of manually 
pushing a belt out of the way to gain access to 
the seat. Displacement of the components inci- 
dental to entry and exit, or merely for the con- 
venience of the occupant would not be prohibited. 
Examples of permissible displacement would be 
brushing against the upper torso restraint during 
seating, or grasping the torso restraint to close 
the door. 

The second question relates to the usefulness 
of the system once the occupant has been seated. 
The essence of a passive restraint is that it pro- 
vides at least the minimum level of protection 
without relying on occupant action to deploy the 
restraint. At this stage, then, the question is 
whether an occupant who has seated himself 
without taking any "additional action" is in fact 
protected in a 30 miA impact. This can be 
measured by conducting the impact tests with 
the belt positioned on the test dummy in the 
orientation that results when a human occupant 
enters the vehicle according to the first test de- 
scribed above. It would not be required that the 
belt position itself for maximum comfort of the 
human occupant, if it met the safety require- 
ments. For example, if the belt were to fall 
across the upper arm instead of the clavicle, but 
still passed the test, the system would be consid- 
ered conforming. 

The procedure for conducting this evaluation 
would be to have a human occupant enter the 
vehicle without taking any "additional actions" 
to displace the belt, to note the location of the 
belt on him before he exits, to position the test 
dummy in accordance with S8.1 of Standard 208, 
to position the belt as it positioned itself on the 
sample occupant, and then to conduct the impact 
tests. The exit evaluation would require the 
human occupant to be seated with the restraint 
normally deployed and then exit the vehicle 
without needing to take any separate actions to 
displace the belt. 

In light of this interpretation, the NHTSA 
does not believe additional specification is re- 
quired in the standard as requested by General 
Motors. 

In consideration of the foregoing, Standard 
No. 208 (49 CFR 571.208) is amended. . . . 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 82 



M*cHv«s May 27. 1974 

Effective date: May 27, 1974. On the basis of (Sees. 103, 119, Pub. L. 89-563, 80 Stat. 718, 

a determination that it is in the public interest 15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407; delegation of authority at 

to permit the introduction of a passive belt eys- 49 CFR 1.51.) 

tem concurrently with the 1975 passenger car Issued on April 22, 1974. 

model changes, it is found for good cause shown James B. Gregory 

that an effective date earlier than 180 days fol- Administrator 

lowing the date of issuance of this amendment 39 pn 14593 

is in the public interest. April 25, 1974 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 53-54 



EffK«v«i October 39, 1974 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 
(Docket No. 74-39; Notice 1) 



This notice amends Standard No. 208, Occu- 
pamt crash protection, 49 CFR 571.208, by elim- 
inating the ignition interlock. Parallel changes 
are made to the passive seat belt provisions 
(S4.5.3) and the seat belt assembly requirements 
(S7.) of the standard. 

This amendment is responsive to recently-en- 
acted legislation which prohibits, after February 
25, 1975, any Federal motor vehicle safety stand- 
ard that requires or provides for use of a safety 
belt interlock system or a "continuous buzzer" 
warning. Pub. L. 93-492; § 109 (Oct. 28, 1974). 
The legislation further specifies that lap and 
shoulder belt assemblies shall be installed until 
the NHTSA undertakes further rulemaking on 
alternative systems. The NHTSA concludes that 
immediate action to delete the interlock option 
conforms to the intent of the legislation. Ac- 
cordingly, S4.1.2.3, S4.5.3, and S7.4 have been 
modified as necessary to specify seat belt assem- 
blies without an interlock that inhibits operation 
of the vehicle engine. 

The legislation does not list the exact specifi- 
cations of the warning system which will replace 
the "continuous buzzer" after 120 days, but it 
restricts the buzzer portion of any future warn- 
ing to an 8-second period following operation 
of the ignition. Because the legislation leaves 
considerable regulatory discretion concerning 
warning systems, and a new system may require 



components not presently in manufacturers' in- 
ventories, the NHTSA finds it necessary and 
desirable to propose the new requirements in a 
separate notice, permitting opportunity for con- 
sideration and submission of comments by in- 
terested persons. Final action will be taken by 
December 27, 1974, to specify a new warning 
system as required by the statute. 

In consideration of the foregoing. Standard 
No. 208 (49 CFR 571.208) is amended 

Effective date: October 29, 1974. Because 
this amendment relieves a restriction and re- 
sponds to a Congressional mandate expressed in 
the Motor Vehicle and Schoolbus Safety Amend- 
ments of 1974, the National Highway TraflSc 
Safety Administration finds, for good cause 
shown, that notice and public procedure hereon 
are impracticable and unnecessary, and that an 
immediate effective date is in the public interest. 

(Sec. 103, 119, Pub. L. 89-563, 80 Stat. 718 
(15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407); Sec. 109, 111 Pub. L. 
93-492; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.51.) 

Issued on October 29, 1974. 

Jamee B. Gregory 
Administrator 

39 F.R. 38380 
October 31, 1974 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 55-66 



Efbcflv*: D*c«mb«r 3, 1974 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 
(Docket No. 74-39; Notice 3) 



This notice amends Standard No. 208, Occu- 
pant crash protection^ 49 CFR 571.208, to estab- 
lish a new warning system for seat belt assemblies 
to replace the present warning system after Feb- 
ruary 24, 1975. The new system is permitted 
as an alternative to the present requirements 
until February 24, 1975. 

This amendment responds to recently-enacted 
legislation which prohibits, after February 24, 
1975, any Federal motor vehicle safety standard 
that requires or provides for use of a safety belt 
interlock or a "continuous buzzer" warning. 
Pub. L. 93-492; §109, October 27, 1974 (15 
U.S.C. § 1410(b)). An earlier amendment of 
the standard revoked the interlock option (39 
F.R. 38380, October 31, 1974). In prohibiting 
the "continuous buzzer", the legislation states 
that an acceptable buzzer would operate only 
during an 8-second period after the ignition is 
turned to the "start" or "on" position. The 
legislation placed no restriction on warning 
lights. The present warning system provisions 
in Standard No. 208 do not comply with the 
legislative limit on "continuous buzzers". 

On October 29, 1974, the NHTSA proposed a 
modified warning that would consist of a con- 
tinuous or flashing reminder light that operates 
only during the 4- to 8-second period after the 
ignition is operated, and a continuous or inter- 
mittent audible warning signal which operates 
only during the 4- to 8-second period after the 
ignition is operated if the driver's lap belt is 
not in use (39 F.R. 38391, October 31, 1974). 
The light would operate independently of belt 
use, so that the "Fasten Seat Belt" reminder 
would remain effective even if the belt were dis- 
abled to silence the audible warning. With a 
view to cost-effectiveness, the NHTSA proposed 
two other alternative courses of action. The 



first would require only a visual reminder signal 
as described above and the second would elim- 
inate entirely requirements for belt-use warning 
or reminder systems. 

The notice proposed that the new system be 
optional until February 25, 1975, so that a manu- 
facturer could effectuate the transition on an 
orderly basis. 

The comments received varied greatly in their 
recommendations on the principal proposal, the 
visual-only alternative, and the possibility of no 
warning system requirements at all. Ford be- 
lieved that the limited duration of the warning 
would make it relatively ineffective, and that 
deleting the belt warning requirements would 
have the best overall effect on public acceptance 
of seat belts. General Motors supported a visual- 
only reminder, and proposed an optional means 
of providing that visual reminder. Chrysler 
Corporation argued for a more complex warning 
system that would sense belt use at the right 
front passenger position as well as the driver's 
position, and would include a continuous warn- 
ing light in place of the 4- to 8-second visual 
reminder. Volkswagen supported the audible- 
visual combination but recommended that both 
signals act as a reminder and function inde- 
pendently of belt use. 

Smiths Industries Limited, a manufacturer of 
interlock units, Economics and Science Planning, 
and Switches, Inc., recommended that the sequen- 
tial warning feature remain as an added incen- 
tive to operate the belt system. Other comments 
completely supported or opposed the proposal 
and in some cases offered totally new suggestions. 

The NHTSA has carefully weighed the com- 
ments submitted in order to specify the most 
reasonable belt warning system requirements 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 57 



MNctlv*: D«»mlMr 3, 1974 



available. NHTSA studies show that belt usage 
by front seat occupants of interlock-equipped 
cars currently is about 38 percent. If from this 
percentage is subtracted the percentage of per- 
sons who would fasten their seat belts regard- 
less of forcing systems, it can be seen that the 
fraction of the population whose behavior will 
be affected by any warning system is quite small. 
Because of the limited benefit, the reminder 
should be provided at as low a cost as feasible. 

Because an irritating light can be easily ig- 
nored or disabled, a visual signal can effectively 
serve only a reminder function, and as such, it 
should be as simple as possible. The NHTSA 
concludes that a 4- to 8-second reminder is best 
calculated to accomplish the advisory function. 

Chrysler recommended that the warning and 
reminder system be installed at (he right front 
passenger position, which would add significant 
retractor or buckle switch, wiring, and seat sen- 
sor costs. The NHTSA calculates that the 
driver's warning system (or belt use) will offer 
substantially the same reminder to a front seat 
passenger as a limited-duration signal at the 
passenger position. 

The Administration has determined that an 
audible- visual combination will pi-ovide the best 
reminder at a cost commensurate with the bene- 
fits achievable in a limited-duration signal. Com- 
ments on the alternative proposals and on manu- 
facturer-suggested options did not establish that 
variations on the principal proposal offered sig- 
nificantly greater safety benefit in the short or 
long term. Accordingly, Standard No. 208 is 
amended as proposed to adopt a new belt warn- 
ing system, as an alternative to the present sys- 
tem until February 24, 1975, and as the only 
permissible belt warning system thereafter. 

With regard to the warning's duration, Ford 
suggested that the range of signal duration be 
expanded to a longer 2- to 8-second duration to 
permit use of a more economical timer. This 
request is denied. The 4-second minimimi dura- 
tion was selected as the best compromise between 
the necessary manufacturer's tolerance and the 
duration necessary to alert the occupants fully. 



Some manufacturers, such as American Motors 
Corporation, have considered the use of thermal 
timer mechanisms, which can be affected by ex- 
tremes of ambient temperature and battery 
voltage, and by repeated cycling. Standard No. 
208 does not i)resently specify an ambient tem- 
l^erature for testing. Because no temperature 
was proposed, and in view of the necessity of 
specifying a warning system to comply with the 
legislation by December 26, 1974, the NHTSA 
will issue the present amendment without an 
ambient temperature test condition. Until the 
question of the need for a temperature 6i>ecifica- 
tion is resolved, this agency will consider that 
compliance with the requirements is required at 
moderate ambient temperatures. Performance of 
these systems will be observed with a view to 
further rulemaking on temi^erature, cycling, and 
other criteria. 

It should be noted that the February 25, 1975, 
date proposed for mandatory use of the new 
system was calculated on an October 28, 1974, 
enactment of the "Motor Vehicle and Schoolbus 
Safety Amendments of 1974". In fact these 
amendments were enacted on October 27, 1974, 
and accordingly the "continuous buzzer" systems 
must be deleted by February 24, 1975, as is now 
reflected in the wording of this amendment. 

In another area. White Motor Company has 
pointed out that the amendatory language in 
both notices of Docket No. 74-39 inadvertently 
included motor vehicles other than passenger 
cars in the belt warning requirement. The word- 
ing of this amendment corrects this error as to 
vehicles manufactured in the future. The re- 
quirements of S7.3 published in the Federal 
Register on October 31, 1974 (39 F.R. 38380) 
were intended to apply, and will be treated by 
this agency as applying, only to motor vehicles 
manufactured in accordance with S4.1.2 and 
S4.1.3. 

In a matter related to seat belt modifications, 
the NHTSA hereby terminates rulemaking on 
a proposal to amend Standard No. 208 that 
would have permitted use of a drive train inter- 
lock mode in place of the ignition interlock 



PART 671; S 208— PRE 68 



Effactiv*: D«c«mb«r 3, 1974 

mode to meet the "third option" belt interlock Effective date: December 3, 1974. 

requirements of S4.1.2.3. A proposal on this (gg^ io3, 119, Pub. L. 89-563, 80 Stat. 718 

alternative interlock was published Jiinuary 23, ^jg (j.S.C. 1392, 1407) ; Sec. 109, Pub. L. 93-492, 

1974 (39 F.R. 2610). As noted earlier, the 88 Stat. 1470 (15 U.S.C. 1410(b)) ; delegation of 

NHTSA has already modified S4.1.2.3 of the authority at (49 CFR 1.51). 
standard to specify seat belt assemblies without 

an interlock that inhibits operation of the vehicle ^^sued on December ., 1974. 
engine. For this reason, it is appropriate to 

terminate further rulemaking on the alternative James B. Gregory 

interlock mode. No further action in this area Administrator 
will be taken without further notice and oppor- 
tunity for comment. 

In consideration of the foregoing. Standard 3' ^•^- ^2692 

No. 208 (49 CFR 571.208) is amended. . . . December 6, 1974 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 59-60 



EffKMva: July 9, I97S 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 

(Docket No. 75-14; NoHce 2) 



This notice amends Standard No. 208, Occu- 
pant crash protection, 49 CFR 571.208, to permit 
until January 1, 1976, the installation of current 
seat belt assemblies in trucks and multipurpose 
passenger vehicles (MPV) with a gross vehicle 
weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less. This 
amendment was proposed (40 F.R. 23897, June 
3, 1975) in response to petitions from Chrysler 
Corporation and Jeep Corporation. 

In both the Jeep and Chrysler petitions and 
in comments on the proposal, vehicle manufac- 
turers stated that the current economic situation 
may cause the continued production of 1975- 
model vehicles beyond August 15, 1975, after 
their production would normally have been 
terminated. Significant cost in obsolete material 
and in running changes would be involved in the 
introduction of the new 3-point belt systems in 
vehicles which are designed to accept lap belts 
only. 

Ford Motor Company concurred in the pro- 
posal in view of obsolescence costs which might 
be avoided by the 4-month option. General 
Motors Corporation only indicated that it did 
not object to the proposal. The Ajnerican Safety 
Belt Council emphasized the readiness of seat 
belt manufacturers to supply the new systems 
and the importance of a swift decision. They 
expressed support for the introduction of 3-point 
systems as soon as possible. The Recreational 
Vehicle Industry Association sought confirma- 
tion of its understanding that the proposal did 
not modify requirements for motor homes and 
forward control vehicles under S4.2. (RVIA's 
understanding is correct.) Chrysler and Jeep 
supported the proposal, and Jeep supplied pro- 
duction and retail cost information for which it 
requested confidentiality. 



It is apparent from the nature of data sub- 
mitted by manufacturers that the 20-day com- 
ment period did not allow adequate time for 
collection and development of the items enu- 
merated in the preamble to the proposal. While 
it would be preferable to provide manufacturers 
more time to develop additional data, the 
NHTSA recognizes that virtually no time re- 
mains in which to make decisions for August 
1975 production. The cost data already sub- 
mitted by Jeep and the engineering changes 
submitted by Chrysler do permit an NHTSA 
judgment c i cost objections of manufacturers 
under § 113 and on the advisability of the pro- 
posed modification. 

Using the Chrysler submission as representa- 
tive of the production changes to be undertaken 
by any manufacturer in effecting a running 
change to the seat belt systems of the 1975-model 
vehicles built after August 14, 1975, it is con- 
cluded that the total cost implications of these 
changes would be substantial if undertaken. 
The Jeep itemized cost information on produc- 
tion changes bore out this conclusion. In terms 
of obsolescence, it is confirmed by Ford that the 
decreased sales will result in obsolescence due to 
inability to balance out stocks of seat belts and 
other components in 1975-model vehicles. 

Pursuant to § 113(b) (1) of the National Traf- 
fic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 
§ 1402(b)(1), the information on which this 
evaluation is based is available in the NHTSA 
public docket (Docket No. 75-14, Notice 1; 
PRM #208-000022; PRM #105-000019) except 
for the Jeep submission. The NHTSA is pres- 
ently determining whether the submission is en- 
titled to confidential treatment. If it is not, the 
submission will be placed in Docket No. 75-14, 
Notice 1. 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 61 



EffKfiva: July 9, 1975 

In all, the information submitted by manufac- 
turers, particularly Chrysler, indicates that a 
substantial number of changes would be required 
to effect a running change to the vehicles in 
question after August 15, 1975. The cost data 
submitted by Jeep indicate that these changes 
will result in significant cost increases. The 
NHTSA has decided that the significant costs 
of the running changes in 1975-model vehicles 
whose production may be continued after August 
15, 1975, are not justified for the numbers of 
vehicles that might be affected. 

In consideration of the foregoing. Standard 
No. 208 (49 CFR 571.208) is amended. . . . 

Effective date: July 9, 1975. Because this 
amendment concerns production decisions that 



must be made immediately for the model changes 
in September 1975, it is found for good cause 
shown that an immediate effective date is in the 
public interest. 

(Sees. 103, 119, Pub. L. 89-563, 80 Stat. 718 
(15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407) ; delegation of authority 
at 49 CFR 1.51.) 

Issued on July 3, 1975. 



James B. Gregory 
Administrator 



40 F.R. 28805 
July 9, 1975 



PAKT 671; S 208— PRE 



EHmMv*: Aitgutl 13, l*7S 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 
(Docket No. 74-14; NoHco 4) 



This notice amends Standard No. 208, Occu- 
pamt crash protection, 49 CFR 571.208, to con- 
tinue until August 31, 1976, the present three 
options available for occupant crash protection 
in passenger cars. This amendment replaces 
provisions of the standard which were to have 
come into effect on August 15, 1975, but were 
suspended as a result of the decision of the U.S. 
Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 
Chrysler v. DOT, 472 F2d 659 (6th Cir. 1972). 

This extension of the present occupant crash 
protection options was proposed April 10, 1975 
(40 F.R. 21617). Vehicle manufacturers and the 
American Safety Belt Council (ASBC) sup- 
ported the proposal, but requested that the 
modifications apply indefinitely instead of being 
limited to a 1-year extension. Ford Motor 
Company, Chrysler Corporation, and Volks- 
wagen of America also asked that the future 
provisions for light trucks and multipurpose 
passenger vehicles (MPV) (S4.2.3) be similarly 
modified. The California Traffic Safety Foun- 
dation and the Vehicle Equipment Safety Com- 
mission supported the proposal but only for the 
1-year period for which it was proposed. 

While the NHTSA recognizes that the present 
crash protection options will in all likelihood be 
in effect for some period after August 31, 1976, 
the agency has not proposed more than the 
1-year extension. The Administrative Proce- 
dures Act specifies, with limited exceptions, that 



notice and opportunity to comment be provided 
interested persons in the case of agency rule- 
making proceedings (§ 553(b)). The NHTSA 
intends to propose the long-term requirements 
for occupant crash protection, both for passenger 
cars and for light trucks an(i MPV's, as soon as 
possible. 

Until that time, the NHTSA finds that manu- 
facturers must be assured of the regulations for 
occupant crash protection as they apply to up- 
coming production. In consideration of the 
foregoing. Standard No. 208 (49 CFR § 571.208) 
is amended. . . . 

Effective date: August 13, 1975. Because the 
present requirements for occupant crash protec- 
tion terminate in less than 30 days and manu- 
facturers need to be advised of the continuation 
of the requirements as soon as possible, it is 
found for good cause shown that an effective 
date sooner than 30 days following the date of 
publication is in the public interest. 

(Sees. 103, 119, Pub. L. 89-563, 80 Stat. 718 
(15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407) ; delegation of authority 
at 49 CFR 1.51.) 

Issued on August 8, 1975. 

James B. Gregory 
Administrator 

40 F.R. 33977 
August 13, 1975 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 63-64 



Effective: March 18, 1976 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 
(Docket No. 75-33; Notice 2) 



This notice amends Standard No. 208, Occu- 
fant Crash Protection, to permit certain U.S. 
Postal Service vehicles to meet the requirements 
of the standard that were in effect until January 
1, 1976, instead of the new requirements that 
became effective on that date. 

The NHTSA proposed this modification of 
Standard No. 208 (49 CFR 571.208) in a notice 
published December 31, 1975 (40 FR 60075). 
The occupant protection requirements in the 
standard until January 1, 1976, specified either a 
Type 1 or Type 2 seat belt assembly at the 
driver's position of the light delivery vehicles 
used by the Postal Service on delivery routes. 
The Postal Service's safety research organization 
developed a seat belt design that met the re- 
quirements and resulted in improved usage by 
vehicle operators. 

The newer requirements now in effect for the 
light delivery vehicles in question require the 
same seat belt assembly installations as in most 
passenger cars, including a Type 2 seat belt as- 
sembly with non-detachable shoulder belt at each 
front outboard designated seating position. The 
Service judges that installation of Type 2 seat 
belts at the driver's position with non-detachable 
shoulder portion will decrease the percentage of 
seat belt use by their mail delivery personnel. 

The Postal Service indicated its support for 
the proposal. Ford Motor Company objected to 
the basis of the vehcile category as a "single user 
exemption." The agency, while in agreement 
that categorization based on the status of a single 
user is not generally utilized, recognizes the dis- 



tinctive scope and nature of U.S. Postal Service 
operations. The Service is a part of the Federal 
government, its delivery activities are unique in 
scope and variety, and the organization has an 
active safety research effort that addresses the 
particular environment of mail delivery by motor 
vehcile. No other comments were received. The 
agency concludes that the new requirements for 
Type 2 seat belt assemblies at the driver's posi- 
tion in this limited category of vehicle are not 
justified, because their interference with the 
many entries and exits from the vehcile may 
discourage usage. 

In consideration of the foregoing, S.4.2.2 of 
Standard No. 208 (49 CFR 571.208) is amended 
by the addition of the phrase "vehicles designed 
to be exclusively sold to the U.S. Postal Service," 
following the phrase "motor homes." 

Elective date: March 18, 1976. Because this 
amendment creates no additional requirements 
for any person, and in view of the Postal Serv- 
ice's need to contract for vehicles with appro- 
priate seat belt assemblies at the earliest 
opportunity, an immediate effective dat« is found 
to be in the public interest. 

(Sec. 103, 119, Pub. L. 89-563, 80 Stat. 718 
(15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407) ; delegation of authority 
at 49 CFR 1.50.) 

Issued on March 10, 1976. 

James P. Gregory 
Administrator 

41 F.R. 11312 
March 18, 1976 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 65-66 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 
(Docket No. 74-14; Notice 6) 



This notice amends Standard No. 208, Occu- 
pant Crash Protection, to continue until Aug^Jst 
31, 1977, the present three options available for 
occupant crash protection in passenger cars. 

This extension of the present occupant crash 
protection options of Standard No. 208 (49 CFR 
571.208) was proposed July 19, 1976 (41 FR 
29715), along with several other subjects that 
will be the subject of a future notice. Vehicle 
manufacturers supported the proposal but re- 
quested that the options be extended indefinitely 
instead of being limited to a 1-year extension. 
Mr. Benjamin Redmond advocated the use of an 
interlock system to increase usage of active belt 
systems. Ms. Lucie Kirylak expressed a prefer- 
ence for active oceupant crash protection systems. 
The National Motor Vehicle Safety Advisory 
Council did not take a position on the proposal. 

The Secretary of Transportation has initiated 
a process for the establishment of future occu- 
pant crash protection requirements under Stand- 
ard No. 208 (41 FR 24070, June 14, 1976). The 
Secretary's proposal addresses the long term is- 
sues involved, and this 1-year extension of re- 
quirements is intended to provide the time 
necessary to reach that decision. Because a 1- 
year extension is consistent with the process that 
has been established and because a longer exten- 
sion was not proposed for comment, the NHTSA 
declines to extend the existing requirements as 
recommended by the manufacturers. 

Other matters proposed in the notice that 
underlies this action will be treated at a later 



date, following the receipt of comments that are 
due on October 20, 1976. 

The NHTSA notes that no effective date was 
proposed for the other matters addressed by the 
proposal. Those matters involve modification of 
the existing passive protection options so that 
they conform to the proposal of the Department 
of Transportation, and to reduce somewhat the 
femur force requirement. Also, further specifi- 
cation of dummy positioning in the vehicle was 
addressed. The agency proposes an immediate 
effective date for these changes, because they rep- 
resent relaxation of the requirements. However, 
the views of interested persons, particularly 
Volkswagen (which is certifying compliance 
under one passive option), are solicited by 
October 20, 1976. 

In consideration of the foregoing, the heading 
and text of S4.1.2 of Standard No. 208 (49 CFR 
571.208) are amended by changing the date 
"August 31, 1976" to "August 31, 1977" wherever 
it appears. 

Effective date : August 26, 1976. 
(Sees. 103, 119, Pub. L. 89-563, 80 Stat. 718 
(15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407); delegation of authority 
at 49 CFR 1.50.) 

Issued on August 26, 1976. 

John W. Snow 
Administrator 

41 F.R. 36494 
August 30, 1976 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 67-68 



Effective: January 19, 1977 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 
(Docket No. OST 44; Notice 77-3) 



This notice amends Standard 'So. 208, Occu- 
pant Crash Protection, to extend indefinitely the 
current occupant crash protection requirements 
for passenger cars. 

In a notice published June 14, 1976 (41 FR 
24070), I proposed five alternative courses of 
action for future occupant crash protection re- 
quirements under Standard No. 208 (49 CFR 
571.208). Based on an analysis of comments 
received, a decision was reached to call upon the 
automobile manufacturers to join the Federal 
government in conducting a large-scale demon- 
stration program to exhibit the effectiveness of 
passive restraint systems. The reasoning that 
underlines that decision is contained in a Decem- 
ber 6, 1976, document ("The Secretary's Decision 
Concerning ]\Iotor Vehicle Occupant Crash Pro- 
tection") that is hereby incorporated by refer- 
ence in this notice. The effect of that decision 
on Standard No. 208 is to require the continua- 
tion of the current requirements for passenger 
cars, as proposed in the first of the five alterna- 
tive courses of action. 

The first alternative was written as a three- 
year extension (to August 31, 1979), although 
the preamble discussion made clear that the 
length of the extension was open to discussion. 
It is now apparent that a continuation of the 
existing requirements is best effectuated by a de- 
letion of any termination date. This action ac- 
cords with the intent of the first alternative to 
maintain current occupant crash protection re- 
quirements for the indefinite future. Because 
this action represents a continuation of existing 
manufacturing practices, it is the Department's 
finding that no new significant economic or en- 
vironmental impacts result from this amendment. 



I have directed the National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration (NHTSA) to propose 
comparable changes in the requirements for 
multipurpose passenger vehicles and light trucks. 
The NHTSA has also been directed to take final 
action on the substantive changes to Standard 
No. 208 that were proposed in its notice of July 
19, 1976 (41 FR 29715). 

The Department hereby closes OST Docket 
No. 44, which is transferred to the NHTSA's 
docket on occupant crash protection. I want to 
make it clear, however, that by closing OST 
Docket No. 44 and amending Standard No. 208 
to extend indefinitely the current occupant crash 
protection requirements for passenger cars, I have 
not in any way foreclosed a future Secretary or 
Administrator of NHTSA from instituting at 
any time a rulemaking to amend Standard No. 
208 either to place a tenninate date on Standard 
No. 208 or to mandate passive restraints on some 
or all passenger cars. 

In consideration of the foregoing, the heading 
and text of S4.1.2 of Standard No. 208 (49 CFR 
571.208) are amended in part to read as follows: 
S4.1.2 Passenger cars manufactured on or 
after September /, 197S. Passenger cars manu- 
factured on or after September 1, 1973, shall 
meet the requirements of S4.1.2.1, S4.1.2.2, or 
S4. 1.2.3. * * *. 
Effective date: January 19, 1977. 
(Sees. 103, 119, Pub. L. 89-563, 80 Stat. 718 
(15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407.) 
Issued on January 19, 1977. 

William T. Coleman. Jr. 

Secretary of Transportation 

42 F.R. 5071 

January 27, 1977 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 69-70 



Effective: June 2, 1977 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 
(Docket No. 74-14; Notice 9) 



This notice amends Standard No. 208, Occu- 
pant Crash Protection, to extend indefinitely the 
current occupant crash protection requirements 
for light trucks and multipurpose passenger ve- 
hicles. The question of future requirements for 
occupant crash protection is presently being con- 
sidered by the Secretary of Transportation, and 
thus the current requirements for light trucks 
and multipurpose passenger vehicles should be 
continued for the indefinite future. 

Effective date: June 2, 1977. 

Addresses: Requests for reconsideration should 
refer to the docket number and be submitted to: 
Docket Section, Room 5108, National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh 
Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590. 

For further information contact: 

Guy Hunter 

Motor Vehicle Programs 

National Highway Traffic Safety 

Administration 
Washington, D.C. 20590 
(202-426-2265) 

The requirements of Standard No. 208 (49 
CFR 571.208) have been implemented in three 
stages. The current stage for trucks and multi- 
purpose passenger vehicles (MPV's) with a gross 
vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds 
or less specifies a choice of three means to pro- 
vide occupant protections (S4.2.2) and is sched- 
uled to end August 14, 1977. After that date 
many of these vehicles would be required by 
S4.2.3 of Standard No. 208 to provide occupant 
crash protection by means that require no action 
by vehicle occupants (commonly known as pas- 
sive protection). In the original promulgation 
of Standard No. 208 in its present form (36 FR 



4600; March 10, 1971) it was established that 
thic modification of occupant protection should 
follow a similar modification of protection in 
passenger cars by two years, to provide manu- 
facturers with time to assimilate and benefit 
from passenger car experience. 

The issue of future occupant protection in 
passenger cars is being decided at this time, in 
a notice of proposed inilemaking issued by the 
Secretary of Transportation (42 FR 15935; 
March 24, 1977). Thus, light truck and MPV 
manufacturers have not had the benefit of ex- 
perience with new systems in passenger cars as 
originally anticipated. In view of this fact and 
the fact that they are not prepared to meet re- 
quirements other than the existing performance 
options after August 14, 1977, the agency has 
decided to continue the existing requirements in- 
definitely. 

This action does not preclude future rulemak- 
ing to modify occupant crash protection for the 
affected vehicles, but notice and opportunity for 
comment will be provided prior to further action. 

Because this action represents a continuation 
of existing manufacturing practices, it is the 
agency's finding that no new significant economic 
or environment impacts result from this amend- 
ment. 

The lawyer principally responsible for the pre- 
paration of this document is Tad Herlihy of the 
NHTSA Office of Chief Counsel. 

The economic and inflationary impacts of this 
rulemaking have been carefully evaluated in ac- 
cordance with 0MB Circular A-107, and an 
Inflation Impact Statement is not required. 

In view of the fact that future occupant pro- 
tection requirements are not established and 
manufacturers are prepared only to meet exist- 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 71 



Effective: June 2, 1977 

ing occupant protection requirements after (Sec. 103, 119, Pub. L. 89-563, 80 Stat. 718 

August 1977, the agency finds that notice and (15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407); delegation of authority 

public procedure on this amendment to continue at 49 CFR 1.50.) 

existing requirements is unnecessary and contrary 

to the public interest in knowning next model Issued on May 27, 1977. 

year's requirements as soon as possible. The 

agency also finds that this amendment may be- Joan Claybrook 

come eflfective immediately, because the amend- Administrator 

ment relieves a restriction. 

In consideration of the foregoing, Standard 42 F.R. 28135 

No. 208 (49 CFR 571.208) is amended. . . . June 2, 1977 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 72 



Effective: July 5, 1978 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 
(Docket No. 74-14; Notice 11; Docket No. 73-8; Notice 7) 



This notice amends occupant crash protection 
Standard No. 208 and its accompanying test 
dummy specification to further specify test pro- 
cedures and injury criteria. The changes are 
minor in most respects and reflect comments by 
manufacturers of test dummies and vehicles and 
the NHTSA's own test experience with the stand- 
ard and the test dummy. 

Date : Effective date July 5, 1978. 

Addresses : Petitions for reconsideration should 
refer to the docket number and be submitted to: 
Docket Section, Room 5108, Nassif Building, 400 
Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590. 

For further information contact : 
Mr. Guy Hunter 
Motor Vehicle Programs 
National Highway Traffic Safety 

Administration 
Washington, D.C. 20590 
(202) 426-2265 

Supplemental information : Standard No. 208, 
Occupant Crash Protection (49 CFR 571.208), 
is a Department of Transportation safety stand- 
ard that requires manufacturers to provide a 
means of restraint in new motor vehicles to keep 
occupants from impacting the vehicle interior in 
the event a crash occurs. The standard has, 
since January 1968, required the provision of 
seat belt assemblies at each seating position in 
passenger cars. In January 1972 the require- 
ments for seat belts were upgraded and options 
were added to permit the provision of restraint 
that is "active" (requiring some action be taken 
by the vehicle occupant, as in the case of seat 
belts) or "passive" (providing protection with- 
out action being taken by the occupant). 

In a separate notice issued today (42 FR 
34289; FR Reg. 77-19137), the Secretary of 



Transportation has reached a decision regarding 
the future occupant crash protection that must 
be installed in passenger cars. The implementa- 
tion of that decision will involve the testing of 
passive restraint systems in accordance with the 
test procedures of Standard No. 208, and this 
notice is intended to make final several modifica- 
tions of that procedure which have been proposed 
for change by the NHTSA. This notice also 
responds to two petitions for reconsideration of 
rulemaking involving the test dummy that is 
used to evaluate the compliance of passive re- 
straint systems. 

DOCKET 74-14; NOTICE 05 
Notice 5 was issued July 15, 1976 (41 FR 
29715; July 19, 1976) and proposed that Stand- 
ard No. 208's existing specification for passive 
protection in frontal, lateral, and rollover modes 
(S4.1.2.1) be modified to specify passive protec- 
tion in the frontal mode only, with an option to 
provide passive protection or belt protection in 
the lateral and rollover crash modes. Volkswagen 
had raised the question of the feasibility of small 
cars meeting the standard's lateral impact re- 
quirements: A 20-mph impact by a 4,000-pound, 
60-inch-high flat surface. The agency noted the 
particular vulnerability of small cars to side im- 
pact and the need to provide protection for them 
based on the weight of other vehicles on the 
highway, but agreed that it would be difficult to 
provide passive lateral protection in the near 
future. Design problems also underlay the pro- 
posal to provide a belt option in place of the 
existing passive rollover requirement. 

Ford Motor Company argued that a lateral 
option would be inappropriate in Standard No. 
208 as long as the present dummy is used for 
measurement of passive system performance. 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 73 



EfFecHve: July S, 1978 



This question of dummy use as a measuring de- 
vice is treated later in this notice. General 
Motors Corporation (GM) supported the option 
without qualification, noting that the installation 
of a lap belt with a passive system "would pro- 
vide comparable protection to lap/shoulder belts 
in side and rollover impacts." Chrysler did not 
object to the option, but noted that the lap belt 
option made the title of S4.1.2.1 ("complete 
passive protection") misleading. Volkswagen 
noted that its testing of belt systems without the 
lap belt portion showed little loss in efficacy in 
rollover crashes. No other comments on this 
proposal were received. The existing option 
S4. 1.2.1 is therefore adopted as proposed so that 
manufacturers will be able to immediately under- 
take experimental work on passive restraints on 
an optional basis in conformity with the Secre- 
tar}-"s decision. 

There were no objections to the agency's pro- 
posal to permit either a Type 1 or Type 2 seat 
belt assembly to meet the requirements, and thus 
it is made final as proposed. 

The XHTSA proposed two changes in the in- 
jury criteria of S6 that are used as measures of 
a restraint system's qualification to Standard Xo. 
208. One change proposed an increase in per- 
missible femur force limits from 1,700 pounds to 
2,250 pounds. As clarification that tension loads 
are not included in measurement of these forces, 
the agency also proposed that the word "com- 
pressive" be added to the text of S6.4. Most 
commenters were cautionary about the changes, 
pointing out that susceptibility to fracture is 
time dependent, that acetabular injury could be 
exacerbated by increased forces, and that angular 
applications of force were as likely in the real 
world as axial forces and would more likely 
fracture the femur. 

The agency is aware of and took into account 
these considerations in proposing the somewhat 
higher femur force limit. The agency started 
with the actual field experience of occupants of 
GM and Volkswagen vehicles that have been 
shown to produce femur force readings of about 
1,700 pounds. Occupants of these vehicles in- 
volved in crashes have not shown a significant 
incidence of femur fracture. The implication 
from this experience that the 1,700-pound figure 
can safely be raised somewhat is supported in 



work by Patrick on compressive femur forces of 
relatively long duration. The Patrick data 
(taken with aged embalmed cadavers) indicate 
that the average fracture load of the patella- 
femur-pelvis complex is 1,910 pounds. This 
average is considered conservative, in that ca- 
daver bone structure is generally weaker than 
living human tissue. "WTiile these data did not 
address angular force applications, the experience 
of the GM and Volkswagen vehicle occupants 
does suggest that angular force application can 
go higher than 1,700 pounds. 

The agency does not agree that the establish- 
ment of the somewhat higher outer limit for 
permissible femur force loads of 2,250 pounds is 
arbitrary. What is often ignored by the medical 
community and others in commenting on the in- 
jury criteria found in motor vehicle safety stand- 
ards is that manufacturers must design their 
restraint systems to provide greater protection 
than the criteria specified, to be certain that each 
of their products will pass compliance tests con- 
ducted by the XHTSA. It is a fact of industrial 
production that the actual performance of some 
units will fall below nominal design standards 
(for quality control and other reasons). Volks- 
wagen made precisely this point in its comments. 
Because the Xational Traffic and Motor Vehicle 
Safety Act states that each vehicle must comply 
(15 U.S.C. § 1392(a)(1) (a)), manufacturers 
routinely design in a "compliance margin" of 
superior performance. Thus, it is extremely un- 
likely that a restraint system designed to meet 
the femur force load criterion of 2,250 pounds 
will in fact be designed to provide only that 
level of performance. With these considerations 
in mind, the agency makes final the changes as 
proposed. 

While not proposed for change, vehicle manu- 
facturers commented on a second injury criterion 
of the standard : A limitation of the acceleration 
experienced by the dummy thorax during the 
barrier crash to 60g, except for intervals whose 
cumulative duration is not more than 3 milli- 
seconds (ms). Until August 31, 1977, the agency 
has specified the Society of Automotive Engi- 
neers' (SEA) "severity index" as a substitute for 
the 60g-3ms limit, because of greater familiarity 
of the industry with that criterion. 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 74 



EfFective: July 5, 1978 



General Motors recommended that the severity 
index be continued as the chest injury criterion 
until a basis for using chest deflection is devel- 
oped in place of chest acceleration. GM cited 
data which indicate that chest injury from cer- 
tain types of blunt frontal impact is a statistically 
significant function of chest deflection in humans, 
while not a function of impact force or spinal 
acceleration. GM suggested that a shift from 
the temporary severity index measure to the 
60g-3ms measurement would be wasteful, because 
there is no "strong indication" that the 60g-3ms 
measurement is more meaningful than the sever- 
ity index, and some restraint systems might have 
to be redesigned to comply with the new require- 
ment. 

Unlike GM, Chrysler argued against the use of 
acceleration criteria of either type for the chest, 
and rather advocated that the standard be de- 
layed until a dummy chest with better deflection 
characteristics is developed. 

The Severity Index Criterion allows higher 
loadings and therefore increases the possibility 
of adverse effects on the chest. It only indirectly 
limits the accelerations and hence the forces 
which can be applied to the thorax. Acceleration 
in a specific impact environment is considered to 
be a better predictor of injury than the Severity 
Index. 

NHTSA only allowed belt systems to meet the 
Severity Index Criterion of 1,000 instead of the 
60g-3ms criterion out of consideration for lead- 
time problems, not because the Severity Index 
Criterion was considered superior. It is recog- 
nized that restraint systems such as lap-shoulder 
belts apply more concentrated forces to the 
thorax than air cushion restraint, and that injury 
can result at lower forces and acceleration levels. 
It is noted that the Agency is considering rule- 
making to restrict forces that may be applied to 
the thorax by the shoulder belt of any seat belt 
assembly (41 FR 54961; December 16. 1976). 

With regard to the test procedures and condi- 
tions that underlie the requirements of the stand- 
ard, the agency proposed a temperature range 
for testing that would be compatible with the 
temperature sensitivity of the test dummy. The 
test dummy specification (Part .572, Anthropo- 
morphic Test Dummy, 49 CFR Part 572) con- 



tains calibration tests that are conducted at any 
temperature between 66° and 78° F. This is 
because properties of lubricants and nonmetallic 
parts used in the dummy will change with large 
temperature changes and will affect the dummy's 
objectivity as a test instrument. It was proposed 
that the Standard No. 208 crash tests be con- 
ducted within this temperature range to eliminate 
the potential for variability. 

The only manufacturers that objected to the 
temperature specification were Porsche, Bayer- 
ische Motoren Werke (BMT\''), and American 
Motors Corporation (AMC). In each case, the 
manufacturers noted that dynamic testing is con- 
ducted outside and that it is unreasonable to 
limit testing to the few days in the year when 
the ambient temperature would fall within the 
specified 12-degree range. 

The commenters may misunderstand their cer- 
tification responsibilities under the National 
Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Section 
108(b)(2) limits a manufacturer's responsibility 
to the exercise of "due care" to assure compliance. 
The NHTSA has long interpreted this statutory 
"due care" to mean that the manufacturer is free 
to test its products in any fashion it chooses, as 
long as the testing demonstrates that due care 
was taken to assure that, if tested by NHTSA 
as set forth in the standard, the product would 
comply with the standard's requirements. Thus, 
a manufacturer could conduct testing on a day 
with temperatures other than those specified, as 
long as it could demonstrate through engineering 
calculations or otherwise, that the difference in 
test temperatures did not invalidate the test re- 
sults. Alternatively a manufacturer might 
choose to perform its preparation of the vehicle 
in a temporarily erected structure (such as a 
tent) that maintains a temperature within the 
specified range, so that only a short esposure 
during acceleration to the barrier would occur 
in a higher or lower temperature. To assist any 
such arrangements, the test temperature condi- 
tion has been limited to require a stabilized tem- 
perature of the test dunmiy only, just prior to 
the vehicle's travel toward the barrier. 

In response to an earlier suggestion from GM, 
the agency proposed further specificity in the 
clothing worn by the dummy during the crash 
test. The onlv comment was filed bv GM, which 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 75 



Effective: July 5, 1978 



argued that any shoe specification otlier than 
weiplit would be unrelated to duniiuy perform- 
ance and therefore should not be included in the 
specification. The ajrency disagrees, and notes 
that the size and shape of the heel on the shoe 
can affect the placement of the dummy limb 
within the vehicle. For this reason, the clothing 
specifications are made final as proposed, except 
tliat the requirement for a conforming ''config- 
uration" has been deleted. 

Renault and Peugeot asked for confirmation 
that pyrotechnic pretensionei's for belt retractors 
are not prohibited by the standard. The stand- 
ard's requirements do not specify the design by 
which to provide the specified protection, and 
the agency is not aware of any aspect of the 
standard that would prohibit the use of preten- 
sioning devices, as long as the three performance 
elements are met. 

With regard to the test dummy used in the 
standard, the agency proposed two modifications 
of Standard Xo. 208 : a more detailed positioning 
procedure for placement of the dummy in the 
vehicle prior to the test, and a new requirement 
that the dummy remain in calibration without 
adjustment following the barrier crash. Com- 
ments were received on both aspects of the pro- 
posal. 

The dummy positioning was proposed to elim- 
inate variation in the conduct of repeatable tests, 
particularly among vehicles of different sizes. 
The most important proposed modification was 
the use of only two dummies in any test of front 
seat restraints, whether or not the system is de- 
signed for three designated seating positions. 
The proposal was intended to eliminate the prob- 
lem associated with placement of three 50th- 
percentile male dummies side-by-side in a smaller 
vehicle. In bench seating with three positions, 
the system would have to comply with a dummy 
at the driver's position and at either of the other 
two designated seating positions. 

GM supported this change, but noted that 
twice as many tests of 3-position bench-seat ve- 
hicles would be required as before. The company 
suggested using a simulated vehicle crash as a 
means to test the passive restraint at the center 
seat position. The agency considers this ap- 
proach unrepresentative of the actual crash pulse 



and vehicle kinematic response (e.g.. pitching. 
yawing) that occur during an impact. To the 
ilegree that GM can adopt such an approach in 
the exercise of "due care" to demonstrate that 
the center seating position actually complies, the 
statute does not prohibit such a certification 
approach. 

Ford objected that the dummy at the center 
seat position would be placed about 4 inches to 
the right of the center of the designated seating 
position in order to avoid interference with the 
dummy at the driver's position. "While the 
XHTSA agrees that a small amount of displace- 
ment is inevitable in smaller vehicles, it may well 
occur in the real world also. Further, the physi- 
cal dimensions of the dununy preclude any other 
positioning. With a dummy at the driver's posi- 
tion, a diuumy at the center position cannot 
physically be placed in the middle of the seat in 
all cases. In view of these realities, the agencj' 
makes final this aspect of the dummy positioning 
as proposed. 

GM suggested the modification of other stand- 
ards to adopt "2-dummy'' positioning. The com- 
patibility among dynamic tests is regularly 
reviewed by the XHTSA and will be again fol- 
lowing this rulemaking action. For the moment, 
however, only those actions which were proposed 
will be acted on. 

As a general matter with regard to dummy 
positioning, General Motors found the new speci- 
fications acceptable with a few changes. GM 
cautioned that the procetlui'e might not be suf- 
ficiently reproducible between laboratories, and 
Chrysler found greater variation in positioning 
with the new procedures than with Chiysler's 
own procedures. The agency's use of the proce- 
dure in 15 different vehicle models has shown 
consistently repeatable results, as long as a reason- 
able amount of care is taken to avoid the effect 
of random inputs (see "Repeatability of Set Up 
and Stability of Anthropometric Landmarks and 
Their Influence on Impact Response of Automo- 
tive Crash Test Dunimies." Society of Automo- 
tive Engineers, Technical Paper Xo. 770260, 
1977). The agency concludes that, with the 
minor improvements cited below, the positioning 
procedure siiould be made final as proposed. 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 76 



Effective: July 5, 1978 



The dummy is placed at a seating position so 
that its midsagittal plane is vertical and longi- 
tudinal. Volkswagen argued against use of the 
midsagittal plane as a reference for dummy 
placement, considering it difficult to define as a 
practical matter during placement. The agency 
has used plane markers and plane lines to define 
the midsagittal plane and has experienced no 
significant difficulty in placement of the dummy 
with these techniques. For this reason, and be- 
cause Volkswagen suggested no simpler orienta- 
tion technique, the agency adopts- use of the 
midsagittal plane as proposed. 

Correct spacing of the dummy's legs at the 
driver position created the largest source of ob- 
jection by commenters. Ford expressed concern 
that an inward-pointing left knee could result in 
unrealistically high femur loads because of 
femur-to-steering column impacts. GM asked 
that an additional 0.6 inch of space be specified 
between the dummy legs to allow for installation 
of a device to measure steering column displace- 
ment. Volkswagen considered specification of 
the left knee bolt location to be redundant in 
light of the positioning specification for the right 
knee and the overall distance specification be- 
tween the knees of 14.5 inches. 

The commenters may not have understood that 
the 14.5- and 5.9-inch dimensions are only initial 
positions, as specified in S8.1.11.1.1. The later 
specification to raise the femur and tibia center- 
lines "as close as possible to vertical" without 
contacting the vehicle shifts the knees from their 
initial spacing to a point just to the left and 
right of the steering column. 

As for GM's concern about instrumentation, 
the agency does not intend to modify this posi- 
tioning procedure to accommodate instrumenta- 
tion preferences not required for the standard's 
purposes. GM may, of course, make test modi- 
fications so long as it assures, in the exercise of 
due care, that its vehicles will comply when 
tested in accordance with the specification by the 
agency. 

In the case of a vehicle which is equipped with 
a front bench seat, the driver dummy is placed 
on the bench so that its midsagittal plane inter- 
sects the center point of the plane described by 
the steering wheel rim. BMW pointed out that 



the center plane of the driver's seating position 
may not coincide with the steering wheel center 
and that dummy placement would therefore be 
unrealistic. Ford believed that the specification 
of the steering wheel reference point could be 
more precisely specified. 

The agency believes that BMW may be de- 
scribing offset of the driver's seat from the steer- 
ing wheel in bucket -seat vehicles. In the case of 
bench-seat vehicles, there appears to be no reason 
not to place the dummy directly behind the steer- 
ing wheel. As for the Ford suggestion, the 
agency concludes that Ford is describing the 
same point as the proposal did, assuming, as the 
agency does, that the axis of the steering column 
passes through the center point described. The 
Ford description does have the effect of moving 
the point a slight distance laterally, because the 
steering wheel rim upper surface is somewhat 
higher than the plane of the rim itself. This 
small distance is not relevant to the positioning 
being specified and therefore is not adopted. 

In the case of center-position dummy place- 
ment in a vehicle with a drive line tunnel. Ford 
requested further specification of left and right 
foot placement. The agency has added further 
specification to make explicit what was implicit 
in the specifications proposed. 

Volkswagen suggested that the NHTSA had 
failed to specify knee spacing for the passenger 
side dummy placement. In actuality, the speci- 
fication in S8. 1.11. 1.2 that the femur and tibia 
centerlines fall in a vertical longitudinal plane 
has the effect of dictating the distance between 
the passenger dummy knees. 

The second major source of comments con- 
cerned the dummy settling procedure that assures 
uniformity of placement on the seat cushion and 
against the seat back. Manufacturers pointed 
out that lifting the dummy within the vehicle, 
particularly in small vehicles and those with no 
rear seat space, cannot be accomplished easily. 
While the NHTSA recognizes that the procedure 
is not simple, it is desirable to improve the uni- 
formity of dummy response and it has been ac- 
complished by the NHTSA in several small cars 
(e.g., Volkswagen Rabbit, Honda Civic, Fiat 
Spider, DOT HS-801-754). Therefore, the re- 
quests of GM and Volkswagen to retain the 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 77 



Effective: July 5, 1978 



method that does not involve lifting has been 
denied. In response to Renault's question, the 
dummy can be lifted manually by a strap routed 
beneath the buttocks. Also, Volkswag:en's re- 
quest for more variability in the application of 
rearward force is denied because, while difficult 
to achieve, it is desirable to maintain uniformity 
in dummy placement. In response to the requests 
of several manufacturers, the location of the 
9-square-inch push plate has been raised 1.5 
inches, to facilitate its application to all vehicles. 

