[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 28 (Monday, February 11, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 9623-9628]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-02987]


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

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571

[Docket No. NHTSA-2013-0011]
RIN 2127-AL11


Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Air Brake Systems

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

ACTION: Final rule; response to petition for reconsideration.

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

SUMMARY: On July 27, 2009, NHTSA published a final rule that amended 
the Federal motor vehicle safety standard for air brake systems by 
requiring substantial improvements in stopping distance performance on 
new truck tractors. This final rule responds to petitions for 
reconsideration of a July 27, 2011 final rule that slightly relaxed the 
stopping distance requirement for typical loaded tractors tested from 
an initial speed of 20 mph. NHTSA is granting the request to remove the 
stopping distance requirements for speeds of 20 mph and 25 mph and 
denying the request to relax the stopping distance requirements for 
speeds between 30 mph and 55 mph.

DATES: This final rule is effective February 11, 2013.
    Petitions for reconsideration must be received not later than March 
28, 2013.

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical issues, you may contact 
George Soodoo, Office of Crash Avoidance Standards, by telephone at 
(202) 366-4931, and by fax at (202) 366-7002.
    For legal issues, you may contact David Jasinski, Office of the 
Chief Counsel, by telephone at (202) 366-2992, and by fax at (202) 366-
3820.
    You may send mail to both of these officials at the National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC 20590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents

I. Background of the Stopping Distance Requirement
II. Petition for Reconsideration
III. Response to Petition
    A. Stopping Distance Requirements at Speeds Between 30 and 55 
MPH
    B. Stopping Distance Requirements at Speeds of 20 and 25 MPH
IV. Administrative Procedure Act Requirements
V. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

I. Background of the Stopping Distance Requirement

    On July 27, 2009, NHTSA published a final rule in the Federal 
Register amending Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 
121, Air Brake Systems, to require improved stopping distance 
performance for heavy truck tractors.\1\ This rule reduced the maximum 
allowable stopping distance, from 60 mph, from 355 feet to 250 feet for 
the vast majority of loaded heavy truck tractors. For a small minority 
of loaded very heavy tractors, the maximum allowable stopping distance 
was reduced from 355 feet to 310 feet. Having come to the conclusion 
that modifications needed for ``typical three-axle tractors'' to meet 
the improved requirements were relatively straightforward, NHTSA 
provided two years lead time for those vehicles to comply with the new 
requirements. These typical three-axle tractors comprise approximately 
82 percent of the total fleet of heavy tractors. The agency concluded 
that other tractors, which are produced in far fewer numbers and may 
need additional work to ensure stability and control while braking, 
would need more lead time to meet the requirements. Due to extra time 
needed to design, test, and validate these vehicles, which included 
two-axle tractors and severe service tractors, the agency allowed four 
years lead time for these tractors to meet the improved stopping 
distance requirements.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ 74 FR 37122; Docket No. NHTSA-2009-0083-0001.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Requirements in FMVSS No. 121 provide that if the speed attainable 
by a vehicle in two miles is less than 60 mph, the speed at which the 
vehicle shall meet the specified stopping distances is four to eight 
mph less than the speed attainable in two miles. In the July 2009 final 
rule, the agency used an equation to derive the required stopping 
distances for vehicles with initial speeds of less than 60 mph.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ The complete derivation for this equation was included in 
the docket. See Docket No. NHTSA-2005-21462-0039, at 18-22.

St = (\1/2\ Vo tr) + ((\1/2\) 
Vo\2\/af)-((1/24) af tr 
\2\)
Where:

St = Total stopping distance in feet
Vo = Initial Speed in ft/sec
tr = Air pressure rise time in seconds
af = Steady-state deceleration in ft/sec\2\

For the final rule, the agency selected an air pressure rise time of 
0.45 seconds,

