[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 96 (Thursday, May 17, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 29247-29249]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-11945]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571

[Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0058]
RIN 2127-AL07


Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Occupant Crash Protection

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

ACTION: Final rule; technical amendments.

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SUMMARY: This final rule makes technical amendments to Federal Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection. 
Specifically, this document updates references to the Pipeline and 
Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) (formerly the 
Research and Special Programs Administration) regulations that are 
included in the requirements for pressure vessels and explosive devices 
used in occupant crash protection systems, such as air bags. As a 
result of various rulemakings that reorganized the relevant 
regulations, the references contained in FMVSS No. 208 are out of date. 
This final rule updates the references to the PHMSA regulations.
    This document also makes a correction to the air bag warning label 
requirements for vehicle dashboards and steering wheel hubs to make 
clear that the general warning label requirements for vehicles with air 
bags are superseded by different, specific requirements if the vehicle 
is certified to meet certain advanced air bag requirements. As written 
now, the general warning label requirements contain an explicit 
exception for the warning label requirements for vehicles certified to 
meet these advanced air bag requirements before December 1, 2003, but 
do not reference the warning label requirements for vehicles certified 
to meet these requirements on or after December 1, 2003.
    This document does not make any substantive changes to the 
requirements specified in FMVSS No. 208.

DATES: This rule is effective June 18, 2012.
    Petitions for reconsideration must be received by July 2, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Petitions for reconsideration must be submitted to: 
Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. William H. Shakely, Office of the 
Chief Counsel, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: (202) 366-2992.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Discussion

    FMVSS No. 208 (49 CFR 571.208) specifies requirements for the 
protection of vehicle occupants in crashes and includes equipment 
requirements for restraint systems. This document makes technical 
amendments to several of the provisions within this standard, 
specifically the requirements for pressure vessels and explosive 
devices, which are located at S9.1 and S9.2, and the air bag warning 
label requirements, which are located at S4.5.1.
    S9.1 and S9.2 were promulgated in 1972 with the purpose of 
regulating occupant crash protection systems, such as air bags, that 
contain explosive materials or pressure vessels by imposing directly on 
manufacturers the obligation to conform to Federal hazardous materials 
regulations.\1\ S9.1 specifies that pressure vessels shall conform to 
certain requirements for Specification 39 non-reusable (non-refillable) 
cylinders found at 49 CFR 178.65. S9.2 specifies requirements for 
explosive devices and, in particular, requires that such devices not 
exhibit any of the characteristics prohibited by the Federal regulation 
listing forbidden explosives, which, at the time S9.2 was adopted, was 
found at 49 CFR 173.51.
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    \1\ 37 FR 9222 (May 6, 1972).
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    Since S9.1 and S9.2 were adopted, the hazardous materials 
regulations referenced in these paragraphs have

[[Page 29248]]

been reorganized and, in some cases, relocated. On December 21, 1990, 
the regulation listing forbidden explosives (49 CFR 173.51) was 
redesignated as 49 CFR 173.54.\2\ On May 23, 1996, the pressure vessel 
requirements in 49 CFR 178.65 were reorganized,\3\ and on August 8, 
2002, a subreferenced provision concerning pressure relief devices (49 
CFR 173.34(d)) was moved into 49 CFR 173.301.\4\
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    \2\ Final Rule; Performance-Oriented Packaging Standards; 
Changes to Classification, Hazard Communication, Packaging and 
Handling Requirements Based on UN Standards and Agency Initiative, 
55 FR 52402 (Dec. 21, 1990).
    \3\ Final Rule; Restructuring of Cylinder Specifications 
Requirements, 61 FR 25940 (May 23, 1996).
    \4\ Final Rule; Hazardous Materials: Requirements for 
Maintenance, Requalification, Repair and Use of DOT Specification 
Cylinders, 67 FR 51626 (Aug. 8, 2002). 49 CFR 173.301 includes 
additional requirements beyond those for pressure relief devices. 
Accordingly, the regulatory text of S9.1 has been amended in this 
final rule so that only the pressure relief device requirements of 
that section are referenced.
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    As a result of these reorganizations, the references in FMVSS No. 
208 are no longer accurate. This notice updates the references 
contained in S9.1 and S9.2 of this standard. It does not make any 
substantive changes to the requirements specified therein. In 
particular, we note that when the hazardous materials regulations 
referenced in S9.1 and S9.2 were reorganized or redesignated, minor 
textual changes were made to those referenced sections. However, these 
textual changes did not result in any substantive changes. Accordingly, 
the substantive requirements of S9.1 and S9.2 remain the same.
    The need to correct the references in S9.1 of FMVSS No. 208 was the 
subject of a petition for rulemaking submitted by the North American 
Automotive Hazardous Material Action Committee on October 7, 2004. That 
organization specifically petitioned NHTSA to update paragraph S9.1 of 
FMVSS No. 208. This document grants that petition. We had also 
previously been contacted by a representative of Takata Corporation 
concerning this matter.
    In addition to updating the references in S9.1 and S9.2, this final 
rule makes a technical amendment to S4.5.1(e) of FMVSS No. 208, which 
specifies requirements for air bag warning labels on vehicle dashboards 
and steering wheel hubs. S4.5.1(e)(1) specifies label requirements for 
all vehicles equipped with air bags except as provided in S4.5.1(e)(2). 
S4.5.1(e)(2) specifies label requirements for vehicles certified to 
meet certain advanced air bag requirements before December 1, 2003. 
S4.5.1(e) contains a third set of label requirements in S4.5.1(e)(3), 
which specifies the label requirements for vehicles certified to meet 
the specified advanced air bag requirements on or after December 1, 
2003. However, the text of S4.5.1(e)(1) does not include an exception 
for S4.5.1(e)(3).
    On January 25, 2005, we received a request for interpretation from 
Toyota Motor North America, Inc. (Toyota) concerning S4.5.1(e).\5\ 
Toyota's concern was that S4.5.1(e)(1) makes an exception for 
S4.5.1(e)(2) but not for S4.5.1(e)(3). Arguably, as written, both 
S4.5.1(e)(1) and S4.5.1(e)(3) would apply to vehicles certified to meet 
certain advanced air bag requirements on or after December 1, 2003. 
Toyota indicated its belief that it was not NHTSA's intention to 
require vehicles to have both labels, which are very similar.
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    \5\ Docket No. NHTSA-2005-20694-0002.
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    We responded to Toyota's request for interpretation on March 14, 
2005.\6\ We confirmed Toyota's understanding and agreed that it was not 
the agency's intention to require vehicles to have both types of 
labels. We indicated that the agency intended for the labeling 
requirements in S4.5.1(e)(2) and S4.5.1(e)(3) to supersede the labeling 
requirement in S4.5.1(e)(1) for vehicles certified to meet certain 
advanced air bag requirements and stated that the exception identified 
in S4.5.1(e)(1) should include both S4.5.1(e)(2) and S4.5.1(e)(3). This 
amendment adds S4.5.1(e)(3) as an exception to the requirements of 
S4.5.1(e)(1), consistent with our letter of interpretation to Toyota. 
This is a technical correction and does not change any of the 
substantive labeling requirements.
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    \6\ Docket No. NHTSA-2005-20694-0001.
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II. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

