[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 90 (Tuesday, May 12, 2009)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 22348-22393]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-10431]



[[Page 22347]]

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Part IV





Department of Transportation





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National Highway Traffic Safety Administration



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49 CFR Parts 571 and 585



Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Roof Crush Resistance; Phase-In 
Reporting Requirements; Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 90 / Tuesday, May 12, 2009 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 22348]]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Parts 571 and 585

[Docket No. NHTSA-2009-0093]
RIN 2127-AG51


Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Roof Crush Resistance; 
Phase-In Reporting Requirements

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: As part of a comprehensive plan for reducing the risk of 
rollover crashes and the risk of death and serious injury in those 
crashes, this final rule upgrades the agency's safety standard on roof 
crush resistance in several ways.
    First, for the vehicles currently subject to the standard, i.e., 
passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses 
with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 2,722 kilograms (6,000 
pounds) or less, the rule doubles the amount of force the vehicle's 
roof structure must withstand in the specified test, from 1.5 times the 
vehicle's unloaded weight to 3.0 times the vehicle's unloaded weight. 
Second, the rule extends the applicability of the standard so that it 
will also apply to vehicles with a GVWR greater than 2,722 kilograms 
(6,000 pounds), but not greater than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds). 
The rule establishes a force requirement of 1.5 times the vehicle's 
unloaded weight for these newly included vehicles. Third, the rule 
requires all of the above vehicles to meet the specified force 
requirements in a two-sided test, instead of a single-sided test, i.e., 
the same vehicle must meet the force requirements when tested first on 
one side and then on the other side of the vehicle. Fourth, the rule 
establishes a new requirement for maintenance of headroom, i.e., 
survival space, during testing in addition to the existing limit on the 
amount of roof crush. The rule also includes a number of special 
provisions, including ones related to leadtime, to address the needs of 
multi-stage manufacturers, alterers, and small volume manufacturers.

DATES: If you wish to petition for reconsideration of this rule, your 
petition must be received by June 26, 2009.
    Effective date: The date on which this final rule amends the CFR is 
July 13, 2009. The incorporation by reference of a publication listed 
in the rule is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of 
July 13, 2009.
    Compliance dates:
    Passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and 
buses with a GVWR of 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) or less. This final 
rule adopts a phase-in of the upgraded roof crush resistance 
requirements for these vehicles. The phase-in begins on September 1, 
2012. By September 1, 2015, all of these vehicles must meet the 
upgraded requirements, with certain exceptions. Vehicles produced in 
more than one stage and altered vehicles need not meet the upgraded 
requirements until September 1, 2016.
    Multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR 
greater than 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) and less than or equal to 
4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds). All of these vehicles must meet the 
requirements beginning September 1, 2016, with certain exceptions. 
Vehicles produced in more than one stage and altered vehicles need not 
meet the requirements until September 1, 2017.

ADDRESSES: If you wish to petition for reconsideration of this rule, 
you should refer in your petition to the docket number of this document 
and submit your petition to: Administrator, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., West Building, 
Washington, DC 20590.
    The petition will be placed in the docket. Anyone is able to search 
the electronic form of all documents received into any of our dockets 
by the name of the individual submitting the document (or signing the 
document, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor 
union, etc.). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in 
the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; 
Pages 19477-78) or you may visit http://www.dot.gov/privacy.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For non-legal issues, you may call 
Christopher J. Wiacek, NHTSA Office of Crashworthiness Standards, 
telephone 202-366-4801. For legal issues, you may call J. Edward 
Glancy, NHTSA Office of Chief Counsel, telephone 202-366-2992. You may 
send mail to these officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., West Building, Washington, 
DC 20590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents

I. Executive Summary
    a. Final Rule
    b. How This Final Rule Differs From the NPRM and/or SNPRM
II. Overall Rollover Problem and the Agency's Comprehensive Response
    a. Prevention
    b. Occupant Containment
    c. Occupant Protection
III. The Role of Roof Intrusion in the Rollover Problem
IV. The Agency's Proposed Rule
    a. NPRM
    b. SNPRM
    c. Congressional Mandate
V. Overview of Comments
VI. Agency Decision and Response to Comments
    a. Primary Decisions
    1. Basic Nature of the Test Requirements--Quasi-Static vs. 
Dynamic Tests
    2. Vehicle Application
    3. Single-Sided or Two-Sided Tests
    4. Upgraded Force Requirement--Specified Strength to Weight 
Ratio (SWR)
    5. Performance Criteria--Headroom, Platen Travel, or Both
    6. Leadtime and Phase-In
    b. Aspects of the Test Procedure
    1. Tie-Down Procedure
    2. Platen Angle and Size
    3. Testing Without Windshields and/or Other Glazing in Place
    4. Deletion of Secondary Plate Positioning Procedure
    5. Removal of Roof Components
    6. Tolerances
    c. Requirements for Multi-Stage and Altered Vehicles
    d. Other Issues
    1. Convertibles and Open Bodied Vehicles
    2. Vehicles Without B-Pillars
    3. Heavier Vehicles With a High Height to Width Aspect Ratio
    4. Active Roofs
    5. Whether an Additional SNPRM Is Needed
    6. Rear Seat Occupants
    7. New Car Assessment Program (NCAP)
    8. Possible Energy Requirement
    9. Advanced Restraints
VII. Costs and Benefits
VIII. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices
Appendix A--Analysis of Comments Concerning Dynamic Testing
Appendix B--Two-Sided Test Results
Appendix C--Single-Sided Test Results


I. Executive Summary

a. Final Rule

    As part of a comprehensive plan for reducing the serious risk of 
rollover crashes and the risk of death and serious injury in those 
crashes, this final rule upgrades Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
(FMVSS) No. 216, Roof Crush Resistance.
    For the vehicles currently subject to the standard, passenger cars 
and multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR of 
2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) or less, the rule doubles the amount of 
force the vehicle's roof structure must withstand in the specified 
test, from 1.5 times the

[[Page 22349]]

vehicle's unloaded weight to 3.0 times the vehicle's unloaded weight. 
The rule also extends the applicability of the standard so that it will 
also apply to vehicles with a GVWR greater than 2,722 kilograms (6,000 
pounds), but not greater than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds), 
establishing a force requirement of 1.5 times the vehicle's unloaded 
weight for these heavier vehicles.
    Under today's rule, all of the above vehicles must meet the 
specified force requirements in a two-sided test instead of a single-
sided test, i.e., the same vehicle must meet the force requirements 
when tested first on one side and then on the other side of the 
vehicle. The rule also establishes a new requirement for maintenance of 
headroom, i.e., survival space, during testing, in addition to the 
existing limit on the amount of roof crush. The rule also includes 
special provisions to address the needs of multi-stage manufacturers, 
alterers, and small volume manufacturers.
    NHTSA developed its proposal to upgrade roof crush resistance 
requirements after considerable analysis and research, including 
considering comments received in response to a Request for Comments 
(RFC) notice published in 2001. Prior to publishing the RFC, the agency 
conducted a research program to examine potential methods for improving 
the roof crush resistance requirements. The agency testing program 
included full vehicle dynamic rollover testing, inverted vehicle drop 
testing, and comparing inverted vehicle drop testing to a modified 
FMVSS No. 216 test. After considering the results of the testing and 
other available information, the agency concluded that the quasi-static 
procedure provides a suitable representation of the real-world dynamic 
loading conditions, and the most appropriate one on which to focus our 
upgrade efforts.
    Today's rule reflects careful consideration of comments we received 
in response to the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) published in 
2005 and a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPRM) published 
in January 2008. NHTSA published the SNPRM to obtain public comment on 
a number of issues that might affect the content of the final rule, 
including possible variations in the proposed requirements. In the 
SNPRM, the agency also announced the release of the results of various 
vehicle tests conducted since the NPRM.
    While this rulemaking action to improve roof strength is part of 
our comprehensive plan for addressing the serious problem of rollover 
crashes, this action, by itself, addresses a relatively small subset of 
that problem. There are more than 10,000 fatalities in rollover crashes 
each year. To address that problem, our comprehensive plan includes 
actions to (1) reduce the occurrence of rollovers, (2) mitigate 
ejection, and (3) enhance occupant protection when rollovers occur 
(improved roof crush resistance is included in this third category).
    Our analysis shows that of the more than 10,000 fatalities that 
occur in rollover crashes each year, roof strength is relevant to only 
about seven percent (about 667) of those fatalities. We estimate that 
today's rule will prevent 135 of those 667 fatalities.
    The portions of our comprehensive plan that will have the highest 
life-saving benefits are the ones to reduce the occurrence of rollovers 
(prevention) and to mitigate ejection (occupant containment). We 
estimate that by preventing rollovers, electronic stability control 
(ESC) will reduce the more than 10,000 fatalities that occur in 
rollover crashes each year by 4,200 to 5,500 fatalities (and also 
provide significant additional life-saving benefits by preventing other 
types of crashes). In the area of mitigating ejection, significant 
life-benefits are and/or will occur by our continuing efforts to 
increase seat belt use and our upcoming rulemaking on ejection 
mitigation. A more complete discussion of our comprehensive plan is 
discussed later in this document.

b. How This Final Rule Differs From the NPRM and/or SNPRM

    The more noteworthy changes from the NPRM are outlined below and 
explained in detail later in this preamble. More minor changes are 
discussed in the appropriate sections of this preamble.
    Higher force requirement (strength-to-weight ratio (SWR level)). 
While we proposed an SWR level of 2.5 in the NPRM for the vehicles that 
have been subject to the standard, we noted in the SNPRM that the 
agency could adopt a higher or lower value for this final rule. We are 
adopting an SWR of 3.0 for them in this final rule. An SWR of 1.5 will 
apply to the heavier light vehicles that have previously not been 
subject to the standard.
    Two-sided test. While we proposed a single-sided test in the NPRM, 
we conducted additional testing and addressed the possibility of a two-
sided test in the SNPRM. Today's rule adopts a two-sided test 
requirement for all vehicles subject to the standard.
    Maintaining intrusion limit in addition to new headroom 
requirement. In the NPRM, we proposed to replace the current limit on 
intrusion (platen travel requirement) with a new headroom requirement. 
For this final rule, we are maintaining the intrusion limit as well as 
adopting the proposed headroom requirement.
    Use of headform positioning fixture instead of a test dummy. In the 
NPRM, we proposed to use test dummies as part of the test procedure for 
measuring headroom. For this final rule, we are using headform 
positioning fixtures for this purpose.
    Phase-in. We did not include a phase-in in the NPRM. For this final 
rule, we are phasing in the upgraded roof strength requirements for the 
lighter vehicles previously subject to FMVSS No. 216, and providing 
longer leadtime (without a phase-in) for the heavier light vehicles.
    Limited exclusion for certain multi-stage trucks. Due to concerns 
about practicability, we are excluding from FMVSS No. 216 a very 
limited group of multistage trucks with a GVWR greater than 2,722 
kilograms (6,000 pounds), ones not built on either a chassis cab or an 
incomplete vehicle with a full exterior van body.
    Updated benefits and costs. We have updated our analysis of 
benefits and costs. Our analysis appears in summary form in this 
document, and in its entirety in the agency's Final Regulatory Impact 
Analysis (FRIA).
    We estimate that the changes in FMVSS No. 216 will prevent 135 
fatalities and 1,065 nonfatal injuries annually. The agency estimates 
that compliance with the upgraded roof strength standard will increase 
lifetime consumer costs by $69-114 per affected vehicle. Redesign costs 
are expected to increase affected vehicle prices by an average of about 
$54. Added weight is estimated to increase the lifetime cost of fuel 
usage by $15 to $62 for an average affected vehicle. Total consumer 
costs are expected to range from $875 million to $1.4 billion annually.
    Implied Preemption. We have reconsidered the tentative position 
presented in the NPRM. We do not foresee any potential State tort 
requirements that might conflict with today's final rule. Without any 
conflict, there could not be any implied preemption.

II. Overall Rollover Problem and the Agency's Comprehensive Response

    Addressing vehicle rollovers is one of NHTSA's highest safety 
priorities. According to 2007 FARS crash data, 10,196 people were 
killed as occupants

[[Page 22350]]

in light vehicle rollover crashes, which represents 35 percent of all 
occupants killed that year in crashes. FARS reported that approximately 
57 percent were partially or completely ejected from the vehicle 
(including approximately 47 percent who were completely ejected).
    Rollover crashes are complex and chaotic events. Rollovers can 
range from a single quarter turn to eight or more quarter turns, with 
the duration of the rollover crash lasting from one to several seconds. 
The wide range of rollover conditions occurs because these crashes 
largely occur off road where the vehicle motion is highly influenced by 
roadside conditions. Also, rollover crashes tend to occur at higher 
speeds than other crash types due to the energy required to initiate 
the rollover motion.
    NHTSA has been pursuing a comprehensive and systematic approach 
towards reducing the fatalities and serious injuries that result from 
rollover crashes. As part of our safety standard rulemaking, this 
approach establishes various repeatable test procedures and performance 
requirements that will generate countermeasures effective in the 
chaotic real-world events. Due to the complex nature of a rollover 
event and the particularized effect of each element of the 
comprehensive approach taken by the agency to address these crashes, 
each element addresses a specific segment of the total rollover 
problem. Accordingly, each initiative has a different target population 
and interacts with each of the other rollover strategies. NHTSA has 
initiatives in place to:
    1. Reduce the occurrence of rollover crashes (e.g., the requirement 
for ESC on all light vehicles and the NCAP rollover ratings),
    2. Keep occupants inside the vehicle when rollovers occur (e.g., 
NHTSA's unyielding commitment to get passengers to buckle their seat 
belts every time they ride in a vehicle, as well as the requirement for 
enhanced door latches and the forthcoming rulemaking for ejection 
mitigation), and
    3. Better protect the occupants kept inside the vehicle during the 
rollover (e.g., the requirement for upper interior head protection and 
this rulemaking for enhanced roof crush resistance).
    Each of these three initiatives must work together to address the 
various aspects of the rollover problem.

a. Prevention

    The most effective way to reduce deaths and injuries in rollover 
crashes is to prevent the rollover crash from occurring. On April 6, 
2007, NHTSA published a final rule establishing FMVSS No. 126, 
``Electronic stability control systems,'' to require ESC on passenger 
cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses with a GVWR of 
4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) or less. ESC systems use automatic 
computer-controlled braking of individual wheels to assist the driver 
in maintaining control in critical driving situations in which the 
vehicle is beginning to lose directional stability at the rear wheels 
or directional control at the front wheels. ESC systems effectively 
monitor driver steering input and limit vehicle oversteer and 
understeer, as appropriate. To comply with the new ESC standard, 
vehicles will need individually adjustable braking at all four wheels, 
and computer electronics to utilize this capability, a means for engine 
torque adjustability and various onboard sensors (to measure yaw rate, 
lateral acceleration, steering wheel angle and speed). The agency 
estimates that ESC will save 5,300 to 9,600 lives in all types of 
crashes annually once all light vehicles on the road are equipped with 
ESC. The agency further anticipates that ESC systems will substantially 
reduce (by 4,200 to 5,500 deaths) the more than 10,000 deaths each year 
resulting from rollover crashes.

b. Occupant Containment

    Studies have shown that the fatality rate for an ejected vehicle 
occupant is three times as great as that for an occupant who remains 
inside of the vehicle. Thus, mitigating ejections offers potential for 
significant safety gains. Safety belts are the most effective 
crashworthiness countermeasure in reducing ejected rollover fatalities. 
Studies have found that safety belts reduce fatalities in rollovers by 
74 percent in passenger cars and 80 percent for light trucks.\1\ NHTSA 
requires all vehicles manufactured after 1968 to have safety belts as 
standard equipment.
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    \1\ Kahane, C. J., Fatality Reduction by Safety Belts for Front-
Seat Occupants of Cars and Light Trucks: Updated and Expanded 
Estimates Based on 1986-99 FARS Data (NHTSA Report No. DOT HS 809 
199).
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    However, of the 6,164 ejected occupant fatalities in light vehicle 
rollover crashes, as reported by 2006 FARS, 1,135 were classified as 
partial ejections. Fatal injuries from partial ejection can occur even 
to belted occupants, e.g., when their head protrudes outside the window 
and strikes the ground in a rollover. Therefore, as mandated by 
SAFETEA-LU, NHTSA is working to establish performance standards to 
reduce partial and complete ejection from outboard seating position 
windows.
    Doors represent another common ejection route. As part of the 
agency's comprehensive approach to rollover, and to harmonize with the 
first Global Technical Regulation, NHTSA upgraded FMVSS No. 206, ``Door 
locks and door retention components,'' in a final rule published on 
February 6, 2007. This final rule added test requirements for sliding 
doors, upgraded the door retention requirements, added secondary latch 
requirements for doors other than hinged side doors and back doors, and 
provided a new test procedure for assessing inertial forces. To comply 
with the new requirements, it is anticipated that passenger vehicles 
with sliding doors designed with one latch and pin locking mechanism 
will need to be redesigned with two latches. The technology needed to 
meet the upgraded standard would benefit vehicles in rollover crashes 
where door openings were identified as a problem.

c. Occupant Protection

    Finally, when a rollover crash does occur and the occupants have 
been contained within the vehicle compartment, it is important for the 
roof structure to remain intact and maintain survival space. That is 
the safety need addressed by today's final rule.

III. The Role of Roof Intrusion in the Rollover Problem

    Due to the high effectiveness of ESC in preventing an increasing 
number of rollover crashes, and seat belts at preventing ejection, the 
remaining target population relevant to roof crush occupant protection 
is a relatively small subset of the occupants injured in rollovers. For 
fatalities, the estimated total for the target population \2\ is about 
seven percent (about 667) of all non-convertible light vehicle rollover 
fatalities. Although the target population and potential for lives 
saved are substantially smaller than can be attained by the first two 
strategies of our comprehensive rollover plan, it is nevertheless a 
very important aspect of the plan.
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    \2\ The target population estimates were based upon the results 
from the 1997-2006 National Automotive Sampling System-
Crashworthiness Data System (NASS-CDS).
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    Looking at the target population relevant to roof crush occupant 
protection more specifically, Table 1 below shows a breakdown of the 
target population that could potentially benefit from roof crush 
improvements. The target population for all light vehicles is 
stratified by injury severity. The injury mechanism due to roof crush 
for belted occupants is that the roof crushes during the roll event, 
intrudes

[[Page 22351]]

into the occupant compartment, and causes head, face, or neck injury. 
The table demonstrates how the final target population is derived from 
the broad category of rollovers by eliminating cases in which roof 
strength improvements would not be effective in reducing serious and 
fatal injuries. For example, a stronger roof would not be expected to 
provide benefits in cases where the roof was not involved; where the 
occupant was totally ejected from the vehicle,\3\ or where the most 
serious injury was not to the head, neck, or face due to the intruding 
roof.
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    \3\ Strashny, ``The Role of Vertical Roof Intrusion in 
Predicting Occupant Ejection,'' 2009. Strashny found that there was 
no statistically significant relationship between the level of roof 
intrusion and the probability of complete ejection. For this reason 
completely ejection occupants were excluded from the target 
population. However, partial ejections that meet the established 
criteria are included.
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    The final target populations are shown in bold at the bottom of the 
table. A full discussion of the basis for the target population is 
included in the FRIA.

                  Table 1--Target Population Potentially Affected by Improved Roof Strength \4\
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                                                       AIS 1           AIS 2          AIS 3-5       Fatalities
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               All Light Vehicles
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
All Vehicles:
    Non-Convertible Light Vehicles in Rollovers.         199,822          37,305          21,673          10,150
    Roof-Involved Rollover......................         164,213          32,959          19,262           8,645
    Some Fixed Object Collision on Top..........         153,520          29,419          17,766           7,559
    Not Totally Ejected.........................         149,850          26,033          12,355           3,654
    Using Safety Restraints.....................         116,670          14,327           8,970           2,096
    Outboard Seats..............................         115,018          14,241           8,781           2,096
    Roof Component Intrusion....................          68,730          10,922           6,842           1,444
                                                 ===============================================================
    Head, Neck, or Face Injury From Intruding             24,035           6,580           2,993             957
     Roof Component.............................
    Injury--Not MAIS \5\........................               0          -1,900          -1,252            -237
    Injury at MAIS--Not Sole Injury.............         -17,818            -292            -253             -53
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
        Sole MAIS Injury........................           6,216           4,388           1,487             667
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Light Vehicles With a GVWR of 2,722 Kilograms (6,000 Pounds) or Less
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PC & LT < 6,000 lbs:
    Non-Convertible Light Vehicles in Rollovers.         172,846          33,170          18,929           8,719
    Roof-Involved Rollover......................         144,410          29,098          17,360           7,536
    Some Fixed Object Collision on Top..........         136,080          26,270          16,122           6,484
    Not Totally Ejected.........................         133,241          23,400          11,406           3,142
    Using Safety Restraints.....................         104,571          12,421           8,379           1,936
    Outboard Seats..............................         103,249          12,373           8,190           1,936
    Roof Component Intrusion....................          60,061           9,370           6,372           1,304
                                                 ===============================================================
    Head, Neck, or Face Injury From Intruding             20,687           5,868           2,615             842
     Roof Component.............................
    Injury--Not MAIS............................               0          -1,771          -1,119            -157
Injury at MAIS--Not Sole Injury.................         -16,082            -262            -212             -50
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
        Sole MAIS Injury........................           4,605           3,835           1,283             635
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                         Light Vehicles With a GVWR above 2,722 Kilograms (6,000 Pounds)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LT > 6,000 lbs:
    Non-Convertible Light Vehicles in Rollovers.          26,975           4,135           2,744           1,431
    Roof-Involved Rollover......................          19,803           3,861           1,902           1,110
    Some Fixed Object Collision on Top..........          17,440           3,149           1,644           1,075
    Not Totally Ejected.........................          16,608           2,634             949             511
    Using Safety Restraints.....................          12,099           1,906             591             160
    Outboard Seats..............................          11,770           1,868             591             160
    Roof Component Intrusion....................           8,669           1,552             471             140
                                                 ===============================================================
    Head, Neck, or Face Injury From Intruding              3,348             712             378             116
     Roof Component.............................
    Injury--Not MAIS............................               0            -128            -133             -80
    Injury at MAIS--Not Sole Injury.............          -1,736             -31             -40              -3
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
        Sole MAIS Injury........................           1,611             553             205              33
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The most significant exclusions resulted from requirements that 
fatalities occurred in rollovers in which (1) the roof was damaged in a 
rollover, (2) the damage was not caused by collision with a fixed 
object, (3) the fatally injured occupants were not ejected, and (4) 
those occupants were belted.
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    \4\ Note: The relevant target population used for the estimation 
of benefits is identified in the row titled ``Sole MAIS Injury.'' 
Also, the numbers reflect rounding errors.
    \5\ Injury--Not MAIS: This means that the most serious injury 
was to a portion of the body other than the head, neck or face.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    It is important to understand what Table 1 indicates about the 
safety

[[Page 22352]]

potential of addressing roof crush. Even if there were some way to 
prevent every single rollover death resulting from roof crush, the 
total lives saved would be 667, not the approximately 10,000 deaths 
that result from rollover each year. This is why each initiative in 
NHTSA's comprehensive program to address the different aspects of the 
rollover problem is so important.
    The details of today's rule upgrading roof crush occupant 
protection, including costs and benefits and the agency's analysis of 
the public comments on our NPRM and SNPRM, are discussed in the rest of 
this document.

IV. The Agency's Proposed Rule

a. NPRM

    On August 23, 2005, NHTSA published in the Federal Register (70 FR 
49223) a NPRM to upgrade FMVSS No. 216, Roof Crush Resistance.\6\ FMVSS 
No. 216 seeks to reduce deaths and serious injuries resulting from the 
roof being crushed and pushed into the occupant compartment when the 
roof strikes the ground during rollover crashes.
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    \6\ Docket No. NHTSA-2005-22143.
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    Current requirements.
    FMVSS No. 216 currently applies to passenger cars, and to 
multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR of 2,722 
kilograms (6,000 pounds) or less.
    The standard requires that when a large steel test plate (sometimes 
referred to as a platen) is placed in contact with the roof of a 
vehicle and then pressed downward, simulating contact of the roof with 
the ground during a rollover crash, with steadily increasing force 
until a force equivalent to 1.5 times the unloaded weight of the 
vehicle is reached, the distance that the test plate has moved from the 
point of contact must not exceed 127 mm (5 inches). The criterion of 
the test plate not being permitted to move more than a specified amount 
is sometimes referred to as the ``platen travel'' criterion. Under S5 
of the standard, the application of force is limited to 22,240 Newtons 
(5,000 pounds) for passenger cars, even if the unloaded weight of the 
car times 1.5 is greater than that amount.
    Proposed upgrade.
    As discussed in the August 2005 NPRM, we developed our proposal to 
upgrade roof crush resistance requirements after considerable analysis 
and research, including considering comments received in response to a 
RFC published in the Federal Register (66 FR 53376) \7\ on October 22, 
2001. Prior to publishing the RFC, the agency conducted a research 
program to examine potential methods for improving the roof crush 
resistance requirements. The agency testing program included full 
vehicle dynamic rollover testing, inverted vehicle drop testing, and 
comparing inverted drop testing to a modified FMVSS No. 216 test. After 
considering the results of the testing and other available information, 
the agency concluded that the quasi-static procedure provides a 
suitable representation of the real-world dynamic loading conditions, 
and the most appropriate one on which to focus our upgrade efforts.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ Docket No. NHTSA-1999-5572.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In our August 2005 NPRM, to better address fatalities and injuries 
occurring in roof-involved rollover crashes, we proposed to extend the 
application of the standard to vehicles with a GVWR of up to 4,536 
kilograms (10,000 pounds), and to strengthen the requirements of FMVSS 
No. 216 by mandating that the vehicle roof structures withstand a force 
equivalent to 2.5 times the unloaded vehicle weight, and to eliminate 
the 22,240 Newton (5,000 pound) force limit for passenger cars.
    Further, in recognition of the fact that the pre-test distance 
between the interior surface of the roof and a given occupant's head 
varies from vehicle model to vehicle model, we proposed to regulate 
roof strength by requiring that the crush not exceed the available 
headroom. Under the proposal, this requirement would replace the 
current limit on test plate movement.
    The proposed new limit would prohibit any roof component from 
contacting the head of a seated 50th percentile male dummy when the 
roof is subjected to a force equivalent to 2.5 times the unloaded 
vehicle weight. We note that this value is sometimes referred to as the 
strength-to-weight ratio (SWR), e.g., a SWR of 1.5, 2.5, and so forth.
    We also proposed to:
     Allow vehicles manufactured in two or more stages, other 
than chassis-cabs, to be certified to the roof crush requirements of 
FMVSS No. 220, School bus rollover protection, instead of FMVSS No. 
216.
     Clarify the definition and scope of exclusion for 
convertibles.
     Revise the vehicle tie-down procedure to minimize 
variability in testing.
    To accompany our proposal, we prepared a Preliminary Regulatory 
Impact Analysis (PRIA) describing the costs and benefits. We estimated 
that, if adopted, the proposal would result in 13-44 fewer fatalities 
and 498-793 fewer non-fatal injuries each year. The total estimated 
recurring fleet cost was $88 to $95 million. We estimated that 
approximately 32 percent of the current vehicle fleet would need 
improvements to meet the proposed upgraded requirements.

b. SNPRM

    On January 30, 2008, NHTSA published in the Federal Register (73 FR 
5484) an SNPRM for our ongoing roof crush resistance rulemaking.\8\ In 
that document, we asked for public comment on a number of issues that 
might affect the content of the final rule, including possible 
variations in the proposed requirements. We also announced the release 
of the results of various vehicle tests conducted since the proposal.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ Docket No. NHTSA-2008-0015.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In the SNPRM, we noted that we had been carefully analyzing the 
numerous comments we had received on the NPRM, as well as the various 
additional vehicle tests, including both single-sided tests and two-
sided tests, conducted since the NPRM. We invited comments on how the 
agency should factor the new information into its decision. We noted 
that while the NPRM focused on a specified force equivalent to 2.5 
times the unloaded vehicle weight, the agency could adopt a higher or 
lower value for the final rule. We explained, with respect to two-sided 
testing, that we believed there was now sufficient available 
information for the agency to consider a two-sided requirement as an 
alternative to the single-sided procedure described in the NPRM. We 
stated that we planned to evaluate both the single-sided and two-sided 
testing alternatives for the final rule and requested comments that 
would help us reach a decision on that issue.
    We also noted in the SNPRM that the agency had conducted additional 
analysis concerning the role of vertical roof intrusion and post-crash 
headroom in predicting roof contact injuries to the head, neck or face 
during FMVSS No. 216 rollovers. At the time of the NPRM, the agency 
estimated benefits based on post-crash headroom, the only basis for 
which a statistical relationship with injury reduction had been 
established. After the NPRM, with additional years of data available, a 
statistically significant relationship between intrusion and injury for 
belted occupants was established.

c. Congressional Mandate

    Section 10301 of SAFETEA-LU generally required the Secretary to 
issue

[[Page 22353]]

a final rule upgrading roof crush resistance by July 1, 2008, while 
providing for a later date under certain circumstances. That section 
provides:

Sec. 10301. VEHICLE ROLLOVER PREVENTION AND CRASH MITIGATION.

    (a) In General.--Subchapter II of chapter 301 is amended by 
adding at the end the following:

Sec.  30128. Vehicle rollover prevention and crash mitigation

    (a) IN GENERAL.--The Secretary shall initiate rulemaking 
proceedings, for the purpose of establishing rules or standards that 
will reduce vehicle rollover crashes and mitigate deaths and 
injuries associated with such crashes for motor vehicles with a 
gross vehicle weight rating of not more than 10,000 pounds.
* * * * *
    (d) Protection of Occupants.--One of the rulemaking proceedings 
initiated under subsection (a) shall be to establish performance 
criteria to upgrade Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 216 
relating to roof strength for driver and passenger sides. The 
Secretary may consider industry and independent dynamic tests that 
realistically duplicate the actual forces transmitted during a 
rollover crash. The Secretary shall issue a proposed rule by 
December 31, 2005, and a final rule by July 1, 2008.

    The statute provides that if the Secretary determines that the July 
1, 2008 deadline for the final rule cannot be met, the Secretary is to 
notify Congress and explain why that deadline cannot be met, and 
establish a new date. The Secretary provided such notifications to 
Congress, and established a date of April 30, 2009.

V. Overview of Comments

    NHTSA received comments from a wide variety of interested parties, 
including vehicle manufacturers and their trade associations, suppliers 
of automobile equipment and a supplier trade association, consumer 
advocacy and other organizations, trial lawyers, engineering firms and 
consultants, members of academia, elected officials and government 
organizations, and private individuals. All of the comments may be 
found in the docket for the NPRM or SNPRM. In this section, we provide 
a broad overview of the significant comments. Where we identify 
specific commenters, we cite representative comments.

General Approach and SWR

    Vehicle manufacturers were generally supportive of the agency's 
proposal, while recommending a number of specific modifications. They 
generally supported a SWR of 2.5, with caveats about sufficient 
leadtime and test procedure issues. They expressed concerns about SWRs 
higher than 2.5, including potential adverse effects on safety 
resulting from increased mass.
    Consumer advocacy organizations and a number of other commenters 
argued that it is not enough to upgrade the current quasi-static 
requirement, and that a dynamic test requirement is needed. While 
specific recommendations varied, one was for the agency to adopt an 
upgraded quasi-static requirement now, and to proceed with further 
rulemaking for a dynamic test.
    Advocates for Highway Safety (Advocates) stated that the proposed 
quasi-static test cannot demonstrate actual roof crush resistance in 
rollover crashes and that a dynamic test would address occupant 
kinematics and injury responses in actual rollover crashes. Public 
Citizen stated that a dynamic test could simultaneously evaluate the 
performance of seat belts, doors, ejection and the roof. A number of 
commenters supported specific dynamic tests.
    The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) stated that while it strongly 
supports a dynamic test, it believes rollover protection can be 
dramatically improved with a well-crafted quasi-static test. It argued 
that test procedure changes related to roll angle and pitch angle are 
needed to ensure that the roof receives appropriate shear stress.
    As to the SWR for an upgraded quasi-static test requirement, 
consumer advocacy organizations and a number of other commenters argued 
that the SWR should be significantly higher than 2.5. Many of these 
commenters recommended a SWR of 3.5, with some recommending higher 
levels.
    The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) submitted a new 
study which it said supports increasing the SWR beyond 2.5. It stated 
that based on the current evidence, it supports a SWR of 3.0 to 3.5.

Performance Criterion

    The agency received a variety of comments on the proposed headroom 
reduction criterion. Some commenters, including consumer groups, 
supported a headroom reduction criterion but argued that a platen 
travel criterion is also needed. Several commenters expressed concern 
that, for some vehicles, the proposed headroom reduction criterion 
would be less stringent and less protective than the current platen 
travel criterion. The agency also received comments recommending that 
the agency make these criteria more stringent to protect taller 
occupants, e.g., by using a 95th percentile adult male dummy instead of 
a 50th percentile adult male dummy to measure headroom and by reducing 
the amount of platen travel that is permitted.
    Vehicle manufacturers urged the agency to retain the current platen 
travel criterion instead of adopting a headroom reduction criterion. 
They argued, among other things, that using the headroom reduction 
criterion would add unnecessary complexity to the test procedure and 
result in problems related to repeatability and practicability. Some 
manufacturers stated that if the agency adopts a headroom reduction 
criterion, it should adopt a test procedure using a head positioning 
fixture instead of a test dummy.
    IIHS stated that relating the allowable amount of roof crush in the 
quasi-static test to the headroom in specific vehicles is a good 
concept but that, in practice, the agency's research tests have not 
shown that replacing the 5-inch platen travel criterion with the 
headroom requirement would be a meaningful change to the standard and 
may not justify the added complications to the test procedure.