[[Page 9624]]

which is equal to the brake actuation timing requirement in FMVSS No. 
121. The steady-state deceleration was based on a theoretical 
deceleration curve in which vehicle deceleration would increase 
linearly during the rise time portion of the stopping event, followed 
by constant steady-state deceleration, followed by an instantaneous 
decrease in acceleration back to zero at the completion of the stop. 
Table II in FMVSS No. 121 sets forth the stopping distance requirements 
for speeds from 60 mph down to 20 mph (in increments of 5 mph) for both 
typical and severe service tractors in the loaded conditions and all 
tractors in the unloaded condition derived using that formula.
    In a final rule published in the Federal Register on November 13, 
2009, the agency addressed petitions for reconsideration regarding the 
stopping distance requirements for reduced speeds, the omission of 
four-axle tractors under 59,600 pounds gross vehicle weight rating 
(GVWR) from the listed requirements and the date on which the improved 
stopping distance requirements should apply to those tractors, the 
manner in which NHTSA characterized the typical three-axle tractor, and 
the fuel tank fill level testing specification.\3\ The November 2009 
final rule made the following amendments: (1) The agency accepted the 
recommendation of the petitioners and required compliance with the 
improved stopping distance requirements for tractors with four or more 
axles and a GVWR of 59,600 pounds or less by August 1, 2013, thereby 
giving four years of lead time; (2) the agency revised the definition 
of a ``typical three-axle tractor'' in the regulatory text to include 
three-axle tractors having a steer axle gross axle weight rating (GAWR) 
of 14,600 pounds or less and a combined drive axle GAWR of 45,000 
pounds or less; (3) the agency removed the fuel tank loading 
specification from the test procedure; (4) the agency made two 
typographical corrections.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ 74 FR 58562; Docket No. NHTSA-2009-0175-0001.
    \4\ The agency made further correcting amendments to correct an 
omission in the November 2009 final rule. See 75 FR 15620 (Mar. 30, 
2010); Docket No. 2009-0175-0004.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In a final rule published in the Federal Register on July 27, 2011, 
the agency responded to petitions for reconsideration with respect to 
the new stopping distance requirements from reduced initial speeds.\5\ 
The agency increased the stopping distances set forth in Table II of 
FMVSS No. 121 for typical tractors in the loaded condition (column (3)) 
and for unloaded tractors (column (6)) from an initial speed of 20 mph. 
For typical tractors in the loaded condition, the agency increased the 
stopping distance from an initial speed of 20 mph from 30 feet to 32 
feet.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ 76 FR 44829; Docket No. 2009-0175-0006.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The agency made this change after conducting additional tractor 
testing.\6\ In the test program, one of the agency's three-axle 
tractors that had been used in previous brake research was loaded to a 
modified gross vehicle weight so that it was able to stop from 60 mph 
as close as possible to the 250-foot stopping distance requirements. 
Additional tests were then conducted at each initial speed specified in 
Table II of FMVSS No. 121 in both the loaded and unloaded condition.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ Experimental Measurement of the Stopping Performance of a 
Tractor-Semitrailer from Multiple Speeds, Report No. DOT HS 811 488 
(June 2011); Docket No. 2009-0175-0005.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The 60 mph stop showed a slightly different deceleration profile 
compared to the idealized deceleration profile that was predicted by 
the stopping distance equation. For example, the equation assumed that 
the deceleration rate would remain steady for the majority of the stop. 
However, testing found varying deceleration rates during the stop with 
slightly higher deceleration rates as the vehicle's speed approached 
zero. By averaging the stopping distances from six stops from each 
speed in each loading condition, the agency was able to compare the 
test results to Table II. The test tractor performed slightly better 
than the Table II stopping distance requirements at each test speed 
between 30 mph and 55 mph. At 25 mph, the test tractor closely matched 
the Table II stopping distance (44.2 feet in testing compared to 45 
feet in Table II). However, at 20 mph, the test tractor performed worse 
than the Table II stopping distance (31.2 feet in testing compared to 
30 feet in Table II).
    The agency concluded that the tractor testing demonstrated that 
there were slight inaccuracies in the equation due to the theoretical 
deceleration profile's not matching the test tractor. We found that 
braking tests with initial speeds below 35 mph are of such short 
duration that there is insufficient time to attain and maintain the 
level of steady-state deceleration performance that is seen from higher 
initial braking speeds. However, the agency determined that additional 
research would not likely lead to improvements in the robustness of the 
equation, nor would it be likely to suggest a need for any significant 
changes to the Table II stopping distance requirements.

