[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 230 (Friday, November 29, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 71558-71560]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-28590]



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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 582

[Docket No. NHTSA-2013-0078]


Insurance Cost Information Regulation

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

ACTION: Request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is 
seeking comment on the most useful data, format and method for 
reporting simple and understandable motor vehicle damage susceptibility 
information to consumers. NHTSA plans to use this information to meet a 
requirement by Congress that it study and report its findings, 
including the possibility that no damage susceptibility data is useful 
to consumers or that no useful format or method exists for reporting 
damage susceptibility information to consumers.

DATES: You should submit your comments early enough to ensure that 
Docket Management receives them no later than January 28, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Comments should refer to the docket number above and be 
submitted by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility: U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room 
W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: 202-493-2251
     Instructions: For detailed instructions on submitting 
comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the 
Public Participation heading of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section 
of this document. Note that all comments received will be posted 
without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal 
information provided.
     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 (65 FR 19477-78). For access to the docket 
to read background documents or comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov or the street address listed above. Follow the 
online instructions for accessing the dockets.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Deborah Mazyck, Office of 
International Policy, Fuel Economy and Consumer Programs, NVS-131, 
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue 
SE., West Building, W43-443, Washington, DC 20590-0001, phone 202-366-
4139.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Background
    A. Previous Rulemaking/Legislative History
    B. Public Law 112-252
    C. Insurance Cost Information Booklet
II. Comments Requested
III. Requests for Comments on Particular Issues
IV. Public Participation

I. Background

 A. Previous Rulemaking/Legislative History

    In response to a growing concern about the large amount of money 
the American consumer was spending on maintenance of automobiles and 
repair of crash damage, the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings 
(MVICS) Act, Public Law 92-513, was enacted on October 20, 1972. Among 
other provisions, the MVICS Act required the Secretary of 
Transportation to compile and provide the public with information that 
allowed comparison of damage susceptibility, crashworthiness, and the 
degree of difficulty of diagnosis and repair of damage to or failure of 
mechanical and electrical systems among makes and models of passenger 
motor vehicles.\1\ This requirement is codified in 49 U.S.C. 32302.\2\ 
Until early 2013, Sec.  32302 also required that the Secretary of 
Transportation prescribe regulations requiring passenger motor vehicle 
dealers to distribute to prospective buyers information the Secretary 
develops and provides to the dealers that compares insurance costs for 
different makes and models of passenger motor vehicles based on damage 
susceptibility and crashworthiness.\3\ The purpose of these 
requirements was to provide a means of reducing the costs of repairs 
and insurance by increasing public awareness of these characteristics 
and motivating manufacturers to build cars which are safe to operate, 
more damage resistant, less expensive to repair, and less costly to 
insure.
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    \1\ MVICS Act Sec.  201(d) (codified as amended at 49 U.S.C. 
32302(a)-(b)).
    \2\ Section 31305 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st 
Century Act (MAP-21), Public Law 112-114 (July 6, 2012) amended 
subsection (a) by adding language expanding the type of comparative 
vehicle information to be developed and provided to the public to 
include crash avoidance and any other areas the Secretary determines 
will improve the safety of passenger motor vehicles.
    \3\ MVICS Act Sec.  201(e) (formerly codified at 49 U.S.C. 
32302(c)).
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    NHTSA implemented these requirements through several different 
programs. Information relating to vehicle crashworthiness and various 
types of crash avoidance systems are available through NHTSA's New Car 
Assessment Program (NCAP). NCAP provides vehicle safety information 
that enables consumers to compare the safety performance and features 
of new vehicles, helping them to make their new vehicle purchasing 
decisions and encouraging manufacturers to improve the safety aspects 
of existing vehicle designs and include new or better safety 
technologies in future vehicle designs. NCAP data (including frontal 
crash protection and other crash test data) is available online at 
www.safercar.gov.
    In order to meet the specific requirements regarding insurance cost 
information, NHTSA established 49 CFR Part 582, Insurance Cost 
Information Regulation. This regulation required automobile dealers to 
make available and provide information comparing insurance rates for 
different makes and models of passenger motor vehicles based on their 
differences in damage susceptibility and crashworthiness to prospective 
purchasers where they offered new vehicles for sale. Failure to provide 
this information could result in civil penalties to the dealership.
    Part 582 required new car dealers to make collision loss experience 
data available to prospective customers in a booklet, the Insurance 
Cost Information Booklet, prepared and annually provided by NHTSA from 
data compiled by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). The Insurance 
Cost Information Booklet provides information on comparative insurance 
costs, based on damage susceptibility and crashworthiness, for 
different makes and models of passenger cars, sport utility vehicles, 
light trucks, and vans. In the March 5, 1993 final rule establishing 
the requirements, NHTSA indicated that it would provide each dealer 
with a single copy of the booklet

