[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 133 (Wednesday, July 11, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 40843-40845]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-16893]



National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571

[Docket No. NHTSA-2011-0145]

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108; Lamp, Reflective 
Devices, and Associated Equipment

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

ACTION: Request for comments on technical report.


SUMMARY: This notice requests comments on a technical report which 
evaluates new approaches for the regulation of motor vehicle lighting 
performance. Since 1968, the lighting standard in the United States has 
been updated incrementally, while lighting technologies have in some 
ways changed dramatically. We are requesting comments on the general 
approaches and specific technical merits presented in this report. 
These comments, in conjunction with the agency's overall priorities, 
will be used to shape our next steps.

DATES: Comments must be received no later than September 10, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Report: The technical report is available on the internet 
for viewing in PDF format at http://www.regulations.gov and search for 
this docket number. You may obtain a copy of the report free of charge 
by sending a self-addressed mailing label to Markus Price (NVS-121), 
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue 
SE., Washington, DC 20590.
    Comments: You may submit comments [identified by Docket Number 
NHTSA-2011-0145] by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility, M-30, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, West Building, Ground Floor, Rm. W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.
     Hand Delivery: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time, 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    You may call Docket Management at 202-366-9826.
    Instructions: For detailed instructions on submitting comments, see 
the Procedural Matters section of this document. Note that all comments 
received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, 
including any personal information provided.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For non-legal issues, you may call Mr. 
Markus Price, Office of Crash Avoidance Standards (Phone: 202-366-0098; 
Fax: 202-366-7002).
    You may send mail to this official at: National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
(FMVSS) No. 108, Lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment, 
is a complex motor vehicle standard that has been in effect for several 
decades. The agency contracted for the preparation of a technical 
report, ``Feasibility of New Approaches for the Regulation of Motor 
Vehicle Lighting Performance,'' which discusses the feasibility of new 
approaches to regulating motor vehicle lighting equipment. The report 
examines ways to effectively achieve the purposes of the performance 
requirements of FMVSS No. 108, which is to reduce crashes and injuries 
by increasing the conspicuity of motor vehicles and adequately 
illuminating the roadway. The report is available in the docket NHTSA-
    The report identifies several potential opportunities for 
performance requirements in the following areas: headlighting 
photometry, headlamp test voltage, sensitivity of headlamps to vertical 
aim, luminance of signaling and marking lamps, masking of front turn 
signals, and reliability of photometric testing. The report also 
examines other areas, including physical lamp testing and signal lamp 
angular photometry.
    In addition to a literature review, the authors of this report 
consulted experts within the lighting community through SAE 
International. These experts were consulted on the potential effects of 
requirements that are primarily vehicle-based. To increase transparency 
and broaden the input regarding this report, this notice requests 
comments from the public. We are specifically interested in

[[Page 40844]]

both the technical approaches taken in the report, as well as thoughts 
about the impact on the certification process if such an approach were 
taken by the agency. We request comment on any area examined in the 
report that could increase or decrease the protection currently 
provided to the traveling public.
    Whole-vehicle testing (lower and upper beam headlighting)--We are 
seeking comment on the approach that closely aligns potential 
requirements with the ability of a vehicle lighting system to provide 
visibility for vehicle navigation while limiting the impacts of glare. 
Our current standard primarily treats a headlamp as a separate piece of 
safety equipment that is installed on a motor vehicle with various 
height and width restrictions. Based on various assumptions, the report 
translates the angular photometric requirements for each lamp in the 
current standard into areas in three-dimensional space around the 
vehicle. These areas around the vehicle are then easily correlated to 
various objects on the roadway, such as oncoming driver eye locations 
and overhead signs positions.
    Headlamp test voltage--We are seeking comment on ways to closely 
align the test input parameters of headlamps with those experienced on 
vehicles in the real world. Currently, headlamps are required to meet 
our photometry requirements when tested at 12.8 V. Many vehicles 
currently operate above this voltage by design. Accordingly, the report 
recommends a test voltage of 13.2 V because it would closely represent 
the way headlamps operate on the road.
    Asymmetrical headlighting--We would like comments from the public 
on the merits and practicality of allowing significantly different 
performance from different headlamps mounted on the vehicle. The report 
investigates the potential for such headlighting systems to provide 
superior glare control; however, it also notes potential issues when 
considering the current marking functions of headlamps as well as the 
current redundancy within photometry.
    Adaptive forward lighting--We are seeking comment with respect to 
the regulation of headlamps that adapt to roadway conditions. This 
report does not evaluate the benefits of the various methods of 
adaptive forward lighting. The report notes that the whole-vehicle 
testing approach discussed above may provide a natural framework for 
which adaptive forward lighting requirements could be established in 
the future. The report notes that given that the current standard 
addresses headlamp photometry independent of the specifics of the 
vehicle on which it is installed, it may be difficult to evaluate the 
effectiveness of modifying the aim, or beam pattern of the headlighting 
system in a dynamic environment. We are seeking comment on how the 
approaches presented in the report could provide a foundation for 
dynamic evaluation of the headlighting system in the future.
    Headlamp aim--We are seeking comment on the expected impacts of the 
approaches investigated in this report on headlamp aim. While it is 
clear that headlamp aim can be a critical factor in determining the 
ability of a headlighting system to adequately illuminate the roadway 
as well as limit glare, our current standard does not require that 
headlamps be aimed as installed on a new motor vehicle. The report 
notes that under the whole vehicle testing approach discussed above, 
headlamp aim would not be considered separately from headlamp 
photometry as the measurement of the headlighting system would take 
into account and measure the amount of light directed toward various 
regions of space surrounding the vehicle. Accordingly, headlamp aim 
would become an integral part of the headlighting system performance.
    Signal lamp luminance--We are seeking comment on how to measure the 
ability to see signal lighting beyond measuring intensity and the 
number of lighted sections. The judgment of brightness is most similar 
to the measurement of luminance; that is, luminous intensity, measured 
in candela, divided by the area from which light is emitted, measured 
in cm\2\. Our current standard addresses signal lamp luminance in a 
somewhat indirect way. While we directly measure the luminous intensity 
of a lamp, for the purposes of luminance, we approximate the area from 
which the light is emitted based on the number of lighted sections. We 
are seeking comment on the ability for new computer based design 
systems to more directly measure the area from which light is emitted 
and any potential benefits of directly calculating signal lamp luminous 
as well as any potential issues associated with the approaches 
presented in the report.
    In addition, NHTSA also seeks comments regarding which of the above 
areas have the most potential for improving motor vehicle safety. We 
are interested in public input on which areas to prioritize based on 
potential safety benefits, considering the availability of limited 
agency resources.