Volkswagen asked with regard to SIO.2.2 for 
a clarification of what constitutes the "lumbar 
spine" for purposes of dummy flexing. This 
refers to the point on the dummy rear surface 
at the level of the top of the dummy's rubber 
spine element. 

BMW asked the agency to reconsider the place- 
ment of the driver dummy's thumbs over the 
steering wheel rim because of the possibility of 
damage to them. The company asked for an 
option in placing the hands. The purpose of the 
specification in dummy positioning, however, is 
to remove discretion from the test personnel, so 
that all tests are run in the same fashion. An 
option under these circumstances is therefore not 
appropriate. 

Ultrasystems, Inc., pointed out two minor er- 
rors in SlO.3 that are hereby corrected. The 
upper arm and lower arm centerlines are oriented 
as nearly as possible in a vertical plane (rather 
than straight up in the vertical), and the little 
finger of the passenger is placed "barely in con- 
tact" with the seat rather than "tangent" to it. 

Two corrections are made to the dummy posi- 
tioning procedure to correct obvious and unin- 
tended conflicts between placement of the dummy 
thighs on the seat cushion and placement of the 
right leg and foot on the acceleration pedal. 

In addition to the positioning proposed, Gen- 
eral Motors suggested that positioning of the 
dummy's head in the fore-and-aft axis, would be 
beneficial. The agency agrees and has added 
such a specification at the end of the dummy 
settling procedure. 

In a matter separate from the positioning pro- 
cedure, General Motors, Ford, and Renault re- 
quested deletion of the proposed requirement that 
the dummy maintain proper calibration follow- 



ing a crash test without adjustment. Such a 
procedure is routine in test protocols and the 
agency considered it to be a beneficial addition 
to the standard to further demonstrate the cred- 
ibility of the dummy test results. GM. however, 
has pointed out that the limb joint adjustments 
for the crash test and for the calibration of the 
lumbar bending test are difl^erent, and that it 
would be unfair to expect continued calibration 
without adjustment of these joints. The NHTSA 
accepts this objection and, until a means for sur- 
mounting this difficulty is perfected, the proposed 
change to S8.1.8 is withdrawn. 

In another matter unrelated to dummy posi- 
tioning. Volkswagen argued that active belt sys- 
tems should be subject to the same requirements 
as passive belt systems, to reduce the cost differ- 
ential between the compliance tests of the two 
systems. As earlier noted the NHTSA has issued 
an advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (41 
FR 54961, December 16. 1976) on this subject 
and will consider Volkswagen's suggestion in the 
context of that rulemaking. 

Finally, the agency proposed the same belt 
warning requirements for belts provided with 
passive restraints as are presently required for 
active belts. No objections to the requirement 
were received and the requirement is made final 
as proposed. The agency also takes the oppor- 
tunity to delete from the standard the out-of-date 
belt warning requirements contained in S7.3 of 
the standard. 

RECONSIDERATION OF DOCKET 
73-8; NOTICE 04 

The NHTSA has received two petitions for 
reconsideration of recent amendments in its test 
dummy calibration test procedures and design 
specifications (Part 572, Anthropoitwrphic Test 
Dummy, 49 CFR Part 572) . Part 572 establishes, 
by means of approximately 250 drawings and 
five calibration tests, the exact specifications of 
the test device referred to earlier in this notice 
that simulates the occupant of a motor vehicle 
for crash testing purposes. 

Apart from requests for a technical change of 
the lumbar flexion force specifications, the peti- 
tions from General Motors and Ford contained a 
repetition of objections made earlier in the rule- 
making about the adequacy of the dummy as an 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 78 



Effective: July 5, 1978 



objective measuring device. Three issues were 
raised: lateral response characteristics of the 
dummy, failure of the dummy to meet the five 
subassembly calibration limits, and the need for 
a "whole systems" calibration of the assembled 
dummy. Following receipt of these comments, 
the agency published notification in the Federal 
Register that it would entertain any other com- 
ments on the issue of objectivity (42 FR 28200; 
June 2, 1977). General comments were received 
from Chrysler Corporation and American Motors, 
repeating their positions from earlier comments 
that the dummy does not qualify as objective. 

The objectivity of the dummy is at issue be- 
cause it is the measuring device that registers the 
acceleration and force readings specified by 
Standard No. 208 during a 30-mph impact of the 
tested vehicle into a fixed barrier. The resulting 
readings for each vehicle tested must remain be- 
low a certain level to constitute compliance. 
Certification of compliance by the vehicle manu- 
facturer is accomplished by crash testing repre- 
sentative vehicles with the dummy installed. 
Verification of compliance by the NHTSA is 
accomplished by crash testing one or more of the 
same model vehicle, also with a test dummy in- 
stalled. It is important that readings taken by 
different dummies, or by the same dummy re- 
peatedly, accurately reflect the forces and ac- 
celerations that are being experienced by the 
vehicle during the barrier crash. This does not 
imply that the readings produced in tests of two 
vehicles of the same design must be identical. 
In the real world, in fact, literally identical ve- 
hicles, crash circumstances, and test dummies are 
not physically attainable. 

It is apparent from this discussion that an 
accurate reflection of the forces and accelerations 
experienced in nominally identical vehicles does 
not depend on the specification of the test dummy 
alone. For example, identically specified and 
responsive dummies would not provide identical 
readings unless reasonable care is exercised in 
the preparation and placement of the dummy. 
Such care is analogous to that exercised in posi- 
tioning a ruler to assure that it is at the exact 
point where a measurement is to commence. No 
one would blame a ruler for a bad measurement 
if it were carelessly placed in the wrong position. 



It is equally apparent that the forces and ac- 
celerations experienced in nominally identical 
vehicles will only be identical by the greatest of 
coincidence. The small differences in body struc- 
ture, even of mass-produced vehicles, will affect 
the crash pulse. The particular deployment 
speed and shape of the cushion portion of an 
inflatable restraint system will also affect results. 

All of these factors would affect the accelera- 
tions and forces experienced by a human occupant 
of a vehicle certified to comply with the occupant 
restraint standard. Thus, achievement of identi- 
cal conditions is not only impossible (due to the 
inherent differences between tested vehicles and 
underlying conditions) but would be unwise. 
Literally identical tests would encourage the de- 
sign of safety devices that would not adequately 
serve the variety of circumstances encountered in 
actual crash explosure. 

At the same time, the safety standards must 
be "stated in objective terms" so that the manu- 
facturer knows how its product will be tested and 
under what circumstances it will have to comply. 
A complete lack of dummy positioning proce- 
dures would allow placement of the dummy in 
any posture and would make certification of com- 
pliance virtually impossible. A balancing is 
provided in the test procedures between the need 
for realism and the need for objectivity. 

The test dummy also represents a balancing 
between realism (biofidelity) and objectivity 
(repeatability). One-piece cast metal dummies 
could be placed in the seating positions and in- 
strumented to register crash forces. One could 
argue that these dummies did not act at all like 
a human and did not measure what would hap- 
pen to a human, but a lack of repeatability could 
not be ascribed to them. At the other end of the 
spectrum, an extremely complex and realistic 
surrogate could be substituted for the existing 
Part 572 dummy, which would act realistically 
but differently each time, as one might expect 
different humans to do. 

The existing Part 572 dummy represents 5 
years of effort to provide a measuring instrument 
that is sufficiently realistic and repeatable to serve 
the purposes of the crash standard. Like any 
measuring instrument, it has to be used with care. 
As in the case of any complex instrumentation. 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 79 



EffecHve: July 5, 1978 



particular care must be exercised in its proper 
use, and thei-e is little expectation of literally 
identical readings. 

The duninw is articulated, and built of ma- 
terials that permit it to react dynamically, simi- 
larly to a human. It is the dynamic reactions of 
the dunmiy that introduce the complexity that 
makes a check on repeatability desirable and 
necessaiy. The agency therefore devised five 
calibration procedures as standards for the eval- 
uation of the important dynamic dummy response 
characteristics. 

Since the specifications and calibration proce- 
dures were established in August 1973, a substan- 
tial amount of manufacturing and test experience 
has been gained in the Part .572 dummy. The 
quality of the dummy as manufactured by the 
three available domestic commercial sources has 
improved to the point where it is the agency's 
judgment that the device is as repeat able and 
reproducible as instrumentation of such complex- 
ity can be. As noted, G3M and Ford disagree and 
raised three issues with regard to dummy objec- 
tivity in their petitions for reconsideration. 

Lateral response characteristics. Recent sled 
tests of the Part .572 dummy in lateral impacts 
show a high level of repeatability from test to 
test and reproducibility from one dummy to 
another ("Evaluation of Part 572 Dummies in 
Side Impacts"— DOT HS 020 858). Further 
modification of the lateral and rollover passive 
restraint requirements into an option that can be 
met by installation of a lap belt makes the lateral 
response characteristics of the dummy largely 
academic. As noted in Notice 4 of Docket 73-8 
(42 FR 7148; February 7, 1977), "Any manu- 
facturer that is concerned with the objectivity of 
the dununy in such [lateral] impacts would pro- 
vide lap belts at the front seating positions in 
lieu of conducting the lateral or rollover tests." 

While the frontal crash test can be conducted 
iit any angle up to 30 degrees from perpendicular 
to tlie barrier face, it is the agency's finding that 
the lateral forces acting on the test instrument 
are secondary to forces in the midsagittal plane 
and do not operate as a constraint on vehicle and 
restraint design. Compliance tests conducted by 
NHTSA to date in the 30-degree oblique impact 
condition have consistently generated similar 



dummy readings. In addition, they are consid- 
erably lower than in perpendicular barrier im- 
pact tests, whicli renders them less critical for 
compliance certification purposes. 

Repeataiility of dummy caJihraiion.. Ford 
questioned the dummy's repeatability, based on 
its analysis of "round-robin" testing conducted 
in 1973 for Ford at three different test labora- 
tories (Ford Report No. ESRO S-76-3 (1976)) 
and on analysis of NHTSA calibration testing 
of seven test dummies in 1974 (DOT-HS-801- 
861). 

In its petition for reconsideration. Ford 
equated dummy objectivity with repeatability of 
the calibration test results and concluded "it is 
impracticable to attempt to meet the Part 572 
component calibration requirements with test 
dummies constructed according to the Part 572 
drawing specification." 

The Foi"d analysis of NHTSA's seven dummies 
showed only 56 of 100 instances in which all of 
the dummy calibrations satisfied the criteria. 
The NHTSA's attempts to reproduce the Ford 
calculations to reach this conclusion were unsuc- 
cessful, even after including the H03 dummy 
with its obviously defective neck. This neck 
failed badly 11 times in a row, and yet Ford 
apparently used these tests in its estimate of 56 
percent compliance. This is the equivalent of 
concluding that the specification for a stop watch 
is inadequate because of repeated failure in a 
stop watch with an obviously defective part. In 
this case, the calibration procedure was doing 
precisely its job in identifying the defective part 
by demonstrating that it did not in fact meet the 
specification. 

The significance of the "learning cui've" for 
quality control in dummy manufacture is best 
understood by comparison of three sets of duumiy 
calibration results in chronological order. Ford 
in earlier comments relied on its own "round- 
robin" crash testing, involving nine test dummies. 
Ford stated that none of the nine dummies could 
pass all of the component calibration require- 
ments. What the NHTSA learned through 
follow-up questions to Ford was that three of the 
nine dummies were not built originally as Part 
572 dummies, and that the other six were not 
fully certified by their manufacturers as qualify- 



PART .571; S 208— PRE 80 



Effective: July 5, 1978 



ing as Part 572 dummies. In addition, Ford 
instructed its contractors to use the dummies as 
provided wliether or not they met the Part 572 
specifications. 

In contrast, recent NHTSA testing conducted 
by Calspan (DOT-HS-6-01514, May and June 
1977 progress reports) and the results of tests 
conducted by GM (USG 1502. Docket 73-8. GR 
64) demonstrate good repeatability and reproduc- 
ibility of dummies. In the Calspan testing a 
total of 152 calibration tests were completed on 
four dummies from two manufacturere. The re- 
sults for all five calibration tests were observed 
to be within the specified performance criteria 
of Part 572. The agency concludes that the 
learning curve in the manufacturing process has 
reached the point where repeatability and repro- 
ducibility of the dummy lias been fully demon- 
strated. 

Interestingly, Ford's own analysis of its round- 
robin testing concludes that variations among the 
nine dummies were not significant to the test 
results. At the same time, the overall accelera- 
tion and force readings did vary substantially. 
Ford argued that this showed unacceptable 
variability of the test as a whole, because they 
had used "identical" vehicles for crash testing. 
Ford attributed the vai'iations in results to 
"chance factors," listing as factors placement of 
the dummy, postural changes during the ride to 
the barrier, speed variations, uncertainty as to 
just what part of the instrument panel or other 
structure would be impact loaded, instrumenta- 
tion, and any variations in the dynamics of air 
bag deployment from one vehicle to another. 

The agency does not consider these to be un- 
controlled factors since they can be greatly re- 
duced by carefully controlling test procedures. 
In addition, they are not considered to be un- 
acceptable "chance factors" that should be elimi- 
nated from the test. The most important 
advantage of the barrier impact test is that it 
simulates with some realism what can be experi- 
enced by a human occupant, while at the same 
time limiting variation to achieve repeatability. 
As discussed, nominally identical vehicles are not 
in fact identical, the dynamics of deployment will 
vary from veliicle to vehicle, and humans will 
adopt a large number of different seated positions 



in the real world. The 30-mph barrier impact 
requires the manufacturer to take these variables 
into accovmt by providing adequate protection 
for more than an overly structured test situation. 
At the same time, dummy positioning is specified 
in adequate detail so that the manufacturer 
knows how the NHTSA will set up a vehicle 
prior to conducting compliance test checks. 

'■^ Whole syste^n.s^^ calihrafion. Ford and GM 
both suggested a "whole systems" calibration of 
the dummy as a necessary additional check on 
dummy repeatability. The agency has denied 
these requests previously, because the demon- 
strated repeatability and reproducibility of Part 
572 dumniies based on current specification is 
adequate. The use of whole systems calibration 
tests as suggested would be extremely expensive 
and would unnecessarily complicate compliance 
testing. 

It is instructive that neither General Motors 
nor Ford has been specific about the calibration 
te.sts they have in mind. Because of the variables 
inherent in a high energy barrier crash test at 
30 mph. the agency judges that any calibration 
readings taken on the dummy would be over- 
whelmed by the other inputs acting on the dummy 
in this test environment. The Ford conclusion 
from its round-robin testing agrees that dummy 
variability is a relatively insignificant factor in 
the total variability experienced in this type of 
test. 

GM was most specific about its concern for 
repeatability testing of the whole dummy in its 
comments in response to Docket 74-14; Notice 
01: 

Dummy whole body response requirements 
are considered necessary to assure that a 
dummy, assembled from cei'tified components, 
has acceptable response as a completed struc- 
ture. Interactions between coupled components 
and subsystems nuist not be assumed acceptable 
simply because the components themselves have 
been certified. Variations in coupling may 
lead to significant variation in dummy response. 

There is a far simpler, more controlled means 
to assure oneself of correct coupling of compo- 
nents than by means of a "whole systems" cali- 
bration. If, for example, a laboratory wishes to 
assure itself that the coupling of the dummy 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 81 



EffecHve: July 5, 1978 



neck structure is properly accomplished, a simple 
statically applied input may he made to the neck 
prior to coupling to obtain a sample reading, 
and then the same simple statically applied in- 
put may be repeated after the coupling has been 
completed. This is a commonly accepted means 
to assure that ''bolting together" the pieces is 
properly accomplished. 

Lumbar spine flexion. The flexibility of the 
dummy spine is specified bj- means of a calibra- 
tion procedure that involves bending the spine 
through a forward arc, with specified resistance 
to the bending being registered at specified angles 
of the bending arc. The dummj's ability to flex 
is partially controlled by the characteristics of 
the abdominal insert. In Notice 04, the agency 
increased the level of resistance that must be 
registered, in conjunction with a decision not to 
specify a sealed abdominal sac as had been pro- 
posed. Either of these dummy characteristics 
could affect the lumbar spine flexion perform- 
ance. 

Because of the agency's incomplete explanation 
for its actions, Ford and General Motors peti- 
tioned for reconsideration of the decision to take 
one action without the other. Both companies 
suggested that the specification of resistance levels 
be returned to that which had existed previously. 
The agency was not clear that it intended to go 
forward with the stiffer spine flexion perform- 
ance, quite apart from the decision to not specify 
an abdomen sealing specification. The purpose 
for the "stiffer" spine is to attain more consistent 
torso return angle and to assure better dummy 
stability during vehicle acceleration to impact 
speed. 

To assure itself of the wisdom of this course of 
action, the agency has performed dununy cali- 
bration tests demonstrating that the amended 
spine flexion and abdominal force deflection 
characteristics can be consistently achieved with 
both vented and unvented abdominal inserts 
(DOT HS-020875 (1977)). 

Based on the considered analysis and review 
set forth above, the NHTSA denies the petitions 
of General Motors and Ford Motor Company for 
further modification of the test dummy specifi- 



cation and calibration procedures for reasons of 
test dummy objectivity. 

In consideration of the foregoing. Standard 
\o. 208 (49 CFR 571.208) is amended as pro- 
posed with changes set forth below, and Part 
572 (49 CFR Part 572) is amended by the addi- 
tion of a new sentence at the end of § 572.5, 
Geiveval Description, that states: "A specimen of 
the dummy is available for surface measurements, 
and access can be arranged through : Office of 
Crashworthiness, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street. S.W., 
Washington, D.C. 20590.'' 

In accordance with Department of Transpor- 
tation policy encouraging adequate analysis of 
the consequences of regulatory action (41 FR 
16200; April 16. 1976), the Department has eval- 
uated the economic and other consequences of this 
amendment on the public and private sectors. 
The modifications of an existing option, the 
simplification and clarification of test procedures, 
and the increase in femur force loads are all 
judged to be actions that simplify testing and 
make it less expensive. It is anticipated that the 
"two dummy" positioning procedure may occa- 
sion additional testing expense in some larger 
vehicles, but not the level of expense that would 
have general economic effects. 

The effective date for the changes has been 
established as one year from the date of publica- 
tion to permit Volkswagen, the only manufac- 
turer presently certifying compliance of vehicles 
using these test procedures, sufficient time to 
evaluate the effect of the changes on the com- 
pliance of its products. 

The program official and lawyer principally 
responsible for the development of this amend- 
ment are Guy Hunter and Tad Herlihy, respec- 
tively. 

(Sec. 103, 119, Pub. L. 89-563, 80 Stat. 718 
(15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407); delegation of authority 
at 49 CFR 1.50.) 

Issued on June 30, 1977. 

Joan Claybrook 
Administrator 

42 F.R. 34299 
July 5, 1977 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 82 



Effective: September 1, 1981 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 
(Docket No. 74-14; NoHce 10) 



The existing motor vehicle safety standard for 
occupant crash protection in new passenger cars 
is amended to require the provision of "passive" 
restraint protection in passenger cars with wheel- 
bases greater than 114 inches manufactured on 
and after September 1, 1981, in passenger cars 
with wheelbases greater than 100 inches on and 
after September 1, 1982, and in all passenger cars 
manufactured on or after September 1, 1983. 
The low usage rate of active seat belt systems 
negates much of their potential safety benefit. 
However, lap belts will continue to be required 
at most front and all rear seating positions in 
new cars, and the Department will continue to 
recommend their use to motorists. It is found 
that upgraded occupant crash protection is a 
reasonable and necessary exercise of the mandate 
of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety 
Act to provide protection through improved 
automotive design, construction, and performance. 

Dates: Effective date September 1, 1981. 

Addresses : Petitions for reconsideration should 
refer to the docket number and be submitted to: 
Docket Station, Room 5108 — Nassif Building, 400 
Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590. 

For further information contact : 
Tad Herlihy 
Office of Chief Counsel 
National Highway Traffic Safety 

Administration 
Washington, D.C. 20590 
(202) 426-9511 

Supplementary Information : 
Considerations Underlying the Standard 

Under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle 
Safety Act, as amended (the Act) (15 U.S.C. 
1381 et seq.), the Department of Transportation 



is responsible for issuing motor vehicle safety 
standards that, among other things, protect the 
public against unreasonable risk of death or in- 
jury to persons in the event accidents occur. 
The Act directs the Department to consider 
whether a standard would contribute to carrying 
out the purposes of the Act and would be reason- 
able, practicable, and appropriate for a particular 
type of motor vehicle (15 U.S.C. 1392(f)(3)). 
The standard must, as formulated, be practicable, 
meet the need for motor vehicle safety, and be 
stated in objective terms (15 U.S.C. 1392(a)). 
The Senate Committee drafting the statute stated 
that safety would be the overriding consideration 
in the issuance of standards. S. Rep. No. 1301, 
89th Cong., 2d Sess (1966) at 6. 

The total number of fatalities annually in 
motor vehicle accidents is approximately 46,000 
(estimate for 1976), of which approximately 
25,000 are estimated to be automobile front seat 
occupants. Two major hazards to which front 
seat occupants are exposed are ejection from the 
vehicle, which increases the probability of fatal- 
ity greatly, and impact with the vehicle interior 
during the crash. Restraint of occupants to pro- 
tect against these hazards has long been recog- 
nized as a means to substantially reduce the 
fatalities and serious injuries experienced at the 
front seating positions. 

One of the Department's first actions in imple- 
menting the Act was promulgation in 1967 of 
Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection 
(49 CFR 571.208), to make it possible for vehicle 
occupants to help protect themselves against the 
hazards of a crash by engaging seat belts. The 
standard requires the installation of lap and 
shoulder seat belt assemblies (Type 2) at front 
outboard designated .seating positions (except in 
convertibles) and lap belt assemblies (Type 1) 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 83 



Effective: September I, 1981 



at all other designated seating positions. The 
standard became effective January 1, 1968. 

Wliile it is generally agreed that when they 
are worn, seat belt assemblies are highly effective 
in preventing occupant impact with the vehicle 
interior or ejection from the vehicle, only a 
minority of motorists in the United .*^tates use 
seat belts. For all types of belt systems. 
\ational Highway Traffic Safety Administration 
(XHTSA) studies show that about 20 percent of 
belt systems are used (DOT HS 6 01340 (in 
process)). The agency's calculations show that 
only about 2,600 deaths (and corresponding 
numbers of injuries) of front seat occupants were 
averted during 1976 by the restraints required by 
Standard Xo. 208 as it is presently written. 

Two basic approaches have been developed to 
increase the savings of life and mitigation of 
injury afforded by occupant restraint systems. 
More than 20 nations and two provinces of 
Canada have enacted mandatory seat belt use 
laws to increase usage and thereby the effective 
lifesaving potential of existing seat belt systems. 
The other approach is to install automatic passive 
restraints in passenger cars in place of. or in 
conjunction with, active belt systems. These 
systems are passive in the sense that no action by 
the occupant is required to benefit from the re- 
straint. Passive restraint systems automatically 
provide a high level of occupant crash protection 
to virtually 100 percent of front seat occupants. 

The two forms of passive restraint that have 
been commercially produced are inflatable occu- 
pant restraints (commonly known as air bags) 
and passive belts. Air bags are fabric cushions 
that are rapidly filled with gas to cushion the 
occupant against colliding with the vehicle in- 
terior when a crash occurs that is strong enough 
to register on a sensor device in the vehicle. The 
deployment is accomplished by the rapid genera- 
tion or release of a gas to inflate the bag. Passive 
belt systems are compai'able to active belt systems 
in many respects, but are distinguished by auto- 
matic deployment around the occupant as the 
occupant enters the vehicle and closes the door. 

HISTORY OF STANDARD NO. 208 
Because of the low usage rates of active belt 
systems and because alternative technologies were 



becoming available, the initial seat belt require- 
ments of .Standard Xo. 208 were upgraded in 
1970 to require passive restraints by 1974 (3.5 FR 
16927; November 3, 1970). Most passenger car 
manufacturers petitioned for judicial review of 
this amendment {Chrysler v. DOT, 472 F.2d 659 
(6th Cir. 1972)). The Sixth Circuit's review 
upheld the mandate in most respects but re- 
manded the standard to the agency for further 
specification of a test dummy that was held to be 
insufficiently objective for use as a measuring 
device in compliance tests. The court stated with 
regard to two of the statutory criteria for issu- 
ance of motor vehicle safety standards: 

We conclude that the issue of the relative 
effectiveness of active as opposed to passive 
restraints is one which has been duly delegated 
to the Agency, with its expertise, to make; we 
find that the Agency's decision to require 
passive restraints is supported by substantial 
evidence, and we cannot say on the basis of the 
record before us that this decision does not 
meet the need for motor vehicle safety. 472 
F.2d at 675. 

... we conclude that Standard 208 is prac- 
ticable as that tenn is used in this legislation. 
472 F.2d at 674. 

As for objective specification of the test dummy 
device, a detailed set of specifications (49 CFR 
Part 572) was issued in August 1973 (38 FR 
20449; August 1, 1973) and updated with minor 
changes in February 1977 (42 FR 7148; Feb- 
ruary 7, 1977). A full discussion of the test 
dummy specifications is set forth in a rulemaking 
issued today by the X'HTSA concerning technical 
aspects of Standard No. 208 (42 FR 34299; FR 
Doc. 77-19138). 

In March 1974, the Department made the 
finding that the test dummy is sufficiently objec- 
tive to satisfy the Chri/shr court remand (39 
FR 10271; March 19. 1974). In the same notice, 
mandatory passive restraints were again pro- 
posed. Based on the comments received in re- 
sponse to that notice, the passive restraint 
mandate was once again proposed in a modified 
form in June 1976 (41 FR 24070; June 14, 1976). 
In the interim, General Motors Corporation 
manufactured, certified, and sold approximately 
10,000 air-bag-equipped full-size Buicks, Olds- 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 84 



Effective: September 1, 1981 



mobiles, and Cadillacs. Volkswagen has manu- 
factured and sold approximately 65.000 passive- 
belt-equipped Rabbit model passeno^er cars. 
Volvo Corporation has also introduced a rela- 
tively small number of air-bao;-equipped vehicles 
into service. Ford Motor Company had earlier 
manufactured 831 air-bag-equipped Mercurys. 
These vehicles were manufactured under one of 
two options placed in the standard in 1971 to 
permit optional production of vehicles with 
passive restraint systems in place of seat belt 
assemblies otherwise required. In 1972, the 
standard was also amended to require an "igni- 
tion interlock" system on front seat belts to force 
their use before the vehicle could be started. 
This requirement, effective in September 1973, 
was revoked in October 1974 in response to a 
Congressional prohibition on its specification 
(Pub. L. 93-192, § 109 (October 27, 1974)). 

The Department's final action on its June 1976 
proposal ("The Secretary's Decision Concerning 
Motor Vehicle Occupant Crash Protection," here- 
inafter "the December 1976 decision") continued 
the existing requirements of the standard (42 
FR 5071; January 27, 1977) and created a dem- 
onstration program to familiarize the public 
with passive restraints. The Department nego- 
tiated contracts with four automobile manufac- 
turers for the production of up to 250,000 passive- 
equipped vehicles per year for introduction into 
the passenger car fleet in model years 1980-1. 
Mercedes-Benz agreed to manufacture 2,250 such 
passenger cars, and Volkswagen agreed to manu- 
facture 125,000 of its passive-belt -equipped 
Rabbit models. Ford agi-eed to participate by 
"establishing the capability of manufacturing" 
140,000 compact model passenger cars, and Gen- 
eral Motors agreed to "establish production ca- 
pacity" to manufacture 300,000 intermediate size 
passenger cars. The December 1976 decision was 
based on the finding that, although passive re- 
straints are technologically feasible at reasonable 
cost and would prevent 9,000 fatalities annually 
when fully integrated into the fleet, possible ad- 
verse reaction by an iminformed public after the 
standard took effect could inspire their prohibi- 
tion by Congress with substantial attendant 
economic waste and incalculable harm to the 
cause of highway safety. This finding was based 
in large part on the Department's experience 



with the ignition interlock on 1974- and 1975- 
model passenger cars, which was prohibited by 
Congress in response to industry and public 
opposition. 

Early in 1977. the Department reconsidered 
the December 1976 decision because public ac- 
ceptance or rejection of passive restraints is not 
one of the statutory criteria which the Depart- 
ment is charged by law to apply in establishing 
standards. In addition, the demonstration pro- 
gram introduced a minimum 3-year delay in 
implementation of mandatory passive restraints. 
The Department questioned the premise that 
passive restraint systems would foster consumer 
resistance as had the ignition interlock system. 
While the ignition interlock system forced action 
by the motorist as a condition for operating an 
automobile, passive restraints eliminate the need 
for any action by the occupant to obtain their 
crash protection benefits. 

A third reason for reassessment of the De- 
cember 1976 decision was the certainty that an 
increasing proportion of the passenger car fleet 
will be small cars, in response to the energy 
situation and the automotive fuel economy pro- 
gram established by the Energy Policy and 
Conservation Act. The introduction of these 
new. smaller vehicles on the highway holds the 
prospect of an increase in the fatality and injury 
rate unless countermeasures are undertaken. 

Based on this reconsideration, the Department 
proposed (42 FR 15935; March 24. 1977) that 
the future crash protection requirements of 
Standard No. 208 take one of three forms: (1) 
continuation of the present requirements. (2) 
mandatory passive restraints at one or more seat- 
ing positicms of passenger cars manufactured on 
or after September 1, 1980, Or (3) continuation 
of the existing requirements in conjunction with 
proposed legislation to establish Federal or State 
mandatory seat belt use laws. 

The proposal for an occupant restraint system 
other than seat belts invoked a provision of the 
Act (15 U.S.C. § 1400(b)) that requires notifica- 
tion to Congress of the action. The Act also 
requires that a public hearing be held at which 
any member of Congress or any other interested 
person could present oral testimony. The pro- 
posal was transmitted to the Congi-ess on March 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 85 



Effecirve: September 1, 1981 



21, 1977, with an invitation to appear at a public 
hearing chaired by the Secretary on April 27 and 
28, 1977, in Washington, D.C. A transcript of 
this meeting, along with written comments on the 
March 1977 proposal, are available in the public 
docket. 

DISCUSSIOX OF ISSUES 

The March 1977 proposal of three possible 
courses of action for future occupant crash pro- 
tection is grounded in a large, complex adminis- 
trative record that has been developed in the 8 
years since passive restraints were first contem- 
plated by the Department. Interested persons 
are invited to review the NHTSA public docket 
that has been compiled under designations 69-7, 
73-8, and 74-14. Consideration of the issues and 
questions that have arisen during the years of 
rulemaking can be found in the preambles to the 
Department's numerous rulemaking notices on 
passive restraints. Although many of the com- 
ments on the March 1977 proposal raised issues 
that have been discussed in previous notices, the 
significant issues will be addressed here again, in 
light of the most recent information available to 
the Department. 

The need for rulemaking action. An important 
reason to consider anew the occupant crash pro- 
tection issue is the basic and positive changes 
that the automobile will undergo in the years 
ahead. Until recently, the basic characteristics 
of automobiles sold to the American public have 
evolved for the most part in response to the 
forces of the market place. High premium was 
placed upon styling, roominess, and acceleration 
performance. In a cheap-energy society, rela- 
tively little attention was paid to efficiency of 
operation. Xor, until relatively recently, was 
serious consideration given to minimizing the 
adverse impact of the automobile upon air 
quality. 

Recent circumstances, however, have drastically 
altered the situation, and have made it abun- 
dantly clear that the automobile's characteristics 
must reflect broadly defined societal goals as well 
as those advanced by the individual car owner. 
The President has announced a new national 
energy policy that recognizes a compelling need 
for changes in the American lifestyle. Congress 
has implemented statutory programs to improve 



the fuel economy of automobiles, as one result of 
which this Department has just issued demand- 
ing fuel economy standards for 1981 through 
1984 passenger cars. Right now, the Congress is 
deliberating over amendments to the Clean Air 
Act which will impose relatively stringent emis- 
sions requirements effective over the same time 
frame. 

The trend toward smaller cars to improve 
economy and emissions performance contains a 
potential for increased hazard to the vehicles' 
occupants. But technology provides the means 
to protect against this hazard, and this Depart- 
ment's statutory mandate provides authority to 
assure its application. The Report of the Fed- 
eral Interagency Task Force on Motor Vehicle 
Goals for 1980 and Beyond indicated that simul- 
taneous achievement of ambitious societal goals 
for the automobile in the areas of fuel economy, 
emissions, and safety is technologically feasible. 
Integrated test vehicles developed by this De- 
partment confirm that finding and, further, dem- 
onstrate that the resulting vehicles need not 
unduly sacrifice the other functional and esthetic 
attributes traditionally sought by the American 
car buyer. 

Moreover, the socially responsive automobile of 
the 1980's need not bring a penalty in economy 
of ownership. The just-issued passenger car fuel 
economy standards are calculated to reduce the 
overall costs of operating an automobile by $1,000 
over the vehicle's lifetime. In the case of im- 
proved safety performance, the occupant restraint 
improvements specified in this notice can be ex- 
pected to pay for themselves in reduced first- 
person liability insurance premiums during the 
life of the vehicle. 

The issue of occupant crash protection has been 
outstanding too long, and a decision would have 
been further delayed while the demonstration 
programs was conducted. A rigorous review of 
the findings made by the Department in Decem- 
ber 1976 demonstrates that they are in all sub- 
stantial respects correct as to the technological 
feasibility, practicability, reasonable cost, and 
lifesaving potential of passive restraints. The 
decision set forth in this notice is the logical 
result of those findings. 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 86 



Effective: September 1, 1981 



In reassessing the December 1976 decision, the 
Department has considered each available means 
to increase crash protection in arrivinjj at the 
most rational approach. As proposed, the possi- 
bility of "driver-side only" passive protection 
was considered, but was rejected because of the 
unsatisfactory result of having one front-seat 
passenger offered protection superior to that 
offered other front-seat passengers in the same 
vehicle. On balance, there was found to be little 
cost or lead-time advantage to this approach. 
The possibility of reinstituting a type of safety 
belt interlock was rejected because the agency's 
authority was definitively removed by the Con- 
gress less than three years ago and there is no 
reason to believe that Congi'ess has changed its 
position on the issue since that time. 

Mahdatoi'y ielt use laws. One of the means 
proposed in the March notice to achieve a large 
reduction in highway deaths and injuries is Fed- 
eral legislation to induce State enactment of 
mandatory seat belt use laws, either by issuance 
of a highway safety program standard or by 
making State passage of such laws a condition 
for the receipt of Federal highway construction 
money. 

The prospects for passage of mandatory seat 
belt use laws by more than a few States appear 
to be poor. None of the commenters suggested 
that passage of such laws was likely. A public 
opinion survey sponsored by the Motor Vehicle 
Manufacturers Association and conducted by 
Yankelovich, Skelly, and White, Inc. indicated 
that a 2-to-l majority nationwide opposes belt 
use laws. Many such bills have been presented; 
no State has enacted one up to now. Also, Con- 
gress denied funding for a program to encourage 
State belt use laws in 1974, suggesting that it 
does not look favorably upon Federal assistance 
in the enactment of these laws. 

More recently, Congress removed the Depart- 
ment's authority to withdraw Federal safety 
funding in the case of States that do not mandate 
the use of motorcycle helmets on their highways 
(Pub. L. 94-280, Sec. 208(a), May 5, 1976). The 
close parallel between requiring helmet use and 
requiring seat belt use argues against the likeli- 
hood of enactment of belt use laws. 

These strong indications that Congress would 
not enact a belt use program in the foreseeable 



future demonstrate, in large measure, why the 
success of other nations in enacting laws is not 
parallel to the situation in the United States. In 
the belt use jurisdictions most often compared to 
the United States (Australia and the Provinces 
of Canada), the laws were enacted at the State 
or Province level in the first instance, and not at 
the Federal level. In the Department's judgment, 
the most reasonable course of action to obtain 
effective belt use laws in the United States will 
be to actively encourage their enactment in one 
or more States. An attempt to impose belt use 
laws on citizens by the Federal government 
would create difficulties in Federal-State rela- 
tions, and could damage rather than further the 
interests of highway safety. 

Effectiveness of passive restraints. The De- 
cember 1976 decision concluded that the best esti- 
mates of effectiveness in preventing deaths and 
injuries of the various types of restraint systems 
imder consideration were as set forth in Table I. 
Using the effectiveness estimates from Table I, 
the projection of benefits attributable to various 
restraint systems is summarized in Table II. 
Several comments concerning the effectiveness of 
passive restraint systems were submitted in re- 
sponse to the March 1977 proposal. 

Insurance company commenters generally sup- 
ported the Department's estimates. General 
Motors, however, disputed the validity of the 
estimates in the December 1976 decision, arguing 
that the results experienced by the approximately 
10,000 GM vehicles sold the public indicated a 
much lower level of effectiveness. It made com- 
parisons between accidents involving those cars 
and other accidents with conventional cars, se- 
lected to be as similar as possible in type and 
severity. On the basis of this study, GM stated 
that the data indicate that the "current air 
cushion-lap belt system, if available in all cars, 
would save less than the nearly 3,000 lives that 
can be saved by only 20 percent active lap/ 
shoulder belt use." 

The Department finds the methods used in the 
General Motors study to be of doubtful value in 
arriving at an objective assessment of the experi- 
ence of the air-bag-equipped vehicles. General 
Motors is a vastly interested party in these pro- 
ceedings, and the positions that it adopts are 
necessarily those of an advocate for a particular 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 87 



EfFective: September 1, 1981 



result. This is in no sense a disparagement; 
advocacy of desired outcomes by interested 
parties is an essential part of the administrative 
process. But if a study advanced by an inter- 
ested advocate is to be seriously considered from 
a "scientific" viewpoint, it must be cai'cfully de- 
signed to avoid dilution of its objectivity by the 
bias of the sponsoring party. The GM stiKh- 
fails that test. Its foundation is a long series of 
qualitative judgments, which are made by em- 
ployees of the party itself. An equally serious 
fault is that the basic bod}' of accident data from 
which the comparison accidents are selected is 
not available to the public, so that countering 
analyses cannot be made by opposing parties, nor 
can the judgments in the original study be 
checked. General Motors had previously sub- 
mitted to an earlier Standard Xo. 208 docket a 
study of restraint system effectiveness based on 
similarly qualitative judgments by its own em- 
ployees (69-07-GR-256-01). The shoulder belt 
effectiveness figures arrived at in that study were 
about one-half of what are now generally recog- 
nized to be the actual values. AVhile this later 
study utilizes a somewhat different methodology, 
it suffers from the same flaws in its failure to 
preclude dilution of its objectivity by the bias of 
its sponsor. 

Economics and Science Planning, Inc., sub- 
mitted three studies that made estimates of air 
bag effectiveness. In one, the estimate of air bag 
effectiveness was at least as high as the theoreti- 
cal projections made in Table II. In another, a 
very low estimate of air bag effectiveness was 
made — from 15 to 25 percent. 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 
submitted another estimate of air bag effective- 
ness based on the experience with the GM cars 
in highway use. A selection was made of acci- 
dents in which the air bag was designed to oper- 
ate, based on frontal damage, direction of impact, 
and age of occupant. In these accidents, air bags 
were determined to have reduced fatalities by 66 
percent, as compared to 55 percent for three- 
point belts. However, the narrow selection of 
accidents limits the application of the figures 
derived in the IIHS study. 

The Department considers that the most re- 
liable method of evaluating the experience of the 
air-bag-equipped cars at this time is to compare 



the number of injuries, at various levels, sustained 
by their occupants with the number that is ex- 
perienced in the general population of vehicles 
of this type. The vehicles in question are not a 
sampling of the general vehicle population : they 
are relatively new, and mostly in tiie largest 
"luxury" size class. Some adjustment must be 
made for these factors. 

The adjustment for the size of the vehicles has 
been made by multiplying the overall injury 
figures by a factor of 0.643, which has been found 
in one study (Joksch. "Analysis of Future Ef- 
fects of Fuel Storage and Increased Small Car 
Usage Upon Traffic Deaths and Injuries," Gen- 
eral Accounting Office. 1975) as the ratio of 
fatalities per year for this size of vehicles to the 
figure for the general population. The newness 
of the vehicles has a double-edged aspect : newer 
vehicles are evidently driven more miles per year 
than older ones, but they also appear to experi- 
ence fewer accidents per mile traveled (Dutt and 
Reinfurt, "Accident Involvement and Crash In- 
jury Rates by Make, Model, and Year of Car," 
Highway Safety Research Center, 1977). These 
two factors can be accounted for if it is assumed 
that they cancel each other, by using vehicle 
years, rather than vehicle miles, as the basis of 
comparison. With these adjustments, the ex- 
pected number of all injuries of AIS-2 (an index 
of injury severity) and above in severity for 
conventional vehicles equivalent to the air-bag- 
equipped fleet during the period considered was 
91. The actual number experienced was 38, indi- 
cating an effectiveness factor for these injury 
classes of 0.58. 

A possibility of bias in these estimates exists 
in that injuries that have occurred in the air bag 
fleet may not have been reported, despite the 
three-level reporting system (owners, police, and 
dealers) that has been established. This bias is 
less likely to be present in frontal accidents, 
where the air bag is expected to (and generally 
does) deploy. For frontal accidents only, the 
number of injuries expected is 60, or 66 percent 
of the total ("Statistical Analysis of Seat Belt 
Effectiveness in 1973-1975 Model Cars Involved 
in Towaway Crashes," Highway Safety Research 
Center, 1976) ; only 29 have been experienced, 
indicating an effectiveness factor of 0.52. 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 88 



Effective: September 1, 1981 



These figures confirm (and in fact exceed) the 
effectiveness estimates of the December 1976 de- 
cision. For injuries of higher severity levels, the 
numbers experienced are much too small to be 
statistically significant. 

The various assumptions and adjustments that 
must be made to arrive at a valid "expected" 
figure, and the possibility that some injuries were 
unreported, leaves substantial room for uncer- 
tainty and argument as to the true observed 
effectiveness of the restraint systems. Neverthe- 
less, the results of the field experience are en- 
coui'aging. Even if the observed-effectiveness 
figures arrived at by these calculations were high 
by a factor of 2, they would still substantially 
confirm the estimates of the December 1976 deci- 
sion. Considering all the arguments on both 
sides of the issues, the Department concludes that 
the observed experience of the vehicles on the 
road equipped with air bags does not cast doubt 
on the effectiveness estimates in the December 
1976 decision. 

It has been argued that the Department should 
not issue a passive restraint standard in the ab- 
sence of statistically significant real world data 
which confirm its estimates of effectiveness. 
Statistical "proof" is certainly desirable in deci- 
sionmaking, but it is often not available to resolve 
public policy decisions. It is also clear from the 
legislative history of the Act that the Department 
was not supposed to wait for the widespread 
introduction of a technologv' before it could be 
mandated. The Senate report for example re- 
fers to the "failure of safety to sell" in automo- 
biles, and describes how the Department was 
intended to push the manufacturers into adopt- 
ing new safety technology that would not be 
introduced voluntarily (S. Eep. 1301, 89th Cong. 
2nd Sess. 4 (1966)). The Chi-ysler case found 
that "The explicit purpose of the Act is to enable 
the Federal Government to impel automobile 
manufacturers to develop and apply new tech- 
nology to the task of improving the safety design 
of automobiles as readily as possible." (472 
F.2d at 671.) 

Conf of passive r-estraints. Passive belts have 
been estimated in the past by the Department to 
add $25 to the price of an automobile, relative to 
the price of cars with present active belt systems. 



The increased operating cost over the life of a 
vehicle with passive belts is estimated to be $5. 
These figures are assumed valid for purposes of 
this review, and were not contsted in the com- 
ments received. 

This Department, General Motors. Ford. De- 
Lorean, and Minicars all have produced estimates 
of the passenger car price increase due to the in- 
clu.sion of air bags. These are sufficientlj' detailed 
and current to be compared, and are set forth in 
Table III. The Department estimate has been 
raised somewhat above its previous ones because 
of the $14 increase in the price of the compo- 
nents of an air bag system quoted by a supplier. 

The General Motors estimates have been re- 
vised from previous estimates in several respects. 
Research and development, engineering, and tool- 
ing expenses are no longer amortized entirely in 
the first year, but are spread over 3 years (other 
estimates spread these costs over 5 years). The 
allowance for removal of active belt hardware 
has been reduced to conform more closely to the 
Department's estimates. The newer figures re- 
flect a somewhat more complex system, including 
new sensors. Of the $81 spread between the 
Department and the GM estimates, all but $11 
can he attributed to differences in the following 
areas: GM"s estimate of dealer profit which is 
based on sticker prices (rather than actual sale 
price). GM's shorter amortization period, added 
complexity of the 1977 system over the 1976 sys- 
tem, and the cost of major modifications of the 
vehicle which the agency questions. The remain- 
ing $11 difference must be considered as disagree- 
ment concerning the elements of cost shown in 
the table. 

The Ford estimate is the same as previously 
submitted. Forty-two dollars of the difference 
from the Department estimate is a higher profit 
figure arising from Ford's use of sticker prices 
rather than actual price of sale, which gives the 
dealer less mark-up. A substantial amount of 
difference is for a complex electronic diagnostic 
module, extra sensors that the Department does 
not view as necessary, and the use of a knee 
bolster instead of a cheaper knee air bag. Thirty- 
nine dollars represents imreconciled differences. 

Operating costs consist mainly of the cost of 
replacing a deployed bag, fuel cost, and mainte- 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 89 



Effective: September 1, 1981 



nance. Ford also includes an amount for periodic 
inspection. The Department estimate for re- 
placement cost differs from the GM and Ford 
estimates almost entirely as a result of the lower 
estimate for the first cost of the system. The 
fuel costs differ primarily as a result of different 
weight figures for the passive systems, which may 
be design choices of the manufacturers. The 
Department's evaluation of manufacturers' cost 
objections is being placed in the public docket as 
required by § 113 of the Act. 

If, as projected, passive restraints are effective 
in saving lives and reducing injuries, as compared 
to existing belt systems at present use rate, the 
insurance savings that will result will offset a 
major portion, and possibly all, of the cost to the 
consumer of the systems. There may be some 
doubt on this point that arises from skepticism 
concerning the behavior of insurers. 

The vast majority of auto occupant injuries 
beyond the minor level result in automobile, 
health, or life insurance claims. In some States, 
insurers may lack a degree of flexibility in the 
adjustment of premiums because of pressures 
from insurance commissions. However, the evi- 
dence indicates that premiums are fundamentally 
based on claims experience. 

In its comments to the docket. Nationwide 
Mutual Insurance Companies estimated that sav- 
ings in insurance premiums should average $32.50 
per insured car per year, if all cars were equipped 
with air bags. Of this amount, 75 percent is the 
result of an assumed savings of 24.6 percent in 
the bodily injury portion of automobile insurance 
premiums, 21 percent from a 1.5 percent reduc- 
tion in health insurance premiums (30 percent 
of the 5 percent of the premiums that pay for 
auto-related injuries), and the remainder from 
savings in life insurance premiums. The Ameri- 
can Mutual Insurance Alliance and Allstate re- 
ferred to existing 30 percent discounts in first- 
party coverage and concluded that comparable 
reductions would be expected to follow a mandate 
of passive restraints. 

It has been argued that these savings would be 
largely offset by the increased cost of collision 
and property damage insurance due to the in- 
creased cost of repairing a car with a deployed 
air bag. This claim appears to be largely un- 



founded. Using figures based on field tests, it is 
estimated that each year 300,000 automobiles will 
be in accidents of sufficient severity to deploy ihe 
air bag. (Cooke, "Usage of Occupant Crash 
Protection Systems,'' NHTSA, July 1976, #74- 
14-GK-30, App. A.) Accepting vehicle manu- 
facturer estimates, it is further assumed that the 
cost of replacing an air bag will be 2.5 times the 
original equipment cost. If a car more than 6 
years old is involved in an air-bag-deploying 
accident, it is assumed scrapped rather than being 
repaired. Combining these assumptions with the 
estimated $112 cost of installing a full front air 
cushion in a new vehicle gives a total annual cost 
of replacement of $.50.4 million, or a per car cost 
of less than 51 cents per year. Increases in col- 
lision premiums should, therefore, not exceed $1 
per car- per year. It is noted that deployment in 
non-crash cases would be covered by "comprehen- 
sive" insurance policies. 

The $32.50 annual insurance savings estimated 
by Nationwide would be sufficient to pay for the 
added operating cost (around $4 per year) of an 
air-bag-equipped car with enough left over to 
more than pay for the initial cost of the system. 
Discounting at the average interest rate on new 
car loans measured in real terms (6 percent), the 
air bag would almost recover the initial cost in 
4 years, with a savings over operating cost of 
$107. 

Economic and Science Planning, Inc. (ESP) 
has submitted a differing estimate, that insurance 
savings with full implementation of passive re- 
straints would be only $3.60, rather than $32.50 
per year. About one-half of the difference arises 
from ESP's assumption that seat belt usage 
would voluntarily rise to the 44 percent level by 
1984. This seems highly improbable, based on 
experience to date. 

Moreover, that assumption does not support 
the deletion of projected insurance savings re- 
sulting from passive restraints, but suggests that 
other courses of action (such as whatever might 
be done to increase belt usage to 44 percent) 
might also produce savings. The remaining dif- 
ferences are based on such factors as the portion 
of injury costs that is paid for by insurance. If 
the assumptions of ESP are allowed to remain. 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 90 



Effective: September 1, 1981 



the savings per year would be about $16, and the 
present vahie of auto-lifetinie savings would be 
$120. 