II. Petition for Reconsideration

    NHTSA received one petition for reconsideration of the July 2011 
final rule from the Truck & Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA).\7\ 
The petition for reconsideration addressed two issues. First, EMA 
requested that the agency amend the reduced-speed stopping distances 
for loaded tractors that fall outside of the definition of a typical 
three-axle tractor. Second, EMA requested that the agency amend FMVSS 
No. 121 to remove the stopping distance requirements for initial speeds 
of 20 and 25 mph.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ Docket No. NHTSA-2009-0175-0008.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Heavy Duty Brake Manufacturers Council (HDBMC) submitted a 
document that it styled as comments regarding the July 2011 final rule. 
In its comments, HDBMC requested that the agency do four things: (1) 
Reconsider adopting HDBMC's recommendations regarding stopping 
distances at lower speeds; \8\ (2) eliminate the 20 mph stopping 
distance requirements from Table II; (3) initiate additional research 
to study the effect of different design solutions on stopping distance 
from 25 and 30 mph and revise Table II based on that research; and (4) 
consider the impact of the agency's 20 mph stopping distance 
requirements on in-service braking performance set by the Federal Motor 
Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Because HDBMC's submission was 
styled as a comment, we will consider it to the extent it is applicable 
to EMA's petition for reconsideration.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ See Docket Nos. NHTSA-2005-21462-0020; NHTSA-2009-0083-0004.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

III. Response to Petition

A. Stopping Distance Requirements at Speeds Between 30 and 55 MPH

    EMA's first request in its petition for reconsideration is for 
NHTSA to reduce the stopping distance requirements in Table II of FMVSS 
No. 121 for initial speeds between 30 mph and 55 mph. EMA acknowledged 
NHTSA has conducted testing at lower speeds, but EMA contended that 
NHTSA's testing of a single tractor falls short of what is needed to 
confirm that the reduced-speed stopping distance requirements are 
appropriate for all types of tractors regulated by FMVSS No. 121. 
Further, EMA asserted that the tractor tested by the agency was not 
representative of a typical three-axle tractor because it was equipped 
with 24.5 inch diameter wheels, instead of the more common 22.5 inch 
diameter wheels, which provided the tractor with additional tire-to-
road surface friction. EMA also

[[Page 9625]]

stated that the agency's testing was insufficient to justify the 
reduced-speed stopping distance requirements because the test tractor 
was equipped with disc brakes on the steer axle, which generated 
braking power more quickly than if drum brakes had been used. It also 
stated that, for the fully loaded testing, the vehicle had been loaded 
to a lighter weight than the tractor was rated for, which improved its 
braking performance by allowing brake torque to be generated in less 
time and with less brake fade during the stops. EMA also asserted that 
the tractor's brakes were conditioned much more thoroughly than is done 
using the FMVSS No. 121 brake burnishing procedure, which enhanced the 
vehicle's braking performance. Even assuming that the vehicle tested by 
the agency was representative of a typical three-axle tractor, EMA 
asserted that the testing cannot be used to validate the stopping 
distance requirements for two-axle tractors or severe service tractors.
    EMA included with its petition the results of TruckSim computer 
simulations used to determine the braking performance at reduced 
initial speeds for two types of tractors (normal duty and severe duty) 
that EMA stated had the precise braking improvements needed to meet the 
new 60 mph stopping distance requirements for each type of tractor (250 
feet and 310 feet, respectively). EMA's TruckSim results are shown in 
Table 1.

