[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 75 (Thursday, April 18, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 23158-23161]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-09122]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 501

[Docket No. NHTSA-2013-0048]
RIN 2127-AL44


Organization and Delegation of Duties

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
Department of Transportation (DOT) is updating its regulations. These 
regulations govern the organization of the National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration and delegations of authority from the 
Administrator to Agency officers including the Deputy Administrator, 
Chief Counsel, and Senior Associate Administrators. This rule is a 
publication of delegations made by the Administrator to other Agency 
officials.

DATES: This rule is effective April 18, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Dana Sade, Office of the Chief 
Counsel, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: (202) 366-1834.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    This final rule updates the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 
sections that set forth the organization of the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and delegations of authority from 
the NHTSA Administrator to other Departmental officials including the 
Deputy Administrator, Chief Counsel, and Senior Associate 
Administrators. The purpose of this rule is to provide a road map to 
the public and government officials regarding how NHTSA operates, which 
office is responsible for which tasks, and the authority pursuant to 
which Agency offices act.
    The regulations set forth in 49 CFR Part 501 are outdated and do 
not accurately reflect how NHTSA operates. For example, Part 501 still 
references an Executive Director, a position that no longer exists 
within the Agency. These and other inaccuracies in Part 501 create 
unnecessary confusion.
    This rule amends Part 501 in three ways. First, it removes 
positions that are outdated and no longer exist within the Agency. 
Second, it updates the Administrator's delegations to reflect new 
statutory responsibilities and organizational changes within the 
Agency. Third, it clarifies the text and updates citations in Part 501 
to increase transparency, accessibility, and readability.
    This final rule does not impose substantive requirements. It simply 
updates the CFR to represent the current statutory and organizational 
posture of the Agency. The final rule is ministerial in nature and 
relates only to Agency management, organization, procedure, and 
practice. Therefore, the Agency has determined that notice and comment 
are unnecessary and that the rule is exempt from prior notice and 
comment requirements under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(A). As these changes will 
not have a substantive impact on the public, the Agency does not expect 
to receive significant comments on the substance of the rule. 
Therefore, the Department finds that there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 
553(d)(3) to make this rule effective less than 30 days after 
publication in the Federal Register.

II. Executive Order 12866 and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    The final rule is not considered a significant regulatory action 
under Executive Order 12866 and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures 
(44 FR 11034). It was not reviewed by the Office of Management and 
Budget. There are no costs associated with this rule.

Executive Order 13132

    This final rule has been analyzed in accordance with the principles 
and criteria contained in Executive Order 13132 (``Federalism''). This 
final rule does not have a substantial direct effect on, or sufficient 
federalism implications for, the States, nor would it limit the 
policymaking discretion of the States. Therefore, the consultation 
requirements of Executive Order 13132 do not apply.

Executive Order 13175

    This final rule has been analyzed in accordance with the principles 
and criteria contained in Executive Order 13175 (``Consultation and 
Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments''). Because this final rule 
does not significantly or uniquely affect the

[[Page 23159]]

communities of the Indian tribal governments and does not impose 
substantial direct compliance costs, the funding and consultation 
requirements of Executive Order 13175 do not apply.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Because no notice of proposed rulemaking is required for this rule 
under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 553, the provisions of 
the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) do not apply. We 
also do not believe this rule would impose any costs on small entities 
as it makes non-substantive corrections. Therefore, I certify this 
final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule contains no information collection requirements under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    NHTSA has determined that the requirements of Title II of the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 do not apply to this rulemaking.

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 501

    Authority delegations (Government agencies), Organization and 
functions (Government agencies).

    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA revises Title 49, Part 501 
of the Code of Regulations to read as follows:

PART 501--ORGANIZATION AND DELEGATION OF POWERS AND DUTIES

Sec.
501.1 Purpose.
501.2 General.
501.3 Organization and general responsibilities.
501.4 Succession to Administrator.
501.5 Exercise of authority.
501.6 Secretary's reservations of authority.
501.7 Administrator's reservations of authority.
501.8 Delegations.

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 105 and 322, and delegations of authority 
at 49 CFR 1.95.


Sec.  501.1  Purpose.