Single- or Two-Sided Testing

    Several consumer advocacy organizations and other commenters 
strongly supported two-sided testing. Public Citizen stated that in a 
vast majority of rollover cases, the injured party was typically seated 
on the far side, that is, the side of the second impact. It argued that 
it is not possible to upgrade FMVSS No. 216 without a two-sided test 
requirement.
    IIHS stated that while it supports any changes that would increase 
the level of roof strength of the vehicle fleet, it has no real-world 
data to address the potential benefits of two-sided testing. It stated 
that a single-sided test with a higher SWR may be more effective at 
promoting robust roof designs than a two-sided test with a lower SWR 
requirement.
    The comments of vehicle manufacturers were somewhat mixed on the 
issue of single- or two-sided testing. The Alliance of Automobile 
Manufacturers (Alliance) stated that it believes the agency has 
provided insufficient justification for two-sided testing. It stated 
that the agency has not provided analysis demonstrating that two-sided 
testing relates to real-world safety. The Alliance also expressed 
concern that two-sided testing would amplify variability and 
repeatability problems.
    The Association of International Automobile Manufacturers (AIAM) 
stated that based on the information and

[[Page 22354]]

analysis provided by the agency regarding the two-sided test, it 
believes that the test shows enough potential to merit further 
consideration by the agency. AIAM argued that additional analysis would 
be needed before it could provide a preferred regulatory approach, but 
indicated that the two-sided approach would more directly address the 
multiple roof contact weakening phenomenon.

Leadtime

    Vehicle manufacturers argued that a phase-in is needed for the 
upgraded roof crush requirements. The Alliance stated that if the final 
rule reflected a reasonable accommodation of the issues raised in its 
comments, it would be reasonable for a phase-in to begin, with a 
compliance percentage of 20 percent, on the first September 1, that 
occurred more than 36 months after issuance of the final rule. That 
organization stated that it would not be practicable to apply the 
upgraded requirements to all new vehicles at once, since far more 
vehicle models require redesigns than anticipated by NHTSA. The 
Alliance requested a phase-in that incorporates carryforward credits. 
It stated that additional leadtime would be necessary if the agency 
adopted a head contact criterion instead of platen travel, a two-sided 
test or a SWR higher than 2.5.

Costs and Benefits

    Many commenters addressed the PRIA, which analyzed the costs and 
benefits and other impacts of the proposed rule, and a later discussion 
of these impacts included in the SNPRM. Among other things, commenters 
addressed the target population, the pass/fail rate of the current 
fleet, cost and weight impacts, and estimates of benefits.

Preemption

    We received numerous comments on our discussion in the NPRM of the 
possible preemptive effect of an upgraded roof crush standard on State 
common law tort claims. Vehicle manufacturers and one organization 
strongly supported the view that an upgraded roof crush standard would 
conflict with and therefore impliedly preempt State rules of tort law 
imposing more stringent requirements than the one ultimately adopted by 
NHTSA. Consumer advocacy groups, members of Congress and State 
officials, trial lawyers, consultants, members of academia, and private 
individuals strongly opposed that view. The opposing comments from 
State officials included one signed by 27 State Attorneys General and 
the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Other Issues

    We received comments on many other issues. Commenters addressed a 
number of issues concerning the FMVSS No. 216 test procedure, including 
the vehicle tie-down procedure, platen angle and size, and whether the 
vehicle should be tested with the windshield and/or other glazing in 
place. Commenters also addressed requirements for multi-stage vehicles.

June 2008 Congressional Hearing and Letters

    On June 4, 2008. the Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Insurance, 
and Automotive Safety of the Senate Commerce, Science and 
Transportation Committee held an oversight hearing on passenger vehicle 
roof strength. Former NHTSA Deputy Administrator James Ports testified 
at the hearing. At the hearing and also in a subsequent letter to 
Secretary Peters dated June 19, 2008, several Senators encouraged the 
agency to extend the July 1, 2008 date for completing a final rule. 
They encouraged the agency to ensure a rulemaking that would maximize 
vehicle safety and significantly reduce deaths and injuries for drivers 
and passengers in vehicle rollover crashes.
    Several Senators encouraged NHTSA to consider a two-sided test 
requirement and a higher SWR requirement than the proposed 2.5 level, 
and to provide detailed information concerning alternatives considered 
by the agency. They also raised concerns about the use of 50th 
percentile adult male test dummies instead of ones representing taller 
occupants. The Senators also expressed significant concerns about 
possible preemption of common law tort actions, and asked that such a 
provision not be included in the final rule.
    In a letter to Secretary Peters dated June 27, 2008, Chairman Henry 
Waxman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 
raised similar concerns to those of the Senators.

New IIHS Roof Strength Consumer Information Program

    On February 19, 2009, IIHS met with NHTSA representatives to 
provide the agency information about a new roof strength consumer 
information program that the organization is initiating. IIHS believes 
the FMVSS No. 216 test procedure is a meaningful structural assessment 
of real-world rollover crashworthiness as shown by recent studies it 
has conducted showing that improved roof strength reduces injury risk 
in midsize SUVs and small cars. That organization indicated that the 
boundary for a good rating in the IIHS program will be a SWR of 4.0 in 
a one-sided platen test similar to the existing FMVSS No 216 test 
procedure. IIHS indicated that it does not plan to rate the larger, 
heavier light vehicles, i.e., ones likely to have GVWRs greater than 
2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds).
    On March 24, 2009, IIHS issued a press release announcing a number 
of details about its new rating system, including ratings for 12 small 
SUVs. For an acceptable rating, the minimum SWR is 3.25. A marginal 
rating value is 2.5. Anything lower than that is rated as poor. In 
order to earn IIHS's ``top safety pick'' award for 2010, vehicles will 
need to have a good roof strength rating, i.e., SWR of 4.0. Of the 12 
small SUVs tested by IIHS, eight were rated by that organization as 
good, five as acceptable, two as marginal, and one as poor.

VI. Agency Decision and Response to Comments

a. Primary Decisions

1. Basic Nature of the Test Requirements--Quasi-Static vs. Dynamic 
Tests
    As noted above and discussed in detail in the NPRM, we developed 
our proposal to upgrade roof crush resistance requirements after 
considerable analysis and research, including conducting a research 
program to examine potential methods for improving the roof crush 
resistance requirements. The agency testing program included full 
vehicle dynamic rollover testing, inverted vehicle drop testing, and 
comparing inverted drop testing to a modified FMVSS No. 216 test. After 
considering the results of the testing and other available information, 
the agency concluded that the quasi-static procedure provides a 
suitable representation of the real-world dynamic loading conditions, 
and the most appropriate one on which to focus our upgrade efforts.
    We did not propose a dynamic test procedure in either the NPRM or 
the SNPRM. We did discuss in the NPRM a number of types of dynamic 
tests and why we were not including them in the proposal. We stated our 
belief that the current quasi-static test procedure is repeatable and 
capable of simulating real-world deformation patterns. We also stated 
that we were unaware of any dynamic test procedure that provides a 
sufficiently repeatable test environment.
    Consumer advocacy organizations and a number of other commenters 
argued that it is not enough to upgrade the current quasi-static 
requirement, and

[[Page 22355]]

that a dynamic test requirement is needed. While specific 
recommendations varied, one was for the agency to adopt an upgraded 
quasi-static requirement now, and to proceed with further rulemaking at 
this time for a dynamic test.
    Advocates stated that the proposed quasi-static test cannot 
demonstrate actual roof crush resistance in rollover crashes and that a 
dynamic test would address occupant kinematics and injury responses in 
actual rollover crashes. Public Citizen stated that a dynamic test 
could simultaneously evaluate the performance of seat belts, doors, 
ejection mitigation and the roof. A number of commenters made specific 
recommendations concerning the type of dynamic test that the agency 
should propose, e.g., with a number recommending the FMVSS No. 208 
dolly test and/or the Jordan Rollover System (JRS) test.
    As part of our considering the merits of a dynamic test and 
comments on the JRS, on February 23, 2007, NHTSA representatives met 
with Xprts, LLC (Xprts) at its test facility in Goleta, CA, to view and 
discuss the device. CAS and Center for Injury Research (CFIR) also 
submitted additional test data to the agency using the JRS.
    We note that the agency is also aware of tests used by 
manufacturers to assess a vehicle's rollover performance during vehicle 
development and conditions they are designed to represent such as the 
curb trip, soil trip, the bounce over, etc.\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ Viano D., Parenteau C., ``Rollover Crash Sensing and Safety 
Overview,'' SAE International, 2004-01-0342.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As noted earlier in this document, rollover crashes are complex and 
chaotic events. Rollovers can range from a single quarter turn to eight 
or more quarter turns, with the duration of the rollover crash lasting 
from one to several seconds. The wide range of rollover conditions 
occurs because these crashes largely occur off road where the vehicle 
motion is highly influenced by roadside conditions.
    The variety and complexity of real-world rollover crashes create 
significant challenges in developing dynamic tests suitable for a 
Federal motor vehicle safety standard. Rollover crash tests can have an 
undesirable amount of variability in vehicle and occupant kinematics.
    In assessing whether a potential dynamic test would be appropriate 
for a Federal motor vehicle safety standard, the agency must consider 
such issues as (1) whether the test is representative of real-world 
crashes with respect what happens to the vehicle and any specified test 
dummies; (2) for the specific aspect of performance at issue, whether 
the test is sufficiently representative of enough relevant real-world 
crashes to drive appropriate countermeasures and, if not, the number 
and nature of necessary tests to achieve that purpose; (3) whether the 
test is repeatable and reproducible so that the standard will be 
objective; and (4) whether the test dummies to be specified are 
biofidelic for the purposes used.
    We have reviewed the comments recommending a dynamic test and are 
including our analysis of those comments in an appendix to this 
document. NHTSA appreciates the information and data that have been 
provided on this subject. We decline, however, to pursue a dynamic test 
as part of this rulemaking, or to initiate at this time a separate 
rulemaking for a dynamic test.
    As noted above, we explained in the NPRM that we were unaware of 
any dynamic test procedure that provides a sufficiently repeatable test 
environment. After reviewing the public comments and for reasons 
discussed in the appendix, we continue to take that position. While 
some commenters argued that certain procedures are repeatable, the 
agency was not persuaded by the arguments and data they presented. 
Moreover, for reasons discussed in the appendix, there are significant 
issues associated with each of the cited dynamic test procedures 
related to possible use in a Federal motor vehicle safety standard.
    Also of importance for this rulemaking, even if NHTSA were to 
identify a particular dynamic test procedure, among the many known to 
be available, as likely to be suitable for assessing roof crush 
resistance (something we have not been able to do thus far), we would 
need additional years of research to evaluate and refine, as necessary, 
the procedure to develop a proposal, including evaluating it in the 
context of the current vehicle fleet. It is also not known whether any 
dynamic test requirement that might be identified by NHTSA's research 
would produce significant additional benefits beyond those that will be 
produced by the substantial upgrade of the quasi-static procedure that 
we are adopting in this rule.
    NHTSA agrees, however, with pursuing a dynamic test as our ultimate 
goal. We would like to have one for rollover crashes just as we do for 
front and side crashes. Unfortunately, we cannot adopt or even propose 
one now because of issues related to test repeatability, a dummy, and 
lack of injury criteria. We are pursuing further research for a dynamic 
test, but we expect that it will take a number of years to resolve 
these issues. In the meantime, we do not want to delay a significant 
upgrade of FMVSS No. 216 that will save 135 lives each year.
2. Vehicle Application
    FMVSS No. 216 currently applies to passenger cars, and to 
multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR of 2,722 
kilograms (6,000 pounds) or less. In our August 2005 NPRM, in addition 
to proposing upgraded performance requirements, we proposed to extend 
the application of the standard to vehicles with a GVWR of up to 4,536 
kilograms (10,000 pounds). We proposed to permit vehicles manufactured 
in two or more stages, other than chassis-cabs, to be certified to the 
roof crush requirements of FMVSS No. 220, instead of FMVSS No. 216. We 
stated that we believed that the requirements of FMVSS No. 220 appeared 
to offer a reasonable avenue to balance the desire to respond to the 
needs of multi-stage manufacturers and the need to increase safety in 
rollover crashes.
    The commenters generally supported extending the application of 
FMVSS No. 216 to vehicles with a GVWR of up to 4,536 kilograms (10,000 
pounds). The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated that 
heavier vehicles such as 12- and 15-passenger vans, not currently 
subjected to the standard, are experiencing patterns of roof intrusion 
greater than vehicles already subject to the requirements. That 
commenter also cited two investigations it conducted concerning the 
safety need for vehicles between 6,000 and 10,000 pounds GVWR to meet 
roof crush resistance requirements.
    We received a number of comments concerning requirements for multi-
stage vehicles and vehicles with altered roofs, including ones from 
Advocates, the National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA), the 
Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and the National 
Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA). The concerns and 
recommendations of these commenters varied considerably. We discuss and 
address the comments later in this document. For purposes of this more 
general section concerning applicability, we note that we are providing 
a FMVSS No. 220 option for some but not all multi-stage vehicles and 
for vehicles which are altered in certain ways to raise the height of 
the roof. We also note that, for reasons discussed in that section, we 
are excluding a narrow

[[Page 22356]]

category of multi-stage trucks from FMVSS No. 216 altogether.
    Subject to the limited exceptions/alternatives/exclusions noted in 
the previous paragraph or already included in FMVSS No. 216, and for 
the reasons discussed in the NPRM and in this document, we are 
extending the application of the standard to vehicles with a GVWR of up 
to 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds).\10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ This final rule will address the NTSB's recommendation H-
03-16, to include 12- and 15-passenger vans in FMVSS No. 216, to 
minimize the extent to which survivable space is compromised in the 
event of a rollover accident.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

3. Single-Sided or Two-Sided Tests
    Under the current version of FMVSS No. 216, vehicles must meet the 
standard's requirements for both the driver and passenger sides of the 
vehicle. Thus, roof crush resistance protection is required for both 
the driver and passenger sides of the vehicle. The standard specifies a 
single-sided test. While a vehicle must meet the standard's test 
requirements, regardless of whether it is tested on the driver or 
passenger side, a particular vehicle is tested on only one side.
    As discussed in the NPRM, a number of commenters on our 2001 RFC 
suggested that the agency specify a two-sided test requirement, i.e., a 
requirement that each vehicle must meet the standard's test 
requirements when tested sequentially, first on one side of the 
vehicle, and then on the other side. Commenters making this 
recommendation included Public Citizen and CFIR. The commenters stated 
that vehicle occupants on the far side of the rollover have a much 
greater risk of serious injury than occupants on the near side,\11\ and 
argued that a two-sided requirement is needed to protect far side 
occupants.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ Near side is the side toward which the vehicle begins to 
roll and the far side is the trailing side of the roll.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In the NPRM, the agency summarized the results of six two-sided 
tests it had conducted in light of those comments. The testing sought 
to evaluate the strength of the second side of the roof of vehicles 
whose first side had already been tested. In this testing, after the 
force was applied to one side of the roof over the front seat area of a 
vehicle, the vehicle was repositioned and force was then applied on the 
opposite side of the roof over the front seat area. In performing these 
tests on both sides of a vehicle, the agency used the platen angle 
currently specified in FMVSS No. 216 (5 degree pitch forward and 25 
degree rotation outward, along its lateral axis). We concluded that the 
strength of the roof on the second side of some vehicles may have been 
increased or decreased as a result of the deformation of the first side 
of the roof. The agency indicated that it planned to conduct further 
research before proposing rulemaking in this area.
    In commenting on the NPRM, a number of consumer advocacy 
organizations and other commenters strongly supported a two-sided test 
requirement. These commenters included, among others, Public Citizen, 
CFIR, CAS, and Advocates. Supporters of a two-sided test requirement 
argued that more damage occurs to the far (or trailing) side of the 
vehicle in a rollover crash, and a two-sided test would better reflect 
this real-world intrusion. They further argued that when the near side 
roof and windshield are compromised in a rollover, the far side will 
not be able to withstand the forces of the event, and, consequently, 
facilitate roof collapse. ARCCA, Inc., Consumers Union, and Safety 
Analysis and Forensic Engineering (SAFE) suggested a two-sided test 
would simulate the impact that occurs in the majority of rollover 
incidents.
    In light of the substantial interest in a two-sided test 
requirement, NHTSA expanded the series of two-sided roof crush tests 
discussed in the NPRM. In our January 2008 SNPRM, we explained that we 
had, by that time, conducted a total of 26 sequential two-sided tests, 
and announced that we were releasing these data to the public in 
conjunction with the SNPRM.
    We stated in the SNPRM that the two-sided test results showed the 
first side test generally produces a weakening of the structure. This 
was shown by the fact that the recorded SWR for the second side was 
generally lower than for the first side. On average, the peak strength 
for the second side was reduced by 8.7 percent. However, for several of 
the vehicles, we observed considerably higher reductions in peak 
strength. Of the 26 vehicles that had been tested by that time, 
excluding the Chevrolet Express, six experienced reductions in strength 
of 19 percent or greater. We excluded the Chevrolet Express because of 
a test anomaly.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \12\ Between the first and second side tests, the front door on 
the tested side was opened. Because of damage to the vehicle during 
the first side test, the door would not properly close. The door was 
clamped until the latch engaged, locking the door in place. This may 
have compromised the structural integrity of the roof and reduced 
the measured peak load on the second side.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    With respect to two-sided vehicle testing, we stated that we 
believed that the post-NPRM tests provided the agency with sufficient 
additional information for the agency to consider a two-sided test 
requirement for the final rule. We stated that we would evaluate both 
the single-sided and two-sided testing alternatives for the final rule, 
and requested comments to help us reach a decision on that issue.
Comments
    In commenting on the SNPRM, a number of consumer advocacy 
organizations continued to strongly support a two-sided test 
requirement. Public Citizen stated that in a vast majority of rollover 
cases, the injured party was typically seated on the far side, that is, 
the side of the second impact. It argued that it is not possible to 
upgrade FMVSS No. 216 without a two-sided test requirement. Some 
commenters argued, as they had in commenting on the NPRM, that they 
believe SAFETEA-LU requires a two-sided test.
    IIHS stated that while it supports any changes that would increase 
the level of roof strength of the vehicle fleet, it has no real-world 
data to address the potential benefits of two-sided testing. It stated 
that a single-sided test with a higher SWR may be more effective at 
promoting robust roof designs than a two-sided test with a lower SWR 
requirement.
    The Alliance stated that it believes the agency has provided 
insufficient justification for two-sided testing. It stated that the 
agency has not provided analysis demonstrating that two-sided testing 
relates to real-world safety.
    The Alliance also expressed concern that two-sided testing would 
amplify variability and repeatability problems. That organization 
argued that the agency's limited repeatability testing for a potential 
two-sided requirement indicates poor repeatability in SWR between the 
first and second side tests for the same vehicle. The Alliance cited 
agency tests of the Lincoln LS and Buick LaCrosse.
    According to the Alliance, these differences may be due solely to 
lack of test procedure repeatability and test lab reproducibility, 
rather than any real weakening or strengthening of the roof structure 
due to the first side test. That commenter stated that in a two-sided 
scenario, the deformed shape of a vehicle tested for roof strength on 
one side between any two tests is not identical. The starting point for 
the roof-strength testing on the second side is therefore, according to 
the Alliance, inherently different and results in substantial 
variability in measured roof strength.
    AIAM stated that based on the information and analysis provided by

[[Page 22357]]

the agency regarding the two-sided test, it believes that the test 
shows enough potential to merit further consideration by the agency. 
AIAM argued that additional analysis would be needed before it could 
provide a preferred regulatory approach, but indicated that the two-
sided approach would more directly address the multiple roof contact 
weakening phenomenon.
Agency Response
    After carefully considering the comments and available information, 
we have decided, for the reasons discussed below, to adopt a two-sided 
test requirement.
    In responding to the comments, we begin by addressing the argument 
raised by some commenters that SAFETEA-LU requires a two-sided test. 
Public Citizen stated that the agency has ``ignored the express 
requirement of a two-sided test.'' That organization cited the 
statutory language requiring NHTSA to upgrade FMVSS No. 216 related to 
roof strength ``for driver and passenger sides.'' (Emphasis added by 
Public Citizen.)
    As discussed earlier in this document, under the current version of 
FMVSS No. 216, vehicles must meet the standard's requirements for both 
the driver and passenger sides of the vehicle, i.e., a vehicle must 
meet the standard's test requirements regardless of whether it is 
tested on the driver or passenger side. Thus, while the standard 
specifies a single-sided test, roof crush resistance protection is 
required for both the driver and passenger sides of the vehicle. 
Similarly, upgrading the current performance requirements so that 
vehicles must provide protection at a significantly higher SWR under a 
single-sided test procedure would result in upgraded protection for 
both the driver and passenger sides. Thus, while we understand the 
safety arguments raised by Public Citizen and other commenters favoring 
a two-sided test, we believe that the language in SAFETEA-LU does not 
mandate a two-sided test requirement, only that upgraded protection be 
provided for both the driver and passenger sides.
    We also note that the issue of whether to adopt a two-sided test is 
related to the decision of what stringency to adopt. For any baseline 
single-sided test requirement at a particular SWR, either increasing 
the SWR for the single-sided test or adding a two-sided test 
requirement at the same SWR would represent an increase in stringency. 
Therefore, in reaching a decision on these issues, we have considered 
them together.
    To help evaluate the merits of a two-sided test requirement, the 
agency analyzed 1997 through 2006 NASS-CDS rollover crash data, 
involving restrained occupants.\13\ Only vehicles that overturned and 
experienced 2 or more quarter turns were included. This study included 
4,030 NASS-CDS investigated vehicles, and excluded convertibles and 
vehicles that had a concentrated loading due to a collision between a 
fixed object (pole or tree) and the roof.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ See report Evaluation of 2 Side Roof Crush Testing placed 
in the docket with this notice.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The data were analyzed for differences in injury risk for the near 
and far side occupants and also to ascertain any disparity in the 
amount of roof intrusion. For all rollovers involving two or more 
quarter turns, the data showed that there are a similar number of near 
and far side occupants involved in the event. A further review of the 
injury outcomes showed that the injuries to far side occupants occur at 
a slightly higher frequency than injuries to near side occupants.
    The occupant injury data were further analyzed to determine whether 
the relative proportion of near and far side injured occupants varied 
with the amount of roof intrusion. The injury outcomes for occupants in 
vehicles with less than 12 cm (5 inches) of near side roof intrusion 
show higher frequency of injury for the far side occupant at the 
various injury levels. The outcomes for injured occupants in vehicles 
with 12 cm (5 inches) or greater near side intrusion have similar 
percentages of severe injuries between near and far occupants. Based on 
this analysis, the data indicate there may be some higher risk for far 
side occupants at lower levels of intrusion; however, none of the 
results was statistically significant.
    The analysis investigated the difference in roof intrusion between 
the near and far side of the vehicle that experienced two quarter turns 
or more. For the 4,030 NASS-CDS vehicles, there was a weighted average 
maximum vertical intrusion of 7.9 cm (3.1 inches) on the near side and 
10.9 cm (4.3 inches) on the far side of the rollover-involved vehicle. 
The far side of the vehicle averaged 3 cm (1.2 inches) more vertical 
intrusion than the near side.
    The analysis also investigated the intrusion difference between the 
near and far side grouped by the severity of the rollover. (Severity of 
the rollover was defined by single or multiple roof-to-ground 
contacts). The data showed a 3 cm (1.2 inch) bias toward the far side 
intrusion, independent of the severity of the rollover. For example, 
vehicles experiencing five or more quarter turns had 9.2 cm (3.6 
inches) of near-side intrusion compared to 12.2 cm (4.8 inches) of far-
side intrusion. The analysis concluded for crashes with multiple roof-
to-ground contacts (or severe rollovers), there is a statistically 
insignificant bias on the far side.
    Since the publication of the SNPRM, the agency has conducted an 
additional five tests \14\ as part of its evaluation, for a total of 31 
two-sided tests.\15\ The test results for all 31 two-sided tests are 
summarized in Appendix B of this document.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ The test reports for the additional vehicle tests conducted 
by NHTSA are being made available to the public through the agency's 
internet vehicle crash test database. We are placing a memorandum in 
the docket which provides the Web address for that database and 
lists the vehicle models and test numbers that are needed to 
reference the information in the database. The agency incorporates 
by reference these test reports as part of the record for this 
rulemaking.
    \15\ We note that we also conducted a test of a Smart ForTwo. 
However, we did not include these test results as part of our 
evaluation because the vehicle is not typical of a significant 
number of vehicles in the fleet.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    On average, the peak strength for the second side was reduced by 
8.4 percent. This reduction in strength is consistent with our NASS-CDS 
analysis, showing a slight increase of intrusion on the second side. 
This also may explain the increased risk to injury for far side 
occupants. In all the tests, the windshield fractured during the first 
side test and there was not a catastrophic collapse of the roof on the 
second side.
    In general, there was a good correlation in peak strength between 
the first and second side. The agency did test four vehicles that 
resulted in increased strength on the second side. However, for several 
of the vehicles, we observed considerably higher reductions in peak 
strength. Of the 31 vehicles tested, again excluding the Chevrolet 
Express, seven experienced reductions in strength of 19 percent or 
greater. The two-sided testing conducted by NHTSA indicated an average 
difference of approximately 7.1 percent lower peak force for the second 
side in vehicles under 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) GVWR and 14.9 
percent lower peak force for the second side in vehicles over 2,722 
kilograms (6,000 pounds) GVWR.
    We have decided to adopt a two-sided test in light of several 
considerations. First, we believe a two-sided test is more 
representative of the higher severity rollover crashes in which a 
vehicle experiences multiple quarter turns. In such crashes, the 
vehicles sometimes experiences a significant impact on one side of the 
vehicle and,

[[Page 22358]]

as the vehicle continues to turn, another significant impact on the 
other side of the vehicle. A two-sided test will help ensure that the 
impact on the first side of the vehicle does not cause excess damage 
that will prevent the vehicle from providing protection during the 
impact on the second side of the vehicle.
    Moreover, as discussed in the FRIA, the greater stringency 
associated with a two-sided test requirement will provide greater 
benefits.
    While we recognize that a two-sided test requirement affects the 
stringency of the standard, as compared to a single-sided test 
requirement at the same SWR, we believe that it does not raise concerns 
related to test procedure repeatability and test lab reproducibility.
    In addressing this issue, we note that the test conducted on the 
second side is identical to the test conducted on the first side. Thus, 
the second side test by itself is repeatable and reproducible, for the 
same reasons the first side test is repeatable and reproducible.
    As noted by the Alliance, the ``starting point'' for the second 
side test is different than for the first side test in that the vehicle 
may have experienced damage during the first side test. However, it is 
the purpose of a two-sided test requirement to limit such damage, to 
the extent such damage would prevent compliance with the standard's 
performance requirements during the second side test.
    As to the Lincoln LS and Buick Lacrosse repeat tests cited by the 
Alliance, the change in peak SWR between the first and second side test 
was -21.3 percent and -8.7 percent for the two Lincoln LS vehicles 
tested, and -13.5 percent and -3.4 percent for the two Buick Lacrosse 
vehicles tested. For the Lincoln LS, there was good correlation between 
the load-deformation curves on the first side in the two tests. 
However, on the second side, the load-deformation curves diverge prior 
to the peak SWR. Further, in one Lincoln LS test, the second side 
correlated well with the first side. The other test did not show the 
same correlation on the second side, which led us to believe internal 
structural damage to the roof during the first side test was the cause. 
With respect to the Buick Lacrosse, the agency identified a pre-test 
windshield crack as the likely reason for the difference in outcome 
between the two tests. The load-deformation curves for the first side 
did not reach the same peak load; however, there is good correlation on 
the second side. Thus, we believe the differences relate to vehicle 
performance instead of test procedure issues.
    It is important to note that the Lincoln LS and Buick Lacrosse 
vehicles were not subject to an FMVSS incorporating a two-sided 
requirement or an SWR requirement above 1.5, so they were not designed 
to meet such a requirement (two-sided test requirement at the tested 
SWR). Manufacturers can ensure that a vehicle meets a two-sided test 
requirement by designing it so that they will be able to meet the 
second-side test despite whatever damage may occur in the first side 
test. As a general matter, the greater the structural damage that 
occurs in the first-side test, the greater the variability one would 
expect in the second-side test. We note that the performance 
requirement is not expressed in terms of the percentage difference in 
damage between the first-side test and the second test; instead, the 
vehicle must meet the same specified performance criteria in both 
tests. We also note that the first-side test is conducted only up to 
the SWR specified in the standard.
    Finally, we note that issues raised by commenters concerning 
varying platen angle and size for the second-side test are addressed 
later in this document in the section addressing aspects of the test 
procedure.
4. Upgraded Force Requirement--Specified Strength to Weight Ratio (SWR)
    As discussed earlier, FMVSS No. 216 currently requires that the 
lower surface of the test platen not move more than 127 mm (5 inches), 
when it is used to apply a force equal to 1.5 times the unloaded 
vehicle weight to the roof over the front seat area. In the NPRM, the 
agency proposed to require that the roof over the front seat area 
withstand a force increase equal to 2.5 times the unloaded weight of 
the vehicle, and to eliminate the 22,240 Newton (5,000 pound) force 
limit for passenger cars.
    NHTSA explained that it believes that FMVSS No. 216 could protect 
front seat occupants better if the applied force requirement reduced 
the extent of roof crush occurring in real world crashes. That is, the 
increased applied force requirement would lead to stronger roofs and 
reduce the roof crush severity observed in real world crashes. We 
observed that in many real-world rollovers, vehicles subject to the 
requirements of FMVSS No. 216 experienced vertical roof intrusion 
greater than the test plate movement limit of 127 mm (5 inches).
    In explaining the proposed 2.5 value for SWR, the agency noted that 
it previously conducted a study \16\ (Rains study) that measured peak 
forces generated during quasi-static testing under FMVSS No. 216 and 
under Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) J996 inverted drop testing. 
In the Rains study, nine quasi-static tests were first conducted. The 
energy absorption was measured and used to determine the appropriate 
corresponding height for the inverted drop conditions. Six of the 
vehicles were then dropped onto a load plate. The roof displacement was 
measured using a string potentiometer connected between the A-pillar 
and roof attachment and the vehicle floor. The peak force from the drop 
tests was limited to only the first 74 mm (3 inches) of roof crush 
because some of the vehicles rolled and contacted the ground with the 
front of the hood. Similarly, the peak quasi-static force was limited 
during the first 127 mm (5 inches) of plate movement.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \16\ Glen C. Rains and Mike Van Voorhis, ``Quasi Static and 
Dynamic Roof Crush Testing,'' DOT HS 808-873, 1998.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This report showed that for the nine quasi-static tests, the peak 
force-to-weight ratio ranged from 1.8 to 2.5. Six of these vehicle 
models were dropped at a height calculated to set the potential energy 
of the suspended vehicle equal to the static tests. For these dynamic 
tests, the peak force-to-weight ratio ranged from 2.1 to 3.1. In sum, 
the agency tentatively concluded that 2.5 was a good representation of 
the observed range of peak force-to-weight ratio.
    As to eliminating the 22,240 Newton force limit for passenger cars, 
the agency noted that the limit was included when the standard was 
first issued. The effect of the limit was that passenger cars weighing 
more than 1,512 kilograms (3,333 pounds) were subjected to less 
stringent requirements. The purpose of the limit was to avoid making it 
necessary for manufacturers to redesign large cars that could not meet 
the full roof strength requirements of the standard.\17\ At the time, 
the agency believed that requiring larger passenger cars to comply with 
the full (1.5 times the unloaded vehicle weight) requirement would be 
unnecessary because heavy passenger cars had lower rollover propensity. 
However, as discussed in the NPRM, the agency tentatively concluded 
that occupants of passenger cars weighing more than 1,512 kilograms 
(3,333 pounds) are sustaining rollover-related injuries and that those 
cars should be able to comply with the proposed requirements.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \17\ See 54 FR 46276.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 22359]]