Side ejfects of air hag installation. Some con- 
cerns were expressed in the comments about air 
bags that might be grouped as possible undesir- 
able side effects. One of these was injuries that 
might be caused by design deployment. There 
is no question that any restraint system that 
must decelerate a human body from 30 mph or 
more to rest within approximately 2 feet can 
cause injury. Belt systems often cause bruises 
and abrasions in protecting occupants from more 
serious injuries. The main question is whether 
any injuries caused by air bags are generally 
within acceptable limits, and are significantly less 
severe than those that would have been suffered 
had the occupants in question not been restrained 
by the air bags. The evidence from the vehicles 
on the road indicates that this is indeed the case. 
The injuries cited by GM as possibly caused or 
aggravated by air bag deployment are in the 
minor to moderate (AIS-1 and -2) categoiy. 
From this it can be concluded that injuries 
caused by design deployment, though worthy of 
careful monitoring with a view to design im- 
provements by manufacturers, do not provide a 
serious argument against a passive restraint re- 
quirement. 

A closely related question that has caused con- 
cern in the past is whether air bags pose an 
unreasonable danger to occupants who are not in 
a normal seating position, such as children stand- 
ing in front of a dashboard or persons who have 
been moved forward by panic braking. Much 
development work has been devoted to this prob- 
lem in the past, to design systems that minimize 
the danger to persons who are close to the infla- 
tion source. The most important change in this 
area has piobably been the general shift away 
from inflation systems that depend on stored 
high-pressure gas, in favor of pyrotechnic gas 
generatoi's. With these systems the flow of gas 
can be adjusted to make the rate slower at the 
beginning of inflation, so that an out-of-position 
occupant is pushed more gently out of the way 
before tiie maximum inflation rate occurs. 

With one exception, there have been no cases 
where out-of-position occupants have been found 



to be seriously injured in crashes in which air 
bags have deployed. Five of the crashes involv- 
ing GM vehicles have involved children in front 
seating positions (although not necessarily out 
of position), and others have involved children 
unbelted in the rear seat. 

The only exception has been the death of an 
infant that was lying laterally on the front seat 
unrestrained. Apparently during panic braking 
that proceeded the crash, the infant was thrown 
from the seat. While this constitutes an out-of- 
position situation technically, it is not the type 
of circumstance in which the air bag contributes 
to injury of the out-of-position occupant. 

Inadvertent actuation of an air bag may be a 
particular concern to the public, as noted by both 
General Motors and Ford. The sudden deploy- 
ment of an air bag in a non-crash situation would 
generally be a disconcerting experience. The 
experience with vehicles on the road, and tests 
that have been performed on 40 subjects who 
were not aware that there were air bags in their 
vehicles, indicate the loss of control in such sit- 
uations should be rare : none has occurred in the 
incidents up to now. There is little question, 
however, that inadvertent actuation could cause 
loss of control by some segments (aged, inexperi- 
enced, distracted) of the driving population, and 
it must be viewed as a small but real cost of air 
bag protection. 

The frequency of inadvertent actuation is 
therefore of special concern. The Ford fleet of 
air-bag-equipped cars (about 800 vehicles that 
have been on the road since late 1972, with around 
ftOO now taken out of service) has experienced 
no inadvertent actuations at all. The General 
Motors fleet, about 10,000 sold mostly to private 
buyers during 1974 and 1975, has experienced 
three inadvertent actuations on the road. Six 
others ha\ie occurred in the hands of mechanics 
and body shop [personnel, two in externally 
caused fires or explosions, and one from tamper- 
ing in a driveway. The Volvo fleet of 7.5 vehicles 
has experienced none. It is believed that the 
causes of the GM inadvertent deployments are 
understood, and that the means of eliminating or 
considerably reducing the likelihood of all the 
known causes of inadvertent deployments liave 
been found. These include shielding of the 
squibs (the device to ignite the propellant ma- 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 91 



EfFective: September 1, 1981 



terial in the bag inflators) against electromag- 
netic radiation, automatically disarming the 
system through the ignition syjitem when the car 
is not in operation, and routing wiring so that it 
is less accessible to tampering or degradation. 

If the figures for the combined fleets are 
projected onto the U.S. vehicle population, they 
would amount to around 7.000 on-the-road in- 
advertent actuations annually, or one for everj- 
15,000 vehicles. The chances of an individual 
experiencing one as a vehicle occupant during 
his or her lifetime would be on the order of 1 in 
200. This estimate probably overstates the like- 
lihood of occurrence since the inadvertent actua- 
tions in the GM cars to date are believed to be 
due to design deficiencies that are correctable. 
Thus, although it will probably continue to be a 
public concern, the infrequency with which in- 
advertent actuation occurs leads to the conclusion 
that it does not constitute a weighty argument 
against a passive restraint requirement. 

Some private individuals expressed, in their 
comments, concern over possible ear damage, or 
injuries that might be caused to persons with 
smoking materials in their mouths, or wearing 
eyeglasses. Although some early tests with over- 
sized cushions of prototype design produced 
some temporary hearing losses, later designs have 
reduced the sound pressures to the point where 
ear damage is no longer a significant possibility. 
With respect to eyeglasses and smoking materials, 
the results from the vehicles on the road have 
been favorable. Of the occupants that had been 
involved in air cushion deployments as of a re- 
cent date, 71 had been smoking pipes or wearing 
eyeglasses or other facial accessories. None of 
these received injuries beyond the minor (AIS-1) 
level. From this it can be concluded that these 
circumstances do not create particular hazards to 
occupants of air-bag-equipped vehicles. 

Toyo Kogyo and some private individuals 
questioned whether air bags might experience 
reliability problems in high-mileage and older 
vehicles. The fact that air bags have only one 
moving part, and most of the critical components 
rest in sealed containers during their non-deploy- 
ment life, indicates that they should perform 
well in this regard. The .systems in the vehicles 
in the field, some of which have been in use for 
almost 5 years, have demonstrated extremely good 



durability, with no apparent flaws. Manufac- 
turers use sophisticated techniques such as ac- 
celerated test cycles to assure a high level of 
reliability. 

Reliability of restraint systems is, of course, 
absolutely necessary. Unlike the failure of acci- 
dent prevention systems such as lights and brakes 
where failure does not necessarily result in harm 
to occupants, the failure of a re.straint system 
when needed in a serious crash almost certainly 
means injury will result. Vehicle and component 
manufacturers are fully aware of this and take 
the special precautions to ensure reliability which 
might not be taken for less critical systems. The 
Department is equally aware of it and has moni- 
tored manufacturer efforts to date to ensure fail- 
safe performance of crash-deployed systems. As 
an example, copies of reliability information re- 
quest letters from the Department to manufac- 
turers preparing for the demonstration program 
or otherwise involved in air bag systems have 
been made public in the docket. 

The projections of reliability to date are. of 
necessity, based on pilot pi'oduction volumes, and 
cannot demonstrate fully that reliability prob- 
lems associated with mass production will never 
occur. So that manufacturers can avoid these 
types of reliability problems, the Department has 
settled on a phase-in of the requirements which 
is described later in greater detail. 

General Motors and the Xational Automobile 
Dealers Association conunented that product lia- 
bility arising from air bag performance would 
be a major expense. The insurance company 
commenters, on the other hand, suggested that 
the presence of air bags in vehicles could reduce 
auto companies' product liability. 

The new risk of liability, attached to a require- 
ment for passive restraints, does not differ from 
the risk attached to the advent of any device or 
product whether numdated by the Federal gov- 
ernment or installed by a manufacturer by its 
own choice. Just as liability might arise because 
of the malfunctioning of a seat belt system or 
braking system, liability may also arise because 
of the malfunctioning of a passive restraint sys- 
tem. The mandating of a requirement by the 
Federal government has, in fact, often served to 
limit lial)ility, since mo.st jurisdictions accord 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 92 



EfFeclive: September 1, 1981 



great weight to evidence showing that a device 
has met Federal standards. 

There is little evidence that the mandating of 
passive restraints will lead to increases in pi'oduct 
liability insurance premiums. Although the ad- 
vent of new technology' has often been accom- 
panied by an increase in products liability 
insurance, it is unclear how much of the increase 
is attributable to increased risk and how much 
to inflation. Officials of the Department of Com- 
merce and at least two major insurance companies 
doubt that Federal passive restraint requirements 
will lead to increased risk and insurance pre- 
miums. They point out that Federal require- 
ments are imposed to make products safer, and 
safe products are less likely to cause injury. 

It is noteworthy that the Allstate Insurance 
Company agreed to sell product liability insur- 
ance for the GM cars which were to be equipped 
with passive restraint systems pursuant to the 
demonstration program, at a rate no greater than 
the product liability insurance rate for cars not 
equipped with passive restraint systems. 

Small cars. An important consideration in the 
decision concerning passive restraints is their 
suitability and availability for small cars, which 
because of the energj' shortage will comprise an 
increasing segment of the vehicle population in 
future years. Passive belts have been sold as 
standard equipment in over 65,000 Volkswagen 
cars, and must be viewed as a proven means of 
meeting a passive restraint requirement. Some 
vehicle body designs may require some modifica- 
tion for their installation, but passive belts could 
be used as restraints for most bucket-seat ar- 
rangements at moderate cost with present tech- 
nology. 

Some manufacturers have expressed doubt that 
a large proportion of their customers would find 
passive belts acceptable, because of their rela- 
tively obtrusive nature and the resistance shown 
by the U.S. public to wearing seat belt systems, 
i.e., belts that occupants must buckle and un- 
buckle. These manufacturers submitted no sup- 
porting market surveys. Further, there is reason 
to believe that the experience with active belt 
systems is not an accurate indicator of the ex- 
perience to be expected with passive belts. The 
Department anticipates that some manufacturers 



will install passive belts in the front seats of 
small cars having only two front seats. Passive 
belts woidd not confront the occupants of those 
seats with the current inconvenience of having 
to buckle a belt system to gain its protection or 
of having to unbuckle that system to get out of 
their cars. Unlike the interlock active belt sys- 
tems of several years ago, the passive belt systems 
will have no effect on the ability of drivers to 
start their cars. 

Nevertheless, the question of the acceptability 
of passive belts may make the suitability of air 
bags for small cars an important one. Although 
the shorter crush distance of small cars may im- 
pose more stringent limits on air bag deployment 
time, the evidence from studies conducted by the 
Department with air bags in small cars is that 
there are no insuperable difficulties in meeting 
the 30-mph crash retiuii'ements of Standard 208 
in cars as small as 2000 pounds gross vehicle 
weight rating with existing air bag designs (see, 
for example, "Small Car Driver Inflatable Ee- 
straint System Evaluation Program," Contract 
DOT-HS-P -01412, Status Report April 15. 
1977). 

The "packaging" problems of installing air bag 
systems ai-e greater for small cars than for larger 
ones. They occupy space in the instrument panel 
area that might otherwise be utilized by other 
items such as air conditioning ducts, glove com- 
partment, or controls and displays. Toyo Kog;y'o 
(Mazda) and Honda indicated that their instru- 
ment panels might have to be displaced 4 inches 
rearward, that some engine compartment and 
wheelbase changes might be needed, and that 
some dash-mounted accessories might have to be 
deleted or mounted elsewhere. This type of prob- 
lem is expected to be important to the existing 
choice between air bag and passive belt systems. 

It is not the role of the government to resolve 
these problems since, in the Department's judg- 
ment, they reflect design choices of the manufac- 
turers. No manufacturer has claimed, much less 
demonstrated, that it would l)e impracticable to 
install air bags in small cars without increasing 
vehicle size. Occupation of instrument panel 
space is certainly one of the unquantified costs 
of air bags, however, and the co.st is more onerous 
in a snuill car than in a large one. At the same 
time, small car makers mav choose to use the less 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 93 



Effective: September 1, 1981 



costly passive belt system. The evidence pre- 
sented to date indicates that small-car manufac- 
turers would be able to meet a passive restraint 
requirement by making reasonable design com- 
promises without increasing vehicle size. 

Lead time an/1 produetwn readiness. There 
was considerable discussion in the comments to 
the docket about tlie ability of the automobile 
industry to develop the production readiness to 
provide passive restraint systems for all passen- 
ger cars. The installation of passive restraint 
systems requires the addition of new hardware 
and modification of vehicle structures in such a 
way that the system provides performance ade- 
quate to meet the standard and a high level of 
safety and reliability on the road. A new in- 
dustrial capacity will have to be generated to 
supply components for air hag systems. Major 
capital expenditures will have to be made by the 
vehicle industry to incorporate air bag systems 
into production models. The Department esti- 
mates that the total capital required for tooling 
and equipment for the production of passive re- 
straint systems in new cars is approximately $500 
million. 

Establishment of an industry to produce com- 
ponents for air bag systems centers on the pro- 
duction of the inflator component. Five major 
companies have indicated an interest in produc- 
ing inflators for aii- bags. The propellant pres- 
ently being considered for use is sodium azide. 
The primary source of sodium azide. Canadian 
Industries Ltd., has a capacity of around 1 mil- 
lion pounds per year, sufficient for only about 
800,000 full front seat air bag systems. Tiius, 
additional capacity of 10 million pounds or more 
of sodium azide will have to be generated, or 
alternative propellants would have to be used. 
The Department's analysis of the capital require- 
ments and lead time to develop sufficient capacity 
indicates that adecjuate propellant can be avail- 
able for annual production levels of several mil- 
lion units in less than three years. The production 
of inflators (from several sources) can reach sev- 
eral million units within two to three years of 
tlie I'eceipt of firm orders, including design speci- 
fications, from the automobile manufacturers. A 
new capacity has already been generated to sup- 
ply the demonstration ])rogram which is being 
pursued at this time. 



The vehicle manufacturers face substantial 
work to incorporate air bags in their production. 
In the case of domestic manufacturei-s alone, the 
in.strument panels of approximately half of the 
new cars that will be manufactured in the early 
IPRCs will have to be completely redesigned to 
provide space for the passenger bag and structure 
to accept the loading on the passenger bag. In 
some cases, relocation of the instrument cluster 
is needed to facilitate visibility over the bag 
module in the steering hub. 

The burden placed on the vehicle manufactur- 
ers to redesign the instrument panel and related 
components to accept air bags can be leduced 
considerably by phasing in the passive restraint 
requirements over several years. With phased 
introduction, the redesigning of instrument panels 
and other components can be done at roughh* the 
same pace that these components would ordinarily 
l)e redesigned, although perhaps not within the 
manufacturer's preferred schedule. 

The rulemaking docket contained a number of 
references to additional reasons for phased intro- 
duction of new systems like passive restraints: 
to establish quality systems in production, to ob- 
tain experience with these systems in the hands 
of a more limited segment of the public, and to 
obtain feedback on the performance and reliabil- 
ity of the systems. If production levels are rela- 
tively small at the beginning of a mandated 
requirement, any unforeseen issues that arise are 
made more manageable by the limited number of 
vehicles affected. A major automotive supplier. 
Eaton Corporation, stressed this aspect of pro- 
duction feasibility over all others. 

Based on its evaluation, the Department has 
determined tiiat a lead time of four full years 
should precede the recjuirement for the produc- 
tion of the first passive-equipped passenger cars. 
This lead time accords with General Motors' re- 
quested lead time to accomplish the change for 
all model lines. Equally important, the 4-year 
lead time represents a continuation to its logical 
conclusion of the early voluntary production of 
passive restraints represented by the December 
1976 decision. The continued opportunity for 
early, gradual, and voluntary introduction of 
passive restraints to the public in relatively small 
numbers offeis a great deal of benefit in assuring 
the orderly implementation of a mandatory 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 94 



Effective: September 1, 1981 



passive restraint requirement. Experience with 
the limited quantities of early passive-restraint- 
equipped vehicles can confirm in the public's 
mind the value of these systems prior to manda- 
tory production. Because of the value of such a 
voluntary phase-in approach to both the manu- 
facturer and the public, the Department antici- 
pates that the manufacturers which were parties 
to the earlier demonstration program agreements 
will continue their current preparations for vol- 
untary production of passive restraints. The 
Department also expects that other manufactur- 
ers will undertake to produce limited quantities 
prior to the effectivity of the mandate. The 
Department intends to vigorously support the 
efforts of manufacturers to foster sales on a vol- 
imtary basis, both through major public infor- 
mation programs and through efforts to encourage 
their purchase by Federal, other government 
agencies, and private-fleet users. 

The Department also intends to initiate an 
intensive monitoring program to oversee the im- 
plementation plans of both vehicle manufacturei-s 
and their suppliers. The purpose of the moni- 
toring program will be not only to confirm that 
adequate levels of reliability and quality are 
being achieved in implementing designs to com- 
ply with the standard, but also to provide assur- 
ance to the public that the issues that have been 
raised on passive restraint reliability are being 
resolved under the auspices of the Secretary of 
Transportation. 

In addition to a long lead time, the Depart- 
ment considers that the mandate should be ac- 
complished in three stages, with new standard- 
and luxury-size cars (a wheelbase of more than 
114 inches) meeting the requirement on and after 
September 1, 1981, new intermediate- and com- 
pact-size cars (a wheelbase of more than 100 
inches) also meeting the requirements on and 
after September 1, 1982, and all new passenger 
cars meeting the requirement on and after Sep- 
tember 1, 1983. 

Wheelbase was chosen as a measure to delineate 
the phasing requirements because it is a well- 
defined quantity that does not vary significantly 
within a given car line. With the downsizing of 
most automobiles made in the United States, 
wheelbases are being reduced by four to six 
inches on most standard-intermediate- and com- 



pact-size cars. As a result, in the period of 
phased implementation (the 1982 through 1984 
model years) standard-size cars will generally 
have wheelbases in a range of 115" to 120", 
intermediate-size cars will have wheelbases in a 
range of 107" to 113", and compact-cars will 
generally have wheelbases in a range of 102" to 
108". Subcompact-size cars will continue to have 
wheelbases below 100". 

The determination of which car sizes to in- 
clude in each year of the phased implementation 
was made in consideration of the effect on each 
manufacturer and the difficulty involved in engi- 
neering passive restraints into each size class of 
automobile. Because of the extensive experience 
with passive restraints in full-size cars, and the 
space available in the instrument panels of these 
cars to receive air bag systems, this size car was 
deemed to be most susceptible to early imple- 
mentation. 

The gradual phase-in schedule is intended to 
permit manufacturers to absorb the impact of 
introducing passive restraint systems without un- 
due technological or economic risk at the same 
time they undertake efforts to meet the challeng- 
ing requirements imposed by emissions and fuel 
economy standards for automobiles in the early 
1980's.' 

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS 

Section 104(b) of the Act directs that the 
Secretary consult with the National Motor Ve- 
hicle Safety Advisory Council on motor vehicle 
safety standards. The Council has announced in 
an April 26, 1977, letter to the Department that 
"The Council feels that the time has come to 
move ahead with a fully passive restraint stand- 
ard." The Council stated that it was recom- 
mending passive protection in the lateral and 
rollover modes as well as the frontal mode pro- 
posed by the Department. The Department 
therefore will take under consideration the Coun- 
cil recommendation, with a view to expanding 
the passive restraint requirement as new tech- 
nology is advanced. The Council also recom- 
mended that mandatory seat belt use laws should 
also be promoted until the entire vehicle fleet is 
equipped with passive restraints. As noted, the 
Department intends to encourage States to enact 
such laws in their jurisdictions. 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 95 



EfFecHve: September 1, 1981 



It is noted that tlie National Transportation 
Safety Board supported the mandate of passive 
restraints, with a cautionarv note to preserve the 
present performance specification that permits 
meetinfi tlie retniiroinent by means of passive 
belts as well as inflatable passive restraints. 

The United Auto Workers Union, which rep- 
resents the vast majority of the workers whose 
industry is affected by the mandate, has also 
advocated mandatory passive restraints to the 
Department. 

The Council on Wage and Price Stability (the 
Council) supported the mandate of passive re- 
straints, based on the assumptions that no serious 
technical problems exist with either the air bag 
or the passive belt system concept and that the 
Department's cost estimates are substantially cor- 
rect. The Council based its support on the com- 
parative costs of achieving benefits under the 
three approaches, finding passive restraints to be 
the most cost effective. 

The Council urged that passive belt systems 
continue to be permitted as meeting the perform- 
ance requirements of the standard, because they 
represent the least costly passive restraint system 
currently commercially available. Standard No. 
208 has always been and continues to be a per- 
formance standard, and any device that provides 
the performance specified may be used to comply 
with the standards. With regard to passive belt 
systems, it is important that they remain avail- 
able, particularly in the case of smaller-volume 
manufacturers who may not care to provide air 
bag type protection because of its engineering 
and tooling costs relative to production volume. 

In accordance with S 102(2) (C) of the Na- 
tional Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 
U.S.C. 4332(2) (C)), as implemented by Execu- 
tive Order 11514 (3 CFR, 1966-1970 Comp., p. 
902) and the Council on Environmental Quality's 
Guidelines of April 23, 1971 (36 FR -7724), the 
Department has carefully considered all environ- 
mental aspects of its three proposed approaches. 
A Draft Environmental Impact Statement 
(DEIS) was published March 25, 1977, and com- 
ments have been received and analyzed. The 
Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) 
is released today. Petitions for reconsideration 



based on issues and information raised in the 
FEIS may be filed for the next 30 days (49 CFR 
Part 553.35). 

There was substantial agreement by comment- 
ers with the agency's conclusions about impacts 
on the consumption of additional natural re- 
sources, the generation of pollutants in the manu- 
facturing process and in transporting the system 
throughout the vehicle's life, and on solid waste 
disposal problems. In response to the comments 
of General Motors and others on the DEIS, sev- 
eral estimates were revised. In the Department's 
view, the two most significant consequences of 
a passive restraint mandate are the use of large 
amounts of sodium azide as the generator of gas 
for air bags, and the increased consumption of 
petroleum fuel by automobiles because of the 
added weight of air bags. 

Sodium azide is a substance that is toxic and 
that can burn extremely rapidly. The agency is 
satisfied that the material can be used safety both 
in an industrial setting and in motor vehicles 
during its lifetime, due to inaccessibility and 
strength of the sealed canisters in which it is 
packed. The problem is to assure a proper means 
of disposal. Junked vehicles that are shredded 
have batteries and gas tanks removed routinely, 
and the air bag could be easily deployed by an 
electric charge at the same time. A hazard re- 
mains, however, for those vehicles that are simply 
abandoned. However, the agency judges that the 
chemical's relative inaccessibility will discourage 
attempts to tamper with it. The proportion of 
abandoned cars is less than 15 percent of those 
manufactured. The Department will work with 
the Environmental Protection Agency to develop 
appropriate controls for the disposal of air bag 
systems employing sodium azide. 

The additional weight of inflatable passive re- 
straints was judged to increase the annual con- 
sumption of fuel by automobiles by 0.71 percent 
(about 521 million gallons annually). While this 
increase is not insignificant, the Department be- 
lieves that it is fully justified by the prospective 
societal benefits of passive restraints. The De- 
partment took full account of the impact of a 
passive restraint standard in its recent proceed- 
ing to set fuel economy standards for 1981-1984 
passenger automobiles. 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 96 



Effective: September 1, 1981 



In accordance with Department policy encour- 
aging adequate analysis of the consequences of 
regulatory action (41 FR 16200, April 16, 1976), 
the Department has evaluated the economic and 
other consequences of this amendment on the 
public and private sectors. The basic evaluation 
is contained in a document ("Supplemental In- 
flation Impact Evaluation") that was developed 
in conjunction with the Department's .Time 1976 
proposal of mandatory passive restraints. That 
evaluation has been reviewed and a supplement 
to it represents the Department's position on the 
effect of this rulemaking on the nation's economy. 

The standard, as set forth below, allows manu- 
facturers two options for compliance. First, a 
manufacturer may provide passive occupant 
crash protection in frontal modes only. If this 
option is chosen, the manufacturer must also pro- 
vide lap belts at all seating positions in the auto- 
mobile. The lap belts are provided to give crash 
protection in side and rollover crashes, and have 
a demonstrated effectiveness in these crash modes. 

A second option for manufacturers is to pro- 
vide full passive protection for front seat occu- 
pants in three crash modes: frontal, side and 
rollover. If a manufacturer can achieve this 
performance, it would not have to provide seat 
belts in the front seat. Under this option, lap 
belts would continue to be required for all reai- 
seating positions. 

The Department has found that use of any 
seat belt installed in accordance with the stand- 
ard is necessary to enhance the safety of vehicle 
occupants. Thus, the Department continues to 
advocate the use of all seat belts installed at all 
seating positions in motor vehicles, regardless of 
whether the vehicle is also equipped with passive 
restraints. 

In consideration of the foregoing. Standard 
No. 208 (49 CFR 571.208) is amended. . . . 



Effective date finding : Under § 125 of the Act. 
an amendment of Standard \o. 208 that specifies 
occupant restraint other than belt systems shall 
not become effective under any circumstances 
until the expiration of the 60-day review period 
provided for by Congress under that section 
"unless the standard specifies a later date." Sec- 
tion 125 also provides that the standard does not 
become effective at all if a concurrent resolution 
of disapproval is passed by Congress during the 
review period. The Department's view of this 
section is that a "later date" can be established 
at the time of promulgation of the rule, subject 
to the possibility of revei-sal by the concurrent 
resolution. 

The amendment is therefore issued, to become 
effective beginning September 1, 1981, for those 
passenger cars first subject to the new require- 
ments. The reasons underlying the effective 
dates set forth in the standard have been dis- 
cussed above. The establishment of the effective 
dates is accomplished at this time to provide the 
maximum time available for preparations to meet 
the requirements. The Congressional review 
period will be completed prior to the commitment 
of significant new resources by manufacturers to 
meet the upcoming requirements of the standard. 

The program official and lawyer principally 
responsible for the development of this rulemak- 
ing document are Carl Nash and Tad Herlihy, 
respectively. 

(Sees. 103, 119, Pub. L. 89-563, 80 Stat. 718 
(15U.S.C. 1392, 1407)) 

Issued on June 30, 1977. 

Brock Adams 

Secretary of Transportation 

42 F.R. 34299 
July 5, 1977 



PART 571; S 208— PRE 97-98 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO 
MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Restraint Systems 
(Dock«t No. 74-14; NoMm 12) 



With the exception of minor perfecting amend- 
ments, this notice denies petitions for reconsid- 
eration of the Department's decision to require 
the provision of automatic occupant crash pro- 
tection in future passenger cars, commencing in 
some models on September 1, 1981, and in all 
models by September 1, 1983. Six petitions for 
reconsideration and one application for stay of 
the standard's effective date pending judicial re- 
view were filed by parties that disagreed with 
aspects of the DOT decision to upgrade occupant 
crash protection as a reasonable and necessary 
exercise of the mandate of the National Traffic 
and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (the Act) to pro- 
vide protection through improved automobile 
design, construction, and performance. This 
notice denies the petitions and establishes the 
automatic crash protection requirements and ef- 
fective dates of S4.1.2 and S4.1.3 as final for 
purposes of judicial review under § 105(a) (1) of 
the Act as to any person who will be adversely 
affected by them. One petition for reconsidera- 
tion of a related rulemaking action ("Notice 11") 
is granted in this notice. 

Effective date: December 5, 1977. 

For further information contact : 

Mr. Ealph Hitchcock, Motor Vehicle Pro- 
grams, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, Washington, D.C. 20590 
(202-426-2212). 

Supplementary information: On June 30, 1977 
(42 FR 34289; July 5, 1977) the DOT upgraded 
the existing occupant restraint requirements of 
Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection, 
to require the provision of automatic crash 
protection in passenger cars with wheelbases 



greater than 114 inches manufactured on or 
after September 1, 1981, in passenger cars with 
wheelbases greater than 100 inches manufac- 
tured on or after September 1, 1982, and in all 
passenger cars manufactured on or after Sep- 
tember 1, 1983. In place of the lap/shoulder seat 
belt combinations provided in the front seats of 
most of today's passenger care, the standard man- 
dates a performance standard for crash protec- 
tion that nmst be met by means that require no 
action by the vehicle occupant. The automatic 
protection must be provided in the frontal mode — 
specifically, when the vehicle impacts a fixed col- 
lision barrier at any speed up to and including 
30 mph and at any angle not more than 30 de- 
grees to the left or right of perpendicular, the 
test dummies installed at the front seating posi- 
tions must remain in the vehicle and be protected 
against specified head, chest, and femur injuries 
by passive means (means that require no action 
by the veliicle occupants). A manufacturer may 
meet lateral and rollover crash requirements by 
the provision of active or passive belt systems. 

This amendment to the existing standard in- 
voked a provision of the Act (15 U.S.C. 1400(b) ) 
that provides for a 60-day Congressional review 
of the action. A resolution of disapproval from 
both Houses of Congress was specified as neces- 
sary to disapprove the action. Hearings were 
held by both the Senate and the House in Sep- 
tember 1977, and votes were conducted in October 
1977. The House Committee on Interstate and 
Foreign Commerce adopted its Subcommittee's 
adverse report on the disapproval resolution and 
voted to table it. The Senate also voted to table 
the disapproval resolution by a vote of 65 to 31. 
The 60-day review period ended October 14, 1977. 



PART 671; S 208-PRE 99 



Six petitions for reconsideration of the decision 
were filed by interested parties, alon^ with an 
application for stay of the effective date of the 
decision pendinfr disposition of a i^etition for 
judicial review of the standard filed by the Pacific 
Lejral Foundation on September 1, 1977. One 
petition requested an effective dat« change in a 
related rulemaking action. 

Disposition of Petitions 

Effectiveness. A central factor in the Depart- 
ment's decision to upgrade occupant crash pro- 
tection requirements was a det«nnination that 
passive restraint tecluiology could substantially 
reduce fatalities and injuries in crashes. 

Comprehensive analyses of the effectiveness of 
passive restraints in preventing fatalities and 
reducing injuries appear in the preamble to the 
decision, the "Explanation of Rule Making Ac- 
tion" that accompanied the decision, and in 
underlying research and analyses that were con- 
ducted by and for the Department's National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration 
(XHTSA) and placed in the public rule making 
docket throughout the Standard's eight-year nde 
making history. 

The estimates of restraint system effectiveness 
are based on extensive field data with active 
safety belt restraint systems, evaluated in con- 
junction with thousands of crash and sled tests 
comparing the performance of various active and 
passive restraint technologies in occupant protec- 
tion with each other and with the performance 
of unrestrained occupants. The analyses show 
that air bags and passive belt systems are ap- 
proximately equivalent in overall protective 
ability to combined lap and shoulder belts when 
worn. However, usage of passive restraints will 
be substantially higher than the 20-percent usage 
rate of active safety belts observed at present. 

General Motors (GM) petitioned for sus^jen- 
sion of the decision while an organization not 
involved in the passive restraint issue"audits" the 
DOT and GM effectiveness estimates. A mod- 
erate amount of field experience with the GM 
1974-1976 air bag fleet of 10,000 vehicles is now 
available, and GM sought to obtain an effective- 
ness estimate from the field data by comparing 
injuries in the air bag accidents that have oc- 



curred with injuries in accidents of comparable 
severity foviiid in GM insurance company files. 
Based on this niethodologj-, GM concluded that 
air bags are little more effective than no restraint 
at all. 

Analysis of GM's "matching case'' methodology- 
indicates a failure to correct their statistical con- 
clusions for known differences between the air 
bag and insurance file fleets. For example, be- 
cause air bags were only offered in GM's full 
size and luxury cars, the occupants of the air bag 
cars were older than the general population of 
motorists represented in the matching insurance 
files by an average of about 12 years. Older 
persons are more susceptible to injury in crashes 
than the generally younger population of Ameri- 
can motorists. This age bias alone could result 
in an underestimation of air bag effectiveness of 
about 30 percent. 

A further source of error in the GM meth- 
odology results from matching the air bag crashes 
with a range of similar crashes in the insurance 
files. For example, consider an air bag car crash 
into a pole resulting in 17 inches of cmsh to the 
front of the car. This case was matched against 
"similar" crashes into poles or trees of non-air 
bag cars with between 14 and 20 inches of crush. 
Since the insurance files contain many more lower 
speed crashes than higher speed crashes, the com- 
parison group of "similar'' crashes will always 
contain a range of severity that is biased toward 
less severe crashes. When air bag crashes are 
matched in this way, a downward bias is intro- 
duced that could reduce estimates of air bag 
effectiveness by 50 to 100 percent. 

DOT finds that proper analytical corrections 
for age distribution and downward severity of 
the case matching technique yields an air bag 
effectiveness value of about 40 percent for AIS-3 
or greater injuries. The Department's decision 
in June 1977 (Table I) estimated air bag effec- 
tiveness for AIS-3 injuries at 30 percent and for 
AIS^ to 6 at 40 percent. 

A more direct and definitive comparison can 
Ije made of passive and active restraint effective- 
ness using field data on the accident experience 
of 80,000 VW Rabbits with passive belt systems 
that have been sold in the U.S. These data show 
that the rate of fatalities in Rabbits equipped 



PART 571; S 208-PRE 100 



with passive belts is less than one-thii-d of the 
rate for Rabbits of the same years of manufax'- 
ture equipped with active lap/shoulder belt 
systems. 

Economics and Science Planning, Inc. (ESP), 
asked that the passive restraint decision be modi- 
fied to require passive belts in all 2-front-seatinp:- 
position passenger cars on and after September 1. 
1981, with passive requirements for other cars to 
follow only after further evaluation of air bag 
effectiveness. The seating- posit ion distinction 
recognizes that passive belts may not be practical 
yet for 3-passenger bench-seat configurations. 
ESP's basis for advocating passive belts is the 
preliminary data on experience with passive-belt- 
equipped Volkswagen Eabbits. 

Standard No. 208 is a performance standard 
that can be met by several designs, including the 
air bag and passive belt that have already been 
shown to be commercially feasible. The same 
performance would be required of any system 
chosen by the manufacturer. 

ESP's preference for passive belts is grounded 
in its air bag analysis which, in the Department's 
opinion, seriously underestimates air bag effec- 
tiveness. ESP compared the experience of 
accident-involved 1973, 1974, and 1975 model cars 
equipped with seat belts (DOT-HS-5-01255-1) 
(RSEP study) with accident-involved air bag 
cars from the 10,000-car GM fleet now in high- 
way service. 

In attempting the comparison ESP made two 
major errors. Because the towaway mileage 
figures for the air-bag fleet are not known, ESP 
simply speculated what this critical factor would 
be, with no credible grounds for the validity of 
its estimates. The other error was to compare 
the two data sets, ignoring relevant differences 
in the ratio of urban to raral exposure, the pro- 
portions of vehicles of various sizes in the sets, 
the crash modes and severity of the crashes, and 
the age and sex of the vehicle occupants involved. 
"When ESP corrected its analysis, in a later sub- 
mission to the Department to eliminate these 
errors, it obtained results that tend to support 
the DOT estimates. 

The ESP petition for deferral of air-bag-type 
passive restraints is also grounded in the un- 
founded assertion that seat belt usage is or can 



be expected in the future to rise to 44 percent. 
ESP relies on a finding from the RSEP study 
that belt use was as high as 44 percent in 1974 
and 1975 model cars obsei-ved during 1974 and 
the first part of 1975. But this isolated finding 
cannot be used out of context as a general pre- 
dictor of belt usage rates. Most of these vehicles 
were originally equipped with ignition interlocks 
and sequential warning systems, many of which 
had not yet been disabled and thus induced oc- 
cupants to buckle up. Subsequent observations 
confirm that belt usage in those model year care 
has now dropped to less than 30 percent. In the 
most recent model year cars (1976 and 1977 
models) with only a brief reminder system, usage 
is only about 20 percent (DOT-HS-6-01340). 

ESP suggested that future belt usage could be 
higher than DOT observations, basetl on its be- 
lief that usage is higher (1) in iiiral areas where 
DOT observations were not concentrated, (2) in 
high-risk situations because drivers perceive a 
risk and take appropriate action, and (3) in small 
cars that will become a higher proportion of the 
fle«t in the future. This speculation has no basis 
in fact. The RSEP study shows belt usage to be 
higher in urban areas where DOT observations 
were concentrated, tending if anything to bias 
the observation in favor of high usage rates. 
The same study provides evidence that belt usage 
is no more likely in higher risk situations. Usage 
was lower for vehicles that sustained higher levels 
of damage. The higher belt usage in smaller cars 
is more likely attributable to the general attitudes 
of existing small car buyers than simply to occu- 
pancy of a smaller vehicle. 

Chrysler, Ford, and AMC alluded to air bag 
effectiveness but raised no points that have not 
already been addressed as a part of the passive 
restraint decision at the time of its issuance. No 
basis in these petitions exists upon which to re- 
consider the decision. 

Implement at icm schedule. The Center for Auto 
Safety (the Center) and Ralph Nader petitioned 
for modification of the effective date and phase-in 
to make the requirements become effective for all 
cars on September 1, 1980. The Center argued 
that installation in that time period is technically 
feasible, that compliance of large care first, and 
less crashworthy small care last, contradicts the 



PART 571; S 208-PRE 101 



Act's mandate to reduce death and injurj', that 
phase-in of requirements by wheelbase length is 
not authorized by the Act. and that insufficient 
notice of the implementation schedule was pro- 
vided by the Department. 

The introduction of passive restraint systems 
in all new cai-s will require the design, testing, 
and manufacture of components for a variety of 
passive restraint systems, in many variations to 
accommodate all sizes and models of passenger 
automobiles sold in the domestic market. Parties 
to the rulemaking generally agreed what tasks 
are necessary to redesign new automobiles to ac- 
commodate passive belts and air bags. However, 
some disputed the length of time neetled to ac- 
complish these tasks eifectively and in an orderly 
manner for all cars sold in the United States 
during the time frame from now into the early 
1980's. 

A comprehensive discussion of the considera- 
tions underlying the establishment of the stand- 
ard's implementation schedule appears in the 
Production Readhiess and Introduction Schedui-e 
section of the "Explanation of Rule Making 
Action" underlying the decision. 

The Department estimates that the new re- 
quirements will apply to approximately 2.8 
million five- and six-passenger full size care in 
September 1981, an additional 4.9 million inter- 
mediate and compact cars in September 1982, 
and an additional 3.2 million sub-compact and 
mini-compact cars in September 1983. 

Depending on the amount of research and de- 
velopment conducted to date, the product lines, 
and the resources of the various manufacturers, 
lead time required by each will vary significantly. 
Some manufacturers have done preparatory de- 
velopment work toward the installation of passive 
systems, and some have done very little. Thus, 
the varying capabilities and state of the develop- 
ment programs of most manufacturers must be 
considered in establisliing technically feasible 
lead times, and not simply the capability of the 
most or least advanced. 

Facilities for manufacturing air bag inflator 
components in large numbers do not exist and 
must be developed. The development of this new 
industrial capacity cannot be expected to coincide 
fully with the development and planning activi- 



ties of the vehicle manufacturers alone, because 
component supplier investments will probably not 
be made without the suppliers having firm orders. 
This is particularly so where the passive restraint 
requirements have been issued and remanded 
several times over the last seven years. Vehicle 
manufacturers generally do not order components 
from the suppliers until they have developed, 
tested, and settled on the configurations necessary' 
to meet the standard in their products. The 
serial nature of development, design, testing, and 
tooling processes for mass production strongly 
affects lead time requirements. 

The XHTSA estimates that the lead time for 
the major and secondary design changes (such 
as to the instmment panel, stefering colunon, door 
structure, and "B" pillar) that would be required 
to place air bags or passive belts in new automo- 
biles can vary from less than 26 months to more 
than 38 months for a typical large manufacturer. 

Another factor affecting lead time is the period 
of time needed to develop a large scale production 
capacity for pyrotechnic propellant materials. 
Based on existing inflator technology and produc- 
tion capacity, the Department estimates that 
approximately 3 yeare will l)e necessary to pro- 
duce sufficient inflators for the entire annual 
production of passenger cars without an extra- 
ordinary commitment from this industry. The 
development of large scale inflator manufacturing 
capacity is likelj- to occur only after the design 
and initial testing of air bag systems by the auto 
manufacturere. 

A final and extremely important factor that 
must be considered in establishing lead time re- 
quirements is the necessity to assure that systems 
furnished to comply with the standard will pro- 
vide trouble-free, durable, and marketable char- 
acteristics in service. Reduction in lead time, or 
inefficient use of lead time, may increase the 
probability of defects occurring in sen'ice. 

From these considerations, it is apparent that 
installation of either air bags or passive belts 
would not be practical for all new automobiles 
within less than 3 yeare as requested by the 
Center. To provide I'easonable opportunity for 
development, design, testing, and tooling of 
passive i-estraint S3'stems with adequate durabil- 
ity, quality, reliability, and overall performance, 



PART 571; S 208-PRE 102 



48 months of lead time is justified. This is par- 
ticularly true for smaller-volume manufacturers 
who have done little passive restraint develop- 
ment work and are only now studying specific 
designs for their 1982 and 1983 model year 
products. 

It should be noted that the lead time author- 
ized is required by the facts and circumstances 
presented in this particular and complex rule- 
making and in no way is to be considered as a 
precedent for the calculation of lead time in any 
other standard which may later be promulgated 
by the agency. 

The Center also advocated that the changes 
necessary to install passive restraints should oc- 
cur at the same time instead of being phased-in 
over three years. The Center suggested that ac- 
commodation of the manufacturers' preferences, 
specifically their plans to meet future emissions 
and fuel economy requirements, had dictated the 
3-phase implementation. This is not the case. 
The major vehicle redesign and retooling for 
materials conservation, fuel economy, and emis- 
sions that has been and will occur through the 
early 1980's must be considered in reaching any 
determination about the technical and economic 
feasibility of automotive regulatory actions of 
DOT. A thorough evaluation of the consequences 
of this passive restraint decision requires no less. 

However, the requirements for improved occu- 
pant restraints were not subordinated to the 
attainment of fuel economy or emissions require- 
ments. The preamble to DOT's fuel economy 
rulemaking makes clear that downward adjust- 
ment in the fuel economy levels was made to 
accommodate the weight of passive restraints. 
As earlier explained, a 4-year lead time was 
judged to be reasonable and appropriate to assure 
that a satisfactory' product could be developed 
by most manufacturers in the United States 
market for most of their products. 

The decision to require only a portion of pro- 
duction to comply in the first year further rec- 
ognizes the limit on the available tooling industry 
capacity to accomplish major changes, and the 
demands this industry will face within the next 
several years because of an unprecedented com- 
bination of regulatory requirements and commer- 
cial pressures. A manufacturer with several 



vehicle offerings ordinarily undertakes major 
product changes in only a portion of its produc- 
tion at one time. Assuming a 4-year cycle within 
the industry for substantial changes, for example, 
it is evident that only about one-fourth of the 
engineering and tooling capacity resources neces- 
sary to change the entire production are in place 
and available for use in any one year. The lead 
times provided are based on reasonable utilization 
of available tooling and the objective that reliable 
and effective passive restraint systems be devel- 
oped. 

The longer lead time allowed for smaller cars 
is also intended to provide the alternatives to 
small-car manufacturers for the installation of 
air bag systems in lieu of the simpler passive belt 
systems. The development of either type of oc- 
cupant crash protection for smaller cars presents 
a greater engineering challenge than for large 
cars, and some makers of smaller cars have sig- 
nificantly smaller engineering resources than do 
the makers of the majority of larger cars. The 
Department intended to provide sufficient lead 
time so that the most effective designs can be 
fully considered and tested before production 
decisions must be reached. The agency considers 
that its analysis, reported in the "Explanation 
of Rule Making Action," provides ample justifi- 
cation for a phase-in as the practicable approach 
to meeting the need for motor vehicle safety in 
upgrading automobile occupant crash protection. 

The Center argued that a phase-in of require- 
ments in stages that distinguish among vehicles 
on the basis of a design characteristic (wheelbase 
length) is not authorized by the Act. The Cen- 
ter argued that "type" distinction does not in- 
clude wheelbase distinctions. The Center also 
asserts that the DOT believes it has only "across- 
the-board" authority to implement standards, and 
that Congress acquiesed in this view by not pro- 
\ading DOT additional phase-in authority in the 
1974 amendments to the Act. 

The Department has repeatedly utilized "type" 
distinctions based on design in carrying out the 
Act. The basic vehicle type distinctions used to 
distinguish the phasing of requirements among 
passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, 
and light trucks are not expressly authorized by 
the Act. DOT established the distinction to ra- 



PART 571; S 208-PRE 103 



tionally implement the Act. The wheelbase dis- 
tinction has been used in the bumper safety 
standard Xo. 215, Exterior Protection., to imple- 
ment up<ri'a<led requirements as expeditiously as 
possible. This regular practice contradicts the 
assertion that DOT itself believes it has "across- 
the-board" authority only. The DOT 1974 re- 
quest for "percentage of production" phase-in 
authority in no way applies to the question of 
phase-in authority based on design distinctions 
such as wheelbase length, weight, or chassis type, 
that the Department already had. 

Congress has in fact implicitly approved 
phase-in based on design distinction by its 1974 
ratification of Standard No. 301-75, Fuel System 
Integrity, in a form that contains a gross vehicle 
weight rating (GVWR) phase-in criterion. Such 
design distinctions have been relied on by DOT 
and acquiesed in by Congress, the industry, and 
the public since the Act's inception. 

Finally, the agency does not agree that the 
legislative history cited by the Center supports 
the proposition that phase-ins are illegal. The 
quoted statement by Senator Magnuson states 
that standards will apply to every vehicle, but 
does not address the question of when they would. 
The refusal by Congress to authorize phase-in 
by "customarj- model change" criteria in no way 
excludes the authority to phase-in by design dis- 
tinction. The Senate Report language addresses 
particular vehicle changes that take more than a 
year to implement, and simply notes tliat the 
DOT is authorized to set later dates for those 
changes. This passage does not address the ques- 
tion of later dates for a particular category of 
vehicle. 

The Center asserted that inadequate notice of 
the implementation schedule had been provided 
by the Department, because the September 1981 
date was adopted in place of the proposed 1980 
date, and because the wheelbase phase-in was 
adopted in place of the proposed phase-in by 
occupant position. While conceding that "everj' 
precise change ultimately adopted need not be 
published", the Center believed that inadequate 
()pi)ortunity was made available to the public to 
address the implementation schedule. 

The Department has fully considered the Cen- 
ter's objection in the light of its public notices. 



hearings, and the rulemaking record on Standard 
208. The question is whether the public has had 
sufficient notice of the issue (the timing of man- 
datory passive restraint installation). As a gen- 
eral matter, some changes from the proposal are 
inherent in the notice and comment process so 
that the rulemaker can Ijenefit from comments 
and modify the rulemaking without having to 
repropose every time new information is learned. 
In this case, the notice proposed a timing 
schedule, and the notice indicated that the im- 
plementation was tentative, even suggesting a 
phase-in at occupant positions as an alternative 
timing approach. The Draft Environmental 
Impact Statement described phase-in alternatives, 
and many parties in their written and oral com- 
ments raised the issue of the timing for the 
mandate. The Center itself commented on tim- 
ing which demonstrates that they were sufficiently 
aware of the issue to comment on it. 

Implementation of the Standard 

An important element in implementing the 
passive restraint requirements is to ensure that 
they are introduced in significant numbers prior 
to the time they are required by mandate. While 
passive belt systems are already in use in sub- 
stantial numbers on the Volkswagen Rabbit 
(about 80,000 cars), relatively few air bag sj'S- 
tems are in highway service. The two major 
reasons to have passive restraints voluntarily 
produced prior to the mandate are to familiarize 
the public with passive restraint technology' and 
to work out early problems in production systems 
that could interfere with orderly implementation 
of the mandate and jeopardize success of the 
program. 

The Department is taking steps to provide for 
voluntary early introduction. In addition to 
Volkswagen, GM and Ford have indicated plans 
to introduce passive belts as an option as e^rly 
as the 1979 and 1980 model years, respectively. 
Ford and GM have also announced the intention 
of making an air bag option available in one or 
more models in the 1981 model year, one year 
before the mandate. The Department commends 
this initiative and is encouraging these companies 
to expand this commitment to introduce air bags 
voluntarily in the 1980 model year and in other 



PART 571; S 208-PRE 104 



than full-size cars. The Department will con- 
tinue to monitor the performance of voluntarily 
introduced systems, both air bags and passive 
belts, as it has to date. 

In support of manufacturers' efforts to market 
air bags earlier than the mandate, the Depart- 
ment has contacted the General Services Admin- 
istration, State and local government operators 
of fleet vehicles, the insurance companies, rental 
fleet owners, taxi operators, and other institutional 
users of passenger cars to encourage the purchase 
of air bag cars. This is the most direct induce- 
ment to the manufacturers to make air bags 
available earlier than the initial September 1981 
effective date. Complementary activities to assist 
the early introduction of the systems are: (1) a 
DOT public education campaign that is already 
underway throughout the country, (2) monitor- 
ing component and vehicle manufacturers' im- 
plementation programs to assure proper attention 
is given to cost, reliability, and effectiveness, and 
(3) continued research, development, and evalua- 
tion of passive restraint systems to insure that 
the best overall passive restraint technology is 
available to manufacturers and the public, both 
now and in the future. 

Other Issues 

The Pacific Legal Foundation filed a petition 
for review of the rule in the Court of Appeals 
for the District of Columbia. It then asked the 
Department to stay the effective date of the rule 
for a period of time equal to the length of ju- 
dicial review. 

The Foundation, in its application for a stay, 
listed in general terms a number of items it said 
the Department failed to consider or evaluate 
appropriately. The Department did, however, 
review and assess all of those items before an- 
nouncing the rule. It discussed many of them 
extensively in the preamble to the rule and the 
accompanying "Explanation of Rule Making 
Action". Upon receiving the application for a 
stay the Department reconsidered all of those 
it«ms and it finds that the Pacific Legal Founda- 
tion's list of objections has no merit. 