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and give new car dealerships the responsibility of reproducing a 
sufficient number of copies for retention by their prospective 
purchasers.\4\
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    \4\ 58 FR 12545.
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 B. Public Law 112-252

    Public Law 112-252, passed by Congress and signed by the President 
on January 10, 2013, repeals the statutory provision mandating the 
requirement for passenger motor vehicle dealers to distribute this 
information to prospective buyers. The House of Representatives 
Committee on Energy and Commerce Report on the bill that became Public 
Law 112-252 \5\ identified the requirement as obsolete. The Committee 
noted that consumers rarely requested the information, civil penalties 
were imposed on dealerships if booklets were not available, and the 
insurance cost data in the booklet was general and questionable.
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    \5\ H.R. Rep. No. 112-591 (2012).
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    NHTSA has notified new vehicle dealers that, because of the repeal 
of subsection (c) of Sec.  32302 of title 49, U.S.C., passenger motor 
vehicle dealers are no longer required to make the Insurance Cost 
Information Booklet available, or to reproduce a sufficient number of 
copies for retention for their prospective purchasers. As a practical 
matter, NHTSA does not have funding available to publish and distribute 
multiple copies of the Insurance Cost Information Booklet to the more 
than 2,700 new vehicle dealers in the U.S.
    Although Public Law 112-252 repealed the provision mandating that 
dealers distribute certain information, the law did not amend the 
Secretary's discretionary authority to require dealers to distribute 
damage susceptibility information to purchasers.\6\ However, the law 
amended 49 U.S.C. 32302(b) by adding that ``(t)he Secretary, after 
providing an opportunity for public comment, shall study and report to 
Congress the most useful data, format, and method for providing simple 
and understandable information to consumers. Congress has directed the 
agency to carry out this requirement no later than the date that is 2 
years after the date of the enactment.'' \7\
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    \6\ 49 U.S.C. 32302(b).
    \7\ Report to Congress is due 2 years after date of enactment on 
January 10, 2015.
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    Thus, the agency seeks information to address Congress's amendment 
to Sec.  32302(b) on the most useful, if any, alternative data, format, 
and method for providing simple and understandable damage 
susceptibility information to consumers. The agency is also seeking 
this information to assist us in determining whether to continue 
publishing the annual Insurance Cost Information Booklet and, if so, 
what types of enhancements can be made to ensure the continued 
availability of the insurance cost information to prospective vehicle 
purchasers. The agency is interested in determining if revisions to its 
current information and process would be necessary or could be 
improved. At this time, NHTSA welcomes written comments from the public 
on the issues discussed in this request for comments or on any other 
topic within the scope of this request.

C. Insurance Cost Information Booklet

    The data in the Insurance Cost Information Booklet contains the 
best available information known to the agency on the effect of damage 
susceptibility on insurance premiums. The data for NHTSA's annual 
booklet was taken from information compiled by HLDI. The agency's most 
recent publication of the Insurance Cost Information Booklet (February 
2013, DOT HS 811 738) uses data from HLDI's December 2012 Insurance 
Collision Report. It reflects the collision loss experience of 
passenger cars, utility vehicles, light trucks, and vans sold in the 
United States in terms of the average loss payment per insured vehicle 
year for model years 2010-2012. The data presented vehicle collision 
loss experience in relative terms, with a rating of 100 representing 
the average for all passenger vehicles. For example, a rating of 122 
reflects a collision loss experience that is 22 percent higher (worse) 
than average, while a rating of 96 reflects a collision loss experience 
that is 4 percent lower (better) than average. The data is not relevant 
for models that have been substantially redesigned for 2012, and it 
does not include information about models with insufficient claim 
experience. Additionally, different insurance companies often charge 
different premiums for the same driver and vehicle. Therefore, 
purchasers are advised to contact insurance company agents directly to 
determine the actual premium that they will be charged for insuring a 
particular vehicle. The Insurance Cost Information Booklet is annually 
made available to consumers through the agency's Web site at 
www.nhtsa.gov/theft, under the ``Additional Resources'' heading.

II. Comments Requested

    The agency is seeking public input regarding possible approaches it 
may take to provide information regarding damage susceptibility for 
makes and models of passenger cars, sport utility vehicles, light 
trucks, and vans.
    The agency welcomes comments on areas of relevance that are not 
listed in this notice, but are areas that commenters believe the agency 
should consider on the most useful data, format, and method for 
providing simple and understandable damage susceptibility information 
to consumers. NHTSA will consider all comments received. After we 
receive comments, we will address all areas listed in this notice, plus 
any new areas that were provided by public comments. We will then use 
this information to develop a Report to Congress due January 10, 2015.