             Table 1--EMA TruckSim Stopping Distance Results
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          EMA TruckSim results,    EMA TruckSim results,
 Initial braking speed       typical tractor      severe service tractor
         (mph)            (stopping distance in    (stopping distance in
                                  feet)                    feet)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
               30                       74                       86
               35                       96                      111
               40                      122                      143
               45                      150                      177
               50                      180                      212
               55                      214                      260
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    EMA also included an appendix showing stopping distance performance 
from reduced speeds of seven tractors that are considered typical 
three-axle tractors. EMA observed that, although the compliance margins 
for stops from 60 mph ranged from 10.5 to 12.3 percent, the compliance 
margins for stops from 30 mph varied much more greatly, from -3.2 to 
16.3 percent. A summary of EMA's three-axle testing appears in Table 2.

                                                  Table 2--EMA Typical Three-Axle Tractor Test Results
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               FMVSS No. 121                              Stopping distance performance (feet)
                                                  stopping    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Speed (mph)                      distance
                                                requirement     Vehicle A    Vehicle B    Vehicle C    Vehicle D    Vehicle E    Vehicle F    Vehicle G
                                                   (feet)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
30..........................................               65         54.4         67.1         56.3  ...........         61.4         56.9         59.3
35..........................................               89  ...........  ...........  ...........  ...........  ...........  ...........  ...........
40..........................................              114         93.0  ...........         92.3         96.2         98.2         99.0         97.7
45..........................................              144  ...........  ...........  ...........  ...........  ...........  ...........  ...........
50..........................................              176        143.6  ...........        151.0  ...........        152.4  ...........        156.5
55..........................................              212  ...........  ...........  ...........  ...........  ...........  ...........  ...........
60..........................................              250        219.2        220.1        219.8        220.2        223.6  ...........        223.7
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    EMA requested in its petition that the agency adopt the stopping 
distances for initial test speeds between 30 mph and 55 mph set forth 
in Table I in place of the existing stopping distance requirements 
specified in Table II of FMVSS No. 121. Alternatively, EMA requested 
that the agency should change the stopping distance requirements from 
reduced initial speeds back to those that were in place prior to the 
July 2009 final rule.
    For the reasons discussed below, we do not believe changes to the 
reduced speed stopping distance requirements are necessary, nor do we 
believe that unique or complicated braking systems (that is, 
modifications beyond those contemplated in the July 2009 final rule) 
are needed to comply with the requirements that went into effect for 
typical three-axle tractors on August 1, 2011 and will go into effect 
for 4x2 and severe-service tractors on August 1, 2013. We note that, 
although EMA's petition expressly requested that NHTSA change the 
stopping distance requirements at reduced speeds for severe-service 
tractors, EMA's petition contained substantial discussion regarding the 
stopping distance requirements for typical tractors. Thus, the agency 
has considered all of the reduced speed stopping distance requirements 
in the loaded condition.
    By way of background, the agency notes that, in setting the 
requirements for tractor stopping distances at reduced initial test 
speeds, the agency did not intend that unique or complicated brake 
systems would be needed solely to meet the new requirements at reduced 
initial test speeds. The agency assumed that most tractors would 
require some type of foundation brake system improvement in order to 
meet the new 60 mph stopping distance requirements of 250 feet for 
typical tractors and 310 feet for severe-service tractors. As discussed 
in the July 2009 final rule, the agency's best estimate was that, at a 
minimum, all typical three-axle tractors would need to have larger S-
cam drum foundation brakes installed on the steer and drive axles and 
all two-axle tractors and severe-service tractors would need to be 
equipped with disc brakes on the steer and drive axles in order to meet 
the new 60 mph stopping distance requirements with an adequate margin 
for compliance.\9\ EMA's current petition for reconsideration suggests 
that, without changing the stopping distance requirements for reduced 
initial speeds, vehicle manufacturers will need to develop unique or 
complicated braking systems to comply with these requirements.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ See 74 FR 37152-53.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In its petition for reconsideration, EMA raised several issues 
regarding the