    The agency stated in the NPRM that it believed that manufacturers 
would comply with the upgraded standard by strengthening reinforcements 
in roof pillars, by increasing the gauge of steel used in roofs or by 
using higher strength materials.
    In the SNPRM, we noted that we had been carefully analyzing the 
numerous comments received in response to the proposal, and the various 
additional vehicle tests conducted after publication of the NPRM. We 
invited comments on how the agency should factor in this new 
information into its decision. We stated that while the NPRM focused on 
a specified force equivalent to 2.5 times the unloaded vehicle weight, 
the agency could adopt a higher or lower value for the final rule.
    In the SNPRM, we observed from the recent vehicle testing (focusing 
on the single-sided test results) that the range of SWRs for vehicles 
with a GVWR of 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) or less tended to be 
higher than the range of SWRs for vehicles with a GVWR greater than 
2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds). The SWR of many late model vehicles 
with a GVWR of 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) or less was substantially 
higher than the 2.5 value the agency focused on in the NPRM. 
Conversely, only two vehicles we tested with a GVWR greater than 2,722 
kilograms (6,000 pounds) exceeded the 2.5 value.
    We noted in the SNPRM that the PRIA had examined the proposed SWR 
of 2.5 and the alternative SWR of 3.0 times the unloaded vehicle 
weight. The agency included in the SNPRM discussion and analysis 
concerning a number of factors expected to change the estimated 
impacts, and sought comments concerning impacts of SWR levels of 2.5, 
3.0 and 3.5.
Comments on the NPRM
    In general, vehicle manufacturers supported an SWR of 2.5, while 
safety advocacy groups recommended a more stringent standard with the 
majority supporting a 3.5 SWR requirement.
    Vehicle manufacturers, including General Motors Corporation (GM), 
Ford Motor Company (Ford), DaimlerChrysler Corporation,\18\ Porsche 
Cars North America (Porsche), Toyota Motor North America (Toyota), and 
Nissan North America (Nissan), and the Alliance supported the proposed 
2.5 SWR level, with caveats about sufficient leadtime and other 
requested changes to the test procedure, but expressed concern about 
raising the SWR further. The Alliance cautioned against increasing the 
SWR beyond 2.5 due to the potential adverse effects of increased mass. 
It stated that recommendations in the docket for higher levels did not 
attempt to account for the potential effect on the static stability 
factor (SSF) of adding structure necessary to comply with higher 
standards.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \18\ In August 2007, Daimler and Chrysler separated. All 
comments submitted to the agency prior to that date will be noted in 
this document as DaimlerChrysler. Mercedes-Benz USA and Chrysler LLC 
submitted comments separately afterwards and will be referenced 
accordingly.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Commenters supporting a 3.5 SWR included Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & 
Moverman (LSMM), Consumers Union, Center for the Study of Responsive 
Law (CSRL), Mr. Sances, Perrone Forensic Consulting (Perrone), Ms. 
Lawlor, Mr. Clough, Xprts, Mr. Nash, Mr. Friedman, and Forensic 
Engineering (FEI). Consumers Union, LSMM, Ms. Lawlor, Mr. Clough, and 
Mr. Sances supported a 3.5 SWR based on, among other things, the 
performance of the Volvo XC90. Commenters stated that the Volvo XC90 
has heightened roof strength resistance through light-weight materials 
making it possible to avoid any unnecessary increases in vehicle weight 
which could adversely affect rollover propensity. In supporting more 
stringent roof crush resistance requirements, the CSRL stated that 
NHTSA should consider using its technology-forcing authority.
    Several commenters supported an SWR of 4.0 or higher. These 
commenters included Mr. Slavik, ARCCA, Technical Services, and FEI. The 
commenters suggested that higher strength steel alloy, changes to the 
cross sectional thickness of roof components, and other design changes 
would make increasing the SWR feasible and cost effective.
    In connection with arguments that the agency should base the level 
of the standard on the performance of the Volvo XC90, Ford commented 
that in considering the stringency of an SWR requirement, roof SWR does 
not discriminate vehicles by roof strength. It noted that the roof 
strength required to achieve a specific SWR depends on the vehicle's 
unloaded vehicle weight (UVW). Ford stated that two vehicles with the 
same SWR, but different UVWs, may have roof strength levels that are 
actually several thousand pounds apart. That company argued that the 
agency's 2.5 SWR proposal is very stringent. Ford stated that vehicle 
roof designs are essentially the same for all passenger carrying 
vehicles, and that A pillars are A pillars and B pillars are B pillars, 
regardless of vehicle type, i.e., the constraints on a roof system 
design are applicable to all affected vehicles. That company argued 
that because a particular vehicle can achieve a roof SWR of 3.5, 
because it has a lower UVW as compared to a full size pickup, does not 
mean that 3.5 should be the regulatory requirement.
Comments on the SNPRM
    In commenting on the SNPRM, vehicle manufacturers continued to 
support an SWR of 2.5, with safety advocacy groups recommending a more 
stringent requirement.
    The Alliance recommended that all vehicles should be held to the 
same requirements and that a separate requirement should not be 
afforded for heavy vehicles. Mercedes-Benz suggested that, for a two-
sided test requirement, the SWR on the second side should be lower than 
what would be required for the first side. This would reflect the lower 
force levels in a rollover that it said the second side would 
experience.
    IIHS supported raising the SWR to 3.0 or higher in a one-sided 
test. IIHS stated that its new analysis justifies such a requirement.
Agency Decision and Response
    After carefully considering the comments and available information, 
and for the reasons discussed below, we have decided to adopt an SWR 
requirement of 3.0 for vehicles with a GVWR of 2,722 kilograms (6,000 
pounds) or less, and 1.5 for vehicles with a GVWR greater than 2,722 
kilograms (6,000 pounds).
    While this rulemaking involves a number of key decisions, the 
selection of an SWR requirement is the most important one for both 
costs and benefits. Our analysis, presented in detail in the FRIA, 
shows that for the alternatives we evaluated, benefits in terms of 
reduced fatalities continue to rise with higher SWR levels due to 
reduced intrusion. The benefits continue to rise because, for vehicles 
designed to have higher SWR levels, the vehicle roofs experience less 
intrusion in higher severity crashes. However, costs also increase 
substantially with higher SWR levels, so NHTSA must select the 
appropriate balance of safety benefits to added costs.
    Under the Safety Act, NHTSA must issue safety standards that are 
both practicable and meet the need for motor vehicle safety. 49 U.S.C. 
30111(a). The agency considers economic factors, including costs, as 
part of ensuring that standards are reasonable, practicable, and 
appropriate.
    In Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association v. State Farm, 463 U.S. 
29, 54-55 (1983), the Supreme Court indicated that the agency must, in 
making decisions about safety

[[Page 22360]]

standards, consider reasonableness of monetary and other costs 
associated with the standard. It stated, however, that ``(i)n reaching 
its judgment, NHTSA should bear in mind that Congress intended safety 
to be the preeminent factor under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act:''

    The Committee intends that safety shall be the overriding 
consideration in the issuance of standards under this bill. The 
Committee recognizes * * * that the Secretary will necessarily 
consider reasonableness of cost, feasibility and adequate leadtime. 
S. Rep. No. 1301, at 6, U.S. Code Cong. & Admin. News 1966, p. 2714.
    In establishing standards the Secretary must conform to the 
requirement that the standard be practicable. 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. Motor vehicle safety is the 
paramount purpose of this bill and each standard must be related 
thereto. H.Rep. No. 1776, at 16.

    Thus, in making our decision concerning SWR, we are guided by the 
statutory language, legislative history, and the Supreme Court's 
construction of the Safety Act, as well as by the specific requirement 
in SAFETEA-LU for us to upgrade FMVSS No. 216 relating to roof strength 
for driver and passenger sides for motor vehicles with a GVWR of not 
more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds). We consider both costs and 
benefits, bearing in mind that Congress intended safety to be the 
preeminent factor under the Safety Act.
    As indicated above, while benefits continue to rise with higher SWR 
levels, costs also increase substantially. The challenge is to push to 
a level where the safety benefits are still reasonable in relation to 
the associated costs. As part of this, we consider issues related to 
cost effectiveness. The agency's analysis of cost effectiveness is 
presented in the FRIA and summarized in this document.
    Another important factor in the selection of the SWR requirements 
is that there are much higher costs relative to benefits associated 
with any level SWR requirement for vehicles with a GVWR greater than 
2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) as compared to the lighter vehicles 
currently subject to the standard.
    There are a number of reasons for this differential between heaver 
and lighter vehicles. The absolute strength needed to meet a specific 
SWR is a function of the vehicle's weight. By way of example, to meet a 
2.0 SWR, a vehicle that weighs 1,360 kilograms (3,000 pounds) must have 
a roof structure capable of withstanding 26,690 N (6,000 pounds) of 
force, while a vehicle that weighs 2,268 kilograms (5,000 pounds) must 
have a roof structure capable of withstanding 44,482 N (10,000 pounds) 
of force. This means more structure or reinforcement are needed for the 
heavier vehicle, which means more cost and weight. Moreover, vehicles 
in the heavier category have not previously been subject to FMVSS No. 
216, so they have not been required to meet the existing 1.5 SWR 
single-sided requirement.
    At the same time, these heavier vehicles account for only a very 
small part of the target population of occupants who might benefit from 
improved roof strength. Only 5 percent of the fatalities in the overall 
target population (33 in terms of a specific number) occur in vehicles 
over 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) GVWR. Ninety-five percent of the 
fatalities (635 in terms of a specific number) occur in vehicles under 
2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) GVWR. These differences reflect the fact 
that there are far fewer vehicles in this category in the on-road 
fleet, and may also reflect the vehicles' size and weight as well as 
their frequency of use as working vehicles. Heavier vehicles generally 
are less likely to roll over than lighter vehicles.
    We recognize the argument that all light vehicles should meet the 
same SWR requirements, to ensure the same minimum level of protection 
in a rollover crash. However, in selecting particular requirements for 
a final rule, we believe that our focus must be on saving lives while 
also considering costs and relative risk. What is necessary to meet the 
need for safety and is practicable for one type or size of vehicle may 
not be necessary or reasonable, practicable and appropriate for another 
type or size of vehicle. Thus, to the extent the goal of establishing 
the same SWR requirements for all light vehicles would have the effect 
of either unnecessarily reducing the number of lives saved in lighter 
vehicles or imposing substantially higher, unreasonable costs on 
heavier vehicles despite their lesser relative risk, we believe it is 
appropriate to adopt different requirements for different vehicles. We 
also observe that because the same SWR requirement is significantly 
more stringent for heavier vehicles than lighter vehicles (due to SWR 
being a multiple of unloaded vehicle weight), establishing the same SWR 
requirement for heavier vehicles is not simply a matter of expecting 
manufacturers to provide the same countermeasures as they do for light 
vehicles.
    Vehicles with a GVWR of 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) or less.
    Our decision to adopt a 3.0 SWR requirement for vehicles with a 
GVWR of 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) or less, i.e., the vehicles 
currently subject to the standard, reflects the higher life-saving 
benefits associated with that requirement. It also reflects our 
consideration of the test results of current vehicles. We believe the 
high SWR levels that are currently being achieved for a range of light 
vehicles demonstrate that manufacturers can achieve this SWR level for 
these vehicles.
    An SWR requirement of 3.0 prevents about 66 percent more fatalities 
than one at 2.5, 133 instead of 80. However, costs increase by a 
considerably higher percentage, resulting in a less favorable cost per 
equivalent life saved, $5.7 million to $8.5 million for 3.0 SWR as 
compared to $3.8 million to $7.2 million for 2.5 SWR.
    In these particular circumstances, we believe that a 3.0 SWR 
requirement is appropriate and the costs reasonable given the increased 
benefits. While the cost per equivalent life saved is relatively high 
compared to other NHTSA rulemakings, we conclude that the higher safety 
benefits, the legislative mandate for an upgrade, the technical 
feasibility of making roofs this strong, and the fact that these costs 
are generally within the range of accepted values justify moving 
NHTSA's roof crush standards to a 3.0 SWR for vehicles that have been 
subject to the 1.5 SWR requirements.
    We decline, however, to adopt an even higher SWR requirement. In 
considering higher SWR requirements at this level, costs continue to 
increase at a considerably higher rate than benefits. The FRIA 
estimates that while a 3.5 SWR requirement for these vehicles would 
result in higher benefits, preventing 175 instead of 133 fatalities, 
total costs would increase to $1.6 billion to $2.3 billion (about $800 
million to $1.1 billion above the total costs for the 3.0 SWR 
requirement) and the overall cost per equivalent life saved for these 
vehicles would increase to $8.8 to $12.3 million. A 3.5 SWR requirement 
would thus result in an approximate doubling of the costs beyond those 
of a 3.0 SWR requirement, and deliver about \1/3\ more benefits.
    Vehicles with a GVWR greater than 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) 
and less than or equal to 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds).
    Vehicles with a GVWR greater than 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) 
are not currently subject to FMVSS No. 216 and, because of their 
greater unloaded vehicle weight, these vehicles pose greater design 
challenges. Moreover,

[[Page 22361]]

given the relatively small target population for these vehicles, the 
benefits will necessarily be small regardless of the SWR selected.
    After considering our original proposal of a SWR of 2.5 and the 
available information, we have concluded that a SWR of 1.5 is 
appropriate for these heavier vehicles. The requirement we are adopting 
is more stringent than the longstanding requirement that has applied to 
lighter vehicles until this rulemaking because it is a two-sided 
requirement. The FRIA estimates that two fatalities and 46 nonfatal 
injuries will be prevented annually by this requirement. Because of the 
high cost relative to the benefits for all of the alternatives for 
these heavier vehicles, from the 1.5 SWR alternative and above, any 
alternative we select would adversely affect the overall cost 
effectiveness of this rulemaking (covering all light vehicles).
    We believe that a SWR of 1.5 is appropriate for these heavier 
vehicles. Given the requirements of SAFETEA-LU, we need to ensure that 
the standard results in improved real world roof crush resistance for 
these vehicles. We decline, however, to adopt a SWR higher than 1.5 for 
vehicles with a GVWR greater than 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds), given 
the small additional benefits (4 additional lives saved) and 
substantially higher costs. Adopting a SWR of 2.0 for these vehicles 
would more than double the costs of this rule for these vehicles to 
prevent 4 additional fatalities and 137 nonfatal injuries.
    Other issues related to strength requirements and SWR.
    As indicated above, the Alliance cautioned against increasing the 
SWR beyond 2.5 for lighter vehicles due to the potential adverse 
effects of increased mass. It stated that recommendations in the docket 
for higher levels did not attempt to account for the potential effect 
on the SSF of adding structure necessary to comply with higher 
standards.
    We do not believe that it is necessary to account for that effect. 
We note that the agency has considered a number of issues related to 
added weight as part of the FRIA, including possible adverse effects to 
safety. Based on our analysis, we believe that today's rule will not 
result in adverse effects to safety as a result of added weight.
    For a number of reasons, including ones related to CAFE standards, 
fuel prices, and rollover propensity, we believe manufacturers will 
strive to minimize the weight impacts of added roof strength. While 
there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding the actual changes that 
manufacturers will initiate in response to this rule, there are 
numerous ways to address both roof strength and rollover propensity 
simultaneously. This final rule provides substantial leadtime within 
which to choose among those ways and make design changes that avoid 
adversely affecting that propensity. There is evidence from current 
NCAP ratings that manufacturers are routinely doing so. Manufacturers 
generally strive to maintain or improve their NCAP ratings to help 
market their vehicles. The agency believes that this concern over NCAP 
ratings would preclude a design strategy that unnecessarily increases 
CG and degrades SSF. Further, agency testing of 10 redesigned vehicles 
with higher roof strengths found that manufacturers had maintained SSF 
levels while increasing roof strength in newly redesigned models.
    A detailed discussion of issues related to added weight and SSF is 
included in the FRIA, and there is also additional discussion later in 
this document.
    Mercedes-Benz suggested that, for a two-sided test requirement, the 
SWR on the second side should be lower than what would be required for 
the first side. According to Mercedes, this would reflect the lower 
force levels in a rollover that it said the second side would 
experience. However, as discussed above in the section on single-sided 
or two-sided tests, the agency's analysis of NASS data indicates that 
vehicles experience more intrusion on the far side (second side) of the 
vehicle than the near side. Therefore, we decline to adopt a lower SWR 
requirement for the second side. We note that the agency took into 
account the costs and benefits of a two-sided test requirement with the 
SWR at the same level for both sides.
    As to the issue raised by CSRL about safety standards that are 
technology-forcing, that commenter did not provide specific information 
concerning what it contemplated in this area. As part of the agency's 
analysis of costs and benefits, we considered the use of advanced 
higher strength and lighter weight materials. Our analysis assumes 
significantly greater implementation and use of these advanced 
materials.
    Finally, we note that several commenters suggested that the agency 
use alternative approaches other than unloaded vehicle weight for 
purposes of calculating SWR. Recommendations included using weight of 
the vehicle plus two occupants, or GVWR plus two occupants. We decline 
to change FMVSS No. 216's existing approach of using a multiple of 
unloaded vehicle weight for calculating the force requirement that 
applies to each vehicle. Using a weight higher than unloaded vehicle 
weight would simply represent another means of increasing stringency 
and would be equivalent to a requirement for a higher SWR. However, the 
agency has already considered alternative higher SWR levels, as well as 
a two-sided test requirement, which also represent an increase in 
stringency. Thus, the other issues we have considered ensure an 
appropriate level of stringency.
5. Performance Criteria--Headroom, Platen Travel, or Both
    In the NPRM, we proposed to replace the current limit on platen 
travel (test plate movement) during the specified quasi-static test 
with a requirement that the crush not exceed the available headroom. We 
were concerned that the platen travel limit does not provide adequate 
protection to front outboard occupants of vehicles with a small amount 
of occupant headroom. We also stated that the current requirement may 
impose a needless burden on vehicles with a large amount of occupant 
headroom.
    Under our proposal, no roof component or portion of the test device 
could contact the head or neck of a seated Hybrid III 50th percentile 
adult male dummy during the specified test. We believed that this 
direct headroom reduction limit would ensure that motorists receive an 
adequate level of roof crush protection regardless of the type of 
vehicle in which they ride. We included a definition of the term ``roof 
component'' as part of the proposal.
    We noted a concern that there may be some low roofline vehicles in 
which the 50th percentile Hybrid III dummy would have relatively little 
available headroom when positioned properly in the seat. That is, we 
were concerned that, in some limited circumstances, the headroom 
between the head of a 50th percentile male dummy and the roof liner is 
so small that even minimal deformation resulting from the application 
of the required force would lead to test failure. We requested comments 
on whether any additional or substitute requirements would be 
appropriate for low roofline vehicles.
    In the NPRM, the agency estimated benefits based on post-crash 
headroom, the only basis for which a statistical relationship with 
injury reduction had been established. In our January 2008 SNPRM, we 
explained that with additional years of available data, a statistically 
significant relationship between intrusion and injury for belted 
occupants had been established. A

[[Page 22362]]

study regarding this relationship was placed in the docket.\19\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \19\ Strashny, Alexander, ``The Role of Vertical Roof Intrusion 
and Post-Crash Headroom in Predicting Roof Contact Injuries to the 
Head, Neck, or Face during FMVSS 216 Rollovers.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We also noted in the January 2008 SNPRM that in the most recent 
agency testing, headroom reduction had been assessed using a head 
positioning fixture (HPF) in lieu of a 50th percentile adult male 
dummy. We stated that reports on these tests explain the procedure and 
type of fixture used to assess headroom reduction, and that the test 
reports were being made available to the public. We noted further that 
the agency was considering whether this fixture should be specified in 
the final rule.
Comments
    The agency received a variety of comments on the proposed headroom 
reduction criterion.
    One group of commenters, including safety advocacy organizations, 
generally supported adding a headroom reduction criterion but, in some 
cases, argued that a platen travel criterion is also needed. Some of 
these commenters also argued that these criteria should be made more 
stringent to protect taller occupants.
    Another group of commenters, including vehicle manufacturers, urged 
the agency to retain the current platen travel criterion instead of 
adopting a headroom reduction criterion. They argued, among other 
things, that using the headroom reduction criterion would add 
unnecessary complexity to the test procedure and result in problems 
related to repeatability and practicability.
    Specific issues raised by commenters include:
    Repeatability and practicability issues. Several commenters, 
including the Alliance, DaimlerChrysler, GM, Ford, and Porsche, cited 
concerns related to reliability and practicability of using a test 
dummy for purposes of the FMVSS No. 216 quasi-static test. 
DaimlerChrysler, Ford and GM stated that variations in test dummy 
placement cause variability in the distance between the dummy head and 
the roof side rails. In test results cited by GM, horizontal and 
vertical variations of an inch or more occurred in the dummy's seating 
position. GM stated that this variability is further complicated when 
vehicles with different trim and seating options (cloth or leather, 
manual or power adjusters) are provided using the same vehicle 
architecture structure. It suggested that such options add to the 
variability and make the proposed requirement of measuring roof crush 
resistance with a seated Hybrid III dummy non-repeatable and 
impracticable.
    Porsche also expressed concern with controlling unwanted movement 
of the dummy with its roof crush test set-up. The Porsche roof crush 
test procedure rotates the vehicle by 90 degrees because their platen 
press applies a load parallel to the ground. The dummy is not fixed 
into position and, as a result, would rotate and not be properly 
positioned.
    Complexity. IIHS stated that relating the allowable amount of roof 
crush in the quasi-static test to the headroom in specific vehicles is 
a good concept but that, in practice, the agency's research tests have 
not shown that replacing the 127 mm (5 inch) platen travel criterion 
with the headroom requirement would be a meaningful change to the 
standard and may not justify the added complications to the test 
procedure.
    Possible conflicts with FMVSS No. 201 ``Occupant protection in 
interior impact.'' A number of commenters, including DaimlerChrysler, 
Ford, GM, Ferrari and Toyota commented that the proposed headroom 
requirement conflicts with the intent of the upper interior 
requirements of FMVSS No. 201, Occupant Protection in Interior Impact. 
DaimlerChrysler and GM stated that FMVSS No. 201U \20\ countermeasures 
have been specifically developed to manage head impact energy and 
mitigate injury potential by the dissipation of the impact energy 
through deformation of the trim and FMVSS No. 201U countermeasures 
themselves. Ford stated that head impact mitigation technologies often 
result in the upper interior trim, particularly the roof side rail 
trim, being closer to the head of occupants, thereby reducing the 
available distance for achieving the SWR requirement prior to headform 
contact. It stated that these technologies are designed to reduce the 
likelihood of head impact injuries, and that the proposed no-contact 
requirement does not account for the potential benefits of these 
technologies in a roof deformation situation. GM further stated that 
NHTSA's headroom analysis does not establish a correlation between 
injuries and head contact with trim components.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \20\ FMVSS 201U, refers to those aspects of FMVSS No. 201 
pertaining to the upper interior trim head protection requirements.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Effects on vehicle manufacturing process GM stated that since the 
vehicle roof structure is designed very early in the vehicle 
development process, it is not possible to reliably predict the 
performance or movement of interior trim in a roof crush test. It 
stated that structural designs must be completed early in the vehicle 
development process to facilitate tooling lead time. According to GM, 
the interior trim components (included in the proposed definition of 
roof component) are not designed in final form until much later in the 
vehicle development process. Therefore, according to that commenter, 
the roof structure force deflection characteristics are defined (and 
roof crush properties established) before manufacturers can take into 
account the package space and deformation requirements of the interior 
trim.
    Reduced stringency of the standard Several commenters, including 
Public Citizen, IIHS, and LSMM expressed concern that the proposed head 
contact criteria could reduce the residual occupant headroom required 
after testing, be less stringent for vehicles with existing headroom 
greater than 127 mm (5 inches), and thereby allow more than 127 mm (5 
inches) of crush. As a result, according to these commenters, the 
stringency would be reduced for vehicles with greater than 127 mm (5 
inches) of headroom, such as many trucks and Sport Utility Vehicles 
(SUVs). We note that Ford commented that most of its light trucks, 
multipurpose passenger vehicles and vans (LTVs) have more than 127 mm 
(5 inches) of platen travel prior to head contact, while passenger cars 
generally have less.
    Alternative headroom requirement approaches A number of commenters 
recommended alternative approaches to the proposed headroom 
requirement. Biomech Incorporated (Biomech) suggested using a one 
gravity static inversion test (using the FMVSS No. 301 fixture) to 
learn where the inverted dummy head position would be. It suggested 
that deformation in the roof crush test should not be permitted to 
reach the measured position of the inverted dummy's head.
    GM, DaimlerChrysler, Toyota, Ferrari and Porsche recommended that 
if the agency establishes a headroom reduction criterion, it consider 
using a headform position procedure (HPF) that essentially represents a 
headform secured to an adjustable vertical support that is rigidly 
attached to the floor pan of the tested vehicle at the seat anchorages.
    A number of these commenters also suggested that the agency 
consider removing any roof trim components (i.e., all headliner, trim, 
deployable countermeasures and grab handles) prior to testing. Further, 
these commenters also recommended that

[[Page 22363]]

head contact with the roof structure itself be the only assessment 
criteria for compliance certification. GM recommended that 
manufacturers provide the headform location to NHTSA prior to a 
compliance test based upon the nominal design seating positions. 
Toyota, by contrast, recommended the agency determine the location for 
the 50th percentile male head position with the Head Restraint 
Measuring Device (HRMD) \21\ after first determining the H-point using 
the SAE J826 procedure, and then position the headform in the vehicle.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \21\ HRMD means the SAE J826 three-dimensional manikin with a 
headform attached, representing the head position of a seated 50th 
percentile male, with sliding scale at the back of the head for the 
purpose of measuring head restraint backset.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    DaimlerChrysler recommended verifying compliance by a 200 N (44 
pounds) resultant contact force in the upper neck load cell of a 50th 
percentile adult male Hybrid III head fixture at the location specified 
in the NPRM. DaimlerChrysler recommended that in the event the platen 
does not stop quickly enough after the resultant neck force reaches 200 
N (44 pounds); the head fixture should be designed to either withdraw 
or become compliant by using a force limiting device in order to 
prevent any damage to the load cell in the dummy's head. GM also 
recommended a similar approach and suggested the agency consider a 
range of loads on the headform of 100 N (22 pounds) to 400 N (88 
pounds).
    Advocates recommended a maximum intrusion limit of no more than 
76.2 mm (3 inches) in order to protect occupants taller than the 50th 
percentile male. Public Citizen recommended that NHTSA require that 
vehicle roof structures resist more than 76.2 mm (3 inches) of roof 
crush, and maintain the minimum amount of headroom proposed in the NPRM 
in order to reduce side window breakage and prevent B-pillar 
deformation, which it believes can alter seat belt geometry.
    ARCCA, Mr. Slavik and the Advocates also recommended the agency use 
a 95th percentile adult male dummy instead of the smaller 50th 
percentile male to increase the stringency of the standard and further 
limit intrusion.
    Testing with HPF: As noted above, the agency indicated in the SNPRM 
that it was considering whether to specify a test using a HPF in the 
final rule. We received a number of comments concerning this issue.
    The Alliance reiterated its recommendation that NHTSA maintain the 
use of the 127 mm (5 inch) platen travel criterion. That organization 
stated that it does not support a ``no head contact'' criterion, 
whether it is determined by use of a test dummy or via the use of an 
HPF with an associated contact force. The Alliance stated that the 
platen travel requirement would yield essentially the same roof 
strength and avoid unnecessary test-to-test variability and testing 
complexity. That organization stated that if the agency adopts a head 
contact criterion in the final rule, it is essential that the head 
contact device be a headform on a stand located at a position specified 
by the manufacturer and not a crash test dummy or a headform located 
based on what it claimed would be very unreliable and unrepeatable 
location data estimated from a test dummy or SAE J826 manikin (OSCAR) 
location. The Alliance stated that possible use of a 222 N (50 pound) 
contact criterion has not been supported by any scientific data.
    In commenting on the SNPRM, GM stated that use of the 127 mm (5 
inch) platen travel criterion rather than either a dummy or head 
contact fixture is required to prevent unnecessary test variation and 
complication while maintaining a comparable level of stringency.
    AIAM did not endorse the HPF approach but suggested that the 
fixture might be equipped to measure neck load, to exclude incidental 
contact with trim items.
    Public Citizen stated that defining head contact with the HPF by 
using force-deflection criteria would result in a significant number of 
front seat occupants suffering head and neck injuries.
Agency Response
    After carefully considering the comments, the agency has decided to 
adopt the proposed headroom requirement, but with a different test 
procedure. Instead of specifying a procedure using a seated Hybrid III 
adult male dummy, we are specifying use of a HPF that positions the 
headform at the location of a 50th percentile adult male. To help 
ensure objectivity and in light of concerns about incidental contact 
with trim, head contact is defined as occurring when a 222 N (50 pound) 
resultant load is measured by a load cell on the HPF. Finally, to 
better ensure safety, we are retaining the current 127 mm (5 inch) 
platen travel requirement as well as adopting a headroom requirement.
    Primary Rationale: At the time of the NPRM, the agency estimated 
benefits based on post-crash headroom, the only basis for which a 
statistical relationship with injury reduction had been established. 
After the NPRM, with additional years of data available, a 
statistically significant relationship between intrusion and injury for 
belted occupants was established.
    NHTSA cited its new headroom and roof intrusion analysis \22\ in 
the SNPRM. The agency added two years of NASS-CDS data to each analysis 
and found a new, stronger negative correlation between post-crash 
headroom and maximum injury severity of head, neck or face from roof 
contact. Also, for the first time, the agency was able to find a 
statistically significant correlation between vertical roof intrusion 
and head, neck, or face injury from roof contact. Based upon this new 
analysis, we believe that maintaining headroom, as well as restricting 
the amount of intrusion (retaining the platen travel requirement) will 
yield benefits in rollover crashes. Therefore, we believe both criteria 
should be included in the final rule.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \22\ ibid
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Commenters opposing adoption of a headroom requirement raised a 
number of concerns, including ones related to the test procedure, 
practicability concerns, and whether a headroom requirement would 
result in benefits beyond those of the platen travel requirement. The 
issues related to the test procedure and practicability concerns are 
addressed below.
    As to the issue of additional benefits associated with the headroom 
criterion, we note that, based on our testing, in the vast majority of 
vehicles it is likely that the limit on platen travel will be 
encountered before the one on headroom reduction. For these vehicles, 
the new requirement will not pose any significant challenges for 
manufacturers, particularly in light of the changes we are making in 
the test procedure. However, as we also consider vehicles with less 
headroom and potential future vehicles, we believe there is a need to 
adopt a headroom reduction requirement to help ensure post-crash 
survival space.
    In the NPRM, we raised a concern that for vehicles with greater 
than 127 mm (5 inches) of headroom, limiting platen travel to 127 mm (5 
inches) may impose a needless burden on these vehicles. However, 
manufacturers generally supported retaining the platen travel limit, 
suggesting that the requirement is not burdensome. Moreover, as 
indicated above, we now have a new analysis showing a statistically 
significant relationship between intrusion and injury for belted 
occupants.
    Basic Test Procedure for Measuring Head Contact: To help analyze 
comments raising repeatability concerns

[[Page 22364]]

with the Hybrid III dummy and identifying when head contact occurred, 
the agency conducted a series of tests using alternative approaches. In 
the first series of tests conducted at NHTSA's Vehicle Research and 
Test Center (VRTC), the agency used a head positioning fixture 
developed by GM (GM-HPF).\23\ The GM-HPF is a headform secured to an 
adjustable vertical support that is rigidly attached to the floor pan 
at the seat anchorages. The GM-HPF rigidly holds a headform in the 
location of a normally-seated 50th percentile male head and measures 
the load on the headform from contact with the interior roof as it is 
crushed.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \23\ See Docket Number NHTSA-2005-22143-195
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The headform consists of a skull, headskin, and 6-axis upper neck 
load cell from a 50th percentile male Hybrid-III dummy (Part 572, 
subpart E). This assembly is mounted to the end of a channeled square 
tube (upper post). A second, similar tube (lower post) is 
perpendicularly mounted to a rectangular aluminum mounting plate. The 
upper and lower posts attach to each other and are parallel. The upper 
post can slide along the lower post. This provides vertical adjustment 
of the headform once the fixture is mounted in the vehicle. The GM-HPF 
also includes four metal support straps that attach between the upper/
lower post and the mounting plate, in a pyramid configuration. These 
straps provide rigidity to the fixture and are attached after final 
positioning of the headform.
    In the testing conducted at VRTC,\24\ the head position of a 
normally seated 50th percentile male Hybrid-III dummy was determined by 
placing the seat at the mid-track position and using the SAE J826 
(OSCAR) device to locate the H-point. A 50th percentile male Hybrid-III 
dummy was then positioned per the FMVSS No. 208 seating procedure and 
the head location was documented using a 3-dimensional measurement 
device. The dummy and seat were then removed. The GM-HPF mounting plate 
was attached to the vehicle floor and the headform was then raised 
until its vertical position matched that determined from dummy 
placement.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \24\ See docket entry NHTSA 2008-0015-003 for the vehicles 
tested with the GM-HPF.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    After gaining experience with the GM-HPF, the agency developed its 
own, simpler HPF approach for evaluating post crash headroom. In doing 
so, the agency determined that it is not necessary to use a test device 
with the complexity of a headform based on the Hybrid III dummy head, 
given the nature of the performance criterion being measured. Earlier 
testing had shown that the skin on the Hybrid III dummy's head added a 
level of testing complexity that was unnecessary to the goal of 
identifying when roof contact occurs at a point in space. Therefore, 
the agency developed a simpler HPF using an FMVSS No. 201 headform that 
is currently used for testing instrument panels and seat backs. (This 
headform is effectively a 16.5 cm (6.5 inch) diameter metallic 
hemisphere).
    During roof crush test series conducted at General Testing 
Laboratories,\25\ the HPF was developed by mounting the FMVSS No. 201 
headform to a cantilevered levering arm which was then attached to a 
tri-pod. The levering arm was maintained in position by air pressure 
and designed to collapse after a 222 N (50 pound) load was applied. The 
purpose of the cantilever design was to allow some downward movement so 
as not to damage the device after head contact is reached. The HPF was 
positioned in the vehicle at the 50th percentile male head position 
using the FMVSS No. 214 seating procedure recently adopted (72 FR 
51908) and modified to use the OSCAR with a Head Restraint Measuring 
Device attached for repeatable placement. The HPF tri-pod apparatus was 
then rigidly secured to the floor of the vehicle. The FMVSS No. 201 
headform was mounted on a 3-axis dummy neck load cell, and all loads 
and moments were recorded. The roof was then crushed until the 
unmodified interior roof made contact with the HPF and the resultant 
load, as measured by the load cell, exceeded 222 N (50 pounds). During 
our evaluation we defined ``head contact'' as occurring when a 222 N 
(50 pound) load is applied to the sphere, in the belief that this load 
level would correspond to structural roof contact rather than interior 
trim components coming loose. This was consistent with comments from 
DaimlerChrysler and GM that used a force load approach as a reliable 
method of identifying head contact and removing the uncertainty of 
random interior trim contact.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \25\ See report Two-Sided Roof Crush Testing Analysis placed in 
the docket with this notice.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Our test experience with the simpler HPF proved to be repeatable in 
the tests and easier than using the Hybrid III dummy itself during the 
test.
    We believe specification of the HPF appropriately addresses 
commenters' concerns regarding variability with regard to locating the 
dummy's head. With the HPF rigidly fixed to the vehicle, we also 
believe this addresses the concerns of manufacturers, such as Porsche, 
which alter the attitude of the vehicle with respect to the load press 
when conducting roof crush tests.
    Because head contact is defined as a load on the headform, the test 
result is more objective/repeatable, and not sensitive to incidental 
contact with interior surfaces that may disengage during testing.
    We disagree with comments from manufacturers that recommended the 
removal of the roof's interior trim prior to testing in order to 
simplify the procedure. The agency's headroom analysis established a 
correlation between injuries and head contact with a NASS-CDS roof 
component when the injury source was the A-Pillar, B-Pillar, front or 
rear header, roof rail or the roof itself. These interior surfaces are 
considered interior trim. We believe they should be factored in when 
considering the available headroom in the test. By defining head 
contact as occurring when a 222 N (50 pound) load is applied to the 
headform, we are addressing concerns about incidental contact with 
trim. This definition of head contact also addresses concerns about 
possible conflicts with the intent of FMVSS No. 201U, with respect to 
concerns with incidental contact. If the headform experiences a 222 N 
(50 pound) load, the contact is not incidental and there is a safety 
issue related to available headroom.
    We also disagree with comments from manufacturers recommending that 
the head contact device be a headform on a stand located at a position 
specified by the manufacturer and not a crash test dummy or a headform 
located based on SAE J826 manikin (OSCAR) location. The HPF test 
procedure (as would a test procedure using a test dummy) measures head 
contact in the vehicle being tested. However, the approach of using a 
headform on a stand located at a position specified by the manufacturer 
would not necessarily represent the actual vehicle build.
    We note that the SAE J826 mannequin has long been incorporated in 
NHTSA's safety standards for purposes of determining the H-point 
location. Issues concerning the accuracy of measurements using this 
device and the HRMD were addressed at length in our rulemaking 
upgrading our head restraints standard. Manufacturers can address 
concerns about different trim and seating options by factoring in the 
location where the headform (and also the head of a typical average 
size male occupant) will be under those different options.
    Definition of head contact:
    As noted above, the Alliance stated that possible use of a 222 N 
(50 pound) contact criterion has not been supported