    This part describes the organization of the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through the Deputy Administrator, 
Chief Counsel, Senior Associate Administrator, Associate Administrator, 
Regional Administrator and Staff Office Director levels and provides 
for the performance of duties imposed on, and the exercise of powers 
vested in, the Administrator of the NHTSA (hereafter referred to as the 
``Administrator'').


Sec.  501.2  General.

    The Administrator is delegated authority by the Secretary of 
Transportation (49 CFR 1.95) to:
    (a) Carry out the following chapters or sections of Title 49 of the 
United States Code:
    (1) Chapter 301--Motor Vehicle Safety.
    (2) Chapter 303--National Driver Register.
    (3) Chapter 321--General.
    (4) Chapter 323--Consumer Information.
    (5) Chapter 325--Bumper Standards.
    (6) Chapter 327--Odometers.
    (7) Chapter 329--Automobile Fuel Economy.
    (8) Chapter 331--Theft Prevention.
    (9) Section 20134(a), with respect to the laws administered by the 
National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator pertaining to highway, 
traffic and motor vehicle safety.
    (b) Carry out 23 U.S.C. chapter 4, Highway Safety, as amended, 
except for section 409.
    (c) Exercise the authority vested in the Secretary by section 
210(2) of the Clean Air Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 7544(2)).
    (d) Carry out the provisions of 23 U.S.C. 313, Buy America.
    (e) Administer the following sections of Title 23, United States 
Code, in coordination with the Federal Highway Administrator as 
appropriate:
    (1) Section 153.
    (2) Section 154.
    (3) Section 158.
    (4) Section 161.
    (5) Section 163.
    (6) Section 164.
    (f) Carry out the consultation functions vested in the Secretary by 
Executive Order 11912 (3 CFR, 1976 Comp., p. 114), as amended, relating 
to automobiles.


Sec.  501.3  Organization and general responsibilities.

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration consists of a 
headquarters organization located in Washington, DC, and a unified 
field organization consisting of ten geographic regions. The 
organization of, and general spheres of responsibility within, the 
NHTSA are as follows:
    (a) Office of the Administrator--
    (1) Administrator.
    (i) Represents the Department and is the principal advisor to the 
Secretary in all matters related to chapters 301, 303, 321, 323, 325, 
327, 329 and 331 of Title 49 U.S.C.; 23 U.S.C. chapter 4, except 
section 409; as each relates to highway safety, sections 153, 154, 158, 
161, 163, 164 and 313 of Title 23 U.S.C.; and such other authorities as 
are delegated by the Secretary of Transportation (49 CFR sections 1.94 
and 1.95);
    (ii) Establishes NHTSA program policies, objectives, and priorities 
and directs development of action plans to accomplish the NHTSA 
mission;
    (iii) Directs, controls, and evaluates the organization, program 
activities, performance of NHTSA staff, program and field offices;
    (iv) Approves broad legislative, budgetary, fiscal and program 
proposals and plans; and
    (v) Takes management actions of major significance, such as those 
relating to changes in basic organization pattern, appointment of key 
personnel, allocation of resources, and matters of special political or 
public interest or sensitivity.
    (2) Deputy Administrator. Assists the Administrator in discharging 
responsibilities. Directs and coordinates the Administration's 
management and operational programs, and related policies and 
procedures at headquarters and in the field.
    (3) [Reserved]
    (4) Director, Executive Correspondence. Provides a central 
facilitative staff that administers an executive correspondence program 
and maintains policy files for the Administrator and Deputy 
Administrator, and services and support to committees as designated by 
the Administrator.
    (5) Director, Office of Civil Rights. As principal staff advisor to 
the Administrator and Deputy Administrator on all matters pertaining to 
civil rights, acts as Director of Equal Employment Opportunity, 
Contracts Compliance Officer and Title VI (Civil Rights Act of 1964) 
Coordinator; assures Administration-wide compliance with related laws, 
Executive Orders, regulations and policies; and provides assistance to 
the Office of the Secretary in investigating and adjudicating formal 
complaints of discrimination.
    (6) Director, Governmental Affairs, Policy & Strategic Planning. As 
the principal advisor to the Administrator and Deputy Administrator on 
all intergovernmental matters, including communications with Congress, 
communicates agency policy and coordinates with the Senior Associate 
Administrators and Chief Counsel on legislative issues affecting the 
agency. Also, coordinates Agency policy discussions and activities and 
coordinates with other operating administrations and the Office of 
Secretary on strategic planning efforts.
    (b) Chief Counsel. As chief legal officer, provides legal services 
for the Administrator and the Administration;

