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Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Occupant Crash Protection

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DOT.

ACTION:

Denial of petition for rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

This document denies a petition for rulemaking to amend Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 208, “Occupant Crash Protection,” because it is redundant to pending rulemaking action by the agency.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For non-legal issues: Louis Molino, Office of Crashworthiness Standards, NVS-112, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. Telephone (202) 366-2264. Fax: (202) 493-2290.

For legal issues: Rebecca MacPherson, Office of Chief Counsel, NCC-20, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: (202) 366-2992. Fax: (202) 366-3820.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Background

II. The Petition

III. Discussion and Analysis

I. Background

On May 12, 2000, we published in the Federal Register (65 FR 30680) a final Start Printed Page 69047rule to require advanced air bags (Docket No. NHTSA-00-7013). The rule amended Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection, to require that future air bags be designed so that, compared to current air bags, they create less risk of serious air bag-induced injuries, particularly for small women and young children, and provide improved frontal crash protection for all occupants, by means that include advanced air bag technology.

One means of compliance with part of the advanced air bag regulation is to turn off the passenger air bag by means of a weight sensor and/or some other method of detecting the presence of children. To test the ability of those means to detect the presence of children, the rule specifies that child test dummies be placed in child restraint systems (CRSs) or seats that are in turn placed on the passenger seats. Optionally, for infants in rear facing CRSs, compliance can also be achieved by placing a dummy representing a 12-month-old child in a CRS and assuring that the air bag deploys in a benign manner. Appendix A of FMVSS No. 208 provides a list of CRSs to be used for these compliance tests. The list published with the May 12, 2000 final rule contained 1 car bed, 11 rear-facing seats, 7 convertible seats, and 4 booster seats for a total of 23.

On December 18, 2001, a new FMVSS No. 208 Final Rule was published in response to petitions for reconsideration to the May 12, 2000, Final Rule. A new Appendix A was published as part of this new rule. All seats that were known to be out of production were removed from the list. Replacement seats were added to the list. The number of rear-facing CRSs was reduced by one and the total number of CRSs in Appendix A became 22.

On November 19, 2003, the agency published a document that responded, in part, to petitions for reconsideration to the December 18, 2001, FMVSS No. 208 Final Rule. It addressed detailed dummy and seat positioning issues and other test procedure clarifications presented in the petitions for reconsideration. It also began to deal with issues associated with child restraints specified in Appendix A of FMVSS No. 208. The agency also addressed the methodology for regular updates to Appendix A.

II. The Petition

The Evenflo Company, Inc., petitioned NHTSA to remove specific Evenflo CRS models from Appendix A of FMVSS No. 208 and change the model number designation of another model. There are currently six Evenflo products in Appendix A. One of these products is a booster seat, which Evenflo is not requesting to have removed from the list. On August 30, 2002, Evenflo discontinued production of all CRSs that were not LATCH compliant in accordance with the requirements of S5.9 of FMVSS No. 213. In its petition, Evenflo recommended replacement seats for the five for which removal was requested. The out-of-production seats and the suggested LATCH compliant seats are shown in Table 1. The third column in Table 1 indicates the similarity, noted by Evenflo, between the out-of-production seats and the suggested replacement seats.

Table 1

Out-of-productionLATCH seatsSimilarity noted by Evenflo
Rear Facing Infant
204 First Choice381 Tot TaxiBase not removable.
282 On My Way Position Right V386 Port About 5Equivalent in size.
212 Discovery Adjust Right316 DiscoverySame seat with LATCH.
Convertible Seats
425 Horizon V379 TributeEquivalent in size.
254 Medallion359 Triumph 5Equivalent in size and 5 pt. Harness.

III. Discussion and Analysis

Evenflo requested that five out-of-production CRSs that it manufactures be removed from Appendix A and replaced. The On My Way Position Right V has already been removed from the list, so four now remain. Evenflo is not unique among the CRS manufacturers represented in Appendix A. The agency understands that since all CRSs except car beds and booster seats must now be LATCH compliant, many of the CRSs in Appendix A are no longer in production in a non-LATCH form. In response to petitions for reconsideration of the December 18, 2001, FMVSS No. 208 Final Rule, we published a notice addressing the issue of how to update Appendix A. The notice addressed the concerns expressed in Evenflo's petition. Therefore, we are denying the Evenflo petition because it is redundant.

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Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30162; delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.50 and 49 CFR 501.8

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Issued on: December 8, 2003.

Stephen R. Kratzke,

Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.

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[FR Doc. 03-30690 Filed 12-10-03; 8:45 am]

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