[[Page 22365]]

by any scientific data. Public Citizen expressed concern that defining 
head contact with the HPF by means of force-deflection criteria would 
result in a significant number of front seat occupants suffering head 
and neck injuries.
    We note that the load as defined is not intended to be an injury 
criterion, for which one would expect supporting scientific data, but 
is instead simply an objective way of defining head contact and 
avoiding treating incidental contact with loose trim as head contact. 
Our testing has shown, on average, once physical contact between the 
interior roof trim and the headform occurred resulting in the onset of 
a load on the headform, the platen traveled 6 mm (0.24 inches) prior to 
the load reaching 220 N (50 pounds). Therefore, we do not expect 
increased head and neck injuries from this approach. Moreover, 
retention of the current platen travel requirement will also prevent 
such increased injuries. We selected the 222 N (50 pound) contact 
criterion based on comments from GM and DaimlerChrysler and our own 
testing experience.
    Possible Reduced Stringency:
    IIHS, LSMM and Public Citizen expressed concern that if the platen 
travel requirement were not retained in addition to adopting the 
headroom criterion, adoption of the proposed headroom criterion would 
represent a decrease in stringency for the standard's performance 
criterion. This is not an issue since we are retaining the platen 
travel requirement.
    Possible more restrictive requirements. We disagree with commenters 
which recommended that the agency reduce the platen travel requirement 
to 76.3 mm (3 inches).
    On average, the vehicles the agency has tested have reached the 
maximum SWR in 90 mm (3.5 inches) of platen travel. A requirement for 
reduced platen travel would represent an increase in stringency and, in 
many respects, would be similar to a requirement for a higher SWR. We 
note that the agency has already been considering the possibility of a 
higher SWR, as well as two-sided test requirement, which would also 
increase stringency. We have not conducted testing to analyze the 
appropriateness of applying a 3 inch platen travel requirement to all 
vehicles. However, we believe the other issues we have considered 
ensure an appropriate level of stringency.
    We also do not agree with commenters recommending the use of the 
95th percentile dummy (or equivalent HPF) for measuring head contact. 
Restricting headroom to a 95th percentile occupant is similar to 
limiting the platen displacement to 76.3 mm (3 inches) in increasing 
stringency. As indicated above, we believe the other issues we have 
considered ensure an appropriate level of stringency. Moreover, we 
believe that the relationship between vehicle headroom and occupant 
size is insignificant in most cases. It is likely that taller front 
seat occupants adjust the seat positions to prevent uncomfortable 
proximity to the roof such as by lowering the seat cushion bottom, 
increasing the seat back angle and/or adjusting the seat position 
further rearward.
    Low roofline vehicles: In the NPRM, we discussed possible concerns 
with vehicles that have relatively little available headroom when the 
50th percentile adult male dummy is positioned properly in the seat. 
Vehicles with these aerodynamically sloped roofs will hereafter be 
referred as ``low roofline vehicles.'' We stated that we were concerned 
that, in some limited circumstances, the headroom between the head of a 
50th percentile male dummy and the interior headliner is so small that 
even minimal deformation resulting from the application of the required 
force would lead to test failure. NHTSA requested comments on whether 
any additional or substitute requirements would be appropriate for low 
roofline vehicles in order to make the standard practicable.
    Several commenters, including DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Porsche, 
Mitsubishi Motors R&D of America, Inc. (Mitsubishi) and Hyundai America 
Technical Center, Inc. (Hyundai), provided comments on low roofline 
vehicles. The commenters recommended that the requirements be limited 
to 127 mm (5 inches) of deflection for a load of 2.5 SWR in order to 
minimize the negative impact on continued availability of this type of 
vehicle if the agency were to adopt a headroom requirement. 
DaimlerChrysler stated that the proposed standard was not reasonable, 
practicable and appropriate for these types of motor vehicles as 
required by the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. It further stated that the 
agency had not demonstrated in the NPRM or the PRIA, the feasibility of 
going beyond 1.5 times the UVW in roof strength without head contact 
for vehicles with steeply raked windshields and reduced headroom.
    DaimlerChrysler suggested its recommendation would be applicable to 
the Chrysler Crossfire, Dodge Viper, and McLaren Mercedes models and 
successors, which are generally designed with a steeply raked 
windshield and a low roofline for reduced frontal area and low drag. It 
further stated that this modified requirement should also apply to 
other kinds of vehicles, such as any two-seater that is designed with a 
more aggressively raked windshield. DaimlerChrysler recommended that 
vehicles of this type could be identified or defined based on a set of 
characteristics such as the Static Stability Factor (SSF) (e.g., 
>=1.4), NCAP rollover rating (e.g., >=4 stars), height-to-width ratio 
(e.g., <=0.75), windshield rake angle, vehicle height, etc.
    Ford stated that low roofline vehicles are not the only vehicles 
that have problems with limited headform clearance. It stated that 
vehicles that may be considered as ``high roofline'' can also have 
limited headform-to-roof clearance due to interior package design. 
Based on the interior package design of a particular vehicle, 
regardless of roof line characteristics, the critical dimension 
(distance between the outboard side of dummy's headform and the roof 
side rail trim) can be minimal. Mitsubishi commented that headform-to-
roof clearance is a concern for not only low roofline vehicles but may 
be more generically classified as being an issue for limited headroom 
vehicles.
    Porsche expressed concern that low roofline vehicles have less 
opportunity for enhanced roof structures because the focus on 
performance and aerodynamics virtually eliminates the option of taller 
pillar supports.
    Hyundai stated it will be challenging for low roofline vehicles and 
particularly two door coupe vehicles to meet the upgraded standard 
because of the lack of headroom and the possibility the B-pillar may 
not be loaded because it is further away from the A-pillar compared to 
a sedan. It requested that the agency define a low roofline vehicle to 
explicitly include two-door coupe vehicles in the definition. It also 
requested that these types of vehicles be allowed to meet the current 
requirements until it can be demonstrated that practicability with the 
upgrade is feasible.
    Based on its analysis, the agency believes the requirements it is 
adopting will not create new problems for low roofline vehicles. In our 
most recent two-sided research program, the agency tested a 2006 
Chrysler Crossfire, a vehicle identified as a low roofline vehicle. 
During the first-side test, the vehicle had a peak SWR of 2.9 at 97 mm 
(3.85 inches) of platen displacement. Head contact based upon our 
criteria (222 N load on the headform) occurred at 107 mm (4.21 inches) 
of platen travel. This showed the maximum SWR was reached prior to head 
contact. On the

[[Page 22366]]

second side, the Crossfire reached a 2.7 SWR prior to head contact at 
135 mm (5.31 inches) of platen travel.
    The agency tested another low roofline vehicle, the 2007 Scion tC. 
This vehicle achieved a maximum SWR of 4.6 on the first side at 113.3 
mm (4.46 inches) of platen travel. Head contact occurred at 119 mm 
(4.68 inches) of platen travel. On the second side, the Scion achieved 
a 4.1 SWR prior to head contact at 95.0 mm (3.74 inches) of platen 
travel. From these tests we believe it is feasible and practicable for 
smaller vehicles with less initial headroom to meet the requirements. 
Since both are two-door vehicles, we disagree with Hyundai's assertion 
that two-door vehicles pose an unreasonable challenge.
    We agree with Ford's observations that some vehicles that may 
appear to be ``high roofline'' vehicles, but may experience head 
contact in less platen travel than a ``low roofline'' vehicle. The 2007 
Buick Lucerne, a large full size vehicle reached a maximum SWR of 2.3 
at a platen displacement of 110 mm (4.33 inches). The vehicle did not 
reach the proposed SWR of 2.5. In this test, platen travel at head 
contact was less than the Crossfire. Therefore, the arguments being 
made for excluding low roofline vehicles may not be unique to low 
roofline vehicles. Ford's comments also illustrate the difficulty in 
identifying what is or is not a low roofline vehicle.
    DaimlerChrysler suggested SSF or other vehicle parameters could be 
used to define low roofline vehicles and exclude them from the headroom 
requirement. However, we believe that this exclusion is not warranted 
based on our testing. Moreover, we are concerned about the safety 
impact of unnecessarily excluding vehicles from the upgraded 
requirements.
6. Leadtime and Phase-In
    NHTSA proposed that manufacturers be required to comply with the 
new requirements three years after the issuance of the final rule. At 
that time, based upon vehicle testing, we estimated that 68 percent of 
the current fleet already complied with the proposed roof strength 
criteria. We anticipated the proposal would not require fleet-wide roof 
structural changes and believed the manufacturers had engineering and 
manufacturing resources to meet the new requirements within that 
timeframe.
    In commenting on the NPRM, vehicle manufacturers and their 
associations argued that additional leadtime was needed, and that a 
significantly greater portion of the fleet would require redesign than 
estimated by the agency. The Alliance, Ford and GM stated that 
approximately 60 percent of their fleets would need to be redesigned, 
and Hyundai commented that 75 percent of its vehicles would need 
changes to comply with the requirements.
    Toyota, Ford, GM, Hyundai, Nissan and DaimlerChrysler stated that 
the agency underestimated the necessary modifications to vehicle design 
and manufacturing challenges that must be overcome to comply with the 
proposal. Ford, GM, DaimlerChrysler, and Toyota stated that the 
challenges are especially true for heavier vehicle over 2,722 kg (6,000 
pounds) GVWR which have not been required to meet FMVSS No. 216.
    GM and Ford stated that they rely on outside suppliers for advanced 
high strength material and currently there is an insufficient supply 
base for high strength steel. They also cited significant manufacturing 
challenges that must be overcome to adapt ultra high strength steel to 
the mass production environment. They argued that leadtime with a 
phase-in is necessary to permit growth in the supply base and allow the 
manufacturers to resolve manufacturability issues for high volume 
production requirements.
    The vehicle manufacturers generally requested a 3-year leadtime 
followed by a multi-year phase-in. Most supported a minimum 3-year 
phase-in. GM requested a 4-year phase-in period, and DaimlerChrysler 
requested a 5-year phase-in only for vehicles over 3,855 kg (8,500 
pounds). The AIAM requested compliance credits for an early phase in, 
while the Alliance, Ford and Mitsubishi requested carryforward credits. 
The AIAM and Ferrari requested that small volume manufacturers be 
permitted to comply at the end of the phase-in due to compliance 
difficulties, long product cycles and cost penalties associated with 
running structural changes to vehicle programs.
    In commenting on the SNPRM, the Alliance reiterated points made in 
its comment on the NPRM, stating that the final rule needs to provide 
at least three years initial leadtime followed by a multi-year phase-in 
with carryforward credits. It stated that additional time is needed if 
the agency adopted the proposed head contact criterion, a two-side test 
requirement, or an SWR higher than 2.5. Ford suggested that if the 
agency adopted a more stringent requirement than the one it focused on 
in the NPRM, that vehicles meeting a 2.5 SWR/one-sided test requirement 
earn compliance credits before and during the phase-in.
Agency Decision/Response
    After carefully considering the comments and available information, 
and for the reasons discussed below, we have decided to adopt different 
implementation schedules for vehicles with a GVWR of 2,722 kilograms 
(6,000 pounds) or less, i.e., the vehicles currently covered by FMVSS 
No. 216, and those with a higher GVWR. The implementation schedules we 
are adopting are as follows:
    Passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses 
with a GVWR of 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) or less. We are adopting 
a phase-in of the upgraded roof crush resistance requirements for these 
vehicles. The phase-in requirement for manufacturers of these vehicles 
(with certain exceptions) is as follows:

--25 percent of the vehicles manufactured during the period from 
September 1, 2012 to August 31, 2013;
--50 percent of the vehicles manufactured during the period from 
September 1, 2013 to August 31, 2014;
--75 percent of the vehicles manufactured during the period from 
September 1, 2014 to August 31, 2015;
--100 percent of light vehicles manufactured on or after September 1, 
2015.

    Credits may be earned during the phase-in, i.e., beginning 
September 1, 2012, and carried forward through August 31, 2015.
    Small volume manufacturers are not subject to the phase-in but must 
meet the requirements beginning on September 1, 2015. Vehicles produced 
in more than one stage and altered vehicles must meet the upgraded 
requirements beginning September 1, 2016.
    Multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR 
greater than 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) and less than or equal to 
4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds). All of these vehicles must meet the 
requirements beginning September 1, 2016,\26\ with the following 
exceptions. Vehicles produced in more than one stage and altered 
vehicles must meet the requirements beginning September 1, 2017.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \26\ If heavier vehicles are designed to meet the new 
requirements early, their production volumes are not to be included 
when calculating the light vehicle fleet phase-in percent 
compliance. The phase-in schedule for the two fleets are separate.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Our rationale for this implementation schedule is as follows.
    As discussed in the FRIA, a significantly larger proportion of the 
vehicle fleet will require changes than estimated at the time of the 
NPRM. This

[[Page 22367]]

would be true even for a 2.5 SWR/one-sided test requirement, and the 
proportion is higher for the 3.0 SWR/two-sided requirement. We 
therefore agree that a combination of approximately three years 
leadtime plus a multi-year phase-in is appropriate.
    In developing the implementation schedule, we have considered costs 
and benefits. The vast majority of the benefits of the rule come from 
vehicles with a GVWR of 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) and less. Of the 
135 fatalities that will be prevented each year, 133 will come from 
these lighter vehicles. Moreover, the lighter vehicles are generally 
redesigned more often than the heavier vehicles. Also, manufacturers 
are familiar with designing and testing the lighter vehicles to meet 
the current FMVSS No. 216 requirements.
    In order to implement the upgraded requirements in a cost effective 
manner, we believe it is appropriate to provide approximately three 
years of leadtime coupled with a 25 percent/50 percent/75 percent/100 
percent phase-in for the lighter vehicles, and longer leadtime for the 
heavier vehicles. The benefits for the heavier vehicles are relatively 
small, and approximately seven years leadtime will generally permit 
manufacturers to improve roof strength at the same time they redesign 
these vehicles for other purposes.
    While vehicle manufacturers made varying recommendations for the 
specific provisions of a phase-in, the phase-in we are adopting for 
lighter vehicles is within the general range of those recommendations. 
We recognize that manufacturers argued that longer leadtime should be 
provided for requirements more stringent than a 2.5 SWR/one-sided test 
requirement. However, while the 3.0 SWR/two-sided test requirement will 
increase the number of vehicles requiring redesign and the specific 
countermeasures that are needed, we believe that approximately three 
years of leadtime coupled with a 25 percent/50 percent/75 percent/100 
percent phase-in provides sufficient time for manufacturers to make 
these changes. We note that the vehicles likely to present the greatest 
design challenges under our proposal were the ones with a GVWR above 
2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds), for which we are providing longer 
leadtime and a lower SWR requirement. Vehicle manufacturers have not 
provided persuasive evidence that longer leadtime is needed, or that a 
less stringent requirement should be established for an initial period.
    We believe that providing for carry forward credits during the 
phase-in, but not the earning of advance credits prior to the beginning 
of the phase-in, balances encouraging early compliance and manufacturer 
flexibility with also encouraging manufacturers to continue to improve 
roof strength during the years of the phase-in.
    As with a number of other rulemakings, we are establishing special 
requirements for small volume manufacturers and for vehicles produced 
in more than one stage and altered vehicles.
    Given the leadtime needed for manufacturers to redesign their 
vehicles to meet the upgraded roof crush requirements, we find good 
cause for the compliance dates included in this document.

b. Aspects of the Test Procedure

1. Tie-down Procedure
    In the NPRM, we proposed to revise the vehicle tie-down procedure 
in order to improve test repeatability. Specifically, we proposed to 
specify that the vehicle be secured with four vertical supports welded 
or fixed to both the vehicle and the test fixture. If the vehicle 
support locations are not metallic, a suitable epoxy or an adhesive 
could be used in place of welding. Under the proposal, the vertical 
supports would be located at the manufacturers' designated jack points. 
If the jack points were not sufficiently defined, the vertical supports 
would be located between the front and rear axles on the vehicle body 
or frame such that the distance between the fore and aft locations was 
maximized. If the jack points were located on the axles or suspension 
members, the vertical stands would be located between the front and 
rear axles on the vehicle body or frame such that the distance between 
the fore and aft locations was maximized. All non-rigid body mounts 
would be made rigid to prevent motion of the vehicle body relative to 
the vehicle frame.
    We explained that we believed this method of securing the vehicle 
would increase test repeatability. Welding the support stands to the 
vehicle would reduce testing complexity and variability of results 
associated with the use of chains and jackstands. We also stated that 
we believed that using the jacking point for vertical support 
attachment is appropriate because the jacking points are designed to 
accommodate attachments and withstand certain loads without damaging 
the vehicle.
Comments
    Commenters on the proposed tie-down procedure included the 
Alliance, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, GM, Toyota, AIAM, Mr. Chu, Hyundai and 
BMW Group (BMW). A number of commenters agreed with the agency's 
intention to revise the tie-down procedure for the quasi-static test to 
improve test repeatability. However, manufacturers raised specific 
concerns about the proposed procedure. AIAM, Mr. Chu, Hyundai and BMW 
alternatively recommended retention of the current tie-down procedure. 
Advocates and SAFE supported the revised tie-down procedure because it 
has the potential to ensure less vehicle movement during testing.
    Ford suggested that the proposed tie-down procedure can cause 
localized, unrealistic floor pan deformations that can reduce the 
measured strength of the roof. The Alliance, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, GM 
and Toyota recommended providing one vehicle support per vehicle 
pillar. However, they recommended placing the support along the sill, 
as opposed to the jack points, since they stated that jack points are 
not designed to withstand the forces generated during a roof crush 
test. The commenters suggested that this would minimize unwanted body 
displacement by providing a direct load path during testing which the 
proposal does not address. For body-on-frame vehicles, DaimlerChrysler 
also recommended support of the vehicle frame, in addition to the 
pillar supports, to further prevent sag of the body. In the event that 
the agency adopts the practice of supporting the body at the pillars, 
the Alliance, GM, and BMW also requested that a minimum area of support 
be provided to avoid concentrated loading.
    The Alliance, BMW and Ford also had concerns about welding supports 
to the vehicle body. The commenters stated that welding could decrease 
the material properties of the body reducing the measured roof 
strength, and welding might not be practical or possible for non-
ferrous or composite materials. BMW alternatively recommended clamping 
instead of welding, citing concerns about welding certain materials and 
the possibility of failure of the sills due to the welding. Ford 
recommended contacting the manufacturer for instructions about welding 
aluminum sills, if the agency proceeded with the welding protocol.
    AIAM, Mr. Chu, Hyundai and Nissan recommended maintaining the 
existing procedure that supports the entire length of the sill in order 
to reduce complexities and unwanted body deformation with the tie-down 
proposal. Nissan suggested supporting the wheelbase at the sill flange 
pinch welds between the two channels that grab the

[[Page 22368]]

pinch weld on the bottom of the sill. The side sill flange would be 
constrained to prevent transverse body movement when tested. Hyundai 
recommended that the current procedure be permitted at the 
manufacturer's option since it believes the revised tie down procedure 
is burdensome. DaimlerChrysler and Toyota also recommended continuous 
mounting along the sills suggesting this would prevent unwanted body 
deformation at the jack point locations.
    For vehicles without B-pillars, the Alliance, Ford, and GM 
recommended that a support be placed at the seam between the doors as 
if a pillar existed between the doors. The Alliance stated that doors 
connected without a pillar often have reinforcements to compensate for 
the structure that would be afforded by a pillar if it were part of the 
vehicle design, and therefore, the joint between the doors will act as 
one of the direct load paths from the roof to the rocker. Without a 
support at the door joint, the Alliance suggested that the roof 
strength cannot be accurately measured in these types of vehicles.
Agency Response
    As part of analyzing the comments on the proposed tie-down 
procedure for the quasi-static test, the agency conducted analytical 
simulations using a finite element model on a late model Ford 
Explorer.\27\ First the agency performed an analysis of the proposed 
procedure where the vehicle was supported at the jack locations. Two 
additional models were also developed to evaluate supporting the 
vehicle body under the pillars and continuously along the length of the 
body sill, as the commenters suggested.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \27\ See report, Finite Element Simulation of FMVSS No. 216 Test 
Procedures, placed in the docket with this notice.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Ford Explorer was modeled because it is a body-on-frame \28\ 
vehicle, and according to the comments, the proposed procedure would 
not accurately evaluate the roof strength of that type of vehicle. The 
first Explorer tie-down model followed the NPRM procedure where the 
vehicle was supported at its jack point locations. This was along the 
frame mounted inward of the vehicle body sill in the case of the 
Explorer. The analysis showed that the NPRM procedure produced 
compression of the body-to-frame rubber body mounts. We believe this 
tie-down simulation did not accurately evaluate the strength of the 
roof because the body was not isolated in the simulation. The loading 
of the body mounts is also unrealistic in a rollover. The results were 
consistent with Ford's comment that suggested supporting a vehicle by 
its frame at the body mount locations could cause floor pan deformation 
and thereby reduce the measured strength of the roof.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \28\ A body-on-frame vehicle is constructed by attaching a 
vehicle body to a rigid frame which supports the drivetrain. At the 
attachment points, rubber body mounts are used to isolate the body 
from vibration.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The results of the other simulations (vehicle secured under the 
pillars and vehicle secured along the rocker/sill) showed higher roof 
strength than the NPRM procedure. There was nearly a 7 percent increase 
in roof strength within 127 mm (5 inches) of platen travel when the 
vehicle's body was supported under the pillars compared to the NPRM 
procedure. The simulation results using the continuous sill support 
tie-down showed a 3 percent increase in roof strength compared to the 
NPRM procedure. Overall, in both simulations, the body sag in the floor 
pan did not appear to be a concern and produced a more realistic 
loading of the roof. The load-deformations curves were also similar, 
whereas the results from the simulation using the NPRM tie-down 
procedure diverged early in the analysis at approximately 18,000 N or 
0.8 SWR.
    We note that the full sill tie-down procedure generated a lower 
peak force when compared to the vehicle supported under the pillars. 
The simulation for the full sill tie-down procedure did not include any 
constraints for the Explorer's frame. However, when the vehicle body 
was supported under each pillar, a number of vertical supports were 
added to support the mass of the frame. This could explain the slight 
difference in the maximum strength of the roof. However, we believe the 
difference is negligible.
    After considering the comments and the computer simulations, we 
decided, for purposes of fleet testing, to revise the tie-down 
procedure to support the vehicle continuously under the sill. We 
believe this approach further reduces any variability compared to the 
Alliance recommendation because the entire wheelbase of the vehicle is 
supported and not just under each pillar. Also, the peak force 
difference in the computer models was not a significant issue because 
both methods addressed the commenters' main concern of inappropriate 
floor pan deformation. For body-on-frame vehicles, additional supports 
would be placed under the frame as this constraint was not included in 
the computer simulation and might account for the difference in peak 
force. The full sill tie-down procedure is consistent with the existing 
FMVSS No. 216 requirement supported by AIAM, Mr. Chu, Hyundai, and 
Nissan.
    For the fleet testing,\29\ the vehicle's sill at the body flange 
weld was fully supported along the wheelbase between two box tubes and 
securely fixed into place with high strength epoxy. For body-on-frame 
vehicles, additional supports were placed under the frame to reduce 
body sag created by an unsupported frame, as recommended by 
DaimlerChrysler. Epoxy was selected in response to the Alliance, BMW 
and Ford's comments that welding may adversely alter the vehicle's 
structure prior to testing. We believe the epoxy will not alter the 
material properties of the vehicle structure or cause complications for 
sills made of non-ferrous or composite materials. The revised test 
procedure provided support for each of the vehicle pillars and provided 
a stable load path when tested, consistent with the recommendations by 
the Alliance, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, GM and Toyota. Also, by supporting 
the vehicle along the wheelbase, which includes the door seam for 
vehicles without a B-pillar (the joint between the doors), a 
reactionary surface is provided for the applied load when tested, 
addressing the Alliance, GM and Ford's concerns.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \29\ See report, Two-Sided Roof Crush Strength Analysis, placed 
in the docket of this notice.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    During our evaluation of the tie-down procedure,\30\ dial 
indicators were placed at the sill below the vehicle's pillars on the 
opposite side of the platen travel to check for vehicle displacement 
during the test. The tie-down procedure showed on average less than a 
millimeter (0.04 inches) of body displacement at all measurement 
locations, parallel to the direction of platen motion for both unibody 
and body-on-frame vehicles. For comparison, the agency also tested a 
Buick Lacrosse that was rigidly supported along the entire wheelbase 
and compared the result to another Lacrosse test where the sill was 
supported along the wheelbase only at 152.4 mm (6 inch) increments. The 
Lacrosse was also supported under the pillars, as recommended by the

[[Page 22369]]

Alliance. The results showed that the body displacement was lower for 
the full sill tie-down when compared to the results where the sill was 
only partially supported.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \30\ The agency measured the sill displacement at three 
locations along the wheelbase on the side opposite to the force 
application on the roof, for 13 vehicles. Ten of the tests were 
single-sided and three were two-sided. The sill displacement ranged 
from 0 to 2.3 mm (0.09 inches). The VW Jetta achieved the highest 
SWR level at 5.7 in this data set and experienced almost no sill 
movement. In the three two-sided tests in this series, conducted 
with the Subaru Tribeca and two Buick Lacrosses, the agency did not 
observe any significant difference in sill displacement on the 
second side compared to the first.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    After considering the comments and in light of the testing and 
simulations, we are adopting the revised tie-down procedure, where the 
vehicle is supported at the sill, along the entire wheelbase. This 
procedure reduces vehicle displacement, more accurately measures the 
strength of the roof, and is more robust than the procedure recommended 
by the Alliance and its members. Furthermore, the revised test 
procedure addresses the comments to the NPRM because it supports the 
vehicle pillars during testing and reduces the likelihood of vertical 
and horizontal translation of the body.
    We note that, in light of the fact that the test procedure is 
consistent with the current FMVSS No. 216 test procedure while 
providing improved clarity, the agency has adopted it for use in 
current FMVSS No. 216 \31\ compliance tests. This procedure has been 
used for 19 fiscal year 2007 and 2008 OVSC compliance tests.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \31\ TP-216-05 Laboratory Test Procedure for FMVSS No. 216, 
November 16, 2006.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. Platen Angle and Size
    In the NPRM, we did not propose to change the test device 
orientation or the size of the test plate. However, we included a 
discussion of comments related to test device orientation and size that 
we had received in response to the October 2001 RFC.
    Under the current test procedure specified in FMVSS No. 216, the 
test plate is tilted forward at a 5-degree pitch angle, along its 
longitudinal axis, and rotated outward at a 25-degree angle, along its 
lateral axis, so that the plate's outboard side is lower than its 
inboard side. The test plate size of 762 mm (30 inches) wide by 1,829 
mm (72 inches) long is designed to load the roof over the occupant 
compartment. The edges of the test plate are positioned based on fixed 
points on the vehicle's roof. The forward edge of the plate is 
positioned 254 mm (10 inches) forward of the forwardmost point on the 
roof, including the windshield trim. We note that, as discussed later 
in this document, there is a secondary test procedure for certain 
vehicles with raised roofs or altered roofs, which we proposed to 
eliminate.
Comments
    The agency received numerous comments and recommendations to change 
the platen test angle and size. A number of the comments were from 
safety advocacy groups. Some commenters recommending a 2-sided test 
requirement recommended that we use different criteria for the two 
tests.
    Consumers Union cited comments it had made on the agency's 2001 RFC 
and the agency's discussion in the NPRM. That commenter noted that it 
had recommended that the agency modify the test plate load and size. It 
stated that it continues to believe that the current plate load and 
size does not reflect real-world rollover conditions. Consumers Union 
stated that it believes that more of the roof crush force is absorbed 
by the A-pillar than accounted for by the current or proposed 
procedure. It recommended that the agency conduct additional studies 
concerning this issue.
    IIHS commented that testing roof crush strength at multiple load 
angles would add to the meaningfulness of the quasi-static test 
requirement that NHTSA currently specifies. However, it also stated 
that in the absence of a range of plate angles, any distinct test angle 
choice should be supported by evidence that such an angle is 
representative of a significant percentage of real-world rollovers.
    Various commenters recommended that the agency change the platen 
pitch in ways they believe would better reflect the more aggressive 
loading angles that are frequently sustained in real-world rollover 
crashes, particularly for SUVs and pickups. The general recommendation 
was to increase the pitch angle of the platen to 10 degrees because 
commenters believed the proposed 5 degree pitch is not realistic.
    CAS stated that the pitch angle must be increased to at least 10 
degrees to emulate actual rollovers where damage to front fenders is 
testimony to the fact that in a rollover, the pitch angles are this 
high. Advocates suggested that vehicles be evaluated at different 
platen angles, up to and including 10 degrees pitch x 45 degrees roll.
    Mr. Chu suggested a series of procedures he believed would best 
address the plate angle issue. His 6-step procedure would test each 
front corner of the roof three times, with the roll angle of the plate 
maintained at 25 degrees, and the pitch angle from 5 to 10 degrees.
    Consumers Union and Mr. Friedman encouraged the agency to consider 
the use of a smaller platen in order to load the A-Pillar and not 
extensively load the B-pillar. Mr. Friedman submitted two-sided test 
data published in a recent technical publication using a smaller platen 
301 mm (11.8 inches) wide by 610 mm (24 inches) long and at different 
pitch and roll angles.\32\ The commenter stated that the smaller plate 
more aggressively loads the A-pillar. It showed the roof achieved a 
lower SWR on the second side by as much as 40-70 percent compared to 
the current FMVSS No. 216 procedure.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \32\ Friedman D., et al., ``Result From Two Sided Quasi-Static 
(M216) and Repeatable Dynamic Rollover Test (JRS) Relative to FVMSS 
216 Tests,'' 20th ESV Conference, Lyon, France, 2007.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Agency Response
    After carefully considering the comments, we have decided to 
maintain the current platen size and the pitch and roll angle. We note 
that many of the issues raised by the commenters were ones that were 
also raised in comments on the 2001 RFC.
    Prior to issuing the NPRM, the agency conducted a test series to 
evaluate alternative platen angles using the FMVSS No 216 platen.\33\ A 
finite element study was first conducted to evaluate a range of platen 
configurations and to select appropriate conditions for testing. NHTSA 
tested four vehicle pairs using 5 degree x 25 degree and 10 degree x 45 
degree platen angles. The peak SWR from these tests did not demonstrate 
a consistent pattern between the two test conditions. For two vehicle 
models, the 10 degree x 45 degree tests generated a higher peak SWR, 
whereas, the 10 degree x 45 degree tests generated a lower peak SWR in 
the others. Therefore, the test results were inconclusive.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \33\ See Docket NHTSA 2005-22143-57: Load Plate Angle 
Determination and Initial Fleet Evaluation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To help evaluate the comments submitted in the NPRM docket, the 
agency extended the previous finite element studies to evaluate 
alternative platen angles in conjunction with a smaller platen.\34\ The 
finite element model of a 1997 Dodge Caravan was used to evaluate two-
sided simulations with a 5 degree x 25 degree orientation on the first 
side and a 10 degree x 45 degree orientation on the second side. The 
reduction in peak SWR for using a 10 degree x 45 degree platen angle on 
a second side test was 18.7 percent. The 18 percent reduction in peak 
SWR, while significant, is much less than the 40 to 70 percent shown in 
the test results submitted to the docket. The results were also in line 
with our two-sided vehicle test results using the 5 degree x 25 degree 
platen orientation for both sides. On average there was an 8.7 percent 
reduction of strength on the second side compared to the first. 
Furthermore, we found an average

[[Page 22370]]

difference of approximately 7.1 percent lower peak force for the second 
side in vehicles under 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) GVWR and 14.9 
percent lower peak force for the second side in vehicles over 2,722 
kilograms (6,000 pounds) GVWR.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \34\ See, Finite Element Simulation of FMVSS No. 216 Test 
Procedures, placed in the docket with this notice.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To evaluate how a smaller platen affects roof strength 
measurements, the agency also conducted simulations with a smaller 305 
x 610 mm (12 x 24 inch) platen using a 10 degree x 45 degree platen 
angle on a Dodge Caravan model. The results showed an approximate six 
percent decrease in peak force compared to our baseline results with a 
larger platen using the same configuration. However, the simulations 
showed the potential for platen edge-to-roof contact. Since the platen-
to-roof contact is intended to be a surrogate for vehicles rolling on 
the ground, localized loading from the platen edge can cause 
unrealistic loading conditions. Therefore, the results demonstrated how 
a smaller platen localized the stress on the A-pillar, reducing the 
measured strength during the evaluation, but the crush deformation does 
not appear to represent real-world crash results.
    Many of the commenters assumed that a higher pitch angle leads to a 
more demanding test procedure and also assumed it is more reflective of 
real world rollovers, particularly for pickups and SUVs. However, only 
limited anecdotal evidence (based on interpretation of crash photos) 
was provided to support these conclusions. Due to the extremely complex 
and chaotic nature of rollover crashes, it is impossible for any one 
test to fully replicate all of the loading forces that occur in all 
real-world crashes. However, we believe the platen size and pitch/roll 
angles proposed and currently incorporated in the standard produce roof 
crush damage patterns that are representative of the crash damage 
patterns observed in real-world crashes.\35\ The use of the smaller 
platen would result in edge contact and unrealistic buckling of the 
roof. We did not propose to alter these parameters in the NPRM or 
SNPRM.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \35\ See Docket NHTSA 2005-22143-56: Roof Crush Analysis Using 
1997-2001 NASS Case Review, 2004.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We are also not persuaded by commenters that recommended varying 
the pitch and roll angle in a two-sided test. As discussed above, the 
agency conducted analytical simulations varying the platen angles. 
Based on the similarity of the post test damage pattern in that 
research, there was not sufficient evidence to justify changing the 
load plate configuration from our current protocol. We are further not 
persuaded by CFIR, Mr. Chu, and LSSM comments to require testing on 
both sides with a smaller platen size. Analytical simulations \36\ 
conducted by the agency using a Dodge Caravan showed that a smaller 
platen is sensitive to positioning and can result in edge contact. As a 
result, a smaller test plate can produce unrealistic contact with the 
roof and highly localized loading, inconsistent with real world 
rollover crashes. CFIR's finding of a 40-70 percent reduction in roof 
strength for the second side tests it conducted may be attributed to 
its smaller platen adding unrealistic stress on the roof.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \36\ See, Finite Element Simulation of FMVSS No. 216 Test 
Procedures, placed in the docket with this notice.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

3. Testing Without Windshields and/or Other Glazing in Place
    We did not propose to change the current FMVSS No. 216 procedure 
and test the vehicle without the windshield or side windows in place. 
In the NPRM, we stated:

    The agency believes that windshields provide some structural 
support to the roof even after the windshield breaks because the 
force-deflection plots in some of the recent test vehicles (e.g., 
Ford Explorer, Ford Mustang, Toyota Camry, Honda CRV) show little or 
no drop off in force level after the windshield integrity was 
compromised. Further examination of real-world crashes indicates 
that the windshield rarely separates from the vehicle, and 
therefore, does provide some crush resistance. Because NHTSA 
believes that the vehicle should be tested with all structural 
components that would be present in a real-world rollover crash, we 
decline to propose testing without the windshield or other glazing. 
70 FR 49238.