[[Page 9626]]

validity of the agency's testing of stopping distance from reduced 
initial speeds. The outcome of this testing led NHTSA to make minor 
adjustments in the July 2011 final rule to the Table II stopping 
distance requirements final rule from an initial speed of 20 mph.
    The agency selected the vehicle that was tested based on its prior 
60 mph stopping distance of 249 feet, which is nearly equal to the 
upgraded 60 mph stopping distance requirement. However, when the 
tractor was prepared for additional testing, its 60 mph stopping 
distance was found to have increased to approximately 295 feet. 
Therefore, a substantial amount of ballast reduction was necessary to 
improve the tractor's performance to reach a zero margin of compliance 
relative to the 60 mph stopping distance requirement. Contrary to EMA's 
assertion that this tractor had braking performance that was better 
than normal tractors, we believe this tractor had poor braking 
performance that required the agency to remove ballast weight.
    EMA identified four factors in the agency's test program that it 
believed had a disproportionately positive effect on stopping 
performance from reduced initial speeds:
     It was equipped with 24.5 inch diameter wheels rather than 
the more common 22.5 inch wheels.
     The disc brakes on the steer axle generated more braking 
power than drum brakes would have and caused more load transfer to the 
steer axle resulting in less tendency for wheel lockup.
     The reduction in test weight resulted in a lightly loaded 
condition and the brakes had excess power to stop the vehicle with less 
fade than brakes designed for a tractor with a lower GVWR.
     The additional stops conducted during the test program 
provided exceptional brake burnish that would not be accomplished in an 
FMVSS No. 121 compliance test.
    The agency does not believe that any of these factors had a 
substantial effect on the outcome of the braking tests. Many of EMA's 
concerns are countered by the alteration of the ballast weight to 
provide a zero margin of compliance with the 250-foot stopping distance 
requirement from 60 mph. For example, we agree that changing the wheel 
diameter or type of steer axle brakes could result in better or worse 
braking performance than was achieved during the agency's testing. 
Similarly, HDBMC asserted that, by removing ballast weight and reducing 
the load on the tires, the tire-to-road coefficient increases, which 
would enable shorter stopping distances. However, had the wheel 
diameter, steer axle brake type, or tires been changed, the agency 
would have adjusted the ballast weight up or down as needed so that the 
tractor would have a zero margin of compliance with the 250-foot 
stopping distance requirement from an initial speed of 60 mph. The 
tractor deceleration rate is generally based on the quotient of the 
total braking force divided by the total vehicle weight. Thus, 
deceleration rate can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the 
braking force or the weight.\10\ That is, changing the weight 
normalized the braking performance so the agency could make direct 
comparisons of stopping distances at different speeds.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ An upper deceleration limit could be reached if the brakes 
can generate sufficient torque to lock up all of the vehicle's 
wheels. However, this limit was not reached in the agency's tests.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Regarding the brake burnish, we note that the vehicle's braking 
performance was consistent throughout the test program. Furthermore, 
after testing at reduced speeds, the agency conducted additional stops 
from 60 mph to ensure the vehicle's stopping distance performance had 
not changed. As indicated in the agency's test report, nothing about 
the vehicle's stopping distance performance changed during testing.\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ See Docket No. NHTSA-2009-0175-0005, at 13, 17.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Regarding the issue of whether the agency's test tractor is 
representative of a 4x2 tractor or a severe-service tractor, which was 
raised by both EMA and HDBMC, we believe that all types of tractors 
share the same overall characteristics in terms of brake system 
reaction time and steady-state deceleration. The largest severe-service 
tractors are expected to have lower steady-state deceleration based on 
prior agency testing at 60 mph. Thus, they are provided with longer 
allowable stopping distances than lighter tractors. However, we would 
not expect that the brake systems would perform substantially 
differently. EMA did not provide any detailed test data showing that 
these other types of tractors brake differently from reduced initial 
speeds than the typical three-axle tractor that the agency tested. The 
test data provided by EMA to the agency in 2006 for 4x2 and severe-
service tractors addressed only the initial test speed of 60 mph.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \12\ See Docket No. NHTSA-2005-21462-0034.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The agency has reviewed the stopping distance data that EMA listed 
in Appendix A of its petition for typical three-axle tractors. Test 
results were not provided for each of the seven tractors at each 
initial test speed. Six of the tractors were tested from 60 mph, four 
were tested from 50 mph, six were tested from 40 mph, and six were 
tested from 30 mph.
    The 60 mph braking performance for the six vehicles that were 
tested showed stopping distances between 219 and 224 feet, 
corresponding to margins of compliance with the upgraded stopping 
distance requirement of 10 to 12 percent. From an initial test speed of 
50 mph the four vehicles that were tested had stopping distances 
between 143 and 157 feet, corresponding to an 11 to 18 percent margin 
of compliance with the 176-foot stopping distance requirement from 50 
mph. From an initial test speed of 40 mph, the four tractors that were 
tested had stopping distances between 92 and 99 feet, corresponding to 
a 13 to 19 percent margin of compliance with the 114-foot stopping 
distance requirement.
    From an initial test speed of 30 mph, the current FMVSS No. 121 
stopping distance requirement is 65 feet. Three of the tractors tested 
by EMA met this requirement with at least a 10 percent margin of 
compliance. One tractor met this requirement with a 9 percent margin of 
compliance. One tractor met this requirement with a 6 percent margin of 
compliance. One tractor (Vehicle B) had a stopping distance of 67 feet, 
which was 3 percent longer than the FMVSS No. 121 requirement. Vehicle 
B test data was only provided at initial test speeds of 30 mph and 60 
mph.
    The agency could not conduct a technical evaluation of EMA's 
stopping distance results. EMA did not provide details regarding how 
many stops were conducted at each speed. This is important because the 
FMVSS No. 121 stopping distance requirement states that a vehicle must 
stop within the distance specified in Table II at least once out of six 
stops. If six stops were conducted, EMA's data does not show how much 
variability occurred in each tractor's six-stop series. Moreover, EMA 
did not provide information about the specific tractors tested such as 
GVWR, GAWRs, wheelbase, type and size of brake components, antilock 
brake system configurations, and brake application timing, which would 
provide more information regarding braking performance. Without this 
information, the agency cannot determine what measures might be needed 
in order for Vehicle B's braking performance to be improved to meet the 
65-foot stopping distance requirement from 30 mph. The difference in 
performance from Vehicle B could be explained by differences in brake