The Foundation argued that the Department 
should stay the rule pending judicial review 
because manufacturers will make capital ex- 
penditures preparing to comply with the rule 



in model year 1982 and if the Court then over- 
turns the rule, manufacturers may abandon the 
passive restraint program and pass on these 
preparation expenses to new car buyers. The 
Foundation thus asks the Department to balance 
a possible loss of a relatively small amount of 
money against a certain loss of lives and increase 
in injuries. The Department does not know 
how much time the Court will need to review 
the rule, but each year's continuance of the rule 
will add only a few dollars to the price of a new 
car while each year's delay of the rule will 
ultimately cost the public thousands of prevent- 
able fatalities and many more thousands of pre- 
ventable serious injuries. The potential harm 
the Pacific Legal Foundation seeks to avoid 
through a stay is trival compared to the cost of 
a stay in lives that cannot be restored, injury 
that cannot be repaired, and suffering that can- 
not be erased. This rule has already remained 
unresolved for too long. The Department denies 
Pacific Legal Foundation's application for a stay. 

Some manufacturers repeated many of their 
earlier objections, all of which were extensively 
addressed in the preamble that accompanied the 
decision and the supplementary "Explanation 
of Rule Making Action". Not only were these 
issues fully ventilated in the rulemaking action, 
but they were also extensively treated in the 
hearings and subsequent reports of the Senate 
and House Commerce Committees as a part of 
their review of the standard. The Department 
does not consider repetitious petitions as a part 
of the reconsideration process (49 CFR § 553.21) 
and accordingly denies them. 

One new issue raised was Ford's complaint 
that the NHTSA response on test dummy ob- 
jectivity had misinterpreted Ford data on testing 
conducted in 1973. While the Ford dummy test 
program performed in 1973 may have been an 
ambitious attempt to investigate all of the var- 
iables involved in a vehicle crash test, subse- 
quent development and test programs to i-educe 
sources of test variability have made the Ford 
test series obsolete. As noted in the preamble 
to Notice 11, dummy manufacturere have gained 
experience in the manufacture of duimnies, the 
Part 572 specifications and test procedures have 
been further defined, and the dummy positioning 
procedures in Standard No. 208 have been modi- 



PART 671; S 208-PRE 106 



fied for bench-seat cars to eliminate the problem 
noted in the Ford tests of fitting 3 dummies side- 
by-side in the test. 

Ford did not contest the more recent findings 
(DOT-HS-6-01514) of hard-seat sled tests of 
pairs of dummies with belts, air bags, and unre- 
strained, showing coefficients of variation on the 
pooled data basis for head accelerations from 
1.2 percent to 10.7 percent, for chest acceleration 
from 1.6 percent to 8.-5 percent, and for femur 
compressive force from 3.51 percent to 24.2 per- 
cent. Similar results were obtainetl in sled test 
oblique impacts (DOT-HS-802-o70). In the 
face of this unrebutted conclusive evidence of the 
repeatability of current commercial dummy pro- 
duction, the agency finds the test instrument and 
associated procedure to be objective. 

It has been brought to the attention of the 
Department that the NHTSA's decision to con- 
tinue indefinitely the existing requirements for 
multipurpose passenger vehicles and light trucks 
was imperfectly stated. A corrective amendment 
of S4.2.2 is accomplished by this notice. 

Volkswagen petitioned to have a longer transi- 
tion period between the existing requirements 
for dummy positioning and the upcoming ones 
published "in Notice 11 (42 FR 34299, July 5. 
1977), because the company will not be able to 
evaluate the new requirements by July 5, 1978, 
yet must continue to certify its passive-belt- 
equipped Rabbit model. The Automobile Im- 
porters Association and General Motors sug- 
gested that compliance with either the old or new 
requirements, at the manufacturer's option, be 
permitted immediately. The XHTSA considers 
optional procedures more desirable than specify- 
ing the old procedures longer than one year as 
suggested by Volkswagen. Under optional pro- 
cedures, Volkswagen can continue its certification 
of the Rabbit model, effecting a transition at any 
time, while the manufacturers undertaking new 
development efforts can immediately utilize the 
new procedures. To accomplish this, the effec- 
tive dates of the requirements of Notices 10 and 
11 are changed to become effective immediately, 



with modifications of the language as necessary 
to preserve the old procedures as an option until 
September 1, 1981. These minor adjustments 
are accomplished in this notice. 

Ford noted that the dummy head adjustment 
procedure of S10.4 was not consistent with 
dummy const met ion, which positions the head 
automatically. The NHTSA had intended that 
the dummy head and neck system l)e shimmed 
to compensate for different seat back angles in 
vehicles being tested. Because of the relative 
difficulty in accomplishing this in relation to 
the amount of specificity gained thereby, the 
NHTSA hereby deletes S10.4 as requested by 
Ford. 

For the reasons stated above and after fuU 
consideration of the petitions by all parties sub- 
mitted, the Department of Transportation denies 
petitions for reconsideration of its June 30, 1977, 
decision to require the installation of automatic 
crash protection in future passenger cars. The 
requirements set forth at 42 FR 34289 and 42 FR 
34299 (July 5, 1977) are final for purposes of 
review in accordance with § 105(a) of the Act. 

In consideration of the foregoing. Standard 
No. 28 (49 CFR 571.208) is amended. . . . 

Effective date finding: Because the amend- 
ments provide an option and do not create addi- 
tional requirements for any person, it is found 
that an immediate effective date is in the public 
interest so that manufacturers may take advan- 
tage of the new option as rapidly as possible. 

The prograni official and lawyer principally 
responsible for the development of this rule- 
making document are Ralph Hitchcock and Tad 
Herlihy, respectively. 

(Sec. 103, 119, Pub. L. 89-563, 80 Stat. 718 
(15 U.S.C. 1392, 1407) 

Issued on December 5, 1977. 

Brock Adams 

Secretary of Transportation 

42 F.R. 61466 
December 5, 1977 



PART 571; S 208-PRE 106 



PREAMBLE TO AMENDMENT TO 
FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 



208 



Occupant Crash Protection in Passenger Cars, Multipurpose Passenger 

Vehicles, Trucks and Buses 



(Docket No. 74-14; Notice 14) 



ActioTi-: Final rule. 



Su7nmary : The purpose of this notice is to 
amend Safety Standard Xo. 208, Occupant Crash 
Protection, to provide for the optional use by 
motor vehicle manufacturers of alternatives to 
latches for releasing occupants from passive seat- 
belt systems in emergencies and to allow means 
other than ptishbuttons to operate the emergency 
release mechanisms of passive belt systems. The 
amendment is based on a proposal issued in re- 
sponse to a petition from General Motors Corp. 
to allow manufacturers greater latitude in de- 
signing emergency release mechanisms for passive 
belt systems. The amendment will allow manu- 
facturers to experiment with various emergency 
release mechanisms aimed at encouraging passive 
belt use by motorists, prior to the effective date 
of passive restraint requirements specified in this 
standard. 

Effective date : November 13, 1978. 

Address; Petitions for reconsideration should 
refer to the docket number and notice number 
and be submitted to : Docket Section, Room 5108, 
Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street SW., Wash- 
ington, D.C. 20590. 

For further information contact : 

Guy Hunter, Office of Vehicle Safety Stand- 
ards, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, Washington, D.C. 20590, 
202-426-2265. 

Supplementary Information: Safety Standard 
Xo. 208, 49 CFR 571.208, currently specifies that 
a seatbelt assembly installed in a passenger 
car shall have a latch mechanism that re- 



leases at a single point by pushbutton action. 
General Motors petitioned for relief from this 
requirement for passive belts, following the issu- 
ance of the final rule requiring passenger cars to 
be equipped with passive restraints (air bags, 
passive belts, or other means of passive, i.e., 
automatic, protection) (42 FR 34289, July 5, 
1977). The petition described a "spool release" 
design General Motors would like to use on one 
of its passive belt systems. The system would 
include a shoulder belt that would not detach at 
either end. Rather, the design would allow the 
belt to "play out" or unwind from the retractor 
in an emergency, allowing sufficient slack for the 
door to be opened and the occupant to exit from 
the vehicle. The purpose of such a "spool re- 
lease" design is to minimize the disconnection of 
the passive belt system by motorists. Under the 
current latch mechanism and pushbutton require- 
ments for belts, a passive belt system could be 
easily disconnected by a buckle release identical 
to buckles on current active belt systems (i.e., 
belts that motorists must manually put into 
place). As long as the belt remains disconnected, 
the "passivity" of the system would be. destroyed 
for future use. 

In response to the GM petition, the XHTSA 
issued a proposal to amend standard 208 to allow 
alternative release mechanisms for passive belts 
(43 FR 21912. May 22, 1978). As noted in that 
pi-oposal, the XHTSA is veiy concerned about 
the usage rate of passive hehs by motorists since 
it appears that there may be many new cars in 
the 1980's equipped with these systems. If mo- 
torists who would prefer air bags in a particular 



PART 571; S 208-PRE 107 



car line can only obtain passive belts fioin the 
manufacturer the defeat rate of the belts could 
be high. The agency is, therefore, interested in 
fostering any passiv^e belt design that is effective 
and that minimizes the rate of disconnection. 
The notice pointed out, however, that there are 
other factors to be considered in the proposed 
change. 

The original purpose of tlie latch mechanism 
and pushbutton requirements of standard 208 was 
to insure uniformity of buckle design for the 
purpose of facilitating routine fastening and un- 
fastening of active belts, encouraging belt use by 
making the belts as convenient as possible and 
facilitating the exiting of vehicle occupants in 
emergency situations. Since the proposed amend- 
ment would allow various types of release mech- 
anisms, the agency was concerned that the 
resulting nonuniformity might huve adverse con- 
sequences in emergency egress situations from 
passive belts. In order to examine the implica- 
tions of the General Motors petition thoroughly, 
the proposal sought public comments on four 
specific questions concerning the efficacy and ad- 
visability of allowing alternative release mech- 
anisms to latches for passive belt systems. The 
four questions were as follows : 

1. "How should the XHTSA or the vehicle 
manufacturers monitor the efficacy of and public 
reaction to various systems for discouraging dis- 
connection of passive belts (such as the latch 
mechanism with a 4-8 second audible/visible 
warning system that operates if the belt is not 
connected when the ignition is turned on, a latch 
mechanism with additional warning or interlock 
systems voluntarily installed by a vehicle manu- 
facturer, or a lever operated spool release as 
requested by General Motors) ?" 

2. "Are there safety or other considerations 
that would make it inadvisable to allow the spool 
release at this time as an option to v^ehicle manu- 
facturers which install passive belts?" 

3. "Compared with a passive Ijelt system 
equipped with the currently required latch mech- 
anism, would a passive belt system equipped with 
a spool release whose actuation lever is located 
between the seats have substantial disadvantages 
for emergency exit or extraction from a vehicle 



that would offset any possible increase in usage 
in the passive belts?" 

4. "If the XHTSA decides to permit the use of 
alternative occupant release mechanisms, should 
such use be permitted indefinitely or only for a 
finite periotl, e.g., several yeai"s, to allow field 
testing of the various systems ? If a finite periotl 
were to be established, when should it begin and 
end?" 

All 15 conunents to the May 22, 1978, notice 
supported the intent of the proposed change to 
allow alternative release mechanisms for passive 
telts. Most conunentei-s agreed that a nonsep- 
arable passive belt should discourage disconnec- 
tion by motorists and that this should be given 
higher priority consideration than possible ad- 
verse effects such a belt might have on emergency 
occupant egress. Volkswagen did express some 
concern that the benefits achieved by increased 
belt usage might be somewhat offset if problems 
with emergency exiting arise, but agreed that 
more flexibility in passive belt design should be 
allowed to encourage belt use. 

Volkswagen urged the use of the passive belt 
system utilized on its Deluxe Rabbit — a pushbut- 
ton release latch mechanism guarded by an igni- 
tion interlock. The company stated that tliis 
type system is simple and works well in emer- 
gency situations regardless of the condition of 
the retractor or the positioning of the webbing 
(potential problems of a "spool release" tj-pe 
design). Volkswagen pointed out that a system 
that is too complex will require close inonitoiiug 
to insure effectiveness. 

While the Volkswagen system has shown high 
use rates in the field, there is a possibility that 
widespread use of this type system could lead to 
adverse public reaction l;)ecause of the interlock 
feature. As pointed out by the Alliance of 
American Insurers in its support of the proposed 
amendment, there could be a second public "back- 
lash" from a return to the use of starter inter- 
locks, even if placed on the vehicle voluntarily 
by the manufacturer. Alliance stated that the 
"spool release" system proposed by General 
Motors should be preferable to the interlock from 
a public acceptance standpoint. 



PART 571; S 208-PRE 108 



The Center for Auto Safety and the Prudential 
Property & Casualty Insurance Co. both com- 
mented that "spool release" type mechanisms 
should be self-restoring to insure that in sub- 
sequent uses of the vehicle the passive belt is 
ready to provide the automatic protection for 
which it was designed. The self-restoring fea- 
ture would automatically retract the belt after 
the manual release has been activated to allow 
the belt to "play-out." The NHTSA believes 
that both self-restoring "spool release" designs 
and manual restoration designs have distinct ad- 
vantages. The automatic restoration doe^ not 
require the vehicle user to have any knowledge 
of the system to reactivate the passive belt. How- 
ever, a manual restoration design would be less 
complex and would pi'obably be more reliable. 
The manual design could be coupled with audible 
and visible warnings to indicate when the lock- 
up portion of the retractor is inoperative. The 
amendment set forth in tliis notice allows both 
types of restoration systems for "spool release" 
passive belt designs. 

The majority of commenters argued that the 
proposed amendment should be effective in- 
definitely, and not merely during the interim 
period until the passive restraint requirements 
become effective. The comments stated that man- 
ufacturers should be. given the greatest possible 
design latitude to encourage the early introduc- 
tion of innovative passive belt systems that are 
designed to minimize disconnection by motorists. 
The industry noted that manufacturers will be 
hesitant to initiate such new programs and pas- 
sive belt designs if alternative release designs 
are allowed only for an interim period. Further, 
the commenters stated that an interim rule would 
not allow time for an adequate examination of 
the effectiveness of the various new designs that 
might be developed. The agency has concluded 
that these arguments have merit. Accordingly, 
this amendment is effective indefinitely. 

Several comments stat«d that the new passive 
belt designs should be standardized, so that the 
public will understand their use and problems of 
emergency occupant egress will be minimized. 
While the agency agrees that unifonnity in re- 
lease design is advantageous, it is not practical 
to standardize systems tliat are only in the de- 
velopment stage. Further, if manufacturers are 



not given latitude in their passive belt designs, 
the purpose of this amendment would be defeated. 
It is unclear at this time which passive belt sys- 
tems will be the most effective in encouraging 
belt use and at the same time be accepted by the 
public. The agency will, of course, monitor all 
new passive belt systems as closely as possible, 
and efforts to standardize systems could be made 
in the future. 

Ford Motor Co. commented that the revision 
of standard No. 208 as requested in the General 
Motors petition would provide gi-eater latitude 
than presently exists, but that the requested 
wording is restrictive in that it would inhibit the 
development of methods ,of release other than 
those specifically related to the reti-actor. Ford 
requested that the proposed revision include lan- 
guage pennitting manufacturers the greatest pos- 
sible design latitude. The agency emphasized in 
the previous notice that the proposal was tenta- 
tive as to the language and substance of an 
amendment that might be adopted in response 
to the General Motors petition. Accordingly, 
this amendment is broader tlian that proposed 
in the General Motors petition and does not limit 
the types of passive belt designs that may be 
developed. 

In order to insure that vehicle occupants are 
aware if their passive belts are inoperable be- 
cause a release mechanism has been activated, 
this amendment specifies that the warning light. 
"Fasten Belts," remain illuminated until the belt 
latch mechanism has been fastened or the release 
mechanism has been deactivated. This warning 
light of indefinite duration is in addition to the 
4- to 8-second audible warning signal cuiTently 
required by tlie standard. The agency believes a 
continuous warning light is essential since this 
amendment will allow various types of unfa- 
miliar release systems for passive belts. 

In summary, the agency has concluded that 
manufacturei-s should be given considerable lati- 
tude in designing emergency release mechanisms 
for passive belt systems. This will pennit the 
development of innovative systems aimed at lim- 
iting passive belt disconnection by motorists. 
Otherwise, the use rate of passive belt systems 
could be as low as the current use rate for active 
belt systems. This amendment will allow manu- 



PART 671; S 208-PRE 109 



facturers to experiment with various passive belt 
designs before the effective date of the passive 
restraint requirements and determine whicli de- 
signs are the most effective and at the same time 
acceptable to the public. 

The agency does not believe that the use of 
alternative release mechanisms will cause serious 
occupant egress problems if manufacturers take 
precautions to instruct vehicle owners how the 
systems work through the owner's manual and 
through their dealers. While uniformity in re- 
lease mechanisms is certainly important for pur- 
poses of emergency occupant egress, the agency 
has concluded that this consideration is at least 
temporarily outweighed by the importance of 
insuring passive belts are not disconnected. The 
agency will, however, monitor all new passive 
belt designs to assure that the release mechanisms 
are simple to understand and operate. If the 



methods of operation of the various release mech- 
anisms are self-evident, the problem of lack of 
uniformity in design will be less important in 
terms of emergency occupant egress. 

The agency has concluded that this amendment 
will have no adverse economic or environmental 
impacts. 

The engineer and lawyer primarily responsible 
for the development of this rule are Guy Hunter 
and Hugh Gates, re^spectively. 

(Sec. 103, 119, Pub. L. 89-563, 80 Stat. 718 (15 
U.S.C. 1392, 1407), delegation of authority at 49 
CFR 1.50.) 

Issued on November 1, 1978. 

Joan Claybrook 
Administrator 

43 F.R. 52493 
November 13, 1978 



PART 571; S 208-PRE 110 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD 

NO. 208 

Occupant Protection 

(Docket No. 78-16; Notice 3) 



SUMMARY: This notice responds to petitions for 
reconsideration of the November 29, 1979, notice 
(44 F.R. 68470) amending Standard No. 208, Occu- 
pant Crash Protection. In response to petitions 
from the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association 
and Chrysler Corporation, the agency is deleting 
the requirement for emergency-locking or auto- 
matic-locking seat belt retractors at the outboard 
seating positions of the second seat in forward con- 
trol vehicles. The effect of this deletion is to permit 
manufacturers to continue to use manual adjusting 
devices for the seat belts at those seating positions. 

EFFECTIVE DATE: March 27, 1980. 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. 

William E. Smith, Office of Vehicle Safety 
Systems, National Highway Traffic Safety Admin- 
istration, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, 
D.C. 20590. (202-426-2242) 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On Novem- 
ber 29, 1979, NHTSA published a notice amending 
Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection (44 
F.R. 68470). The amendment deleted the exemp- 
tion for forward control vehicles from several of 
the occupant restraint system requirements of the 
standard. (A forward control vehicle is one with a 
short front end. More than half of the engine is 
located to the rear of the forward point of the 
windshield base and the steering wheel hub is in 
the forward quarter of the vehicle.) 

Chrysler Corporation and the Motor Vehicle 
Manufacturers Association (MVMA) filed petitions 
for reconsideration concerning the amendment. 
They argued that the November 1978 notice of pro- 
posed rulemaking for the amendment only proposed 
a change in the requirements for the safety belt 
systems in the 6"ont seat of forward control 



vehicles and did not give adequate notice about a 
change in the requirements for belts in the second 
seat of forward control vehicles (43 F.R. 52264). 
They said that the amendment adopted in the final 
rule requires forward control vehicles to have lap 
and shoulder belts in the front outboard designated 
seating positions and have automatic-locking or 
emergency -locking retractors at the outboard des- 
ignated seating positions of the second seat of the 
vehicle. 

The petitioners have correctly described the 
requirements added by the amendment. The 
amendment applies the requirements of § 4.2.2 of 
Standard No. 208 to all forward control vehicles 
manufactured after September 1, 1981. Section 
4.2.2 requires a manufacturer to meet one of the 
following three occupant crash protection 
requirements: § 4.1.2.1, complete automatic pro- 
tection, S 4.1.2.2, head-on automatic protection or 
S 4.1.2.3, lap and shoulder belt protection system. 
Manufacturers choosing to comply with $ 4.1.2.3 
must install seat belt assemblies meeting the 
adjustment requirements of J 7.1 of the standard. 
The provisions of $ 7.1 require that the seat belt 
assemblies installed at the outboard seating posi- 
tions of the front and second seats adjust by means 
of an emergency-locking or automatic-locking 
retractor. Seat belt assemblies instaUed at all other 
seating positions can adjust either by an 
emergency-locking or automatic-locking retractor 
or by a manual adjusting device. Prior to the 
November 1979 amendment of Standard No. 208, 
forward control vehicles did not have to meet the 
requirements of $ 4.2.1.3 but instead could meet 
$ 4.2.1.2, which did not require the use of 
emergency-locking or automatic-locking retractors 
in the outboard seating positions of those vehicles. 

The agency's November 1978 notice of proposed 
rulemaking was addressed to the specific portion 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-lll 



of Standard No. 208 exempting forward control 
vehicles from the shoulder belt requirements. The 
final rule eliminating the exemption inadvertently 
changed the requirements for the second seats of 
light trucks and vans as well. Therefore, the 
agency is amending the standard to retain the cur- 
rent seat belt requirement for the second seat in 
light trucks and vans. The agency notes that one 
manufacturer (GM) of forward control vehicles 
volimtarily equips its vehicles with automatic- 
locking retractors and urges Chrysler to do the 
same. The agency will consider eliminating the 



remaining forward control exemptions from 
Standard No. 208 in future rulemaking. 

The principal authors of this notice are Mr. 
William E. Smith, Office of Vehicle Safety 
Systems, and Mr. Stephen L. Oesch, Office of 
Chief Coimsel. 
Issued on March 18, 1980. 

Joan Claybrook, 
Administrator, 

45 F.R. 20103 
March 27, 1980 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-112 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD 

NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 

(Docket Nos. 1-18 and 74-14; Notices 16 and 18) 



ACTION: Final rule (correction). 

SUMMARY: The purpose of this notice is to cor- 
rect an amendment to Safety Standard No. 208, 
Occupant Crash Protection, that was issued 
September 27, 1979 (44 F.R. 55579). That notice 
amended the seat belt warning system require- 
ments of the standard to specify the use of the seat 
belt telltale symbol that is specified in Safety 
Standard No. 101-80, Controls and Displays. In 
that amendment, certain warning system require- 
ments, which had previously been deleted from 
Standard No. 208, were incorrectly reinserted in 
the standard. This notice corrects those errors. 
Further, this amendment makes clear that the 
telltale symbol of Standard No. 101-80 will 
supersede certain existing requirements in Stand- 
ard No. 208 after Standard No. 101-80 becomes 
effective September 1, 1980. 

DATES: These amendments are effective on July 
14, 1980. 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. 

Hugh Gates, Office of Chief Counsel, National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 
Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590. 
(202-426-2992) 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The seat 
belt warning system requirements of Safety Stand- 
ard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection (49 CFR 
571.208), currently specify that under certain con- 
ditions, when seat belts are not fastened, the 
words "Fasten Belts" or "Fasten Seat Belts" shall 
be displayed on the vehicle dashboard. On June 26, 
1978, the NHTSA published Safety Standard No. 
101-80 (49 CFR 571.101-80) to establish new 
uniform reqxiirements for the location, identifica- 
tion, and illimiination of controls and displays in 



motor vehicles. That standard specifies a telltale 
symbol that is to be illuminated when a vehicle's 
front seat belts have not been fastened. The stand- 
ard is to become effective September 1, 1980. 

On September 27, 1979, the agency amended 
Safety Standard No. 208 to permit the optional use 
of the seat belt telltale symbol specified in Safety 
Standard No. 101-80 prior to the effective date of 
that standard (44 F.R. 55579). However, tiiat 
amendment failed to clarify that, after the effec- 
tive date of Standard No. 101-80 (September 1, 
1980), the telltale symbol will be required to be 
used in a vehicle's belt wsiming system. This notice 
clarifies that point. 

When the seat belt telltale symbol was added to 
Safety Standard No. 208, the amendment inac- 
curately stated the pertinent sections of the stand- 
ard that were to be modified. Further, paragraph 
S4.5.3.3(b) (1) inadvertently omitted language con- 
cerning the audible warning. This notice adds the 
omitted language for that paragraph and, addi- 
tionally, deletes the parenthetical "(1)" in the 
paragraph heading. Since there is no longer a sub- 
paragraph "(2)," the heading should be specified as 
"S4.5.3.3(b)." 

The 1979 amendment also incorrectly added two 
sections to the warning system requirements that 
had previously been deleted from the standard, 
S7.3.1 and S7.3a. This mistake occurred because 
the warning system requirements are incorrectly 
codified in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regula- 
tions. On July 5, 1977 (42 F.R. 34299), Safety 
Standard No. 208 was amended to delete section 
S7.3 and to redesignate section S7.3a as S7.3 (as 
the sections were numbered at that time). When 
this amendment was codified in the Code of 
Federal Regulations, however, only paragraph 
S7.3 was deleted, not the entire section (S7.3 
through S7.3.5.4). Instead, S7.3a was transposed 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-113 



as S7.3 and S7.3.1 through S7.3.5.4 remained. Un- Issued on July 7, 1980. 

fortunately, these deleted sections were used as a Michael M. Finkelstein, 

reference when the seat belt telltale symbol Associate Administrator for RulemakiTig. 

amendment was added to Standard No. 208. This ^^ ^^ ^^^^^ 

notice also corrects that error. July 14, 1980 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-114 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD 

NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 

(Docket No. 74-14; Notice 19) 



ACTION: Final rule. 

SUMMARY: This notice amends Safety Standard 
No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection, to specify 
additional performance requirements for both 
manual and automatic safety belt assemblies 
installed in motor vehicles with a Gross Vehicle 
Weight Rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds or less. 
These performance requirements are specified in 
order to prevent the installation of particularly 
inconvenient and imcomfortable belt assemblies 
and to ensure that people are not discouraged from 
using belts because of their design or performance. 
This amendment does not include several provi- 
sions that were contained in the notice or proposed 
rulemaking preceding this rule. Based on com- 
ments received in response to the proposal, the 
agency has determined that only certain of the 
specifications should become mandatory at the 
present time. Consideration involving cost, lead- 
time and the encouragement of innovative seat 
belt designs have led the agency to conclude that 
the other provisions should be issued only as 
performance guidelines that manufacturers should 
follow where possible, or find alternative means to 
accomplish the same ends. The performance 
guidelines will be published in a separate Federal 
Register notice. 

DATE: Effective date: September 1, 1982. 

ADDRESS: Any petitions for reconsideration 
should refer to the docket number and notice 
number and be submitted to: National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, 
S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590. 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. 

Robert Nelson, Office of Vehicle Safety Standards, 
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 
Washington, D.C. 20590. (202-426-2264) 



SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Safety 
Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection (49 
CFR 571.208), currently requires most motor 
vehicles to be equipped with safety belts at each 
designated seating position. Beginning in 
September 1981, and phasing in over the following 
two years, new passenger cars will have to provide 
automatic occupant crash protection (i.e., occupant 
restraint that requires no action by occupants, 
such as fastening seat belts, to be effective). Many 
new automobiles will be equipped with automatic 
belts to comply with the automatic restraint re- 
quirements (automatic belts move into place 
aroimd a vehicle occupant automatically when he 
or she enters the car and closes the door). The 
requirements specified in this amendment are 
designed to remove some of the most egregious 
disincentives to use of current belt designs to en- 
sure that both the automatic belts and the manual 
belts installed in future vehicles will be comfortable 
and convenient to use. 

The requirements specified in this notice are 
applicable to seat belt assemblies installed in all 
vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less, 
except for Type 2 manual belts Qap and shoulder 
combination belts) installed in front seating posi- 
tions in passenger cars through the 1983 model 
year. As noted in the proposal preceding this 
amendment (44 F.R. 77210), Type 2 manual belts 
will be phased out in passenger cars when the 
automatic restraint requirements of Standard No. 
208 become effective. Accordingly, the agency 
believes that manufacturers should be allowed to 
focus their efforts and resources regarding com- 
fort and convenience on manual belts in vehicles 
other than passenger cars and on developing the 
Type 1 manual belts (lap belts) which will be in- 
stalled in rear seats in passenger cars and in some 
front seats in conjunction with air bags and single 
diagonal automatic belts. 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-115 



As stated in the notice of proposed rulemaking 
the discomfort and inconvenience of current seat 
belt designs are among the most prominent factors 
resulting in the current low rate of safety belt use 
(approximately 11 percent). The proposal cited 
various studies which conclude that comfort and 
convenience play a determinative role in whether 
people continue to use the safety belts installed in 
their vehicles after they first try them (DOT 
HS-801-594; DOT HS-803-370). Some of the 
problems identified in these studies include: many 
belts are difficult to reach; many belts do not fit 
properly (e.g., they cross the occupant's neck); the 
pressure of many shoulder belts is felt to be 
excessive, particularly by women; many belts are 
difficult to buckle; and many belts become too tight 
after they have been worn for several minutes and 
their users have moved around. 

In order to alleviate the most serious of these 
problems, the notice of proposed rulemaking 
sought to establish a variety of relatively simple, 
objective performance requirements that would 
improve the comfort and convenience of seat belt 
systems. Specifications involving the following 
performance areas were therefore proposed: torso 
belt occupant fit; belt retraction; adjustable 
buckles for certain belts; belt/ seat cushion 
clearance; torso belt body contact pressure; 
automatic locking retractors (ALR's) were to be 
restricted; "comfort clips" were to be precluded; 
latchplate accessibility; webbing guides; conven- 
ience hooks for belt webbing clearance between 
webbing and the occupant's head; and specifica- 
tions for motorized belt systems. 

There were 38 comments in response to the pro- 
posal from vehicle manufacturers, seat belt 
assembly manufacturers, public interest groups 
and consumers. All comments were considered and 
the most significant are discussed in this notice. In 
response to those comments, and for reasons set 
forth more fully below, the agency has concluded 
that this amendment will only include specifica- 
tions relating to: latchplate accessibility; seat belt 
guides; adjustable buckles for certain belts; 
shoulder belt pressure; convenience hooks; belt 
retraction; and comfort devices. The other provi- 
sions of the proposal will be issued to the public 
only as performance guidelines which manufac- 
turers may voluntarily follow if they choose. Those 
guidelines will be issued in a separate Federal 
Register notice. 



Proposed Provisions Not Included in This 
Amendment 

(The following section sets forth the major com- 
ments to the proposed provisions that are not 
being included in this amendment. A general 
discussion of the agency's response to these com- 
ments follows after the summary.) 

There were nine comments to the proposed 
amendment from concerned citizens. Five of these 
consumers supported the proposed rulemaking and 
stated that they have experienced extreme com- 
fort and convenience problems with their seat belt 
systems. Three citizens opposed the proposal on 
the basis that the rulemaking represents unwar- 
ranted government interference. Finally, one com- 
menter objected to the technical nature of the pro- 
posal, stating that the specifications were difficult 
to understand. 

Almost all vehicle manufacturers supported the 
concept of the proposal that seat belt assemblies 
should be convenient to use and comfortable to 
wear. However, most manufacturers disagreed 
with the agency's contention that there is a 
demonstrable relationship between seat belt com- 
fort and convenience and belt usage rates and that 
improving comfort and convenience will improve 
those rates. Additionally, most manufacturers did 
not agree that the specifications proposed by the 
agency would lead to belt designs that are ap- 
preciably more comfortable and convenient. For 
example. Ford Motor Company stated that 
although it does not deny that there may be some 
correlation between convfort and convenience and 
wearing rates at the extremes (i.e., for very com- 
fortable belts or belts that are particularly uncom- 
fortable), there is no objective evidence that a 
measurable relationship exists between comfort 
and convenience and wearing rates. Ford also 
stated that certain of the proposed requirements 
would not accommodate a large number of vehicle 
occupants (e.g.. Ford stated that the fit zone 
specified in the proposal would only ensure that 
belts properly fit 60 percent of the population. The 
proposal stated the agency's belief that the fit zone 
would ensure over 90 percent of the population had 
comfortable belts). The Motor Vehicle Manufac- 
turers Association stated that experience has 
shown that the incorporation of features in belt 
systems to improve their comfort and convenience 
has not resulted in increased seat belt use, and that 
comfort and convenience are highly subjective con- 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-116 



cepts that are not readily quantifiable. Chrysler 
Corporation stated that comfort and convenience 
improvements alone wall not result in a substantial 
increase in belt use. Chrysler stated that the only 
way to improve seat belt use is to enact mandatory 
seat belt use laws. Volkswagen of America stated 
that the proposed modifications would actually 
eliminate several of the most promising existing 
automatic seat belt designs because of design 
restrictions. General Motors Corporation cited a 
study conducted for it by MOR, Inc., which in- 
dicated that removal of all perception of discom- 
fort and inconvenience in belt systems would result 
in only a 1.7 percent increase in seat belt usage. 
The NHTSA proposal indicated that usage could be 
increased about 8 percent, and took exception to 
the MOR study. General Motors argued that the 
NHTSA has not adequately demonstrated, 
however, why the conclusions in the MOR study 
are invalid. American Motors Corporation stated 
that manufacturers already incorporate adequate 
comfort and convenience features in their belt 
systems and that regulatory action is, therefore, 
not warranted in this case. 

The American Seat Belt Council, Hamill 
Manufacturing Company and other commenters 
supported the rationale of the proposal totally. 
Hamill stated that comfort and convenience is of 
paramoimt importance to 75-80 percent of the 
non-user segment of the driver population, who 
already perceive that seat belts are effective in 
mitigating the risk of death and injury in vehicle 
crashes but are dissuaded from using the belts 
because of perceived inconvenience and discom- 
fort. Volvo of America Corporation acknowledged 
that comfort and convenience is one factor that in- 
fluences usage, but stated that the major reason 
for the low rates of seat belt use is lack of motiva- 
tion on the part of the motoring public. 

In addition to the general negative comments 
concerning the relationship between seat belt com- 
fort and convenience and wearing rates, many 
commenters (vehicle manufacturers) argued that 
certain of the proposed specifications would 
adversely affect belt effectiveness in vehicle 
crashes. For example, several manufactxirers 
argued that the comfort zone for belt webbing 
specified in the proposal would require belt an- 
chorages in some vehicle models to be in locations 
that are not the optimum location for belt perform- 
ance in restraining victims in a crash situation. 



Torso Belt Occupant Fit (Manual and 
Automatic Belts) 

To alleviate problems of torso belt fit such as rub- 
bing of the occupant's neck, the proposal specified a 
zone in which the torso belt would have to lie on a 
test dummy placed in a vehicle. The zone was 
established to ensure that belts are installed so that 
the torso belt crosses the occupant's shoulder and 
chest approximately midway between the neck and 
shoulder tip, and crosses the sternum approxi- 
mately midway between the breasts. The proposed 
requirements specified geometric criteria to 
describe the required chest-crossing envelope. 

The motor vehicle manufacturers were unani- 
mous in their opposition to the proposed torso belt 
fit requirement. Their objections were primarily 
related to: the location of the specified compliance 
zone on the Part 572 test dummy; the location of 
the test dummy in the vehicle; the width of the 
comphance zone on the Part 572 test dummy; and 
the test procedure to determine compliance. 

Manufacturers argued that the test procedure is 
not objective and repeatable because of the com- 
plexities and variability associated with locating 
the dummy in a specific position in the vehicle. 
They also argued that the procedure for placing 
the belt around the test dummy (the "rocking" 
procedure) is not objectively stated. Most manufac- 
turers argued that the 3-inch width of the fit zone 
specified in the proposal is too design restrictive. 
Additionally, Ford argued that its tests show that 
the 3-inch zone would only assure proper fit on ap- 
proximately 60 percent of the driving population 
(the agency stated in the proposal that 90 percent 
of the population would have the proper fit with 
the proposed specifications). Ford did not substan- 
tiate how it arrived at this conclusion, however. 
Manufacturers argued that the fit zone should be 
at least 3.6 inches wide and possibly as much as 
five inches wide in order to ensure repeatability of 
the compliance procedure. Manufacturers stated 
that the location of the compliance zone on the test 
dummy would not necessarily place the belt in the 
optimum position for effectiveness in crashes in 
certain vehicle models. They based this assumption 
on the fact that in certain current vehicle models 
both the belt anchorages would have to be moved 
to place the belt in the specified zone. The 
manufacturers argued that these new anchorage 
locations would degrade belt performance in some 
instances. 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-117 



Clearance Between Webbing and Seat Cushion 
(Automatic Belts) 

As noted in the notice of proposed rulemaking, 
the shift from manual to automatic belts may in- 
itially lead to confusion on the part of some per- 
sons. The lower end of many automatic shoulder 
belt designs is attached between the two front 
seating positions. The upper end is attached to the 
rear upper comer of the front door. If the lap belt 
or torso belt of an automatic belt system is de- 
signed so that it lies on the seat cushion or against 
the seatback cushion(s) when the belt system is 
reeled-out in its open-door position, some people 
are likely to be confused about how to get into the 
vehicle. Additionally, if the belt is lying on or hang- 
ing slightly above the seat cushion, it is likely to 
pull against clothing in an irritating fashion as the 
occupant tries to sit down. These factors led the 
agency to propose minimum specifications for web- 
bing/seat clearance (three inches) so that people 
would not be encouraged to disconnect automatic 
belts because of the inconvenience. 

Most manufacturers opposed the minimum 
specification for webbing /seat clearance. The com- 
ments stated that there is no safety rationale for 
the requirement because any misconception con- 
cerning the proper way to enter the vehicle would 
be removed after the occupant became familiar 
with the vehicle. Peugeot stated that experience 
has shown that the occupant can easily push the 
strap aside for a moment in order to enter the vehi- 
cle. The company argued that the proposed re- 
quirement is tantamount to requiring the installa- 
tion of an automatic mechanism to move the belt 
system's top anchor's position. (Note: In response 
to this specific comment, the agency would not 
consider a belt system that had to be manually 
moved out of the way by the occupant to be an 
"automatic" system that would satisfy the re- 
quirements of the standard; see 39 F.R. 14594, 
April 25, 1974). Several manufacturers stated the 
minimum specification could degrade belt effec- 
tiveness in a crash. These manufacturers argued 
that the specification would preclude a belt, par- 
ticularly a lap belt, from fitting securely around the 
occupant. This could result in the occupant "sub- 
marining" under the belt during a crash. 

Motorized Track Systems— Webbing/ Head 
Clearance 

Some automatic belt designs rely on overhead, 
motorized track-puller systems instead of the open- 



ing of the door to move the webbing automatically 
out of the occupant's way when getting in and out 
of the vehicle. These systems pull the webbing 
toward the dashboard when the vehicle door is 
opened and then pull it toward the rear of the vehi- 
cle to deploy around the occupant after the door is 
closed. If such a system is used, the vehicle design 
should be such that the belt webbing does not pass 
too close to the occupant's head during its move- 
ment. Webbing that passes too close to or brushes 
the occupant's face or head could be annoying or 
disconcerting (perceived as hazardous by the in- 
tended user) and cause the occupant to defeat the 
automatic belt system (by imbuckling or cutting 
the belt, for example). The proposal specified a 
webbing /head clearance envelope that was in- 
tended to ensure that a moving torso belt would 
not come within a certain specified distance of an 
occupant's head and face. 

Industry objected to this proposed requirement 
on the basis that many small vehicle models could 
not comply with the requirement without substan- 
tial changes to the vehicle structure (i.e., because 
of limited head room in these small cars). Toyota 
Motor Company stated that an automatic belt 
design it has already introduced in the market 
would have to be withdrawn if this proposed 
requirement were finalized because there is not 
sufficient room in its vehicle model to obtain the 
specified clearance. Volkswagen stated that any 
specification for webbing/ head clearance should 
only specify that the webbing cannot touch the 
occupant's face while it is articulating, and that a 
minimum distance specification is too design 
restrictive. General Motors stated that the 
spherical zone specified in the proposal falls out- 
side the vehicle on some GM body styles, and would 
thus preclude motorized belt systems in these 
vehicles. 

Rate of Movement of Motorized Belts 

The agency stated its belief in the proposal that 
motorized belt systems will be unacceptable to the 
public if the rate of belt movement is too slow, 
since the occupant would be delayed in exiting the 
vehicle. Systems that move too rapidly might also 
be imacceptable since they could be viewed by vehi- 
cle occupants as a possible hazard. Each of these 
problems could lead vehicle occupants to defeat the 
automatic belt system. Therefore, the proposal 
specified minimum and maximum times allowed 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-118 



for belts to move forward and backward on 
motorized track systems (between 1.5 and 1.9 
seconds from start to stop). 

Manufacturers stated that this proposed specifi- 
cation should be deleted because of the variation in 
performance of motorized systems due to 
environmental conditions. The comments pointed 
out that ambient temperature greatly affects 
motor speeds and battery conditions and that the 
movement time, therefore, could not be held 
stable. Several commenters argued that a single 
movement time is impractical because of the wide 
variety of vehicle sizes and the varying distances a 
belt system would have to move. The commenters 
stated that if such a requirement is retained it 
should be stated as a rate rather than total times 
allowed. In this way, the movement of all systems 
would be uniform even though it would take longer 
for the belt webbing to move down the track in a 
large vehicle than in a small vehicle. 

Agency Response to Comments on 
Unadopted Proposals 

The agency does not agree with the general 
negative response of most vehicle manufacturers 
regarding the relationship between seat belt com- 
fort and convenience and belt use. Likewise, the 
agency believes that the specification in the notice 
of proposed rulemaking would greatly improve the 
comfort and convenience of seat belt systems, par- 
ticularly the new automatic belt systems that will 
be introduced in the future. Although the agency 
agrees that many factors influence belt use, it con- 
tinues to believe that belts which are inconvenient 
to use and uncomfortable to wear will be used less 
regardless of these other factors. The research 
studies cited in the notice of proposed rulemaking 
clearly establish that there is a definite problem 
with many current seat belt designs, and that seat 
belt systems can be improved with relatively minor 
changes. Removing the most egregious problems 
with seat belt designs will, at a minimum, remove 
an impediment that currently thwarts other pro- 
grams designed to increase seat belt use. For 
example, seat belt education campaigns will have 
little effect if people attempt to wear the belts but 
find them inconvenient and uncomfortable. 

The agency also does not agree with many of the 
comments regarding specific provisions included in 
the proposal. Proper torso belt fit is an extremely 
important aspect of ensuring that belts are com- 



fortable to wear and do not cross the neck or face. 
The problems cited by the industry with the pro- 
posed specification and test procedure are prob- 
lems the agency believes can be solved. While it is 
true that some vehicle models may require signifi- 
cant modifications to comply with the fit zone, the 
agency believes that this is due primarily to the 
fact that in the past vehicles have been designed 
with little attention given to how the belt system 
will fit when installed in the vehicle. Belt systems 
are typically added as an afterthought long after 
the vehicle's structural design has been completed, 
with no systematic effort to coordinate a particular 
belt design to a particular structural design. 

The industry's comments that webbing/ seat 
clearance for automatic belts will not be a problem 
after occupants learn how to get into the vehicle 
only address part of the problem. In the months 
since issuance of the proposal, the agency has 
observed many prototype and production auto- 
matic belt designs. These observations have dem- 
onstrated that webbing/ seat clearance is extremely 
important to ensure that the belt webbing does not 
scrub across the occupant's clothing when entering 
the vehicle. Some of the designs that were observed 
had such minimal clearance that buttons and shirt 
pocket contents were snagged by the belt system 
as an occupant entered the vehicle. This is obviously 
a problem that would encourage disconnection of 
the belt system. In addition, if the webbing /seat 
clearance is so minimal that the person has to 
manually move the belt out of the way to enter the 
automobile, the system is not really "automatic" 
and would not satisfy the automatic restraint 
requirements of the standard. The agency has con- 
cluded that these problems outweigh the percep- 
tion problem discussed in the proposal. Conse- 
quently, the agency believes that the 3-inch 
specification in the proposal is inadequate and a 
greater clearance is desirable. While it is true that 
greater clearance may require innovative designs, 
the agency believes these are problems that can 
and should be solved. 

Although these basic disagreements do exist be- 
tween the NHTSA and vehicle manufacturers, the 
agency does believe that many of the specific 
comments to the proposal have merit. Also, the 
agency is aware that many of the problems cited by 
the industry are legitimate concerns. The agency is 
cognizant of the fact that there are a multitude of 
vehicle configurations that would have to be dealt 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-119 



with in complying with all of the provisions included 
in the notice of proposed nilemaking. In certain 
situations it may be true that strict compliance 
with the provisions as originally specified might 
compromise belt effectiveness in crashes to a 
limited degree, if applied to existing, unchanged 
structural configurations. Most manufacturers 
stated that the injury criteria of the standard could 
be met under the specifications of the proposal, but 
that in some instances the margin of safety would 
not be as great. Obviously, the agency does not 
want belt system performance to be degraded in 
the attempt to make belts comfortable and con- 
venient enough that they will be used. However, 
the agency does not believe that such a com- 
promise is necessary if belt system design and vehi- 
cle structural design are coordinated at the outset. 

The agency has also considered the numerous 
comments concerning the leadtime that would be 
necessary to implement the proposed requirements 
in certain vehicle models, as well as the costs 
associated with making the changes after design 
plans have already been completed. 

These considerations and the factors mentioned 
below have led the agency to conclude that re- 
quirements for torso belt fit, webbing/ seat 
clearance, webbing /head clearance, and motorized 
belt track speed should not be included in this final 
rule. The agency believes that manufacturers 
should be encouraged to rapidly develop innovative 
automatic belt designs that will coordinate belt 
comfort and convenience and belt effectiveness to 
the greatest extent possible. In some vehicle con- 
figurations, particularly in smaller cars, strict com- 
pliance with the proposed specifications mentioned 
earlier may hamper these efforts. While the agency 
believes that it is possible and desirable to design 
comfortable and convenient safety belts meeting 
all of the proposed specifications, it does not wish 
to retard the introduction of automatic restraints 
because of minor technical problems in particular 
vehicle configurations. If all of the proposed re- 
quirements were issued in this final rule, additional 
leadtime would have to be given because of the 
special problems in a few vehicle models. The agency 
believes it is preferable to encourage voluntary 
compliance with some of the proposed provisions 
so that a majority of vehicles can be introduced at 
an earlier date with the comfort and convenience 
features incorporated. 



The agency also intends to continue development 
of the proposed specifications in order to refine 
comfort zones and test procedures. Although the 
provisions as proposed would represent an impor- 
tant improvement in seat belt comfort and conven- 
ience if incorporated in current vehicle designs, 
comments from the industry have led the agency to 
conclude that some modifications and adjustments 
in the specifications may be desirable. Instead of 
delaying the introduction of improvements in seat 
belt design while the agency continues this 
development work, it has been determined that it 
is wiser to urge voluntary compliance with the 
major provisions included in the proposals so that 
they may be introduced as soon as possible. As 
automatic belts are introduced in the market, 
valuable data will be received concerning con- 
sumer perception of comfort and convenience. 
These data vnll be helpful to both the agency and 
the industry in further improving the belt systems. 

Another factor influencing the decision not to 
include the proposed specifications in this final rule 
is the fact that there are automatic belt designs 
currently in production that do not comply with all 
the provisions proposed. The agency does not wish 
to preclude the continual production of these 
designs because, for example, they are V* inch out- 
side the torso belt fit zone. This is particularly true 
since the automatic belts currently on the road 
were introduced voluntarily by the manufacturers 
prior to the effective date of the standard. 

As stated earlier, the agency does urge manufac- 
turers to voluntarily incorporate the performance 
specifications that were proposed but that are not 
included in this final rule. The agency believes all 
of the provisions deal with seat belt design features 
that substantially affect the comfort and conven- 
ience of seat belt systems, and therefore help 
determine whether a particular belt system will be 
worn. The agency also believes that the provisions 
adequately specify performance criteria and that 
manufacturers can design systems that are in con- 
formity with the specifications and that also 
optimize belt effectiveness in crash situations. 
Although some variations may be required for 
specialized vehicle configurations, the great 
majority of the specifications should prove to be 
extremely helpful to manufacturers attempting to 
develop seat belt designs that are comfortable to 
wear and convenient to use. 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-120 



In order to aid both seat belt manufacturers and 
vehicle manufacturers, the NHTSA will publish in 
a later Federal Register notice suggested perform- 
ance guidelines for torso belt fit, belt /head 
clearance, belt/ seat cushion clearance, and speed 
of motorized belt track systems. The agency will 
also include in that notice tabulation of all research 
reports, studies and other data concerning the 
improvement of seat belt comfort and convenience 
that are available at the National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration. The agency urges all 
manufacturers to use the information that is 
available and to incorporate these performance 
guidelines so that vehicle occupants will not be 
discouraged from using seat belts because of their 
discomfort or inconvenience. 

Provisions Inciuded in This Amendment 

In addition to the provisions discussed already, 
the notice of proposed rulemaking included 
specifications dealing with seat belt guides, torso 
belt pressure, latch plate accessibility, adjustable 
buckles for certain belts having emergency-locking 
retractors, convenience hooks for automatic belts, 
emergency-locking retractors in lap belts, belt 
retraction and belt comfort devices. The proposed 
provisions relating to these topics were intended to 
alleviate some of the most serious problems with 
current seat belt designs. Most manufacturers 
agreed that there are problems in these areas, 
although there was not total agreement on all of 
the remedies specified in the proposal. After con- 
sidering the comments, the agency has concluded 
that improvements in these areas can and should 
be made. The changes required by this amendment 
are not burdensome and can be accomplished 
rapidly. The major objections of the industry to the 
proposal related primarily to the proposed provi- 
sions that are not being included in this amend- 
ment (discussed earlier in this notice). 

Seat Beit Guides 

Seat belt webbing and buckles in motor vehicles 
often fall or are pushed down behind the seat. Con- 
sequently, occupants are discouraged or actually 
precluded from using the belts. Therefore, the pro- 
posal specified that belt webbing at any designated 
seating position shall pass through flexible stiff- 
eners or other guides in the seat cushion to ensure 
that the belts are easily accessible to occupants. 
The provision also specified that belt buckles and 



latchplates are to remain above the rear cushions 
at all times, even in folding or tumbling seats, and 
that all buckles are to be "free-standing" to allow 
one-hand buckling. These provisions were included 
in response to a petition for rulemaking submitted 
some time ago by the Center for Auto Safety. 