    A number of commenters, including ones from safety advocacy groups, 
questioned the contribution of the windshield to the overall strength 
of the roof and generally recommended the windshield be removed prior 
to the test. Advocates, Boyle, et al., CFIR, Consumers Union, 
DVExperts, IIHS, Public Citizens, Penn Engineering, and Perrone 
commented that windshields often break in a rollover, and stated that 
the agency should not specify a test procedure with windshields in 
place. Consumers Union expressed concern about aftermarket windshield 
installation and the unquantifiable strength of the windshield in a 
crash. The Engineering Institute (EI) and Mr. Hauschild recommended 
that if the agency maintains the 2.5 SWR requirement then the 
windshield should be removed. Mr. Slavik stated he conducted tests 
which confirm that on some vehicles, damage to the windshield 
significantly reduces the force and energy required to produce an 
incremental amount of intrusion.
    Technical Services recommended that the side window glass should be 
required to be preserved during testing to improve vehicle rollover 
performance. Xprts and Mr. Friedman also recommended that the side 
windows should not be permitted to fail during the test. Both 
commenters referenced Volvo's internal criteria and suggested that 
tempered glass windows can remain intact.
    ARCCA, Consumer Union, Specialty Equipment Market Association 
(SEMA) and Hyundai raised concerns with regard to vehicles equipped 
with sunroofs. ARCCA and Consumers Union suggested vehicles equipped 
with sunroofs meet the roof crush requirements. Hyundai noted that 
vehicles equipped with sunroofs have reduced headroom compared with 
those without sunroofs. SEMA requested the agency ensure aftermarket 
sunroofs be permitted because they are installed inside the roof's 
perimeter cage.
Agency Response
    After considering the comments, we decline to change the current 
test procedure in which the windshield and side windows remain in place 
during FMVSS No. 216 tests. We also disagree with the recommendation 
that the agency require side windows to be preserved during test. The 
agency was not presented with new information showing windshield 
breakage in a rollover significantly contributed to a reduction in roof 
strength.
    We have examined the post crash windshield status for 1997-2006 
NASS investigated rollover crashes with greater than one quarter turn. 
The majority of the windshields were coded as either ``in place and 
cracked'' or ``in place and holed.'' Less than 10 percent of weighted 
incidents indicate the windshield is ``out of place.''
    While Mr. Slavik stated he conducted testing, the agency was not 
provided data to evaluate. He asserted that there is anecdotal 
acknowledgement by some manufacturers that the windshield provides 
upwards of 30 percent of the measured roof strength. We note that that 
the agency's testing showed that windshield breakage has not been a 
factor in the maximum strength of the roof for some vehicles.\37\ The 
peak load continued to increase after windshield breakage in the 
testing of the 2003 Ford Focus, 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier, and 2002 
Nissan Xterra. In the case of the

[[Page 22371]]

Cavalier, the windshield did not contribute to a decrease in strength 
until 170 mm (6.7 inches) of platen travel.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \37\ See NHTSA-2005-22143-0049: Roof Crush Research: Phase 3--
Expanded Fleet Evaluation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The windshield is a structural element for some vehicles, and we 
continue to believe that vehicles should be tested with all structural 
components that would be present in a real-world rollover crash. We 
declined to propose testing without the windshield or other glazing for 
that reason, and we are not persuaded that there is sufficient 
justification to revise our position.
    The agency also wanted to ascertain the influence of sunroofs on 
roof strength. The Scion tC, Cadillac SRX and Ford Edge were tested 
with large panoramic sunroofs. The glass panel sunroof in the Scion tC 
shattered during the two-sided test, yet the glass panel in the SRX did 
not fail during the single-sided only test. After review of the load-
deformation curves for both vehicles, the test results showed the 
effect of the sunroof was insignificant to the overall strength of the 
roof. In the case of the Scion tC, at the point when the sunroof glass 
broke during the first side test, there was no change in the platen 
load. In the case of the Ford Edge, the rear glass panel of the sun 
roof failed in the second-sided test; however, the front glass panel 
over the front row occupants remained intact. This occurred well after 
125 mm of platen travel. As a result, we believe it is practicable for 
vehicles with sunroofs (including large panoramic roofs) to meet the 
requirements and we do not foresee this upgrade inhibiting aftermarket 
sunroofs mounted within the roof structure.
    In response to Consumers Union, the possibility exists that 
aftermarket windshield installations may not perform to OEM standards. 
However, we do not believe this possibility justifies changing roof 
strength requirements for all new vehicles.
    Xprts and Mr. Friedman recommended a requirement that the side 
windows not break during the roof strength test. The agency 
investigated the contribution of side windows to the strength of the 
roof structure. Our testing showed that side window breakage is 
directly correlated to platen displacement with limited effect on the 
strength of the roof. In reviewing the load-deformation curves at the 
point where the side glass breaks, there is no measurable drop in load 
of the roof and it generally occurs well after the peak strength of the 
roof has been reached.\38\ For completeness, the agency also assessed 
the impact of rear window breakage. The rear windows broke well after 
peak strength was reached and generally past 127 mm (5 inches) of 
platen travel. The breakage of the rear window glass resulted in a 
slight drop in the strength of the roof particularly in pick-up trucks 
where the vertical glass is loaded by the test device and can add some 
strength. Overall, the impact of the side and rear glass had little 
impact on the strength of the roof. We also note that such a 
requirement is outside the scope of notice of the proposal.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \38\ Ibid.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

4. Deletion of Secondary Plate Positioning Procedure
    In the NPRM, we proposed to apply the primary plate procedure for 
all vehicles, removing the secondary plate procedure that applies to 
some raised and altered roof vehicles. We explained that the secondary 
plate positioning procedure produces rear edge plate loading onto the 
roof of some raised and altered roof vehicles that may cause excessive 
deformation uncharacteristic of real-world rollover crashes. Because an 
optimum plate position cannot be established for all roof shapes, the 
testing of some raised and altered roof vehicles will result in loading 
the roof rearward of the front seat area. We stated that we believe 
this is preferable to edge contact because edge contact produces 
localized concentrated forces upon the roof typically resulting in 
excessive shear deformation of a small region. We also stated that we 
believe that removing the secondary plate position would make the test 
more objective and practicable.
    Advocates was the only commenter on this issue and opposed 
eliminating the secondary plate positioning. It stated that reverting 
back to the primary plate position for aerodynamic roof vehicles would 
induce unrealistic loads in that the proportion of force applied to the 
roof is excessively concentrated over the B-pillars. It stated that as 
a consequence, test conditions and roof response to plate loading can 
be substantially different than the loading that actually occurs in 
real-world rollovers of these vehicles where the A-pillars receive a 
proportionately greater force. Advocates suggested this is crucial 
because some vehicles with severely sloped A-pillars are candidates for 
A-pillar collapse in rollover crashes and the percentage of new 
vehicles with severely raked A-pillars and aerodynamically sloped roofs 
has increased each year since their use began in the early to mid-
1990s.
Agency Response
    After considering Advocates' comment, we have decided to remove the 
secondary plate procedure. We do not agree that the FMVSS No. 216 
platen size and positioning produces unrealistic loading of aerodynamic 
roofs. This issue was considered in the 1999 final rule (64 FR 22567) 
where the agency adopted a revised platen positioning procedure to 
reduce the likelihood of unrealistic loading on vehicles with rounded 
roofs. The agency's recent testing of modern vehicles has shown the 
current plate positioning procedure does distribute the load between 
the A- and B-pillars. Generally, the plate's initial point of contact 
with the roof is slightly behind the A-pillar including the Volvo XC90 
which had a large amount of curvature to the roof in the test area 
compared to most vehicles tested.
    However, we continue to believe that edge contact induced by the 
secondary plate procedure results in unrealistic loading specifically 
when the roof is raised or altered. In some circumstances, the plate 
will essentially punch through the sheetmetal instead of loading the 
roof structure. We also do not believe vehicles with steeply raked A-
pillars are common architectures for raised and altered roof vehicles. 
Vans with more upright A-pillars are generally modified to have their 
roofs raised or altered. We are not aware of such changes to 
traditional passenger cars with steeply raked A-pillars.
5. Removal of Roof Components
    FMVSS No. 216 currently specifies removal of roof racks prior to 
platen positioning or load application. We did not propose to change 
this provision.
    Xprts recommended that the roof be tested as the vehicle is to be 
sold, with roof racks or other equipment in place. That commenters 
stated that removal of roof racks prior to conducting the roof crush 
test eliminates a typical roof failure mode. It states that roof rack 
mountings initiate buckling of the roof, increasing the risk of 
occupant injury from roof panel buckling.
    After considering this comment, we decline to change the current 
test procedure. No data were provided by Xprts to support its 
contention that roof racks result in a typical roof failure mode and 
thereby increase the risk of occupant injury from roof panel buckling. 
We reviewed several NASS-CDS cases \39\ of utility vehicles with roof 
racks that had undergone rollover crashes. Our review did not support 
the contention that the presence of a roof rack initiated buckling of 
the roof and increased the risk of occupant injury. There was also no 
general trend

[[Page 22372]]

concerning injury severity and presence of a roof rack in the reviewed 
cases.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \39\ Photographs collected from NASS-CDS Case Query Page. NASS-
CDS cases examined: 100121, 102005185, 146004985, 161005827, 
656500082, 471300143, and 129005218.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We further reviewed our fatal hardcopy case files \40\ and could 
not identify a single case where the roof rack appeared to aggravate 
the deformation of the roof structure.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \40\ See Docket Number NHTSA 2005-22143-56: Roof Crush Analysis 
Using 1997-2001 NASS Case Review.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

6. Tolerances
    In response to comments from the Alliance and Chrysler LLC, we are 
adding several tolerances in the regulatory text to help improve test 
repeatability. We note that platen angles are measured from the 
horizontal and not from the vehicle's frame of reference. Measuring 
platen angles with respect to the ground is more objective than using 
the test vehicle's frame of reference because the latter would 
introduce manufacturing variability. We note that we are not including 
a specification concerning platen overshoot on the first side test 
since we will not conduct compliance tests beyond the specified SWR.
    We decline to add a calibration procedure for the test device or to 
make changes relating to load application rate or to add platen 
material specifications. The basic FMVSS No. 216 test procedure has 
been used for many years, and the commenters did not provide persuasive 
evidence that changes are needed in these areas. As to platen 
materials, we believe the current specification for a rigid unyielding 
block is sufficient.

c. Requirements for Multi-Stage and Altered Vehicles

    For vehicles manufactured in two or more stages,\41\ other than 
vehicles incorporating chassis-cabs,\42\ we proposed to give 
manufacturers the option of certifying to either the existing roof 
crush requirements of FMVSS No. 220, School Bus Rollover Protection, or 
the new roof crush requirements of FMVSS No. 216. FMVSS No. 220 uses a 
horizontal plate, instead of the angled plate of Standard No. 216.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \41\ Vehicles manufactured in two or more stages are assembled 
by several independent entities with the ``final stage'' 
manufacturer in most cases assuming the ultimate responsibility for 
certifying the completed vehicle.
    \42\ Under 49 CFR Sec.  567.3, chassis-cab means an incomplete 
vehicle, with a completed occupant compartment, that requires only 
the addition of cargo-carrying, work-performing, or load-bearing 
components to perform its intended functions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As explained in the NPRM, multi-stage vehicles are aimed at a 
variety of niche markets, most of which are too small to be serviced 
economically by single stage manufacturers. Some multi-stage vehicles 
are built from chassis-cabs that, by definition, have a completed 
occupant compartment. A chassis-cab's roof is an integral part of its 
body structure surrounding the seats for the occupants. Other vehicles 
are built using incomplete vehicles that do not have a completed 
occupant compartment. These include a van cutaway, which consists of 
the frame, drive train, steering, suspension, brakes, axles, and the 
front body section of a van that has no body structure behind the two 
front seats. Another example is a stripped chassis. A final stage 
manufacturer would typically complete the occupant compartments of 
these incomplete vehicles by adding body components to produce a truck 
(e.g., work truck) or multipurpose passenger vehicle (e.g., motor 
home).
    In developing our proposal, we considered whether the proposed 
standard would be appropriate for the type of motor vehicle for which 
it would be prescribed. We stated that we believed it was appropriate 
to consider incomplete vehicles, other than those incorporating 
chassis-cabs, as a vehicle type subject to different regulatory 
requirements. We anticipated that final stage manufacturers using 
chassis cabs to produce multi-stage vehicles would be in position to 
take advantage of ``pass-through certification'' of chassis-cabs, and 
therefore did not believe the option of alternative compliance with 
FMVSS No. 220 was appropriate.
    We noted that while we believed that the requirements in FMVSS No. 
220 have been effective for school buses, we were concerned that they 
may not be as effective for other vehicle types. As noted above, the 
FMVSS No. 216 test procedure results in roof deformations that are 
consistent with the observed crush patterns in the real world for light 
vehicles. Because of this, we explained that our preference would be to 
use the FMVSS No. 216 test procedure for light vehicles. We believed, 
however, that this approach would fail to consider the practicability 
problems and special issues for multi-stage manufacturers.
    We stated that in these circumstances, we believed that the 
requirements of FMVSS No. 220 appeared to offer a reasonable avenue to 
balance the desire to respond to the needs of multi-stage manufacturers 
and the need to increase safety in rollover crashes. Several states 
already require ``para-transit'' vans and other buses, which are 
typically manufactured in multiple stages, to comply with the roof 
crush requirements of FMVSS No. 220. These states include Pennsylvania, 
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Michigan, Utah, Alabama, and 
California. We tentatively concluded that these state requirements show 
the burden on multi-stage manufacturers for evaluating roof strength in 
accordance with FMVSS No. 220 is not unreasonable, and applying FMVSS 
No. 220 to these vehicles would ensure that there are some requirements 
for roof crush protection where none currently exist.
Comments
    We received comments concerning requirements for multi-stage and 
altered vehicles from Advocates, NTEA, NMEDA and RVIA.
    Advocates stated that it opposes permitting FMVSS No. 220 as an 
alternative for multi-stage vehicles. It claimed that FMVSS No. 220 is 
a ``weak'' standard whose effects on roof strength in actual rollover 
crashes are mostly unknown.
    NTEA recommended that all multi-stage vehicles be excluded from 
roof crush resistance requirements. It stated that manufacturers of 
non-chassis-cab vehicles will not be able to conduct the tests or 
perform engineering analysis to ensure conformance to FMVSS No. 220. 
NTEA also disagreed with the assumption that the presence of state 
requirements for FMVSS No. 220 compliance demonstrates that final stage 
manufacturers can actually comply. It stated that the ability of school 
bus and para-transit bus manufacturers to comply with FMVSS No. 220 
does not reflect the ability of typical final stage manufacturers to 
comply with FMVSS No. 220.
    NTEA also stated it is impractical for the agency to assume 
manufacturers of multi-stage vehicles built on chassis-cabs will be 
able to use pass-through certification for compliance. That 
organization stated that these type of vehicles are generally unique 
and built to customer specifications. It also raised a concern that 
some manufacturers of chassis-cabs may not provide the necessary 
specifications for the final stage manufacturer to rely on pass-through 
certification as it applies to roof strength. It argued that the final 
stage manufacturer would therefore be responsible for conducting costly 
analysis and testing to verify compliance with FMVSS No. 216.
    NMEDA expressed concern that the FMVSS No. 220 option would only be 
available for multi-stage vehicles. It asked that the FMVSS No. 220 
option be extended to raised or altered roof vehicles. To encompass the 
modifiers in the proposed upgrade to FMVSS No. 216, NMEDA asked that a 
vehicle roof that is altered after first retail sale be considered in 
compliance if it meets the requirements of FMVSS No. 216 or

[[Page 22373]]

FMVSS No. 220. NMEDA also stated that raising a roof increases the 
available headroom and that the roof therefore can crush more before 
there is any contact with an occupants head. NMEDA requested the agency 
account for the additional headroom beyond the original vehicle's 
headroom in establishing any requirement.
    RVIA supported our proposal to permit FMVSS No. 220 as an option 
for small motor homes as this would allow manufacturers to address the 
unique issues concerning such specialized vehicles built in two or more 
stages.
Agency Response
    After carefully considering the comments and as explained below, we 
are providing a FMVSS No. 220 option for multi-stage vehicles, except 
those built on chassis-cab incomplete vehicles, and for vehicles which 
are changed in certain ways to raise the height of the roof. For 
example, a van may be altered by replacing its roof with a taller 
structure (referred to as a raised roof) to better accommodate a person 
in a wheelchair. We are also excluding a narrow category of multi-stage 
vehicles from FMVSS No. 216 altogether, multi-stage trucks built on 
incomplete vehicles other than chassis cabs.
    In discussing the issues raised by commenters, we begin by 
addressing the comment of Advocates. That organization opposed 
permitting FMVSS No. 220 as an alternative for multi-stage vehicles 
because it believes that FMVSS No. 220 is not sufficiently stringent 
and that its effects on actual rollover crashes are mostly unknown.
    As we discussed in the NPRM, we believe the requirements in FMVSS 
No. 220 have been effective for school buses, but we are concerned that 
they may not be as effective for other vehicle types. We explained that 
our preference would be to use the FMVSS No. 216 test procedure for 
light vehicles, but that this approach would fail to consider the 
practicability problems and special issues for multi-stage 
manufacturers.
    Advocates did not provide analysis or data addressing the special 
circumstances faced by multi-stage manufacturers, or explain why it 
believes these manufacturers can certify compliance of their vehicles 
to FMVSS No. 216. Therefore, that commenter has not provided a basis 
for us to take a different position than we took in the NPRM.
    We next turn to the issues raised by NTEA. As a general matter, we 
believe that it is neither necessary nor would it be appropriate to 
exclude all multi-stage vehicles from roof crush resistance 
requirements. The purpose of FMVSS No. 216 is to improve occupant 
safety in the event of a rollover. If a multi-stage vehicle is involved 
in a rollover, the vehicle's roof strength will be an important factor 
in providing occupant protection. Therefore, while we seek to address 
the special needs and circumstances of multi-stage manufacturers, we 
decline to provide any blanket exclusion for all multi-stage vehicles. 
We will address the issues raised by that commenter separately for 
multi-stage vehicles built on chassis-cab incomplete vehicles, multi-
stage trucks with a GVWR greater than 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) 
not built on a chassis cab and not built on an incomplete vehicle with 
a full exterior van body, and other multi-stage vehicles not built on 
chassis cabs.
    Multi-stage vehicles built on chassis-cab incomplete vehicles.
    A chassis-cab is an incomplete vehicle, with a completed occupant 
compartment, that requires only the addition of cargo-carrying, work-
performing, or load-bearing components to perform its intended 
functions. As such, chassis-cabs have intact roof designs. Chassis-cabs 
are based on vehicles that are sold as complete vehicles, e.g., medium 
and full size pickup trucks, so their roof structure will be designed 
to meet the upgraded requirements of FMVSS No. 216.
    After considering the comments of NTEA, we believe that final stage 
manufacturers can rely on the incomplete vehicle documents (IVD) for 
pass-through certification of compliance with FMVSS No. 216 for 
vehicles built using chassis cabs. To do this, final stage 
manufacturers will need to remain within specifications contained in 
the IVD. Since the stringency of FMVSS No. 216 is dependent on a 
vehicle's unloaded vehicle weight, the final stage manufacturer would 
need to remain within the specification for unloaded vehicle weight. If 
they did not, the roof would not likely have the strength to comply 
with FMVSS No. 216. Also, final stage manufacturers will need to avoid 
changes to the vehicle that would affect roof strength.
    We note that some changes made by final stage manufacturers could 
affect the ability to conduct an FMVSS No. 216 test, e.g., for a truck, 
the addition of a cargo box structure higher than the occupant 
compartment, which could interfere with the placement of the FMVSS No. 
216 test device. To address this concern, we are including a 
specification in the final rule that such structures are removed prior 
to testing. (They are still counted as part of a vehicle's unloaded 
weight.)
    Multi-stage trucks with a GVWR greater than 2,722 kilograms (6,000 
pounds) not built on a chassis cab and not built on an incomplete 
vehicle with a full exterior van body.
    We have decided to exclude from FMVSS No. 216 a very limited group 
of multi-stage trucks with a GVWR greater than 2,722 kilograms (6,000 
pounds), ones not built on a chassis cab and ones not built on an 
incomplete vehicle with a full exterior van body. We note that some 
incomplete vehicles with a full exterior van body might not be included 
in the definition of chassis-cab but would still have an intact roof 
design.
    For the reasons discussed in the previous section, final stage 
manufacturers can rely on the IVD for pass-through certification of 
compliance with FMVSS No. 216 for vehicles built using chassis cabs. 
For multi-stage trucks built on an incomplete vehicle with a full 
exterior van body, the manufacturer can rely on either the IVD for 
pass-through certification of compliance with FMVSS No. 216, or use the 
FMVSS No. 220 option. Since the incomplete vehicle will have an intact 
roof design and will be similar to ones sold as non-multi-stage 
vehicles, the roof will have been designed to comply with FMVSS No. 
216. Therefore, it is likely that the final stage manufacturer can pass 
through FMVSS No. 216 certification. Since the vehicle at issue will be 
based on an incomplete vehicle with a full exterior van body, the FMVSS 
No. 220 procedure is likely to also be an appropriate one for the final 
stage vehicle.
    We are concerned, however, that for other multi-stage trucks, e.g., 
van cutaways, there may be practicability problems for final stage 
manufacturers. Because the incomplete vehicle will not have an intact 
roof and because the strength of the roof may be dependent on the 
structure to be added by the final stage manufacturer, the incomplete 
vehicle manufacturer may not provide IVD or similar information that 
would permit pass-through certification. Moreover, the design of the 
completed truck may be such that it is not possible to test the vehicle 
to FMVSS No. 216 (due to interference with the FMVSS test device) or 
inappropriate for testing with FMVSS No. 220. As noted earlier, the 
FMVSS No. 220 test was designed for school buses and uses a horizontal 
plate over the driver and passenger compartment instead of the angled 
plate of Standard No. 216. This test may not be appropriate for a truck 
with a cargo box that is higher than the occupant compartment.
    Given these practicability issues, we have decided to exclude this 
limited

[[Page 22374]]

group of multi-stage trucks from the requirements of FMVSS No. 216.
    Other multi-stage vehicles not built on chassis cabs.
    For other multi-stage vehicles not built on chassis cabs, we 
continue to believe, for the reasons discussed in the NPRM, that 
permitting FMVSS No. 220 as an option is a reasonable way to balance 
the desire to respond to the needs of multi-stage manufacturers and the 
need to increase safety in rollover crashes. As we noted, several 
states already require ``para-transit'' vans and other buses, which are 
typically manufactured in multiple stages, to comply with the roof 
crush requirements of FMVSS No. 220. We also note that RVIA supported 
our proposal.
    Multi-stage vehicles and complete vehicles with a GVWR greater than 
2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) which have been changed by raising their 
original roof.
    In response to the comments of NMEDA, we agree that the FMVSS No. 
220 option should be available to multi-stage and complete vehicles 
with a GVWR greater than 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) which have been 
changed by raising their original roof.
    In considering this issue, we note that in 1999 the agency 
published a final rule (64 FR 22567) that was in part in response to an 
RVIA petition to allow vans, motor homes and other multipurpose 
vehicles with raised roofs the option to certify to FMVSS No. 220. The 
RVIA had argued first that since raised roof vehicles would have met 
FMVSS No. 216 requirements prior to modification of their roofs, the A-
Pillar strength has already been demonstrated. Second, RVIA had claimed 
that the modifications usually do not affect the roof strength near the 
A-pillar. RVIA believed that the FMVSS No 220 test procedure could be 
used to test the strength of the entire modified vehicle roof without 
repeating the FMVSS No. 216 certification test. In the final rule, we 
stated that we disagreed with RVIA's analysis that concluded FMVSS No. 
220 is comparable to FMVSS No. 216 and is preferable for testing 
vehicles with raised or modified roofs. We stated that that the agency 
stood by its tentative conclusions stated in the NPRM that the FMVSS 
No. 220 test is less stringent than FMVSS No. 216 for testing the 
appropriate roof area.
    In considering the issues raise by NMEDA, we note that the 
discussion we included in the 1999 final rule was in the context of the 
version of FMVSS No. 216 that existed at that time. The standard was 
applicable to vehicles with a GVWR of 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) or 
less. Here we are discussing vehicles with a GVWR greater than 2,722 
kilograms (6000 pounds).
    We believe that practicability issues arise for vehicles with a 
GVWR greater than 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) whose roofs are 
raised. Moreover, we believe that the FMVSS No. 220 option is 
appropriate for the ``para-transit'' vans and buses. The FMVSS No. 220 
option will help ensure that these occupants are afforded a level of 
protection that is currently not required. We are not providing this 
option to vehicles with raised roofs and a GVWR of less than or equal 
to 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds).
    We believe that the practicability issues for vehicle alterers 
which raise roofs on the vehicles at issue are comparable to those of 
final stage manufacturers. An alterer may raise a roof on a vehicle 
that was originally certified to FMVSS No. 216. We believe that 
permitting alterers which raise roofs on these vehicles the option of 
certifying to FMVSS No. 220 balances potential practicability issues 
with the need to increase safety in rollovers.
    The FMVSS No. 220 130 mm (5.1 inches) limit of platen travel 
established at the point of contact with the raised roof is consistent 
with FMVSS No. 216 requirements. As discussed elsewhere in this 
document, we are maintaining the current platen travel requirement as 
well as adding a headroom requirement in FMVSS No. 216. Therefore, even 
if a roof is raised and the manufacturer or alterer selects the FMVSS 
No. 220 option, we believe the platen travel requirement should be the 
same, even if there is additional headroom.
    In arguing for an alternative requirement in this area, NMEDA 
raised a concern about higher center of gravity. NMEDA surveyed its 
members to obtain, amongst a number of things, an estimate of the 
height of raised roofs. It found that some raised roofs can be as high 
as 762 mm (30 inches). It was concerned about the resulting center of 
gravity's effect on rollover propensity of these vehicles.
    We note that in raising the roof of a vehicle, a final stage 
manufacturer or alterer will likely increase the center of gravity of 
the vehicle, independent of any roof crush resistance requirements. We 
believe that it is important that manufacturers carefully analyze the 
impacts of their changes, and choose appropriate vehicles for such 
modifications. We also believe that if final stage manufacturers or 
alterers raise the roof of a vehicle, it is still necessary that the 
vehicle have appropriate roof strength to provide protection in 
potential rollovers.
    As to NMEDA's specific recommendation, we believe that organization 
has not demonstrated a need for a different requirement in this area. 
According to that organization, the typical height of a raised roof is 
356-406 mm (14-16 inches). Its members have designed raised roofs that 
meet FMVSS No. 220, and FMVSS No. 216 as amended will permit this 
option. In addition, vans which are typically altered or modified in 
this manner will have an electronic stability control system as 
standard equipment. Also, different vehicles can be used for higher 
raised roofs, i.e., those with dual rear wheels. We note that the GVWR 
of those vehicles is greater than 4,536 kg (10,000 pounds) and FMVSS 
No. 216 would not apply.

d. Other Issues

1. Convertibles and Open Bodied Vehicles
    Convertibles are excluded from the requirements of FMVSS No. 216. 
In the NPRM, we sought to clarify the definition and scope of exclusion 
for convertibles.
    We explained that FMVSS No. 216 does not define the term 
``convertible.'' We noted, however, that S3 of 49 CFR 571.201 defines 
convertibles as vehicles whose A-pillars are not joined with the B-
pillars (or rearmost pillars) by a fixed, rigid structural member. In a 
previous rulemaking, NHTSA stated that ``open-body type vehicles'' \43\ 
are a subset of convertibles and are therefore excluded from the 
requirements of FMVSS No. 216.\44\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \43\ An open-body type vehicle is a vehicle having no occupant 
compartment top or an occupant compartment top that can be installed 
or removed by the user at his convenience. See Part 49 CFR 571.3.
    \44\ See 56 FR 15510 (April 17, 1991).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We stated in the NPRM that we had reassessed our position with 
respect to ``open-body type vehicles.'' Specifically, we believed that 
we were incorrect in stating that ``open-body type vehicles'' are a 
subset of convertibles because some open-body type vehicles do not fall 
under the definition of convertibles in S3 of FMVSS No. 201. We cited 
the example of a Jeep Wrangler, which we believed to have a rigid 
structural member that connects the A-pillars to the B-pillars.
    We stated in the NPRM that we believe that ``open-body type 
vehicles are capable of offering roof crush protection over the front 
seat area.'' Accordingly, we proposed to limit the exclusion of 
convertibles from the requirements of FMVSS No. 216 to only those 
vehicles whose A-pillars are not

