Skip to Content


Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Occupant Crash Protection; Review: Redesigned Air Bags; Evaluation Report

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble


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


Request for comments on technical report.


This notice announces NHTSA's publication of a Technical Report reviewing and evaluating its existing Safety Standard 208, Occupant Crash Protection. The report's title is: An Evaluation of the 1998-1999 Redesign of Frontal Air Bags.


Comments must be received no later than April 5, 2007.


Report: The report is available for viewing on line in PDF format at the Docket Management System (DMS) Web page of the Department of Transportation, Click on “Simple Search”; type in the five-digit Docket number shown at the beginning of this Notice (26486) and click on “Search”; that brings up a list of every item in the docket, starting with a copy of this Federal Register notice (item NHTSA-2006-26486-1) and a copy of the report in PDF format (item NHTSA-2006-26486-2).

Comments: You may submit comments [identified by DOT DMS Docket Number NHTSA-2006-26486] by any of the following methods:

  • Web Site: Follow the instructions for submitting comments on the DOT electronic docket site.
  • Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
  • Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Nassif Building, Room PL-401, Washington, DC 20590-001.
  • Hand Delivery: Room PL-401 on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

You may call Docket Management at 202-366-9324 and visit the Docket from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Start Further Info


Charles Kahane, Chief, Evaluation Division, NPO-131, National Center for Statistics and Analysis, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Room 5208, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: 202-366-2560. Fax: 202-366-2559. E-mail:

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information


The first generation of frontal air bags saved the lives of thousands of drivers and adult or teenage right-front passengers. But they harmed occupants positioned close to the air bag at the time of deployment, especially infants and children. In 1998-1999, air bags were redesigned by depowering—by removing some of the gas-generating propellant or stored gas from their inflators—and/or by reducing the volume or rearward extent of air bags, positioning them further from occupants, tethering and hybrid inflators. NHTSA facilitated the redesign by a 1997 amendment to Safety Standard 208 (49 CFR 571.208) that permits “sled certification”: a sled test in lieu of a barrier impact to certify that air bags would protect an unrestrained occupant (62 FR 12960). Statistical analyses of crash data through 2004 from NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the Special Crash Investigations (SCI) compare fatality risk with sled-certified and first-generation air bags.

The overall fatality risk in frontal crashes of 0-12 year-old child passengers in the front seat is a statistically significant 45 percent lower with sled-certified air bags than with first-generation air bags; fatalities caused by air bags in low-speed crashes were reduced by 83 percent.

The overall fatality risk of drivers and of right-front passengers age 13 and older in frontal crashes is not significantly different with sled-certified air bags than with first-generation air bags; sled-certified air bags preserved the life-saving benefits of first-generation air bags.

How Can I Influence NHTSA's Thinking on This Subject?

NHTSA welcomes public review of the technical report and invites reviewers to submit comments about the data and the statistical methods used in the analyses. NHTSA will submit to the Docket a response to the comments and, if appropriate, additional analyses that supplement or revise the technical report.

How Do I Prepare and Submit Comments?

Your comments must be written and in English. To ensure that your comments are correctly filed in the Docket, please include the Docket number of this document (NHTSA-2006-26486) in your comments.

Your primary comments must not be more than 15 pages long (49 CFR 553.21). However, you may attach additional documents to your primary comments. There is no limit on the length of the attachments.

Please send two paper copies of your comments to Docket Management, submit them electronically, or fax them. The mailing address is U.S. Department of Transportation Docket Management, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. If you submit your comments electronically, log onto the Dockets Management System Web site at and click on “Help” to obtain instructions. The fax number is 1-202-493-2251.

We also request, but do not require you to send a copy to Charles Kahane, Evaluation Division, NPO-131, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Room 5208, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590 (alternatively, fax to 202-366-2559 or e-mail to He can check if your comments have been received at the Docket and he can expedite their review by NHTSA.

How Can I Be Sure That My Comments Were Received?

If you wish Docket Management to notify you upon its receipt of your comments, enclose a self-addressed, stamped postcard in the envelope containing your comments. Upon receiving your comments, Docket Management will return the postcard by mail.

How Do I Submit Confidential Business Information?

If you wish to submit any information under a claim of confidentiality, send three copies of your complete Start Printed Page 70834submission, including the information you claim to be confidential business information, to the Chief Counsel, NCC-01, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Room 5219, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. Include a cover letter supplying the information specified in our confidential business information regulation (49 CFR part 512).

In addition, send two copies from which you have deleted the claimed confidential business information to Docket Management, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590, or submit them electronically.

Will the Agency Consider Late Comments?

In our response, we will consider all comments that Docket Management receives before the close of business on the comment closing date indicated above under DATES. To the extent possible, we will also consider comments that Docket Management receives after that date.

Please note that even after the comment closing date, we will continue to file relevant information in the Docket as it becomes available. Further, some people may submit late comments. Accordingly, we recommend that you periodically check the Docket for new material.

How Can I Read the Comments Submitted by Other People?

You may read the comments by visiting Docket Management in person at Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

You may also see the comments on the Internet by taking the following steps:

A. Go to the Docket Management System (DMS) Web page of the Department of Transportation (

B. On that page, click on “Simple Search.”

C. On the next page (​search/​searchFormSimple.cfm/​) type in the five-digit Docket number shown at the beginning of this Notice (26486). Click on “Search.”

D. On the next page, which contains Docket summary information for the Docket you selected, click on the desired comments. You may also download the comments.

Start Authority

Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30111, 30168; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.50 and 501.8.

End Authority Start Signature

James F. Simons,

Director, Office of Regulatory Analysis and Evaluation.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. E6-20611 Filed 12-5-06; 8:45 am]