The American Seat Belt Council supported the 
proposed requirements for both seat belt guides 
and "free-standing" buckles. Vehicle manufac- 
turers requested that several changes be made in 
the specification or that it be deleted altogether. 
Volkswagen stated that it would be difficult to 
comply with the requirement for seats that both 
fold and tumble and for seats designed to convert 
into beds. The agency believes that suitable 
designs can be developed to ensure that belts re- 
main above seats that both fold and tumble. Two 
vehicles were furnished by Volkswagen which 
showed two different rear seat configurations. The 
agency determined that belts could be developed 
for either that would comply with the provision. 
However, one design configuration would require 
seat-mounted belts, with a considerable increase in 
cost for the belts and increased weight for the vehi- 
cle. Based on its consideration of available designs 
and their costs, NHTSA has concluded that the 
cost of requiring seats that both fold and tumble 
seats to comply with the requirement may not be 
justified. Therefore, this type of seat is not subject 
to this amendment. 

Several manufacturers stated that the proposed 
requirement should not apply to fixed seats since 
the purpose of the requirement can be accomplished 
without guides or conduits for fixed seats. The 
agency disagrees. The problem addressed in this 
proposed requirement has been most prevalent 
with fixed seats. Latchplates and buckles that get 
lost behind fixed seat cushions are more difficult to 
retrieve than buckles behind movable seats. While 
it is true that fixed seats can be designed so that 
there is little clearance between seat backs and 
seat cushions, buckles and latchplates can still be 
forced down behind the seat when a person sits on 
the seat. 

The proposal specified that the belt latchplate 
and buckle must remain in fixed positions in rela- 
tion to the seat cushion and vehicle interior. 
Several manufacturers pointed out that the belt 
hardware could not remain in a "fixed" position 
with adjustable seats. The agency agrees that this 
aspect of the provision was inaccurately stated. 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-121 



The intent of the provision was only to require that 
the belt hardware pass through guides or conduits 
to maintain the location of the buckle and latch- 
plate on top of the seat cushion. The provision is 
modified accordingly in this amendment. 

Several manufacturers also objected to the 
specification for the "freestanding" buckles and 
"one-hand" buckling on the basis that the criteria 
is design restrictive and not stated in objective 
terms. The agency continues to believe that these 
provisions would increase the convenience of 
buckling a seat belt. Nevertheless, after consider- 
ing the comments, the agency has decided that the 
specification would be difficult to enforce and may 
be too design restrictive in some instances. Addi- 
tionally, a majority of vehicle manufacturers have 
already begun using stiffeners and other devices to 
make buckling of belts more simple. If this trend 
continues, a provision regarding this aspect of belt 
performance will not be necessary. Therefore, the 
agency is not including a requirement for "free- 
standing" buckles in the amendment at this time. 
The agency does urge, however, manufacturers to 
voluntarily design their belt system so that buckles 
are "freestanding" or of some other design that 
facilitates easy buckling by consumers. 

Torso Belt Body Contact Pressure 
(Manual and Automatic Belts) 

NHTSA research indicates that occupants are 
likely to complain about belt pressure if the torso 
belt net contact force is greater than .7 pound. 
Therefore, the proposal specified that the torso 
portion of any belt system shall not create a con- 
tact pressure exceeding that of a belt with a total 
net contact force of .7 poimd. 

Most manufacturers objected to the belt contact 
force limitation. Many commenters stated that the 
agency has not adequately demonstrated that .7 
pound of belt webbing force is the optimum upper 
limit in all seating configurations. In lieu of the 
proposed limitation, various manufacturers sug- 
gested force limitations ranging from 1 pound to 
11 poimds. Manufacturers also argued that the 
.7-pound pressure does not allow for engineering 
tolerances. Ford stated that its tests using the pro- 
posed procedure indicate that test variability 
amounts to ±.3 pound. Other manufacturers 
stated that the proposed force level is so low that it 
would be difficult to also meet the proposed re- 
quirement that belts retract completely when un- 



buckled by the vehicle occupant, i.e., the retractor 
forces would have to be too low to meet the "self 
stow" provisions. Chrysler Corporation and 
General Motors stated that a more precise test pro- 
cedure for measuring belt contact force is needed. 
This comment was echoed by several foreign 
manafacturers. 

The agency does not agree with most of these 
objections. In a detailed study conducted by Man 
Factors, Inc., webbing retractor forces were 
varied in an experimental belt system mounted in a 
production vehicle. A series of male and female 
test subjects experienced each force level during 
on-the-road driving tests and reported whether the 
pressure felt was satisfactory or too great. That 
study showed that belt pressure greater than 0.7 
pound was unacceptable to more than 60 percent 
of the test subjects. Therefore, manufacturers' 
comments that belt pressure should be as high as 1 
to 11 pounds have little, if any, credence. Regard- 
ing other comments, the study that was conducted 
to determine maximum tolerable belt pressure was 
not conducted for a myriad of seating configura- 
tions since a given belt pressure will likely be either 
acceptable or unacceptable to an occupant 
regardless of the seating configuration. In 
automobiles that presently meet this pressure re- 
quirement, retraction has not been found to be a 
problem. Their belts retract in compliance with the 
proposed retraction requirements. The agency 
believes that comments stating that a test pro- 
cedure should be included in the standard to 
measure the belt pressure have merit. Therefore, 
this amendment specifies a .7-pound maximum 
pressure limitation and includes a procedure for 
measuring belt pressure. 

Latch Plate Accessibility 

As noted in the proposal, one of the most 
inconvenient aspects of using many current seat 
belt designs is the difficulty that seated occupants 
have in reaching back to grasp the belt latchplate 
when the belt is unbuckled and in its retracted posi- 
tion. The greater the difficulty in reaching the 
latchplate to buckle the belt, the more likely that 
belt usage will cease or never begin. Poor ac- 
cessibility of latchplates results from two main fac- 
tors: Location of the latchplate beyond the conven- 
ient reach of some seated vehicle occupants, and 
inadequate clearance between the seats and side of 
the vehicle to allow easy grasping of the latchplate. 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-122 



The proposal specified requirements to define 
limits on reach distance for latchplates and to 
prescribe minimum clearances for arm and hand 
access. 

There were several comments from the vehicle 
manufacturers recommending changes in the pro- 
posed specifications. The proposed test procedures 
for this provision specified that the vehicle seat is 
to be placed in its forwardmost position when 
testing for compliance with the reach envelope (the 
position in which there would presumably be the 
most problems). Ford Motor Company stated that 
the requirement should be modified to specify that 
the seat be located in the mid-track position since a 
50th percentile adult would not normally have the 
seat in the forwardmost position (the proposal 
specified that a 50th percentile dummy be used to 
test for compliance with the reach envelope). The 
NHTSA agrees that some difficulty may be en- 
countered in placing the 50th percentile test 
dummy in the forwardmost seat adjustment posi- 
tion. If this occurs, there is nothing that would 
preclude manufacturers from removing the test 
dummy's legs, since legs are irrelevant to the arm 
reach envelope. However, the agency believes that 
the requirement should specify that the seat be in 
its forwardmost adjustment position since many 
current latchplates are blocked with the seat in this 
position although they are not when the seat is in 
its mid-position. Since a significant number of vehi- 
cle occupants will have the seat in the forwardmost 
position (particularly women), the agency believes 
that the latchplate should be within easy reach for 
these occupants or they will be discouraged from 
wearing the belt system. 

One manufacturer stated that it is not clear from 
the proposal whether the latchplate access 
specifications would apply to all seats or to just the 
front outboard seating positions. The requirement 
applies only to the front outboard seats, and the 
specification is modified in this amendment to 
clarify this point. Several commenters stated that 
the size of the test block used to measure latchplate 
access should be modified and that the block should 
be designed to articulate to represent the forearm 
and wrist of a human being. The agency does not 
agree with this recommendation. This size of the 
test block was designed to account for the limita- 
tion of the human arm and hand as they would 
articulate through various openings (in this case, 
between the seat and vehicle structure). The 



dimension was based on a detailed study conducted 
by Man Factors (See DOT-HS-7-01617, December 
1978). The agency also believes that the test ap- 
paratus would be unnecessarily complicated if 
specifications were included for articulation. For 
these reasons, the test block specification and test 
procedure is unchanged in this notice, except for 
minor technical changes in the string dimensions 
and the deletion of one illustration (Figure 3) that 
was included in the proposal. These minor 
technical changes are in response to comments and 
are included for clarification purposes. 

Convenience Hooks for Automatic Beits 

Some automatic belt designs might include a 
manual "convenience hook" located, for example, 
on the dashboard near the A-pillar, which would 
enable occupants to manually move the belt web- 
bing totally out of the way as they are about to exit 
the vehicle. These devices would only be permitted 
as additional equipment since automatic belts must 
operate automatically, i.e., manual hooks could not 
be used as the sole means of moving the belt web- 
bing out of the occupant's way. The proposal 
specified that if manufacturers instaU such "con- 
venience hooks," the hook must automatically 
release the belt webbing so that it will deploy 
around the occupant prior to the vehicle being 
driven. The proposal specified that the hook would 
have to automatically release the webbing when 

(a) The vehicle ignition switch is moved to the 
"on" or "start"position. 

(b) The vehicle's drive train is engaged. 

Manufacturers did not object to the proposed re- 
quirements for "convenience hooks," although 
there were several comments that the provision 
needs clarification. Jaguar Rover Triumph, Inc. 
stated that it is not clear from the proposal 
whether conditions (a) and (b) mentioned in the 
preceding paragraphs are sequential or alter- 
natives. This notice modifies the language of the 
requirement to clarify that the "hook" must 
release the belt webbing when the ignition switch 
is in the "on" or "start" position and the vehicle's 
drive train is engaged at the same time (i.e., when 
both condition (a) and (b) exist at the same time). 
An optional condition "(c)" is added in response to 
a comment by American Honda Motor Co. to allow 
vehicles with manual transmissions to have the 
"hook" release the webbing when the ignition is on 
and the vehicle's parking brake is released at the 
same time. 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-123 



Belt Retraction 

Many persons find seat belts inconvenient 
because the belt webbing will not retract completely 
to its stowed position when the system is unbuckled, 
so that the webbing is an obstacle when the occu- 
pant is trying to exit the vehicle. Therefore, the 
proposal included a specification to ensure that 
belts do retract completely and automatically when 
they are unbuckled. While there were no serious 
objections to the proposed requirement, several 
manufacturers requested changes in the test pro- 
cedures. For example, it was requested that 
manufacturers be allowed to remove the arms on 
the test dummy during the compliance test since 
the belt webbing can get hung-up on the dummy's 
arms while retracting. The agency believes that 
this suggestion has merit since a human occupant 
can move his arm out of the way when a seat belt is 
retracting and that flexibility cannot be incor- 
porated in the test dummies currently available. 
Manufacturers also requested that the test be con- 
ducted with the vehicle door open, since some 
systems are designed to automatically retract 
when the door latch is released (i.e., the retraction 
force is stronger in this mode). The agency agrees 
with this suggestion also, and it is incorporated in 
this notice. 

Automatic Locking Retractors 

Seat belts incorporating automatic locking 
retractors (ALR's) in the lap belt portion of the 
system have been identified as a major item of 
complaint by vehicle occupants because of the 
feature's discomfort and inconvenience. Many 
vehicle occupants report that belts incorporating 
the ALR's tighten excessively under normal driv- 
ing conditions, making it necessary to unbuckle 
and refasten the lap belt to relieve pressure on the 
pelvis and abdomen. This discomfort causes many 
persons to stop using their belts. 

Belt systems having ALR's have also been found 
very inconvenient to use, particularly if the ALR is 
incorporated as part of the latchplate assembly. 
During the process of putting the belt on, the occu- 
pant must extend the belt in a single continuous 
movement to a length sufficient to allow buckling. 
Otherwise, the retractor locks before sufficient 
webbing has been withdrawn to accomplish buck- 
ling, and the belt has to be fully retracted before 
the occupant can repeat the donning process. 
Many persons have found this characteristic of 



ALR's extremely irritating and consequently have 
avoided use of the belt. In addition, ALR's inhibit 
the driver's normal movement to pay tolls, reach 
the glove compartment, etc. With emergency lock- 
ing retractors (ELR's) instead of automatic lock- 
ing retractors, these problems would be alleviated. 

Safety Standard No. 208 currently requires lap 
belts at outboard seating positions to be equipped 
with either automatic locking retractors or 
emergency locking retractors, in order to assure 
that belts are sufficiently tightened to be effective 
during a crash. However, this effectiveness feature 
can be achieved by ELR's without the concomitant 
discomfort and inconvenience associated with 
ALR's. Therefore, the proposal sought to 
eliminate ALR's as an alternative in the standard 
for front outboard designated seating positions. 

The proposal also specified that emergency lock- 
ing retractors for the lap belt portion of the belt 
system at the front outboard passenger's position 
shall be equipped with a manual locking device so 
that child restraint systems can be properly 
secured. Since emergency locking retractors allow 
some movement when the belt is fastened, the 
agency and some child safety experts were con- 
cerned that the child restraint system could slide 
out of position prior to a crash if the retractor can- 
not be manually locked. 

Few manufacturers objected to the requirement 
that lap belts at front outboard designated seating 
positions be equipped with emergency locking 
retractors. However, nearly sill manufacturers ob- 
jected to the requirement that these emergency 
locking retractors be equipped with a manual lock- 
ing device for securing child restraint systems. 
Ford Motor Company stated that the manual lock 
requirement is design restrictive and will preclude 
the installation of continuous loop manual belts 
and certain three-point automatic belts. Also, Ford 
stated that the proposed requirement is inconsis- 
tent with another proposal precluding any device 
that allows the introduction of slack in a belt 
system (e.g., comfort devices). Ford argued that 
the manual lock could be used to introduce ex- 
cessive slack in the belt when worn by an adult. 
Toyota Motor Company stated that an emergency 
locking retractor is definitely superior to an 
automatic locking retractor from the standpoint of 
comfort and convenience. Toyota argued, 
however, that its tests with the GM child seat 
(braking, fast cornering, driving on rough roads) 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-124 



have demonstrated that the performance of 
emergency locking retractors in restraining this 
child seat is satisfactory without a manual locking 
device. 

The Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association 
pointed out that the Economic Commission of 
Europe (which sets international motor vehicle 
safety standards) does not even permit manual lock- 
ing devices on emergency locking retractors. 
Volkswagen of America stated that the proposed re- 
quirement would impair the operation of these belts 
by allowing too much slack in the system, and 
argued that parents should be encouraged to place 
their child restraints in rear seating positions that 
have automatic locking retractors. General Motors 
argued that the agency's data is totally inconclusive 
in demonstrating that emergency locking retractors 
without locking devices cannot adequately secure 
child restraint systems. General Motors cited its 
own tests which it states demonstrated child 
restraints are adequately secured with emergency 
locking retractors. Finally, several manufacturers 
stated that the manual locking devices could pose a 
hazard in emergency situations if the emergency 
locking retractor is located on the vehicle door. 
These commenters pointed out that the vehicle door 
would be impossible to open from the outside if the 
retractor is locked. 

After considering these comments, the agency 
has decided that while emergency locking retrac- 
tors should be required for lap belts at front out- 
board designated seating positions, these retrac- 
tors should not be required to have manual locking 
devices. The agency believes that the points raised 
in the comments represent legitimate concerns. 
Further, agency tests conducted after the issuance 
of the proposal indicate that there may not be a 
substantial problem with Type 2 belts incor- 
porating emergency locking retractors restraining 
child seats. However, the agency is planning to 
conduct further research regarding the use of Type 
1 belts with ELR's to secure child restraints. Addi- 
tionally, the agency recently issued a proposal to 
amend Safety Standard No. 210, Seat Belt An- 
chorages, to require that lap belt anchorages be 
present at front outboard seating passenger posi- 
tions that are not equipped with lap belts (e.g., 
vehicles equipped with a two-point, single diagonal 
automatic belt). Therefore, if that proposal is 
adopted, parents wishing to place child seats in 
front seating positions in the affected vehicles can 



purchase a lap belt having an automatic locking 
retractor or a manual webbing adjusting device. In 
light of these considerations, and the cost of in- 
stalling manual locking devices on emergency lock- 
ing retractors, the manual locking device of the 
proposal is not adopted. 

The proposal also included a provision to allow 
manual adjustment devices on seat belt assemblies 
in rear seating positions that have emergency lock- 
ing retractors. Although automatic locking retrac- 
tors are allowed in rear seating positions, some 
manufacturers are currently installing emergency 
locking retractors. These manufacturers have re- 
quested that manual webbing adjustment devices 
be allowed on these belt systems, specifically for 
facilitating the securement of child restraint 
systems. Nearly all commenters agreed with this 
provision and it is included in this amendment. 

In summary, although manual locking devices 
are not being required on emergency locking 
retractors in front seating positions, these devices 
or manual webbing adjustment devices are being 
allowed in rear seating positions. The manual web- 
bing adjustment device would not be permitted in 
front seating positions, but manufacturers would 
be permitte.^ to volimtarily install manual locking 
devices on belts in front seating positions. 

Devices That Introduce Slack in Belt Webbing 

Some current seat belt designs include devices 
that are intended to relieve shoulder belt pressure. 
These "comfort clips," "window-shade" devices, or 
other tension-relieving devices can reduce the effec- 
tiveness of belts in crash situations if the occupant 
uses the device to put excessive slack in the belt 
webbing, i.e., so that the belt is not snugly against 
the occupant. Therefore, the proposal included a 
provision to prohibit any device, either manual or 
automatic, that would permit the introduction of 
slack in the upper torso restraint. The proposal 
stated that such devices would not be necessary to 
relieve the discomfort caused by excessive belt 
pressure since the proposal also included a limita- 
tion on belt pressure. 

Several manufacturers objected to an outright 
ban on tension-relieving devices. The American 
Seat Belt CoimcU stated that an appropriate 
performance requirement should be developed that 
will allow a small, controlled amount of slack in belt 
systems. General Motors stated that its tension- 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-125 



relieving devices allow some slack but that this slack 
could not be introduced inadvertently. General 
Motors argued that such devices should be allowed 
provided the slack is cancelled when the vehicle 
door is opened, i.e., so that there is no slack at all 
when an occupant uses the belt on a subsequent oc- 
casion. The commenters argued that some persons 
do not like any belt pressure at all, not even the .7 
pounds that would be the maximum allowed under 
the proposed belt pressure provisions. 

The agency believes there is some merit to these 
arguments particularly in regard to automatic belt 
systems that are required to comply with the injury 
criteria of Safety Standard No. 208. Therefore, 
tension-relieving devices are not prohibited in this 
amendment in automatic belt systems provided the 
belt system can comply with the injury criteria of 
the standard with the belt placed in any position to 
which it can be adjusted. This means that if six 
inches of slack can be introduced in the automatic 
belt system by means of the tension-relieving 
device, the belt must be able to comply with the in- 
jury criteria with the belt webbing in that position. 
Since manual seat belt systems are not required to 
comply with the injury criteria of the standard 
generally, they would also not be required to com- 
ply just because they include tension-relieving 
devices. The agency does urge manufacturers to 
voluntarily limit the amount of slack that can be in- 
troduced in their manual belt systems, however. 

Seat Belt Warning System 

The proposal included a provision for a new 
sequential seat belt warning system in all motor 
vehicles which are not passenger cars and which 
have a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 
pounds or less. 

Safety Standard No. 208 currently requires a 
visual and audible warning system to remind vehi- 
cle occupants to fasten their manual safety belts. 
The present standard requires a warning system 
which activates, for a period of 4 to 8 seconds, a 
reminder light each time the vehicle ignition is 
operated, and an audible warning if the driver's lap 
belt is not in use. Studies of manual seat belt usage 
in passenger vehicles have shown that a sequential 
logic system which incorporates a visible reminder 
light of continuous duration and a 4- to 8-second 
audible warning could produce usage rates signifi- 
cantly greater than those obtained with the warn- 



ing systems currently required. The sequential 
logic warning system activates unless buckling of a 
person's belt occurred after the person sat down in 
his seat. Under the current 208 requirement, the 
warning system can be permanently defeated if the 
belt is buckled and pushed behind the seat cushion 
and left there during subsequent occasions on 
which the vehicle is used. 

Only the American Seat Belt Coimcil supported 
the requirement for a sequential warning system. 
The vehicle manufacturers uniformly objected to 
the requirement, stating that such a system would 
cost $25 to $35 per vehicle (this is much higher 
than the agency's estimated cost figure). Also, 
manufacturers disputed the agency's data and 
argued that there is no documentation demonstrat- 
ing that a sequential warning system will substan- 
tially increase belt use in vehicles other than 
passenger cars. 

The agency agrees that the data relied upon in 
the proposal dealt primarily with sequential warn- 
ing systems in passenger cars (The Phoenix Study, 
DOT-HS-801-953). There is no conclusive 
evidence that such a system would also improve 
seat belt use in light trucks and vans to a com- 
parable degree. Although the agency is convinced 
that an effective warning system similar to or like 
that proposed would result in some increased seat 
belt use in these other vehicles, the agency has con- 
cluded that manufacturers should be allowed to 
voluntarily install such systems under an im- 
plementation schedule suited to particular vehicle 
models in order to minimize costs. Therefore, the 
proposed requirement is not included in this 
amendment. Specifications for a sequential warn- 
ing system will, however, be included in the volun- 
tary performance guidelines that will be issued in 
the near future, however, for the benefit of 
manufacturers that are interested in such a 
system. 

The proposal also included a specification for 
warning systems for automatic seat belts, to en- 
sure that motorized systems are locked into place 
before the vehicle begins moving. If for some 
reason the motorized belt has not returned and 
locked into its protective mode, the occupant 
would be alerted by the continuous light and by a 
4-to 8-second audible warning. Although several 
manufacturers objected to this requirement, again 
primarily because of cost, the agency believes such 
a requirement is essential for motorized automatic 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-126 



belt systems. It is therefore included in this amend- 
ment. 

The proposal also included an illustration chart 
specifying the weights and dimensions of various 
human body sizes (e.g., 5th percentile female). The 
comments to the proposal indicated that some per- 
sons were confused about inclusion of the chart. 
Some commenters interpreted the figures in the 
chart to represent a change in the Part 572 dummy 
dimension. The chart was included in the proposal 
to be republished in the standard since it had been 
inadvertently deleted by the Code of Federal 
Regulations some time ago. The chart, however, 
was not intended to make any changes in the Part 
572 test dummy. 

In order to give manufacturers sufficient lead 
time to implement the changes required by this 



notice, and to minimize the cost of such changes, 
the effective date of this amendment is September 
1, 1982. 

Note — The agency has determined that this amendment does 
not qualify as a significant regulation under Executive Order 
12221, "Improving Government Regulations," and the Depart- 
mental guidelines implementing that order. Therefore, a 
regulatory analysis is not required. A regulatory evaluation con- 
cerning the amendment has been prepared and placed in the 
public docket under the docket number and notice number of 
this Federal Register notice. 



Issued on December 31, 1980. 



Joan Claybrook, 
Administrator. 

46 F.R. 2064 
January 8, 1981 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-127-128 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO 

FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 
(Docket No. 208; Notice 21) 



ACTION: Final rule. 

SUMMARY: The purpose of this notice is to amend 
Safety Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protec- 
tion, to delay for one year the effective date of the 
first phase of the automatic restraint require- 
ments of the standard. Prior to this notice, the 
automatic restraint requirements were scheduled 
to become effective for large cars on September 
1, 1981 (model year 1982), for mid-size cars on 
September 1, 1982 (model year 1983), and for 
small cars on September 1, 1983 (model year 
1984). As amended by this notice, the require- 
ment for equipping large cars with automatic 
restraints will not take effect until September 1, 
1982, or model year 1983. 

This one-year delay in the automatic restraint 
requirements is being specified in light of 
dramatic changes in production plans for the 
model-year 1982 fleet (fewer large cars and more 
small cars) and because the economic and other 
justifications for the existing phase-in schedule 
have changed drastically since the standard was 
adopted in 1977. 

The one-year delay will also allow the Depart- 
ment sufficient time to re-evaluate the entire 
automatic restraint standard as required by the 
Presidential Executive Order 12291 (February 
17, 1981). The Department is simultaneously issu- 
ing a notice of proposed rulemaking in today's 
issue of the Federal Register discussing further 
possible changes in the automatic restraint 
standard. 

DATES: The new effective date of the automatic 
restraint requirements for large cars is Septem- 
ber 1, 1982. 

ADDRESSES: Any petitions for reconsideration 
should refer to the docket number and notice 
number of this notice and be submitted to: Docket 



Section, Room 5109, Nassif Building, 400 Seventh 
Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590. 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 

Mr. Michael Finkelstein, Office of Rulemaking, 
National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, Washington, D.C. 
20590 (202-426-1810) 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On February 
12, 1981, the Department of Transportation 
issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to delay 
for one year the first phase of the automatic 
restraint requirements of Safety Standard No. 
208, Occupant Crash Protection, (46 FR 12033). 
Automatic restraints are systems that require no 
action by vehicle occupants, such as buckling a 
seat belt, to be effective. Two existing systems 
that qualify as automatic restraints are air 
cushion restraints (air bags) and automatic seat 
belts (belts which automatically envelop an occu- 
pant when entering the vehicle and closing the 
door). 

The automatic restraint requirements were 
added to Standard No. 208 on July 5, 1977 (42 FR 
34289), and require installation in accordance 
with the following schedule: 

• For full-size cars (wheelbase greater than 114 
inches) beginning September 1, 1981 (1982 model 
year); 

• For mid-size cars (wheelbase not more than 114 
inches but greater than 100 inches) beginning 
September 1, 1982 (1983 model year); 

• For small cars (wheelbase less than 100 inches) 
beginning September 1, 1983 (1984 model year). 

The February notice issued by the Department 
proposed to alter this phase-in schedule by 



PART 571; S208-PRE 129 



deferring the first phase (large cars) for one year, 
from model 1982 to model year 1983. The proposal 
noted that such a change may be appropriate 
because of the effects of implementation in model 
year 1982 on large car manufacturers, because of 
the added significance which those effects assume 
due to the change in economic circumstances 
since the schedule was adopted in 1977, and 
because of the undermining by subsequent events 
of the rationale underlying the original phase-in 
schedule. (See the notice of proposed rulemaking 
for a full discussion of the facts which led to the 
proposed alteration of the phase-in schedule.) 

Comments Upon Proposal 

The responses to the proposal were equally 
divided between those commenters adamantly 
opposed to any delay in the automatic restraint 
requirement and those commenters in favor of 
both the delay and a total revocation of the re- 
quirements. The comments and data supporting 
these factions were as diametrically opposed as 
the competing economic interests involved, in 
this instance the automobile and the insurance in- 
dustries. Following is a summary of the major 
comments submitted in response to the proposal. 
A more detailed summary of representative com- 
ments is included as an appendix at the end of this 
notice. 

The automobile insurance industry was 
unanimously against the proposed delay in the 
first phase of the automatic restraint re- 
quirements, unless the standard is also amended 
to require an earlier implementation of automatic 
restraints for small cars (i.e., a delay and reversal 
of the current schedule). The commenting in- 
surance companies stated that the automatic 
restraint requirements will save thousands of 
lives and prevent hundreds of thousands of 
serious injuries. They argued that the proposed 
delay of the 1982 requirements would, therefore, 
result in a significant number of fatalities and in- 
juries that would not otherwise occur. These com- 
panies also argued that the monetary savings 
that would result from the proposed delay are so 
small that they would not significantly help the 
ailing automobile industry. The commenters 
pointed specifically to the fact that most of the 
capital expenditures have already been made for 
installing automatic restraints on 1982-model 
large cars. 



In urging a reversal of the implementation 
schedule, the insurance companies noted the 
dramatically increasing number of small cars, and 
pointed to insurance research which shows small 
cars are inherently more dangerous for occupants 
than large cars. (NHTSA statistics show that a 
person is eight times more likely to be killed in a 
small car than in a full-size car in a crash between 
the two.) Since small cars will represent a major- 
ity of the 1983-model passenger car fleet, the com- 
panies argued that more lives could ultimately be 
saved if automatic restraints are required on 
small cars in that model year, than under the ex- 
isting implementation schedule. 

Many of these same sentiments were also 
voiced by consumer groups and health organiza- 
tions, the majority of which were also opposed to 
the proposed delay of the MY 1982 requirements. 
Like the insurance companies, most of these 
groups asserted that usage rates for automatic 
belts will be relatively high and that the auto- 
matic restraint standard as a whole will save 
thousands of lives. 

Several consumer groups and air bag compo- 
nent suppliers stated that they could support the 
proposed delay provided there is also a require- 
ment that vehicle manufacturers at least offer air 
bags as options on some of their model lines. 
These groups are concerned that further delay of 
the automatic restraint standard will drive the 
remaining air bag component suppliers out of the 
market and that, as a result, the life-saving poten- 
tial of air bags will be lost. 

The insurance industry and a majority of the 
consumer groups argued that the benefits of the 
1982-model year requirements outweigh the 
costs. A detailed analysis by Professor William 
Nordhaus of Yale University was submitted on 
behalf of several insurance companies. This 
analysis concludes that the economic costs of the 
proposed delay would be approximately five 
times greater than the benefits, for a net cost of 
$200 million. These figures are based on computa- 
tions regarding the societal costs of deaths and in- 
juries that would result without the MY 1982 
automatic restraint requirement. 

Several of the commenting insurance com- 
panies and consumer groups also argued that as a 
matter of law and statutory authority the Depart- 
ment cannot rely on the general economic health 
of the automobile industry to justify a delay in 



PART 571; S208-PRE 130 



the automatic restraint standard. The National 
Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (the Vehicle 
Safety Act) (15 U.S.C §1381, et seq.) provides that 
motor vehicle safety standards shall be "reason- 
able" and "practicable." These commenters noted 
that the legislative history of the Vehicle Safety 
Act indicates that in promulgating standards, 
safety shall be the overriding consideration. The 
commenters contend that the current poor 
economic condition of the automobile industry 
does not make the 1982 model-year requirements 
impracticable. 

In addition to comments from the above groups 
and organizations, the Department also received 
comments from numerous private citizens, who 
were equally divided in their support or opposi- 
tion to the proposed delay. 

The proposed delay in the 1982 model-year re- 
quirements was unanimously supported by the 
automobile industry, both foreign and domestic. 
In addition, most manufacturers urged the 
Department to reconsider the entire standard, to 
provide additional leadtime for all phases of the 
implementation schedule, or to revoke the 
automatic restraint requirements altogether. 
Regarding a possible reversal of the current im- 
plementation schedule, nearly all of the foreign 
automobile manufacturers joined Chrysler Cor- 
poration and American Motors in stating that it 
would be impossible to install automatic 
restraints on 1983-model small passenger cars 
because of insufficient leadtime. 

In support of a complete rescission of the 
automatic restraint requirements, the vehicle 
manufacturers made several arguments. The 
manufacturers believe that automatic seat belts 
will be so unacceptable to the public that they will 
create a consumer "backlash" greater than that 
caused by ignition interlock devices required by 
NHTSA to be installed on 1974-75 models. These 
devices made it impossible to start the vehicle 
unless front seat belts were fastened, and were 
specifically precluded by the Congress by amend- 
ment to the Vehicle Safety Act in 1974. 

The manufacturers contend that automatic 
seat belts will produce such a reaction because of 
their coercive nature and obtrusiveness. They 
also contend that automatic belts must be de- 
signed so that they are easily detachable (and 
presumably thereby more acceptable to the 
public). In such case, they argue that the usage 



rate for automatic belts would be no greater than 
for current manual belts, and that the increased 
cost of automatic belts would not be justified. 

Auto manufacturers also argued that the ex- 
tremely high price of air bags makes them 
impractical, and allege that few will be installed 
on future passenger cars. Consequently, they con- 
tend, the only benefits attributable to the 
automatic restraint standard will be those de- 
rived from automatic belts, which for the above 
reasons will not be effective. 

Only two vehicle manufacturers, Ford Motor 
Company and General Motors, produce any 
significant number of large cars. Therefore, the 
existing automatic restraint requirements for 
1982 models would only directly affect these two 
companies. 

Ford Motor Company supported the proposed 
delay and stated that it considers its original 
1982-model, three-point automatic belt designs to 
be "out of date" because of their release concepts 
(i.e., they include a feature to frustrate release 
and thus defeat of the system). Ford believes this 
could lead to significant public dissatisfaction 
with MY 1982 automatic belts. In response to this 
concern. Ford had decided to add a conventional 
release buckle to this three-point belt, so that it 
can be detached by those motorists who refuse to 
wear a belt. Ford's submission stated that the 
company projects that as many as 100,000 pur- 
chasers would switch to mid-size cars in the 1982 
model year rather than buying large cars with an 
automatic belt. Ford plans to redesign its 
automatic belts, but states that such a program 
has major leadtime implications which would 
make it impractical to install improved automatic 
belts in small cars before September 1, 1983. 

General Motors Corporation stated that its 
planned 1982-model automatic belt designs are 
easily detachable (i.e., there will be a buckle 
release mechanism without an interlock or other 
mechanism to discourage defeat of the system). 
With this type belt, according to GM, the impact 
on safety will depend upon voluntary use of the 
automatic belt, so use would not likely be any 
greater than with current manual belt systems. 
Therefore, General Motors argues that the pro- 
posed delay should have only a minimal adverse 
safety impact. 

General Motors stated that the proposed delay 
would result in a net increased sales revenue to 



PART 571; S208-PRE 131 



the company of $760 million, and that the com- 
pany could realize a savings of approximately $13 
million in capital investment for the 1982 model- 
year program. General Motors explained the $760 
million figure with the following rationale: 

Automatic belts will be regarded by many as 
an unnecessary inconvenience, and they will 
deprive purchasers of six passenger seating 
capacity. Thus, 1982 full-size cars equipped 
with such a restraint will be at a competitive 
disadvantage in that consumers can avoid the 
penalties of increased cost and reduced accom- 
modation either by purchasing vehicles not 
subject to passive restraint requirements in 
that year, or by deferring their purchases. The 
proposed delay will allow the consumer to pur- 
chase a full size car in 1982, without a cost 
penalty, which fully meets his needs and expec- 
tations. 

General Motors' concern in this regard derives 
from the fact that large cars with automatic seat 
belts will be able to have only two front seating 
positions, since no company has developed an 
automatic belt system for the center seat posi- 
tion. With the automatic restraint requirements 
delayed, General Motors would be able to install 
bench front seats with three seating positions in 
its large cars. General Motors estimates that the 
reduced seating capacity thus caused by auto- 
matic belts will result in 120,000 fewer large car 
sales: 50,000 purchasers will shift from large 
cars to GM mid-size cars, and 70,000 potential 
purchasers will defer buying a new large car in 
the 1982 model year if they cannot obtain a 
six-passenger large car. General Motors 
contends that these factors will result in a 
revenue loss to the company of $760 million if the 
automatic restraint requirements are not 
delayed. 

Rationale For Agency Decision 

The agency has given thorough consideration 
to all comments submitted in response to the pro- 
posed delay of the first phase of the automatic 
restraint requirements, and carefully analyzed all 
such information and data in the Record of this 
proceeding. The wide diversity among factual, 
analytical and policy-related positions urged by 
those supporting and those opposing the pro- 
posed delay illustrates the degree to which this 



proceeding involves questions for which there are 
currently no concrete answers. 

For example, the usage rate of automatic belts 
will be extremely dependent on the exact design 
of a particular belt system. Consumer expecta- 
tions (for example, that six-seat cars will be 
available), consumer acceptance (for example, the 
purchase of cars with automatic belt systems 
which cost more than current belt systems) and 
actual rates of usage are values crucial to the 
Department's decision-making process. These fac- 
tors, which are dependent on the desires and 
reaction of the American public, cannot be quan- 
tified or predicted with certainty. 

On the basis of the record herein, the Depart- 
ment has concluded that the applicability of 
FMVSS 208 in MY 1982 to large cars would be im- 
practicable and unreasonable. Requiring such 
compliance would reduce sales and profits, and in- 
crease unemployment, for the manufacturers of 
such vehicles. The Department believes that it is 
in the public interest to avoid these unnecessary 
costs and impacts by providing an additional year 
of leadtime. 

The February 12, 1981 notice detailed many of 
the specific reasons which led to the proposed 
delay. As specified in that notice, many of the fac- 
tual assumptions and premises which led to adop- 
tion of the phase-in schedule have been proven 
wrong by subsequent events. The economic situa- 
tion of the industry and of consumers and the 
economy as a whole have drastically changed 
since the standard was adopted in 1977. 

The current phase-in schedule for automatic 
restraints was intended to permit manufacturers 
to introduce automatic restraints without undue 
technological or economic risk. Such risks would 
otherwise have had to have been assumed con- 
temporaneously with the risks involved in having 
to meet the requirements imposed by emission 
and fuel economy standards applicable to 
automobiles in the early 1980's. 

Large cars were chosen for the first phase of 
the schedule because at that time there was more 
experience with air bags in such full-size cars. A 
phased schedule to cover progressively smaller 
cars, in stages, was adopted to provide manufac- 
turers with a chance to gain similar levels of ex- 
perience in smaller cars. To ensure that manufac- 
turers would in fact have the maximum flexibility 
to choose between equipping smaller cars with air 



PART 571; S208-PRE 132 



bags or automatic belts, those cars were to be 
phased in last. This justification for a phased im- 
plementation schedule is no longer valid. Gasoline 
shortages, price increases (especially those occur- 
ring since the Iranian oil cut-off in 1979), and 
continuing uncertainty about levels of future 
petroleum supplies have led to dramatic in- 
creases in production plans for small cars. The 
small car share of new production is growing at a 
much faster pace than was anticipated by the 
Department when the automatic restraint re- 
quirements were issued. 

In 1977, the Department projected that new car 
production in the model year 1982-1985 period 
would be approximately 24 percent large cars, 53 
percent mid-size cars, and 23 percent small cars. 
However, NHTSA now estimates that actual pro- 
duction of large cars will be about 11 percent in 
model year 1982 while mid-size and small cars are 
expected to increase commensurately in that 
model year. 

Thus, under the state of facts now facing the 
Department, about 11 percent of the 1982 model- 
year cars would be required to have automatic 
restraints under the 208 standard. 

This major shift in the absolute and relative 
numbers of cars which would be subject to the 
first year of the standard will have important 
adverse impacts upon the benefits to be achieved 
by the first year of application of the standard. 
Consumer acceptance of the automatic restraints 
now anticipated to be used in the 1982 model-year 
cars is likely to be substantially less than was 
assumed in 1977. There will be more than a 
million fewer vehicles with automatic restraints 
than was previously expected. With fewer cars 
equipped with automatic restraints, the vehicles 
which are so equipped will be far more vulnerable 
to negative consumer reaction. 

The Department has long recognized that any 
costly, arguably coercive restraint system will 
cause a certain percentage of the population to 
react negatively. The factors leading to such 
negative reaction will be magnified as the per- 
centage of new 1982-model cars equipped with 
automatic restraints decreases. Adverse con- 
sumer preferences leading to deferral of the pur- 
chase of large cars, or to shifts to the purchase of 
mid-size cars, will predictably occur. 

Concern about providing additional leadtime to 
adapt air bags to small cars is also less important 



now as a result of changes in facts occurring since 
1977. When the standard was issued, the Depart- 
ment assumed that manufacturers would equip a 
great majority of their vehicles (75%) with air 
bags in preference to belt systems. However, 
most manufacturers now indicate that they in- 
tend to offer air bags on very few of their large 
cars, and on almost none of their smaller cars. 
Almost all 1982 model-year cars are planned to 
use automatic belts. 

The absence of any opportunity to select be- 
tween automatic restraint systems will materi- 
ally affect public acceptance of the automatic 
restraint standard. General Motors has pointed 
out that two automatic belt designs recently of- 
fered as options on its Chevette line produced 
very low purchaser interest, even though the cost 
was minimal and the car line was in high demand. 
GM states that fewer than 13,000 of 415,000 
1980-model Chevettes sold were equipped with 
the automatic belt option, despite the fact that 
the option was offered at no cost to most pur- 
chasers, GM salesmen were to be given an addi- 
tional commission of $25 for each sale, and over $1 
million was spent on advertising and marketing. 

Similar low interest has been shown in an 
automatic belt system offered as an option on 
General Motor's 1981 Cadillac. 

The poor consumer acceptance of these auto- 
matic belt options substantiates the Department's 
assumption that automatic belts installed on only a 
limited percentage of a particular model-year fleet 
will have difficult public acceptance problems. 

The public acceptance of 1982-model automatic 
restraints is a valid concern of the Department 
and is of primary importance in determining the 
reasonableness and practicability of the standard, 
and whether there is good cause for the delay. As 
stated by the Court of Appeals in Pacific Legal 
Foundation v. Department of Transportation, 593 
F.2d 1338 (D.C. Cir.), cert, denied, 444 U.S. 830 
(1979): 

We believe that the agency cannot fulfill its 
statutory responsibility unless it considers 
popular reaction. Without public cooperation 
there can be no assurance that a safety system 
can "meet the need for motor vehicle safety." 
And it would be difficult to term 'practicable' a 
system, like the ignition interlock, that so an- 
noyed motorists that they deactivate it. 



PART 571; S208-PRE 133 



The Department is unable to conclude from its 
current data, taking into account the large 
number of private citizens who took the time and 
effort to file comments reflecting their opposition 
to automatic restraints, that the 1982 automatic 
belt designs planned by the manufacturers will 
receive "public cooperation." 

The proposal stated that the changed economic 
circumstances may make the current implemen- 
tation schedule for automatic restraints imprac- 
ticable. Several commenters argued that the 
general economic situation of the automobile in- 
dustry is not a legitimate criterion for determin- 
ing whether a safety standard is practicable 
under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle 
Safety Act. The legislative history of the Vehicle 
Safety Act clarifies that economic considerations 
may be considered in determining the "prac- 
ticability" of a particular safety standard: 

This would require consideration of all relevant 
factors, including technological ability to 
achieve the goal of a particular standard as 
well as consideration of economic factors. (H.R. 
Rep. No. 776, 89th Cong., 2d Sess. (1966) at 16.) 

One commenter stated that the term "prac- 
ticable" must be viewed as relating solely to the 
economic and technological capability of the in- 
dustry to meet the timetables established by the 
particular safety standard in question, and not to 
the general economic health of the industry. The 
Department disagrees with this reading of the 
Vehicle Safety Act and its legislative history. 

The reasonableness and practicability of the 
current phase-in schedule cannot be determined 
in a vacuum. What is reasonable and practicable 
for a healthy firm or industry may not be for an 
ailing one. The proposal noted the current finan- 
cial difficulties of the automobile industry. Vehi- 
cle sales remain at depressed levels and 
unemployment in the domestic industry is ex- 
tremely high. Approximately 200,000 workers 
have been indefinitely laid off, and more have 
been temporarily laid off. These losses come at a 
time when the domestic manufacturers are 
spending unprecedented sums to meet the contin- 
uing demand for more fuel efficient cars. 

The Department concludes further that 
economic hardship to the affected industry and 
individual companies must be balanced with 
all other considerations in determining the 



"reasonableness" and "practicability" of a par- 
ticular safety standard. None of the individual 
factors involved in the deliberations may prop- 
erly be applied without regard to the other fac- 
tors. This proposition holds both in promulgating 
a standard and in retaining a standard when rele- 
vant factors have materially changed since the 
standard was first adopted. 

The same commenter also argued that the 
Department had not shown "good cause" for pro- 
posing to delay the effective date of the automatic 
restraint requirements, in light of the require- 
ments of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act that the 
leadtime for the effective date of safety stand- 
ards shall be no longer than one year, unless the 
Secretary finds, for good cause shown, that an 
earlier or later effective date is in the public in- 
terest (15 U.S.C. 1392). 

The leadtimes associated with the existing im- 
plementation schedule were much longer than 
one year. These were upheld by the Court in the 
Pacific Legal Foundation case, supra. In that case, 
the court relied heavily on the inability of the 
manufacturers to comply with the requirement in 
one year's time, and on the need for considering 
the likelihood that the public will accept the 
change: 

When dealing with a "technology-forcing" rule 
like Standard 208, the agency must consider 
the abilities of producers to comply with the 
new requirement and of the public to grasp the 
need for the change. 

As was stated earlier, the Department is now 
concerned that 1982-model large cars might be 
seriously unacceptable to a large portion of the 
public. 

The Department concludes that "good cause" 
exists for the proposed delay. The public interest 
in the economic viability of the industry and, with 
respect to the proposed delay, the particular cir- 
cumstances of the manufacturers of the vehicles 
involved, requires that inequitable burdens and 
unnecessary costs be avoided where possible in 
implementing FMVSS 208. Large cars are not ex- 
pected to be produced beyond MY 1985. Applica- 
tion of the standard to large cars in advance of 
smaller cars would thus involve such burdens and 
could involve such costs. 

In addition to these considerations, the Depart- 
ment believes that the proposed delay must be 



PART 571; S208-PRE 134 



viewed as a separate regulatory action insofar as 
leadtime is concerned. The leadtime specifica- 
tions for the existing implementation schedule 
were upheld by the court in Pacific Legal Founda- 
tion. The proposed delay represents a new con- 
sideration of the factors which will determine 
whether automatic restraints are reasonable and 
practicable for large cars in the 1982 model year, 
with primary attention being given to acceptabil- 
ity of these systems by the public. 

Opponents of the proposed delay have pointed 
to the adverse safety impacts that might result, 
stating specifically that the safety benefits of the 
1982 model-year requirements outweigh the 
costs. The Department's proposal stated that a 
delay of the first phase requirement could over 
the ten-year life of the vehicles involved result in 
a loss of 600 lives, and the accrual of 4,300 more 
injuries than would have occurred without the 
delay. After reviewing the information submitted 
in response to the proposal and analyzing more 
current data, however, the Department now con- 
cludes that its earlier estimate of adverse effects 
is invalid. 

First, the assertion that 600 lives would be lost 
was based upon earlier estimates of benefits that 
would arise from 100 percent usage of automatic 
restraint systems. This calculation in turn had 
been based primarily on 1977 assumptions that 
air bags would be the technology of choice. As 
stated earlier, however, the Department now 
knows that very few air bags are planned for the 
1982 model-year. 

Unlike air bags, estimates of benefits arising 
from compliance with the automatic restraint 
standard by means of automatic belts must be 
based upon projected usage rates. The most op- 
timistic expectations of automatic belt use for the 
1982 model-year now appear to be a usage rate of 
60 percent. Moreover, given the planned design of 
the 1982-model automatic belts, NHTSA now 
believes that a much lower usage rate will in fact 
occur. Both General Motors and Ford plan 
automatic belt designs which have a release 
buckle identical to the buckle on current manual 
belt systems. Motorists would therefore be able 
to disconnect the proposed belts with the same 
ease with which current active belt systems can 
be released. NHTSA believes it is likely that a 
large percentage of motorists would adopt this 
usage pattern, and detach the automatic belts. 



Usage could thus in fact turn out to be low, and 
approach levels similar to that of current manual 
belt systems (7%). 

The final regulatory analysis thus now includes 
a range of possible usage rates for 1982-model 
automatic belts, in analyzing possible benefits to 
be foregone by deferring the MY 82 standard for 
one year. If usage rates for the automatic belts 
otherwise required for that model-year were to 
be 15 percent, more than double the rate of use of 
current manual belts, retention of the 1982 re- 
quirements might save a total of 75 lives over the 
projected ten-year life of the large cars involved. 
If usage rates were to occur at the level of 60 per- 
cent, this number could possibly increase to as 
many as 490 lives over the same ten-year period. 

NHTSA now believes that the potential usage 
of 1982-model automatic belt designs would more 
likely be near the bottom end of this scale. 
NHTSA data on observed usage rates for the belt 
systems employed in some models of the Volks- 
wagen Rabbit, for example, are relevant. All such 
belts are optional, and were chosen by the pur- 
chaser either as a separate option or as a part of 
the "Deluxe" package. Moreover, the VW system 
employs an interlock mechanism, so that the 
engine may not be started if the system is not in 
place. Despite these factors, usage rates have 
been observed to be only 81%. That is, of the pur- 
chasers who specifically selected this optional 
system, nearly 20% thereafter in practice enter 
their vehicles, start their engines, and then 
deliberately disconnect the belt system when 
driving. 

Moreover, actual accident data relating to such 
vehicles show even lower usage rates, of 55-57%. 
(See Regulatory Analysis, at V-11, 13 for discus- 
sion.) 

After analyzing the data submitted in response 
to the proposal, the Department has determined 
that the one-year delay will result in a cost sav- 
ings to consumers of approximately $105 million. 
Capital investment savings for the industry will 
be about $30 million. Net income available for 
reinvestment would be increased to $292 million 
by the delay. Over 13,000 jobs will be saved in the 
automobile manufacturer and supplier industry, a 
savings of $159 million. The basis for these 
figures is explained in detail in the final 
regulatory analysis. Given the current economic 
situation of the American public and the domestic 



PART 571; S208-PRE 135 



automobile industry, these savings are signifi- 
cant, particularly when viewed in conjunction 
with the Department's belief that the safety im- 
pact of the delay can be minimized. 

While some measure of safety benefits will be 
foregone by this delay, the Department has con- 
cluded that such benefits are relatively minor. 
Moreover, the Department believes that any such 
loss of safety benefits can be offset with a coor- 
dinated effort by all parties involved. The Depart- 
ment believes that an intense seat belt use educa- 
tion campaign, joined by the Department, in- 
dustry and consumer groups and targeted di- 
rectly at the 1982 model-year cars, has the poten- 
tial of affording even greater safety benefits than 
would otherwise accrue. 

Finally, such a targeted campaign to increase 
the use of existing manual seat belts will provide 
further data on the viability of such strategies in 
increasing active seat belt use. Such information 
would be especially valuable for future rulemak- 
ing purposes, since it would in any event be at 
least ten years before all cars in the passenger 
fleet would be expected to be equipped with new 
safety equipment. Such information would enable 
the Department, State and local governments, 
and other interested parties to determine how to 
make the best use of their scarce resources to in- 
crease actual usage of the millions of manual seat 
belts that will remain on the nation's highways 
for years to come. 