III. Request for Comments on Particular Issues

    This notice discusses the various subject areas for which NHTSA is 
seeking comments and information with respect to their future potential 
as an enhancement to providing alternative types of damage 
susceptibility and insurance cost information. Some of the areas, if 
pursued, may require time and additional work by the agency. NHTSA 
seeks information and public comment about each area.
    a. Provide any comments on consumer experiences with the 
usefulness, reliability and availability of insurance cost information 
based on damage susceptibility for motor vehicles.
    b. Have there been any instances that can be provided to support 
whether consumers have requested information on the damage 
susceptibility of vehicles when they have visited dealerships?
    c. Have there been any instances that can be provided to support 
whether consumers have seen, requested or were provided a copy of the 
Insurance Cost Information Booklet when they have visited dealerships?
    d. What suggestions do you have to increase public awareness of 
damage susceptibility and insurance cost information?
    e. What suggestions would you make to improve the availability of 
damage susceptibility and insurance cost information to new car 
purchasers?
    f. Provide any comments or information on consumer usage of the 
Insurance Cost Information booklet as a reference tool for purchasing a 
vehicle.
    g. Is the information helpful/useful and why?
    h. What changes could be suggested to make the Insurance Cost 
Information Booklet more useful, informative, simple and understandable 
to consumers?

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    i. Are there any reliable real-world data or studies available on 
damage susceptibility and collision loss characteristics of passenger 
vehicles? Please provide applicable data and source, or other 
information you believe would be helpful to the agency in determining 
the best possible information/data available.
    j. Are real-world data or studies available relevant to insurance 
premium differences? Please provide applicable data and source or other 
information you believe would be helpful to the agency in determining 
the best possible information/data.
    k. What would be the impact of not providing the damage 
susceptibility and insurance cost information to prospective purchasers 
of new vehicles?
    l. Does the current information provided in the agency's Insurance 
Cost Information Booklet address the needs of consumers? If so, how? If 
not, what could the agency do to enhance the information to meet the 
needs of consumers?
    m. Are there any agencies or organizations that would find it 
useful to provide the damage susceptibility and insurance cost 
information to its consumers, customers or clients and if so, why?
    n. Is the current format for the Insurance Cost Information Booklet 
simple and understandable? Would you recommend changing the format? If 
so, how would you recommend it be changed?
    o. What would be the best method for distributing this information 
to consumers?
    p. What would be the best way to convey information to consumers 
about the likelihood of a vehicle being damaged in an accident?
    q. Are there any organizations or state agencies that collect the 
information identified in this notice that NHTSA should be aware of? If 
so, how do these entities use and/or publish this information?

IV. Public Participation

How do I prepare and submit comments?

    Your comments must be written and in English. To ensure that your 
comments are filed correctly in the docket, please include the docket 
number of this document in your comments.
    Your comments must not be more than 15 pages long (49 CFR 553.21). 
NHTSA established this limit to encourage you to write your primary 
comments in a concise fashion. However, you may attach necessary 
additional documents to your comments. There is no limit on the length 
of the attachments.
    Please submit one copy (two copies if submitting by mail or hand 
delivery) of your comments, including the attachments, to the docket 
following the instructions given above under ADDRESSES. Please note, if 
you are submitting comments electronically as a PDF file, we ask that 
the documents submitted be scanned using an Optical Character 
Recognition (OCR) process, thus allowing the agency to search and copy 
certain portions of your submissions.

How do I submit confidential business information?

    If you wish to submit any information under a claim of 
confidentiality, you should submit three copies of your complete 
submission, including the information you claim to be confidential 
business information, to the Office of the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, at the 
address given above under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. In addition, 
you may submit a copy (two copies if submitting by mail or hand 
delivery), from which you have deleted the claimed confidential 
business information, to the docket by one of the methods given above 
under ADDRESSES. When you send a comment containing information claimed 
to be confidential business information, you should include a cover 
letter setting forth the information specified in NHTSA's confidential 
business information regulation (49 CFR Part 512).

Will the agency consider late comments?

    NHTSA will consider all comments received before the close of 
business on the comment closing date indicated above under DATES. To 
the extent possible, the agency will also consider comments received 
after that date.
    You may read the comments received at the address given above under 
ADDRESSES. The hours of the docket are indicated above in the same 
location. You may also see the comments on the Internet, identified by 
the docket number at the heading of this notice, at http://www.regulations.gov.
    Please note that, even after the comment closing date, NHTSA will 
continue to file relevant information in the docket as it becomes 
available. Further, some people may submit late comments. Accordingly, 
the agency recommends that you periodically check the docket for new 
material.
    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 (65 FR 19477-78) or you may visit http://www.dot.gov/privacy.html.

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 32302, delegation of authority at 49 CFR 
1.95.

Christopher J. Bonanti,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2013-28590 Filed 11-27-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P