[[Page 9627]]

systems among the seven tractors tested. However, EMA did not provide 
sufficient details for the agency to determine if any of the brake 
system differences would be considered to be unique or complicated 
beyond the brake system improvements contemplated by the agency in its 
July 2009 final rule.
    Similarly, the TruckSim results provided by EMA do not contain 
sufficient detail to justify a change to the stopping distance 
requirements. Aside from stating that the simulated tractors were 
equipped with brake system improvements needed to meet the 60 mph 
stopping distance requirements, EMA did not provide any information of 
the characteristics of the simulated tractors, including the number of 
axles, GVWR, GAWR, foundation brake type and size, brake actuator size, 
brake application timing, brake system deceleration rise time, or 
stopping distance deceleration profiles for the agency to review. 
Without sufficient details underlying the simulation, the agency cannot 
accept the simulation results as sufficient justification to revise the 
stopping distance requirements.
    Based on the foregoing, the agency concludes that EMA's assertion 
that unique or complicated brake systems would be needed to meet the 
stopping distance requirements from reduced initial test speeds is not 
supported by the information before the agency. Without details 
regarding the testing of tractor brake testing or the TruckSim 
simulations, those results do not demonstrate that brake systems 
changes other than those contemplated by the July 2009 final rule are 
necessary to meet the reduced stopping distance requirements. 
Accordingly, the agency is denying EMA's request to amend Table II of 
FMVSS No. 121 to increase the required stopping distance from reduced 
initial test speeds between 30 and 55 mph.