Summary of Agency Conclusion 

The Department has determined that the ex- 
isting schedule for the first year of implementa- 
tion of FMVSS 208 is no longer reasonable or 
practicable. The assumptions leading to the 1977 
rule are no longer valid. There will be few, if any, 
air bags installed in passenger cars because 
manufacturers have chosen automatic belts as 
the preferred means of compliance with the 
standard. The number of small cars on the road is 
increasing drastically and these cars are more un- 
safe than large cars. Yet, under the current imple- 
mentation schedule, small cars are to be equipped 
with automatic restraints last. 

The delay of the first phase of the automatic 
restraint requirements will enable the Depart- 
ment to adequately reassess the most viable 
alternatives for the occupant crash protec- 
tion standard. The Department is publishing 



simultaneously with this final rule a Notice of 
Proposed Rulemaking addressing alternatives to 
this standard, and attention is specifically 
directed to that proposal. 

The Department is taking these actions 
because courts have found that the Department 
has a statutory responsibility to reexamine its 
safety standards in light of changing circum- 
stances and new data. In those circumstances, the 
Department is required to make necessary revi- 
sions and schedule changes to ensure that the 
standards are practicable, reasonable and ap- 
propriate. As noted above, key assumptions 
underlying the issuance of the automatic 
restraint requirements in 1977 have been 
substantially undermined by subsequent events. 

The delay and reevaluation of FMVSS 208 is 
also consistent with Executive Order 12291, 
which directs all executive branch agencies to 
delay final rules to the extent necessary to re- 
evaluate those rules under criteria specified in 
the Order. 

This amendment has been evaluated as a major 
rule under the guidelines of new Executive Order 
12291 and a final regulatory analysis is being 
placed in the public docket simultaneously with 
the publication of this notice. The major findings 
of that analysis have been discussed in the body 
of this notice. 

The effect of the one-year delay has been 
evaluated in accordance with the National En- 
vironmental Policy Act of 1969. It has been deter- 
mined that this action is not a major Federal ac- 
tion significantly affecting the quality of the 
human environment. An evaluation of the en- 
vironmental consequences of the amendment is 
included in the regulatory analysis. Further infor- 
mation regarding environmental issues concern- 
ing automatic restraints, especially air bags, can 
be found in the environmental impact statements 
published in conjunction with the 1977 automatic 
restraint standard. 

The regulatory analysis also includes a discus- 
sion of the Department's consideration of the 
possible impact of this amendment on small en- 
tities. The analysis shows that the one-year delay 
will have a minimal effect on the automatic seat 
belt-related firms, since it is likely that most of 
the 1982-model large cars will continue to be 
equipped with conventional manual type seat 
belts. Generally, however, the same firms 



PART 571; S208-PRE 136 



produce both automatic and manual belts, and 
none of these direct suppliers qualify as "small 
businesses" under the Regulatory Flexibility Act. 

The effect of the delay on air bag suppliers is 
less certain. Neither Ford or General Motors 
would have installed air bags in 1982 vehicles 
regardless of the delay. The analysis determined 
that some suppliers of the air bag components 
will be adversely affected by the delay to some 
extent and that a few of these qualify as small 
businesses. However, it is doubtful that a 
substantial number of small businesses will be 
adversely affected by the delay to a significant 
degree. 

The analysis also considered the effect of the 
delay on the small governmental units and other 
small fleet purchasers of cars. Since large cars 
are not generally sought for fleet purposes, the 
amendment is likely to have only a minimal effect 
on all types of small fleet purchasers. 

In consideration of the foregoing, Safety Stand- 
ard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection (49 CFR 
571.208) is amended as follows: 

Section S4.1.2 is amended to read: 

"S4.1.2 Passenger cars manufactured from 
September 1, 1973, to August SI, 1983. Each 



passenger car manufactured from September 
1, 1973, to August 31, 1982, inclusive, shall 
meet the requirements of S4.1.2.1, S4.1.2.2, or 
S4. 1.2.3. Each passenger car manufactured 
from September 1, 1982, to August 31, 1983, in- 
clusive, shall meet the requirements of S4. 1.2.1, 
S4.1.2.2, or S4.1.2.3, except that a passenger 
car with a wheelbase of more than 100 inches 
shall meet the requirements specified in S4.1.3. 
A protection system that meets requirements 
of S4.1.2.1 or S4.1.2.2 may be installed at one or 
more designated seating positions of a vehicle 
that otherwise meets the requirements of 
S4.1.2.3." 

(Sees. 103, 119, Pub. L. 89-563, 80 Stat. 718 (15 
U.S.C. 1392, 1407).) 

Issued on April 6, 1981. 



Andrew L. Lewis, Jr. 
Secretary of Transportation 



46 FR 21172 
April 9, 1981 



PART 571; S208-PRE 137 



APPENDIX 
DETAILED DISCUSSION OF COMMENTS 



A. Comments Opposing the Delay 

The insurance industry argued that the 
automatic restraint requirements will save 
thousands of lives and prevent hundreds of 
thousands of serious injuries. The League In- 
surance Companies stated that the proposed one- 
year delay would be "tragic and costly," adding 
that "there is a legitimate place for regulation 
when the need is great, the cost-benefit is 
demonstrably high, and the structure of the 
market place requires uniformity to be imposed 
on all manufacturers." 

Allstate Insurance Companies argued that the 
growing proportion of small cars will increase 
deaths and injuries by 35 percent during the next 
four years, and that the only way to reverse this 
trend is by implementation of the automatic 
restraint standard. Allstate also argued that the 
proposal's analysis of the economic consequences 
of the scheduled implementation is based only on 
conjecture. The company stated that there is no 
substantial evidence of record that the proposed 
delay would provide any significant financial 
assistance to car makers. According to Allstate, 
however, the proposed delay would result in 
needless deaths and injuries at huge costs to 
society at large and to insurances-buying 
customers. Allstate concluded that it could only 
support a one-year delay in the automatic 
restraint requirements if the delay is coupled 
with a requirement that small cars comply with 
the standard in model year 1983 (i.e., one year 
earlier than the existing schedule). This senti- 
ment was also expressed by the Alliance of Ameri- 
can Insurers and the League Insurance Com- 
panies. Alliance stated that a move to install auto- 
matic restraints on small cars first is consistent 
with insurance research which shows small cars to 
be inherently more dangerous to occupants than 
large cars, and that such a change could also afford 
domestic manufacturers some economic relief. 



State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance 
Company attacked the proposed delay of the 
automatic restraint requirements on several 
grounds. First, State Farm argued that the 
record in this rulemaking proceeding demon- 
strates that full implementation of the automatic 
restraint standard will save thousands of lives 
and avoid tens of thousands of crippling and 
maiming injuries. The company pointed to the 
Department's analysis which found that the pro- 
posed delay would cost the nation 600 deaths and 
approximately 4,300 injuries over the lifetime of 
the 1982-model large cars, and stated that a delay 
is not justified under any cost/benefit calcula- 
tions. State Farm also argued that the proposed 
delay is inconsistent with the overriding mandate 
of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety 
Act (15 U.S.C. 1381, et seq.) and that "the controll- 
ing statutes do not permit the Secretary to defer 
otherwise supportable life-saving regulations 
solely on the basis of current economic conditions 
in the auto industry." 

State Farm concludes that the current eco- 
nomic situation of the auto industry does not 
make the implementation of the current auto- 
matic restraint schedule impractical. First, 
nearly all of the necessary capital commitments 
for automatic restraint implementation for large 
cars have already been made. Second, the 
variable costs associated with installing auto- 
matic restraints on 1982-model large cars are in- 
significant to the industry. State Farm also 
argued that the balance of costs against benefits 
does not support the proposed delay; rather, it 
supports an acceleration of the existing schedule 
if anything. The company cited a recent study by 
Professor William Nordhaus (discussed below) 
which contends that the annual economic costs of 
the proposed deferral of the model year 1982 re- 
quirements relative to the current schedule are 
five times greater than the economic benefits to 
the auto industry. 



PART 571; S208-PRE 138 



It is State Farm's position that as a matter of 
law and statutory power, the Department cannot 
rely on the general economic health of the 
automobile industry to justify a delay in the im- 
plementation of the life-saving automatic 
restraint standard. The comment cites the Senate 
report concerning the Vehicle Safety Act which 
stated that safety is "the overriding considera- 
tion" in carrying out the purposes of the Act (S. 
Rep. No. 1301, 89th Cong., 2d Sess. 6 (1966)). State 
Farm argues that economic considerations in 
rulemaking by the Department and NHTSA 
under the Vehicle Safety Act must relate to the 
costs and benefits of the standard itself and not to 
the general health of the auto industry: ". . . if the 
Secretary were to implement the proposed delay 
in this rulemaking on the basis of the general 
employment, production, and economic status of 
the auto industry, he would be acting arbitrarily 
and capriciously and outside the scope of his 
statutory authority." The legal memorandum 
submitted in support of State Farm's contentions 
included the following argument: 

If the general economic condition of the auto in- 
dustry could justify suspending implementation 
of the automatic restraint standard in the face of 
such cost and benefit data, the industry's 
economic condition could also be used to justify 
suspension or elimination of other safety stand- 
ards. The industry's current problems could 
thus be used to effectively nullify the National 
Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. 

Professor William Nordhaus of Yale University 
submitted comments concerning the economic 
ramifications of the proposed delay in the first 
phase of the automatic restraint requirements. 
(The submission was sponsored by Allstate, 
Kemper, Nationwide, and State Farm Insurance 
Companies.) (For a full discussion of the 
methodology and bases for these calculations, one 
should refer to the Nordhaus submission filed at 
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administra- 
tion under Docket 74-14, Notice 20. NHTSA's 
response to this analysis is set forth in detail in 
the Appendix to the Regulatory Impact 
Analysis.) The basic conclusions contained in the 
Nordhaus comment are as follows (verbatim): 

1. The current passive restraint requirement 
(FMVSS 208) has very substantial net benefits 



compared to current lap and shoulder belt 
usage. According to the economic analysis 
presented here, the current rule has net 
benefits of approximately $10 billion for model 
years 1982-85. The substantial economic gain 
from passive restraints should not be ignored 
in debates on fine-tuning the phase-in. 

2. Using standard analysis, the ranking of op- 
tions in terms of net benefits is as follows (with 
the first having the highest net benefits and 
the last the lowest net benefits): 

(1) Simultaneous 1983 implementation (all 
cars equipped with passive restraints in 1983). 

(2) Delay and reversal (small cars in 1983, 
intermediate cars in 1984, large cars in 1985). 

(3) The current rule (large cars in 1982, in- 
termediate cars in 1983, and small cars in 1984). 

(4) The proposed delay (large and inter- 
mediate cars in 1983, small cars in 1984). 

(5) General rollback (large cars in 1983, in- 
termediate cars in 1984, large cars in 1985). 

3. A sensitivity analysis shows the ranking of 
alternatives is unchanged under a wide range 
of alternative assumptions. 

4. Any deferral of requirements to install 
passive restraints on any size automobile has 
net costs unless it is "traded in" on an accelera- 
tion of requirements on a larger number, or a 
smaller sized, set of automobiles. 

5. In terms of the costs and benefits of dif- 
ferent options, there is no justification for 
either the proposed delay or for a general 
rollback. In particular, the economic costs of 
the proposed delay are approximately 5 times 
greater than the benefits, for a net cost of over 
$200 million. The net costs of the general 
rollback are significantly greater, in the order 
of $4.5 billion. 

6. There appears to be strong economic 
justification for the simultaneous 1983 option if 
it is technically feasible. 

7. The analysis indicates that the delay and 
reversal option has the highest net benefits of 
any of the four considered in the proposal and 
regulatory analysis. The superior net benefit of 
delay and reversal arises because the reversal 
of the requirement to small cars first affects a 
larger number of automobiles more quickly and 
because the net economic benefits per vehicle 
are greater for small cars than for large and in- 
termediate cars. 



PART 571; S208-PRE 139 



8. The estimated impact of the proposed 
delay on the automobile industry is minuscule. 
There will be little or no improvement in the 
"health" of the domestic automobile industry 
from the proposed delay. For this reason, 
nonregulatory considerations discussed in the 
notice (the effect on imports, the conditions of 
the automobile industry, or freedom-of-choice 
arguments) should not, from an economic point 
of view, enter in this rulemaking. 

The proposed delay of the automatic restraint 
requirements was also opposed by various con- 
sumer groups and health-related organizations, 
including: the Consumer Federation of America, 
the National Spinal Cord Injury Foundation, the 
Epilepsy Foundation of America, the Consumers 
Union, the Automotive Occupant Protection 
Association, the National Safety Council, the 
Houston Independent School District, the 
American College of Surgeons, the Georgia 
Department of Human Resources, the New York 
Department of Transportation, and the Center 
for Auto Safety. The National Safety Council con- 
ceded that the economic situation of the auto in- 
dustry is serious, but stated that any adjustment 
of the implementation schedule for automatic 
restraints should also include consideration of an 
earlier implementation for small cars, since the 
need for protection is much greater in these 
vehicles. 

The Automotive Occupant Protection Associa- 
tion stated that it could support the proposed 
delay of the automatic restraint requirements for 
one year, as well as a reversal of the implementa- 
tion schedule, provided there is a requirement for 
the major automobile manufacturer to offer op- 
tional air bag systems on at least one model line. 
The association is concerned that further delay of 
the automatic restraint standard could drive the 
remaining air bag supplier manufacturers out of 
the business, and the life-saving potential of air 
bags could be lost. The Epilepsy Foundation of 
America echoed this sentiment and stated that 
"consumers deserve a guarantee that would 
assure the air bag option will be available in any 
model they wish to purchase." 

The Consumers Union argued that the auto in- 
dustry's financial condition should not be used to 
justify "less safe automobiles." Moreover, accord- 
ing to the Union, the proposed delay is unlikely to 



significantly alleviate the financial problems fac- 
ing domestic automobile manufacturers. 

The Center for Auto Safety argued that the 
proposed delay of the first-phase automatic 
restraint requirements will not help the auto in- 
dustry solve its current economic problems. In 
addition, the Center stated that the projected 
savings of 600 lives and 4,300 injuries associated 
with the first-phase requirements represents an 
economic gain of approximately $170 million, and 
this far outweighs any savings to the industry. In 
regard to a possible reversal of the existing im- 
plementation schedule for automatic restraints, 
the Center stated that automatic belts can be in- 
stalled on all small cars with a leadtime as short 
as one year because automatic belts are so well 
developed. 

Comments were also received from two manu- 
facturers which supply air bag system com- 
ponents, Thiokol and Rocket Research Company. 
Rocket Research stated that it could support the 
proposed delay and reversal of the implementa- 
tion schedule provided any such change also con- 
tains a requirement that the major manufac- 
turers "tool for and offer for sale" air bag systems 
on at least one car line. The company stated that 
without such a guarantee there is little incentive 
for air bag suppliers to remain in the business. 
Rocket Research stated that an indefinite delay 
of the automatic restraint requirements over the 
next five years would amount to a business loss of 
23 percent. The company also stated that cost 
savings accruing to General Motors and Ford 
because of the one year delay (estimated in the 
proposal to be approximately 37 million dollars) 
would be reduced if air bag programs are delayed 
or eventually canceled since both Rocket 
Research and Hamill Manufacturing Company 
have substantial claims against the two com- 
panies for capital expenditures to build and equip 
production plants to make air bag modules. 
(Rocket Research stated that these claims are 
based on letters of agreement and contingent 
liability statements.) 

Thiokol stated that the model year 1982 
automatic restraint requirements for large cars 
resulted in the first major production program 
for Thiokol, and that substantial funds have been 
expended for manpower, tooling and facilities 
to meet this requirement. According to Thiokol, 
a one-year delay in the program would add 



PART 571; S208-PRE 140 



substantial additional expenses and result in a 
reduction of manpower, facility use and vendor 
capability. In response to questions contained in 
the notice of proposed rulemaking, Thiokol stated 
that another year of delay would discourage 
rather than encourage further design im- 
provements and research efforts in automatic 
restraint systems. 

B. Comments Favoring the Delay 

The Pacific Legal Foundation supported the 
proposed one-year delay, and stated four primary 
reasons why such a delay is warranted. 

1. The proposed delay would create additional 
time for the Department of Transportation 
to implement an adequate evaluation pro- 
gram for air bags. 

2. The proposed delay would give the Ameri- 
can public an additional year of freedom to 
choose their means of occupant protection. 

3. The proposed delay would allow additional 
time for the public to familiarize itself with 
passive restraints [which have been or will 
be voluntarily installed prior to a mandatory 
effective date]. 

4. The proposed delay would reduce the like- 
lihood of costly Congressional action on the 
passive restraint standard after its im- 
plementation. 

The proposed delay of the first phase of the 
automatic restraint requirements was unani- 
mously supported by all commenting automobile 
manufacturers, both domestic and foreign. Addi- 
tionally, most manufacturers urged the Depart- 
ment to reconsider the entire standard and to 
provide additional leadtime for all phases of the 
implementation schedule or to revoke the 
automatic restraint requirements altogether. 
Regarding a possible reversal of the current im- 
plementation schedule, nearly all of the foreign 
automobile manufacturers stated that it would be 
impossible to install automatic restraints on 1983 
model small passenger cars because of insuffi- 
cient leadtime. 

Chrysler Corporation also urged that the 
automatic restraint requirements be withdrawn 
entirely. The company argued that automatic 
belts will be disconnected by many motorists and 
that purchasers will turn to models that are not 
equipped with automatic belts. Chrysler predicts 



that automatic belts would create a consumer 
"backlash" greater than that resulting from igni- 
tion interlocks (devices installed on 1974-75 
models which made it impossible to start the vehi- 
cle unless the seatbelt was fastened). 

In lieu of automatic restraints, Chrysler urged 
the Department to mount a national educational 
effort to increase the use of current manual seat 
belt systems: "Increased usage of these systems 
is the most cost effective and immediate method 
of reducing injuries and fatalities in motor vehicle 
accidents." Regarding a possible reversal of the 
current implementation schedule, Chrysler 
stated that it would be impossible at this time to 
advance automatic belt installation for small cars 
prior to the 1984 model year. 

American Motors Corporation recommended 
that a delay in effective date of the automatic 
restraint requirements be adopted for all cars to 
permit a re-evaluation of all issues. The company 
particularly does not support a reversal of the im- 
plementation schedule so that small cars would 
be phased in first, since the company will rely on 
technology developed for or by other automobile 
manufacturers after it is proven in actual volume 
production. American Motors also recommended 
that if a new phase-in schedule is adopted, at least 
a one-year delay for low-volume manufacturers 
(e.g., less than 200,000 sales) be included in the 
change. 

Foreign vehicle manufacturers produce few, if 
any, large passenger cars (i.e., cars with 
wheelbases over 114 inches), but all the foreign 
manufacturers supported the proposed delay of 
the first phase of the automatic restraint re- 
quirements. However, these manufacturers were 
unanimously against any reversal of the existing 
implementation schedule that would require 
small passenger cars to be equipped with 
automatic restraints a year earlier than currently 
required. 

Fiat Motors of North America recommended 
that the entire automatic restraint schedule be 
delayed for one year (i.e., each phase delayed one 
year). The company stated that if its small cars 
were not required to comply until model year 
1985, it would give the company more time to 
develop appropriate automatic belt designs for 
its convertibles. Fiat stated that it is currently 
having difficulty with its convertibles in terms of 
finding adequate automatic belt attachments and 



PART 571; S208-PRE 141 



fittings for existing vehicle structures. Fiat 
stated that it would prefer to see the automatic 
restraint standard revoked and mandatory seat 
belt use laws implemented. 

Nissan Motor Company stated that it would 
not be possible to equip its small cars with 
automatic restraints by September 1, 1982. 
Nissan's objection does not relate to capital ex- 
penditure or retail price increase, but rather, to 
"the lack of proper leadtime needed to develop 
acceptable, reliable and high quality vehicles for 
the consumer." Nissan argued that automatic 
belts already face a tough challenge in winning 
consumer acceptance without forcing the imposi- 
tion of hastily developed designs. 

Toyota Motor Company also stated that it 
could not comply with a change in the effective 
date for small cars from September 1, 1983, to 
September 1, 1982. Toyota stated that if such a 
change is adopted, it would have to drop from 
production certain of its volume passenger car 
lines for the 1983 model year, thereby limiting 
the freedom of choice of the customers who wish 
to purchase Toyota cars. 

Volvo of America Corporation requested that 
the implementation schedule for automatic 
restraints be amended to reflect the fact that the 
current market situation has forced the industry 
to be flexible with respect to model year in- 
troductions. Volvo refers specifically to the 
desire of some manufacturers to continue model 
lines past the September 1 effective dates for the 
three phases of the current implementation 
schedule, and to discontinue these lines at the 
beginning of the new calendar year. Volvo argues 
that tooling for installation of automatic 
restraints on model lines that will be discon- 
tinued six months after the effective date of the 
standard is cost prohibitive. Consequently, 
without a change in the implementation sched- 
ule, manufacturers would be required to cease 
production of certain models sooner than they 
would like. 

Volvo recommends that the implementation 
schedule be amended to provide that the effec- 



tive dates for the three phases is "September 1 
or the date of production start of the new model 
year if this date falls between September 1 and 
December 31." 

Rolls-Royce Motors produces three models 
that would have to be equipped with automatic 
restraints by September 1, 1981, under the ex- 
isting schedule. Rolls-Royce originally planned to 
offer air bags in these models but changed plans 
after General Motors announced in 1979 that it 
would delay the introduction of air bags. Conse- 
quently, Rolls-Royce states that it got a late start 
with automatic belts and the automatic belt 
system it has planned for the 1982 models is not 
developed to a degree of refinement normally 
associated with Rolls-Royce cars. In support of 
the proposed one-year delay in the automatic 
restraint requirements, Rolls-Royce made the 
following comment: 

Refinement, weight and cost will all be subject 
to continuous development anyway but one 
year extra leadtime would permit full develop- 
ment of the system before the customer is 
charged a cost premium for the restraint 
system. 



(NOTE: Allstate Insurance Company requested 
that a public hearing be held on the one-year 
delay in the large car requirement. However, due 
to the limited time available before the previous 
effective date of this requirement, the agency 
must deny this request. The issues on which this 
decision is based are primarily technical and 
economic, lending themselves well to written 
presentations. Interested parties have taken full 
advantage of the opportunity to provide their 
views in writing in this proceeding. Further, an 
additional opportunity for comment on issues 
relating to the automatic restraint standard is 
provided in the notice of proposed rulemaking 
issued today.) 



PART 571; S208-PRE 142 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD 

NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 

(Docket No. 74-14; Notice 25) 



ACTION: Final rule. 

SUMMARY: The piupose of this notice is to amend 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208, 
Occupant Crash Protection, to rescind the re- 
quirements for installation of automatic restraints 
in the front seating positions of passenger cars. 
Those requirements were scheduled to become ef- 
fective for large and mid-size cars on September 1, 
1982, and for small cars on September 1, 1983. 

The automatic restraint requirements are being 
rescinded because of uncertainty about the public 
acceptability and probable usage rate of the type of 
automatic restraint which the car manufacturers 
planned to make available to most new car buyers. 
This uncertainty and the relatively substantial cost 
of automatic restraints preclude the agency from 
determining that the standard is at this time 
reasonable and practicable. The reasonableness of 
the automatic restraint requirements is further 
called into question by the fact that all new car 
buyers would be required to pay for automatic belt 
systems that may induce only a few additional peo- 
ple to take advantage of the benefits of occupant 
restraints. 

The agency is also seriously concerned about the 
possibility that adverse public reaction to the cost 
and presence of automatic restraints could have a 
significant adverse effect on present and future 
public acceptance of highway sal'ety efforts. 

Under the amended standard, car manufacturers 
will continue to have the current option of pro- 
viding either automatic or manual occupant 
restraints. 

DATES: The rescission of the automatic restraint 
requirements of Standard No. 208 is effective 
December 8, 1981. Any petitions for reconsidera- 
tion must be received by the agency not later than 
December 3, 1981. 



ADDRESS: Any petitions for reconsideration 
should refer to the docket number and notice 
number of this notice and be submitted to: 
Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., 
Washington, D.C. 20590. 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. 

Michael Finkelstein, Associate Administrator for 
Rulemaking, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., 
Washington, D.C. 20590. (202-426-1810) 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On April 9, 
1981, the Department of Transportation published 
a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) setting 
forth alternative amendments to the automatic 
restraint requirements of Standard No. 208 (46 
F.R. 21205). The purpose of proposing the alter- 
natives was to ensure that Standard No. 208 
reflects the changes in circumstances since the 
automatic restraint requirements were issued (42 
F.R. 34289; July 5, 1977) and to ensure that the 
standard meets the requirements of the National 
Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 and 
Executive Order 12291, "Federal Regulations" 
(February 17, 1981). 

Background and NPRM 

The automatic restraint requirements were 
adopted in 1977 in response to the high number of 
passenger car occupants killed annually in crashes 
and to the persistent low usage rate of manual 
belts. The manual belt is the type of belt which is 
found in most cars today and which the occupant 
must place around himself or herself and buckle in 
order to gain its protection. Then, as now, there 
were two types of automatic restraints, i.e., 
restraints that require no action by vehicle oc- 
cupants, such as buckling a belt, in order to be ef- 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-143 



fective. One type is the air cushion restraint (air 
bag) and the other is the automatic belt (a belt 
which automatically envelopes an occupant when 
the occupant enters a vehicle and closes the door). 

In view of the greater exf)erience with air bags in 
large cars and to spread out capital investments, 
the Department established a large-to-small car 
compliance schedule. Under that schedule, large 
cars were required to begin compliance on 
September 1, 1981, mid-size cars on September 1, 
1982, and small cars on September 1, 1983. 

On April 6, 1981, after providing notice and op- 
portunity for comment, the Department delayed 
the compliance date for large cars from September 
1, 1981, to September 1, 1982. As explained in the 
April 6, final rule, that delay was adopted 

. . . because of the effects of implementation in model year 
1982 on large car manufacturers, because of the added 
significance which those effects assume due to the change in 
economic circumstances since the schedule was adopted in 1977, 
and because of the undermining by subsequent events of the ra- 
tionale underlying the original phase-in schedule. 

Simultaneous with publishing the one-year delay 
in the effective date for large cars, the Department 
also issued a proposal for making further changes 
in the automatic restraint requirements. This ac- 
tion was taken in response to a variety of factors 
that raised questions whether the automatic 
restraint requirements represented the most 
reasonable and effective approach to the problem 
of the low usage of safety belts. Among these fac- 
tors were the uncertainty about public acceptabil- 
ity of automatic restraints in view of the absence of 
any significant choice between automatic belts and 
air bags and the nature of the automatic belt 
designs planned by the car manufacturers, the con- 
sequent uncertainties about the rate of usage of 
automatic restraints, and the substantial costs of 
air bags even if produced in large volumes. 

The three principal proposals were reversal of 
phase-in sequence, simultaneous compliance, and 
rescission. The reversal proposal would have 
changed the large- to-small car order of compliance 
to a requirement that small cars commence com- 
pliance on September 1, 1982, mid-size cars on 
September 1, 1983, and large cars on September 1, 
1984. The proposal for simultaneous compliance 
would have required all size classes to begin com- 
pliance on the same date, March 1, 1983. The 
rescission proposal would have retained the 
manufacturers' current option of equipping their 
cars with either manual or automatic restraints. 



In addition, the Department proposed that, 
under both the first and second alternatives, the 
automatic restraint requirements be amended so 
that such restraints would not be required in the 
front center seating position. 

Following the close of the period for written 
comments on the April NPRM, NHTSA decided, at 
its discretion, to hold a public meeting on the alter- 
natives. The purpose of the meeting was to permit 
interested parties to present their views and 
arguments orally before the Administrator and en- 
sure that all available data were submitted to the 
agency. The notice announcing the meeting in- 
dicated that participants at the hearing would be 
permitted to supplement their previous comments. 
The notice also urged participants to consider the 
issues raised in former Secretary Coleman's June 
14, 1976 proposal regarding occupant restraints 
and in former Secretary Adams' March 24, 1977 
proposal regarding automatic restraints. 

Rationale for Agency Decision 

The decision to rescind the automatic restraint 
requirements was difficult for the agency to make. 
NHTSA has long pursued the goal of achieving 
substantial increases in the usage of safety belts 
and other types of occupant restraints. Former 
Secretary Adams clearly believed that he had en- 
sured the achievement of that goal in July 1977 
when he promulgated the automatic restraint re- 
quirements. Now that goal appears as elusive as 
ever. Instead of being equipped with automatic 
restraints that vdll protect substantially greater 
numbers of persons than current manual belts, 
most new cars would have had a type of automatic 
belt that might not have been any more acceptable 
to the public than manual belts. "The usage of those 
automatic belts might, therefore, have been only 
slightly higher than that of manual belts. While 
most of the anticipated benefits have virtually 
disappeared, the costs have not. Vehicle price in- 
creases would have amounted to approximately $1 
billion per year. 

This turn of events may in part reflect the failure 
of the Department in the years following 1977 to 
conduct a long term effort to educate the public 
about the various types of restraints and the need 
to use them. The need for such an undertaking was 
seen by former Secretary Coleman in announcing 
his decision in 1976 to conduct an automatic 
restraint demonstration project prior to deciding 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-144 



whether to mandate automatic restraints. His in- 
struction that NHTSA undertake significant new 
steps to promote safety belt usage was never effec- 
tively carried out. The result of such an effort could 
have been that a substantial portion of the public 
would have been receptive to a variety of 
automatic restraint designs. As a result of concern 
over public acceptance, manufacturers have 
designed their automatic restraints to avoid 
creating a significant adverse reaction. Unfor- 
tunately, the elements of design intended to 
minimize adverse reaction would also minimize the 
previously anticipated increases in belt usage and 
safety benefits of requiring new cars to have 
automatic restraints instead of manual belts. 

The imcertainty regarding the usage of the 
predominant type of planned automatic restraint 
has profound implications for the determinations 
which NHTSA must make regarding a standard 
under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle 
Safety Act. NHTSA has a duty under the Vehicle 
Safety Act and E.O. 12291 to review the automatic 
restraint requirements in light of changing events 
and to ensure that the requirements continue to 
meet the criteria which each Federal Motor Vehicle 
Safety Standard must satisfy. If the criteria cannot 
be satisfied, the agency must make whatever 
changes in the standard are warranted. The agency 
must also have the flexibility to modify its standards 
and programs in its efforts to find effective methods 
for accomplishing its safety mission. 

The agency believes that the post- 1977 events 
have rendered it incapable of finding now, as it was 
able to do in 1977, that the automatic restraint re- 
quirements would meet all of the applicable criteria 
in the Vehicle Safety Act. Section 103(a) of the 
Vehicle Safety Act requires that each Federal 
Motor Vehicle Safety Standard meet the need for 
safety and be practicable and objective. Each 
standard must also be reasonable, practicable and 
appropriate for each type of vehicle or equipment 
to which it applies (Section 103(f) (3)). To meet the 
need for safety, a standard must be reasonably 
likely to reduce deaths and injuries. To be found 
practicable, the agency must conclude that the 
pubhc will in fact avail themselves of the safety 
devices installed pursuant to the standard. (Pacific 
Legal Foundation v. Department of Transporta- 
tion, 593 F. 2d 1338, at 1345-6 (D.C. Cir. 1979)). 
To be reasonable and practicable, a standard must 
be economically and technologically feasible, and 



the costs of implementation must be reasonable. 
(S. Rep. No. 1301, 89th Cong., 2d Sess. 6 (1966).) 

In reaching the decision announced by this 
notice, NHTSA has reviewed the enormous record 
compiled by this agency over the past decade on 
automatic restraints. Particular attention was paid 
to the information and issues relating to the 
notices which the Agency or Department has 
issued regarding automatic restraints since 1976. 
All comments submitted in response to the April 
1981 proposal by proponents and opponents of the 
automatic restraint requirements have been 
thoroughly considered. A summary of the major 
comments is included as an appendix to this notice. 
The agency's analysis of those comments may be 
found in this notice and the final regulatory impact 
analysis. A copy of the analysis has been placed in 
the public docket. 

Usage of automatic restraints and safety benefits. 
As in the case of the comments submitted concern- 
ing the one-year delay in automatic restraint re- 
quirements for large cars, the commenters on the 
April 1981 proposal expressed sharply divergent 
views and arguments and reached widely differing 
conclusions concerning the likely usage rates and 
benefits of the automatic restraints planned for 
installation in response to the automatic restraint 
requirements. The wide distance between the posi- 
tions of the proponents and opponents of these re- 
quirements stems primarily from the lack of any 
directly relevant data on the most important issue, 
i.e., the public reaction to and usage rate of 
detachable automatic belts. These disagreements 
once again demonstrate the difficulty in reaching 
reliable conclusions due to the uncertainty created 
by the lack of adequate data. 

In issuing the automatic restraint requirements 
in 1977, NHTSA assumed that the implementation 
of those requirements would produce substantial 
benefits. According to the analysis which NHTSA 
performed in that year, automatic restraints were 
expected to prevent 9,000 deaths and 65,000 
serious injuries once all cars on the road were 
equipped with those devices. That prediction was 
premised on several critical assumptions. Most im- 
portant among the assumptions were those con- 
cerning the safety benefits of automatic 
restraints— reductions in death and injury— which 
in turn are a function of the types of automatic 
restraints to be placed in each year's production of 
new cars. 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-145 



The agency assumed that the combination of air 
bags and lap belts would be approximately 66 per- 
cent effective in preventing fatalities and that 
automatic belts would have a 50 percent level of 
effectiveness. The agency assumed also that air 
bags would be placed in more than 60 percent of 
new cars and that automatic belts would be placed 
in the remaining approximately 40 percent. The 
agency's analysis predicted that air bags would 
provide protection in virtually all crashes of suffi- 
cient severity to cause deployment of the air bags. 
It was further assumed that the automatic belts 
would be used by 60 to 70 percent of the occupants 
of those cars. 

As to public reaction, the agency anticipated that 
the public would, as a whole, accept automatic 
restraints because it could choose between the two 
types of those restraints. Those not wanting 
automatic belts would select an air bag. Partly as a 
function of the expected large volume of air bag 
installation, the agency projected that the cost of 
air bags would be only slightly more than $100 (in 
1977 dollars) more than manual belts. 

As part of its efforts to monitor and facilitate 
implementation of the automatic restraint re- 
quirements, the agency continued its gathering of 
data about the use and effectiveness of air bags and 
of automatic belts with use-inducing features, the 
only type of automatic belt available to the public. 
With respect to automatic belts, this effort was car- 
ried out through a contract with Opinion Research 
Corporation. Under that contract, observations 
were made of seat belt usage during the two year 
period beginning November 1977. These observa- 
tions provided data on usage of manual and 
automatic belts in model year 1975-79 VW Rabbits 
and of manual belts in model year 1978-79 GM 
Chevettes. As a result of voluntary decisions by VW 
and GM, a nimiber of the Rabbits and Chevettes 
were equipped with automatic belts. The observa- 
tion data showed usage rates of about 36 percent for 
manual belts and about 81 percent for automatic 
belts in the Rabbits. The observed rate of manual 
belt usage in Chevettes was 1 1 percent. There were 
insufficient numbers of model year 1978-79 Che- 
vettes equipped with automatic belts to develop 
reliable usage figures. 

Several telephone surveys were also made under 
contract with Opinion Research. The first survey in- 
volved owners of model year 1979 VW Rabbits and 
GM Chevettes equipped with automatic belts and 



was conducted during 1979. This survey showed 
that 89 percent of Rabbit owners and 72 percent of 
Chevette owners said that they used their automatic 
belts. A second survey was conducted in late 1979 
and early 1980. It covered owners of model year 
1980 Rabbits and Chevettes. The usage rates found 
by the second survey were almost identical to those 
in the first survey. 

Now, however, the validity of the benefit predic- 
tions in 1977 and the relevancy of the extensive 
data gathered by NHTSA on air bags and on 
automatic belts with use-inducing features have 
been substantially if not wholly undermined by 
drastic changes in the types of automatic 
restraints that would have been installed under the 
automatic restraint requirements. Instead of in- 
stalling air bags in approximately 60 percent of 
new cars, the manufacturers apparently planned 
to install them in less than 1 percent of new cars. 
Thus, automatic belts would have been the 
predominant means of compliance, and installed in 
approximately 99 percent of new cars. Thus, the 
assumed life-saving potential of air bags would not 
have been realized. 

Manufacturers have stated that they chose belt 
systems for compliance because of the competitive 
disadvantage of offering the relatively expensive, 
inadequately understood air bag when other 
manufacturers would have been providing 
automatic belts. These explanations seem credible. 

The other drastic change concerns the type of 
automatic belt to be installed. Although some 
aspects of the car manufacturers' automatic belt 
plans are still tentative, it now appears reasonably 
certain that if the automatic restraint re- 
quirements were implemented, the overwhelming 
majority of new cars would be equipped with 
automatic belts that are detachable, unlike the 
automatic belts in Rabbits and Chevettes. Most 
planned automatic belts would be like today's 
manual lap and shoulder belts in that they can be 
easily detached and left that way permanently. 

Again, this design choice would appear to have 
arisen out of concern that without such features 
emergency exit could be inhibited, and, in part as a 
result of a perception of this fact, public refusal to 
accept new designs would be widespread. The 
agency shares this concern, and has since 1977 
required that all such belts provide for emergency 
exit. Agency concerns on this point have been 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-146 



validated by recent related attitudinal research, 
discussed below. 

In its final rule delaying the initial effective date 
of the automatic restraint requirements, the April 
1981 proposal and the associated documents analyz- 
ing the impacts of those actions, NHTSA expressly 
confronted the lack of usage data directly relevant 
to the type of automatic belts now planned to be in- 
stalled in most new cars. The agency stated that 
there were several reasons why the available data 
was of limited utility in attempting to make any 
reliable predictions about the usage of easily 
detachable automatic belts. The most important 
reason, which has already. been noted, is that the 
predominant type of planned automatic belt would 
not have had features to ensure that these belts are 
not detached. 

Second, all of the available data relate to only 
two subcompacts, the Rabbit and the Chevette. 
Due to a combination of owner demographics and a 
correlation between driver perception of risk and 
the size of the car being driven, belt usage rates 
are typically higher in small cars than in larger 
ones. Therefore, the usage rates for the two sub- 
compacts cannot simply be adopted as the usage 
rates for automatic belts in all car size classes. 

Third, most of the Rabbit and Chevette owners 
knew that their new car would come with an 
automatic belt and had it demonstrated for them, 
even if many state that they did not consciously 
choose that type of belt. Having voluntarily in- 
vested in automatic restraints, they are more likely 
to use those restraints than someone who is com- 
pelled to buy them. 

The significance of the fundamental difference 
between the nondetachable and detachable auto- 
matic belt bears further discussion. The Rabbit 
automatic belts are, as a practical matter, not per- 
manently detachable since they are equipped with 
an ignition interlock. If the belt is disconnected, 
the interlock prevents the starting of the car. Each 
successive use would therefore require re- 
connection before engine start. The Chevette auto- 
matic belts also were initially equipped with an 
ignition interlock. Beginning in model year 1980, 
the Chevette belts were made both practically and 
literally nondetachable. They consist of a con- 
tinuous, nondetachable shoulder belt. Additional 
webbing can be played out to produce slack in the 
belt; however, the belt remains attached at both 
ends. 



By contrast, the automatic belts now planned for 
most cars do not have any effect on the starting of 
the cars and are easily detachable. Some belt 
designs may be detached and permanently stowed 
as readily as the current manual lap and shoulder 
belts. Once a detachable automatic belt is detached, 
it becomes identicsil to a manual belt. Contrary to 
assertions of some supporters of the standard, its 
use thereafter requires the same type of affirmative 
action that is the stumbling block to obtaining high 
usage levels of manual belts. If the car owners 
perceive the belts as simply a different configura- 
tion of the ciurent manual belts, this stumbling 
block is likely to remain. They may treat the belt as 
a manual one and thus never develop the habit of 
simply leaving the belt attached so that it can act as 
an automatic belt. 

The agency recognizes the possibility that the ex- 
posure of some new car purchasers to attached 
automatic belts may convert some previously occa- 
sional users of manual belts to full time belt users. 
Present attitudinal survey data clearly establish 
the existence of a population of such occupants 
who could be influenced by some external factor to 
convert to relatively constant users. However, the 
agency believes that many purchasers of new cars 
having detachable automatic belts would not ex- 
perience the potential use-inducing character of at- 
tached automatic belts unless they had taken the 
initiative themselves to attach the belts. 

Thus, the change in car manufacturers' plans has 
left the agency without any factual basis for 
reliably predicting the likely usage increases due to 
detachable automatic belts, or for even predicting 
the likelihood of any increase at all. The only ten- 
tative conclusion that can be drawn from available 
data is that the installation of nondetachable 
automatic belts in other subcompacts could result 
in usage rates near those found in Rabbits and 
Chevettes. Even that use of the Rabbit and 
Chevette data may be questionable, however, 
given the element of voluntarism in the purchase 
of automatic belts by many of the Rabbit and 
Chevette owners. Thus, the data on automatic belt 
use in Rabbits and Chevettes may do little more 
than confirm the lesson of the model year 1974-75 
cars equipped with manual belts and ignition in- 
terlocks, i.e., that the addition to a belt system of a 
feature that makes the belt nondetachable or 
necessitates its attachment before a car can be 
started can substantially increase the rate of belt 
usage. 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-147 



In estimating automatic belt usage rates for the 
purposes of the April final rule and proposal, the 
agency recognized the substantial uncertainty 
regarding the effects of easily detachable auto- 
matic belts on belt usage. NHTSA attempted to 
compensate for the lack of directly relevant data 
by using two different techniques to predict a 
potential range of usage. 

One technique was to assume a consistent multi- 
plier effect, whereby belt usage in cars of all size 
classes would be assumed to be more than slightly 
double as it had in Rabbits. A doubling of the cur- 
rent 10-11 percent manual belt usage rate pro- 
jected over the general car fleet would mean a 22 
percent rate could be achieved with the installation 
of automatic belts. The other technique was to 
assume that there would be a consistent additive 
effect, whereby the same absolute percentage 
point increase in belt usage would occur as there 
had been in the case with Rabbits. Use of this 
method would result in a predicted 50 percentage 
point increase in belt usage, over the entire fleet, 
from the current 10-11 percent to approximately 
60 percent. 

The agency used the results of these two tech- 
niques in an attempt to construct a range of possi- 
ble increases in belt usage. Thus, a range of 15 to 
60 percent was used in both the final regulatory 
impact analysis for the April rulemaking to defer 
the effective date for one year and the preliminary 
analysis for the current action. The figure of 15 
percent was derived by doubling the observed 7 
percent usage levels in the large type cars affected 
by the deferral. A figure of 22 percent would have 
been more appropriate as the low end of the range 
for the current action, since it would represent a 
doubling of the current usage rate of the car fleet 
as a whole. This latter figure has been used in ad- 
dressing this question in the current final 
regulatory analysis. 

Although the agency had no definitive way of 
resolving the uncertainty about the usage of 
detachable automatic belts, the agency estimated 
that belt usage with automatic belts would most 
likely fall near the lower end of either range. This 
estimate was based on a variety of factors. Most 
relate to the previously discussed limitations in the 
relevancy of the observations and surveys of Rab- 
bit and Chevette owners. In addition, those data 
were on their face inconsistent with data regard- 
ing automatic belt usage in crashes involving Rab- 



bits. Those crash data indicated a usage rate of 
55-57 percent instead of the better than 80 percent 
rate indicated by the observation study and 
telephone surveys. 

Thus, the agency made the preliminary judg- 
ment in its impact analyses that the switch from 
manual belts to detachable automatic belts could 
approximately double belt usage. However, the 
April 1981 final rule noted that the actual belt 
usage might be lower, even substantially so. With 
respect to cars with current low usage rates, that 
notice stated that the usage rate of detachable 
automatic belts might only approach levels similar 
to those currently achieved with manual belts. 

The commenters on the April 1981 NPRM did 
not present any new factual data that could have 
reduced the substantial uncertainty confronting 
the agency. Instead, the commenters relied on the 
same data examined by the agency in its impact 
analyses. 

The commenters were sharply divided on the 
question of usage rates. Proponents of the auto- 
matic restraint requirements did not in their 
analyses address the significance of the use- 
inducing nature of the nondetachable automatic 
belts in the Rabbits and Chevettes or the demo- 
graphic factors relating to those car purchasers. 
Instead, they asserted that the usage rates achieved 
in Rabbits and Chevettes would, with slight ad- 
justments, also be achieved in other car size 
classes. In reaching this conclusion, they asserted 
that the usage rate increases of automatic belts 
shown by Rabbit and Chevette owners were the 
same regardless of whether the automatic belts 
were purchased knowingly or unknowingly. There 
was an exception to this pattern of comment 
among the proponents. One public spokesperson 
for an interest group acknowledged that automatic 
belts could be designed in a way that they so closely 
resembled manual belts that their usage rates 
would be the same. 

Opponents of the automatic restraint require- 
ments, relying on the similarity of detachable auto- 
matic belts to manual belts, predicted that the 
automatic belts would not have any substantial ef- 
fect on belt usage. The opponents of the require- 
ments also dismissed the experience of the Rabbit 
and Chevette owners on the grounds that the auto- 
matic belts in those cars had been voluntarily pur- 
chased and were nondetachable. 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-148 



While the public comments did not provide the 
agency with any different or more certain basis for 
estimating belt usage than it already had, they did 
induce the agency to reexamine its assumption 
about the possible automatic belt usage rates. 
Although it is nearly impossible to sort out with 
precision the individual contributions made by 
nondetachability, interlocks, car size, demograph- 
ics and other factors, NHTSA believes that the 
usage of automatic belts in Rabbits and Chevettes 
would have been substantially lower if the auto- 
matic belts in those cars were not equipped with a 
use-inducing device inhibiting detachment. 

In the agency's judgment, there is a reasonable 
basis for believing that most of the increase in 
automatic belt Rabbits and Chevettes is due to the 
nondetachability feature, whether an interlock or 
other design feature, of their belt systems. 
Necessitating the attachment of belts by the addi- 
tion of interlocks to 1974-75 cars resulted in an in- 
crease in manual belt usage by as much as 40 per- 
cent in cars subject to that requirement. A similar 
effect in the case of the Rabbit would account for 
four-fifths of the increase observed in the auto- 
matic belt vehicles. A significant portion of the re- 
maining increase could in fact be attributable to 
the fact many owners of automatic belt Rabbits 
and Chevettes knowingly and voluntarily bought 
the automatic belts. By the principle of self- 
selection, these people would be more inclined to 
use their belts than the purchasers of 1974-75 Rab- 
bits who did not have any choice regarding the pur- 
chase of a manual belt equipped with an interlock. 
This factor would not, of course, be present in the 
fleet subject to the standard. 

The most appropriate way of accounting for the 
detachability problem and other limitations on the 
validity of that Rabbit and Chevette data would be 
to recognize that the levels of usage resulting from 
both the point estimates are based on uncertain con- 
clusion and adjust each appropriately. The agency's 
estimate in the final regulatory impact analysis for 
the April 1981 final rule that usage would likely fall 
near the lower end of the range had the effect of 
substantially adjusting downward the usage rate (60 
percent) produced by the technique relying on the 
absolute percentage point increase (50 percentage 
points) in belt usage in automatic belt Rabbits and 
Chevettes. A similar adjustment could also be made 
in the usage rate (15 percent) indicated by the 
multiplier technique. 



Throughout these sequential analyses, the agency 
has examined the extremely sparse factual data, ap- 
plied those factors which are known to externally 
affect usage rates, and defined for analytical pur- 
poses the magnitude of potential safety effects. 
Aside from the initial data points, all such analyses 
in all cases necessarily involve exercises of discre- 
tion and informed judgment. Resultant conclusions 
are indications of probable usage which always have 
been and always must be relied upon by the agency 
in the absence of additional objective data. 

The agency believes that the results produced by 
both techniques must be adjusted to account for 
the effects of detachability and the other factors af- 
fecting usage rates. Therefore, as the April 1981 
final rule recognized, the incremental usage at- 
tributable to the automatic aspect of the subject 
belts may be substantially less than 11 percent. 

The agency's analysis of the public comments 
and other available information leads it to conclude 
that it cannot reliably predict even a 5 percentage 
point increase as the minimum level of expected 
usage increase. The adoption of a few percentage 
points increase as the minimum would, in the agen- 
cy's judgment, be more consistent with the 
substantial uncertainty about the usage rate of 
detachable automatic belts. Based on the data 
available to it, NHTSA is unable to assess the prob- 
ability that the actual incremental usage would fall 
nearer a percentage point increase or nearer 
some higher value like a 5 or 10 percentage point 
increase. 

Thus, the agency concludes that the data on 
automatic belt usage in Rabbits and Chevettes 
does not provide a sufficient basis for reliably ex- 
trapolating the likely range of usage of detachable 
automatic belts by the general motoring public in 
all car size classes. Those data are not even suffi- 
cient for demonstrating the likelihood that those 
belts would be used in perceptibly greater numbers 
than the current manual belts. If the percentage 
increase is zero or extremely small due to the 
substantial similarity of the design and methods of 
using detachable automatic belts and manual belts, 
then the data regarding manual belt usage would 
be as reliable a guide to the effects of detachable 
automatic belts on belt usage as data regarding 
usage of nondetachable automatic belts. Indeed, 
the manual belt data may even be a more reliable 
guide since the data are based on usage by the 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-149 



general motoring public in cars from all size and 
demographic classes. 

In view of the uncertainty about the incremental 
safety benefits of detachable automatic belts, it is 
difficult for the agency to determine that the auto- 
matic restraint requirements in their present form 
meet the need for safety. 

In concluding that for this reason detachable 
automatic belts may contribute little to achieving 
higher belt usage rates, the question then arises 
whether the agency should amend the standard to 
require that automatic belts have a use-inducing 
feature like that of the Rabbit and Chevette auto- 
matic belts. NHTSA believes that such features 
would increase belt usage. The agency does not, 
however, believe that such devices should be man- 
dated, for the reasons discussed in detail below. 