[[Page 23160]]

prepares litigation for the Administration; effects rulemaking actions; 
issues subpoenas; and serves as coordinator on legislative affairs.
    (c) Senior Associate Administrators--
    (1) Senior Associate Administrator for Policy and Operations. As 
the principal advisor to the Administrator and Deputy Administrator 
with regard to core administrative and support services, provides 
direction and internal management and mission support for such 
activities. Provides executive direction over the Associate 
Administrator for Planning, Administrative and Financial Management, 
the Chief Information Officer, the Director of Human Resources, the 
Director of Executive Correspondence, the Associate Administrator for 
Communications and Consumer Information, and the Emergency Coordinator.
    (2) Senior Associate Administrator for Vehicle Safety. As the 
principal advisor to the Administrator and Deputy Administrator with 
regard to rulemaking, enforcement, vehicle safety research and 
statistics and data analysis, provides direction and internal 
management and mission support for such activities. Provides executive 
direction over the Associate Administrator for Rulemaking, the 
Associate Administrator for Enforcement, the Associate Administrator 
for the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, and the Associate 
Administrator for Vehicle Safety Research.
    (3) Senior Associate Administrator for Traffic Injury Control. As 
the principal advisor to the Administrator and Deputy Administrator 
with regard to programs to reduce traffic injury, provides direction 
and internal management and mission support for such activities. 
Provides executive direction over the Associate Administrator for 
Research and Program Development and the Associate Administrator for 
Regional Operations and Program Delivery.


Sec.  501.4  Succession to Administrator.

    (a) The Deputy Administrator is the ``first assistant'' to the 
Administrator for purposes of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 
(5 U.S.C. 3345-3349d), and shall, in the event the Administrator dies, 
resigns, or is otherwise unable to perform the functions and duties of 
the office, serve as the Acting Administrator, subject to the 
limitations in the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998.
    (b) In the event of the absence or disability of both the 
Administrator and the Deputy Administrator, or in the event that both 
positions are vacant, the following officials, in the order indicated, 
shall serve as Acting Deputy Administrator and shall perform the 
functions and duties of the Administrator, except for any non-delegable 
statutory and/or regulatory functions and duties:
    (1) Chief Counsel;
    (2) Senior Associate Administrator for Vehicle Safety;
    (3) Senior Associate Administrator for Traffic Injury Control;
    (4) Senior Associate Administrator for Policy and Operations.
    (c) In order to qualify for the line of succession, officials must 
be encumbered in their position on a permanent basis.


Sec.  501.5  Exercise of authority.

    (a) All authorities lawfully vested in the Administrator and 
reserved to him/her in this Regulation or in other NHTSA directives may 
be exercised by the Deputy Administrator and, in the absence of both 
Officials, by the Chief Counsel, unless specifically prohibited.
    (b) In exercising the powers and performing the duties delegated by 
this part, officers of the NHTSA and their delegates are governed by 
applicable laws, executive orders, regulations, and other directives, 
and by policies, objectives, plans, standards, procedures, and 
limitations as may be issued from time to time by or on behalf of the 
Secretary of Transportation, the Administrator, the Deputy 
Administrator and the Chief Counsel or, with respect to matters under 
their jurisdiction, by or on behalf of the Senior Associate 
Administrators, Associate Administrators, Regional Administrators, and 
Directors of Staff Offices.
    (c) Each officer to whom authority is delegated by this part may 
redelegate and authorize successive redelegations of that authority 
subject to any conditions the officer prescribes. Redelegations of 
authority shall be in written form and shall be published in the 
Federal Register when they affect the public.
    (d) Each officer to whom authority is delegated will administer and 
perform the functions described in the officer's respective functional 
statements.


Sec.  501.6  Secretary's reservations of authority.

    The authorities reserved to the Secretary of Transportation are set 
forth in Sec.  1.21 of Part 1 and in Part 95 of the regulations of the 
Office of the Secretary of Transportation in subtitle A of this Title 
(49 CFR Parts 1 and 95).