Procedural Matters

    How can I influence NHTSA's thinking on this subject? NHTSA 
welcomes public review of the technical report and will review and 
analyze the comments received.
    How do I prepare and submit comments? Your comments must be written 
and in English. To ensure that your comments are correctly filed in the 
Docket, please include the Docket number of this document (NHTSA-2011-
0145) in your comments. Your primary comments must not be more than 15 
pages long (49 CFR 553.21). However, you may attach additional 
documents to your primary comments. There is no limit on the length of 
the attachments. 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) or you may visit http://www.regulations.gov. Please send two paper copies of your comments to 
Docket Management, fax them, or use the Federal eRulemaking Portal. The 
mailing address is U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Management 
Facility, M-30, West Building, Ground Floor, Rm. W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. The fax number is 1-202-493-
2251. To use the Federal eRulemaking Portal, go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for submitting 
    We also request, but do not require you to send a copy to Markus 
Price, Safety Standards Engineer, Visibility and Injury Prevention, 
NVS-121, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Room W53-312, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590 (or email them to 
[email protected]). He can check if your comments have been received 
at the Docket and he can expedite their review by NHTSA.
    How can I be sure that my comments were received? If you wish 
Docket Management to notify you upon its receipt of your comments, 
enclose a self-addressed, stamped postcard in the envelope containing 
your comments. Upon receiving your comments, Docket Management will 
return the postcard by mail.
    How do I submit confidential business information? If you wish to 
submit any information under a claim of confidentiality, send three 
copies of

[[Page 40845]]

your complete submission, including the information you claim to be 
confidential business information, to the Chief Counsel, National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC 20590. Include a cover letter supplying the information 
specified in our confidential business information regulation (49 CFR 
part 512). In addition, send two copies from which you have deleted the 
claimed confidential business information to U.S. Department of 
Transportation, Docket Management Facility, M-30, West Building, Ground 
Floor, Rm. W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, 
or submit them via the Federal eRulemaking Portal.
    Will the agency consider late comments? In our response, we will 
consider all comments that Docket Management receives before the close 
of business on the comment closing date indicated above under DATES. To 
the extent possible, we will also consider comments that Docket 
Management receives after that date. Please note that even after the 
comment closing date, we will continue to file relevant information in 
the Docket as it becomes available. Further, some people may submit 
late comments. Accordingly, we recommend that you periodically check 
the Docket for new material.
    How can I read the comments submitted by other people? You may read 
the materials placed in the docket for this document (e.g., the 
comments submitted in response to this document by other interested 
persons) at any time by going to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
online instructions for accessing the dockets. You may also read the 
materials at the Docket Management Facility by going to the street 
address given above under ADDRESSES. The Docket Management Facility is 
open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, 
except Federal holidays.

    Issued: July 5, 2012.
Christopher J. Bonanti,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2012-16893 Filed 7-10-12; 8:45 am]