    Section 553 of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) 
provides that when an agency, for good cause, finds that notice and 
public procedure are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the 
public interest, the agency may issue a final rule without providing 
notice and an opportunity for public comment (5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B)). 
NHTSA has determined that there is good cause for making these 
technical amendments final without notice and an opportunity for public 
comment. These technical amendments update the cross-references to 
Federal hazardous materials regulations in paragraphs S9.1 and S9.2 of 
FMVSS No. 208 and correct the language in paragraph S4.5.1(e) of that 
standard. The amendments do not alter the substance of the amended 
sections nor do they alter the requirements of FMVSS No. 208. 
Accordingly, notice and public comment are unnecessary. For the same 
reasons, NHTSA has determined that there is good cause for these 
amendments to go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal 
Register.
    The agency has discussed the relevant requirements of Executive 
Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, DOT Regulatory Policies and 
Procedures, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act, Executive Order 13132 (Federalism), Executive Order 
12988 (Civil Justice Reform), the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, the 
Paperwork Reduction Act, Executive Order 13045 (Protection of Children 
From Environmental Health and Safety Risks), the National Technology 
Transfer and Advancement Act, and Executive Order 13211(Energy 
Effects), as applicable, in the underlying substantive rules 
establishing and amending the affected sections of FMVSS No. 208. Those 
discussions are not affected by these amendments.

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.

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 571

    Motor vehicle safety, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, 
Tires.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration, Department of Transportation, amends 49 
CFR part 571 as follows:

PART 571--FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS

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


[[Page 29249]]


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


0
2. Section 571.208 is amended by revising the first sentence of 
S4.5.1(e)(1), S9.1, and the first sentence of S9.2 to read as follows:


Sec.  571.208  Standard No. 208; Occupant crash protection.

* * * * *
    S4.5.1 Labeling and owner's manual information.
* * * * *
    (e) Label on the dashboard. (1) Except as provided in S4.5.1(e)(2) 
or S4.5.1(e)(3), each vehicle that is equipped with an inflatable 
restraint for the passenger position shall have a label attached to a 
location on the dashboard or the steering wheel hub that is clearly 
visible from all front seating positions. * * *
* * * * *
    S9.1 Pressure vessels. A pressure vessel that is continuously 
pressurized shall conform to the requirements of Sec. Sec.  178.65(a), 
178.65(c)(2), 178.65(d), 178.65(e)(1), and 178.65(e)(2) of this title; 
and to the pressure relief device requirements of Sec. Sec.  
173.301(a)(2), 173.301(a)(3) and 173.301(f) of this title. It shall not 
leak or evidence visible distortion when tested in accordance with 
Sec.  178.65(f)(1) of this title and shall not fail in any of the ways 
enumerated in Sec.  178.65(f)(2) of this title when hydrostatically 
tested to destruction. It shall not crack when flattened in accordance 
with Sec.  178.65(g) of this title to the limit specified in Sec.  
178.65(g)(4) of this title.
    S9.2 Explosive devices. An explosive device shall not exhibit any 
of the characteristics prohibited by Sec.  173.54 of this title. * * *
* * * * *

    Issued: May 10, 2012.
Christopher J. Bonanti,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2012-11945 Filed 5-16-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P