Costs of automatic restraints. In view of the 
possibly minimal safety benefits and substantial 
costs of implementing the automatic restraint re- 
quirements, the agency is unable to conclude that 
the incremental costs of the requirements are 
reasonable. The requirements are, in that respect, 
impracticable. While the car manufacturers have 
already made some of the capital expenditures 
necessary to comply with the automatic restraint 
requirements, they still face substantial, recurring 
variable costs. The average price increase per car 
is estimated to be $89. The costs of air bags and 
some designs of automatic belts would be substan- 
tially higher. With a total annual production of 
more than 10 million cars for sale in this country, 
there would be a price effect of approximately $1 
billion. 

While the car manufacturers might be able to 
pass along some or all of their costs to consumers, 
the necessary price increases would reduce sales. 
There might not be any net revenue loss since the 
extra revenue from the higher prices could offset 
the revenue loss from the lower volume of sales. 
However, those sale losses would cause net 
employment losses. Additional sales losses might 
occur due to consumer uncertainty about or an- 
tipathy toward the detachable automatic belts 
which do not stow so unobtrusively as current 
manual lap and shoulder belts. 

Consumers would probably not be able to recoup 
their loss of disposable income due to the higher car 
prices. There does not appear to be any certainty 
that owners of cars with detachable automatic belts 



would receive offsetting discounts in insurance 
costs. Testimony and written comments submitted 
to the agency indicate premium reductions gener- 
ally are available only to owners of cars equipped 
with air bags, not automatic belts. Some large in- 
surance companies do not now offer discounts to 
any automatic restraint-equipped cars, even those 
with air bags. If insurance cost discounts were to be 
given owners of cars having detachable automatic 
belts, such discounts would be given only after the 
automatic belts had produced significant increases 
in belt usage, and in turn significant decreases in 
deaths and serious injuries. The apparent improb- 
ability of any economic effect approaching the 
magnitude of the consumer cost means that the dis- 
counts would not likely materialize on a general 
basis. 

Insurance company statements at the August 
1981 public meeting reaffirmed this belief as they 
state that they could not now assure reductions in 
insurance premiums but would have to first collect 
a considerable amount of claim data. 

Finally, the weight added to cars by the installa- 
tion of automatic belts would cause either increased 
fuel costs for consumers or further new car price in- 
creases to cover the incorporation of offsetting fuel 
economy improvements. 

The agency does not believe that it would be 
reasonable to require car manufacturers or con- 
sumers to bear such substantial costs without more 
adequate assurance that they will produce benefits. 
Given the plans of the car manufacturers to rely 
primarily on detachable automatic belts and the 
absence of relevant data to resolve the usage ques- 
tion, implementation of the automatic restraint re- 
quirements amounts to an expensive federal 
regulatory risk. The result if the detachable 
automatic belts fail to achieve significant increases 
in belt usage could be a substantial waste of 
resources. 

The agency believes that the costs are particularly 
unreasonable in view of the likelihood that other 
alternatives available to the agency, the states and 
the private sector could accomplish the goal of the 
automatic restraint requirements at greatly re- 
duced cost. Like those requirements, the agency's 
planned educational campaign is addressed primar- 
ily to the substantial portion of the motoring public 
who are currently occasional users of manual belts. 

Effect on pvhlic attitude toward safety. Although 
the issue of public acceptance of automatic 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-150 



restraints has already been discussed as it relates 
to the usage rate of detachable automatic 
restraints, there remains the question of the effect 
of automatic restraints on the public attitude 
toward safety regulation in general. Whether or 
not there would be more than minimal safety 
benefits, implementation of the automatic 
restraint requirements might cause significant 
long run harm to the safety program. 

No regulatory policy is of lasting value if it 
ultimately proves unacceptable to the public. Public 
acceptability is at issue in any vehicle safety 
rulemaking proceeding in which the required safety 
equipment would be obtrusive, relatively expensive 
and beneficial only to the extent that significant 
portions of the motoring public will cooperate and 
use it. Automatic belt requirements exhibit all of 
those characteristics. The agency has given the 
need for public acceptability of automatic restraints 
substantial weight since it will clearly determine not 
only the level of safety benefits but also the general 
public attitude toward related safety initiatives by 
the government or the private sector. 

As noted above, detachable automatic belts may 
not be any more acceptable to the public than 
manual belts at any given point in time. If the 
detachable automatic belts do not produce more 
than negligible safety benefits, then regardless of 
the benefits attributable to the small number of 
other types of automatic restraints planned to be 
installed, the public may resent being required to 
pay substantially more for the automatic systems. 
Many if not most consumers could well conclude 
that the automatic belts would in fact provide them 
with no different freedom of choice about usage or 
levels of protection than manual belts currently of- 
fer. As a result, it is not unreasonable to conclude 
that the public may regard the automatic restraint 
requirements as an expensive example of ineffec- 
tive regulation. 

Thus, whether or not the detachable automatic 
belts might have been successful in achieving 
higher belt usage rates, mandates requiring such 
belts could well adversely affect public attitude 
toward the automatic restraint requirements in 
particular and safety measures in general. As 
noted in more detail in the 1976 Decision of 
Secretary Coleman: 

Rejection by the public would lead to administrative or Con- 
gressional reversal of a passive restraint requirement that 
could result in hundreds of millions of dollars of wasted 



resources, severe damage to the nation's economy, and, 
equaUy important, a poisoning of popular sentiment toward 
efforts to improve occupant restraint systems in the future. 

It can only be concluded that the public attitude 
described by the Secretary at that time is at least 
as prevalent today. The public might ultimately 
have sought the legislative rescission of the 
requirements. Action-forcing safety measures 
have twice before been overturned by Congress. In 
the mid-1970's. Congress rescinded the ignition 
interlock provision and provided that agency could 
not require the States to adopt and enforce motor- 
cycle helmet use laws. Some people might also 
have cut the automatic belts out of their cars, thus 
depriving subsequent owners of the cars of the pro- 
tection of any occupant restraint system. These 
are serious concerns for an agency charged by 
statute with taking steps appropriate for address- 
ing safety problems that arise not only in the short 
term but also the long term. The agency must be 
able to react effectively to the expected increases 
in vehicle deaths and injuries during the 1980's. 

Equity. Another relevant factor affecting the 
reasonableness of the automatic restraint 
requirements and of their costs is the equity of the 
distribution of such costs among the affected con- 
sumers. Responsible regulatory poUcy should 
generally strive to ensure that the beneficiaries of 
regulation bear the principal costs of that regula- 
tion. The higher the costs of a given regulation, the 
more serious the potential equity problem. The 
automatic restraint requirements of the standard 
would have required the current regular user of 
manual belts not only to pay himself for a system 
that affords him no additional safety protection, 
but in part to subsidize the current nonuser of belts 
who may or may not be induced by the automatic 
restraints to commence regular restraint usage. 

Option of Adopting Use-Compelling Features. As 
noted above, some commenters have suggested 
that the only safety belts which are truly "passive" 
are those with use-compelling features. Such com- 
menters have recommended that the agency 
amend the standard so as to require such features. 
For example, an ignition interlock which prohibits 
the car from starting unless the belt is secured is a 
use-compelling feature. Another example is a 
passive belt design which is simply not detachable, 
because no buckle and latch release mechanism is 
provided. While NHTSA agrees that such use- 
compelling features could significantly increase 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-151 



usage of passive belts, NHTSA cannot agree that 
use-compelling features could be required consist- 
ent with the interests of safety. In the case of the 
ignition interlock, NHTSA clearly has no authority 
to require such a use-compelling feature. The 
history of the Congressional action which removed 
this authority from NHTSA suggests that Con- 
gress would look with some disfavor upon any 
similar attempt to impose a use-compelling feature 
on a belt system. 

But, even if NHTSA were to require that passive 
belts contain use-compelling features, the agency 
believes that the requirement could be counter- 
productive. Recent attitudinal research conducted 
by NHTSA confirms a widespread, latent and irra- 
tional fear in many members of the public that they 
could be trapped by the seat belt after a crash. 
Such apprehension may well be contributing fac- 
tors in decisions by many people not to wear a seat 
belt at all. This apprehension is clearly a question 
which can be addressed through education, but 
pending its substantial reduction, it would be 
highly inappropriate to impose a technology which 
by its very nature could heighten or trigger that 
concern. 

In addition, the agency believes there are com- 
pelling safety reasons why it should not mandate 
use-compelling features on passive belts. In the 
event of accident, occupants wearing belts suffer 
significantly reduced risk of loss of consciousness, 
and are commonly able to extricate themselves 
with relative ease. However, the agency would be 
unable to find the cause of safety served by impos- 
ing any requirement which would further com- 
plicate the extrication of any occupant from his or 
her car, as some use-compelling features would. 
NHTSA's regulations properly recognize the need 
for all safety belts to have some kind of release 
mechanism, either a buckle and latch mechanism 
or a spool-out release which feeds a length of belt 
long enough to extricate a car occupant. 

Alternative methods of increasing restraint 
usage. Finally, the agency believes that it is possi- 
ble to induce increased belt usage, and enhance 
public understanding and awareness of belt 
mechanisms in general, by means that are at least 
as effective but much less costly than the installa- 
tion of millions of detachable automatic belts. 

In the decision noted above, Secretary Coleman 
noted the obligation of the Department of 
Transportation to undertake efforts to encourage 



the public to use occupant restraints, active or 
passive. Toward this point, Secretary Coleman 
directed the Administrator of NHTSA to under- 
take significant new steps to promote seat belt 
usage during the demonstration program. This in- 
struction of the Secretary was not effectively car- 
ried out and, unfortimately, we do not enjoy today 
the benefits of a prolonged Departmental cam- 
paign to encourage seat belt usage. Had such a pro- 
gram been successfully carried out, increased seat 
belt usage could have saved many lives each year, 
beginning in 1977. 

Rather than allowing the Coleman demonstra- 
tion program and its accompanying education ef- 
fort to come to fruition, the Department recon- 
sidered Secretary Coleman's 1976 decision during 
1977. At the conclusion of the reconsideration 
period, the Department reversed that decision, and 
amended the standard to require the provision of 
automatic restraints in new passenger cars, in ac- 
cordance with a phased-in schedule. 

The benefits of any such belt use enhancement 
efforts could have already substantially exceeded 
those projected for the automatic restraint require- 
ments of this standard. Over the next ten years, 
the requirements of the standard would have ad- 
dressed primarily those occasional belt users 
amenable to change who buy new cars during the 
mid and late 1980's. 

Prior to the initiation of rulemaking in February 
of this year, the Department had resolved to 
undertake a major educational effort to enhance 
voluntary belt usage levels. Such efforts wall be 
closely coordinated with new and preexisting ma- 
jor initiatives at the State level and in the private 
sector, many of which were discussed at the public 
meeting on the present rulemaking. These efforts 
will address not only those users/ purchasers 
amenable to change, but also those currently driv- 
ing and riding in cars, multipurpose passenger 
vehicles and trucks on the road today. The poten- 
tial for immediate impact is thus many times 
greater. Further, with the much greater number of 
persons directly impacted, educational efforts 
would need to raise safety belt usage in the 
vehicles on the road during the 1980's by only a 
few percentage points to achieve far greater safety 
benefits than the automatic restraint requirements 
could have achieved diuing the same time period. 

This is in no sense to argue or suggest that 
nonregulatory alternatives are or should be con- 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-152 



sidered in all cases appropriate to limit Federal 
regulation. However, the existence of such efforts, 
and their relevance to calculations of benefits in 
the present case, must be and has been considered 
to the extent discussed herein. 

Summary of Agency Conclusion 

As originally conceived, the automatic restraint 
requirement was a far reaching technology forcing 
regulation that could have resulted in a substantial 
reduction in injuries and loss of life on our 
highways. 

As it would be implemented in the mid-1980's, 
however, the requirement has turned into a billion 
dollar Federal effort whose main technological ad- 
vance would be to require seat belts that are an- 
chored to the vehicle door rather than the vehicle 
body, permitting these belts to be used either as 
conventional active belts or as automatic belts. 

To gain this advantage, under the standard as 
drafted, consumers would see the end of the six 
passenger car and an average vehicle price in- 
crease on the order of $89 per car. The almost cer- 
tain benefits that had been anticipated as a result 
of the use of air bag technology have been replaced 
by the gravely uncertain benefit estimates 
associated with belt systems that differ little from 
existing manual belts. 

In fact, with the change in manufacturers' plans 
that in essence replaced air bags with automatic 
belts, the central issue in this proceeding has 
become whether automatic belts would induce 
higher belt usage rates than are occurring with 
manual belts. 

Many of the comments in the course of this 
rulemaking were directed specifically at the ques- 
tion of belt use. Most addressed themselves to the 
information in the docket on the usage witnessed 
in the VW Rabbit and Chevette equipped with 
automatic belts. 

The Agency's own analysis of the available infor- 
mation concludes that it is virtually impossible to 
develop an accurate and supportable estimate of 
future belt use increases based upon the Rabbit 
and Chevette automatic belt observations. The 
Agency further believes that it is impossible to 
disaggregate the roles that demographics, use in- 
ducing devices, and automatic aspects of the belt 
played in the observed increases. 

Faced with this level of imcertainty, and the wide 
margins of possible error, the agency is simply 



unable to comply with its statutory mandate to con- 
sider and conclude that the automatic restraint 
requirements are at this time practicable or 
reasonable within the meaning of the Vehicle Safety 
Act. On the other hand, the agency is not able to 
agree with assertions that there will be absolutely 
no increase in belt use as a result of automatic belts. 
Certainly, while a large portion of the population ap- 
pears to find safety belts uncomfortable or refuses 
to wear them for other reasons, there is a sizeable 
segment of the population that finds belts accept- 
able but still does not use them. It is plausible to 
assume that some people in this group who would 
not otherwise use manual belts would not discon- 
nect automatic belts. 

It is this same population that will generate all of 
the benefits that result directly and solely from this 
regulation. This is a population that can also be 
reached in other ways. The Agency, State govern- 
ments and the private sector are in the process of 
expanding and initiating major national belt use 
educational programs of unprecedented scale. 
While undertaken entirely apart from the pending 
proceeding, the fact remains that this effort will 
predominantly affect the same population that the 
automatic belts would be aimed at. 

On the one hand, it could be argued that, the 
success of any belt use program would only be 
enhanced by the installation of automatic belts. In- 
dividuals who can be convinced of the utility of 
safety belts would presumably have an easier time 
accepting an automatic belt. On the other hand, 
there is little evidence that the standard itself will 
materially increase usage levels above those other- 
wise achievable. 

However, the agency is not merely faced with 
imcertainty as to the actual benefits that would 
result from detachable automatic safety belts. 
When the uncertain nature of the benefits is con- 
sidered together with the risk of adverse safety 
consequences that might result from the 
maintenance of this regulation, the agency must 
conclude that such retention would not be 
reasonable, and would not meet the need for motor 
vehicle safety. 

It is useful to summarize precisely what the 
agency believes these risks might be. The principal 
risk is that adverse public reaction could under- 
mine the effectiveness of both the standard itself 
and future or related efforts. 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-153 



The agency also concludes, however, that reten- 
tion would present serious risk of jeopardizing 
other separate efforts to increase manual belt 
usage by the Federal government. States and the 
private sector. A public that believes it is the victim 
of too much government regulation by virtue of the 
standard might well resist such parallel efforts to 
enhance voluntary belt usage. Further, to the ex- 
tent that States begin to consider belt use laws as 
an option, a Federal regulation addressing the 
same issue could undermine those attempts as 
well. 

While one cannot be certain of the adverse ef- 
fects on net belt usage increases, it would be ir- 
responsible to fail to consider them. A decision to 
retain the regulation under any of the schedules 
now being considered would not get automatic 
belts on the road until 1983 and would not apply to 
the entire fleet of new cars until 1984. By the end 
of the 1984 model year, under most options, there 
would have been fewer than 20 million vehicles 
equipped with automatic belts on the road. 

By the same time, however, there will be upward 
of 150 million vehicles equipped with only manual 
belts, drivers and occupants of which will have 
been exposed to interim belt usage encouragement 
efforts. 

Agency analysis indicates that external efforts 
of whatever kind that increase usage by only 5 per- 
cent, will save more than 1,300 lives per year 
beginning in 1983. Installation of automatic belts 
could save an equal number of lives in 1983 only 
with 95 percent belt usage. 

Further, even if one is convinced that automatic 
belts can double belt usage and alternative efforts 
would only increase usage by 5 percent, it would 
not be until 1989 that total life savings attributable 
to automatic belts installed under the automatic 
restraint requirements would reach the total life 
savings achieved through such other efforts. 

NHTSA fully recognizes that neither outcome is 
a certainty. Much closer to the truth is that both 
outcomes are uncertain. However, neither is 
significantly more likely than the other. That being 
the case, to impose the $1 billion cost on the public 
does not appear to be reasonable. 

It is particularly unreasonable in light of the fact 
that the rescission does not foreclose the option to 
again reopen rulemaking if enhanced usage levels 
of both manual and automatic belts do not 



materialize. Long before there would have been 
any substantial number of vehicles on the road 
mandatorily equipped with automatic belts as a 
result of this standard, NHTSA will conclusively 
know whether other efforts to increase belt use 
have succeeded either in achieving acceptable 
usage levels or in increased public understanding 
and acceptance of the need for further use- 
inducing or automatic protection alternatives. If so 
obviously no further action would be needed. If 
such is not the case, rulemaking would again be a 
possibility. Any such rulemaking, following even 
partially successful efforts to increase belt use, 
would be much less likely to face public rejection. 

It has been said that the Vehicle Safety Act is a 
"technology-forcing" statute. The agency concurs 
completely. 

However, the issue of automatic restraints now 
before the agency is not a "technology-forcing" 
issue. The manual seat belt available in every car 
sold today offers the same, or more, protection 
than either the automatic seat belt or the air bag. 
Instead, the agency today faces a decision to force 
people to accept protection that they do not choose 
for themselves. It is difficult to conclude that the 
Vehicle Safety Act is, or in light of past experience 
could become, a "people-forcing" statute. 

NHTSA cannot find that the automatic restraint 
requirements meet the need for motor vehicle 
safety by offering any greater protection than is 
already available. 

After 12 years of rulemaking, NHTSA has not 
yet succeeded in its original intent, the widespread 
offering of automatic crash protection that will 
produce substantial benefits. The agency is still 
committed to this goal and intends immediately to 
initiate efforts with automobile manufacturers to 
ensure that the public will have such types of 
technology available. If this does not succeed, the 
agency will consider regulatory action to assure 
that the last decade's enormous advances in crash 
protection technology will not be lost. 

Impact Analyses 

NHTSA has considered the impacts of this final 
rule and determined that it is a major rulemaking 
within the meaning of E.O. 12291 and a significant 
rule within the meaning of the Department of 
Transportation regulatory policies and procedures. 
A final regulatory impact analysis is being placed 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-154 



in the public docket simultaneously with the 
publication of this notice. A copy of the analysis 
may be obtained by writing to: National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration, Docket Section, 
Room 5109, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washing- 
ton, D.C. 20590. 

The agency's determination that the rule is ma- 
jor and significant is based primarily upon the 
substantial savings in variable manufacturing 
costs and in consumer costs that result from the 
rescission of the automatic restraint requirements. 
These costs would have amounted to approxi- 
mately $1 billion once all new cars became subject 
to the requirements. The costs would have re- 
curred annually as long as the requirements re- 
mained in effect. There is also a recurring savings 
in fuel costs of approximately $150 million an- 
nually. Implementation of the automatic restraint 
requirements would have increased the weight of 
cars and reduced their fuel economy. In addition, 
the car manufacturers will be able to reallocate 
$400 million in capital investment that they would 
have had to allocate for the purpose of completing 
their efforts to comply with the automatic 
restraint requirements. 

The agency finds it difficult to provide a reliable 
estimate of any adverse safety effects of rescind- 
ing the automatic restraint requirements. There 
might have been significant safety loss if the in- 
stallation of detachable automatic belts resulted in 
a doubling of belt usage and if the question were 
simply one of the implementation or rescission of 
the automatic restraint requirements. The April 
1981 NPRM provided estimates of the additional 
deaths that might occur as a result of rescission. 
However, those estimates included carefully 
drafted caveats. The notice expressly stated that 
the impacts of rescission would depend upon the 
usage rate of automatic belts and of the effec- 
tiveness of the agency's educational campaign. The 
agency has now determined that there is no cer- 
tainty that the detachable automatic belts would 
produce more than a several percentage point in- 
crease in usage. The small number of cars that 
would have been equipped with automatic belts 
having use-inducing features or with air bags 
would not have added more than several more 
percentage points to that amount. Further, any 
potential safety losses associated with the rescis- 
sion must be balanced against the expected results 
of the agency's planned educational program about 



safety belts. That campaign will be addressed to 
the type of person who might be induced by the 
detachable automatic belts to begin regular safety 
belt usage, i.e., the occasional user of manual belts. 
Since that campaign will affect occasional users in 
all vehicles on the road today instead of only those 
in new cars, the campaign can yield substantially 
greater benefits than the detachable automatic 
belts even with a much lower effectiveness level. 

The agency has also considered the impact of this 
action on automatic restraint suppliers, new car 
dealers and small organizations and governmental 
units. Since the agency certifies that the rescission 
would not have a significant effect on a substantial 
number of small entities, a final regulatory flex- 
ibility analysis has not been prepared. However, 
the impacts of the rescission on the suppliers, 
dealers and other entities are discussed in the final 
Regulatory Impact Analysis. 

The impact on air bag manufacturers is likely to 
be minimal. Earlier this year. General Motors, 
Ford and most other manufacturers cancelled their 
air bag programs for economic reasons. These 
manufacturers planned instead to rely almost 
wholly on detachable automatic belts. Therefore, it 
is not accurate to say, as some commenters did, 
that rescission of the automatic restraint require- 
ments will "kill" the air bag. Rescission wUl not af- 
fect the air bag manufacturers to any significant 
degree. Further, the agency plans to undertake 
new steps to promote the continued development 
and production of air bags. 

The suppliers of automatic belts are generally 
the same firms that supply manual belts. Thus, the 
volume of sales of these firms is not expected to be 
affected by the rescission. However, there will be 
some loss of economic activity that would have 
been associated with developing and producing the 
more sophisticated automatic belts. 

The effects of the rescission on new car dealers 
would be positive. Due to reduced new car pur- 
chase prices and more favorable reaction to 
manual belts than to automatic belts, sales in- 
creases of 395,000 cars were estimated by GM and 
235,000 cars by Ford. While these figures appear 
to be overstated, the agency agrees that rescission 
will increase new car sales. 

Small organizations and governmental units 
would be benefited by the reduced cost of purchas- 
ing and operating new cars. Given the indeter- 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-155 



minacy of the usage rate that detachable automatic 
belts would have achieved, it is not possible to 
estimate the effects, if any, of the rescission on the 
safety of persons employed by these groups. 

In accordance with the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969, NHTSA has considered the en- 
vironmental impacts of the rescission and the 
alternatives proposed in the April 1981 NPRM. 
The option selected is disclosed by the analysis to 
result in the largest reductions in the consumption 
of plastics, steel, glass and fuel/energy. A Final 
Environmental Impact Statement is being placed 
in the public docket simultaneously with the 
publication of this notice. 

This amendment is being made effective in less 
than 180 days because the date on which the car 
manufacturers would have to make expenditure 
commitments to meet the automatic restraint re- 
quirements for model year 1983 falls within that 
180-day period. 

In consideration of the foregoing. Federal Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash 
Protection (49 CFR 571.208), is amended as set 
forth below. 



§571.208 [Amended] 

1. S4.1.2 is amended by revising it to read: 

54. 1 .2 Passenger cars manufcu;tured on or after 
September 1, 197S. Each passenger car manufac- 
tured on or after September 1, 1973, shall meet the 
requirements of S4.1.2.1, S4.1.2.2 or S4.1.2.3. A 
protection system that meets the requirements of 
S4. 1.2.1 or S4.1.2.2 may be installed at one or 
more designated seating positions of a vehicle that 
otherwise meets the requirements of S4. 1.2.3. 

2. The heading of S4.1.2.1 is amended by revis- 
ing it to read: 

S4. 1.2.1 First option— frontal/ angular auto- 
matic protection system. 

• •••••••• 

3. S4.1.3 is removed. 

54.1.3 [Removed] 

(Sees. 103, 119, Pub. L. 89-563, 80 Stat. 718 (15 Stat. 1392, 
1407); delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.50) 

Issued on October 23, 1981. 

Raymond A. Peck, Jr., 

Administrator. 

46 F.R. 53419 
October 29, 1981 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-156 



Appendix 



Editorial 

Note — This appendix will not appear in the Code of Federal 
Regulations. 

Following is a summary of the major comments 
submitted in response to the April 9, 1981 notice of 
proposed rulemaking. A more detailed summary of 
comments has been placed in NHTSA Docket No. 
74-14; Notice 22. This summary is organized in 
broad terms according to the interest groups from 
which the comments were received. 

Insurance Companies 

All commenting insurance companies strongly 
favored retention of the automatic restraint re- 
quirements. Many favored maintaining the present 
implementation schedule (i.e., September 1, 1982, 
for large and medium-sized cars and September 1, 
1983, for small cars), although several companies 
stated they would support a change to require that 
small cars are phased in first or a simultaneous 
implementation date. Several insurance companies 
stated that air bags offer the best technology for 
saving lives and reducing injuries. These com- 
panies pointed out that repeated surveys have in- 
dicated that consumers appear to favor air bags, 
even if higher costs are likely. Several insurers 
argued that a retreat from the standard represents 
a breach of the Secretary's statutory obligation to 
reduce traffic accidents and deaths and injuries 
which result from them. One company argued that 
a delay in the standard (i.e., the delay and reversal 
alternative) would produce no measurable eco- 
nomic benefit to car makers and might possibly 
result in an economic loss to them. Nearly all the 
companies argued that the standard is cost- 
beneficial and represents the optimum approach to 
resolving this country's most pressing public 
health problem. Many companies stated that 
reduced insurance premiums resulting from the 
lives saved and injuries prevented by automatic 
restraints would help offset the cost of those 
systems to consumers. 

A majority of the insurance companies argued 
that seat belt use campaigns will not be effective in 
raising the current use rate of manual belts 
significantly. The companies pointed to the failures 
of all past campaigns to have any substantial im- 
pact on use rates. On the other hand, these com- 
panies believe that the use rate of automatic belts 
will be significant. The companies point to the cur- 



rent use data for automatic belts on VW Rabbits 
and Chevettes as evidence that automatic belt use 
will be significant. The companies believe that seat 
belt use campaigns should only be complementary 
to automatic restraints, not a substitute. 

Several insurance companies pointed to the huge 
economic losses resulting from traffic accidents. 
One company stated that these losses mount to 
over $1 billion dollars per year and result in recur- 
ring costs because of continuing medical problems 
such as epilepsy and quadriplegia. One company 
cited Professor William Nordhaus's analysis of the 
consequences of rescinding the standard as being 
equivalent to society's loss if the tuberculosis vac- 
cine had not been developed, or if Congress repealed 
the Clean Air Act. In his submission on behalf of the 
insurance companies. Professor Nordhaus stated 
that fatalities will increase by 6,400 each year and 
injuries by 120,000 if the standard is rescinded. One 
company argued that the standard is cost-beneficial 
if automatic belt use rates increase usage only 5 per- 
cent. However, this company stated that use rates 
as high as 70 percent could be expected, and that 
the costs of '-escinding the standard could reach as 
much as $2 billion dollars per year. This company 
also argued that the economic condition of the 
vehicle industry is no excuse for any delay in the 
standard and is not a statutorily justified reason 
for rescinding the standard. 

Consumer Groups and Health Organizations 

There were many consumer groups and health- 
related organizations which strongly urged that 
the automatic restraint requirements be main- 
tained and that there be no further delays in the 
implementation schedule. Most of these groups 
argued that the cost of both air bags and automatic 
belts are greatly exaggerated by vehicle manufac- 
turers. One group stated that the three alternative 
proposals are "naive and exhibit a callous disregard 
for human lives that flouts the agency's mandated 
safety mission." This group argued that a worse 
alternative is to rescind the standard and rely on 
education programs to increase the use of manual 
belts, since seat belt campaigns have failed 
repeatedly in this country. The group stated that 
the simultaneous implementation alternative in 
March 1983 ignores the industry's background of 
introducing safety changes only at the beginning 
of a new model year. Regarding a reversed phase- 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-157 



in schedule, the group stated that the requirement 
that small cars have automatic restraints by 
September 1, 1982, would not likely provide suffi- 
cient lead time for small car manufacturers. Addi- 
tionally, with approximately 2 to 1 difference in 
seat belt use in small cars versus larger cars, it is 
not at all clear that the proposed reversal would 
make up for the delay in implementation in the 
larger cars in terms of lives saved. The group 
argued that the best alternative is to maintain the 
existing implementation schedule. 

Several consumer groups argued that the center 
seating position should not be eliminated from the 
requirements for several reasons. First, they 
argued, this position is likely to be occupied by 
children. Second, the center seat requirement is 
one factor that will lead to the installation of air 
bags in some vehicles since current automatic belt 
designs cannot be applied to the center seat. 
Nearly all consumer groups argued that benefits of 
the automatic restraint standard far outweigh the 
costs. 

One association stated that the air bag supplier 
industry could be forced out of business if substan- 
tial modifications and further delays are made to 
the standard. This would mean, the association 
argued, that the life-saving air bag technology 
could be lost forever. The association would sup- 
port some modifications to the standard if there 
were some clear commitment by the Department 
that some car models would be required to offer 
the consumer the choice of air bags. The group 
noted that air bag suppliers have indicated that a 
sufficient production volume would result in air 
bag systems priced in the $200 to $300 dollar 
range. 

Various health groups and medical experts 
argued that the pain and suffering resulting from 
epilepsy and paraplegia, as well as mental suffer- 
ing and physical disfigurement, could be greatly 
reduced by the automatic restraint standard. 
These persons argued that the standard should be 
implemented as soon as possible. 

One consumer oriented group did not support 
the automatic restraint standard. That foimdation 
argued that the standard is not justified, par- 
ticularly if it is complied with by means of air bags. 
The group stated that air bag effectiveness is 
overestimated since the agency does not include 
non-frontal crashes in its statistics. The organiza- 



tion argued that in many situations air bags are 
actually unsafe. This group also argued that the 
public acceptability of automatic seat belts is 
uncertain, and that a well-founded finding of addi- 
tional safety benefits by the Department is re- 
quired in order to justify retention of the standard. 

Vehicle Manufacturers 

The vehicle manufacturers, both foreign and 
domestic, were unanimously opposed to retention 
of the automatic restraint standard. Most 
manufactiirers stated the predominate means of 
complying with the standard would be with auto- 
matic belts, and that such belts are not likely to 
increase usage substantially. This is because most 
automatic belts will be designed to be easily 
detachable because of emergency egress con- 
siderations and to avoid a potential backlash by 
consumers that would be counterproductive to the 
cause of motor vehicle safety. The domestic 
manufacturers argued that the public would not ac- 
cept coercive automatic belts (i.e., automatic belts 
with interlocks or some other use-inducing 
feature). Eliminating any coercive element pro- 
duces, in effect, a manual belt, which wOl be used 
no more than existing manual systems. 

The domestic manufacturers also argued that air 
bags would not be economically practicable and 
would, therefore, be unacceptable to the public. 
One manufacturer noted that current belt users 
will object strenuously to paying additional money 
for automatic belts that will not offer any more 
protection than their existing belts. 

One manufacturer argued that the injury criteria 
specified in the standard is not representative of 
real injuries and should be replaced with only static 
test requirements for belt systems. The company 
argued that there are many problems with test 
repeatability luider the 208 requirements. 

All manufacturers of small cars stated that it 
would be impossible for them to comply with the 
standard by September 1, 1982, i.e., under the 
reversal proposal. These manufacturers stated 
that there is insufficient lead time to install 
automatic restraints in small cars by that date, and 
several foreign manufacturers stated they would 
not be able to sell their vehicles in that model year 
if the schedule is reversed. Most of the manufac- 
turers, both domestic and foreign, stated that it is 
also too late to install automatic restraints in their 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-158 



small cars even six months earlier than the existing 
schedule, i.e., under the March 1983 simultaneous 
implementation proposal. Many manufacturers 
supported a simultaneous implementation if the 
standard is not rescinded, but requested that the 
effective date be September 1, 1983, or later. The 
manufacturers argued that an effective date for 
small cars prior to September 1, 1983, would not 
allow enough time to develop acceptable, reliable 
and high quality automatic belts. 

Nearly all vehicle manufacturers believe that an 
intensive seat belt education campaign can be just 
as effective as automatic restraints and without 
the attendant high costs of automatic restraints. 
Additionally, most foreign manufacturers recom- 
mended that mandatory seat belt use laws be 
enacted in lieu of automatic restraints. 

One foreign manufacturer requested that any 
effective date for automatic restraints be 
"September 1 or the date of production start of the 
new model year if this date falls between 
September 1 and December 31." The company 
stated that this would allow manufacturers to con- 
tinue production for several months of models that 
would then be phased out of production. However, 
a domestic vehicle manufacturer argued that this 
would give foreign manufacturers an unfair com- 
petitive advantage, and that current practice of 
September 1 effective dates should be retained. 

Most manufacturers supported the proposal to 
exclude the center seating position from the auto- 
matic restraint requirements, in order to give 
manufacturers more design flexibility. However, 
the two domestic manufacturers which would be 
most affected by such an exception stated that it is 
too late for them to make use of such an exception 
for 1983 models. The two companies stated that 
such an exception would have benefits in the long 
run, however, and would allow them to continue 
production of six-seat passenger cars in the 
mid-1980's. 

Suppliers and Trade Groups 

Suppliers of air bag system components sup- 
ported continuation of the automatic restraint re- 
quirements. One commenter stated that having to 
buckle-up is an act which requires a series of 
psychological and physical reactions which are 
responsible for the low rate of manual seat belts. 
Also, this company stated that educational cam- 
paigns to increase belt use will not work. 



One motor vehicle trade group stated that a 
study by the Canadian government has estabhshed 
the superiority of manual seat belt systems. This 
group argued that the automatic restraint require- 
ments cannot be justified because any expected 
benefits are speculative. 

One trade group voiced its concern about sodium 
azide (an air bag propellant) as it pertains to possi- 
ble hazards posed to the scrap processing industry. 

A group representing seat belt manufacturers 
stated that the most effective way of guaranteeing 
belt use is through mandatory belt use laws. That 
group believes that belt usage can be increased 
through public education, and that simple, easy to 
use automatic belts such as are currently on the 
VW Rabbit will also increase belt usage. This 
group did not support a simultaneous implementa- 
tion date for automatic restraints, stating that this 
could put a severe strain on the supplier industry. 
The group did support elimination of the automatic 
restraint requirements for center seating positions. 

An automobile association recommended equip- 
ping small cars with automatic restraints first. The 
association stated that a reversed phase-in 
schedule would protect a significantly large seg- 
ment of the public at an earlier date, would reduce 
a foreign competitive advantage (under the ex- 
isting schedule), and would give needed economic 
relief to large car manufacturers. This organiza- 
tion also recommended that, as an alternative, 
automatic restraints be required only at the 
driver's position. This would achieve three- 
quarters of the reductions in deaths and serious in- 
juries now projected for full-front seat systems, yet 
cost only half as much. 

Congressional Comments 

Mr. Timothy E. Wirth, Chairman of the House 
Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Consumer 
Protection and Finance, made the following com- 
ments: 

—The automatic restraint requirements would 
produce benefits to society far in excess of costs. 

—The Committee findings strongly point to the 
necessity of requiring the installation of automatic 
crash protection systems, at a minimum, on a 
substantial portion of the new car fleet at the 
earliest possible date. Mr. Wirth suggested that 
the effective date for small cars be September 1, 
1982, and for intermediate and large cars 
September 1, 1983. 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-159 



—The economic conditions of the automobile in- 
dustry should not be relevant to the NHTSA's deci- 
sion on matters of safety. NHTSA's decision must 
be guided solely by safety-related concerns. 

—The agency should not discount its own find- 
ings indicating high use of automatic belts (refer- 
ring to the existing VW and Chevette automatic 
belt use data). 

In a joint letter to the Secretary, eighteen Con- 
gressmen urged that the automatic restraint re- 
quirements be maintained. This letter noted that 
over 50,000 people are killed each year on the 
highways and stated: "WMe the tragedy of their 
deaths cannot be measured in economic terms, the 
tragedy of their serious injuries cost all of us 
billions of dollars each year in higher insurance 
costs, increased welfare payments, unemployment 
and social security payments and rehabilitation 
costs paid to support the injured and the families of 
those who have been killed." The letter stressed 
the Congressmen's belief that the automatic crash 
protection standard would produce benefits to 
society far in excess of its cost. 



In a letter addressed to Administrator Peck, 
fifty-nine Congressmen urged that the automatic 
restraint standard be rescinded. That letter stated: 
"The 208 standard persists as one of the more con- 
troversial federal regulations to be forced on the 
automobile industry. . . . The industry continues to 
spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every day 
in order to meet this standard, despite con- 
siderable evidence that any safety benefits realized 
by enforcing the standard would be minimal." 

Private Citizens 

In addition to comments from the above groups 
and organizations, the agency also received 
general comments from numerous private citizens. 
These comments were almost equally divided in 
their support or opposition to the automatic 
restraint standard. 

Raymond A. Peck, Jr. 
Administrator 

46 F.R. 53419 
October 29, 1981 



PART 571; S 208-PRE-160 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO 
FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 

Occupant Crash Protection 
(Docket No. 74-14; Notice 24) 



208 



ACTION: Final rule; partial response to petitions 
for reconsideration. 

SUMMARY: The purpose of this notice is to delay 
for one year the effective date of the comfort and 
convenience requirements for seat belts in Safety 
Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection. 
Standard No. 208 was amended January 8, 1981, 
to promote the installation of more comfortable 
and convenient belts by specifying additional 
performance requirements for both manual and 
automatic seat belts installed in motor vehicles 
with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 
10,000 pounds or less. Petitions for reconsideration 
of these new performance requirements were 
received from seven vehicle manufacturers. 

The agency has determined that the recent 
rescission of the automatic restraint requirements 
of Standard 208 has made it necessary to review 
the comfort and convenience requirements in 
their entirety. The changed circumstances have 
made it difficult to respond to the substantive 
issues raised in the petitions for reconsideration 
at this time. Since the requirements are currently 
scheduled to become effective September 1, 1982, 
the agency has concluded that it is necessary to 
extend the effective date until September 1, 1983, 
to give the agency sufficient time to re-evaluate 
these requirements. 

EFFECTIVE DATE: The new effective date for 
the existing comfort and convenience requirements 
is September 1, 1983. 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On January 
8. 1981, Safety Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash 
Protection (49 CFR 571.208), was amended to 
specify performance requirements to promote the 
comfort and convenience of both manual and 



automatic safety belts installed in vehicles with a 
GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less (46 F.R. 2064). Type 
2 manual belts (lap and shoulder combination belts) 
installed in front seating positions in passenger 
cars were excepted from these additional 
performance requirements since it was assumed 
such belts would be phased out in passenger cars 
as the automatic restraint requirements of 
Standard No. 208 became effective. 

Seven petitions for reconsideration of the 
January 8, 1981 amendment were received from 
vehicle manufacturers. These petitions requested 
that the requirements be revoked entirely, or 
that at least various modifications be made and 
that the effective date be delayed. 

Since the receipt of these petitions for 
reconsideration, the agency has revoked the 
automatic restraint requirements of the standard 
(46 F.R. 53419, October 29, 1981). This recission 
alters the circumstances which must be considered 
in determining appropriate requirements for seat 
belt comfort and convenience. Therefore, it is 
difficult for the agency to respond to the 
substantive issues raised in the petitions for 
reconsideration at the current time. Many of the 
issues that were raised are no longer pertinent 
and many of the rationales discussed by the 
agency when the requirements were first 
established must be re-evaluated. Therefore, the 
agency has determined that the comfort and 
convenience requirements should be reviewed in 
their entirety. 

In light of these conclusions, the agency has 
decided that it is necessary to delay the effective 
date of the current comfort and convenience 
requirements for at least a year (from September 
1, 1982, to September 1, 1983). This will give the 
agency sufficient time to re-evaluate the 
requirements and the petitions for reconsideration 



PART 571; S208-PRE 161 



in light of the changed circumstances. Further, 
manufacturers should not be required to comply 
with the requirements by September 1, 1982, 
since they may be altered substantially. 

The agency intends to respond to the substantive 
issues raised in the petitions for reconsideration 
at a later date. Moreover, the agency is considering 
additional changes to the comfort and convenience 
requirements which would encourage and ensure 
maximum possible technical improvements and 
enhancements are included in future seat belt 
designs. 

The NHTSA has considered the economic and 
other impacts of this one-year delay in effective 
date and determined that the rule is neither a 
major rule within the meaning of Executive 
Order 12291 nor a significant rule within the 
meaning of the Department of Transportation's 
regulatory procedures. A regulatory evaluation 
concerning the one-year delay has been placed in 
the public docket. This evaluation supplements 
the regulatory evaluation which was prepared 
when the regulation was issued in January 1981. 

The agency has also analyzed the delay for 
purposes of the National Environmental Policy 



Act and has determined that it will not have a 
significant impact on the quality of the human 
environment. 

No regulatory flexibility analysis has been 
prepared on this final rule since the proposal 
underlying this final rule and the January 8, 1981 
final rule was issued before the effective date of 
the Regulatory Flexibility Act. 

In consideration of the foregoing, the effective 
date of the comfort and convience requirements 
of 49 CFR 571.208 that were issued January 8, 
1981 (46 F.R. 2064) is hereby delayed from 
September 1, 1982 to September 1, 1983. 

Issued on February 11, 1982. 



Raymond A. Peck, Jr. 
Administrator 

47 F.R. 7254 
February 18, 1982 



PART 571; S208-PRE 162 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO 
FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; 
Occupant Crash Protection 

[Docket No. 74-14; Notice 28] 



ACTION: Final rule. 

SUMMARY: The purpose of this notice is to 
amend the fuel loading test conditions of Safety 
Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection. 
The amendment is in response to a petition for 
rulemaking submitted by Mercedes-Benz of 
North America. Standard No. 208 currently 
specifies that vehicles are to be crash tested with 
their maximum capacity of fuel. Several other 
NHTSA safety standards only require fuel tanks 
to be filled from 90 to 95 percent of capacity. This 
amendment makes the fuel loading conditions of 
Standard No. 208 consistent with these other 
standards. This change will enable manufacturers 
to simultaneously determine compliance with 
several standards during the same crash tests, 
thereby reducing compliance test costs. In 
connection with this change, this notice also adds 
a definition for "fuel tank capacity" to the 
agency's general definition list in 49 CFR Part 
571.3. 

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 28, 1982. 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The fuel 
tank loading condition in Safety Standard No. 
208, Occupant Crash Protection (49 CFR 571.208) 
differs from that used in several other NHTSA 
safety standards. Paragraph S8. 1.1(a) of Standard 
No. 208 currently specifies that a passenger car is 
to be loaded "to its unloaded vehicle weight plus 
its rated cargo and luggage capacity weight" 
prior to conducting a barrier crash test. The term 
"unloaded vehicle weight" is defined in 49 CFR 
571.3 as "the weight of a vehicle with maximum 



capacity of all fluids necessary for operation of 
the vehicle. ..." Therefore, under the current 
test conditions of the standard, fuel tanks are to 
be filled to 100 percent capacity. The fuel loading 
conditions of Safety Standards Nos. 301, Fuel 
System Integrity; 212, Windshield Mounting; and 
219, Windshield Zone Intrusion, specify that fuel 
tanks are only loaded from 90 to 95 percent of 
capacity. 

On January 28, 1982, the agency proposed to 
amend the loading conditions of Standard No. 208 
to make them consistent with those of Standards 
Nos. 301, 212 and 219 (47 F.R. 4098). The proposed 
amendment was issued in response to a petition 
for rulemaking submitted by Mercedes-Benz of 
North America, which asked that the fuel loading 
conditions of Standard No. 208 be amended to be 
consistent with Safety Standard No. 301. 
Mercedes pointed out that such an amendment 
would serve to harmonize the two standards and 
would eliminate the current need for running 
separate barrier crash tests for the two 
standards. The company stated that tests being 
conducted to evaluate occupant crash protection 
systems yield data which cannot be used to 
evaluate the integrity of fuel systems because of 
the variation in fuel tank loading conditions. 

Seven parties commented on the proposed 
change. All of them were vehicle manufacturers 
which supported lowering the fuel loading 
conditions of Standard No. 208. All the 
manufacturers noted that the proposed change 
would standardize test conditions for the 
standards employing dynamic crash testing, and 
would thereby reduce costs. After reviewing 
these comments, the agency has determined that 



PART 571; S208-PRE 163 



the standard should be amended as proposed. 

As noted in the proposal, the agency believes 
that filling fuel tanks from 90 to 95 percent 
capacity for Standard 208 testing will be 
sufficiently representative of the maximum fuel 
loading that will occur on the highway. Vehicles 
are seldom driven with their fuel tanks filled to 
100 percent capacity. Moreover, the difference in 
overall vehicle weight because of the 5 to 10 
percent less fuel with this amendment should 
have no significant effect on the test results of 
Standard No. 208. Therefore, the change does not 
significantly reduce the stringency of the 
standard and realistically maintains the intended 
purpose of the loading conditions. 

The agency also believes it is important to 
facilitate simultaneous testing for various safety 
standards, where possible, in order to minimize 
testing costs. Since Standard Nos. 301, 212, and 
219 only require fuel tanks to be loaded from 90 to 
95 percent capacity, the agency has determined 
that Standard No. 208 should be amended to be 
consistent. In this case, testing costs can be 
reduced without jeopardizing safety whatsoever. 

In its comment. General Motors Corporation 
suggested that the amendment also include a 
definition of "fuel tank capacity," so that there 
will be no questions concerning the proper 
procedure for filling fuel tanks prior to testing. 
General Motors' suggestion was prompted by a 
discussion in the preamble of the proposal 
concerning what constitutes the "capacity" of a 



fuel tank. That discussion was included because 
the agency had previously received several 
questions asking whether the vapor volume of a 
fuel tank is included in determining capacity. The 
discussion clarified the agency's position that 
"capacity" does not include vapor volume. 

The agency believes that General Motors' 
suggestion has merit. Therefore, a definition for 
"fuel tank capacity" is added by this amendment 
to 49 CFR 571.3, the agency's general definition 
section. The term is defined as the volume of fuel 
that can be pumped into a previously unfilled 
tank through the filler pipe with the vehicle on a 
level surface, but excluding the vapor volume of 
the tank and the volume of the tank filler pipe. 
The definition is being added to 49 CFR 571.3, 
rather than to Standard No. 208, so that it is clear 
the same term is applicable to all safety 
standards which specify fuel loading in terms of 
tank capacity (i.e.. Standards Nos. 301, 212, and 
219 as well as Standard No. 208). 

The agency has determined that this definition 
can be added to 49 CFR 571.3 without notice and 
opportunity to comment since it is merely an 
interpretive amendment and is therefore within 
the exceptions to rulemaking procedures 
specified in the Administrative Procedure Act (5 
U.S.C. 553 (b) (3) (A)). In fact, the addition of this 
definition is merely a codification of previous 
NHTSA interpretations. 

Issued on October 5, 1982. 



Raymond A Peck, Jr. 
Administrator 
47 F.R. 47839 
October 28, 1982 



PART 571; S208-PRE 164 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO 

FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 

[Docket No. 74-14; Notice 30] 



ACTION: Final rule. 

SUMMARY: The purpose of this notice is to delay 
for two years the effective date of the comfort and 
convenience requirements for seat belts in Safety 
Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection. 
These requirements were issued January 8, 1981, 
to promote the installation of more comfortable and 
convenient belts by specifying additional perfor- 
mance requirements for both manual and 
automatic belts installed in motor vehicles with a 
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 10,000 
pounds or less. The requirements were originally 
scheduled to become effective September 1, 1982, 
but in partial response to petitions for reconsidera- 
tion, and in light of the agency's rescission of the 
automatic restraint requirements of Standard No. 
208, were delayed for one year to September 1, 
1983. 

The agency has now concluded that a fiu1;her 
delay is necessary because of concerns that have 
arisen within the agency regarding the efficacy and 
level of stringency of certain of the requirements, 
and because of the unsettled state of future plans 
for seat belt designs. The two-year delay set forth 
in this notice will give the agency sufficient time 
to complete its review of performance 
characteristics of restraint design that would lead 
to enhanced comfort and convenience for users, and 
to resolve the many questions that have developed 
regarding particular provisions. 

ADDRESS: Any petitions for reconsideration 
should refer to the docket number and notice 
number of this notice and be submitted to: Docket 
Section, Room 5109, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., 
Washington, D.C. 20590. Docket hours are from 8 
a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. 



DATES: Any petitions for reconsideration of this 
rule must be received within 30 days after the date 
of publication of this notice. The new effective date 
for the seat belt comfort and convenience re- 
quirements is September 1, 1985. 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On January 8, 
1981, Safety Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash 
Protection (49 CFR 571.208), was amended to 
specify additional performance requirements to 
enhance the comfort and convenience of both 
manual and automatic safety belts installed in 
vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less (46 
FR 2064). Type 2 manual belts (combination lap 
and shoulder belts) installed in front outboard 
seating positions in passenger cars were excepted 
from these additional requirements because it was 
then assumed that these belts would be phased out 
of production in passenger cars as the automatic 
restraint requirements of Standard No. 208 became 
effective. However, the agency rescinded the 
automatic restraint requirements on October 29, 
1981 (46 FR 53419). This rescission altered basic 
assumptions that had been made when the com- 
fort and convenience requirements were first 
issued. Likewise, it altered the belt designs which 
manufactiu"ers would be installing in future cars. 
In partial response to petitions for reconsidera- 
tion that were received concerning the comfort and 
convenience requirements, the agency delayed the 
effective date of the requirements for one year 
because of the changed circumstances surrounding 
the rescission of the automatic restraint re- 
quirements (47 FR 7254). The agency noted that 
it was difficult to respond to the substantive issues 
raised in the petitions for reconsideration, at that 
time, because many of the issues are no longer per- 
tinent and because many of the rationales dis- 
cussed by the agency when the requirements were 



PART 571; S208-PRE 165 



first established must be re-evaluated. 

