[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 66 (Thursday, April 5, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 20550-20551]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-8137]



[[Page 20550]]

=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

23 CFR Part 1340

[Docket No. NHTSA-2010-0002]
RIN 2127-AL23


Uniform Criteria for State Observational Surveys of Seat Belt Use

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: This final rule amends the implementation date for use of the 
revised uniform criteria for State Observational Surveys of Seat Belt 
Use. With this change, States may continue in calendar year 2012 to use 
a survey design that was approved under the old uniform criteria or, at 
their election, use a survey design approved under the revised uniform 
criteria. In calendar year 2013, all States must use a survey design 
approved under the revised uniform criteria.

DATES: This final rule is effective April 5, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Jin Kim, Attorney-Advisor, Office 
of the Chief Counsel, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., NCC-113, Washington, DC 20590. Telephone 
number: 202-366-1834; Email: Jin.Kim@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Discussion

    On April 1, 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration (NHTSA) published a final rule setting forth ``Uniform 
Criteria for State Observational Surveys of Seat Belt Use.'' 76 FR 
18042. That final rule amended the regulation establishing uniform 
criteria for designing and conducting State observational surveys of 
seat belt use and the procedures for obtaining NHTSA approval of survey 
designs, and provided a new form for reporting seat belt use rates to 
NHTSA.
    The final rule specified that beginning with calendar year 2012 
surveys, States must use survey designs that have been approved by 
NHTSA as conforming to the revised uniform criteria. Under the rule, 
States were required to submit proposed survey designs by January 3, 
2012. Almost all States met this deadline. However, in reviewing the 
proposed survey designs, NHTSA found it necessary to seek clarification 
from States, in some cases several times. Due to the unanticipated 
complexity of the review process, only a few States have survey designs 
that have been approved at this time by NHTSA.
    Most States conduct seat belt use surveys in May and June, during 
the time of the nationally-supported seat belt enforcement 
mobilization. NHTSA does not believe that proposed survey designs will 
be approved in time for all States to train data collectors and conduct 
seat belt use surveys in May and June of 2012. For this reason, NHTSA 
is amending the final rule to allow States to conduct calendar year 
2012 seat belt use surveys using designs approved by NHTSA under the 
old uniform criteria or, at a State's election if its new survey design 
has been approved, under the revised uniform criteria. Beginning in 
calendar year 2013, all States must conduct a survey whose design 
satisfies and is approved by NHTSA under the revised uniform criteria.

II. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

    The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) authorizes agencies to 
dispense with certain notice procedures for rules when they find ``good 
cause'' to do so. See 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B). Specifically, the 
requirements for prior notice and opportunity to comment do not apply 
when the agency for good cause finds that those procedures are 
``impractical, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.''
    This final rule would amend only the date by which States must 
conduct seat belt use surveys using the revised uniform criteria. NHTSA 
already sought public comment on all other aspects of the revised 
uniform criteria. See 75 FR 4509 (Jan. 28, 2010). The earlier-published 
final rule reflects the agency's consideration of and response to those 
comments. See 76 FR 18042 (Apr. 1, 2011).
    This amendment would relieve a burden on the States and has no 
safety impact. While most States met the deadline to submit proposed 
survey designs under the revised criteria, there has been a need for 
significant consultation during NHTSA's review of these proposed 
designs. At this time, only a few States have survey designs that have 
been approved by NHTSA under the revised uniform criteria. NHTSA does 
not believe that proposed survey designs will be approved in time for 
all States to conduct seat belt use surveys during May and June, as is 
typical practice. Further, notice and comment are ``impractical, 
unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest'' given this timeline. 
This final rule would provide States with sufficient notice so that 
States may elect to collect data in May and June 2012 using either the 
old uniform criteria or the revised uniform criteria.
    The APA provides that rules generally may not take effect earlier 
than thirty (30) days after they are published in the Federal Register. 
See 5 U.S.C. 553(d). However, section 553(d)(1) provides that a 
substantive rule which grants or recognizes an exemption or relieves a 
restriction may take effect earlier. Today's final rule, which relieves 
a restriction, is effective immediately upon publication.
    The agency has discussed the relevant requirements of regulatory 
analyses and notices in the underlying final rule published at 76 FR 
18042 (Apr. 1, 2011). Those discussions are not affected by this 
amendment.

Regulatory Identifier Number (RIN)

    The Department of Transportation assigns a regulation identifier 
number (RIN) to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of 
Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center 
publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. You may 
use the RIN contained in the heading at the beginning of this document 
to find this action in the Unified Agenda.

Privacy Act

    Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments 
received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, 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.regulations.gov.

III. Regulatory Text

List of Subjects in 23 CFR Part 1340

    Grant programs--transportation, Highway safety, Intergovernmental 
relations, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration amends 23 CFR part 1340 as follows:

PART 1340--UNIFORM CRITERIA FOR STATE OBSERVATIONAL SURVEYS OF SEAT 
BELT USE

0
1. The authority citation for part 1340 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 23 U.S.C. 402; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 
1.50.


[[Page 20551]]



0
2. Section 1340.2 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  1340.2  Applicability.

    This part applies to State surveys of seat belt use beginning in 
calendar year 2013 and continuing annually thereafter. However, a State 
may elect to conduct its calendar year 2012 seat belt use survey using 
a survey design approved under this part.

    Issued on: March 28, 2012.
David L. Strickland,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2012-8137 Filed 4-4-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P