Sec.  501.7  Administrator's reservations of authority.

    The delegations of authority in this part do not extend to the 
following authority which is reserved to the Administrator, except when 
exercised pursuant to Sec. Sec.  501.4 and 501.5(a):
    (a) The authority under chapter 301--Motor Vehicle Safety--of Title 
49 of the United States Code to:
    (1) Issue, amend, or revoke final federal motor vehicle safety 
standards and regulations;
    (2) Make final decisions concerning alleged safety-related defects 
and noncompliances with Federal motor vehicle safety standards;
    (3) Grant or renew temporary exemptions from federal motor vehicle 
safety standards; and
    (4) Grant or deny appeals from determinations upon petitions for 
inconsequential defect or noncompliance.
    (b) The authority under 23 U.S.C. chapter 4, as amended, to:
    (1) Apportion authorization amounts and distribute obligation 
limitations for State highway safety programs under 23 U.S.C. 402;
    (2) Award grants to the States under the National Priority Safety 
Programs, 23 U.S.C. 405;
    (3) Issue, amend, or revoke uniform State highway safety guidelines 
and rules identifying highly effective highway safety programs under 23 
U.S.C. 402;
    (4) Fix the rate of compensation for non-government members of 
agency sponsored committees which are entitled to compensation.
    (c) The authority under chapters 303, 321, 323, 325, and 329 
(except section 32916(b)) of Title 49 of the United States Code to:
    (1) Issue, amend, or revoke final rules and regulations; and
    (2) Assess civil penalties and approve manufacturer fuel economy 
credit plans under chapter 329.


Sec.  501.8  Delegations.

    (a) Deputy Administrator. The Deputy Administrator is delegated 
authority to act for the Administrator, except where specifically 
limited by law, order, regulation, or instructions of the 
Administrator. The Deputy Administrator is delegated authority to 
assist the Administrator in providing executive direction to all 
organizational elements of NHTSA.
    (b) [Reserved]
    (c) Director, Office of Civil Rights. The Director, Office of Civil 
Rights is delegated authority to:
    (1) Act as the NHTSA Director of Equal Employment Opportunity.

[[Page 23161]]