[[Page 22375]]

joined with the B-pillars, thus providing consistency with the 
definition of a convertible in S3 of FMVSS No. 201. We proposed to add 
the definition of convertibles contained in S3 of 49 CFR Sec.  571.201 
to the definition section in FMVSS No. 216.
Comments
    The agency received comments on this issue from Advocates, the 
Alliance, AIAM, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ferrari and Porsche. Vehicle 
manufacturers supported continuing to exclude convertibles from the 
requirements; however they raised some concerns with regard to the 
proposed definition. The Alliance commented that there is no evidence 
that it is practicable for convertibles or open body vehicles to 
comply.
    DaimlerChrysler disagreed with the agency's position that the 
Wrangler is not a convertible. It claimed that the Wrangler does not 
have an A-pillar, since the structure is not rigid and is hinged to 
fold down. Further, that company stated that the padded tube connecting 
the windshield frame and the sport bar is not rigid because it is 
attached with easily-removable screws.
    Several commenters addressed the proposed definition of 
convertible. Ferrari suggested that the definition of convertible 
include ``above the window opening light lowermost point.'' AIAM 
recommended two changes: to add ``not permanently joined'' and to make 
it clear that the referenced connection is ``above the lowest point of 
the side window opening.'' This would lead to the following complete 
definition: ``A convertible is a vehicle whose A-pillars are not 
permanently joined with the B-pillars (or rearmost pillars) by a fixed, 
rigid structural member above the lowest point of the window opening.'' 
DaimlerChrysler suggested changing the convertible definition to 
``vehicles with folding tops or removable hardtops with A-pillars not 
joined to the B-pillars (or rearmost pillars) or joined with removable 
parts to the B-pillars (or rearmost pillars).''
    Advocates disagreed with excluding convertibles from FMVSS No. 216 
and stated further that the agency should establish rollover 
requirements for convertibles that limit ejections and head and neck 
injuries.
Agency Response
    After considering the comments, we are adopting the proposed 
definition of convertible for the final rule and we are continuing to 
exclude convertibles within that definition from the FMVSS No. 216 
requirements. This includes retractable hard top convertibles. We 
believe that to establish a roof crush requirement on vehicles that do 
not have a permanent roof structure would not be practical from a 
countermeasure perspective. A convertible roof would have to be strong 
enough to pass the quasi-static test, yet flexible enough to fold into 
the vehicle. Since we are not aware of any such designs, we do not 
agree with Advocates on this point. We also note that new rollover and 
ejection requirements for convertibles are outside the scope of this 
rulemaking.
    On the issue of open-body vehicles, we agree with DaimlerChrysler 
that the agency misidentified the Wrangler as an open-body vehicle in 
the NPRM when it should have been considered a convertible (since the 
A-pillar is not rigid and fixed to the B-pillar or other rearmost 
pillar). At the time, we were unaware that the windshield and support 
bars were designed to be disassembled.
    Our position on open-body vehicles has not changed. Under the new 
definition, open-body vehicles will be subject to FMVSS No. 216, since 
they are capable of offering roof crush protection over the front seat 
area. We note, however, that given DaimlerChrysler's comment about the 
Jeep Wrangler, we are not aware of other vehicles currently available 
for sale that are considered open-body vehicles.
    We disagree with the Alliance's assertion that it is not 
practicable for open-body vehicles to meet the requirements of FMVSS 
No. 216. We believe that if a vehicle otherwise similar to the Wrangler 
had roof supports that are fixed (as in a roll cage), it should be 
capable of providing protection to the occupants as required by today's 
final rule.
    We are also not making the changes to the proposed definition of 
convertible suggested by some commenters. The definition proposed was 
previously adopted in FMVSS No. 201 (62 FR 16725), and the agency 
believes the applicability is the same and is unaware of any concerns. 
Furthermore, we do not believe further specificity is warranted given 
our revised position on the Wrangler. We believe our discussion in the 
NPRM concerning the Wrangler may have caused confusion. We also do not 
agree that there is a need to specify that convertibles have folding 
hardtops or removable hardtops. These roof systems are not intended as 
significant structural elements but are designed primarily to provide 
protection from inclement weather, improve theft protection and are 
generally offered as a luxury item. These types of roof systems are 
also designed of lighter weight materials, such as aluminum or 
composites, for ease of folding and storage within the vehicle or 
removal by the consumer. and we believe consumers readily recognize 
they will afford the occupants limited protection in a rollover.
2. Vehicles Without B-Pillars
    In the NPRM, we did not specifically discuss vehicles that are 
designed without B-pillars. At the time we were unaware of any 
technical concerns the manufacturers might have with these vehicle, to 
meet the proposed requirements.
    Ford identified a number of design challenges for vehicles without 
B-pillars. That company's concerns were focused on pickup trucks 
without B-pillars that have a GVWR of 3,856 kilograms (8,500 pounds) or 
more. These vehicles have a front-forward opening and a rear-rearward 
opening side door configuration that latch together without a fixed, 
structural B-pillar. Ford expressed concern that there is no direct 
load path to resist the platen during testing and as a result, there 
are significant design and manufacturing issues that must be addressed 
while avoiding a major incremental weight penalty. Ford did not make 
any specific recommendations.
Agency Response
    We agree with Ford's analysis that certain vehicles without B-
pillars may raise additional technical challenges compared to other 
vehicles, particularly for heavier vehicles. However, based upon our 
fleet testing, we believe that a structure can be designed at the joint 
between the doors that acts as a surrogate B-pillar to resist roof 
displacement during testing. We note that the Alliance's comments on 
how the proposed tie-down procedure adversely affects vehicles without 
B-pillars reinforce this view. The revised tie-down procedure for the 
final rule will aid vehicles without B-pillars in complying since 
support will be placed along the complete body sill.
    NHTSA tested two vehicles without B-pillars, the 2004 Chevrolet 
Silverado HD and 2005 Nissan Frontier. This testing confirmed that the 
load can be successfully transferred to the joint between adjacent 
doors where a B-pillar would be in a conventional vehicle design. The 
Silverado did not meet the 2.5 SWR proposed in the NPRM, but it did 
exceed 1.5. The Frontier achieved a peak SWR of almost 4.0 within the 
allocated platen displacement.
    While we appreciate the challenges manufacturers will incur to meet 
the new requirements, we believe the upgrade is feasible for vehicles 
without B-pillars. We note that one of the

[[Page 22376]]

reasons we are providing a phase-in is to permit manufacturers 
additional time to make the design changes needed to enable some of the 
more challenging vehicles to comply with the requirements of the final 
rule.
3. Heavier Vehicles With a High Height to Width Aspect Ratio
    The Alliance and Mercedes-Benz USA requested that vehicles with a 
GVWR above 3,856 kilograms (8,500 pounds) GVWR and a height to width 
aspect ratio greater than 1.2 be permitted to certify to FMVSS No. 220 
as an option or, at a minimum, use the larger platen specified for 
FMVSS No. 220. They argued that the FMVSS No. 216 platen results in 
unrealistic roof deformation for these particular vehicles.
Agency Response
    While we have considered this comment, we believe that the 
commenters have not provided persuasive evidence that a special 
requirement is needed for these vehicles. While we did observe edge 
contact in our testing of the Sprinter, it was not of a nature that 
prevents compliant designs. We note that the 1.5 SWR we are adopting 
for vehicles within this weight range reduces possible concerns in this 
area.
4. Active Roofs
    Autoliv North America (Autoliv) stated that the quasi-static test 
procedure does not have a provision for active roof structure systems. 
Active roof structures are being developed to provide added stiffness 
during an actual rollover event. The effectiveness of such a system may 
be transient, deployed during a rollover initiation and lasting only as 
long as required to reduce intrusion. The quasi-static test specifies a 
deformation rate of not more than 13 millimeters per second with the 
total time for crush not to exceed 120 seconds. According to Autoliv, 
the duration of this test may exceed the time in which certain active 
roof structures can be effective.
Agency Response
    We are not aware of the near term implementation or effectiveness 
of active roof structure technology. In developing performance 
requirements, we seek to develop ones that are appropriate for, and do 
not unnecessarily discourage, new technologies. However, our ability to 
do this is dependent on the amount of information we have. We do not 
have sufficient information at this time to indicate the quasi-static 
test will prevent implementation of active roof systems.
5. Whether an Additional SNPRM Is Needed
    Several commenters argued that the agency's January 2008 SNPRM did 
not provide sufficient information about the alternatives we were 
considering and that an additional SNPRM should be published.
    Public Citizen claimed that the January 2008 SNPRM failed to 
provide enough information for meaningful public comment. It stated 
that the agency did not spell out the explicit safety benefits of 
mandating a two-sided test, or how using the one-sided test would meet 
the statutory requirement relating to roof strength for driver and 
passenger sides. Public Citizen argued that a new SNPRM is needed.
    Advocates claimed that the January 2008 SNPRM offered several 
regulatory alternatives without support from a cost-benefits analysis. 
That commenter stated that this denied the public an opportunity to 
evaluate the agency's comparative estimates of costs and benefits 
before submitting comments. Advocates argued that the SNPRM did not 
fulfill agency's obligation to present the public with the regulatory 
alternatives it is considering.
    The AIAM stated that it believes there would not be a fair 
opportunity for public comment on a two-sided test requirement without 
an opportunity of review of revised cost-benefit analysis.
Agency Response
    We reject the commenters' arguments that the agency did not provide 
a meaningful opportunity for comment. In conjunction with the August 
2005 NPRM, the agency's PRIA included an assessment of the 2.5 and 3.0 
SWR alternatives. As discussed above, in our January 2008 SNPRM, we 
asked for public comment on a number of issues that might affect the 
content of the final rule, including possible variations in the 
proposed requirements. We also announced the release of the results of 
various vehicle tests conducted since the proposal. In the SNPRM, we 
noted that we had been carefully analyzing the numerous comments we had 
received on the NPRM, as well as the various additional vehicle tests, 
including both single-side tests and two-sided tests, conducted since 
the NPRM. We invited comments on how the agency should factor the new 
information into its decision. We noted that while the NPRM focused on 
a specified force equivalent to 2.5 times the unloaded vehicle weight, 
the agency could adopt a higher or lower value for the final rule. We 
explained, with respect to two-sided vehicle testing, that we believed 
there was now sufficient available information for the agency to 
consider a two-sided requirement as an alternative to the single-sided 
procedure described in the NPRM. We stated that we planned to evaluate 
both the single-sided and two-sided testing alternatives for the final 
rule and requested comments that would help us reach a decision on that 
issue.
    While the agency did not provide complete new cost-benefits 
analyses to accompany the SNPRM, we included a detailed discussion in 
the SNPRM of how estimated impacts of the final rule would be changed 
by a number of relevant factors. See 73 FR 5488-5490. These factors 
included the pass/fail rate of the vehicle fleet, the impact of the ESC 
standard on potential benefits, revised cost and weight estimates, two-
sided testing implications, and other factors.
    Thus, in the NPRM and SNPRM, we provided detailed information 
concerning the alternatives we were considering and the relevant 
issues. We also note that both Public Citizen and Advocates supported a 
two-sided test requirement, the alternative we are adopting in today's 
rule.
6. Rear Seat Occupants
    As a general comment to the NPRM, the Advocates raised a concern 
that the quasi-static platen test is not applicable to rear seat 
occupants including small children seated in the rear.
Agency Response
    We note that the large size of the FMVSS No. 216 platen covers the 
rear seat in most vehicles to help ensure protection for rear seat 
occupants. We believe that one of the countermeasures that vehicle 
manufacturers will use to meet the upgraded roof strength requirements 
is strengthening the B-pillars. In terms of possible benefits to small 
children, belted occupant injuries sustained due to rollover roof crush 
are to the head, neck, and face from contact with roof structures. 
Appropriately restrained children are generally not tall enough to 
sustain such injuries.
7. New Car Assessment Program (NCAP)
    Several commenters suggested that the agency develop a 5-star 
rating system concerning roof strength for our NCAP program to provide 
the public with information on roof strength and to encourage 
manufacturers to improve the roof strength of their vehicles.

[[Page 22377]]

Agency Response
    The purpose of this rulemaking is to upgrade our roof strength 
standard. The issue of whether roof strength might be addressed in some 
way in our NCAP program would be considered separately in the context 
of that program.
8. Possible Energy Requirement
    We did not propose an energy requirement in the NPRM but indicated 
that we would welcome comments on an energy absorption test that had 
previously been suggested by SAFE and Syson-Hille and Associates 
(Syson).
Agency Response
    We received several comments. We appreciate the information 
provided in the comments but note that we are not considering 
rulemaking in this area.
9. Advanced Restraints
    In the NPRM, we presented a summary of our advanced restraints 
research and requested comments in this area.
Agency Response
    While advanced restraints are not part of this rulemaking, the 
agency is continuing research in this area and appreciates the comments 
that were provided.

VII. Costs and Benefits

    At the time of the NPRM, the agency prepared a PRIA describing the 
estimated costs and benefits of the proposal. While the agency did not 
provide complete new cost-benefits analyses to accompany the SNPRM, we 
included a detailed discussion in the SNPRM of how estimated impacts of 
the final rule would be changed by a number of relevant factors. See 73 
FR 5488-5490. These factors included the pass/fail rate of the vehicle 
fleet, the impact of the ESC standard on potential benefits, revised 
cost and weight estimates, two-sided testing implications, and other 
factors.
    Many commenters addressed the PRIA and the later discussion of 
these impacts included in the SNPRM. Among other things, commenters 
addressed the target population, the pass/fail rate of the current 
fleet, cost and weight impacts, and estimates of benefits.
    The agency addresses the comments concerning its analysis of costs 
and benefits in detail in the FRIA. In this document, we summarize the 
agency's estimates of costs and benefits and discuss the comments 
concerning target population and roof crush as a cause of injury.

a. Conclusions of the FRIA

    The conclusions of the FRIA can be summarized as follows:
    Countermeasures
    The agency believes that manufacturers will meet this standard by 
strengthening reinforcements in roof pillars, by increasing the gauge 
of steel used in roofs, and/or by using higher strength materials. The 
agency believes that pressure to improve fuel economy in vehicles, 
driven by more stringent Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) 
standards as well as by market forces, together with safety 
considerations, will provide a strong incentive for manufacturers to 
achieve increased roof strength through use of light weight materials 
and stronger roof designs initiated during the redesign cycle. The 
agency believes that the phase-in schedule provided in this rule will 
allow manufacturers to establish such designs in an efficient manner. 
The agency estimates that about 82 percent of all current passenger car 
and light truck models with GVWRs less than 2,722 kilograms (6,000 
pounds) will need changes to meet the 3.0 SWR requirement, and that 40 
percent of vehicles over 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) GVWR will need 
changes to meet the 1.5 SWR requirement.
    Benefits
    The agency estimates that the changes in FMVSS No. 216 will prevent 
135 fatalities and 1,065 nonfatal injuries annually.
    Costs
    The design changes made to comply with higher test load 
requirements will add both cost and weight to the vehicle. This will 
increase the initial purchase price and will increase lifetime fuel 
usage costs.
    Taking account of both the costs of design changes and lifetime 
fuel usage costs, the agency estimates that compliance with the 
upgraded roof strength standard will increase lifetime consumer costs 
by $69-$114 per affected vehicle. Redesign costs are expected to 
increase affected vehicle prices by an average of about $54. Added 
weight is estimated to increase the lifetime cost of fuel usage by $15 
to $62 for an average affected vehicle. The range in fuel costs 
reflects different discount rate assumptions of 7% and 3%, as well as a 
range of assumptions regarding the ability of manufacturers to 
incorporate advanced weight saving technology into their redesigned 
fleet. Total consumer costs are expected to range from $875 million to 
$1.4 billion annually.
    Cost Effectiveness and Net Benefits
    Cost effectiveness is a measure of the economic investment that is 
required to prevent a fatality. The cost effectiveness of this rule was 
estimated under both 3% and 7% discount rate assumptions for each 
alternative. Nonfatal injuries were translated into fatality 
equivalents based on comprehensive valuations that included both 
economic impacts and valuations of lost quality of life. To reflect the 
present value of benefits that would be experienced over the vehicle's 
useful life, the resulting equivalent fatalities were discounted over 
the vehicle's life based on annual exposure to crash involvement as 
measured by annual miles traveled. The 135 fatalities and 1,065 
nonfatal injuries that will be prevented translate into 190 equivalent 
fatalities, which are valued at 156 equivalent fatalities under a 3% 
discount rate, and 125 equivalent fatalities under a 7% discount rate. 
When compared to total costs, the results indicate that the new 
standard will cost from $6.1 million to $9.8 million per equivalent 
life saved.
    Net benefits represent the difference between total costs and the 
total monetary value of benefits. DOT's guidance specifies a value of 
$5.8 million as the value of a statistical life (VSL), with a range of 
uncertainty covering $3.2 million to $8.4 million. The monetary value 
of benefits was estimated by assigning a value of $6.1 million to each 
equivalent fatality prevented. This value includes the $5.8 million VSL 
plus approximately $300,000 of economic savings to represent the 
comprehensive societal benefit from preventing a fatality. This means 
that the standard would be considered to result in net benefits only if 
the cost per equivalent life saved was below $6.1 million.
    Net benefits represent the difference between total costs and the 
total monetary value of benefits. The monetary value of benefits was 
estimated by assigning a value of $6.1 million to each equivalent 
fatality prevented. This value consists of a value per statistical life 
saved (VSL) of $5.8 million plus $300,000 in economic costs prevented. 
For the 3.0/1.5 load requirements of the final rule, the net impact 
would range from a net benefit of $6 million to a net loss of $458 
million. Using an alternate comprehensive value of $8.7 million (which 
consists of a VSL of $8.4 million plus $300,000 in economic savings), 
the standard could result in a net benefit of $388 million to a net 
loss of $151 million. Using an alternate comprehensive value of $3.5 
million (which consists of a VSL of $3.2 million plus $300,000 in 
economic savings), the standard could result in a net loss ranging from 
$376 million to $824

[[Page 22378]]

million. These impacts are disproportionately influenced by the 
relatively large contributions to costs and small contributions to 
benefits from vehicles over 6,000 lbs. GVWR. Nearly all alternatives 
covering vehicles from 6,001 to 10,000 lbs. GVWR yield net losses 
rather than net savings to society.
    The following table summarizes the cost and benefits of this final 
rule.


                    Table 2--Cost and Benefit Summary
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total Cost.............................  $875 to $1,391 million.
Cost per Affected Vehicle..............  $69 to $114.
Benefits...............................  135 fatalities, 1,065 injuries,
                                          190 equivalent fatalities.
Cost per Equivalent Life Saved.........  $6.1million to $9.8 million.
Net Benefits...........................  $6 million to -$458.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

b. Comments

Target Population
    The agency received numerous comments concerning the target 
population. CAS and Advocates argued that improving roof strength would 
impact ejection and that mitigated ejections should therefore be 
included in the agency's benefit calculations. Advocates also argued 
that rear seat occupants should be covered by the revised standard. 
SAFE argued that roof crush increases the likelihood of glass fracture 
and vehicle structure deformation, thereby increasing the possibility 
of ejection. It also argued that roof crush reduces the effectiveness 
of restraint systems, decreases the effectiveness of rollover air 
curtains, and decreases the ability of occupants to be extricated from 
the vehicle. The Xprts disagreed with several of NHTSA's target 
population restrictions. It stated that ejected occupants, rear seat 
occupants, and children under 12 should be included. It also argued 
that roof crush can cause thoracic and spinal injuries, and that upper 
extremity injuries from ejection through side windows should also be 
included. Many of these arguments were repeated in a separate 
submission by CFIR signed by one of the Xprts authors. Consumers Union 
and Public Citizen also argued that stronger roofs would reduce 
ejections and better maintain the performance of other safety features 
such as safety belts, air bags, and door locks. Public Citizen also 
argued that unbelted occupants would benefit from stronger roofs.
    Agency response. We begin our response by noting that Table 1, set 
forth earlier in this document, shows a breakdown of the target 
population that could potentially benefit from roof crush improvements.
    To examine the inclusion of different categories of injuries in the 
target population, the agency has conducted several analyses of 
ejections in rollovers. The first study was a statistical analysis 
examining the relationship between intrusion and ejection. In this 
study,\45\ Strashny examined 36 different Probit models examining 
belted cases, unbelted cases, complete ejections, all ejections 
(including both complete and partial ejection), continuous models, 
dichotomous models, adjusted models based on both quarter turns and 
roof exposures, as well as unadjusted models. In all, there were 18 
models for complete ejections and 18 for all ejections. Strashny found 
that there was no significant relationship between the level of 
intrusion and the probability of complete ejection in any of the 18 
full ejection models. For all ejections, which include partial 
ejections, he found some level of significance for 8 of the 18 models, 
indicating that a minority of the models found a possibility that some 
partial ejections might be influenced by stronger roofs. However, 12 of 
the models found no statistically significant relationship between 
intrusion and all ejections. We note that partial ejections that meet 
the other inclusion criteria are a part of the target population for 
this rulemaking.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \45\ Strashny, Alexander, ``The Role of Vertical Roof Intrusion 
in Predicting Occupant Ejection,'' National Center for Statistics 
and Analysis, 2009.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The agency then conducted a detailed examination of all fatal 
complete ejection cases that were excluded from the target population. 
A panel of three NHTSA safety engineers independently examined each 
case to determine whether (a) for ejections through open doors, there 
was deformation in the door latch area where the root cause could be 
directly attributed to roof crush, and (b) for ejections through 
windows, if the broken glass through which the occupant was ejected was 
directly related to deformation of the roof rather than dynamic crash 
impulse loads or side window/door to ground contact. The panel 
concluded that there were no cases that met either of these criteria. 
Therefore, based on these findings and Strashny's finding of no 
statistically significant correlation between intrusion and ejection 
probability, all cases of total ejection were excluded from the target 
population unless their MAIS level injury occurred inside the vehicle 
prior to ejection.
    For occupants who were unbelted but not fully ejected, we could not 
establish a relationship between roof crush injuries and the magnitude 
of roof crush. Strashny analyzed the relationship between intrusion and 
injuries to unbelted occupants and found no significant correlation. 
This is not unexpected because unbelted occupants essentially become 
flying objects inside vehicles as they roll over, and head injuries can 
occur at multiple interior locations. Therefore, only belted occupants 
are included in the target population.
    Regarding the other categories of injuries noted in the comments, 
partially ejected occupants were already included in the target 
population, and the agency has decided to include rear seat occupants 
in the target population. We note that B pillar strength upgrades were 
included in all of our finite element countermeasure analyses, and this 
support also provides protection for rear occupants. Moreover, vehicle 
schematics submitted by both industry and contractors indicate that 
some design solutions contemplated for increased roof strength include 
not only stronger A- and B-pillars but also a stronger B- to C-pillar 
load path to resist platen movement. Such solutions may benefit rear 
seat occupants as well as front seat occupants. The agency has also 
decided to include belted children in the target population.
Roof Crush as a Cause of Injury
    A number of commenters including GM, Ford, Nissan, and SAFE stated 
that the statistical correlation Strashny found between roof intrusion 
and injury does not establish a causal relationship between roof 
deformation and injury. SAFE stated that the studies by both Rains and 
Strashny merely suggest that there is a relationship. SAFE stated that 
`` * * * when you compare rollover accidents that have significant 
roof/pillar deformation with other rollover

[[Page 22379]]

accidents that have very little or no roof/pillar deformation, you are 
not comparing similar accidents with respect to roof-to-ground impact 
severity. Just the fact that two vehicles are in a rollover with 
greater than 2 quarter turns does not mean they are in the same or even 
similar impact severities.'' SAFE also noted an earlier study (matched 
pair comparison project) in which production and roll bar-equipped 
vehicles were tested where the comprehensive forces measured on test 
dummies were similar regardless of the vehicle roof crush. Ford stated 
that ``The amount of roof deformation is only an indication of the 
severity of the impact between the roof and the ground * * *.'' GM 
stated that ``Observations of injury occurrence at the end of a 
rollover collision reveal nothing regarding the relationship of roof 
deformation, roof strength, or roof strength-to-weight ratio injury 
causation.'' Nissan stated that deformation and injury severity are 
both independently associated with roof impact severity.
Agency Response
    The agency agrees that as a general principle, a statistical 
correlation does not in itself prove that a causal relationship exists. 
However, the Strashny study was designed with a strict focus to only 
include injury scenarios where the intruding roof was the injury 
source. The study compared cases where there was intrusion to cases 
where there was no intrusion and found that as intrusion increases, the 
probability of, and severity of injury also increases. The study 
controlled for crash severity using quarter turns, which is the best 
available metric for rollover severity. Contrary to SAFE's contention, 
the study does not compare crashes over 2 quarter turns as a group. 
Rather, it compares only crashes of similar severity as defined by each 
iterative quarter turn exposure. Thus, a vehicle that experienced 3 
quarter turns would only be compared to other vehicles that experienced 
3 quarter turns. SAFE's and Ford's arguments appear to imply that any 
difference in roof intrusion must be due to a difference in impact 
severity rather than roof strength or design, whereas the Strashny 
study, by controlling for quarter turns, attempts to minimize 
differences due to impact severity. Further, the study included only 
belted cases which minimized the impact of ``diving'' as an injury 
cause.
    There are logical reasons to believe that a collapsing roof that 
strikes an occupant's head at the nearly instantaneous impact velocity 
experienced when structures deform might cause serious injury. These 
types of injuries were documented by Rechnitzer and Lane in a detailed 
investigation of 43 rollover crashes.\46\ The agency believes that the 
statistically significant relationship between roof intrusion and 
belted occupant injury found in the Strashny study indicates not just a 
suggestion, but a probability that increasing roof strength reduces 
injuries.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \46\ Rechnutzer, George and Lane, John, ``Rollover Crash Study, 
Vehicle Design and Occupant Injuries'', Monash University, 1994.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Regarding the SAFE matched pair comparison project, the agency 
notes that the dummy necks used in the tests were not biofidelic. They 
are rigid structures that do not allow for the normal bending that 
occurs in the human spine. The agency believes that lateral bending 
plays an important role in determining the degree of injury sustained 
by humans in rollovers, and does not view these results as an adequate 
assessment of injury in humans during rollover crashes.

VIII. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

a. Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and DOT 
Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    The agency has considered the impact of this rulemaking action 
under Executive Order 12866 and the Department of Transportation's 
regulatory policies and procedures. This rulemaking is economically 
significant and was reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget 
under E.O. 12866, ``Regulatory Planning and Review.'' The rulemaking 
action has also been determined to be significant under the 
Department's regulatory policies and procedures. The FRIA fully 
discusses the estimated costs and benefits of this rulemaking action. 
The costs and benefits are summarized in section VII of this preamble, 
supra.

b. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended, requires 
agencies to evaluate the potential effects of their proposed and final 
rules on small businesses, small organizations and small governmental 
jurisdictions. I hereby certify that this rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
Small organizations and small governmental units will not be 
significantly affected since the potential cost impacts associated with 
this action will not significantly affect the price of new motor 
vehicles.
    The rule directly affects motor vehicle manufacturers, second stage 
or final manufacturers, and alterers. The majority of motor vehicle 
manufacturers would not qualify as a small business. There are six 
manufacturers of passenger cars that are small businesses.\47\ These 
manufacturers, along with manufacturers that do not qualify as a small 
business, are already required to comply with the current requirements 
of FMVSS No. 216 for vehicles with a GVWR of 2,722 kilograms (6,000 
pounds) or less. Improving performance as necessary to meet the 
upgraded requirements, and for the requirements for heavier light 
vehicles, can be achieved by means including strengthening 
reinforcements in roof pillars, by increasing the gauge of steel used 
in roofs and by using higher strength materials.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \47\ Fisker, Mosler, Panoz, Saleen, Standard Taxi, Tesla.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    All of these small manufacturers could be affected by the upgraded 
requirements. However, the economic impact upon these entities will not 
be significant for the following reasons.
    (1) Potential cost increases are very small compared to the price 
of the vehicles being manufactured and can be passed on to the 
consumer.
    (2) Some of the vehicles manufactured by these small businesses are 
convertibles not subject to this requirement.
    (3) The rule provides several years leadtime, and small volume 
manufacturers are given the option of waiting until the end of the 
phase-in (until September 1, 2015) to meet the upgraded requirements 
for lighter vehicles. All manufacturers are given until September 1, 
2016 to meet the requirements for the heavier light vehicles.
    Most of the intermediate and final stage manufacturers of vehicles 
built in two or more stages and alterers have 1,000 or fewer employees. 
Some of these companies already are required to comply with the current 
requirements of FMVSS No. 216 for vehicles with a GVWR of 2,722 
kilograms (6,000 pounds) or less. We have included several provisions 
in the final rule to address the special needs of multi-stage 
manufacturers and alterers. While the number of these small businesses 
potentially affected by this rule is substantial, the economic impact 
upon these entities will not be significant for the following reasons:
    (1) We are providing a FMVSS No. 220 option for multi-stage 
vehicles, except those built on chassis-cab incomplete vehicles, and 
for vehicles

[[Page 22380]]

which are changed in certain ways to raise the height of the roof. This 
aspect of our rule affords significant economic relief to small 
businesses, some of which are already required by States to certify to 
the requirements of FMVSS No. 220.
    (2) Small businesses using chassis cabs will be in position to take 
advantage of ``pass-through certification,'' and therefore are not 
expected to incur any additional expenditures.
    (3) We are excluding a narrow category of multi-stage vehicles from 
FMVSS No. 216 altogether, multi-stage trucks built on incomplete 
vehicles other than chassis cabs.
    (4) Some of the vehicles manufactured by these small businesses are 
convertibles.
    (5) Final stage manufacturers and alterers can wait until one year 
after the end of the phase-in to meet the new requirements.
    Accordingly, there will not be a significant economic impact on 
small businesses, small organizations, or small governmental units by 
these amendments. For these reasons, the agency has not prepared a 
regulatory flexibility analysis.

c. Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    NHTSA has examined today's final rule pursuant to Executive Order 
13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999) and concluded that no additional 
consultation with States, local governments or their representatives is 
mandated beyond the rulemaking process. The agency has concluded that 
the rule does not have federalism implications because the rule does 
not have ``substantial direct effects on the States, on the 
relationship between the national government and the States, or on the 
distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of 
government.''
    Further, after careful consideration of the public comments and 
further analysis of the issues, NHTSA concludes that no consultation is 
needed to discuss the preemptive effect of today's rule. NHTSA's safety 
standards can have preemptive effect in at least two ways. First, the 
National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act contains an express 
preemption provision: ``When a motor vehicle safety standard is in 
effect under this chapter, a State or a political subdivision of a 
State may prescribe or continue in effect a standard applicable to the 
same aspect of performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle 
equipment only if the standard is identical to the standard prescribed 
under this chapter.'' 49 U.S.C. 30103(b)(1). It is this statutory 
command that unavoidably preempts non-identical State legislative and 
administrative law, not today's rulemaking, so consultation would be 
unnecessary.
    Second, the Supreme Court has recognized the possibility of implied 
preemption: State requirements imposed on motor vehicle manufacturers, 
including sanctions imposed by State tort law, can stand as an obstacle 
to the accomplishment and execution of a NHTSA safety standard. When 
such a conflict is discerned, the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution 
makes the State requirements unenforceable. See Geier v. American Honda 
Motor Co., 529 U.S. 861 (2000). For the reasons explained below, the 
agency has reconsidered the tentative position presented in the NPRM 
and does not currently foresee any potential State tort requirements 
that might conflict with today's final rule.
    In the NPRM, NHTSA considered the objectives of the proposed roof 
crush resistance upgrade in the context of the agency's overall 
rollover plan and addressed whether there might be specific conflicts 
between the standard and anticipated State tort law. The agency opined 
on the possibility that certain State tort law actions might conflict 
with an improved Federal roof crush resistance standard and that those 
conflicts could result in those actions being determined by a court to 
be impliedly preempted. It presented the following tentative 
conclusions:
     Overall, safety would best be promoted by the careful 
balance it had struck in the proposal among a variety of considerations 
and objectives regarding rollover safety.
     The proposal to upgrade roof crush resistance was a part 
of a comprehensive plan for reducing the serious risk of rollover 
crashes and the risk of death and serious injury in those crashes. The 
objective of the proposal was to increase the requirement for roof 
crush resistance only to the extent that it can be done without 
creating too much risk of negatively affecting vehicle dynamics and 
rollover propensity. Excessively increasing current roof crush 
resistance requirements could lead vehicle manufacturers to add weight 
to vehicle roof and pillars, thereby raising the vehicle center of 
gravity (CG) and increasing rollover propensity.
     Some methods of improving roof crush resistance are 
costlier than others and the resources diverted to increasing roof 
strength using one of the costlier methods could delay or even prevent 
vehicle manufacturers from equipping their vehicles with advanced 
vehicle technologies for reducing rollovers.
     Either a broad State performance requirement for levels of 
roof crush resistance greater than those proposed or a narrower 
requirement mandating that increased roof strength be achieved by a 
particular specified means, could frustrate the agency's objectives by 
upsetting the balance between efforts to increase roof strength and 
reduce rollover propensity.
     Based on this conflict analysis, if the proposal were 
adopted as a final rule, all conflicting State common law requirements, 
including rules of tort law, would be subject to being found to be 
impliedly preempted.
1. Public Comments About NHTSA's Tentative Views on Conflict and 
Preemption
    Vehicle manufacturers and one legal advocacy organization strongly 
supported the view that an upgraded roof crush standard would conflict 
with and therefore impliedly preempt State rules of tort law imposing 
more stringent requirements than the one ultimately adopted by NHTSA.
    Consumer advocacy groups, members of Congress and State officials, 
trial lawyers, consultants and members of academia, and private 
individuals strongly opposed our view that there could be conflict. The 
opposing letters from State officials included one signed by 27 State 
Attorneys General and the National Conference of State Legislatures.
    A summary of the primary arguments of the commenters on each side 
follows:
A. Primary Arguments for the Existence of Conflict
     There is a limit to the increases in roof crush resistance 
or stiffening that can practicably be achieved across the fleet without 
introducing unacceptable risk of undesirable effects, such as increases 
in the height of the center of gravity of the vehicle or diverting 
resources away from other promising advanced vehicle technologies for 
reducing rollovers.
     Small additions of weight and small changes in center of 
gravity height will, based on NHTSA's analysis presented in Appendix A 
of the PRIA, have large consequences on the level of rollover risk and 
risk of associated fatalities and injuries. Moreover, the weight 
impacts of meeting requirements at different SWR levels are greater 
than estimated by the agency in the PRIA.
     There is a conflict between the agency's comprehensive 
rollover policy and some state common law rules related to roof 
strength. Any state