B. Stopping Distance Requirements at Speeds of 20 and 25 MPH

    EMA also requested that NHTSA amend FMVSS No. 121 to remove the 
stopping distance performance requirements at initial speeds of 20 and 
25 mph. As set forth in S3, FMVSS No. 121 does not apply to any truck 
or bus that has a speed attainable in 2 miles of not more than 33 mph. 
For vehicles that cannot attain a speed of 60 mph in 2 miles, the 
vehicle is required to stop from a speed in Table II or IIa that is 4 
to 8 mph less than the speed attainable in 2 miles.\13\ Therefore, a 
tractor that can only attain a speed of 34 mph would be tested from an 
initial speed of 30 mph, and there are no vehicles that would be 
subjected to testing from an initial speed of 20 or 25 mph.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ Tractors that are not what the agency considers ``typical 
three-axle tractors'' have additional lead time to comply with the 
improved stopping distance requirements. Prior to August 1, 2013, 
those tractors may comply with the stopping distance requirements in 
Table IIa.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    EMA states that, because the stopping distances from 20 and 25 mph 
have no bearing on compliance with FMVSS No. 121, maintaining those 
stopping distances in FMVSS No. 121 wastes time and resources and keeps 
a potentially confusing contradiction in the standard. HDBMC supported 
eliminating the 20 mph stopping distances from FMVSS No. 121.
    We agree with EMA inasmuch as they state that maintaining the 20 
and 25 mph stopping distance is unnecessary because those stopping 
distances do not apply to any vehicle subject to FMVSS No. 121.\14\ 
Accordingly, we are granting EMA's request to delete the 20 and 25 mph 
stopping distances for all vehicle types from Tables II and IIa in 
FMVSS No. 121 for both the service brake and the emergency brake. This 
final rule replaces Tables II and IIa with new tables without stopping 
distances for 20 and 25 mph that are otherwise substantively 
unchanged.\15\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ We need not comment on EMA's other bases for removing the 
20 and 25 mph stopping distances from FMVSS No. 121.
    \15\ We have also taken the opportunity to correct a formatting 
error in Table IIa. The present version of the table separates the 
term ``PFC'' (peak coefficient of friction) from the 0.9 value for 
PFC. The correct format is included in this final rule.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

IV. Administrative Procedure Act Requirements

    This final rule eliminates the 20 and 25 mph stopping distances 
from Table II for all types of vehicles subject to FMVSS No. 121, 
including buses and single unit trucks that were not addressed in the 
rulemaking proceeding leading to the July 2009, November 2009, and July 
2011 final rules. This final rule does not impose any substantive 
requirements. It simply removes stopping distances from Tables II and 
IIa that are not requirements for any vehicle subject to FMVSS No. 121. 
This final rule will have no substantive effect. Therefore the agency 
has determined that notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant 
to 5 USC 553(b) is unnecessary.
    A rule ordinarily cannot take effect earlier than 30 days after it 
is published pursuant to 5 USC 553(d) except when the agency finds, 
among other things, good cause for an earlier effective date. In 
addition, 49 USC 30111(d) provides that a Federal motor vehicle safety 
standard may not become effective before the 180th day after the 
standard is prescribed or later than one year after it is prescribed 
except when a different effective date is, for good cause shown, in the 
public interest. These amendments would not impose new requirements; 
rather, these amendments simply delete stopping distances at speeds 
that are not tested by the agency and will have no substantive effect. 
Therefore, good cause exists for these amendments to be made effective 
immediately.

V. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

A. Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, and DOT Regulatory 
Policies and Procedures

    The agency has considered the impact of this rulemaking action 
under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and the DOT's regulatory 
policies and procedures. This action was not reviewed by the Office of 
Management and Budget under Executive Order 12866. The agency has 
considered the impact of this action under the Department of 
Transportation's regulatory policies and procedures (44 FR 11034; 
February 26, 1979), and has determined that it is not ``significant'' 
under them.
    This action completes the agency's response to petitions for 
reconsideration regarding the July 2011 final rule amending FMVSS No. 
121. This final rule deletes stopping distances from the tables in 
FMVSS No. 121 for speeds that are not tested by NHTSA. Today's action 
will not cause any additional expenses for vehicle manufacturers. This 
action will not have any safety impacts.