    (2) Act as NHTSA coordinator for matters under Title VI of the 
Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.), Executive Order 
12250 (3 CFR, 1980 Comp., p. 298), and regulations of the Department of 
Justice.
    (d) Chief Counsel. The Chief Counsel is delegated authority to:
    (1) Exercise the powers and perform the duties of the Administrator 
with respect to setting of odometer regulations authorized under 49 
U.S.C. chapter 327, and with respect to providing technical assistance 
and granting extensions of time to the states under 49 U.S.C. 32705.
    (2) Establish the legal sufficiency of all investigations and 
enforcement actions conducted under the authority of the following 
chapters, including notes, of Title 49 of the United States Code 
Chapters 301, 303, 321, 323, 325, 327, 329 and 331; to make an initial 
penalty demand based on a violations of any of these chapters; and to 
compromise any civil penalty or monetary settlement in an amount of 
$100,000 or less resulting from a violation of any of these chapters.
    (3) Exercise the powers of the Administrator under 49 U.S.C. 
30166(c), (g), (h), (i), and (k).
    (4) Issue subpoenas, after notice to the Administrator, for the 
attendance of witnesses and production of documents pursuant to 
chapters 301, 321, 323, 325, 327, 329 and 331 of Title 49 of the United 
States Code.
    (5) Issue authoritative interpretations of the statutes 
administered by NHTSA and the regulations issued by the agency.
    (e) Senior Associate Administrator for Policy and Operations. The 
Senior Associate Administrator for Policy and Operations is delegated 
authority for executive direction of the Associate Administrator for 
Planning, Administrative and Financial Management; the Chief 
Information Officer; the Director of Human Resources; the Director of 
Executive Correspondence; the Associate Administrator for 
Communications and Consumer Information; and the Emergency Coordinator. 
To carry out this direction, the Senior Associate Administrator for 
Policy and Operations is delegated authority, except for authority 
reserved to the Administrator, to direct the NHTSA planning and 
evaluation system in conjunction with Departmental requirements and 
planning goals and to coordinate the development of the Administrator's 
plans, budgets, and programs, and analyses of their expected impact. 
The Senior Associate Administrator for Policy and Operations is also 
delegated authority to exercise procurement authority with respect to 
NHTSA requirements; administer and conduct NHTSA's personnel management 
activities; administer NHTSA financial management programs, including 
systems of funds control and accounts of all financial transactions; 
and conduct administrative management services in support of NHTSA 
missions and programs.
    (f) Senior Associate Administrator for Vehicle Safety. The Senior 
Associate Administrator for Vehicle Safety is delegated authority for 
executive direction of the Associate Administrator for Rulemaking, the 
Associate Administrator for Enforcement, the Associate Administrator 
for the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, and the Associate 
Administrator for Vehicle Safety Research. The Senior Associate 
Administrator for Vehicle Safety exercises executive direction with 
respect to the setting of standards and regulations for motor vehicle 
safety, fuel economy, theft prevention, consumer information, and 
odometer fraud. To carry out this direction, the Senior Associate 
Administrator for Vehicle Safety is delegated authority, except for 
authority reserved to the Administrator or the Chief Counsel, to 
exercise the powers and perform the duties of the Administrator with 
respect to the setting of motor vehicle safety and theft prevention 
standards, fuel economy standards, procedural regulations, the National 
Driver Register, and the development of consumer information and 
odometer fraud regulations authorized under Chapters 301, 303, 321, 
323, 325, 327, 329, and 331 of title 49, United States Code. The Senior 
Associate Administrator for Vehicle Safety is delegated authority to 
develop and conduct research and development programs and projects 
necessary to support the purposes of Chapters 301, 323, 325, 327, 329, 
and 331 of title 49, United States Code, and Chapter 4 of title 23, 
United States Code, as amended, in coordination with the appropriate 
Associate Administrators, and the Chief Counsel. The Senior Associate 
Administrator for Vehicle Safety is also delegated authority to respond 
to a manufacturer's petition for exemption from 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301's 
notification and remedy requirements in connection with a defect or 
noncompliance concerning labeling errors; extend comment periods (both 
self-initiated and in response to a petition for extension of time) for 
noncontroversial rulemakings; make technical amendments or corrections 
to a final rule; extend the effective date of a noncontroversial final 
rule; administer the NHTSA enforcement program for all laws, standards, 
and regulations pertinent to vehicle safety, fuel economy, theft 
prevention, damageability, consumer information and odometer fraud, 
authorized under Chapters 301, 323, 325, 327, 329, and 331 of title 49, 
United States Code; issue regulations relating to the importation of 
motor vehicles under sections 30141 through 30147 of title 49, United 
States Code; and grant and deny petitions for import eligibility 
determinations submitted to NHTSA by motor vehicle manufacturers and 
registered importers under 49 U.S.C. 30141.
    (g) Senior Associate Administrator for Traffic Injury Control. The 
Senior Associate Administrator for Traffic Injury Control is delegated 
authority for executive direction of the Associate Administrator for 
Research and Program Development and the Associate Administrator for 
Regional Operations and Program Delivery. To carry out this direction, 
the Senior Associate Administrator for Traffic Injury Control is 
delegated authority, except for authority reserved to the 
Administrator, over programs with respect to: Chapter 4 of title 23, 
United States Code, as amended; the authority vested by section 210(2) 
of the Clean Air Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 7544(2)); the authority 
vested by 49 U.S.C. 20134(a), with respect to the laws administered by 
the Administrator pertaining to highway, traffic, and motor vehicle 
safety; and the authority vested by sections 153, 154, 158, 161, 163, 
and 164 of title 23, United States Code, in coordination with the 
Federal Highway Administrator as appropriate. The Senior Associate 
Administrator for Traffic Injury Control is also delegated authority to 
exercise the powers and perform the duties of the Administrator with 
respect to State highway safety programs under 23 U.S.C. 402 and 
National Priority Safety Programs under 23 U.S.C. 405, including 
approval and disapproval of State highway safety plans and vouchers, in 
accordance with the procedural requirements of the Administration.

    Issued in Washington, DC on: April 10, 2013. under authority 
delegated in 49 CFR 1.95
David L. Strickland,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2013-09122 Filed 4-17-13; 8:45 am]
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