During the agency's review of the comfort and 
convenience requirements following the one-year 
delay, questions arose concerning the efficacy and 
appropriate level of stringency of certain of the re- 
quirements. It became evident that the agency 
needed additional time to re-evaluate the comfort 
and convenience requirements in their entirety. 
Thus, on November 15, 1982, the agency proposed 
an additional two-year delay, to September 1, 1985 
(47 FR 51432). 

As noted in the proposal, agency experts have 
identified concerns about various countervailing 
safety consequences that could develop depending 
on the final form of the requirements. For exam- 
ple, tension-relieving devices on belt systems can 
reduce belt pressure and increase comfort, but 
there is a concern that the increased belt slack due 
to misuse could reduce belt effectiveness. The pro- 
posal pointed out that the agency must have time 
to complete its evaluation and resolution of these 
and other similar conflicting considerations. 

Eleven comments were received in response to 
the proposed two-year delay, and only one of these 
objected to the proposal. The State of Idaho 
Transportation Department strongly recommended 
against a further delay on the basis that this would 
hinder current national and State level education 
efforts to encourage the voluntary use of seat belts. 
All of the vehicle manufacturers which commented 
vigorously supported the proposed delay, as did the 
American Seat Belt Council. Three manufacturers, 
however, urged the agency to delay the re- 
quirements indefinitely, rather than to September 
1, 1985. These manufacturers agreed that the 
agency needs additional time to re-evaluate the 
comfort and convenience requirements in their en- 
tirety, but they are concerned that the two-year 
period proposed would then leave no lead time for 
manufacturers prior to the effective date. One 
manufacturer stated, "A new effective date should 
not be specified before the final requirements are 
established." 

The agency understands the manufacturers' con- 
cerns regarding lead time. There were many issues 
raised in the petitions for reconsideration to which 
the agency has not yet responded (e.g., objectivity 
of the requirements, test repeat ability, conflicts 
with the requirements of other safety standards). 
However, the agency believes that a specific effec- 
tive date, September 1, 1985, is preferable to an 
indefinite delay since it gives all parties, including 



the agency, a time frame within which to work. 
The agency will, of course, evaluate whether there 
is adequate lead time for manufacturers after all 
the issues have been resolved in this rulemaking, 
and modify the effective date accordingly if that 
is necessary. 

In spite of the concerns raised by the Idaho 
Department of Transportation, the agency has con- 
cluded that a two-year delay in the effective date 
of the comfort and convenience requirements is 
necessary. As noted in the proposal, the issues in- 
volved in this proceeding have been clouded in 
uncertainty since the regulation was first adopted. 

Safety belt designs are currently in a state of 
flux. Therefore, it is not certain exactly what type 
of restraints will be on the road in the foreseeable 
future. For this reason, the agency has determined 
that it would be wise to delay the comfort and con- 
venience requirements, to give the agency suffi- 
cient time to re-evaluate the requirements in light 
of evolving belt systems and avoid imposing 
possibly unnecessary costs. For example, one com- 
menter to the proposal stated that it had been ex- 
perimenting with a particular seat belt design for 
nearly two years and is still uncertain whether the 
design will consistently meet the somewhat con- 
flicting requirements (in Standard No. 208) for full 
belt retraction, 0.7 pound chest force limitation and 
the retractive force requirements of Safety Stan- 
dard No. 209 (49 CFR 571.209). The agency needs 
additional time to evaluate these and other similar 
problems. 

Finally, as noted in the proposal, the agency 
believes that it is impossible at the current time 
to determine how to achieve or induce effective im- 
provements in the comfort and convenience of belt 
systems until the occupant crash protection stan- 
dard can be reviewed in its entirety. The two-year 
delay will allow the agency time to complete its 
evaluation of all the current provisions in terms 
of expected applicabilty, effectiveness, overall 
safety consequences and appropriate level of detail. 

The agency does not believe that this delay will 
retard the introduction of new improved belt 
systems, in terms of comfort and convenience. One 
vehicle manufacturer which commented on the pro- 
posal specifically stated that it "plans to proceed 
voluntEirily with a variety of improvements in seat 
belt comfort and convenience for 1984 and future 
models regardless of the proposed delay in effec- 
tive date." The agency encourages other manufac- 
turers to also voluntarily introduce improved com- 



PART 571; S208-PRE 166 



fort and convenience features in their belt designs 
during this interim period in which the agency is 
resolving the issues associated with the Standard 
No. 208 requirements. 

The agency has examined the impacts of this 
amendment and determined that it is not major 
within the meaning of Executive Order 12291 or 
significant according to the Department of 
Transportation regulatory policies and procedures. 
The agency has prepared a final regulatory evalua- 
tion concerning the amendment, which has been 
placed in the Docket. (A free copy may be obtained 
by contacting the Docket Section.) That evaluation 
shows that the safety impact of the proposed delay 
will not be significant. The precise magnitude of 
the impact cannot be quantified because the agency 
has not been able to successfully address in quan- 
tified terms the larger question of the effects of the 
comfort and convenience requirements. That 
adverse impact will be minimized as a result of the 
improved seat belt designs that are currently be- 
ing introduced by manufacturers on a voluntary 
basis, partly in response to the dialogue generated 
by the proposal and adoption of the comfort and 
convenience requirements. The agency believes 
that manufacturers will experiment further dur- 
ing the two-year delay with innovative designs 



aimed at increasing the comfort and convenience 
of belt systems. This effort will at least partially 
off"set any negative impacts that the delay might 
otherwise cause. The proposed delay will provide 
slight cost savings for both manufacturers and 
consumers. 

NHTSA has also considered the impacts of this 
amendment under the Regulatory Flexibilty Act. 
I hereby certify that amending Standard No. 208 
to delay the effective date of the comfort and con- 
venience requirements will not have significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities for the reasons just discussed. The only 
small entities that would be affected would be 
small manufacturers or small organizations or 
governmental units that purchase vehicles. The ef- 
fect would not be significant since the cost savings 
made possible by the delay would be slight. 

Issued on May 27, 1983 



Diane K. Steed, 
Acting Administrator. 

48 F.R. 24717 

June 2, 1983 



PART 571; S208-PRE 167-168 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO 
FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 

Occupant Crash Protection; 
Automatic Occupant Restraint Requirement 

[Doclcet No. 74-14; Notice 31] 



208 



ACTION: Suspension of rule. 

SUMMARY: This notice suspends the automatic oc- 
cupant restraint requirements of Safety Standard 
No. 208. Occupant Crash Protection. This action 
permits the agency time for the further review con- 
templated by the recent Supreme Court decision 
that found NHTSA's rescission of the requirement 
to be arbitrary and capricious. This suspension is 
issued without a prior opportunity for notice and 
comment; the rule might otherwise be deemed ef- 
fective on September 1, 1983. However, public com- 
ment on the suspension is requested and the 
suspension will be revised or revoked, if ap- 
propriate, in response to the comments received. 

DATES: Suspension— The mandatory automatic 
restraint requirement of Standard No. 208 is 
suspended until September 1, 1984. This suspen- 
sion is effective on September 1, 1983. 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On October 
29, 1981 (49 FR 53419), the Department of 
Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration (NHTSA) published a notice re- 
scinding the automatic restraint requirements of 
Safety Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Protec- 
tion. (The language of Standard 208 as it was 
codified prior to the rescission is contained in Ap- 
pendix A to this notice.) On June 1, 1982, the U.S. 
Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found the 
agency's action to be arbitrary and capricious and 
overturned the agency's action. (State Farm 
Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Department 
of Transportation, 680 F.2d 206.) On August 4, 
1982, the Court of Appeals issued an order stay- 



ing the effective date of the requirement until 
September 1, 1983. 

In June 1983, the United States Supreme Court 
rejected the scope of review used by the lower court, 
but also found the rescission to be arbitrary and 
capricious. The Supreme Court vacated the judg- 
ment of the Court of Appeals and remanded the 
case to that Court with directions to remand it to 
NHTSA for further consideration consistent with 
the Supreme Court's opinion. (Motor Vehicle 
Manufacturers Association v. State Farm Mutual 
Automobile Insurance Co. (No. 82-354; June 24, 
1983)). 

Because the Supreme Court vacated the judg- 
ment of the Court of Appeals, it could be argued 
that the rescission of the automatic restraint re- 
quirement technically continues in effect pending 
the further agency review contemplated by the 
Supreme Court. However, if that were not the case, 
compliance with the rule could be considered to be 
required by September 1, 1983. In order to clarify 
this situation, the Department has determined that 
it is appropriate to issue this notice suspending the 
effect date of the requirement. 

The Suprement Court stated that the agency has 
sufficient justification to suspend Standard 208 
pending any further consideration in accordance 
with the Court's decision. The Department believes 
that further consideration is necessary and, as part 
of our review efforts, it is our intention to issue a 
notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) by October 
15, 1983. We intended to expedite this rulemaking 
and reach a final decision as quickly as possible 
and well before the end of the one-year suspension. 
At that time, we will establish an appropriate ef- 
fective date either for the rule that was rescinded. 



PART 571; S208-PRE 169 



if we decide to retain it, or for any other action that 
we take, including re-rescission of the rule. 

We believe that it would be inappropriate to re- 
quire compliance with the rule during this short 
review period. Neither consumers nor manufac- 
turers should be required to incur additional ex- 
penses to comply with a requirement that is being 
actively reviewed. 

Moreover, there is substantial evidence showing 
that a September 1, 1983, effective date is not prac- 
ticable. After the D.C. Circuit entered its of August 
4, 1982, reinstating the automatic restraint re- 
quirement on September 1, 1983, NHTSA obtain- 
ed current information from vehicle and automatic 
restraint equipment manufacturers concerning 
their ability to comply with a September 1, 1983, 
effective date. After reviewing and analyzing the 
letters and affidavits submitted by the manufac- 
turers, NHTSA concluded, in an October 1, 1982, 
submission to the D.C. Circuit Court, that a 
September 1, 1983, effective date was not 
achievable at that time and that a significantly 
longer time period would be needed before prac- 
ticable compliance with the automatic restraint re- 
quirements could be achieved. Based on that data, 
the Department has concluded that it would not 
be practicable for vehicle manufacturers to comply 
with the September 1, 1983, requirement because 
there is not sufficient leadtime for them to make 
all the necessary design, development, testing, and 
production preparations by that date. 

Because it is not practicable for the manufac- 
turers to comply by September 1, 1983, the Depart- 
ment also has determined that notice and public 
procedure on this notice of suspension are imprac- 
ticable, unnecessary, and contrary to the public in- 
terest. The recency of the Supreme Court decision 
and the imminence of the deadline for compliance 
with the rule justify this determination. We wish 
to stress, however, that we are providing an oppor- 
tunity for public comment on this suspension im- 
mediately subsequent to its issuance. After review- 
ing the public comment that is recieved, the 
Department will determine whether this suspen- 
sion should be revised or revoked and we will issue 
a document stating our final decision. 

This suspension may be made effective im- 
mediately upon publication in the Federal 
Register because it relieves a restriction. 

This suspension is a major action within the 
meaning of Executive Order 12291 and a signifi- 
cant action under the Department's Regulatory 
Policies and Procedures. The benefits and costs of 



the automatic restraint requirements have been 
carefully reviewed in the prior final regulatory im- 
pact analysis dated October 1981, which has been 
placed in the docket for the automatic restraint 
rulemaking. That analysis also provides an assess- 
ment of the impact of this suspension. The prior 
regulatory impact analysis also discusses the im- 
pact of the rescission of the automatic restraint re- 
quirements on small businesses and governmental 
entities. Based on that prior analysis, I hereby cer- 
tify that this suspension will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The Department has also evaluated this 
suspension in accordance with the National En- 
vironmental Policy Act and has determined that 
this action is not a major Federal action signifi- 
cantly affecting the quality of the human 
environment. 
Issued in Washington, D.C. on August 30, 1983. 



James H. Burnley, IV, 

Acting Secretary of Transportation 



Appendix A 

The text of S4.1.3 of Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash Pro- 
tection, (49 CFR Part 571.208) that was rescinded on October 
29, 1981 (46 FR 53419) reads as follows: 

S4.1.3 Passenger cars manufactured on or after September 1, 
1983. Each passenger car manufactured on or after September 
1, 1983 shall- 

(a) At each front designated seating position meet the frontal 
crash protection requirements of S5.1 by means that require 
no action by vehicle occupants; 

(b) At each rear designated seating position have a Type 1 
or Type 2 seat belt assembly that conforms to Standard No. 209 
and S7.1 and S7.2; and 

(c) Either- 

(1) Meet the lateral crash protection requirement of S5.2 and 
the roll-over crash protection requirements of S5.3 by means 
that require no action by vehicle occupants; or 

(2) At each front designated seating position have a Type 1 
or Type 2 seat belt assembly that conforms to Standard No. 209 
and S7 through 7.3, and meet the requirements of 85. 1 with 
front test dummies as required by S5.1, restrained by the Type 

1 or Type 2 seat belt assembly (or the pelvic portion of any Type 

2 seat belt assembly which has a detachable upper torso belt) 
in addition to the means that require no action by the vehicle 
occupant. 

48 F.R. 39908 
September 1, 1983 



PART 571; S208-PRE 170 



PREAMBLE TO AN AMENDMENT TO 

FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARD NO. 208 

Occupant Crash Protection 

[Docket No. 74-14; Notice No. 36] 



ACTiON: Final Rule 

SUIVIiy/iARY: This rule requires the installation of 
automatic restraints in all new cars beginning with 
model year 1990 (September 1, 1989) unless, prior 
to that time, State mandatory belt usage laws are 
enacted that cover at least two-thirds of the U.S. 
population. The requirement would be phased in 
by an increasing percentage of production over a 
3-year period beginning with model year 1987 (Sep- 
tember 1, 1986). To further encourage the instal- 
lation of advanced technology, the rule would treat 
cars equipped with such technology other than 
automatic belts as equivalent to 1.5 vehicles dur- 
ing the phase-in. 



DATES: The amendments made by this rule to the 
text of the Code of Federal Regulations are effec- 
tive August 16, 1984. 

The principal compliance dates for the rule, 
unless two-thirds of the population are cov- 
ered by mandatory use laws, are: 

September 1, 1986 — for phase-in requirement. 

September 1,1989 — for full implementation 



requirement. 



In addition: 



February 1, 1985 — for center seating position 
exemption from automatic 
restraint provisions. 



PART 571; S 208-PRE 171-172 



SUMMARY OF THE FINAL RULE 



After a thorough review of the issue of auto- 
mobile occupant protection, including the long 
regulatory history of the matter; the comments on 
the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and 
the Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 
(SNPRM); the extensive studies, analyses, and 
data on the subject; and the court decisions that 
have resulted from law suits over the different 
rulemaking actions, the Department of Transpor- 
tation has reached a final decision that it believes 
will offer the best method of fulfilling the objec- 
tives and purpose of the governing statute, the 
National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. As 
part of this decision, the Department has reached 
three basic conclusions: 

• Effectively enforced State mandatory seatbelt 
use laws (MULs) will provide the greatest safety 
benefits most quickly of any of the alternatives, 
with almost no additional cost. 

• Automatic occupant restraints provide demon- 
strable safety benefits, and, unless a sufficient 
number of MULs are enacted, they must be re- 
quired for the most frequently used seats in pas- 
senger automobiles. 

• Automatic occupant protection systems that do 
not totally rely upon belts, such as airbags or 
passive interiors, offer significant additional 
potential for preventing fatalities and injuries, 
at least in part because the American public is 
likely to find them less intrusive; their devel- 
opment and avaUabUity should be encouraged 
through appropriate incentives. 

As a result of these conclusions, the Department 
has decided to require automatic occupant protec- 
tion in all-passenger automobiles based on a 
phased-in schedule beginning on September 1, 



1986, with full implementation being required by 
September 1, 1989, unless, before April 1, 1989, 
two-thirds of the population of the United States 
are covered by MULs meeting specified condi- 
tions. More specifically, the rule would require the 
following: 

• Passenger cars manufactured for sale in the 
United States after September 1, 1986, will have 
to have automatic occupant restraints based on 
the following phase-in schedule: 

• Ten percent of all automobUes manufactured 
after September 1, 1986. 

• Twenty-five percent of all automobiles manu- 
factured after September 1, 1987. 

• Forty percent of all automobUes manufac- 
tured after September 1, 1988. 

• One hundred percent of all automobiles manu- 
factured after September 1, 1989. 

• The requirement for automatic occupant 
restraints will be rescinded if MULs meeting 
specified conditions are passed by a sufficient 
number of States before April 1, 1989 to cover 
two-thirds of the population of the United States. 

• During the phase-in period, each passenger auto- 
mobile that is manufactured with a system that 
provides automatic protection to the driver 
without automatic belts will be given an extra 
credit equal to one-half of an automobUe toward 
meeting the percentage requirement. 

• The front center seat of passenger cars will be 
exempt from the requirement for automatic 
occupant protection. 

• Rear seats are not covered by the requirements 
for automatic protection. 



PART 571; S 208-PRE 173-174 



BACKGROUND 



INTRODUCTION 

The Supreme Court Decision 
On October 23, 1981, the National Highway Traf- 
fic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued an 
order pursuant to section 103 of the National Traf- 
fic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. 1392, 
amending Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection (4fr CFR 
571.208; "FMVSS 208"). by rescinding the provi- 
sions that would have required the front seating 
positions in all new cars to be equipped with auto- 
matic restraints (46 FR 53419; October 29, 1981). 
On June 24, 1983, the Supreme Court held that 
NHTS A's rescission of the new automatic restraint 
requirements was arbitrary and capricious. Motor 
Vehicle Manufacturer's Association v. State Farm 
Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., 103 S.Ct. 2856. 
The agency had rescinded because it was unable to 
find that more than minimal safety benefits would 
result from the manufacturers' plans to comply 
with the requirement through the installation of 
automatic belts. In particular, the Court found the 
agency had failed to present an adequate basis and 
explanation for rescinding the requirement. The 
Court also stated that the agency must either con- 
sider the matter further or adhere to or amend the 
standard along the lines that its "reasoned anal- 
ysis" and explanation supports. 

By a five to four vote, the Court held that the 
agency had been too quick in dismissing the bene- 
fits of detachable automatic belts. The Court 
stated that the agency's explanation of its rescis- 
sion was not sufficient to enable the Court to con- 
clude that the agency's action was the product of 
reasoned decision making. The Court found that 
the agency had not taken account of the critical dif- 



ference between detachable automatic belts and 
current manual belts. "A detached passive belt 
does require an affirmative act to reconnect it, 
but — unlike a manual seatbelt, the passive belt, 
once reattached, will continue to function auto- 
matically unless again disconnected." 

The Court unanimously found that, even if the 
agency was correct that detachable automatic 
belts would yield few benefits, that fact alone 
would not justify rescission. Instead, it would 
justify only a modification of the requirement to 
prohibit compliance by means of that type of auto- 
matic restraint. The Court also unanimously held 
that having concluded that detachable automatic 
belts would not result in signficantly increased 
usage, NHTSA should have considered requiring 
that automatic belts be continuous (i.e., nondetach- 
able) instead of detachable, or that FMVSS 208 be 
modified to require the installation of airbags. 

The 1983 Suspension 

On September 1, 1983, the Department sus- 
pended the automatic restraint requirement for 
1 year to ensure that sufficient time was available 
for considering the issues raised by the Supreme 
Court's decision (48 FR 39908). 

The NPRM 

On October 14, 1983, the Department issued a 
notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) (48 FR 
48622) asking for comment on a range of alterna- 
tives, including the following: 

• Retain the automatic occupant protection re- 
quirements of FMVSS 208. Under this alter- 
native, the substantive automatic occupant pro- 
tection requirement of FMVSS 208 would be 



PART 571; S 208 -PRE 175 



retained, but a new compliance date would have 
to be established. Compliance could be any type of 
automatic restraint, including detachable belts. 

• Amend the automatic occupant protection re- 
quirements of FMVSS 208. Numerous alterna- 
tives were proposed. For example, an amendment 
could require compliance by airbags only or by 
airbags or nondetachable automatic belts only. 
Subalternatives included automatic protection 
for the full front seat, the outboard seating posi- 
tions, or the driver only. An additional alterna- 
tive would have required that cars be manufac- 
tured with an airbag retrofit capability. 

• Rescind the automatic occupant protection 
requirements of FMVSS 208. The Department 
could again rescind the requirements if its anal- 
ysis led it to that conclusion. The Supreme Court 
decision does not bar rescission after the Depart- 
ment "consider[s] the matter further." 

The NPRM also proposed other actions that could 
be taken in conjunction with, or as a supplement 
to, the above alternatives. They were as ToUows: 

• Conduct a demonstration program. Such a pro- 
gram could be along the voluntary lines sug- 
gested by Secretary Coleman in 1976 and would 
be accompanied by a temporary suspension of 
FMVSS 208's automatic occupant protection 
requirements. It would be designed to acquaint 
the public with the automatic restraint technolo- 
gies so as to reduce the possibility of adverse 
public reaction and to obtain additional data to 
refine effectiveness estimates. 

• Seek mandatory State safety belt usage laws. 
The Department could seek Federal legislation 
that would either establish a seatbelt use re- 
quirement or provide incentives for the States 
to adopt and enforce such laws. If large numbers 
of persons wore existing manual belts, there 
would be less need for automatic restraints. 

• Seek legislation mandating consumer option. 
Under this alternative, the Department would 
seek Federal legislation requiring manufac- 
turers to provide consumers the option of pur- 
chasing any kind of restraint system: airbag, 
automatic belt, or manual belt. 

Following the issuance of the NPRM, the Depart- 
ment held public meetings in Los Angeles, Kansas 
City, and Washington, D.C. One hundred fifty-two 



people testified at these hearings. The public com- 
ment period on the NPRM closed on December 9, 
1983. The Department received over 6,000 com- 
ments on that NPRM by the close of the comment 
period. Since then, the Department has received 
an additional 1,800 comments. Some of these com- 
ments raised issues or led to the identification of 
other alternatives on which the Department 
wanted to receive further public comment. 

The SNPRM 

As a result of the desire for additional public 
comment, the Department issued a supplemental 
notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) on May 10, 
1984 (49 FR 20460). 

The SNPRM asked for comment on issues involv- 
ing the following areas: the public acceptance of 
automatic restraints, the usage rates and the effec- 
tiveness of the various restraint systems, the ben- 
efits that would be derived from the various alter- 
native means of protecting automobile front seat 
occupants, including potential insurance premium 
savings, and the testing procedures that would be 
required for automatic restraints. The SNPRM 
also sought comment on four additional proposed 
alternatives for occupant crash protection: 

• Automatic restraints with waiver for manda- 
tory use law States. Under this proposal, auto- 
matic restraints would be required in all cars 
manufactured after a set date, but this require- 
ment would be waived for vehicles sold to resi- 
dents of a State which had passed a mandatory 
safety belt use law (MUD. 

• Automatic restraints unless three-fourths of 
States pass mandatory use laws. Under this pro- 
posal, automatic restraints would be required in 
all cars manufactured after a set date, unless 
three-fourths of the States had passed manda- 
tory use laws before that date. 

• Mandatory demonstration program. This alter- 
native involves a mandatory demonstration pro- 
gram, which was suggested by the Ford Motor 
Company. Each automobile manufacturer would 
be required to equip an average of 5 percent of 
its cars with automatic restraints over a 4-year 
period. 

• Driver's-side airbags in small cars. Under this 
alternative, airbags would be required only for 
small cars and only for the driver's position in 
those cars. 



PART 571; S 208 -PRE 176 



The comment period on the SNPRM closed on 
June 13, 1984. The Department received over 130 
comments. 

The Statute 

Pursuant to the National Traffic and Motor 
Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, as amended, the De- 
partment of Transportation is directed to "reduce 
traffic accidents and deaths and injuries to persons 
resulting from traffic accidents." The Act autho- 
rizes the Secretary of Transportation to issue 
motor vehicle safety standards that "shall be prac- 
ticable, shall meet the need for motor vehicle 
safety, and shall be stated in objective terms." In 
issuing these standards, the secretary is directed 
to consider "relevant available motor vehicle 
safety data," whether the proposed standard "is 
reasonable, practicable and appropriate for the 
particular type of motor vehicle ... for which it is 
prescribed," and the "extent to which such stan- 
dards will contribute to carrying out the purposes" 
of the Act. 

The Safety Problem 

Occupants of front seats in passenger cars ac- 
count for almost half of the deaths that occur annu- 



ally in motor vehicle accidents (including pedes- 
trian fatalities). In recent years (1981-83), an 
average of approximately 22,000 persons have 
been killed annually in the front seats of passenger 
cars; another 300,000 suffered moderate to severe 
injuries and more than 2 million had minor injuries. 
Approximately 55 percent of these fatalities and 
injuries occur in frontal impacts and another 25 
percent occur in side impacts. Table 1 shows the 
number of fatalities, by seating position, for 
1975-1982, while Table 2 shows data for injuries, 
by severity and seating position, for 1982, the lat- 
est year for which such a breakdown is available. 
Table 3 provides estimates of similar data for 1990 
to illustrate the impact of any rulemaking. For the 
1990 data, it was assumed (for purposes of this 
rulemaking analysis only) that manual belt usage 
rates would remain the same as current rates. 

To fully understand the benefits of various occu- 
pant restraint systems, it is helpful to recognize 
the frequency with which various front seating 
positions are used in cars involved in injury- 
producing accidents. As Tables 1 and 2 illustrate, 
three-fourths of all front seat occupant fatalities 
and serious injuries are experienced by drivers 
and almost all of the remainder are passengers in 



TABLE 1 
FRONT SEAT PASSENGER CAR FATALITIES WITH KNOWN SEATING POSITION 





Driver 


Front Middle 


Front Right 


Other Front 


Total 


1975 
Percent 


16.270 
72.2 


644 
2.9 


5.601 
24.8 


21 
0.1 


22.536 
100 


1976 
Percent 


16,375 
72.1 


602 
2.7 


5,714 
25.1 


24 
0.1 


22.715 
100 


1977 
Percent 


16,967 
72.0 


577 
2.5 


5.992 
25.4 


14 
0.1 


23.550 
100 


1978 
Percent 


18,224 
72.7 


627 
2.5 


6.180 
24.7 


16 
0.1 


25,047 
100 


1979 
Percent 


18,267 
73.8 


513 
2.1 


5.968 
24.1 


6 


24,754 
100 


1980 
Percent 


17,966 
73.3 


526 
2.2 


6.012 
24.5 


9 


24,513 
100 


1981 
Percent 


17.722 
73.8 


460 
1.9 


5.844 
24.3 


6 


24,032 
100 


1982 
Percent 


15.225 
73.1 


373 
1.8 


5.202 
25.0 


16 
0.1 


20,816 
100 



PART 571; S 208 -PRE 177 



TABLE 2 
DISTRIBUTION OF FRONT SEAT PASSENGER CAR OCCUPANT INJURIES BY SEVERITY LEVEL 



Injury Severity 


Driver 


Front Middle 


Front Right 


Other Front 


Total 


Minor 


1.388,519 


29.914 


515.786 


2.526 


1,936.745 


Moderate 


187.660 


6.467 


47.417 


1.604 


243.148 


Serious 


45.627 


289 


16.100 





62.016 


Severe 


5.592 





2.411 





8.003 


Critical 


3.233 





728 





3.961 


Percent of 












Minor 












Injuries 


71.7 


1.5 


26.6 


0.2 


100.0 


Percent of 












Moderate 












to Critical 












Injuries 


76.3 


2.1 


21.0 


0.6 


100.0 



the right outboard seat. Thus, automatic protec- 
tion is likely to have three times the level of bene- 
fits for drivers as for front seat passengers. Addi- 
tionally, not only are occupants of the center seat 
rarely involved in fatal or injury-producing 
crashes, but their involvement is declining as 
shown in the tables. This decline is thought to be 
occurring, at least in part, because of the decline in 
the number of automobiles manufactured with 
bench-style front seats. 

TABLE 3 

PROJECTIONS OF FATALITIES AND INJURIES 

FOR 1990 







Front 


Front 






Driver 


Middle 


Right 


ToUl 


Fatalities 


18,050 


370 


6,140 


24,560 


Percent 


73.5 


1.5 


25.0 


100.0 


Moderate to 










Critical Injuries 


290,000 


5,000 


75,000 


370,000 


Percent 


78.5 


1.5 


20.0 


100.0 


Minor Injuries 


2,110,000 


40,000 


800,000 


2,950,000 


Percent 


71.5 


1.5 


27.0 


100.0 



Current Occupant Restraint Technology 

Manual belts 

Manual belts are safety belts that will provide 
protection in a crash in the occupant places the 



belt around himself or herself and attaches it. 
Manual belts can come in two types: lap belts that 
fit around the pelvic region and combined lap and 
shoulder belts, which are found in the majority of 
all new cars sold today. Manual shoulder belts are 
equipped with inertial reels that allow the belt 
webbing to play out so that the occupant can reach 
forward freely in the occupant compartment under 
normal conditions, but lock the belt in place if a 
crash occurs. To remind occupants to use their 
belts, FMVSS 208 requires the installation of a 
brief (4-8 seconds) audible and visible reminder. 

Automatic belts 

The automatic belt is similar in many respects to 
a manual belt but differs in that it is attached at 
one end between the seats in a two front seat car 
and at the other end to the interior of the door or, 
in the case of a belt with a motorized anchorage, to 
the door frame. The belt moves out of the way 
when the door is opened and automatically moves 
into place around the occupant when the door is 
closed. Thus, the occupant need take no action to 
gain the protective benefits of the automatic belt. 

Automatic belts differ significantly in their 
design. Some designs consist of a single diagonal 
shoulder belt (2-point belt) with a knee bolster 
located under the dashboard to prevent the occu- 
pant from sliding forward under the belt. Other 
designs include both a lap and a shoulder belt 
(3-point belt). 



PART 571; S 208 -PRE 178 



The designs differ also in the features and 
devices included to encourage belt use by motor- 
ists and at the same time allow for emergency 
egress if the car door cannot be opened following a 
crash. Several designs are described below. 

One design takes advantage of the opportunity 
for the manufacturer to include, on a strictly vol- 
untary basis, an ignition interlock. The belt in that 
design detaches from the door, but must be reat- 
tached before the car can be started the next time. 
This type of automatic belt (2-point belt with knee 
bolster) has been installed in more than 390,000 
Volkswagen (VW) Rabbits over an 8-year period 
beginning in 1975. It was also installed on a small 
number 1978-79 General Motors (GM) Chevettes. 
It is still available as an option on Rabbits. 

Another design is similar in that the belt de- 
taches, but there is no ignition interlock. The belt 
may be detached and left that way without affecting 
the starting of the car. This was the type of auto- 
matic belt that most manufacturers had planned to 
use in complying with the automatic restraint 
requirement before the agency issued its rescis- 
sion order. It was briefly offered by General 
Motors as a consumer option on a Cadillac model. 

A third type of automatic belt is a continuous 
belt that does not detach at either end. Some con- 
tinuous belts use a spool release, which plays out 
additional webbing length. Sufficient slack is 
created by an emergency release lever so that the 
motorist can lift the belt out of his or her way and 
exit in an emergency. Another type of continuous 
belt with a spool release mechanism is the motor- 
ized belt. The belt's outer anchorage is not fixed to 
the door but runs along a track in the interior side 
of the door's window frame. When the door is 
opened, the anchorage moves forward along the 
track, pulling the belt out of the occupant's way. 
When the door is closed, the process is reversed so 
that the belt is placed around the seated occupant. 
This type of continuous belt, which is a two-point 
system with a knee bolster avd which contains a 
manual lap belt, has been installed in all Toyota 
Cressidas for the last several model years and 
enhances occupant ingress and egress. 

Another type of continuous belt was installed on 
a small number of 1980 Chevettes. The belt con- 
sisted of a single length of webbing that passed 
through a ring near the occupant's inboard hip and 
served both as a lap and shoulder belt. The end of 
the lap belt that was connected to the lower rear 
corner of the door could be detached from door. 



However, the end could not be puUed through the 
ring. Thus, the effect of detaching the lap belt was 
to create an elongated shoulder belt. The extra 
slack in the belt system enabled occupants to get 
out of their belt in the event of an emergency. 

Airbags 

Airbags are fabric cushions that are very rap- 
idly inflated with gas to cushion the occupant and 
prevent him or her from colliding with the vehicle 
interior when a crash occurs that is strong enough 
to trigger a sensor in the vehicle. (Generally, the 
bag will inflate at a barrier equivalent impact 
speed of about 12 miles per hour.) After the crash, 
the bag quickly deflates to permit steering control 
or emergency egress. 

In 1973-76, General Motors produced approxi- 
mately 11,000 full-sized Chevrolets, Buicks, Olds- 
mobiles, and Cadillacs equipped with airbags. Dur- 
ing the same period, Ford installed airbags in 831 
Mercurys. A small number were installed in 
Volvos also. Today, only a single manufacturer, 
Mercedes Benz, is offering airbags in the United 
States. That company began offering airbag- 
equipped cars in the country beginning with the 
1984 model year; it has been selling airbag cars 
outside the United States since late 1980. Since 
then, it has sold approximately 22,000 of those cars 
worldwide, with most sales occurring within the 
last year or so. GSA has contracted with Ford 
Motor Company to build 5,000 cars equipped with 
driver's side airbags. Delivery on these cars is 
expected to begin in Model Year 1985. 

Other Automatic Occupant Protection 
Technologies 

The automatic occupant protection provisions of 
FMVSS 208 do not specify that particular tech- 
nologies, such as automatic belts or airbags, be 
used to comply with the standard. Rather, the 
standard requires a level of safety performance 
that can be met by any technology chosen by the 
manufacturer. Although safety belts and airbags 
are the most widely discussed technologies, the 
use of "passive interiors" as a means of compliance 
is also generating interest. 

Under this approach, improvements are made to 
the vehicle structure, steering column, and inte- 
rior padding so as to minimize potential occupant 
injuries. Thus, a "restraint" system, of any kind, is 
unnecessary for occupant protection in frontal 
crashes. GM has been actively pursuing "passive 
interiors." 



PART 571; S 208-PRE 179-180 



SUMMARY OF THE PUBLIC COMMENTS 



INTRODUCTION 

In this section of the preamble we have summa- 
rized the public comments on the Department's 
October 19, 1983, NPRM and the May 14, 1984, 
SNPRM. We have presented the summaries under 
headings that generally relate to the headings us- 
ed in the subsequent portions of the preamble. 
Some of the comments are very generally stated 
and may relate to more than one issue. Because of 
the large number of public comments, we have pro- 
vided a representative sample of the comments 
made and the commenters who made them. Subse- 
quent portions of the preamble discuss the issues 
and alternatives and present the Department's 
position and response to the public comments. The 
comments are analyzed and responded to in more 
detail in the Department's Final Regulatory Im- 
pact Analysis (FRIA). 

OCCUPANT PROTECTION SYSTEMS 

Usage 

Vehicle manufacturers generally agreed that 
mandating automatic belts would increase usage 
initially. However, based on their expectation of 
installing detachable automatic belts if required to 
install some type of automatic protection, some car 
manufacturers generally predicted that use would 
fall close to the current levels for manual belts 
once the belts were disconnected for the first time. 
GM believes this to be true for detachable auto- 
matic belts, and for nondetachable automatic belts 
as well. Honda also believes that, while there 
would be an initial increase in restraint usage if 
automatic belts were mandated, long-term usage 
of automatic belts might not be higher than cur- 
rent usage of manual belts. The key determinants 



would be the comfort and convenience of auto- 
matic belts. The other manufacturers believed 
that automatic belts would probably produce some 
small usage increase. Chrysler stated that usage 
for automatic belts would be less than 10 per- 
centage points higher than current usage for 
manual belts. Ford commented that the use of non- 
detachable automatic belts would initially be 
higher than the usage level for detachable auto- 
matic belts, but that over the long term it would 
fall to the same level. Ford said further that occa- 
sional belt users would use automatic belts more 
often than they currently use their manual belts, 
but the overall level of usage would not signifi- 
cantly rise. 

The car manufacturers generally believe that 
nondetachable automatic belts would not be prac- 
ticable since consumers would object strongly to 
them and, therefore, would defeat and possible dis- 
able them. The manufacturers concluded that 
there would be little or no increase in usage over 
manual belt rates. 

The Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) said that 
mechanically compelled use by unwilling occu- 
pants would be no more likely to succeed than 
legally compelled use by such persons. 

On the other hand, the American Seat Belt 
Council (ASBC) believes that usage of automatic 
belts would be 50 percent, which is roughly half- 
way between the current driver usage of 14 per- 
cent for manual belts and 80 percent for automatic 
belts with ignition interlocks. Professor William 
Nordhaus of Yale University believes that use of 
automatic belts would increase by 33 percentage 
points. John Graham of Harvard University found 
that expert opinion varies on the extent to which 
automatic belts would increase usage. His survey 



PART 571; S 208 -PRE 181 



of seven experts found that detachable automatic 
belts would increase usage by 10 percentage 
points with an 80 percent confidence interval of 5 
to 40 percentage points. 

The issue of use inducing features or reminder 
mechanisms was raised by several commenters. 
ASBC believes that a continuous buzzer could dou- 
ble usage, and that buzzers, chimes and lights 
would all increase usage over levels that could be 
observed in vehicles without such features. VW 
stated that a continuous buzzer might be as effec- 
tive as an interlock. On the other hand, Ford 
stated that while a continuous buzzer would induce 
some nonusers to wear their safety belts, driver 
irritation and actions to permanently defeat the 
system could also be anticipated. 

Effectiveness 

Manual Belts 

The vehicle manufacturers generally stated that 
current manual lap and shoulder belts are more 
effective (when used) than either automatic belts 
or airbags. However, the combination of an airbag 
and manual lap and shoulder belts was acknowl- 
edged to be the most effective system of all. 

The Automobile Importers of America (AIA) 
estimated manual belt effectiveness at 50 percent. 
Honda expressed the view that, based upon results 
of its 35 mile per hour crash testing, manual belts 
may be more effective than airbags in terms of 
chest acceleration and femur load injury criteria. 

Most commenters on the SNPRM believed that 
the agency's range of effectiveness estimates for 
manual belts is too low. ASBC concluded that the 
estimate is too low because the agency estimate of 
lives saved from manual belt usage is approx- 
imately half the value previously cited by the 
agency. Renault argued that manual belt effective- 
ness data should not be adjusted to account for the 
presumably more cautious driving behavior of belt 
users, since belt use may lead some individuals to 
drive faster in the belief that they are better pro- 
tected. VW provided a procedure for calculating 
manual belt effectiveness from NHTSA's Fatal 
Accident Reporting System (FARS) data, which 
led to a very high effectiveness estimate. Ford con- 
cluded that the agency's analysis would support a 
higher range of manual belt effectiveness (50-60 
percent). Ford also challenged agency conclusions 
that manual belts are more effective in preventing 
moderate to serious injuries than fatalities and 



that manual belts are not likely to be effective in 
accidents involving a velocity change of over 35 
miles per hour. 

Automatic Belts 

The manufacturers stated that automatic belts 
may be less effective than manual belts. Similarly, 
the National Automobile Dealers Association 
(NADA) argued that automatic belts may be less 
effective than current manual belts if the auto- 
matic belt is attached to the door. VW and State 
Farm disagreed, saying that automatic belts are as 
effective as manual belts. 

Volvo argued that nondetachable automatic 
belts may be less effective than detachable auto- 
matic belts due to a "film spool effect." This effect 
may occur in 1-door models, if the amount of web- 
bing must be increased to allow entrance of pas- 
sengers into the rear seat area. 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 
(IIHS) criticized the agency's effectiveness esti- 
mates for automatic belts, saying there was no 
support for the agency's conclusion that such belts, 
compared with manual belts, may increase the 
probability of occupant ejection. IIHS also sug- 
gested that the agency consider data that show 
that automatic belts may reduce the probability of 
the occurrence of head injuries. VW also chal- 
lenged the conclusion that automatic belts could 
permit higher rates of occupant ejection. Ford 
argued that the agency should use a range instead 
of a point estimate for the fatality reduction of 
automatic belts. Ford also questioned the agency's 
conclusion that 3-point automatic belts should be 
as effective as manual belts, due to the lack of data 
supporting such a conclusion and the fact that 
manual belts can be more securely adjusted than 
automatic belts. 

Professor William Nordhaus criticized the agen- 
cy's adjustment of automatic belt effectiveness 
data to account for the lower accident experience 
of drivers who had elected to use belts as com- 
pared to nonusers of safety belts. The agency had 
concluded that as increasing numbers of current 
nonusers of manual belts were brought into the 
population of automatic belt wearers, the overall 
effectiveness of automatic belts would be decreased. 
Professor Nordhaus argued that the agency over- 
estimated the magnitude of this effect. Professor 
Nordhaus also argued that automatic belts need 
not be less effective than current manual belts. In 
making this argument, he relied on agency crash 



PART 571; S 208 -PRE 182 



test data and somewhat different data than those 
found by the agency to be most probative. 

Airbags 

Many consumer groups and health organizations 
indicated their belief that the reliability and effec- 
tiveness of airbags has been researched and tested 
to a far greater extent than any other item of vehi- 
cle safety equipment, and that the effectiveness of 
these devices is "unquestionable." 

Allstate stated that airbags are more effective 
than belts in protecting against head and facial 
injuries. That company stated that while some of 
the dummies wearing belts "survive" 35 mph 
crashes under the injury test criteria, they sus- 
tained head and facial injuries far in excess of 
those produced with airbags at comparable 
speeds. Allstate noted, also, that belts were not 
dynamically tested as automatic restraints would 
be. Citing its field experience, Allstate said that 
airbags are effective not only in reducing deaths 
and injuries in frontal crashes but also in reducing 
injuries in side impact crashes. Allstate challenged 
the accurancy of the agency's NPRM estimate of 
airbag effectiveness, pointing out that that anal- 
ysis was based on the use of restraint technology 
that is more than 10 years old. Allstate noted that 
GM itself had admitted that that technology was 
"obsolete." IIHS stated that, based on its analysis, 
airbags should be at least 34 percent effective in 
reducing fatalities. 

Ford argued that the number of airbag cars that 
have been produced to date is too small to ade- 
quately answer questions about effectiveness. 

PLF expressed the view that the agency really 
had no evidence that airbags are effective. That 
group argued that the agency erred in saying that 
the effectiveness of airbags is probably under- 
stated in the field data. According to PLF, DOT 
cannot know about all of the fatalities that have oc- 
curred in accidents involving airbag equipped cars. 
The group stated that the Department's estimate 
of airbag effectiveness is overstated to the extent 
that there are such undetected fatalities. Further, 
the group believes that the claim of the agency in 
the Preliminary Regulatory Impact Analysis 
(PRIA) that the large size of the cars equipped 
with airbags leads to an understating and obscur- 
ing of the potential effectiveness of airbags in 
smaller size cars is no more reasonable a conclu- 
sion than one that the large size of these cars 
masks the deficiencies of airbags by offering 



greater protection to out-of-position occupants and 
allowing longer deployment times for airbags. This 
group also asked DOT to provide an updated anal- 
ysis of injury data for the fleet of airbag cars. 

The National Head Injury Foundation stated 
that the airbag offers unique protection against 
head injury which even the automatic belt does not. 

PLF and VW suggested that the presence of air- 
bags might induce drivers to take greater risks 
while driving in reliance on the perceived increased 
protection. PLF argued that these increased risks 
could easily offset any gains in protection available 
as a result of the airbags. Professor Orr of Indiana 
University raised the same point, arguing that the 
"risk compensation" theory is sound but that the 
magnitude of its effect was unknown. IIHS submit- 
ted a study showing that the implementation of a 
safety belt use law in a Canadian province did not 
result in any increased risk taking by drivers. The 
study looked at the frequency with which certain 
risky maneuvers were made before and after the law 
was implemented and found no significant differ- 
ence. John Graham stated that, based on several 
studies he has undertaken, any risk-compensation 
effect is significantly lower than the magnitude of 
benefits derived from the safety improvements. 

Several vehicle manufacturers expressed their 
view that an airbag is relatively ineffective by 
itself, and should be viewed as a supplement to a 
belt system. The Motor Vehicle Manufacturers 
Association (MVMA) emphasized its view that air- 
bags are effective in frontal crashes only. 

In their SNPRM comments, several commenters 
addressed the agency's estimated range of effec- 
tiveness for airbags. IIHS concluded that the 
range is conservative but not unreasonable at the 
middle and high ends. They cautioned, however, 
that it would be inappropriate to compare the 
effectiveness of airbags in relation to safety belts 
by using the low end of the airbag effectiveness 
range and the middle or high end of the safety belt 
range. Mercedes Benz commented that its new 
"supplemental restraint system," which employs 
an airbag, has worked according to design in all 
accident situations in which vehicles equipped 
with the system have been involved. 

PLF and VW also said that the Department's 
effectiveness studies were subjective. PLF argued 
that DOT was using precisely the same type of anal- 
ysis that GM had offered and NHTSA had rejected 
in the 1977 rulemaking on automatic restraints. 
That group stated that DOT failed to explain this 



PART 571; S 208 -PRE 183 



change of view. The PLF also criticized the agency's 
studies on airbag effectiveness for failing to take 
into account data for all vehicles using airbags, i.e., 
the non-GM Air Cushion Restraint System (ACRS) 
cars. Renault expressed the view that airbag effec- 
tiveness could not exceed 20 percent, due to the 
inability of airbags to provide protection in non- 
frontal and ejection accident situations. 

Ford argued that notwithstanding the limited 
amount of actual field data on airbag cars, those 
data cannot be totally dismissed in arriving at an 
estimate of airbag effectiveness. Ford also sug- 
gests updating field data to include Fatal Accident 
Reporting System data through 1983, instead of 
only through 1981 as was done in the PRIA. Ford 
found two of NHTSA's studies based on the Na- 
tional Crash Severity Study (NCSS) data to pro- 
vide reasonable estimates of airbag effectiveness 
but found the third study to be flawed. Ford 
argued that the latter study was restricted to data 
from crashes in which airbags would be most likely 
to be effective. Ford also challenged a fourth 
agency study, on injury reducing effectiveness, 
based on field data, since it tended to show airbags 
to be most effective in accident situations in which 
the airbag is unlikely to deploy. Ford also stated 
that there appeared to be no basis for the agency's 
effectiveness range for airbags used in conjunction 
with safety belts. 

Benefits 

Several major insurance companies commis- 
sioned Professor William Nordhaus of Yale 
University to provide an updated economic anal- 
ysis of alternative approaches to automatic crash 
protection. In response to the NPRM, Professor 
Nordhaus concluded that automatic crash protec- 
tion would have net economic benefits to the nation 
of between $2.7 and $4.1 billion per year, whUe 
rescission would cost the nation $33 billion. Pro- 
fessor Nordhaus stated that every year of delay 
increases fatalities by approximately 5,000 and 
increases moderate to critical injuries by at least 
70,000. His analysis also concluded that the impact 
of retaining the rule on profits or jobs in the auto- 
mobile industry, as well as on the national economy, 
would be miniscule. He stated that automatic crash 
protection would be cost beneficial even if auto- 
matic belts increased restraint usage by only eight 
percentage points and even if airbags cost $825. 

Many consumer and health organizations ex- 
pressed concern that the agency had understated 



the benefits that would be associated with auto- 
matic restraints through their prevention of 
deaths and injuries. HHS noted that the agency 
was relying on police reports to calculate the num- 
ber of injuries from vehicle accidents. The group 
submitted evidence that only 70 percent of injuries 
resulting from vehicle accidents and treated in 
hospital emergency units were reported to the 
police. The evidence was taken from a study com- 
paring car accident treatments in northeastern 
Ohio emergency rooms with police reports of acci- 
dents. To compensate for this underreporting of 
vehicle accident related injuries, this group sug- 
gested that the agency multiply its projected num- 
ber of injuries by 1.4 to give a more accurate indi- 
cation of the number of vehicular nonfatal injuries 
that could be expected. Such a step would, of 
course, increase the benefits associated with auto- 
matic restraints. Another group was also con- 
cerned that the agency had underestimated the 
minimum level of effectiveness of airbags and sub- 
mitted an analysis showing that airbags would 
have a minimum effectiveness of 35 percent, in- 
stead of the 20 percent minimum used by the agency 
in the PRIA. 

Several of the health organizations commenting 
on the proposal emphasized that the agency ought 
to reconsider the human costs of the head and 
spinal injuries suffered by persons in car acci- 
dents. One group submitted data projecting 66,000 
head injuries annually as a result of vehicle acci- 
dents, with nine percent of those injured persons 
either dying in the hospital or discharged to 
chronic institutional care. Another 8 percent 
would be discharged but subject to follow-up medi- 
cal attention. Many of these victims are young peo- 
ple who have to readjust to life with these injuries, 
which prevent them from performing even simple 
tasks they once did for themselves. These impacts 
are not readily quantifiable in dollars, according to 
these groups, but are just as significant as eco- 
nomic impacts for the people with family members 
who have suffered serious head and spinal injuries. 

VW asked for an explanation of the methodol- 
ogy used in calculating Table 3 of the SNPRM, 
since the baseline of fatalities if no restrains were 
used seems to change with each listed effective- 
ness rate. This comment also noted that if manda- 
tory usage laws are in effect by 1988, and 70 per- 
cent buckle up, the airbags' benefits would not 
equal the benefits of the mandatory use laws until 
the 21st century. 



PART 571; S 208 -PRE 184 



Professor Nordhaus states that using NHTSA's 
effectiveness rates for the various types of 
restraint systems shows both automatic belts and 
airbags to be highly cost beneficial, and that fur- 
ther delays cost the country at least $24 billion 
annually. He also stated that the benefits of 
mandator