[[Page 22381]]

common law rule that would purport to impose a duty to design vehicles' 
roofs to meet a more stringent strength requirement has the potential, 
as a practical matter, to result in a reduction in vehicle stability 
(as measured by average SSF), at least for some vehicle models in the 
fleet. Such a result would undercut NHTSA's overall rollover mitigation 
policy that has been developed to balance the competing goals of 
preventing rollover crashes in the first place and of reducing the risk 
of injury when such crashes nevertheless occur.
     The creation of a patchwork of different State roof crush 
resistance requirements across the country would not contribute toward 
achievement of an appropriate balancing of roof strength and rollover 
propensity.
     Being required to devote resources to increasing roof 
strength using one of the costlier methods could delay or even prevent 
manufacturers from installing advanced vehicle technologies for 
reducing rollovers.
     The agency should also be concerned about another 
potential safety conflict, in the area of vehicle compatibility, as the 
addition of weight increases the chances of vehicle mass mismatch in a 
collision.
B. Primary Arguments Against the Existence of Conflict
     NHTSA's claims that a more stringent standard could result 
in increased vehicle weight and decreased stability are not supported 
by the record.
     Manufacturers can strengthen roofs by a variety of means 
without significantly increasing weight, and advanced steels and other 
lightweight materials can be used to strengthen roofs without a weight 
increase.
     NHTSA's data show that increases in roof structural 
strength will not have a physically measurable influence on CG height. 
Production of vehicles that exceed the NHTSA standard would enhance the 
safety objectives of that standard.
     NHTSA did not provide any examples of vehicles with 
elevated rollover risk due to weight added to the roof. An examination 
of the vehicle fleet, including the Volvo XC90 and vehicles with high 
SWRs tested after publication of the NPRM, shows that the agency's 
concerns are unfounded.
     The agency's statement that resources used to increase 
roof strength could divert resources away from other promising advanced 
vehicle technologies for reducing rollovers is unsupported and 
speculative. Manufacturers can do both.
     Given the agency's New Car Assessment Program, 
manufacturers would improve roof strength using design changes that 
avoid a lower star rating.
     The tort system would provide the best incentive for 
manufacturers to make design decisions that will not increase rollover 
propensity.
     The premise behind NHTSA's analysis is incorrect because 
plaintiffs alleging a design defect must prove that the alternative 
design would not have created more injuries in other accidents.
     The Geier case does not support preemption as the 
situation it addressed involved two key factors that are not present 
here: Consumer resistance to air bags and the need to foster innovation 
in passive restraint technology. Preemption in this case is 
inconsistent with the statutory savings clause.
     The agency's statement is overbroad in being applied to 
all vehicles covered by the standard, without regard to their 
individual design characteristics or their manufacturers' ability to 
exceed the standard without negatively affecting vehicle dynamics and 
rollover propensity.
2. Preemption, Geier and the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety 
Act
    In Geier, 529 U.S. 861 (2000), the Supreme Court specifically 
addressed the possible preemptive effect of the National Traffic and 
Motor Vehicle Safety Act, taken together with Federal motor vehicle 
safety standards issued under that Act, on common law tort claims. The 
issue before the court was whether the Safety Act, together with FMVSS 
No. 208, preempted a lawsuit claiming a 1987 car was defective for 
lacking a driver air bag. When the car was manufactured, FMVSS No. 208 
had required manufacturers to equip some but not all of their vehicles 
with passive restraints.
    The conclusions of Geier can be summarized as follows:
     The Safety Act's provision expressly preempting state 
``standards'' does not preempt common law tort claims. The issue of 
whether the term ``standards'' includes tort law actions is resolved by 
another provision in the Safety Act--the ``savings'' clause. That 
provision states that ``(c)ompliance with'' a Federal safety standard 
``does not exempt any person from any liability under common law.''
     The savings clause preserves those tort actions that seek 
to establish greater safety than the minimum safety achieved by a 
Federal regulation intended to provide a floor.
     The savings clause does not bar the working of conflict 
preemption principles. Nor does the preemption provision, the saving 
provision, or both read together, create some kind of ``special 
burden'' beyond that inherent in ordinary preemption principles that 
would specially disfavor pre-emption. The two provisions, read 
together, reflect a neutral policy, not a specially favorable or 
unfavorable policy, toward the application of ordinary conflict 
preemption principles.
     The preemption provision itself reflects a desire to 
subject the industry to a single, uniform set of Federal safety 
standards. On the other hand, the savings clause reflects a 
congressional determination that occasional nonuniformity is a small 
price to pay for a system in which juries not only create, but also 
enforce, safety standards, while simultaneously providing necessary 
compensation to victims. Nothing in any natural reading of the two 
provisions favors one set of policies over the other where a jury-
imposed safety standard actually conflicts with a Federal safety 
standard.
     A court should not find preemption too readily in the 
absence of clear evidence of a conflict.
     The common-law ``no airbag'' action before the Court was 
preempted because it actually conflicted with FMVSS No. 208. That 
standard sought a gradually developing mix of alternative passive 
restraint devices for safety-related reasons. The rule of state tort 
law sought by the petitioner would have required manufacturers of all 
similar cars to install air bags rather than other passive restraint 
systems, thereby presenting an obstacle to the variety and mix of 
devices that the Federal regulation sought.
3. Agency Testing and Discussion
    In the NPRM, we noted the well-established physical relationship 
between center of gravity (CG) and rollover propensity. It is reflected 
in our NCAP ratings program. All other things being equal, increasing 
the CG of a vehicle increases its rollover propensity.
    We also posited a second relationship, one between CG and SWR. We 
identified a hypothetical fleet impact in which the weight and center 
of gravity effects of complying with a 2.5 SWR requirement could result 
in additional rollovers and added fatalities. This analysis was 
presented in Appendix A of the PRIA. As discussed in that document, 
there were various uncertainties and caveats associated with the 
analysis. The agency believed that manufacturers would take steps to 
avoid negative effects on rollover propensity.

[[Page 22382]]

    We note that NHTSA has updated that analysis for the FRIA, 
addressing 2.5, 3.0 and 3.5 SWR alternatives. As discussed in the FRIA, 
the agency believes that, for the alternatives analyzed, manufacturers 
could and would take steps sufficient to avoid negative effects on 
rollover propensity if sufficient leadtime is provided for them to do 
so.
    As noted earlier, NHTSA has done testing of vehicles measuring roof 
crush resistance performance, much of it completed after publication of 
the NPRM. Twelve of the vehicles tested by NHTSA after the NPRM had 
(one-sided) SWRs of 3.9 or higher. As part of our fleet testing, NHTSA 
has also tested three paired vehicles \48\ for which manufacturers 
significantly increased SWR as part of redesigning the vehicle. In each 
case, SWR was increased without increasing rollover propensity as 
measured by SSF. In two of the cases, CG stayed about the same (it did 
not increase); in the other, CG did increase but other changes (track 
width) offset the negative effect of higher CG.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \48\ 2002 and 2007 Toyota Camry; 2003 and 2007 Toyota Tacoma; 
2004 and 2008 Honda Accord.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

4. Agency Views About Conflict Preemption
    As discussed above, the Supreme Court has recognized the 
possibility of implied preemption: State requirements imposed on motor 
vehicle manufacturers, including sanctions imposed by State tort law, 
can stand as obstacles to the accomplishment and execution of a NHTSA 
safety standard. When such a conflict is discerned, the Supremacy 
Clause of the Constitution makes the State requirements unenforceable.
    Since implied preemption turns upon the existence of an actual 
conflict, we, as the agency charged with effectively carrying out the 
Act and possessing substantial technical expertise regarding the 
subject matter and purposes of the Federal motor vehicle safety 
standards and the Vehicle Safety Act, address whether conflicts exist 
in our rulemaking notices. In most rulemakings, we do not foresee the 
possibility of there being any state requirements that would create 
conflicts.
    Following the principles set forth in Geier, we are providing our 
views concerning the issue of whether conflicts may exist in connection 
with the requirements being adopted in this final rule. We believe that 
this is appropriately responsive to statements by several Supreme Court 
justices encouraging agencies to consider and discuss the possible 
preemptive effects of their rulemakings.\49\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \49\ See, e.g., Hillsborough County v. Automated Medical 
Laboratories, Inc., 471 U.S. 707, 718 (1985); Medtronic, Inc., v. 
Lohr, 518 U.S. 470, 506 (1996) (Justice Breyer, in concurrence); and 
Geier v. American Honda Motor Co., 529 U.S. 861, 908 (2000) (Justice 
Stevens, in dissent).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    After considering the public comments on the proposal and 
considering today's final rule, NHTSA has reconsidered the tentative 
position presented in the NPRM and do not currently foresee any 
potential State tort requirements that might conflict with today's 
final rule. Without any conflict, there could not be any implied 
preemption.
    In the NPRM, we stated that it was our tentative judgment that 
safety would be best promoted by the balance we had struck in the 
proposal among a variety of considerations and objectives regarding 
rollover safety. We explained that it was the objective of the proposal 
to increase the requirement for roof crush resistance only to the 
extent that it could be done without creating too much risk of 
negatively affecting vehicle dynamics and rollover propensity. We 
expressed concern that excessively increasing current roof crush 
resistance requirements could lead vehicle manufacturers to add weight 
to vehicle roof and pillars, thereby raising the vehicle center of 
gravity (CG) and increasing rollover propensity. As part of our 
tentative position, we indicated in the NPRM that a broad State 
performance requirement for more stringent levels of roof crush 
resistance could frustrate the agency's objectives by upsetting the 
balance between efforts to increase roof strength and reduce rollover 
propensity.
    Based on the record for this final rule, we cannot identify a level 
of stringency of roof crush resistance above which tort laws would 
conflict. For example, we cannot say that any particular levels of roof 
crush resistance above those required by today's rule would likely 
result in unacceptable levels of rollover resistance. Similarly, we 
cannot identify any level of roof crush resistance above which it would 
be expected that net safety benefits would diminish.
    As discussed earlier, there are ways of improving roof strength 
that avoid or minimize adding weight high in the vehicle (e.g., use of 
advanced lightweight materials), and there are other design 
characteristics that can be used to offset or eliminate any potential 
change in rollover stability due to increased CG (e.g., increased track 
width). Moreover, during our fleet testing, we observed three paired 
vehicles for which manufacturers significantly increased SWR as part of 
redesigning the vehicle, without increasing rollover propensity as 
measured by SSF. Finally, while there would be increasing technical 
challenges for vehicle manufacturers to meet successively higher SWR 
levels above the alternatives we analyzed, those challenges would vary 
considerably depending on the nature of the vehicle, e.g., weight, 
size, geometry, etc., making it essentially impossible for NHTSA to 
define a level of roof crush stringency likely to cause a conflict with 
our rollover resistance objectives.
    As to another concern we identified in the NPRM, the possibility 
that some kinds of State tort laws requiring improved roof crush 
resistance might cause a diversion of resources away from manufacturer 
efforts to use advanced technologies to reduce rollovers, we have 
concluded that it is not possible to identify how such resources would 
otherwise have been used. Specifically, there is not a basis to 
conclude that such resources would otherwise have been used for 
improving rollover resistance or improving safety. Therefore, we 
believe that such tort laws do not create a conflict on these grounds.
    Finally, as noted earlier, vehicle manufacturers suggested that we 
consider a potential policy conflict in the area of vehicle 
compatibility. They stated that the addition of weight would increase 
the chances of vehicle mass mismatch in a collision. However, mass 
mismatch is only one key aspect of vehicle-to-vehicle crash 
compatibility, particularly in frontal crashes. Vehicle stiffness and 
geometric alignment are also important factors in vehicle 
compatibility. While it is hypothetically possible that some kinds of 
tort laws on roof strength could contribute toward greater differential 
in weight between some vehicles, e.g., if they resulted in 
manufacturers adding significant weight to heavier vehicles, we believe 
it is not possible to define any level of stringency of roof crush 
resistance above which tort laws would create a conflict with our 
vehicle compatibility objectives. We note that in redesigning vehicles 
in ways that improve roof strength and also minimize impacts on vehicle 
mass, manufacturers have many design options to avoid or minimize 
adding weight (e.g., use of advanced light materials in various parts 
of the vehicle, including ones other than those related to the roof). 
There may also be ways of offsetting any possible incremental change in 
fleet compatibility due to increased weight mismatch that might occur 
with vehicle geometric and/or stiffness design

[[Page 22383]]

modifications. We note that the vehicle manufacturers did not provide 
technical analysis addressing the latter issue.
    Therefore, although under the principles enunciated in Geier it is 
possible that a rule of State tort law could conflict with a NHTSA 
safety standard if it created an obstacle to the accomplishment and 
execution of that standard, we do not currently foresee the likelihood 
of any such tort requirements and do not have a basis for concluding 
that any particular levels of stringency would create such a conflict.

d. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) requires Federal 
agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits and 
other effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate 
likely to result in the expenditure by State, local or tribal 
governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of more than 
$100 million annually (adjusted annually for inflation, with base year 
of 1995). These effects are discussed earlier in this preamble and in 
the FRIA. UMRA also requires an agency issuing a final rule subject to 
the Act to select the ``least costly, most cost-effective or least 
burdensome alternative that achieves the objectives of the rule.''
    The preamble and the FRIA identify and consider a number of 
alternatives, concerning factors such as single- or two-sided test 
requirements, different SWR levels, and phase-in schedule. Alternatives 
considered by and rejected by us would not fully achieve the objectives 
of the alternative preferred by NHTSA (a reasonable balance between the 
benefits and costs). The agency believes that it has selected the most 
cost-effective alternative that achieves the objectives of the 
rulemaking.

e. National Environmental Policy Act

    NHTSA has analyzed this final rule for the purposes of the National 
Environmental Policy Act. The agency has determined that implementation 
of this action will not have any significant impact on the quality of 
the human environment.

f. Executive Order 12778 (Civil Justice Reform)

    With respect to the review of the promulgation of a new regulation, 
section 3(b) of Executive Order 12988, ``Civil Justice Reform'' (61 FR 
4729, February 7, 1996) requires that Executive agencies make every 
reasonable effort to ensure that the regulation: (1) Clearly specifies 
the preemptive effect; (2) clearly specifies the effect on existing 
Federal law or regulation; (3) provides a clear legal standard for 
affected conduct, while promoting simplification and burden reduction; 
(4) clearly specifies the retroactive effect, if any; (5) adequately 
defines key terms; and (6) addresses other important issues affecting 
clarity and general draftsmanship under any guidelines issued by the 
Attorney General. This document is consistent with that requirement.
    Pursuant to this Order, NHTSA notes as follows. The preemptive 
effect of this rule is discussed above. NHTSA notes further that there 
is no requirement that individuals submit a petition for 
reconsideration or pursue other administrative proceeding before they 
may file suit in court.

g. Plain Language

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

h. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    Under the PRA of 1995, a person is not required to respond to a 
collection of information by a Federal agency unless the collection 
displays a valid OMB control number. The final rule contains a 
collection of information because of the proposed phase-in reporting 
requirements. There is no burden to the general public.
    The collection of information requires manufacturers of passenger 
cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR 
of 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) or less to annually submit a report, 
and maintain records related to the report, concerning the number of 
such vehicles that meet the upgraded roof strength requirements. The 
phase-in will cover three years. The purpose of the reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements is to assist the agency in determining 
whether a manufacturer of vehicles has complied with the requirements 
during the phase-in period.
    We will submit a request for OMB clearance of the collection of 
information required under today's final rule in time to obtain 
clearance prior to the beginning of the phase-in at the beginning of 
September 2012.
    These requirements and our estimates of the burden to vehicle 
manufacturers are as follows:
    NHTSA estimates that there are 21 manufacturers of passenger cars, 
multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses with a GVWR of 2,722 
kilograms (6,000 pounds) or less;
    NHTSA estimates that the total annual reporting and recordkeeping 
burden resulting from the collection of information is 1,260 hours;
    NHTSA estimates that the total annual cost burden, in U.S. dollars, 
will be $0. No additional resources will be expended by vehicle 
manufacturers to gather annual production information because they 
already compile this data for their own use.
    A Federal Register document must provide a 60-day comment period 
concerning the collection of information. The Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) promulgated regulations describing what must be included 
in such a document. Under OMB's regulations (5 CFR 320.8(d)), agencies 
must ask for public comment on the following:
    (1) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the 
proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether 
the information will have practical utility;
    (2) The accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the 
proposed collection of information, including the validity of the 
methodology and assumptions used;
    (3) How to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and,
    (4) How to minimize the burden of the collection of information on 
those who are to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, 
electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or 
other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic 
submission of responses.

i. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    Under the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 
(NTTAA) (Pub. L. 104-113),

All Federal agencies and departments shall use technical standards 
that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards

[[Page 22384]]

bodies, using such technical standards as a means to carry out 
policy objectives or activities determined by the agencies and 
departments.

    Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., 
materials specifications, test methods, sampling procedures, and 
business practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary 
consensus standards bodies, such as the International Organization for 
Standardization (ISO) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). 
The NTTAA directs us to provide Congress, through OMB, explanations 
when we decide not to use available and applicable voluntary consensus 
standards.
    We are incorporating the voluntary consensus standard SAE Standard 
J826 ``Devices for Use in Defining and Measuring Vehicle Seating 
Accommodation,'' SAE J826 (rev. July 1995) into the requirements of 
FMVSS No. 216a as part of this rulemaking. As discussed in the NPRM, we 
evaluated the SAE inverted drop testing procedure, but decided against 
proposing it.

List of Subjects

49 CFR Part 571

    Imports, Incorporation by reference, Motor vehicle safety, 
Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Tires.

49 CFR Part 585

    Motor vehicle safety, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

0
In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA amends 49 CFR Chapter V as set 
forth below.

PART 571--FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS

0
1. The authority citation for part 571 of title 49 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30115, 30117, and 30166; 
delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.50.


0
2. Section 571.216 is amended by revising the section heading and S3 to 
read as follows:


Sec.  571.216  Standard No. 216; Roof crush resistance; Applicable 
unless a vehicle is certified to Sec.  571.216a.

* * * * *
    S3. Application.
    (a) This standard applies to passenger cars, and to multipurpose 
passenger vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR of 2,722 kilograms 
(6,000 pounds) or less. However, it does not apply to--
    (a) School buses;
    (b) Vehicles that conform to the rollover test requirements (S5.3) 
of Standard No. 208 (Sec.  571.208) by means that require no action by 
vehicle occupants;
    (c) Convertibles, except for optional compliance with the standard 
as an alternative to the rollover test requirements in S5.3 of Standard 
No. 208; or
    (d) Vehicles certified to comply with Sec.  571.216a.
* * * * *

0
3. Section 571.216a is added to read as follows:


Sec.  571.216a  Standard No. 216a; Roof crush resistance; Upgraded 
standard.

    S1. Scope. This standard establishes strength requirements for the 
passenger compartment roof.
    S2. Purpose. The purpose of this standard is to reduce deaths and 
injuries due to the crushing of the roof into the occupant compartment 
in rollover crashes.
    S3. Application, incorporation by reference, and selection of 
compliance options.
    S3.1 Application.
    (a) This standard applies to passenger cars, and to multipurpose 
passenger vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR of 4,536 kilograms 
(10,000 pounds) or less, according to the implementation schedule 
specified in S8 and S9 of this section. However, it does not apply to--
    (1) School buses;
    (2) Vehicles that conform to the rollover test requirements (S5.3) 
of Standard No. 208 (Sec.  571.208) by means that require no action by 
vehicle occupants;
    (3) Convertibles, except for optional compliance with the standard 
as an alternative to the rollover test requirement (S5.3) of Standard 
No. 208; or
    (4) Trucks built in two or more stages with a GVWR greater than 
2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) not built using a chassis cab.
    (b) At the option of the manufacturer, vehicles within either of 
the following categories may comply with the roof crush requirements 
(S4) of Standard No. 220 (Sec.  571.220) instead of the requirements of 
this standard:
    (1) Vehicles built in two or more stages, other than vehicles built 
using a chassis cab;
    (2) Vehicles with a GVWR greater than 2,722 kilograms (6,000 
pounds) that have an altered roof as defined by S4 of this section.
    (c) Manufacturers may comply with the standard in this Sec.  
571.216a as an alternative to Sec.  571.216.
    S3.2 Incorporation by reference. Society of Automotive Engineers 
(SAE) Standard J826 ``Devices for Use in Defining and Measuring Vehicle 
Seating Accommodation,'' SAE J826 (rev. July 1995) is incorporated by 
reference in S7.2 of this section. The Director of the Federal Register 
has approved the incorporation by reference of this material in 
accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. A copy of SAE J826 
(rev. Jul 95) may be obtained from SAE at the Society of Automotive 
Engineers, Inc., 400 Commonwealth Drive, Warrendale, PA 15096. Phone: 
1-724-776-4841; Web: http://www.sae.org. A copy of SAE J826 (July 1995) 
may be inspected at NHTSA's Technical Information Services, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue, Washington, DC 20590, or at the National Archives and 
Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of 
this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030, or go to: http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.
    S3.3 Selection of compliance option. Where manufacturer options are 
specified, the manufacturer shall select the option by the time it 
certifies the vehicle and may not thereafter select a different option 
for the vehicle. Each manufacturer shall, upon the request from the 
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, provide information 
regarding which of the compliance options it selected for a particular 
vehicle or make/model.
    S4. Definitions.
    Altered roof means the replacement roof on a motor vehicle whose 
original roof has been removed, in part or in total, and replaced by a 
roof that is higher than the original roof. The replacement roof on a 
motor vehicle whose original roof has been replaced, in whole or in 
part, by a roof that consists of glazing materials, such as those in T-
tops and sunroofs, and is located at the level of the original roof, is 
not considered to be an altered roof.
    Convertible means a vehicle whose A-pillars are not joined with the 
B-pillars (or rearmost pillars) by a fixed, rigid structural member.
    S5. Requirements.
    S5.1 When the test device described in S6 is used to apply a force 
to a vehicle's roof in accordance with S7, first to one side of the 
roof and then to the other side of the roof:
    (a) The lower surface of the test device must not move more than 
127 millimeters, and
    (b) No load greater than 222 Newtons (50 pounds) may be applied to 
the head form specified in S5.2 of 49 CFR 571.201 located at the head 
position of a 50th percentile adult male in accordance with S7.2 of 
this section.

[[Page 22385]]

    S5.2 The maximum applied force to the vehicle's roof in Newtons is:
    (a) For vehicles with a GVWR of 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) or 
less, any value up to and including 3.0 times the unloaded vehicle 
weight of the vehicle, measured in kilograms and multiplied by 9.8, and
    (b) For vehicles with a GVWR greater than 2,722 kilograms (6,000 
pounds), any value up to and including 1.5 times the unloaded vehicle 
weight of the vehicle, measured in kilograms and multiplied by 9.8.
    S6. Test device. The test device is a rigid unyielding block whose 
lower surface is a flat rectangle measuring 762 millimeters by 1,829 
millimeters.
    S7. Test procedure. Each vehicle must be capable of meeting the 
requirements of S5 when tested in accordance with the procedure in S7.1 
through S7.6.
    S7.1 Support the vehicle off its suspension and rigidly secure the 
sills and the chassis frame (when applicable) of the vehicle on a rigid 
horizontal surface(s) at a longitudinal attitude of 0 degrees  0.5 degrees. Measure the longitudinal vehicle attitude along 
both the driver and passenger sill. Determine the lateral vehicle 
attitude by measuring the vertical distance between a level surface and 
a standard reference point on the bottom of the driver and passenger 
side sills. The difference between the vertical distance measured on 
the driver side and the passenger side sills is not more than  10 mm. Close all windows, close and lock all doors, and close 
and secure any moveable roof panel, moveable shade, or removable roof 
structure in place over the occupant compartment. Remove roof racks or 
other non-structural components. For a vehicle built on a chassis-cab 
incomplete vehicle that has some portion of the added body structure 
above the height of the incomplete vehicle, remove the entire added 
body structure prior to testing (the vehicle's unloaded vehicle weight 
as specified in S5 includes the weight of the added body structure).
    S7.2 Adjust the seats in accordance with S8.3 of 49 CFR 571.214. 
Position the top center of the head form specified in S5.2 of 49 CFR 
571.201 at the location of the top center of the Head Restraint 
Measurement Device (HRMD) specified in 49 CFR 571.202a, in the front 
outboard designated seating position on the side of the vehicle being 
tested as follows:
    (a) Position the three dimensional manikin specified in Society of 
Automotive Engineers (SAE) Surface Vehicle Standard J826, revised July 
1995, ``Devices for Use in Defining and Measuring Vehicle Seating 
Accommodation,'' (incorporated by reference, see paragraph S3.2), in 
accordance to the seating procedure specified in that document, except 
that the length of the lower leg and thigh segments of the H-point 
machine are adjusted to 414 and 401 millimeters, respectively, instead 
of the 50th percentile values specified in Table 1 of SAE J826 (July 
1995).
    (b) Remove four torso weights from the three-dimensional manikin 
specified in SAE J826 (July 1995) (two from the left side and two from 
the right side), replace with two HRMD torso weights (one on each 
side), and attach and level the HRMD head form.
    (c) Mark the location of the top center of the HRMD in three 
dimensional space to locate the top center of the head form specified 
in S5.2 of 49 CFR 571.201.
    S7.3 Orient the test device as shown in Figure 1 of this section, 
so that--
    (a) Its longitudinal axis is at a forward angle (in side view) of 5 
degrees ( 0.5 degrees) below the horizontal, and is 
parallel to the vertical plane through the vehicle's longitudinal 
centerline;
    (b) Its transverse axis is at an outboard angle, in the front view 
projection, of 25 degrees below the horizontal ( 0.5 
degrees).
    S7.4 Maintaining the orientation specified in S7.3 of this 
section--
    (a) Lower the test device until it initially makes contact with the 
roof of the vehicle.
    (b) Position the test device so that--
    (1) The longitudinal centerline on its lower surface is within 10 
mm of the initial point of contact, or on the center of the initial 
contact area, with the roof; and
    (2) The midpoint of the forward edge of the lower surface of the 
test device is within 10 mm of the transverse vertical plane 254 mm 
forward of the forwardmost point on the exterior surface of the roof, 
including windshield trim, that lies in the longitudinal vertical plane 
passing through the vehicle's longitudinal centerline.
    S7.5 Apply force so that the test device moves in a downward 
direction perpendicular to the lower surface of the test device at a 
rate of not more than 13 millimeters per second until reaching the 
force level specified in S5. Guide the test device so that throughout 
the test it moves, without rotation, in a straight line with its lower 
surface oriented as specified in S7.3(a) and S7.3(b). Complete the test 
within 120 seconds.
    S7.6 Repeat the test on the other side of the vehicle.
    S8. Phase-in schedule for vehicles with a GVWR of 2,722 kilograms 
(6,000 pounds) or less.
    S8.1 Vehicles manufactured on or after September 1, 2012, and 
before September 1, 2013. For vehicles manufactured on or after 
September 1, 2012, and before September 1, 2013, the number of vehicles 
complying with this standard must not be less than 25 percent of:
    (a) The manufacturer's average annual production of vehicles 
manufactured on or after September 1, 2009, and before September 1, 
2012; or
    (b) The manufacturer's production on or after September 1, 2012, 
and before September 1, 2013.
    S8.2 Vehicles manufactured on or after September 1, 2013, and 
before September 1, 2014. For vehicles manufactured on or after 
September 1, 2013, and before September 1, 2014, the number of vehicles 
complying with this standard must not be less than 50 percent of:
    (a) The manufacturer's average annual production of vehicles 
manufactured on or after September 1, 2010, and before September 1, 
2013; or
    (b) The manufacturer's production on or after September 1, 2013, 
and before September 1, 2014.
    S8.3 Vehicles manufactured on or after September 1, 2014, and 
before September 1, 2015. For vehicles manufactured on or after 
September 1, 2014, and before September 1, 2015, the number of vehicles 
complying with this standard must not be less than 75 percent of:
    (a) The manufacturer's average annual production of vehicles 
manufactured on or after September 1, 2011, and before September 1, 
2014; or
    (b) The manufacturer's production on or after September 1, 2014, 
and before September 1, 2015.
    S8.4 Vehicles manufactured on or after September 1, 2015. Except as 
provided in S8.8, each vehicle manufactured on or after September 1, 
2015 must comply with this standard.
    S8.5 Calculation of complying vehicles.
    (a) For purpose of complying with S8.1, a manufacturer may count a 
vehicle if it is certified as complying with this standard and is 
manufactured on or after September 1, 2012, but before September 1, 
2013.
    (b) For purposes of complying with S8.2, a manufacturer may count a 
vehicle if it:
    (1) Is certified as complying with this standard and is 
manufactured on or after September 1, 2012, but before September 1, 
2014; and
    (2) Is not counted toward compliance with S8.1.

[[Page 22386]]

    (c) For purposes of complying with S8.3, a manufacturer may count a 
vehicle if it:
    (1) Is certified as complying with this standard and is 
manufactured on or after September 1, 2012, but before September 1, 
2015; and
    (2) Is not counted toward compliance with S8.1 or S8.2.
    S8.6 Vehicles produced by more than one manufacturer.
    S8.6.1 For the purpose of calculating average annual production of 
vehicles for each manufacturer and the number of vehicles manufactured 
by each manufacturer under S8.1 through S8.3, a vehicle produced by 
more than one manufacturer must be attributed to a single manufacturer 
as follows, subject to S8.6.2:
    (a) A vehicle that is imported must be attributed to the importer.
    (b) A vehicle manufactured in the United States by more than one 
manufacturer, one of which also markets the vehicle, must be attributed 
to the manufacturer that markets the vehicle.
    S8.6.2 A vehicle produced by more than one manufacturer must be 
attributed to any one of the vehicle's manufacturers specified by an 
express written contract, reported to the National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration under 49 CFR Part 585, between the manufacturer 
so specified and the manufacturer to which the vehicle would otherwise 
be attributed under S8.6.1.
    S8.7 Small volume manufacturers.
    Vehicles manufactured during any of the three years of the 
September 1, 2012 through August 31, 2015 phase-in by a manufacturer 
that produces fewer than 5,000 vehicles for sale in the United States 
during that year are not subject to the requirements of S8.1, S8.2, and 
S8.3.
    S8.8 Final-stage manufacturers and alterers.
    Vehicles that are manufactured in two or more stages or that are 
altered (within the meaning of 49 CFR 567.7) after having previously 
been certified in accordance with Part 567 of this chapter are not 
subject to the requirements of S8.1 through S8.3. Instead, all vehicles 
produced by these manufacturers on or after September 1, 2016 must 
comply with this standard.
    S9 Vehicles with a GVWR above 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds).
    (a) Except as provided in S9(b), each vehicle manufactured on or 
after September 1, 2016 must comply with this standard.
    (b) Vehicles that are manufactured in two or more stages or that 
are altered (within the meaning of 49 CFR 567.7) after having 
previously been certified in accordance with Part 567 of this chapter 
are not subject to the requirements of S8.1 through S8.3. Instead, all 
vehicles produced by these manufacturers on or after September 1, 2017 
must comply with this standard.
BILLING CODE P

[[Page 22387]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR12MY09.063


0
6. The authority citation for Part 585 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30115, 30117, and 30166; 
delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.50.

PART 585--[AMENDED]

0
7. Part 585 is amended by adding Subpart L to read as follows:

[[Page 22388]]

Subpart L--Roof Crush Resistance Phase-in Reporting Requirements
Sec.
585.111 Scope.
585.112 Purpose.
585.113 Applicability.
585.114 Definitions.
585.115 Response to inquiries.
585.116 Reporting requirements.
585.117 Records.

Subpart L--Roof Crush Resistance Phase-in Reporting Requirements


Sec.  585.111  Scope.

    This subpart establishes requirements for manufacturers of 
passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses with 
a gross vehicle weight rating of 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) or less 
to submit a report, and maintain records related to the report, 
concerning the number of such vehicles that meet the requirements of 
Standard No. 216a; Roof crush resistance; Upgraded standard (49 CFR 
571.216a).


Sec.  585.112  Purpose.

    The purpose of these reporting requirements is to assist the 
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in determining whether a 
manufacturer has complied with Standard No. 216a (49 CFR 571.216a).


Sec.  585.113  Applicability.

    This subpart applies to manufacturers of passenger cars, 
multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses with a gross vehicle 
weight rating of 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) or less. However, this 
subpart does not apply to manufacturers whose production consists 
exclusively of vehicles manufactured in two or more stages, and 
vehicles that are altered after previously having been certified in 
accordance with part 567 of this chapter. In addition, this subpart 
does not apply to manufacturers whose production of motor vehicles for 
the United States market is less than 5,000 vehicles in a production 
year.