B. Privacy Act

    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 (65 FR 19477-78) or you may visit http://docketsinfo.dot.gov/.

C. Other Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

    In the July 2009 final rule, the agency discussed relevant 
requirements related to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the National 
Environmental Policy Act, Executive Order 13132 (Federalism), the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, Civil Justice Reform, the National 
Technology

[[Page 9628]]

Transfer and Advancement Act, the Paperwork Reduction Act, and 
Executive Order 13045 (Protection of Children from Environmental Health 
and Safety Risks). As today's final rule merely deletes stopping 
distances from the table in FMVSS No. 121 for speeds that are not 
tested by NHTSA, it will not have any effect on the agency's analyses 
in those areas.

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 571

    Imports, Motor vehicle safety, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Tires.

    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA amends 49 CFR Part 571 as 
follows:

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 1.95.


0
2. In Sec.  571.121, revise Table II and Table IIA to read as follows:


Sec.  571.121  Standard No. 121; Air brake systems.

* * * * *

                                                           Table II--Stopping Distance in Feet
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                       Service brake                                  Emergency brake
             Vehicle speed in miles per hour             -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            PFC 0.9     PFC 0.9     PFC 0.9     PFC 0.9     PFC 0.9     PFC 0.9     PFC 0.9     PFC 0.9
                                                                 (1)         (2)         (3)         (4)         (5)         (6)         (7)         (8)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
30......................................................          70          78          65          78          84          61         170         186
35......................................................          96         106          89         106         114          84         225         250
40......................................................         125         138         114         138         149         108         288         325
45......................................................         158         175         144         175         189         136         358         409
50......................................................         195         216         176         216         233         166         435         504
55......................................................         236         261         212         261         281         199         520         608
60......................................................         280         310         250         310         335         235         613         720
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note:
(1) Loaded and Unloaded Buses.
(2) Loaded Single-Unit Trucks.
(3) Loaded Tractors with Two Axles; or with Three Axles and a GVWR of 70,000 lbs. or less; or with Four or More Axles and a GVWR of 85,000 lbs. or less.
  Tested with an Unbraked Control Trailer.
(4) Loaded Tractors with Three Axles and a GVWR greater than 70,000 lbs.; or with Four or More Axles and a GVWR greater than 85,000 lbs. Tested with an
  Unbraked Control Trailer.
(5) Unloaded Single-Unit Trucks.
(6) Unloaded Tractors (Bobtail).
(7) All Vehicles except Tractors, Loaded and Unloaded.
(8) Unloaded Tractors (Bobtail).



 Table IIa--Stopping Distance in Feet: Optional Requirements for: (1) Three-Axle Tractors With a Front Axle That
Has a GAWR of 14,600 Pounds or Less, and With Two Rear Drive Axles That Have a Combined GAWR of 45,000 Pounds or
     Less, Manufactured Before August 1, 2011; and (2) All Other Tractors Manufactured Before August 1, 2013
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                       Service Brake                         Emergency Brake
  Vehicle speed in miles per hour  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      PFC 0.9      PFC 0.9      PFC 0.9      PFC 0.9      PFC 0.9      PFC 0.9
                                            (1)          (2)          (3)          (4)          (5)          (6)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
30................................           70           78           84           89          170          186
35................................           96          106          114          121          225          250
40................................          125          138          149          158          288          325
45................................          158          175          189          200          358          409
50................................          195          216          233          247          435          504
55................................          236          261          281          299          520          608
60................................          280          310          335          355          613          720
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: (1) Loaded and unloaded buses; (2) Loaded single unit trucks; (3) Unloaded truck tractors and single unit
  trucks; (4) Loaded truck tractors tested with an unbraked control trailer; (5) All vehicles except truck
  tractors; (6) Unloaded truck tractors.

* * * * *

    Issued On: February 4, 2013.
David L. Strickland,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2013-02987 Filed 2-8-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P