Sec.  585.114  Definitions.

    For the purposes of this subpart:
    Production year means the 12-month period between September 1 of 
one year and August 31 of the following year, inclusive.


Sec.  585.115  Response to inquiries.

    At any time prior to August 31, 2018, each manufacturer must, upon 
request from the Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, provide 
information identifying the vehicles (by make, model, and vehicle 
identification number) that have been certified as complying with 
Standard No. 216a (49 CFR 571.216a). The manufacturer's designation of 
a vehicle as a certified vehicle is irrevocable. Upon request, the 
manufacturer also must specify whether it intends to utilize carry-
forward credits, and the vehicles to which those credits relate.


Sec.  585.116  Reporting requirements.

    (a) General reporting requirements. Within 60 days after the end of 
the production years ending August 31, 2013, August 31, 2014, and 
August 31, 2015, each manufacturer must submit a report to the National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration concerning its compliance with 
Standard No. 216a (49 CFR 571.216a) for its passenger cars, 
multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses with a gross vehicle 
weight rating of less than 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) produced in 
that year. Each report must --
    (1) Identify the manufacturer;
    (2) State the full name, title, and address of the official 
responsible for preparing the report;
    (3) Identify the production year being reported on;
    (4) Contain a statement regarding whether or not the manufacturer 
complied with the requirements of Standard No. 216a (49 CFR 571.216a) 
for the period covered by the report and the basis for that statement;
    (5) Provide the information specified in paragraph (b) of this 
section;
    (6) Be written in the English language; and
    (7) Be submitted to: Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590.
    (b) Report content--(1) Basis for statement of compliance. Each 
manufacturer must provide the number of passenger cars, multipurpose 
passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses with a gross vehicle weight 
rating of 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) or less, manufactured for sale 
in the United States for each of the three previous production years, 
or, at the manufacturer's option, for the current production year. A 
new manufacturer that has not previously manufactured these vehicles 
for sale in the United States must report the number of such vehicles 
manufactured during the current production year.
    (2) Production. Each manufacturer must report for the production 
year for which the report is filed: the number of passenger cars, 
multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses with a gross vehicle 
weight rating of 2,722 kilograms (6,000 pounds) or less that meet 
Standard No. 216a (49 CFR 571.216a).
    (3) Statement regarding compliance. Each manufacturer must provide 
a statement regarding whether or not the manufacturer complied with the 
requirements of Standard No. 216a (49 CFR 571.216a) as applicable to 
the period covered by the report, and the basis for that statement. 
This statement must include an explanation concerning the use of any 
carry-forward credits.
    (4) Vehicles produced by more than one manufacturer. Each 
manufacturer whose reporting of information is affected by one or more 
of the express written contracts permitted by S8.6.2 of Standard No. 
216a (49 CFR 571.216a) must:
    (i) Report the existence of each contract, including the names of 
all parties to the contract, and explain how the contract affects the 
report being submitted.
    (ii) Report the actual number of vehicles covered by each contract.


Sec.  585.117  Records.

    Each manufacturer must maintain records of the Vehicle 
Identification Number for each vehicle for which information is 
reported under Sec.  585.116(b)(2) until December 31, 2018.

    Issued on: April 30, 2009.
Ronald L. Medford,
Acting Deputy Administrator.

Appendix A--Analysis of Comments Concerning Dynamic Testing

    NHTSA did not propose a dynamic test procedure in the NPRM or 
the SNPRM. However, in the NPRM, we discussed comments received in 
response to our October 2001 RFC concerning whether we should 
include some type of dynamic test as part of the roof crush 
resistance standard. We discussed several types of dynamic tests, 
including the inverted drop test, the FMVSS No. 208 dolly test, the 
Controlled Rollover Impact System (CRIS) test, and the Jordan 
Rollover System (JRS) test. We identified a number of concerns about 
using these tests in FMVSS No. 216. We noted our belief that the 
current quasi-static test procedure is repeatable and capable of 
simulating real-world rollover deformation patterns. We also stated 
that we were unaware of any dynamic test procedures that provide a 
sufficiently repeatable test environment.
    Several consumer advocacy organizations and a number of other 
commenters argued that the agency should propose a dynamic test 
procedure in lieu of the proposed quasi-static test. Ms. Lawlor and 
Mr. Clough suggested a dynamic rollover test is more reflective of 
real-world rollovers. Boyle et al. suggested that a dynamic test 
would provide the most accurate data for regulation. Mr. Turner 
recommended that such a test would better measure the comprehensive 
interaction among safety systems in a rollover crash. Mr. Friedman 
and the Center for Injury Research (CFIR) recommended the use of the 
JRS or a modified FMVSS No. 208 dolly rollover test. Mr. Friedman 
further stated that when given the chance, engineers design the 
structure to

[[Page 22389]]

deal with the dynamic impact realities required to protect occupants 
and not to meet what he characterized as a vaguely related criteria 
like SWR.
    DVExperts asserted that a static test, such as FMVSS No. 216 or 
any variation on this, is not an effective rollover performance 
test, just as a load test would be considered defective for frontal 
or side impacts. Public Citizen recommended a dynamic test because 
it can be improved to better simulate a rollover. It believes a 
static test is inappropriate for a roof crush test.
    Advocates stated that a dynamic test would show how to model 
occupant injury mechanisms and their prevention to provide 
substantially enhanced roof crush resistance. Both Advocates and 
Public Citizen recommended the development of a biofidelic rollover 
anthropomorphic test device (ATD) to measure forces accurately in a 
dynamic test. Syson stated that although some aspects of real 
rollover crashes are not representative in dynamic tests, useful 
engineering information can be obtained from the results. Syson also 
expressed concern with including a dummy in dynamic testing because 
biofidelic problems may help obscure the consequences of roof 
failure or safety belt performance.
    As indicated above, some of the commenters recommending a 
dynamic test cited potential benefits related to aspects of 
performance other than roof crush resistance, e.g., measuring the 
performance of seat belts, doors, ejection. We note that the 
suitability of a particular dynamic test must be assessed separately 
for each aspect of performance that would be addressed. In this 
rulemaking, we are addressing roof crush resistance, and our 
discussion and analysis of the comments focus on that issue. Our 
discussion and analysis below in some instances cite potential 
problems related to measuring other aspects of performance which 
might be measured during a test that evaluates roof crush 
resistance. However, we emphasize that our discussion/analysis does 
not in any way represent an assessment by the agency as to whether 
any of the tests would be suitable for addressing aspects of 
performance other than roof crush resistance.

FMVSS No. 208 Dolly Rollover Test

    Section 5.3 of FMVSS No. 208 contains a dynamic test commonly 
known as the ``dolly rollover test.'' This test was part of early 
provisions in FMVSS No. 208 which permitted manufacturers the option 
of providing automatic crash protection in lateral and rollover 
crashes instead of seat belts. We believe that no manufacturer ever 
selected the option for purposes of complying with FMVSS No. 208. 
Selection of the option was ultimately precluded by the Intermodal 
Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, which required the 
installation of lap/shoulder belts. FMVSS No. 216 has long contained 
a provision that excludes vehicles that conform to the S5.3 rollover 
test requirements of FMVSS No. 208 by means that require no action 
by vehicle occupants. We are unaware of any vehicle that has been 
certified to S5.3 in lieu of FMVSS No. 216.
    As discussed in our August 2005 NPRM, the FMVSS No. 208 dolly 
test was originally developed only as an occupant containment test 
and not to evaluate the loads on specified vehicle components. While 
S5.3 of FMVSS No. 208 specifies that an unbelted Hybrid III 50th 
percentile adult male dummy must be retained inside the vehicle 
during the test, it does not specify roof strength performance 
criteria or injury assessment reference values that must be met. We 
stated in the NPRM that we believed that this test lacks sufficient 
repeatability to serve as a structural component compliance 
requirement.
    A number of commenters recommended that the agency propose a 
dolly rollover test. Advocates, Bidez & Associates (Bidez), SRS, 
Public Citizen, CFIR and Mr. Friedman cited use of the dolly 
rollover test in the Volvo XC90 development program. Several 
commenters stated that the dolly rollover test remains an option for 
certification in lieu of FMVSS No. 216.
    Advocates and Bidez disagreed with the agency's statement that 
the dolly rollover test is not sufficiently repeatable. Bidez 
presented data from three dolly rollover tests conducted for Ford at 
the Autoliv Test Center to support its position. Bidez concluded 
that the test was repeatable based on the timing similarities of the 
peak neck forces and moments.
    Ford submitted additional comments refuting Bidez's conclusions 
and claimed the wide range of amplitude and timing for the occupant 
injury measures were not repeatable.
    CFIR also stated that dynamic rollover tests have been widely 
used to qualify safety devices. It stated they are repeatable in 
that the initial conditions are highly controlled, and it stated 
that a vehicle designed to pass can do so repeatedly. CFIR also 
acknowledged, however, that dolly rollover tests do not reproduce 
the same initial roof-to-ground contact conditions and small changes 
can cause large differences in vehicle trajectory and dummy 
kinematics.
    In support of a dynamic test such as the dolly test, Technical 
Services commented that while dolly rollover tests do not produce 
occupant kinematics that are representative of highway rollovers, 
they represent a more difficult test for the vehicle because of the 
lateral component.

Agency Response

    While the FMVSS No. 208 dolly rollover test has long been an 
option for manufacturers in lieu of the FMVSS No. 216 test, it is an 
option that they have never used. Thus, there has not been any 
experience with using that test for purposes of compliance with an 
FMVSS.
    Moreover, as noted above, the test was not developed to evaluate 
the loads on specified vehicle components. While S5.3 of FMVSS No. 
208 specifies that an unbelted Hybrid III 50th percentile adult male 
dummy be retained inside the vehicle, it does not specify roof 
strength performance criteria or injury assessment reference values 
that must be met.
    Some commenters stated the dolly test was used in the 
development of the Volvo XC90 and is therefore an accepted industry 
practice. We note, however, that there is a significant difference 
between vehicle development work by manufacturers and objective test 
procedures needed for a FMVSS.
    No commenters provided data demonstrating that the agency's 
concerns about the dolly test lacking sufficient repeatability to 
serve as a vehicle structural component compliance requirement for 
assessing roof strength are unfounded. We note that our research is 
consistent with the comments from CFIR concerning reproducibility 
problems with respect to initial roof to ground contact conditions. 
We believe that reproducibility in that area would be an important 
issue for measurement of roof intrusion in an FMVSS.
    In response to Bidez, we agree that the ``timing'' of peak axial 
neck force was similar in their submitted test data; however, we 
also noted that the magnitudes of the neck forces varied 
considerably (from 260 N to 5,933 N) for the passenger side dummy of 
a driver side leading test. Further, the moments and forces for the 
driver side dummy also experienced wide ranges in values despite the 
similar timing of the event. Given the wide range of reported peak 
loads and moments, we are not convinced that repeatable timing is 
more important than repeatable peak values in the injury 
measurements.
    The Bidez test data further showed the variation in the range of 
post-test headroom for these three dolly rollover tests. In two 
tests, the driver post test headroom increased 212 mm and 444 mm 
(8.3 inches and 15.5 inches), but in the third test, it decreased 31 
mm (-5.9 inches). The passenger side showed similar results. It 
should also be noted that the measured headroom difference between 
the driver's and passenger's side in each test were relatively 
similar. This suggested that the roof deformed equally on both sides 
but the amount of deformation differed from test to test. These 
results suggest that the current dolly rollover test is not 
repeatable as a roof crush test.
    As stated in the NPRM, the agency has conducted prior dolly 
testing (similar to the FMVSS No. 208 dolly rollover test) and 
determined that the test conditions were so severe that it was 
difficult to identify which vehicles had better performing roofs. 
Based on these, and other dynamic tests, the agency decided that it 
was best to pursue an upgraded quasi-static test for this 
rulemaking.

Jordan Rollover System (JRS)

    There were a range of comments related to the Jordan Rollover 
System (JRS) test. The JRS device rotates a vehicle body structure 
on a rotating apparatus (``spit'') while the road surface platform 
moves a track underneath the vehicle and contacts the roof 
structure. Comments on the JRS were submitted by the following 
groups: Advocates, CFIR, DVExperts, Xprts, and Public Citizen. Some 
commenters recommended developing a safety standard using the test 
procedure, while others recommended that the agency undertake a 
research program and investigate the JRS fully.
    Advocates recommended using the JRS procedure. CFIR provided 
information concerning the JRS test procedure and addressing 
repeatability of the initial conditions, including data from their 
JRS

[[Page 22390]]

research program. DVExperts claimed the JRS is a repeatable, 
practical, and scientifically valid dynamic rollover test procedure. 
Xprts submitted summary results from JRS testing of a Jeep Grand 
Cherokee. It identified roof intrusion velocities and roof 
deformation behavior (buckling) as important criteria for 
determining injury. Public Citizen commented that NHTSA should 
thoroughly investigate the JRS. Public Citizen and CFIR also 
commented that the JRS test can be conducted with dummies that 
demonstrate whether vehicle roof performance meets objective injury 
and ejection criteria for belted and unbelted occupants.
    CFIR also recommended a maximum axial neck load injury 
measurement (Fz) of 7,000 N \50\ (1,574 pounds) using the Hybrid III 
dummy in the JRS. The recommendation was based on cadaver and dummy 
drop and impact tests. CFIR also acknowledged that the Hybrid III 
dummy has poor biofidelity in the rollover mode. As an alternative, 
it recommended using the roof velocity and intrusion amplitude, as 
measured by an array of string potentiometers attached to the roof. 
The criteria were based on its axial neck load research. CFIR 
claimed to have found a good correlation between neck injury and the 
speed of head impact.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \50\ Friedman D., Nash C.E., ``Advanced Roof Design for Occupant 
Protection,'' 17th ESV Conference, Amsterdam, 2002
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In response to the SNPRM, CAS and CFIR submitted additional 
instrumented test data using the JRS \51\ equipped with a Hybrid III 
dummy. The test vehicles were selected from the agency's fleet 
evaluation. They argued, based upon the data, the JRS is highly 
controlled and repeatable. They further suggested that the 
equipment, and the test costs are modest. The test conditions can be 
widely varied to emulate actual rollover conditions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \51\ See Docket NHTSA 2008-0015: 2003 Subaru Forester, 2004 
Subaru Forest, 2004 Volvo XC90, 2006 Chrysler 300, 2006 Hyundai 
Sonata.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Mr. Nash provided an analysis of NASS rollover cases. He 
concluded that the FMVSS No. 216 platen test would not stress the 
windshield header and create the type of buckling shown in the NASS 
cases. Mr. Nash claimed that the dynamic JRS test would identify the 
header deformation.

Agency Response

    While a number of commenters indicated support for the JRS 
dynamic test procedure, and the developers submitted data for 
multiple tests, the agency has remaining questions regarding the 
setup, conduct, and evaluation of the JRS test procedure despite 
witnessing the JRS testing in February 2007 and multiple other 
meetings. All commenters relied on the JRS tests conducted and 
reported by CFIR and Xprts.
    After considering the data submitted, we believe there are a 
large number of unresolved technical issues related to the JRS with 
respect to whether it would be suitable as a potential test 
procedure to replicate real-world crash damage patterns for a safety 
standard evaluating vehicle roof crush structural integrity. These 
include:

Test Parameters

     Determination of the drop height (for different 
vehicles)--The JRS releases the test vehicle from a predetermined 
drop height to fall onto a moving roadway. The ideal drop height is 
not known. If the drop height is not correlated with real world 
data, some vehicles could be overloaded beyond what would be 
representative of real world crashes. Other vehicles could be under-
exercised based on accident conditions. A specific drop height or 
drop height methodology would need to be sensitive to the vehicle 
types and crash conditions in the fleet.
     Determination of the roll rate and roll angle at 
vehicle release (for different vehicles)--The JRS releases the test 
vehicle at a predetermined roll rate. The roll rate, drop height, 
and angle at which the vehicle is released are carefully coordinated 
to obtain an initial contact between the vehicle and the moving 
roadway at the nearside A-pillar/roof junction. While advocates of 
the test present anecdotal support for the test conditions, the 
appropriateness of the specific test conditions is not clear. There 
may be many vehicles that miss contacting the near side A-pillar/
roof junction and have first contact with the far side of the roof. 
Roll rate has a role in the duration of the load on the roof and 
could have a significant effect on the roof performance during the 
test. If the roll rate is too slow, intrusion could be minimal. If 
the roll rate is too fast, intrusion could be excessive. We believe 
there is a need to correlate these parameters to real world data, 
which we do not have.
     Determination of the roadway speed and road surface--
The JRS drops the vehicle onto an instrumented moving roadway that 
is covered with sandpaper to represent the vehicle-to-ground 
interaction. The roadway speed and the vehicle-to-ground friction 
play a significant role in controlling the transfer of momentum 
between the rotating vehicle and the moving roadway. Changing the 
roadway speed may affect how the vehicle interacts with the ground 
for the far side contact. Research would be necessary to understand 
this interaction and how the initial contact conditions affect the 
JRS test kinematics.
     Repeatability of the drop height, roll rate, release 
angle, initial contact with the roadway and roadway speed--Any 
regulatory test needs to be repeatable and enforceable. The agency 
does not have any experience with the JRS to know what its operating 
tolerances are. If it is possible to first determine optimum or 
representative conditions, it is then necessary to determine the 
accuracy and repeatability that a test device can provide for those 
conditions using a wide variety of vehicle sizes and shapes. For 
example, there are some concerns about whether some vehicle sizes or 
shapes (such as the Sprinter van) would be suitable for testing with 
a JRS device.
     Vehicle performance criteria and instrumentation--There 
are no generally accepted criteria to evaluate vehicle performance 
in rollover crashes. We would need to investigate measurement 
devices for relevancy with the JRS.
     Initial lateral acceleration--The JRS does not take 
into account the initial lateral acceleration in a real world 
rollover. This may have implications when testing with a dummy and 
potentially measuring performance related to some safety 
countermeasures (e.g., ejection containment side curtain bags and 
pretensioners). If a dummy's position in the test is not correlated 
to real-world rollovers, then the assessment of pretensioners and 
side window air bags in the JRS test is put into question.

Lack of Real-World Data To Feed Into the Test Parameters

     At this time, NHTSA has only limited event data 
recorder (EDR) data from rollover sensor-equipped vehicles. It is 
hoped that data from these vehicles can provide a better 
understanding of the range of initial roll rate and trip angles for 
real world rollover crashes. As voluntarily-installed EDRs continue 
to be installed in the fleet, the agency will gather an increasing 
amount of data on real world rollover crashes. Currently, the agency 
does not have enough of these data to evaluate how the JRS test 
might be optimized to real world rollover conditions.
     The ongoing implementation of ESC systems complicates 
the evaluation of real world rollover crashes. ESC systems are 
anticipated to be highly effective in reducing single vehicle 
rollover crashes. These crashes tend to have the highest number of 
quarter turns. The federally mandated implementation of ESC systems 
is expected to dramatically alter the distribution of rollover crash 
conditions.
     Assuming that real world representative test conditions 
could be established, NHTSA would still need to conduct a fleet 
study to examine the safety performance in a JRS test, evaluate how 
well the test results relate to real world safety performance, and 
determine whether or not there would be any appreciable safety 
improvement beyond existing FMVSSs.

Test Dummy Issues

     Lack of test dummy and injury criteria--At this time, 
no anthropomorphic test device (ATD) or crash test dummy, has been 
designed for use in rollover crash tests. Existing ATDs used in 
rollover crash tests, such as the Hybrid III dummy lack lateral 
kinematic behavior as well as lateral impact biofidelity. In 
addition, new injury criteria beyond those currently developed for 
frontal and side impacts would need to be developed for the types of 
loading conditions that result in head, neck, and face injuries 
associated with roof contact.
     Repeatability of test dummy and initial restraint 
positioning--Because the JRS is spinning prior to initiating the 
vehicle test, there are concerns about how to establish the initial 
belt position on the ATD in a manner that is consistent with real 
world conditions. The lateral acceleration prior to rollover 
initiation (as discussed previously) can cause a belted occupant to 
introduce slack in the belt. There is also the additional 
complication of the timing for firing the rollover curtains and/or 
pretensioners in the JRS pre-spin cycle.

There are also issues concerning the biomechanical basis for the 
CFIR

[[Page 22391]]

recommended performance criteria. Specifically, we have concerns 
about CFIR recommended axial neck load criteria, and the surrogate 
(intrusion speed and amplitude), having potential to predict neck 
injury in the real world. We note that in response to CFIR's injury 
metrics, Nissan submitted an analysis conducted by David C. Viano, 
Ph.D. from ProBiomechanics evaluating their findings. Viano found no 
correlation between impact force and head impact velocity based upon 
the available cadaver data CFIR used in its analysis. We believe 
this is an important issue, and believe that lateral moments may be 
equally or more significant than axial force in predicting cervical 
spine injuries. Absent other information we believe further research 
would be needed as to whether the recommended neck axial loads and/
or roof intrusion velocity are appropriate criteria.
    As to the issue raised by Mr. Nash, the agency reviewed the 
Toyota NASS cases he provided, and the damage patterns to the roof 
were consistent with other cases the agency has analyzed. Neither 
the agency nor Mr. Nash identified a catastrophic collapse of the 
header. The integrity of the roof was maintained in all but one of 
the crash events cited. NHTSA also reviewed the JRS 2007 Toyota 
Camry tests and compared the results to the NASS data. The Camry was 
tested twice on the driver's side of the vehicle. When the driver's 
side was tested the first time, there was no appreciable damage to 
the header. The driver's side of the same vehicle was then tested 
again and showed some minor header damage. This test methodology is 
inconsistent with a real world rollover as the far side of the 
vehicle was not damaged in either JRS test and yet the driver's side 
was tested twice.
    While we appreciate the information provided by the commenters, 
we do not believe that the information is sufficient for 
consideration of the JRS as a possible test device for a Federal 
motor vehicle safety standard at this time. The concept and the 
ability of the fixture to rotate a vehicle and contact the roadway 
have been demonstrated. However, as indicated above, there are 
numerous technical issues related to the test and potential 
parameters as well as a suitable ATD and associated injury criteria 
or other metric.

Controlled Rollover Impact System (CRIS)

    In the NPRM, NHTSA stated its belief that the CRIS device is 
helpful in understanding occupant kinematics during rollover 
crashes. However, we also stated that we believe that the device 
does not provide the level of repeatability needed for a regulatory 
requirement, because the CRIS test is repeatable only up to the 
initial contact with the ground. After initial roof impact, the CRIS 
test allows the vehicle to continue rolling, resulting in an 
unrepeatable test condition.
    Two commenters provided support for the CRIS test procedure. The 
commenters were CFIR \52\ and Technical Services. CFIR provided 
summary information on the repeatability of the initial conditions, 
and certain occupant injury measures for the CRIS test procedure. 
Technical Services recommended that the CRIS test should be 
considered by the agency for dynamic roof crush testing.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \52\ Peltez submitted comments from the Center for Injury 
Research (CFIR) dated March 22, 2004. This was originally submitted 
to Docket 1999-5572 (submission 12).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Agency Response

    The CRIS test procedure was developed to produce repeatable 
vehicle and occupant kinematics for the initial vehicle-to-ground 
contact. No data have been provided indicating that the procedure is 
repeatable after initial ground contact, and we would not expect it 
to be given that the CRIS test allows the vehicle to continue 
rolling. While it is notable that some of the injury criteria appear 
to be repeatable for the first ground contact, the relevance of the 
dummy measurements for rollover impacts has not been established. 
Evaluating performance criteria for the CRIS test would depend upon 
the development of an ATD with biofidelity in rollover crash tests. 
We believe a long-term research program would be necessary to 
develop performance measures, evaluate the repeatability, 
reproducibility, and any potential real world correlation of this 
test procedure.

Inverted Vehicle Drop Test

    In the NPRM, the agency stated that its research found that the 
inverted drop test does not replicate real-world rollovers better 
than the current quasi-static test. We stated further that the 
inverted drop test does not produce results as repeatable as the 
quasi-static method.
    The agency received three comments on the inverted vehicle drop 
test. Commenters included SAFE, Syson, and Technical Services. SAFE 
commented that the inverted drop test is superior to the quasi-
static test because: (1) It is a dynamic evaluation; (2) it could 
evaluate multiple rollover safety systems; (3) it could incorporate 
restraint system effectiveness; and (4) it is a simple test 
procedure. Syson stated that the inverted vehicle drop test 
procedure provides more useful information about roof structure 
performance. Technical Services questioned the value of an inverted 
vehicle drop test less than 3 feet in height and the lack of lateral 
loading, when compared to other dynamic dolly rollover tests.

Agency Response

    We discussed issues related to the inverted drop test procedure 
at some length in the NPRM, including a discussion of agency 
research. NHTSA has previously conducted a test program to evaluate 
the relative merits of drop testing compared to the current quasi-
static test procedure. The previous evaluation concluded that 
without a rollover ATD the roof drop test could not provide a 
complete safety performance test. If the test requirement is limited 
to measuring roof deformation as a surrogate for occupant injury 
potential, then the more controlled and repeatable quasi-static test 
procedure is preferable. The agency's research indicated that the 
static test can be related to the drop test with a moderate degree 
of accuracy. Because of an additional number of uncontrolled 
variables, such as consistent vehicle release, impact location and 
deformation measurements, drop test results can be expected to vary 
significantly, even for seemingly comparable test conditions.\53\ 
Adding a lateral component to this test procedure to address 
concerns identified by Technical Services would add another level of 
complexity. The comments do not provide data or arguments to refute 
the positions taken by NHTSA in the NPRM.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \53\ Glen C. Rains and Mike Van Voorhis, ``Quasi Static and 
Dynamic Roof Crush Testing,'' DOT HS 808-873, 1998.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Weight Drop Onto the Roof Test (WDORT)

    In the NPRM, NHTSA did not discuss the weight drop onto the roof 
test (WDORT) since commenters on the prior roof crush resistance 
notice had not addressed this test. One commenter, Mr. Chu, 
recommended that NHTSA develop a dynamic WDORT and set the dynamic 
intrusion limit as a percentage of the headroom before impact. Chu 
stated the WDORT is not sensitive to a vehicle's CG like the 
inverted vehicle drop test and the test weight can be calibrated and 
guided within four rails during the drop. Mr. Chu did not provide a 
detailed test setup, procedure or test data to support his 
recommendation.

Agency Response

    No details or test data were provided for the WDORT concept. 
Consequently, a considerable research effort would be required to 
evaluate the appropriateness and practicability of such an approach 
and whether it would provide any safety benefit beyond the quasi-
static procedure.

Appendix B--Two-Sided Test Results

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                         Peak SWR prior to
                                         127 mm of platen
                                          travel or head      Peak force
               Vehicle                  contact (except as      change
                                              noted)          (percent)
                                      ----------------------
                                        1st Side   2nd Side
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2007 Toyota Tundra...................        3.3        2.2        -17.5
2008 Honda Accord **.................        3.5        4.0          n/a

[[Page 22392]]

 
2007 Ford Edge.......................        3.3        3.2         -3.6
2007 Chevrolet Colorado..............        2.2        1.7        -21.4
2007 Toyota Tacoma...................        3.3        3.7         12.4
2007 Chevrolet Express ***...........        2.3        1.7        -27.3
2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee.............        2.2        1.6        -27.1
2007 Pontiac G6......................        2.3        1.7        -23.8
2005 Lincoln LS *....................        2.6        2.0        -21.3
2007 Saturn Outlook..................        2.7        2.2        -20.8
2003 Ford Crown Victoria *...........        2.0        1.7        -19.5
2007 Ford F-150......................        2.3        1.9        -19.0
2007 Chevrolet Tahoe.................        2.1        1.7        -16.4
2007 Toyota Yaris....................        4.0        3.4        -15.8
2005 Buick LaCrosse..................        2.6        2.2        -13.5
2007 Toyota Tacoma...................        4.4        3.9        -12.2
2007 Buick Lucerne...................        2.3        2.1        -10.8
2003 Chevrolet Impala *..............        2.9        2.5         -9.9
2004 Lincoln LS *....................        2.5        2.2         -8.7
2006 Subaru Tribeca..................        3.9        3.5         -8.3
2007 Scion tC........................        4.6        4.3         -6.7
2006 Chrysler Crossfire..............        2.9        2.7         -5.6
2007 Dodge Caravan...................        3.0        2.9         -5.3
2007 Honda CRV.......................        2.6        2.5         -4.9
2005 Buick LaCrosse..................        2.4        2.3         -3.4
2004 Nissan Quest *..................        2.8        2.7         -3.0
2001 GMC Sierra *....................        1.9        1.9         -1.3
2007 Chrysler 300....................        2.5        2.5          1.6
2004 Chrysler Pacifica *.............        2.2        2.4          7.0
2007 Toyota Camry....................        4.3        4.7          9.0
2004 Land Rover Freelander *.........        1.7        2.0         19.2
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Crush of first side stopped at windshield cracking.
** First side test stopped at predetermined SWR.
*** Between the first and second side tests, the front door on the
  tested side was opened. Because of damage to the vehicle during the
  first side test, the door would not properly close. The door was
  clamped until the latch engaged, locking the door in place. This may
  have compromised the structural integrity of the roof and reduced the
  measured peak load on the second side.

Appendix C--Single-Sided Test Results

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                          Peak strength within   Peak strength prior    Platen
                                                Unloaded    127 mm of platen       to head contact     travel at
                   Vehicle                      vehicle          travel        ----------------------    head
                                                 weight  ----------------------                         contact
                                                  (kg)        N         SWR         N         SWR        (mm)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2006 VW Jetta................................      1,443     72,613        5.1     72,613        5.1         158
2007 Scion tC................................      1,326     59,749        4.6     59,749        4.6         113
2006 Volvo XC90..............................      2,020     90,188        4.6        N/A        N/A         N/A
2006 Honda Civic.............................      1,251     55,207        4.5     55,207        4.5         177
2007 Toyota Tacoma...........................      1,489     64,441        4.4     64,441        4.4         123
2006 Mazda 5.................................      1,535     66,621        4.4     66,621        4.4         155
2007 Toyota Camry............................      1,468     62,097        4.3     62,097        4.3         N/A
2007 Toyota Yaris............................      1,038     41,073          4     41,073          4         115
2006 Ford 500................................      1,657     63,181        3.9     63,181        3.9         150
2007 Nissan Frontier.........................      1,615     62,828        3.9     62,828        3.9         167
2006 Subaru Tribeca..........................      1,907     72,306        3.9     72,306        3.9         112
2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse......................      1,485     51,711        3.6     51,711        3.6         127
2008 Honda Accord \**\.......................      1,476     50,959        3.5     50,959        3.5         N/A
2006 Hummer H3...............................      2,128     70,264        3.4     70,264        3.4         185
2007 Toyota Tacoma...........................      1,752     56,555        3.3     56,555        3.3         N/A
2007 Toyota Tundra...........................      2,345     76,216        3.3     76,216        3.3         N/A
2007 Ford Edge...............................      1,919     61,910        3.3     61,910        3.3         N/A
2006 Hyundai Sonata..........................      1,505     46,662        3.2     46,662        3.2         131
2007 Dodge Caravan...........................      1,759     52,436          3     52,436          3         N/A
2006 Chrysler Crossfire......................      1,357     38,179        2.9     38,179        2.9         107
2004 Honda Accord............................      1,413     38,281        2.8     38,281        2.8         140
2007 Saturn Outlook \*\......................      2,133     57,222        2.7     57,222        2.7         N/A
2006 Ford Mustang............................      1,527     40,101        2.7     41,822        2.8         132
2005 Buick Lacrosse..........................      1,590     40,345        2.6     40,345        2.6         126
2006 Sprinter Van \*\........................      1,946     49,073        2.6        N/A        N/A         N/A

[[Page 22393]]

 
2004 Cadillac SRX............................      1,961     50,346        2.6     50,346        2.6         138
2007 Honda CRV...............................      1,529     38,637        2.6     38,637        2.6         N/A
2007 Chrysler 300............................      1,684     41,257        2.5     41,257        2.5         N/A
2005 Buick Lacrosse..........................      1,588     37,196        2.4     37,196        2.4         123
2006 Honda Ridgeline.........................      2,036     47,334        2.4     47,334        2.4         172
2007 Ford F-150 \*\..........................      2,413     54,829        2.3     54,829        2.3         N/A
2007 Buick Lucerne...........................      1,690     38,268        2.3     38,268        2.3         N/A
2004 Chevrolet 2500 HD \*\...................      2,450     55,934        2.3     56,294        2.3         171
2007 Pontiac G6..............................      1,497     33,393        2.3     33,393        2.3         124
2007 Chevrolet Express \*\...................      2,471     55,038        2.3     55,038        2.3         N/A
2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee.....................      1,941     41,582        2.2     41,582        2.2         117
2007 Chevrolet Colorado......................      1,560     33,299        2.2     33,299        2.2         N/A
2007 Chevrolet Tahoe \*\.....................      2,462     49,878        2.1     49,878        2.1         N/A
2006 Dodge Ram \*\...........................      2,287     37,596        1.7     42,578        1.9         158
2003 Ford F-250 \*\..........................      2,658     44,776        1.7     44,776        1.7         205
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\*\ GVWR greater than 6,000 pounds.
\**\ Test stopped at 3.5 SWR.

[FR Doc. E9-10431 Filed 5-11-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE C