[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 175 (Monday, September 10, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 55605-55644]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-21574]



[[Page 55605]]

Vol. 77

Monday,

No. 175

September 10, 2012

Part III





Department of Transportation





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National Highway Traffic Safety Administration





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49 CFR Parts 573, 577, and 579





Early Warning Reporting, Foreign Defect Reporting, and Motor Vehicle 
and Equipment Recall Regulations; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 77 , No. 175 / Monday, September 10, 2012 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 55606]]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Parts 573, 577, and 579

[Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0068; Notice 1]
RIN 2127-AK72


Early Warning Reporting, Foreign Defect Reporting, and Motor 
Vehicle and Equipment Recall Regulations

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM); Proposal to revise a 
currently approved information collection.

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SUMMARY: NHTSA is proposing amendments to certain provisions of the 
early warning reporting (EWR) rule and the regulations governing motor 
vehicle and equipment safety recalls. The amendments to the EWR rule 
would require light vehicle manufacturers to specify the vehicle type 
and the fuel and/or propulsion system type in their reports and add new 
component categories of stability control systems for light vehicles, 
buses, emergency vehicles, and medium-heavy vehicle manufacturers, and 
forward collision avoidance, lane departure prevention, and backover 
prevention for light vehicle manufacturers. In addition, NHTSA proposes 
to require motor vehicle manufacturers to report their annual list of 
substantially similar vehicles via the Internet.
    As to safety recalls, we propose, among other things, to require 
certain manufacturers to submit vehicle identification numbers (VIN) 
for recalled vehicles and to daily report changes in recall remedy 
status for those vehicles; require online submission of recalls reports 
and information; and require adjustments to the required content of the 
owner notification letters and envelopes required to be issued to 
owners and purchasers of recalled vehicles and equipment.

DATES: Written comments regarding these proposed rule changes may be 
submitted to NHTSA and must be received on or before: November 9, 2012. 
In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, NHTSA is also seeking 
comment on proposed revisions to existing information collections. See 
the Paperwork Reduction Act section under Rulemaking Analyses below. 
All comments relating to the revised information collection 
requirements should be submitted to NHTSA and to the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) at the address listed in the ADDRESSES 
section on or before November 9, 2012. Comments to OMB are most useful 
if submitted within 30 days of publication.

ADDRESSES: Written comments to NHTSA may be submitted using any one of 
the following methods:
     Mail: Send comments to: Docket Management Facility, U.S. 
Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West 
Building, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590.
     Fax: Written comments may be faxed to (202) 493-2251.
     Internet: To submit comments electronically, go to the US 
Government regulations Web site at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow 
the online instructions for submitting comments.
     Hand Delivery: If you plan to submit written comments by 
hand or courier, please do so at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West 
Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC between 9 a.m. and 
5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.
    Whichever way you submit your comments, please remember to mention 
the docket number of this document within your correspondence. The 
docket may be accessed via telephone at 202-366-9324.
    Comments regarding the proposed revisions to existing information 
collections should be submitted to NHTSA through one of the preceding 
methods and a copy should also be sent to the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 725-17th Street 
NW., Washington, DC 20503, Attention: NHTSA Desk Officer.
    Instructions: All comments submitted in relation to these proposed 
rule changes must include the agency name and docket number or 
Regulatory Identification Number (RIN) for this rulemaking. For 
detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information 
on the rulemaking process, see the Request for Comments heading of the 
Supplementary Information section of this document. Please note that 
all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.
    Privacy Act: Please see the Privacy Act heading under Rulemaking 
Analyses and Notices.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For non-legal issues on EWR 
requirements, contact Tina Morgan, Office of Defects Investigation, 
NHTSA (telephone: 202-366-0699). For non-legal issues on recall 
requirements, contact Jennifer Timian, Office of Defects Investigation 
(telephone: 202-366-0209). For legal issues, contact Andrew J. 
DiMarsico, Office of Chief Counsel, NHTSA (telephone: 202-366-5263). 
You may send mail to these officials at National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Washington, 
DC 20590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. Summary of the Proposed Rule
III. Background
    A. The Early Warning Reporting Rule
    B. The Foreign Defect Reporting Rule
    C. Defect and Noncompliance Information Reports and 
Notifications
    D. Scope of this Rulemaking
IV. Discussion
    A. Statutory Background on Early Warning, Foreign Defect 
Reporting and Recall Notification Requirements
    B. Matters Considered in Adding Data Elements to Early Warning 
Reports
    C. Vehicle Type for Light Vehicle Aggregate Data
    D. Reporting by Fuel and/or Propulsion System Type
    E. New Component Categories for Light Vehicles, Buses, Emergency 
Vehicles, and Medium-Heavy Vehicles
    1. Stability Control Systems
    2. Forward Collision Avoidance and Lane Departure Prevention
    3. Backover Prevention
    F. Proposed EWR Reporting Templates
    G. Electronic Submission of Annual Substantially Similar Vehicle 
Lists
    H. VIN Submission and Recall Remedy Completion Information for 
Safety Recalls
    I. Added Requirements for Information Required to be Submitted 
in a Part 573 Defect and Noncompliance Information Report
    1. An Identification and Description of the Risk Associated with 
the Safety Defect or Noncompliance with FMVSS
    2. As to Motor Vehicle Equipment Recalls, the Brand Name, Model 
Name, and Model Number of the Equipment Recalled
    3. Prohibited Disclaimers in Part 573 Defect and Noncompliance 
Information Report
    J. Online Submission of Recall-Related Reports, Information, and 
Associated Documents and Recall Reporting Templates
    K. Amendments to Defect and Noncompliance Notification 
Requirements Under Part 577
    L. Regulatory Changes to Add or Make More Specific Current 
Requirements for Manufacturers to Keep NHTSA Informed of Changes and 
Updates in Defect and Noncompliance Information Reports
    M. Requirement to Notify NHTSA in the Event of Filing of 
Bankruptcy Petition of a Recalling Manufacturer
    N. Lead Time
V. Request for Comments
VI. Privacy Act Statement

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VII. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices
    A. Regulatory Policies and Procedures
    B. Regulatory Flexibility Act
    C. Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)
    D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
    E. Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)
    F. Paperwork Reduction Act
    1. Part 579 Collection
    2. Parts 573 and 577 Collections
    G. Executive Order 13045
    H. Regulation Identifier Number (RIN)
    I. Plain Language
    J. Data Quality Act
    K. Executive Order 13609
VIII. Proposed Regulatory Text

I. Introduction

    In 2000, Congress enacted the Transportation Recall Enhancement, 
Accountability, and Documentation (TREAD) Act. Public Law 106-414. Up 
until the TREAD Act's enactment, NHTSA relied primarily on analyses of 
complaints from consumers and technical service bulletins (TSBs) from 
manufacturers to identify potential safety related defects in motor 
vehicles and motor vehicle equipment. Congress concluded that NHTSA did 
not have access to data that may provide an earlier warning of safety 
defects or information related to foreign recalls and safety campaigns. 
Accordingly, the TREAD Act required that NHTSA prescribe rules 
requiring motor vehicle and equipment manufacturers to submit certain 
information to NHTSA that would assist identifying potential safety 
related defects and to require manufacturers to submit reports on 
foreign defects and safety campaigns. See 49 U.S.C. 30166(m) and (l).
    On July 10, 2002, NHTSA published its Early Warning Reporting (EWR) 
regulations requiring that motor vehicle and equipment manufacturers 
provide certain early warning data. 49 CFR part 579, subpart C; see 67 
FR 45822. The EWR rule requires quarterly reporting of early warning 
information: Production information; information on incidents involving 
death or injury; aggregate data on property damage claims, consumer 
complaints, warranty claims, and field reports; and copies of field 
reports (other than dealer reports and product evaluation reports) 
involving specified vehicle components, a fire, or a rollover.
    On October 11, 2002, NHTSA published regulations requiring 
manufacturers to report foreign recalls or other safety campaigns in a 
foreign country covering a motor vehicle, item of motor vehicle 
equipment or tire that is identical or substantially similar to a motor 
vehicle, item of motor vehicle equipment or tire sold or offered for 
sale in the United States. 49 CFR part 579, subpart B, 67 FR 63310. 
Under these regulations, manufacturers are required to submit annual 
lists of substantially similar vehicles to NHTSA. 49 CFR 579.11(e)
    As described more fully in the Background section, below, EWR 
requirements vary somewhat depending on the nature of the reporting 
entity (motor vehicle manufacturers, child restraint system 
manufacturers, tire manufacturers, and other equipment manufacturers) 
and the annual production of the entity. The EWR information NHTSA 
receives is stored in a database, called Artemis, which also contains 
additional information (e.g., domestic and foreign recall details and 
complaints filed directly by consumers) related to defects and 
investigations.
    The Early Warning Division of the Office of Defects Investigation 
(ODI) reviews and analyzes a huge volume of early warning data and 
documents submitted by manufacturers. Using its traditional sources of 
information, such as consumer complaints from vehicle owner 
questionnaires (VOQs) and manufacturers' own communications, and the 
additional information provided by EWR submissions, ODI investigates 
potential safety defects. These investigations often result in recalls.
    In the last several years, the agency published two amendments to 
the EWR regulations. On May 29, 2007, NHTSA made three changes to the 
EWR rule. 72 FR 29435. First, the definition of ``fire'' was amended to 
more accurately capture fire-related events. 72 FR 29443. Second, the 
agency eliminated the requirement to produce hard copies of a subset of 
field reports known as ``product evaluation reports.'' Id. Last, the 
agency limited the time that manufacturers must update a missing 
vehicle identification number (VIN)/tire identification number (TIN) 
information or a component in a death or injury incident to a period of 
no more than one year after NHTSA receives the initial report. 72 FR 
29444. On December 5, 2008, NHTSA issued a notice of proposed 
rulemaking (NPRM) which was followed in September 2009 by a final rule 
that modified the reporting threshold for light vehicle, bus, medium-
heavy vehicle (excluding emergency vehicles), motorcycle and trailer 
manufacturers' quarterly EWR reports. See 73 FR 74101 (December 5, 
2008); 74 FR 47740, 47757-58 (September 17, 2009). This rule further 
required manufacturers to submit EWR reports with consistent product 
names from quarter to quarter and amended part 573 Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports to require tire manufacturers 
to provide tire identification number ranges for recalled tires. 74 FR 
47757-58. The final rule also stated that manufacturers must provide 
the country of origin for a recalled component. Id. Last, the rule 
amended the definition of ``other safety campaign'' to be consistent 
with the definition of ``customer satisfaction campaign.'' Id.
    The September 2009 rule did not address several proposals in the 
preceding December 2008 NPRM. Those proposals sought to require light 
vehicle manufacturers to include the vehicle type in the aggregate 
portion of their quarterly EWR reports, report on use of electronic 
stability control in light vehicles, and specify fuel and/or propulsion 
systems when providing model designations. Id. The agency decided to 
issue a separate rulemaking addressing some of the foregoing proposals 
to obtain more meaningful comments. See 74 FR 47744. Today's document 
addresses proposals raised in the December 2008 NPRM not resolved by 
the September 2009 final rule.
    Recently, in July 2012, Congress enacted the Moving Ahead for 
Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act, Public Law 112-141, 126 Stat 
405, 763 (July 6, 2012). Section 31301 of this Act requires the 
Secretary of Transportation to mandate that motor vehicle safety recall 
information be made available to the public on the Internet, be 
searchable by vehicle make and model and vehicle identification number 
(VIN), be in a format that preserves consumer privacy, and includes 
information about each recall that has not been completed for each 
vehicle. The section further provides that the Secretary may initiate a 
rulemaking to require manufacturers to provide this information on a 
publicly accessible Internet Web site. Id.

II. Summary of the Proposed Rule

    The early warning reporting (EWR) rule requires certain 
manufacturers of motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment to submit 
information to NHTSA. 49 CFR part 579, subpart C. The EWR rule divides 
vehicle manufacturers into different segments based upon weight or 
vehicle application. These segments are light vehicles, buses, 
emergency vehicles, medium-heavy vehicles, motorcycles and trailers. 
The proposed amendments to the EWR rule concern light vehicles, buses, 
emergency vehicles, and medium-heavy vehicles.
    Today's document proposes requiring light vehicle manufacturers to 
report vehicle type in their death and injury and aggregate reports. 
Under the current EWR rule, light vehicle manufacturers submit vehicle 
type as part of

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production reports, but do not report vehicle types in either their 
death and injury reports or their aggregate reports. This proposal 
seeks to correct this inconsistency.
    We propose to require reporting on additional components in the 
light vehicle, bus, emergency vehicle, and medium-heavy vehicle 
component categories and to amend the light vehicle, bus, emergency 
vehicle, and medium-heavy vehicle reporting templates.
    This proposal also would add a requirement that light vehicle 
manufacturers provide the fuel and/or propulsion system type for nine 
(9) different fuel and/or propulsion system types. In addition, the 
proposal would add definitions for each fuel and/or propulsion system.
    Furthermore, today's document proposes to add four (4) new light 
vehicle and one (1) new medium-heavy vehicle component reporting 
categories. The new light vehicle component categories are electronic 
stability control, forward collision avoidance, lane departure 
prevention, and backover prevention; the new medium-heavy vehicle 
component category is stability control/roll stability control. We also 
propose new definitions for each of these components. We are also 
proposing to correct a minor inconsistency in light vehicle 
manufacturer reporting of vehicle types to capture several recently 
introduced light vehicle technologies.
    This proposal also seeks comments on amendments to a manufacturer's 
reporting requirements related to safety recalls and other safety 
campaigns in foreign countries under subpart B of part 579. 49 CFR part 
579, subpart B. We propose to standardize the manner of submitting 
annual lists of substantially similar vehicles under 579.11(e) by 
uploading them, via a secure Internet connection, to NHTSA's Artemis 
database using a template provided on NHTSA's EWR Web site. Currently, 
manufacturers may submit their substantially similar lists by mail, 
facsimile or email. See 49 CFR 579.6(a).
    Today's proposed rule proposes changes and additions to the 
regulations governing recalls, 49 CFR Part 573, Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports, and 49 CFR Part 577, Defect 
and Noncompliance Notification.
    We are proposing a number of measures in an effort to improve the 
information the agency receives from recalling manufacturers concerning 
the motor vehicles and equipment they are recalling and the plans for 
remedying those products, in addition to distribution of that 
information to the affected public.
    First, for motor vehicle recalls, and in accordance with the MAP-21 
Act, we are proposing to adopt regulations that would implement MAP-
21's mandate that the Secretary require motor vehicle safety recall 
information be made available to the public on the Internet, be 
searchable by vehicle make and model and vehicle identification number 
(VIN), be in a format that preserves consumer privacy, and includes 
information about each recall that has not been completed for each 
vehicle. See MAP-21 Act, Public Law 112-141, Sec.  31301, 126 Stat 405, 
763 (July 6, 2012). The Secretary was given the discretion to engage in 
rulemaking to require each manufacturer to provide the information 
above on vehicles it manufacturers on a publicly accessible Internet 
Web site. Id. at section 31301(b). We propose to exercise the authority 
given the Secretary in sections (a) and (b), not only to meet the Act's 
mandate, but to increase the numbers of motor vehicles remedied under 
safety recall campaigns which, in turn, will serve to reduce the risk 
of incidents, as well as injuries or fatalities, associated with 
vehicles that contain safety defects or fail to meet minimum FMVSS.
    To meet MAP-21, and increase the number of motor vehicles remedied 
under safety recall campaigns, the agency proposes to offer vehicle 
owners and prospective purchasers an enhanced vehicle recalls search 
tool through its Web site, www.safercar.gov, that will go beyond the 
current functionality to search by specific make and model vehicle, and 
will offer a VIN-based search function that will report back whether a 
vehicle has been subject to a safety recall, and whether that vehicle 
has had the manufacturer's free remedy performed.
    In order to gather the information necessary for us to provide this 
enhanced functionality, we are proposing to require larger volume, 
light vehicle manufacturers to submit the VINs for vehicles affected by 
a safety recall to NHTSA. We further propose to require these 
manufacturers to submit to NHTSA recall remedy completion information 
on those vehicles, again supplied by VIN, that is updated at least once 
daily so that our search tool has ``real time'' information that can 
inform owners and other interested parties if a recall is outstanding 
on a vehicle. In our effort to improve the information received from 
recalling manufacturers, and so NHTSA can better understand and process 
recalls, as well as manage and oversee the recall campaigns and the 
manufacturers conducting those campaigns, we are proposing to require 
certain additional items of information from recalling manufacturers. 
These additional items include an identification and description of the 
risk associated with the safety defect or noncompliance with a FMVSS, 
and, as to motor vehicle equipment recalls, the brand name, model name, 
and model number, of the equipment recalled. We are also proposing that 
manufacturers be prohibited from including disclaimers in their Part 
573 information reports.
    Similarly, as part of our effort to ensure we are apprised of 
information related to recalls that we oversee, we are also proposing 
changes to add or make more specific current requirements for 
manufacturers to keep NHTSA informed of changes and updates in 
information provided in the defect and noncompliance information 
reports they supply.
    We are proposing to require manufacturers to submit through a 
secure, agency-owned and managed web-based application, all recall-
related reports, information, and associated documents. This is to 
improve our efficiency and accuracy in collecting and processing 
important recalls information and then distributing it to the public. 
It also will reduce a current and significant allocation of agency 
resources spent translating and processing the same information that is 
currently submitted in a free text fashion, whether that text is 
delivered via a hard copy, mailed submission, or delivered 
electronically through email.
    In order to ensure that owners are promptly notified of safety 
defects and failures to meet minimum safety standards, we are proposing 
to specify that manufacturers notify owners and purchasers no later 
than 60 days of when a safety defect or noncompliance decision is made. 
In the event the free remedy is not available at the time of 
notification, we are proposing that manufacturers be required to issue 
a second notification to owners and purchasers once that remedy is 
available.
    In an effort to encourage owners to have recall repairs made to 
their vehicles and vehicle equipment, we are proposing additional 
requirements governing the content and formatting of owner notification 
letters and the envelopes in which they are mailed in an effort to 
improve the number of vehicles that receive a remedy under a recall. We 
are proposing that all letters include ``URGENT SAFETY RECALL'' in all 
capitals letters and in an enlarged font at the top of those letters, 
and that for vehicle recalls, the manufacturer place the VIN of the 
owner's vehicle

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affected by the safety defect or noncompliance, within the letter. To 
further emphasize the importance of the communication, and to 
distinguish it from other commercial communications, we are proposing 
that the envelopes in which the letters are mailed be stamped with the 
logos of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the 
U.S. Department of Transportation, along with a statement that the 
letter is an important safety recall notice issued in accordance with 
Federal law.
    Lastly, we are proposing to add a requirement for manufacturers to 
notify the agency in the event they file for bankruptcy. This 
requirement will help us preserve our ability to take necessary and 
appropriate measures to ensure recalling manufacturers, or others such 
as corporate successors, continue to honor obligations to provide free 
remedies to owners of unsafe vehicle and equipment products.

III. Background

A. The Early Warning Reporting Rule

    On July 10, 2002, NHTSA published a rule implementing the EWR 
provisions of the TREAD Act, 49 U.S.C. 30166(m). 67 FR 45822. This rule 
requires certain motor vehicle manufacturers and motor vehicle 
equipment manufacturers to report information and submit documents to 
NHTSA that could be used to identify potential safety-related defects.
    The EWR regulation divides manufacturers of motor vehicles and 
motor vehicle equipment into two groups with different reporting 
responsibilities for reporting information. The first group consists 
of: (a) Larger vehicle manufacturers that meet certain production 
thresholds that produce light vehicles, buses, emergency vehicles, 
medium-heavy vehicles, trailers and/or motorcycles; (b) tire 
manufacturers that produce over a certain number per tire line; and (c) 
all manufacturers of child restraints. Light vehicle, motorcycle, 
trailer and medium-heavy vehicle manufacturers except buses and 
emergency vehicles that produced, imported, offered for sale, or sold 
5,000 or more vehicles annually in the United States are required to 
report comprehensive reports every calendar quarter. Emergency vehicle 
manufacturers must report if they produced, imported, offered for sale, 
or sold 500 or more vehicles annually and bus manufacturers must report 
if they produced, imported or offered for sale, or sold 100 or more 
buses annually in the United States. Passenger car tire, light truck 
tire and motorcycle tire manufacturers that produced, imported, offered 
for sale, or sold 15,000 or more per tire line are also required to 
provide comprehensive quarterly reports. The first group must provide 
comprehensive reports every calendar quarter. 49 CFR 579.21-26. The 
second group consists of all other manufacturers of motor vehicles and 
motor vehicle equipment (i.e., vehicle manufacturers that produce, 
import, or sell in the United States fewer than 5,000 light vehicles, 
medium-heavy vehicles (excluding emergency vehicles and buses), 
motorcycles, or trailers annually; fewer than 500 emergency vehicles 
annually; fewer than 100 buses annually; manufacturers of original 
motor vehicle equipment; and manufacturers of replacement motor vehicle 
equipment other than child restraint systems and tires). The second 
group has limited reporting responsibility.\1\ 49 CFR 579.27.
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    \1\ In contrast to the comprehensive quarterly reports provided 
by manufacturers in the first group, the second group of 
manufacturers does not have to provide quarterly reports. These 
manufacturers only submit information about a death incident when 
they receive a claim or notice of a death.
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    Light vehicle, bus, emergency vehicle and medium-heavy vehicle 
manufacturers must provide information relating to:
     Production (the cumulative total of vehicles or items of 
equipment manufactured in the year).
     Incidents involving death or injury based on claims and 
notices received by the manufacturer.
     Claims relating to property damage received by the 
manufacturer.
     Consumer complaints (a communication by a consumer to the 
manufacturer that expresses dissatisfaction with the manufacturer's 
product or performance of its product or an alleged defect).
     Warranty claims paid by the manufacturer pursuant to a 
warranty program (in the tire industry these are warranty adjustment 
claims).
     Field reports (a report prepared by an employee or 
representative of the manufacturer concerning the failure, malfunction, 
lack of durability or other performance problem of a motor vehicle or 
item of motor vehicle equipment).
    For property damage claims, warranty claims, consumer complaints 
and field reports, light vehicle, bus, emergency vehicle and medium-
heavy vehicle manufacturers submit information in the form of numerical 
tallies, by specified system and component. These data are referred to 
as aggregate data. Reports on deaths or injuries contain specified data 
elements. In addition, light vehicle, bus, emergency vehicle and 
medium-heavy vehicle manufacturers are required to submit copies of 
field reports, except for dealer and product evaluation reports.
    On a quarterly basis, vehicle and equipment manufacturers meeting 
the production thresholds discussed above must provide comprehensive 
reports for each make and model for the calendar year of the report and 
nine previous model years for vehicles and four years for equipment. 
The vehicle systems or components on which manufacturers provide 
information vary depending upon the type of vehicle or equipment 
manufactured. Light vehicle manufacturers must provide reports on 
twenty (20) vehicle components or systems: Steering, suspension, 
service brake, parking brake, engine and engine cooling system, fuel 
system, power train, electrical system, exterior lighting, visibility, 
air bags, seat belts, structure, latch, vehicle speed control, tires, 
wheels, seats, fire and rollover. Bus, emergency vehicle and medium-
heavy vehicle manufacturers must provide reports on an additional four 
(4) vehicle components or systems: service brake air, fuel system 
diesel, fuel system other, and trailer hitch.\2\
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    \2\ Manufacturers of motorcycles, trailers, child restraints and 
tires report on varying systems and components. See 49 CFR 579.23-
26.
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B. The Foreign Defect Reporting Rule

    On October 11, 2002, NHTSA published regulations implementing 
foreign motor vehicle and product defect reporting provisions of the 
TREAD Act, 49 U.S.C. 30166(1). 67 FR 63295, 63310; 49 CFR 579, subpart 
B. The Foreign Defect Reporting rule requires certain motor vehicle 
manufacturers and motor vehicle equipment manufacturers to report 
information and submit documents to NHTSA when a manufacturer or a 
foreign government determines that a safety recall or other safety 
campaign should be conducted in a foreign country for products that are 
identical or substantially similar to vehicles or items of equipment 
sold or offered for sale in the United States. 49 U.S.C. 30166(1)(1) & 
(2). To assist the agency's program implementation, manufacturers must 
submit an annual list of substantially similar vehicles to NHTSA. 49 
CFR 579.11(e). This list is due by November 1 of each year. 
Manufacturers may submit their substantially similar vehicle list by 
mail, facsimile or by email. 49 CFR 579.6(a). NHTSA offers a Microsoft 
Excel template on its Web site http://

[[Page 55610]]

www.safercar.gov/ that manufacturers can download and use to upload 
their substantially similar lists directly to NHTSA's Artemis database. 
The vast majority of manufacturers submit their substantially similar 
list by uploading the template directly to the agency.

C. Defect and Noncompliance Information Reports and Notifications

    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30119, manufacturers are required 
to provide notice to the Secretary if the manufacturer determines that 
a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment contains a defect 
related to motor vehicle safety or does not comply with an applicable 
motor vehicle safety standard. The regulation implementing the 
manufacturer's requirement to provide notice to NHTSA is located at 49 
CFR part 573 Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports, 
which, among other things, requires manufacturers to provide reports 
(commonly referred to as Defect or Noncompliance reports, or Part 573 
Reports, as the case may be) to NHTSA on defects in motor vehicles and 
motor vehicle equipment and noncompliances with motor vehicle safety 
standards found in 49 CFR part 571. Section 573.6 specifies the 
information that manufacturers are required to submit to the agency and 
Section 573.9 specifies the address for submitting reports. One element 
is the identification of the vehicles containing the defect or 
noncompliance. Section 573.6(c)(2)(i) requires manufacturers to 
identify passenger cars by the make, line, model year, the dates of 
manufacture and other information as necessary to describe the 
vehicles. For all other vehicles, Section 573.6(c)(2)(ii) requires 
manufacturers to identify the vehicles by body style or type, dates of 
manufacture and any other information as necessary to describe the 
vehicle, such as the GVWR. Section 573.6(c)(3) requires manufacturers 
to submit the total number of vehicles that potentially contain the 
defect or noncompliance. Section 573.8 requires manufacturers to 
maintain lists of VINs of the vehicles involved in a recall as well as 
the remedy status for each vehicle to be included in a manufacturer's 
quarterly reporting as specified in 573.7.
    The conduct of a recall notification campaign, including how and 
when owners, dealers, and distributors are notified, is addressed by 
regulation in 49 CFR Part 577, Defect and Noncompliance Notification. 
Section 577.5 specifies required content and structure of the owner 
notifications. Section 577.13 specifies required content for dealer and 
distributor notifications. Section 577.7 dictates the time and manner 
of these notifications.
    Recently, in July 2012, Congress enacted the MAP-21 Act, Public Law 
112-141, 126 Stat. 405 (July 6, 2012). It requires, among other things, 
that the Secretary of Transportation require that motor vehicle safety 
recall information be made available to the public on the Internet, be 
searchable by vehicle make and model and vehicle identification number 
(VIN), be in a format that preserves consumer privacy, and includes 
information about each recall that has not been completed for each 
vehicle. Id. at section 31301(a). The Act provides that the Secretary 
may initiate a rulemaking to require manufacturers to provide this 
information on a publicly accessible Internet Web site. Id. at 
31301(b).

D. Scope of this Rulemaking

    Today's proposed rule is limited in scope to the proposed 
amendments to the EWR requirements, the foreign defect reporting rule, 
and to the requirements associated with safety recall reporting, 
administration, and execution as delineated in Parts 573 and 577 of 
Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Apart from the proposed 
changes noted above in the summary section, NHTSA intends to leave the 
remaining current EWR, foreign defect reporting regulations, and safety 
recalls implementing regulations Parts 573 and 577 unchanged.

IV. Discussion

A. Statutory Background on Early Warning Reporting, Foreign Defect 
Reporting and Recall Notification Requirements

    Under the early warning reporting requirements of the TREAD Act, 
NHTSA is required to issue a rule establishing reporting requirements 
for manufacturers of motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment to 
enhance the agency's ability to carry out the provisions of Chapter 301 
of Title 49, United States Code, which is commonly referred to by its 
initial name the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act or as 
the Safety Act. See 49 U.S.C. 30166(m)(1), (2). Under one subsection of 
the early warning provisions, NHTSA is to require reports of 
information in the manufacturers' possession to the extent that such 
information may assist in the identification of safety-related defects 
and which concern, inter alia, data on claims for deaths and aggregate 
statistical data on property damage. 49 U.S.C. 30166(m)(3)(A)(i); see 
also 49 U.S.C. 30166(m)(3)(C). Another subsection, specifically 
30166(m)(3)(B), authorizes the agency to require manufacturers to 
report information that may assist in the identification of safety 
defects. Specifically, section 30166(m)(3)(B) states: ``As part of the 
final rule * * * the Secretary may, to the extent that such information 
may assist in the identification of defects related to motor vehicle 
safety in motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment in the United 
States, require manufacturers of motor vehicles or motor vehicle 
equipment to report, periodically or upon request of the Secretary, 
such information as the Secretary may request.'' This subsection 
conveys substantial authority and discretion to the agency. Most EWR 
data, with the exception of information on deaths and property damage 
claims, is reported under regulations authorized by this provision.
    The agency's discretion is not unfettered. Per 49 U.S.C. 
30166(m)(4)(D), NHTSA may not impose undue burdens upon manufacturers, 
taking into account the cost incurred by manufacturers to report EWR 
data and the agency's ability to use the EWR data meaningfully to 
assist in the identification of safety defects.
    The TREAD Act also amended 49 U.S.C. 30166 to add a new subsection 
(l) to address reporting of foreign defects and other safety campaigns 
by vehicle and equipment manufacturers. This section requires 
manufacturers of motor vehicles or items of motor vehicle equipment to 
notify NHTSA if the manufacturer or a foreign government determines 
that the manufacturer should conduct a recall or other safety campaign 
on a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment that is identical 
or substantially similar to a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle 
equipment offered for sale in the United States. 49 U.S.C. 30166(l). 
Subsection (l) does not define ``identical'' or the term 
``substantially similar.'' Under the TREAD Act's foreign defect 
reporting provisions, NHTSA is to specify the contents of the 
notification. Id.
    The Safety Act also requires manufacturers of motor vehicles or 
items of motor vehicle equipment to notify NHTSA and owners and 
purchasers of the vehicle or equipment if the manufacturer determines 
that a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment contains a 
defect related to motor vehicle safety or does not comply with an 
applicable motor vehicle safety standard. 49 U.S.C. 30118(c). 
Manufacturers must provide notification pursuant to the procedures set 
forth in section 30119 of the Safety Act. Section 30119 sets forth the 
contents of the

[[Page 55611]]

notification, which includes a clear description of the defect or 
noncompliance, the timing of the notification, means of providing 
notification and when a second notification is required. 49 U.S.C. 
30119. Subsection (a) of section 30119 confers considerable authority 
and discretion on NHTSA, by rulemaking, to require additional 
information in a manufacturer's notification. See 49 U.S.C. 
30119(a)(7).
    In July 2012, Congress enacted the MAP-21 Act. See Public Law 112-
141, 126 Stat. 405 (July 6, 2012). Sections 31301 of the MAP-21 Act 
mandates that the Secretary require that motor vehicle safety recall 
information be made available to the public on the Internet, and it 
provides authority to the Secretary, in his discretion, to conduct a 
rulemaking to require each manufacturer to provide its safety recall 
information on a publicly accessible Internet Web site. Under section 
31301(a), Congress has directed the Secretary to require motor vehicle 
safety information be available on the Internet, searchable by vehicle 
make, model and VIN, preserves consumer privacy and includes 
information regarding completion of the particular recall. Section 
31301(b) authorizes the Secretary, in his discretion, to conduct a 
rulemaking requiring each manufacturer to provide the safety recall 
information in paragraph (a) on a publicly accessible Internet Web 
site. Specifically, section 31301(a) states:
    (a) VEHICLE RECALL INFORMATION.--Not later than 1 year after the 
date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall require that motor 
vehicle safety recall information--
    (1) Be available to the public on the Internet;
    (2) be searchable by vehicle make and model and vehicle 
identification number;
    (3) be in a format that preserves consumer privacy; and
    (4) includes information about each recall that has not been 
completed for each vehicle.
    While Congress has provided certain parameters to its mandate to 
make safety recall information available on the Internet, it has not 
directly spoken on the mechanism to implement section 31301(a), leaving 
the agency to use its discretion to fill any ambiguity. Paragraph (a) 
is silent with respect to who is required to make safety recall 
information available, which manufacturers are subject to the 
requirement, the types of safety information to be made available and 
how and when the information is placed on the Internet.
    While it is clear that motor vehicle manufacturers have data 
regarding safety recalls, NHTSA also receives safety recall information 
from manufacturers pursuant to other provisions of the Safety Act and 
NHTSA's regulations. See 49 U.S.C. Sec. Sec.  30118 and 30119; 49 CFR 
part 573. With both manufacturers and NHTSA collecting safety recall 
information, section 30301(a) lacks precise language as to who is 
required to make that information available on the Internet. Paragraph 
(a) is clear that the ``Secretary shall require'' the information be 
placed on the Internet, but it is unclear who the Secretary is to 
require to place safety recall information on the Internet. Under this 
language, either manufacturers or NHTSA may be required to place safety 
recall information on the Internet.
    In addition, section 30301(a) is silent on which manufacturers are 
subject to making information available on the Internet, only requiring 
motor vehicle safety recall information be made available. This section 
does not specify which vehicle manufacturers are required to make their 
information available. Consistent with traditional tools of statutory 
construction, Congress is presumed to know each agency's statutory and 
regulatory scheme. Under its regulatory scheme, NHTSA often breaks down 
motor vehicle manufacturers into different vehicle classes based upon 
each vehicle's application. For example, under the Early Warning 
Reporting (EWR) Regulation, 49 CFR part 579, subpart C, NHTSA divides 
motor vehicle manufacturers into several reporting categories such as 
light vehicles, medium-heavy vehicles, motorcycles and trailers and has 
limited the reporting obligations of classes of vehicle manufacturers 
that annually produce under a certain amount. See 49 CFP 579.21-24. 
Here, Congress has not directly spoken on whether safety recall 
information must be made available from all vehicle manufacturers, 
certain classes of vehicle manufacturers or, like the EWR rule, certain 
manufacturers based on annual production. Congress, accordingly, has 
left it to NHTSA to determine the scope of manufacturers that are 
required to place safety recall information on the Internet.
    Moreover, section 30301(a) does not expressly state the type of 
safety recall information that must be placed on the Internet, merely 
requiring ``motor vehicle safety recall information'' and requiring 
that this information be searchable by vehicle, make and model and VIN. 
Other than vehicle make, model and VIN, section 30301(a) requires only 
that ``motor vehicle safety information'' include information about 
each recall that has not been completed for each vehicle. However, 
under NHTSA regulations, recall information is broader than the 
information specifically listed in section 30301(a). Under 49 CFR part 
573, in general, manufacturers are required to submit several types of 
information, such as the total number of vehicles, an estimate of the 
percentage of vehicles with the defect, a description of the defect, a 
chronology of all the principal events that lead to the determination 
of a recall, a description of the manufacturer's remedy program, etc. 
See 49 CFR 573.6. Given the diversity of information that could 
constitute safety recall information, Congress has vested considerable 
discretion with NHTSA to determine the appropriate types of information 
to be placed on the Internet.
    Section 30301(a) also fails to specify how and when the safety 
recall information shall be placed on the Internet. Other than 
providing for the information to be searchable by vehicle make, model 
and VIN, and that the format preserves consumer privacy, section 
31301(a) is silent on the format and degree of availability of the 
safety recall information. Current information available on the 
Safercar.com Web site is available in different formats and degrees of 
availability. For instance, the agency makes consumer complaints 
available on the Internet in two different formats. One format is 
searchable by vehicle, make, model and component. The other format 
provides the public the ability to download NHTSA's consumer complaint 
database, which permits the individual to perform customized searches 
of the consumer complaint database. Without precise language specifying 
the format and degree of availability, NHTSA is left to determine the 
appropriate mechanism for placement on the Internet.
    While providing authority to conduct a rulemaking, section 31301(b) 
provides little help in resolving the issues in paragraph (a). 
Paragraph (b) provides the Secretary with the authority to conduct a 
rulemaking to provide the information in subsection (a) and provides 
limited instructions as to the scope of any such rulemaking and sharing 
such information with automobile dealers and consumers. Section 
31301(b) states:
    (b) RULEMAKING.--The Secretary may initiate a rulemaking proceeding 
to require each manufacturer to provide the information described in 
subsection (a), with respect to that manufacturer's motor vehicles, on 
a publicly accessible

[[Page 55612]]

Internet Web site. Any rules promulgated under this subsection--
    (1) shall limit the information that must be made available under 
this section to include only those recalls issued not more than 15 
years prior to the date of enactment of [MAP-21];
    (2) may require information under paragraph (1) to be provided to a 
dealer or an owner of a vehicle at no charge; and
    (3) shall permit a manufacturer a reasonable period of time after 
receiving information from a dealer with respect to a vehicle to update 
the information about the vehicle on the publicly accessible Internet 
Web site.
    Similar to paragraph (a) of 31301, paragraph (b) does not address 
which manufacturers are subject to the requirement to provide safety 
recall information on the publicly accessible Internet, whether the 
information is placed on the manufacturer's public Web site or NHTSA's 
Web site, the types of safety information to be made available and how 
and when the information is placed on the Internet. Instead, it vests 
considerable discretion in the agency to conduct a rulemaking to best 
meet the statutory goals of section 31301. The MAP-21 Act further 
specifies that a manufacturer's filing of a bankruptcy petition under 
Chapter 11 of Title 11 of the United States Code, does not negate its 
duty to comply with, among other things, the defect and noncompliance 
notification and reporting obligations, nor the requirement to provide 
a free remedy, under the Safety Act. MAP-21 Act at section at 31312.

B. Matters Considered in Adding Data Elements to Early Warning Reports

    Under EWR, we endeavor to collect a body of information that may 
assist in the identification of potential safety-related defects in 
motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment. When we believe that the 
EWR information may be refined or enhanced to further advance our goal 
of identifying safety defects, we consider factors that are relevant to 
the particular area of EWR under consideration. In view of our broad 
statutory authority to require reporting of information that may assist 
in the identification of potential safety-related defects, we do not 
believe that it is necessary or appropriate to identify a prescriptive 
list of factors for delineating particular data elements. Nonetheless, 
based on our experience, the following considerations, among other 
things, have been identified as relevant to evaluating whether or not 
adding data elements to light vehicle, bus, emergency vehicle and 
medium-heavy vehicle reporting would assist in identifying safety-
related defects:
     The importance of the data to motor vehicle safety.
     The maturity of a particular technology and its market 
penetration.
     Whether the current component categories are adequate to 
capture information related to proposed data elements.
     Whether ODI has investigated or been notified of vehicle 
recalls related to the proposed data elements.
     Whether VOQ complaints related to the data elements have 
been useful in opening investigations into potential safety-related 
defects and whether those investigations have resulted or may result in 
recalls.
     Whether manufacturers collect information on the proposed 
data elements.
     The burden on manufacturers.
    We emphasize that the general approach of the EWR program is to 
collect data on numerous systems and components in a very wide range 
and volume of vehicles for the agency to then systematically review 
information, with the end result being the identification of a 
relatively small number of potential safety problems, compared to the 
amount of data collected and reviewed. These data are considered along 
with other information collected by and available to the agency in 
deciding whether to open investigations.

C. Vehicle Type for Light Vehicle Aggregate Data

    The EWR regulation requires light vehicle manufacturers producing 
5000 or more vehicles annually to submit production information 
including the make, the model, the model year, the type, the platform 
and the production. 49 CFR 579.21(a). Manufacturers must provide the 
production as a cumulative total for the model year, unless production 
of the product has ceased. Id. While light vehicle manufacturers are 
required to provide the type of vehicle with their production, they are 
not required to provide the type of vehicle when they submit death and 
injury data pursuant to 49 CFR 579.21(b) or with aggregate data under 
49 CFR 579.21(c).\3\ Under today's notice, we propose to amend 
579.21(b) and (c) to require light vehicle manufacturers to provide the 
type of vehicle when they submit their death and injury data and 
aggregate data under those sections. We also propose to amend the light 
vehicle reporting templates for the EWR death and injury and aggregate 
reports to reflect adding vehicle type. The proposed light vehicle 
templates are located in Appendix A below.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ For light vehicles, type means a vehicle certified by its 
manufacturer pursuant to 49 CFR 567.4(g)(7) as a passenger car, 
multipurpose passenger vehicle, or truck or a vehicle identified by 
its manufacturer as an incomplete vehicle pursuant to 48 CFR 568.4. 
See 49 CFR 579.4.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Today's proposal will assist ODI to identify potential safety-
related defects by making light vehicle EWR data received internally 
consistent. Because light vehicle manufacturers providing quarterly EWR 
reports are not obligated to provide the vehicle type in their death 
and injury and aggregate EWR reports, NHTSA is unable to distinguish 
whether the light vehicle death and injury and aggregate data are 
associated with certain vehicle types such as passenger cars, multi-
purpose vehicles, light trucks or incomplete vehicles. Without being 
able to isolate this information by vehicle type, ODI cannot match 
aggregate data with production data.
    If this proposal is adopted, NHTSA could perform a more focused 
analysis of the EWR information. For instance, warranty claims by 
vehicle type from the aggregate data can be matched with corresponding 
vehicle type production data, allowing us to determine the occurrence 
of warranty claims per vehicle type. This proportion can be used in a 
subsequent, more focused and thorough analysis of EWR data. A 
relatively high rate of warranty claims per production unit may warrant 
further examination of EWR and other ODI sources of information. This 
proposal would permit a more efficient and targeted use of the EWR data 
in terms of detecting and identifying potential safety concerns.
    Light vehicle manufacturers should be able to readily identify the 
vehicle type from the VIN provided in the information they receive. 
About 95 percent of the EWR reports on incidents involving a death or 
injury include a VIN when initially submitted by manufacturers. 71 FR 
52040, 52046 (September 1, 2006). Warranty claims and field reports 
normally contain a VIN because the manufacturer's authorized dealer or 
representative has access to the vehicle and, in the case of warranty 
claims, a vehicle manufacturer will not pay a warranty claim unless the 
claim includes the VIN. For consumer complaints and property damage 
claims, the VIN or other information is generally available to identify 
the type of vehicle. If the VIN is not available, we propose that the 
manufacturer submit ``UN'' for ``unknown'' in the required field.
    NHTSA believes that this change would place a minimal burden on 
light

[[Page 55613]]

vehicle manufacturers. Each manufacturer would need to add a field to 
its EWR database containing the light vehicle type and perform 
reprogramming of internal software. In its response to the December 
2008 NPRM, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Alliance), an 
industry trade group,\4\ did not object to this proposal, stating that 
the costs were relatively modest. See Comment of Alliance of Automobile 
Manufacturers to December 5, 2008 NPRM (docket NHTSA 2008-
0169-0013.1, located at http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#documentDetail?R=09000064808443c2).
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    \4\ The Alliance members are BMW Group, Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor 
Company, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, 
Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota, and Volkswagen.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We seek comment on today's proposed amendments to 49 CFR 579.21(b) 
and (c) to add a vehicle type requirement to EWR death and injury and 
aggregate data reports. In any comments on burden, we seek details on 
costs to revise EWR templates and software to meet this proposal.

D. Reporting by Fuel and/or Propulsion System Type

    The EWR regulation requires light vehicle manufacturers to report 
the required information by make, model and model year. 49 CFR 
579.21(a), (b)(2), (c). The rule also requires light vehicle 
manufacturers to subdivide their EWR death and injury and aggregate 
reports by components. 49 CFR 579.21(b)(2), (c). The reporting by make, 
model and model year and component categories have remained unchanged 
since the EWR regulation was published in July 2002. Since that time, 
manufacturers have introduced new technologies to meet the demand for 
more fuel efficient vehicles. Currently, light vehicle manufacturers do 
not identify the specific fuel or propulsion system used in their 
vehicles. As use of these new technologies expands, we are concerned 
that the current EWR reporting scheme is not sufficiently sensitive for 
readily identifying vehicles with different fuel and/or propulsion 
system types. For example, some models, such as the Toyota Camry, are 
offered with both conventional and hybrid propulsion systems. To 
address these concerns, we propose to amend 579.21(a), (b), and (c) to 
require light vehicle manufacturers to report fuel and/or propulsion 
system types in their EWR reports. We also propose to amend the light 
vehicle reporting templates to reflect these proposals. We propose 
adding eight (8) fuel and/or propulsion systems and an ``other'' 
category in which manufacturers may bin their vehicles. We are also 
proposing definitions for each fuel and/or propulsion system and codes 
that a manufacturer would use when reporting.
    The current Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard and new 
proposed CAFE standards will spur manufacturers to increasingly produce 
fuel efficient vehicles employing various technologies. Following the 
direction set by President Obama on May 21, 2010, NHTSA and the 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have issued a Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking (NPRM) for Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas emissions 
regulations for model year (MY) 2017-2025 light-duty vehicles.\5\ NHTSA 
believes that to meet the proposed CAFE rule, manufacturers will 
increase their production of light vehicles with alternate fuel/
propulsion systems which will raise new safety issues in these vehicle 
that are currently unaccounted for in the EWR regulatory scheme.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 2017 and Later Model Year 
Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Corporate Average 
Fuel Economy Standards, 76 FR 74854-75420, December 1, 2011 (located 
at http://www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/rulemaking/pdf/cafe/2017-25_CAFE_NPRM.pdf).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Therefore, as the automotive industry begins to introduce and 
produce more vehicles with new propulsion systems, NHTSA believes now 
is an opportune time to start collecting EWR information to assist in 
identifying potential defects in these new systems. As currently 
configured, the EWR reporting structure may mask potential problems 
with these systems. NHTSA is currently unable to discern from EWR data 
whether a particular vehicle problem is unique to a particular fuel or 
propulsion system. Under today's proposal, problems with a particular 
make and model that may be unique to one fuel/propulsion system could 
be readily distinguished from problems that may apply to that make and 
model regardless of the fuel/propulsion system. Also, this proposal 
would permit NHTSA to investigate safety concerns in many makes and 
models with similar fuel/propulsion systems (e.g., a battery problem in 
a plug-in electric vehicle or a hydrogen fuel cell problem that may 
extend to similarly equipped vehicles).
    We believe that adding the appropriate fuel and/or propulsion 
system type to EWR will enhance NHTSA's ability to identify and address 
potential safety defects related to specific fuel and/or propulsion 
systems. Recent investigations indicate that dividing light vehicles by 
make, model, and fuel/propulsion system will assist in our 
identification of safety defect trends. NHTSA has opened several 
investigations on light vehicle models manufactured with more than one 
fuel or propulsion system as an option. Each investigation involved an 
issue with a specific fuel or propulsion system that under current EWR 
reporting is masked by light vehicle manufacturers reporting the 
vehicles under one category for fuel/propulsion:
     PE02-071 and EA03-001 involved alleged vehicle explosions 
during fires on 1996-2003 Ford Crown Victoria vehicles powered by 
compressed natural gas (CNG). The 1996-2003 Crown Victoria was 
manufactured with two (2) different fuel/propulsion systems: Spark 
ignition fuel (SIF) and CNG. This resulted in a recall: NHTSA recall 
number 03V472.
     PE07-028 involved alleged CNG tanks exploding during fires 
on 2003 Honda Civic vehicles powered by CNG. Honda recalled the 
vehicles. See NHTSA recall number 07V512. The 2003 Honda Civic is 
available with three (3) different fuel/propulsion systems: SIF, hybrid 
(HEV) or CNG.
    Accordingly, we propose amending 49 CFR 579.21(a), (b), and (c) to 
require light vehicle manufacturers to provide the type of fuel and/or 
propulsion system when they submit their EWR data. We also propose 
amending the light vehicle reporting templates for the EWR production 
information, death and injury, and aggregate reports to reflect adding 
fuel and/or propulsion type.
    We propose adding a new definition of ``fuel and/or propulsion 
system type'' in 49 CFR 579.4. The new definition would provide that 
``Fuel and/or propulsion system type means the variety of fuel and/or 
propulsion systems used in a vehicle, as follows: Compressed natural 
gas (CNG); compression ignition fuel (CIF); electric battery power 
(EBP); fuel-cell power (FCP); hybrid electric vehicle (HEV); hydrogen 
based power (HBP); plug-in hybrid (PHV); and spark ignition fuel 
(SIF).'' Manufacturers would identify the fuel and/or propulsion system 
on the EWR template in the appropriate field. In addition to amending 
579.4 to add ``fuel and/or propulsion system type'', we propose to 
amend that section to add a definition for each fuel/propulsion system 
type, as follows:
     Compressed natural gas (CNG) means, in the context of 
reporting fuel and/or propulsion system type, a system that uses 
compressed natural gas to propel a motor vehicle.
     Compression ignition Fuel (CIF) means, in the context of 
reporting fuel and/or propulsion system type, a system

[[Page 55614]]

that uses diesel or any diesel-based fuels to propel a motor vehicle. 
This includes biodiesel.
     Electric battery power (EBP) means, in the context of 
reporting fuel and/or propulsion system type, a system that uses only 
batteries to power an electric motor to propel a motor vehicle.
     Fuel-cell power (FCP) means, in the context of reporting 
fuel and/or propulsion system type, a system that uses fuel cells to 
generate electricity to power an electric motor to propel the vehicle.
     Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) means, in the context of 
reporting fuel and/or propulsion system type, a system that uses a 
combination of an electric motor and internal combustion engine to 
propel a motor vehicle.
     Hydrogen based power (HBP) means, in the context of 
reporting fuel and/or propulsion system type, a system that uses 
hydrogen to propel a motor vehicle through means other than a fuel 
cell.
     Plug-in hybrid (PHV) means, in the context of reporting 
fuel and/or propulsion system type, a system that combines an electric 
motor and an internal combustion engine to propel a motor vehicle and 
is capable of recharging its batteries by plugging in to an external 
electric current.
     Spark ignition fuel (SIF) means, in the context of 
reporting fuel and/or propulsion system type, a system that uses 
gasoline, ethanol, or methanol based fuels to propel a motor vehicle.
    We anticipate that the majority of vehicles produced by 
manufacturers will be captured by our proposed definitions. However, 
the proposal includes the term ``other'' to identify vehicle models 
employing a fuel/propulsion system that is not enumerated in our other 
proposed fuel and/or propulsion types. For example, the Dual fuel F-150 
would be classified as ``Other,'' since it is propelled by either 
gasoline or CNG. We propose to use the following codes for fuel/
propulsion type: CNG, CIF, EBP, FCP, HEV, HBP, PHV, SIF and OTH 
(Other).
    Our fuel/propulsion system types include most of the alternative 
fuels found in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), as 
amended, 49 U.S.C. 32901, but not all. Due to differences in the 
Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and EWR programs, our proposed 
categories of fuel/propulsion systems differ slightly from the 
alternative fuels listed in section 32901. While EPCA encourages 
manufacturers to produce vehicles using alternative fuels, the EWR 
program has a different focus. In the context of alternative fuel 
vehicles, that focus is on potential problems that may occur within a 
fuel or propulsion system, which requires the agency to differentiate 
between propulsion technologies that are, or will be, available to 
consumers. For EWR purposes, there is no technical hardware difference 
between a vehicle with a spark ignition fuel engine capable of using a 
variety of fuels, such as ethanol or gasoline, or a mixture of fuels, 
such as E85 (ethanol/gasoline mixture) and a vehicle with a spark 
ignition fuel engine using gasoline only. While such a fuel distinction 
is appropriate for the CAFE program, EWR will not benefit from that 
level of detail because the specific fuel type being used will be 
unknown.
    We solicit comment on our proposed definitions and seek input on 
clarifying each distinct system type. We also seek comment on whether 
additional fuel and/or propulsion system types should be added and how 
they might be defined.
    The Alliance's comments to the December 2008 NPRM opposed adding 
fuel or propulsion systems because it would increase manufacturers' 
reporting costs. First, the Alliance contended that adding fuel/
propulsion system reporting by distinct models would impose a one-time 
cost of approximately $170,000 (per manufacturer) to revise their EWR 
systems to collect and properly bin the data. Substantial ongoing costs 
would be incurred as well. According to these comments, manufacturers 
separately maintain some data, such as production and sales 
information, based upon the type of fuel or propulsion system in 
various models. However, the Alliance states that manufacturers do not 
separate vehicles by fuel or propulsion system when reporting EWR data 
by component category. Doing so, the Alliance states, would require 
manufacturers to revise their systems, which appears to be the bulk of 
the manufacturers' costs. The Alliance also noted that adding fuel/
propulsion types would require manufacturers to report on hundreds of 
different models. Today's proposal is different than the one proposed 
in the December 2008 NPRM. Our current proposal would not add the fuel 
and/or propulsion system type to the model name as was proposed in 
December 2008. It proposes to add a new separate reporting element to 
the EWR.
    If today's proposal is adopted, manufacturers will incur a one-time 
cost to revise EWR templates and software to incorporate the fuel and/
or propulsion system types in their EWR reporting. However, in the 
agency's view, adding the fuel and/or propulsion system type to EWR 
will not be unduly burdensome for manufacturers because manufacturers 
already collect this information. Manufacturers collect and analyze 
data on alternative fueled models, like any other model, to monitor 
quality control, safety problems and to make in-process improvements. 
In their data collections, manufacturers distinguish between fuel/
propulsion systems within a model to conduct root cause analyses. Once 
EWR systems are revised, additional ongoing burdens should be 
negligible as manufacturers already have established EWR operations. In 
addition, the agency has proposed a relatively small number of fuel 
and/or propulsion system types that should not require manufacturers to 
report on hundreds of different models, as stated by the Alliance.
    We seek comments on our proposal to amend 49 CFR 579.21 to add fuel 
and/or propulsion system type to light vehicle reporting, the proposed 
types of fuel or propulsion systems and each proposed fuel or 
propulsion type definition. We also seek comments on the proposed light 
vehicle templates located in section F below incorporating our proposed 
amendments. Finally, on comments related to burden, we seek details on 
costs to revise EWR templates and software to meet the fuel and/or 
propulsion system type proposal.

E. New Component Categories for Light Vehicles, Buses, Emergency 
Vehicles, and Medium-Heavy Vehicles

    The EWR regulation requires light and medium-heavy vehicle 
manufacturers to report the required information by specific component 
categories. 49 CFR 579.21(b)(2), (c), (d) and 579.22(b), (c), (d). The 
component categories for each vehicle type have remained unchanged 
since the EWR regulation was published in July 2002. Since that time, 
new technologies, such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Roll 
Stability Control (RSC), Forward Collision Avoidance (FCA), Lane 
Departure Prevention (LDP), and Backover Prevention, have been 
introduced into the marketplace. As these new technologies are 
implemented, and demand for these products increases in the market 
place, we are concerned that the EWR component categories are 
unsuitable for capturing these newer technologies. As a result, today 
we propose to add components ESC, RSC, FCA, LDP and backover prevention 
to EWR reporting.
1. Stability Control Systems
    We propose to add a new component for light vehicles, buses, 
emergency vehicles and medium/heavy vehicles in 49 CFR 579.21(b)(2) and 
49 CFR

[[Page 55615]]

579.22(b)(2) for stability control systems.\6\ On April 6, 2007, NHTSA 
published a final rule adding Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
(FMVSS) No. 126 Electronic Stability Control Systems. 72 FR 17236, 
17310, as amended 72 FR 34410 (June 22, 2007). FMVSS No. 126 requires 
that all new light vehicles, with certain exceptions, must be equipped 
with an ESC system meeting the standard's requirements. As it pertains 
to buses, emergency vehicles and medium-heavy vehicles, NHTSA studies 
indicate that stability control systems provide potential safety 
benefits for heavy trucks.\7\ In addition, for some manufacturers, 
stability control systems are standard on all heavy trucks.\8\ As a 
result of FMVSS No. 126 and safety benefits of stability control 
systems on heavy vehicles, the number of vehicles containing stability 
control systems is increasing rapidly and potentially could include 
most of the vehicle fleet.
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    \6\ Manufacturers may market or refer to ESC as electronic 
stability program, vehicle stability control, rollover stability 
control, vehicle dynamics integrated management system, or active 
skid and traction control, among others.
    \7\ See DOT HS 811 205, October 2009, ``Safety Benefits of 
Stability Control Systems for Tractor-Semitrailers'' located at 
http://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/NRD/Multimedia/PDFs/Crash%20Avoidance/2009/811205.pdf and DOT HS 811 233, November 2009, 
``Heavy Truck ESC effectiveness Study Using NADS'' located at http://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/NRD/Multimedia/PDFs/Crash%20Avoidance/2009/811233.pdf.
    \8\ Not your daddy's brakes: Technology advances allow for 
shorter stopping distances and the development of stability and 
collision avoidance systems, but there is a need for good 
maintenance, Fleet Equipment, March 22, 2010 (located at http://www.fleetequipmentmag.com/Item/71983/not_your_daddys_brakes.aspx).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition to stability control systems, RSC systems are 
increasingly being installed on heavy trucks. RSC detects a high 
lateral acceleration condition that could lead to a truck rolling over, 
and intervenes by automatically applying the vehicle's brakes and/or 
reducing engine power and applying the engine retarder. We are 
proposing to include RSC in the definition of stability control in this 
notice for medium-heavy trucks. In addition, while trailer-based RSC 
systems are available, we are not proposing to include reporting of RSC 
incidents by trailer manufacturers at this time. RSC systems are 
installed predominantly on powered vehicles such as truck tractors, 
rather than trailers, in the current marketplace.
    The EWR regulation currently does not have a specific component for 
stability control issues. See 49 CFR 579.21(b)(2) and 579.22(b)(2). 
Light vehicle manufacturers report ESC issues under ``03 service brake 
system'' and medium-heavy vehicle manufacturers report stability 
control issues under ``03 service brake, hydraulic'' and ``04 service 
brake, air'' because those definitions include stability control. As a 
result, potential stability control issues may be masked within the 
broader service brake category, making NHTSA unable to examine and 
detect potential safety concerns that may be associated directly with a 
vehicle's stability control system. Adding an ESC component category to 
light vehicles and stability control and/or RSC to buses, emergency 
vehicles and medium-heavy vehicles reporting categories will allow 
NHTSA to capture data on this mandatory system on light vehicles and 
new system on medium-heavy trucks and analyze stability control data 
for potential defects.
    We propose to use the ESC definition found in 49 CFR 571.126.S4 for 
light vehicles. We propose to define ESC for buses, emergency vehicles, 
and medium-heavy vehicles as a system that has all the following 
attributes:
     That augments vehicle directional stability by applying 
and adjusting the vehicle brake torques individually at each wheel 
position on at least one front and at least one rear axle of the 
vehicles to induce correcting yaw moment to limit vehicle oversteer and 
to limit vehicle understeer;
     That enhances rollover stability by applying and adjusting 
the vehicle brake torques individually at each wheel position on at 
least one front and at least one rear axle of the vehicle to reduce 
lateral acceleration of a vehicle;
     That is computer-controlled with the computer using a 
closed-loop algorithm to induce correcting yaw moment and enhance 
rollover stability;
     That has a means to determine the vehicle's lateral 
acceleration;
     That has the means to determine the vehicle's yaw rate and 
to estimate its side slip or side slip derivative with respect to time;
     That has the means to estimate vehicle mass or, if 
applicable, combination vehicle mass;
     That has the means to monitor driver steering input;
     That has a means to modify engine torque, as necessary, to 
assist the driver in maintaining control of the vehicle and/or 
combination vehicle; and
     That, when installed on a truck tractor, has the means to 
provide brake pressure to automatically apply and modulate the brake 
torques of a towed semi-trailer.
    RSC has similar attributes related to rollover stability. We 
propose to define RSC as a system that has the following attributes:
     That enhances rollover stability by applying and adjusting 
the vehicle brake torques to reduce lateral acceleration of a vehicle;
     That is computer-controlled with the computer using a 
closed-loop algorithm to enhance rollover stability;
     That has a means to determine the vehicle's lateral 
acceleration;
     That has the means to determine the vehicle mass or, if 
applicable, combination vehicle mass; That has a means to modify engine 
torque, as necessary, to assist the driver in maintaining rollover 
stability of the vehicle and/or combination vehicle; and
     That, when installed on a truck tractor, has the means to 
provide brake pressure to automatically apply and modulate the brake 
torques of a towed semi-trailer.
    Recent investigative activities and manufacturer recalls illustrate 
that adding a stability control component category likely will assist 
NHTSA to uncover potential safety issues. The agency has opened several 
light vehicle ESC investigations since 2007 that under current EWR 
reporting is masked by light vehicle manufacturers reporting ESC issues 
under service brake system:
     PE08-056 and EA09-002 involved alleged ESC malfunctions on 
2005-2006 Chevrolet Corvettes. The subject vehicles are allegedly 
experiencing sudden and unexpected inappropriate brake application to 
one or more wheels causing the ESC to malfunction. This investigation 
resulted in a recall (10V172).
     PE08-072 and EA09-006 involved alleged ESC and/or Traction 
Control System (TCS) malfunctions on 2003 Toyota Sequoias. The subject 
vehicles are allegedly experiencing sudden and unexpected inappropriate 
brake application to one or more wheels causing the ESC to malfunction. 
This investigation resulted in a recall (10V176).
    In addition, there have been eleven (11) light vehicle recalls \9\ 
due to ESC problems and three (3) medium-heavy vehicle recalls \10\ due 
to stability control problems. The agency believes that stability 
control issues are likely to increase as vehicle manufacturers add 
stability control to their fleets. In our view, it is important to 
capture EWR data on this key safety component, supplementing NHTSA's 
traditional screening methods to assist in

[[Page 55616]]

identifying potential safety issues sooner.
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    \9\ The light vehicle recalls are designated NHTSA recall nos.: 
98V080, 04V554, 05V119, 05V120, 05V177, 05V316, 08V645, 09V122, 
09V130, 09V187, and 09V280.
    \10\ The medium-heavy vehicle recalls are designated NHTSA 
recall nos.: 05V543, 09V115, and 09V196.
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    The Alliance's comments to the December 2008 NPRM opposed adding an 
ESC component, citing both substantive concerns and cost burdens. The 
Alliance contends that most consumers will be unaware whether ESC was 
activated or operated properly during an accident. In addition, because 
ESC shares components with other systems, the Alliance states that it 
will be difficult for manufacturers to ascertain whether a consumer 
complaint, warranty claim, field report or other item reportable under 
EWR should be included in the ESC category. The Alliance also asserts 
that adding an ESC category would require a substantial investment.
    The agency acknowledges that in some instances consumers may not 
perceive stability control problems during a crash or will be unable to 
distinguish stability control problems from problems with other 
components. This may occur when a consumer communicates through a 
complaint or a property damage claim to the manufacturer. Although 
there may be some of these instances, the agency believes that 
misidentification of stability control complaints will be negligible. 
The agency receives vehicle owner questionnaires (consumer complaints) 
reporting potential problems with ESC. Furthermore, consumer complaint 
data represent only 5 percent and property damage claims represent less 
than 1 percent of the EWR aggregate data for the service brake 
component. Consumer complaints and property damage claims data are 
likely to be analyzed by a dealer's technician or manufacturer's 
representative, who can identify customers' concerns and classify them 
accordingly as either stability control or another component.\11\
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    \11\ ODI recently reviewed consumer complaints submitted to the 
agency by a manufacturer in the context of a follow-up information 
request on EWR service brake data. ODI was able to classify the 
manufacturer's consumer complaints into brake and ESC issues based 
on the text associated with each consumer complaint.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The bulk of the EWR data for the service brake component consists 
of warranty claims and field reports. Manufacturers likely have the 
capability to identify and report specific problems associated with 
stability control in warranty claims and field reports. Manufacturers 
of light vehicles have elaborate warranty systems that capture 
information about discrete components and service codes. Manufacturers 
also track issues identified by their representatives in the field. 
These data are valuable to manufacturers because they are the primary 
sources for manufacturers to identify problems, and to monitor quality 
and in-process improvements. With the ability to identify specific 
issues through service codes and field inspections, manufacturers 
should be able to code stability control issues appropriately.
    Adding a new component to the light vehicle, bus, emergency vehicle 
and medium-heavy vehicle EWR reporting is likely to create a one-time 
cost for manufacturers to amend their reporting template and revise 
their software systems to appropriately categorize the stability 
control system data. We do not believe this cost will be substantial or 
pose an undue burden on manufacturers. In the agency's view, as 
discussed above, stability control is an important required component 
for vehicle control and a malfunction can have an impact on vehicle 
safety. Capturing data on this new technology will assist the agency in 
identifying potential problems sooner. Because the number of vehicles 
with stability control is increasing rapidly and all light vehicles 
manufactured after September 1, 2011 must have ESC, we believe that it 
is appropriate for the agency to start collecting EWR data on this 
specific component.
    Therefore, we propose to amend 49 CFR 579.21(b)(2) and 49 CFR 
579.22(b)(2) to add Stability Control System to the list of components 
in that section. We also propose to amend 49 CFR 579.4(b) to add the 
regulatory definition of ESC systems, found in 49 CFR 571.126.S4,\12\ 
to add definition of stability control and RSC for buses, emergency 
vehicles, and medium-heavy vehicles, and to amend the definition of 
``service brake system'' to remove stability control from the 
definition. We seek comments on our proposal to amend 49 CFR 
579.21(b)(2) and 49 CFR 579.22(b)(2) to add the component ``stability 
control system.'' We also seek comments on the proposed definition for 
this component.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \12\ FMVSS No. 126 defines Electronic Stability Control system 
or ESC system to mean a system that has all of the following 
attributes:
    (1) That augments vehicle directional stability by applying and 
adjusting the vehicle brake torques individually to induce a 
correcting yaw moment to a vehicle;
    (2) That is computer-controlled with the computer using a 
closed-loop algorithm to limit vehicle oversteer and to limit 
vehicle understeer;
    (3) That has a means to determine the vehicle's yaw rate and to 
estimate its side slip or side slip derivative with respect to time;
    (4) That has a means to monitor driver steering inputs;
    (5) That has an algorithm to determine the need, and a means to 
modify engine torque, as necessary, to assist the driver in 
maintaining control of the vehicle; and
    (6) That is operational over the full speed range of the vehicle 
(except at vehicle speeds less than 20 km/h (12.4 mph), when being 
driven in reverse, or during system initialization).
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2. Forward Collision Avoidance and Lane Departure Prevention
    In addition to adding a component category for ESC, we propose to 
add Forward Collision Avoidance (FCA) and Lane Departure Prevention 
(LDP) system components for light vehicles in 49 CFR 579.21(b)(2). 
These emerging crash avoidance technologies have been in development 
for some time and are appearing in the current light vehicle fleet. As 
these new technologies are implemented, and demand increases, we are 
concerned that the EWR component categories will not capture them. 
NHTSA believes it is appropriate to add these technologies to EWR now.
    An FCA system monitors and detects the presence of objects in a 
vehicle's forward travel lane and alerts the driver by means of an 
audible and/or visual warning of a potential impact with the object. 
FCA systems seek to warn drivers of stopped, decelerating or slower 
moving vehicles in the vehicle's lane of travel in order to avoid 
collisions. Some FCA systems may also assist with driver's braking or 
automatically brake to avoid collisions. Manufacturers may market or 
refer to this crash-avoidance technology as forward collision warning 
(FCW), predictive brake assist, crash imminent braking, dynamic brake 
support, collision warning system, collision warning with brake 
support, collision mitigation brake system, pre-sense or pre-safe 
systems, pre-collision system, collision warning with brake assist, 
and/or collision warning with auto brake, among other things. We 
propose to define FCA as a system:
     That has an algorithm or software to determine distance 
and relative speed of an object or another vehicle directly in the 
forward lane of travel; and
     That provides an audible, visible, and/or haptic warning 
to the driver of a potential collision with an object in the vehicle's 
forward travel lane.
    The system may also include a feature:
     That pre-charges the brakes prior to, or immediately 
after, a warning is issued to the driver;
     That closes all windows, retracts the seat belts, and/or 
moves forward any memory seats in order to protect the vehicle's 
occupants during or immediately after a warning is issued; or
     That applies any type of braking assist or input during or 
immediately after a warning is issued.

[[Page 55617]]

    FCA systems generally employ radar, laser and/or camera-based 
sensors to detect objects in front of the vehicle. Toyota Motor 
Corporation's Pre-Collision System (PCS) utilizes a radar-based system. 
Nissan's Infiniti brand offers a laser-based system. Toyota's Advanced 
Pre-Collision System combines both a radar and camera. For FCA 
reporting, we anticipate manufacturers will submit EWR data related to 
these systems and their specific components. Where an issue arises 
involving a component that has more than one function, we propose that 
manufacturers report EWR data based upon the functionality of the 
component as reported in the underlying claim, notice, warranty claim, 
complaint, property damage claim or field report.
    An LDP system warns a driver that his or her vehicle is exiting a 
travel lane and may automatically provide steering input to help the 
driver maintain lane position. Manufacturers may market or refer to 
this crash-avoidance technology as lane departure warning, lane keeping 
assist, lane detection algorithm, lane assist, and/or lane monitoring 
systems, among others. These systems generally use a small camera to 
detect and track lane markings and provide an audible and/or visible 
warning to the driver if the vehicle is in danger of crossing the lane 
line unintentionally. Accordingly, we propose to define LDP as a 
system:
     That has an algorithm or software to determine the 
vehicle's position relative to the lane markers and the vehicle's 
projected direction; and
     That provides an audible, visible, and/or haptic warning 
to the driver of unintended departure from a travel lane.
    The system may also include a feature:
     That applies the vehicle's stability control system to 
assist the driver to maintain lane position during or immediately after 
the warning is issued;
     That applies any type of steering input to assist the 
driver to maintain lane position during or immediately after the 
warning is issued; or
     That applies any type of braking pressure or input to 
assist the driver to maintain lane position during or immediately after 
the warning is issued.
    Most LDP systems function through cameras placed on the windshield 
that detect lane markers in front of the vehicle and calculate the 
vehicle's position relative to the lane markers. For LDP reporting, we 
anticipate manufacturers will submit EWR data related to these systems 
and their components. When an issue arises with a component that has 
more than one function, we propose that manufacturers report EWR data 
based upon the functionality of the component as reported in the 
underlying claim, notice, warranty claim, complaint, property damage 
claim or field report.
    While FCA and LDP are relatively new technologies, their use is 
increasing. Registration data indicates that there are over 769,000 and 
657,000 registered vehicles equipped with FCA and LDP systems, 
respectively.\13\ The latest production data from EWR indicate that the 
total number of vehicles with FCA and LDP systems is now 1,656,000 and 
1,292,000, respectively.\14\
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    \13\ RL Polk Registration data, July 1, 2009.
    \14\ EWR Production Data, 3rd quarter of 2010.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NHTSA is encouraging deployment of these important crash avoidance 
systems by notifying consumers which vehicles offer them through the 
New Car Assessment Program. On July 11, 2008, NHTSA published a final 
decision notice in the Federal Register announcing changes to the New 
Car Assessment Program (NCAP) for model year 2010. This change was 
delayed until model year 2011. 73FR 79206. Starting with model year 
2011 vehicles, NHTSA recommends ESC, FCW and LDW systems that pass the 
NCAP performance tests on the Web site www.safercar.gov. 73 FR 40016, 
40034. The agency believes that adding these technologies in NCAP will 
increase consumer awareness of these beneficial technologies and spur 
market demand. 73 FR 40033. We note that today's proposed EWR 
components FCA and LDP have slightly different naming conventions than 
the NCAP naming conventions of FCW and LDW. Both EWR's and NCAP's 
definitions capture basic warning functions of these technologies, but 
the EWR definition is more generic than NCAP due to the agency's 
attempt to capture future versions of these systems that the agency had 
not made a determination whether these systems are beneficial and 
therefore should receive additional credit under NCAP.
    Adding FCA system and LDP component categories to the light vehicle 
reporting category will assist NHTSA in identifying potential safety 
issues for these critical safety systems. The EWR regulation currently 
does not have a specific component for FCA and LDP issues. See 49 CFR 
579.21(b)(2). Manufacturers may report FCA and LDP issues under ``01 
steering system,'' ``03 service brake system,'' or ``18 vehicle speed 
control.'' As a result, potential FCA and LDP issues will be masked 
within these broader categories, making NHTSA unable to examine and 
detect potential safety concerns that may be related to a vehicle's FCA 
or LDP systems. Adding these component categories to light vehicle 
reporting will allow NHTSA to obtain data on these important safety 
systems and analyze them for potential safety concerns.
    Adding FCA and LDP as component categories to the light vehicle EWR 
reporting will require manufacturers to incur a one-time cost to amend 
their reporting template and revise their software systems to 
appropriately categorize the data. We do not believe these costs will 
be substantial or pose an undue burden.
3. Backover Prevention
    In addition to adding component categories for ESC, FCA, and LDP, 
we propose to add a component category for systems designed to mitigate 
backover crashes for light vehicles in 49 CFR 579.21(b)(2). On December 
7, 2010, NHTSA published an NPRM proposing to amend FMVSS No. 111, 
Rearview Mirrors, to expand the current rear visibility requirements 
for all light vehicles under 10,000 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight Rating 
by specifying an area behind the vehicle that a driver must be able to 
see when the vehicle is in reverse. See 75 FR 76186. The agency 
estimates that on average there are 292 fatalities and 18,000 injuries 
(3,000 of which NHTSA estimates are incapacitating) resulting from 
backover incidents every year. Of those, 228 fatalities and 17,000 
injuries were attributed to backover incidents involving light vehicles 
under 10,000 pounds. Id. at 76187. While many manufacturers currently 
offer vehicle models with some form of a backover prevention system, in 
the near term NHTSA believes that manufacturers would meet these new 
requirements with a rear visibility system that includes a rear-mounted 
video camera and an in-vehicle visual display. As a result of the 
rulemaking and the acceptance of backover technologies in the market 
place, the agency believes that the number of vehicles utilizing some 
form of a backover prevention system will increase dramatically and 
that over time these systems will take on different trade names and 
include additional functionality not present today.
    For the purposes of EWR, NHTSA is defining a backover prevention 
system as a system that provides a rearview image to a driver to 
prevent a vehicle from striking an individual or other object while 
traveling in reverse. This definition is similar to the definition in 
the December 2010 NPRM. Therefore, we propose to define backover 
prevention as a system that has:

[[Page 55618]]

     A visual image of the area directly behind a vehicle that 
is provided in a single location to the vehicle operator and by means 
of indirect vision.
    We are proposing to define a backover detection system as a system 
that provides a visual image to the rear of the vehicle or a sensor-
based system that provides a warning to the driver because 
manufacturers are currently using these types of systems. NHTSA 
estimates that 19.8 percent of MY 2010 light vehicles have an image-
based backover prevention system.\15\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \15\ Preliminary Regulatory Impact Analysis, Backover Crash 
Avoidance Technologies NPRM FMVSS No. 111.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For backover prevention reporting, we anticipate manufacturers will 
submit EWR data related to these systems and their components. When an 
issue arises with a component that has more than one function, we 
propose manufacturers report EWR data based upon the functionality of 
the component as reported in the underlying claim, notice, warranty 
claim, complaint, property damage claim or field report.
    The agency believes these measures will enhance its ability to 
identify and address potential safety defects related to this important 
safety system that is already in the market. The EWR regulation 
currently does not have a specific component for backover prevention 
issues. See 49 CFR 579.21(b)(2). Currently, manufacturers may report 
backover prevention issues under ``13 visibility'' or ``11 electrical 
system.'' As a result, potential backover prevention issues will be 
masked within these broader categories, making NHTSA unable to examine 
and detect potential safety concerns that may be associated directly 
with a vehicle's backover prevention systems. Adding this component 
category to light vehicle reporting will allow NHTSA to obtain data on 
these important safety systems and analyze it for potential safety 
concerns.
    Therefore, we propose to amend 49 CFR 579.21(b)(2) to add FCA, LDP, 
and backover prevention systems to the list of components in that 
section. We also propose to amend the definition of ``visibility'' to 
remove an exterior view-based television system for light vehicles. We 
seek comments on our proposal to amend 49 CFR 579.21(b)(2) to add the 
components ``forward collision avoidance system,'' ``lane departure 
prevention system,'' and ``backover prevention system.'' We also seek 
comments on the proposed definitions for these components.

F. Proposed EWR Reporting Templates

    Based upon the proposed amendments for light vehicle manufacturers 
to provide the vehicle type and fuel and/or propulsion type in their 
quarterly EWR submissions, and adding ESC, FCA, LDP, and Backover 
Prevention system components to EWR reporting, we propose to amend the 
EWR light vehicle production, death and injury, and aggregate reporting 
templates. The proposed light vehicle reporting templates are located 
in Appendix A to this NPRM. Figure 1 represents the proposed amended 
light vehicle production template, Figure 2 represents the proposed 
amended light vehicle death and injury reporting template and Figure 3 
represents the proposed amended light vehicle aggregate reporting 
template. Appendix B contains the proposed bus, emergency vehicle and 
medium-heavy vehicle reporting templates that incorporate the proposed 
amendment to add stability control to these vehicles. Figure 4 
represents the proposed amended bus aggregate reporting template, 
Figure 5 represents the proposed amended emergency vehicle aggregate 
reporting template and Figure 6 represents the proposed amended medium-
heavy vehicle aggregate reporting template. We seek comments on our 
proposed reporting templates.

G. Electronic Submission of Annual Substantially Similar Vehicle Lists

    The foreign defect reporting regulations, 49 CFR part 579, subpart 
B, require manufacturers selling or offering motor vehicles for sale in 
the United States to submit annually a document that identifies each 
model of motor vehicle that the manufacturer sells or plans to sell 
during the following year in a foreign country that the manufacturer 
believes is identical or substantially similar to a motor vehicle sold 
or offered for sale in the United States (or to a motor vehicle that is 
planned for sale in the United States in the following year) and each 
such identical or substantially similar vehicle sold or offered for 
sale in the United States. 49 CFR 579.11(e). Manufacturers may submit 
this list to NHTSA by mail, facsimile or by email. 49 CFR 579.6. When a 
manufacturer notifies NHTSA of a safety recall or other safety campaign 
in a foreign country, the agency searches the manufacturer's 
substantially similar list for vehicles in the U.S. that may contain a 
similar problem as identified in the foreign recall or campaign.
    Unlike EWR reports, manufacturers are not required to upload their 
substantially similar list directly to the Artemis database. However, 
most vehicle manufacturers upload their substantially similar lists 
directly to Artemis through the agency's secure Internet server. These 
manufacturers use a template that is available on the agency's Web 
site, located at http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ewr/xls.cfm. The agency 
would prefer that manufacturers upload their lists in to Artemis 
because submissions by mail, facsimile, or email cannot be uploaded to 
Artemis and are not readily searchable. To ensure that NHTSA can 
readily search all substantially similar lists, we propose to amend 
section 579.6(b) to require that the annual list of substantially 
similar vehicles required by 579.11(e) be uploaded directly to the 
Artemis database.
    We seek comments on our proposal to require manufacturers to submit 
their substantially similar list directly to the Artemis database.

H. VIN Submission and Recall Remedy Completion Information for Safety 
Recalls

    We are proposing a number of changes in the regulations governing 
safety recalls in an effort to improve the information the agency 
receives from recalling manufacturers about the motor vehicles and 
equipment they are recalling, plans for remedying those products, and 
distribution of that information to the affected public.
    The first of these changes proposes to require larger volume 
manufacturers, whose safety recalls address the vast majority of 
vehicles recalled, to provide to the agency VIN information for the 
vehicles covered by their respective recall campaigns. This proposed 
change is aimed, among other things, to accomplish the MAP-21 Act 
mandate that the Secretary require motor vehicle safety recall 
information be made available to the public on the Internet, be 
searchable by vehicle make and model and vehicle identification number 
(VIN), be in a format that preserves consumer privacy, and includes 
information about each recall that has not been completed for each 
vehicle. See MAP-21 Act, Public Law 112-141, Sec.  31301(a), 126 Stat 
405, 763.With section 31301's mandate to make recall safety information 
publicly available, we believe the best way to meet MAP-21's 
requirement is to increase the safety recall information currently 
available on the agency's Web site. The agency makes a considerable 
amount of safety recall information available to the public. VIN 
information from vehicle manufacturers will be used to support an 
enhanced version of the

[[Page 55619]]

agency's current recalls look-up service available online at 
www.safercar.gov. It will enable vehicle owners and other interested 
users to determine with confidence whether a specific vehicle has a 
safety defect or noncompliance that has not been remedied under the 
manufacturer's remedy program. Our current recalls look-up offers the 
functionality of searching for vehicle safety recalls, among other 
ways, through a make and model search (and so meeting an express 
requirement of section 31301(a) of MAP-21 Act), but it does not offer 
information for any one, specific vehicle. We expect that providing 
vehicle-specific recalls information will have a positive impact on 
vehicle recalls completions, thereby reducing the risk of injuries and 
fatalities associated with motor vehicle safety defects and 
noncompliances with minimum FMVSS.
    Our service will cover all major makes, models, and model years, so 
that consumers have a ``one stop shop'' for safety recall information 
on vehicles they may own or consider purchasing. Owners will not need 
to search multiple Web sites for recalls information regarding their 
vehicles. The search functionality and returned information will be 
consistent for all recalls, major manufacturers, and light vehicles.
    Additionally, by receiving recall information by VIN, NHTSA's 
established recall email subscription service can immediately notify 
its users, over 70,000 at present and growing, when their VIN has been 
included in a recall. This benefit will be especially important when a 
recall involves an immediate and imminent safety threat. Consumers will 
be able to quickly conclude whether a serious safety concern they learn 
about through television or social media is linked to their particular 
vehicle.
    We propose to amend subsection 573.6(c)(3) to require larger volume 
motor vehicle manufacturers that manufacture 25,000 or more light 
vehicles annually or 5,000 or more motorcycles annually to submit 
electronically the VIN of each vehicle that potentially contains a 
defect or noncompliance, and will be covered by a safety recall 
campaign. As with other information required to be submitted on 
vehicles being recalled, manufacturers would be required to submit this 
information when submitting a Part 573 Report, unless that information 
was not available at that time, in which case, it would be submitted 
when it became available, or, under a proposal addressed later in this 
notice, within five working days of when that VIN information becomes 
available.\16\
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    \16\ Our proposal to change from a less precise ``as it becomes 
available'' requirement to a more precise five working day 
requirement is addressed in section L, infra.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Our proposal is consistent with recommendations to improve recall 
completion rates (the percentage of the recalled vehicle population 
that has the recall remedy performed) made by the U.S. General 
Accountability Office (GAO) in response to its review of NHTSA's safety 
recalls. See U.S. General Accountability Office, NHTSA Has Options to 
Improve the Safety Defect Recall Process, GAO-11-603 (2011), available 
in the agency's rulemaking docket.
    Our proposal would impose little to no additional burden on 
manufacturers. Vehicle manufacturers already acquire VIN information 
from state motor vehicle agencies for purposes of conducting recalls. 
This is because, under the Safety Act, and its implementing 
regulations, a manufacturer must notify each person who is registered 
under State law as the owner of the vehicle of the recall, and 
registered owner information is maintained on a VIN basis by the 
respective State agencies. See 49 U.S.C. 30119(d)(1)(A) and 49 CFR 
577.7(a)(2)(i). In addition, larger vehicle manufacturers submit 
specific VINs in connection with certain aspects of the Early Warning 
Reporting Rule. 49 CFR 579.21, 22, 23, and 24. The agency simply 
proposes here that vehicle manufacturers submit the VIN information in 
a prescribed format. Indeed, many manufacturers already provide VIN-
based recall look-up functions on their Internet or other commercial 
Web pages.\17\
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    \17\ See e.g., www.carfax.com, Chrysler: http://www.chrysler.com/en/owners/and Ford: http://www.ford.com/owner-services/customer-support/recall-information.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In our view, there are benefits to having NHTSA offer a similar 
application for owners and consumers that cuts across all major makes, 
models, and model years, so that consumers have a ``one stop shop'' for 
safety recall information on vehicles they may own or consider 
purchasing. We believe that providing easy access to this important 
safety information will facilitate notifications of a recall to owners 
and encourage owners and consumers to obtain the recall remedy. We 
believe this would result in increased completion rates and a reduction 
of the number of unsafe vehicles on U.S. roads.
    NHTSA must obtain information from the manufacturer on whether the 
recall remedy has been performed on each recalled vehicle in order to 
provide full information to a consumer and to meet the MAP-21 Act's 
requirement that the Secretary require ``information about each recall 
that has not been completed for each vehicle.'' Otherwise, the recalls 
look-up function we envision will tell a consumer only that a vehicle 
was subject to a safety recall at some point, and not whether the 
remedy was performed. With the added recall information from large 
volume light vehicle manufacturers, NHTSA can inform consumers that a 
vehicle is subject to a safety recall and whether the remedy identified 
by the manufacturer has been performed and meet MAP-21's express 
provision to make this information available to the public. The 
information must be up-to date, so we propose that manufacturers 
electronically submit on a daily basis the recall remedy status of each 
vehicle covered by a recall.
    We propose that manufacturers provide a vehicle's remedy status 
using the categories required in the agency's quarterly reporting 
requirements: Unremedied; inspected and repaired; inspected and 
determined not to require repair; exported; stolen; scrapped; the owner 
was unable to be notified (returned mail); or other (for whatever other 
reason the manufacturer could not remedy the vehicle. See 49 CFR 
573.7(b)(4) and (5).
    We propose an additional category to account for the period between 
the time a manufacturer has decided to conduct a recall and notified 
NHTSA, and the time it notifies owners of the availability of the free 
remedy. This pre-recall launch or ``recall remedy not yet available'' 
category would inform an owner that his or her vehicle is subject to a 
recall, but the remedy is not yet available. We propose that for VINs 
designated by the manufacturer as falling within the pre-recall launch 
period, our service confirm that the vehicle is subject to the 
manufacturer's recall, so that an owner is not misinformed as to his/
her vehicle's inclusion, and knows that the remedy campaign has not 
been launched. Our proposal expands the information we currently 
provide via our recalls search function where we summarize the recall 
campaign and inform when the recall is expected to start and provide a 
telephone number for owners to contact the manufacturer for further 
information. Under our proposal, more information would be available 
because the manufacturer will now have the ability to designate by VIN 
this pre-recall launch status in the event, due to parts delays or 
other circumstances, the

[[Page 55620]]

manufacturer is unable to offer the free remedy to all involved owners 
on the same date.
    We further propose a ``deleted'' category that will enable a 
manufacturer to remove vehicles from a recall population. For example, 
a manufacturer may have mistakenly assessed the scope of vehicles 
affected by a particular safety defect or noncompliance condition and 
will then need to adjust the population, by adding or removing vehicles 
and their respective VINs.
    Also, we propose to require that manufacturers provide the date the 
recall remedy was performed, where applicable, so that we can also 
provide that information to interested owners and consumers.
    Under our proposal, a manufacturer would first submit VIN data for 
vehicles covered by a recall when submitting a Part 573 Report (or, if 
that information is not available at that time, within the prescribed 
time of when it becomes available, typically within a matter of weeks). 
The information would be submitted electronically in a table format. 
Manufacturers would be required to list VINs vertically in rows with a 
horizontally adjacent column for reporting the current recall remedy 
status category, plus the pre-recall launch category, and a column for 
reporting the date the recall remedy was performed (where applicable). 
An example of the table we propose is located in Appendix C, Form C1, 
attached to this notice.
    Thereafter, each day at a time specified by the agency, the 
manufacturer would submit to NHTSA the same table, but now limited to a 
list of VINs for which the recall remedy status had changed from the 
previous day's submission, complete with the designations reflecting 
the new status. Also, if there were changes to the recall population, 
either additions or subtractions, the manufacturer would submit those 
VINs as well. VINs that need to be added to a manufacturer's VIN list 
would be included in its daily update to the agency with an 
identification of the date of the addition. VINs that need to be 
removed from a manufacturer's VIN list, due to later information 
establishing that the vehicle should not have been recalled, for one 
example, would be appropriately coded. We further propose to include a 
comment column that can be used to attach any notes, up to 30 
characters, needed to help describe the status of a particular VIN. 
Appendix C, Form Cl, demonstrates these functions.
    A manufacturer's VIN data submission would be an automated process 
accomplished through a secure server using secure file transfer 
protocol (SFTP). The daily VIN updates of vehicles covered in a recall 
along with the remedy status would be updated using a NHTSA specified 
application programming interface (API). The manufacturer's server 
would post to a secure server, operated by the agency, at a set time 
each day. Only changes to the previous day's information would be 
submitted, thereby greatly limiting the volume of information being 
transferred from the manufacturer to the agency. After its submission 
is completed and verified, the manufacturer would receive an acceptance 
notice. If any portion of the submission was rejected, that information 
would be returned to the manufacturer on a secure, NHTSA operated 
Recalls Portal. The agency anticipates that its system will provide 
sufficient detail (to the specific recall and VIN level) to the 
manufacturer when information is rejected in order for the manufacturer 
to quickly identify and resolve any problems.
    The requirement to submit VIN information electronically is not 
highly burdensome. The information we seek in today's proposal is 
already captured by manufacturers and submitted to NHTSA in part. Under 
49 CFR 573.8, manufacturers are required to maintain information, 
including VINs, on all vehicles involved in a recall notification. 
These lists are maintained in computer information storage devices and 
must be maintained for five years. However, because a manufacturer's 
obligation to perform a recall remedy does not expire, manufacturers 
must maintain records that, at a minimum, reflect the current recall 
remedy status of the vehicles covered by their campaigns. In addition, 
manufacturers are currently required to submit quarterly reports that 
provide the recall remedy status of vehicles in a safety recall 
campaign. In order to maintain recall data and determine recall remedy 
status, most manufacturers use software and create large electronic 
databases that are integrated with their dealer network. Such 
electronic databases record VIN data and recall remedy status 
information, update it, and synchronize this information on regular 
intervals against their systems for processing and paying their 
dealerships or repair facilities to perform the recall remedy. 
Accordingly, larger volume manufacturers will only have to incur a one-
time cost to reconfigure their systems to transmit VIN data and recall 
remedy status information in the electronic format NHTSA requires.
    The MAP-21 Act specifies that any rules issued pursuant to the Act 
will ``permit a manufacturer a reasonable period of time after 
receiving information from a dealer with respect to a vehicle to update 
the information about the vehicle on the publicly accessible Internet 
Web site.'' See MAP-21 Act at section 31301(b)(3). Given that paragraph 
(b) refers back to the information in paragraph (a) in section 31301, 
we read (b)(3) to include completion of the safety recall remedy 
offered by the manufacturer on that vehicle. In this proposed rule, we 
do not propose to define what that reasonable period of time is. In the 
agency's experience, we have not encountered situations involving large 
volume manufacturers failing to update their records on recalls 
completions by dealers. Accordingly, we do not believe these 
manufacturers will inordinately delay updating their internal recalls 
completion records and thereby stymie the timeliness and accuracy of 
the VIN look-up service we propose to meet MAP-21's requirements. We 
seek comments on the agency's decision not to define the term 
``reasonable period of time.'' Due to the statutory requirement under 
the Safety Act that a manufacturer must remedy recalled vehicles when 
presented, manufacturers maintain records reflecting a vehicle's recall 
remedy status indefinitely. 49 U.S.C. 30120. Although manufacturers 
maintain such records indefinitely, the utility and safety benefit of 
NHTSA receiving such records decreases over time. Accordingly, we 
propose to limit the requirement to provide electronic updates to 10 
years from the date a manufacturer first supplied the VIN list for a 
recall. Manufacturers are only required to provide a free remedy under 
the Safety Act for vehicles that were bought by the first purchaser 
less than 10 calendar years from when the manufacturer notified its 
owners of the safety defect or noncompliance. See 49 U.S.C. 30120(g). 
Also, in the agency's experience and, based upon our interactions with 
manufacturers, very few vehicles can be expected to be presented for 
remedy 10 years after a recall notification has been made. In our view, 
very few consumers will utilize our VIN look-up service to learn of 
recalls on their vehicles that are over a decade old. Furthermore, the 
utility of, and safety benefits derived from, a VIN-lookup service will 
not be adversely affected with our proposed ten-year limit.
    In order to offer a functional VIN recall search tool and to 
provide effective search capability at launch, we require a database of 
recalled vehicle VIN data. Otherwise, when our VIN

[[Page 55621]]

recall search tool is launched, there will be very little utility to 
the tool and users will be discouraged from using the tool, thereby 
undermining our efforts to facilitate owner notification and reducing 
the number of unsafe vehicles on U.S. roadways. Therefore, if the VIN 
proposal is adopted, we propose to require manufacturers, within 180 
days of the effective date of this rule, to submit VIN data for each 
vehicle covered by a recall filed within 24 months prior to the 
effective date of this VIN submission requirement. To clarify, 
``filed'' means a manufacturer submitted a Part 573 defect or 
noncompliance report indicating its intention to conduct a recall, 
except those manufacturers that stated an intent to file a petition for 
an exemption to the recall requirements on the basis that the 
noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety (unless, of 
course the petition was denied in which case the manufacturer would be 
required to conduct a recall and provide VINs).
    A proposal to require VIN data on vehicles covered by recalls filed 
prior to the MAP-21 Act's enactment is directly contemplated in the 
Act, which provides that any implementing rulemaking, ``shall limit the 
information that must be made available * * * to include only those 
recalls issued not more than 15 years prior to the date of enactment of 
this Act.'' See MAP-21 Act, Public Law 112-141, Sec.  31301(b)(1), 126 
Stat 405, 763 (July 6, 2012). Accordingly, our proposal to require VIN 
data on vehicles covered by recalls filed within the prior 2 years' 
time is well within the agency's discretion. We seek comment on whether 
to require VIN data on recalls covered by recalls filed in earlier 
years.
    Our proposal to require submission of VIN data to us is limited to 
larger, light vehicle manufacturers. Although already permissible under 
section 30119 of the Safety Act,\18\ the MAP-21 Act's express grant of 
authority to the Secretary to require motor vehicle safety recall 
information to be publicly available provides the agency discretion in 
determining the information needed to meet the Act's requirement. See 
MAP-21 Act at section 31301(b). This discretion includes setting 
parameters that determine which manufacturers must provide recall 
information for the Internet site that is contemplated under the Act.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \18\ Vehicle manufacturers must notify NHTSA and provide certain 
information when they decide to recall their vehicles to remedy a 
safety defect or noncompliance with a FMVSS. See 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 
30119. Under section 30119, NHTSA has considerable discretion to 
determine the contents of such notices, including content that 
changes based on the product or manufacturer. 49 U.S.C. Sec.  
30119(a). For example, in the case of passenger vehicles, an 
identification of the vehicles to be recalled is to be made by make, 
line, model year, and dates of manufacture, whereas other types of 
vehicles (and items of equipment) are subject to different 
requirements. Compare 49 CFR 573.6(c)(2)(i) to 49 CFR 
573.6(c)(2)(ii), (iii), (iv), and (v).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We propose to limit the VIN submission requirement to manufacturers 
of 25,000 or more light vehicles, or manufacturers of 5,000 or more 
motorcycles, manufactured for sale, sold, offered for sale, introduced 
or delivered for introduction in interstate commerce, or imported into 
the United States annually.\19\ A manufacturer would meet these 
thresholds if it knows or anticipates it will meet these thresholds by 
the end of the current calendar, or if it reached those volumes during 
the previous calendar year.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \19\ For purposes here, ``light vehicle'' means any motor 
vehicle, except a bus, motorcycle, or trailer, with a GVWR of 10,000 
lbs or less. 49 CFR 579.4. ``Motorcycle'' means a motor vehicle with 
motive power having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and 
designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the 
ground. 49 CFR 571.3.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Based on current data received by NHTSA's Early Warning Division, 
this notice includes a list of vehicle manufacturers presently meeting 
the above stated production thresholds, found in Appendix E. At this 
time, we propose to limit this requirement to these manufacturers 
because, due to their production volume and their current obligation 
for EWR reports, these larger manufacturers have the resources to 
readily and efficiently meet the proposed VIN reporting requirements 
using the electronic media we propose here.
    At this time, we are not proposing to require smaller light vehicle 
or motorcycle manufacturers to submit VIN data. The costs and burdens 
of this proposed rule would be greater on these smaller volume 
manufacturers than for their large volume counterparts. For smaller 
manufacturers that do not already operate robust computer systems and 
complex databases, a one-time investment to purchase the needed 
hardware and software and daily maintenance to meet the VIN requirement 
could be costly.
    If after several years of experience with VIN data, we believe that 
receiving VIN data from smaller manufacturers would be beneficial, we 
may propose to include lower volume manufacturers. Of course, nothing 
prevents these manufacturers from voluntary participation in our VIN 
look-up service. We solicit comment on our decision to not include 
lower volume manufacturers in this proposed rule.
    Based on feedback we receive about our current recalls look-up 
service and email recall notification service, we anticipate that the 
majority of users of our service will be individual consumers or users 
of light vehicles and motorcycles, rather than medium-heavy commercial 
vehicle owners and users. The latter tend to communicate directly with 
the manufacturer or dealerships and rely less upon the Agency for 
information about recalls or vehicular safety issues. If at a later 
time, we believe that receiving VIN data from this community would be 
beneficial, we may amend our rulemaking. As with the smaller volume 
manufacturers, nothing prevents these manufacturers from voluntary 
participation. We seek comment on our decision.
    Some large light vehicle manufacturers also manufacture medium-
heavy vehicles. In some cases, these medium-heavy vehicles fall within 
the same model family (e.g., Ford F-series vehicles). Accordingly, we 
clarify that should a light vehicle manufacturer make a defect or 
noncompliance decision that results in a recall of its light vehicle 
applications as well as medium or heavier duty applications, then it 
would be required to provide the VINs on all the recalled vehicles. 
This is to avoid consumer confusion and possible misinformation from 
the agency in the event of such recalls. We wish to avoid foreseeable 
situations where a consumer would hear of a recall in the news media or 
through our recall notification system, go to our web site with their 
VIN, and retrieve an erroneous message that the recall does not apply 
to the vehicle or it is unknown whether it applies. Although we are not 
proposing to require manufacturers to submit VIN data for recalls that 
involve only their medium-heavy vehicle applications, we would expect 
that manufacturers will not bifurcate their defect or noncompliance 
decision-making and file separate defect or noncompliance reports in 
order to avoid producing VINs on their medium-heavy vehicle 
applications in those situations where the same safety defect or 
noncompliance affects both light and medium-heavy applications. We 
solicit comments on our approach of requiring light vehicle 
manufacturers, where they recall vehicles for defects or noncompliances 
that affect both light and medium-heavy applications, to submit VIN 
data on all the vehicles being recalled.
    Some recalls involve safety defects where the consequences arise as 
the result of exposure to certain environmental conditions. These are 
commonly referred to as ``regional

[[Page 55622]]

recalls,'' and in these recalls only the vehicles currently registered, 
or originally sold or registered, in those areas, are covered by the 
recall. Consistent with today's proposal to require submission of VINs 
associated with the recalled population, we clarify that only the VINs 
of the vehicles covered by the safety recall are to be provided.
    To further comply with the directive in the MAP-21 Act, and meet 
the safety objective of providing the public specific and up-to-date 
recall information on vehicles, we propose to amend subsection 
573.6(c)(3) to add three subparagraphs (i), (ii), and (iii). The first, 
subparagraph (i), contains requirements for VIN submission as well as 
recall remedy status for each VIN. Subparagraph (ii) contains the 
requirement that, on a one-time basis only, manufacturers must submit 
the VIN information for each vehicle covered by a safety recall filed 
within 24 months prior to the effective date of this rule. Subparagraph 
(iii) specifies that any vehicle manufacturer not covered by (i) or 
(ii), may voluntarily supply VIN information for vehicles it has 
recalled voluntarily, so long as it submits the information in 
accordance with the requirements of both (i) and (ii).
    We seek comments on our proposal to require a list of VINs for 
vehicles subject to a recall from larger vehicle manufacturers, as well 
as our proposal to require these manufacturers to submit once daily any 
changes to the recall remedy status of vehicles involved in recall 
campaigns and the associated information identified above. We also seek 
comment on our proposal to require VIN information for recalls 
conducted within the 24 months prior to this rule's effective date.
    In addition to comments on our proposal, we solicit information 
concerning plausible alternatives to our proposal. Specifically, we 
solicit suggestions for VIN-driven recalls search mechanisms that do 
not require manufacturer submission of VIN information to the agency, 
but provide a comparable level of timely and accurate vehicle-specific 
recall information, across a comparable breadth and depth of vehicle 
applications.
    We would be interested in learning, for example, if vehicle 
manufacturer VIN-driven recalls search tools located on their Web sites 
are a realistic alternative or, as another example, if VIN-driven 
recalls search tools owned by third parties are comparable 
alternatives. We are interested in comments that address whether these 
or other tools are plausible alternatives to a NHTSA-owned and operated 
tool, given the many factors that affect the completeness, reliability, 
and timeliness of information provided by a manufacturer on the recall 
history of vehicles that it manufactured. Among our present concerns 
are that not all vehicle manufacturers offer a VIN-driven service and 
some offer it only if the consumer is a registered user of the site 
with the manufacturer (a process that may or may not require input of 
personal information such as names, addresses, and phone numbers). 
Also, not all manufacturers provide recalls information to third party 
sites, those that do may not provide that information to the same third 
party sites. Some sites include marketing and other material not 
relevant or distracting from the recalls information, and the currency 
of the information as to whether a particular vehicle has been remedied 
varies between search tools.
    We also solicit comments on the costs and burdens, as well as 
expected safety benefits, of any alternatives suggested in comments. We 
note that any alternatives must meet the MAP-21 Act's minimum 
requirements. Safety recall information provided under an alternative 
must be: available to the public on the Internet; searchable by vehicle 
make, model, and VIN; in a format that preserves consumer privacy; and 
include information about each recall that has not been completed for 
each vehicle. Although we will consider alternatives that may not be 
free of charge to dealers or owners, we are unlikely to adopt such 
alternatives. We believe safety critical information, such as recall 
information, should be provided to the public without charge.
    We are open to considering, and request comment on, providing a 
vehicle manufacturer the choice to participate in the agency's VIN 
look-up tool and the information service, or, to expressly elect to 
provide on its own Web site a VIN look-up that would ensure a level of 
information at least equal to the Agency's proposed service. To meet 
the agency's requirements, we envision the manufacturer's recall look-
up tool, for example, would need to be VIN-driven with information as 
to recall completion updated at least once daily (exclusive of any 
reasonable period of time the manufacturer may need to update its 
records based on information from dealers as to recall completion on a 
vehicle). We envision it being a free service available to the public, 
including dealers, owners, and any interested parties. In all 
likelihood, if we were to offer an alternative under which a 
manufacturer would be allowed to elect not to submit recall VIN 
information to NHTSA and instead maintain its public Web site with the 
same information as would be posted on NHTSA's Web site and the same 
functionality as NHTSA's Web site, we would need to adopt regulations 
in order to ensure individual manufacturer's Web sites offer a 
standardized look and functionality regardless of the manufacturer 
providing the service. We tentatively believe these rules would likely 
include items such as requiring a conspicuous hyperlink to the VIN-
driven recall tool found on the manufacturer's main Web page (or 
similarly easy to locate Web page), prohibiting any marketing or sales 
information in conjunction with the VIN recall tool, requiring 
straightforward ease-of-use without Web site registration or personal 
information other than a VIN, and providing of the same VIN specific 
recall information as what the agency proposes to provide through its 
proposed VIN-driven recalls tool.
    We solicit comments on this alternative and on the above possible 
requirements for a manufacturer election to post information on its Web 
site in lieu of the manufacturer providing data for a NHTSA Web site. 
We solicit additional or different rules for manufacturer owned and 
operated recalls look-up tools. We solicit comments on the costs and 
burdens, as well as expected safety benefits, of this alternative.
    After comments are received on this notice, we reserve the 
flexibility to develop and adopt an alternative based on outgrowths of 
this proposal or comments received on the discussion above.
    Lastly, all manufacturers are required to file quarterly reports 
reporting on the progress of their recall campaigns. See 49 CFR 573.7. 
Given that the larger volume manufacturers and those small volume 
manufacturers that opt in to the VIN look-up service will be providing 
daily information from which the agency can determine completion 
information, the purpose of those quarterly reports would be obsolete 
as to those manufacturers' recalls. We, therefore, propose to eliminate 
the quarterly reports requirement for large volume manufacturers and 
small volume manufacturers that opt in to the VIN look-up service.
    We seek comment on our proposal to remove the requirement to report 
quarterly for those manufacturers that will be required to submit VIN 
information and submit to NHTSA recall remedy completion information as 
described in our proposals.

[[Page 55623]]

I. Added Requirements for Information Required To Be Submitted in a 
Part 573 Defect and Noncompliance Information Report

    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30119, manufacturers must provide 
notification to the agency if the manufacturer decides or the agency 
determines that a noncompliance or safety-related defect exists in a 
motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment. NHTSA has significant 
discretion in determining the contents of this notification. See 49 
U.S.C. 30119(a)(7). Among other things, NHTSA's regulation specifying 
the contents of the notification to the agency, 49 CFR Part 573, 
delineates the information to be contained in the notification to NHTSA 
in section 573.6 and instructions for submitting reports in section 
573.9.
    Manufacturers are currently required to submit certain details 
concerning the safety defect (or noncompliance, as the case may be), 
the affected products, the proposed schedule for notifying owners and 
dealers, in addition to a host of other recalls-related details, in 
their Part 573 reports. These requirements are located in subsection 
573.6(c) of Part 573.
    The information required to be submitted has been and remains 
useful. In our experience over the years, however, there are additional 
details that the agency needs in order to better understand and process 
safety recalls, as well as manage and oversee the recall campaigns and 
the manufacturers conducting those campaigns. Accordingly, we are 
proposing today to add the following requirements to subsection 
573.6(c):
     An identification and description of the risk associated 
with the safety defect or noncompliance with FMVSS, and in terms 
consistent with the current requirements of 49 CFR 577.5(f) for 
providing in owner notifications an evaluation of the risk to motor 
vehicle safety from the safety defect or noncompliance; and
     For equipment recalls, the make, model name, and model 
number, as applicable, of the equipment and as it was identified and/or 
labeled at time of purchase to the purchaser.
    We also propose to add a new paragraph to Part 573 to prohibit 
disclaimers in a manufacturer's Part 573 information report.
    A discussion of these proposals follows.
1. An Identification and Description of the Risk Associated With the 
Safety Defect or Noncompliance With FMVSS
    Under our current regulations, a manufacturer does not have to 
identify or describe the consequence or risk associated with a safety 
defect or noncompliance when it submits a Part 573 Information report 
to NHTSA. Many manufacturers voluntarily provide this information in 
their notifications and reports, but others may not or may not on a 
consistent basis.
    We believe this information is critical to NHTSA's understanding 
and evaluation of the safety defect or noncompliance for which the 
manufacturer is conducting a recall. This information is valuable to 
NHTSA's knowledge of the issue and assists in NHTSA's assessment of the 
adequacy of the manufacturer's campaign and corrective actions. A 
description of the risk is critical to the agency's summary of the 
defect or noncompliance that is available on the agency's Web site, and 
to adequately inform owners of the safety risk and properly motivate 
them to perform the recommended recall remedy. In turn, in our view, 
having this information available on our Web site will assist in the 
agency's goal to increase completion rates.
    We propose to require that manufactures identify the consequence or 
risk in terms that are consistent with the present requirements found 
in 49 CFR 577.5(f) for identifying and describing risk in owner 
notification letters. By requiring the description of risk to meet the 
same requirements as for owner letters, we can better manage 
consistency between what the manufacturer reports, what NHTSA 
publishes, and what manufacturers communicate to owners in furtherance 
of the agency's mission to adequately notify owners and increase remedy 
completion rates. Accordingly, we propose to modify paragraph (c)(5) of 
573.6--the paragraph that requires a description of the defect or 
noncompliance--to add a requirement that manufacturers identify and 
describe the risk attendant to the safety defect or noncompliance on 
which they are reporting.
    We seek comments on our proposal.
2. As to Motor Vehicle Equipment Recalls, the Brand Name, Model Name, 
and Model Number of the Equipment Recalled
    Pursuant to section 573.6(c)(2)(iii), manufacturers recalling motor 
vehicle equipment for safety defects or noncompliances are required to 
identify the equipment. Many items of equipment are sold to owners and 
identifiable under a brand (or trade) name that is different from 
identifying information submitted to NHTSA under 573.6(c)(2)(iii). This 
makes real-world identification of the recalled equipment difficult for 
both the agency and consumers. And where owners cannot or are limited 
in their ability to identify recalled equipment, their removal of that 
equipment from use and obtaining the manufacturer's free remedy is 
effectively undermined, thereby allowing unsafe equipment to remain in 
use and continue to pose a safety risk.
    In order to address this shortcoming, we propose to require the 
brand (or trade) name, model name, and model number information, where 
that information applies to the recalled equipment, from manufacturers 
in their Part 573 reports. This information would include the 
commercial name of the recalled equipment item so NHTSA and consumers 
can easily identify the product.
    We request comments on this proposal.
3. Prohibited Disclaimers in Part 573 Defect and Noncompliance 
Information Report
    Under the Safety Act, manufacturers are required to notify NHTSA 
and then conduct an owner notification campaign and provide a free 
remedy when they decide a vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment 
they manufactured contains either a safety defect or fails to comply 
with a FMVSS. Manufacturers are further required to affirmatively state 
in their owner notifications that they have decided a safety defect (or 
noncompliance, as the case may be) exists in the product. See 49 CFR 
577.5(c). There is no correlating requirement, however, for 
manufacturers to make a similar statement in the notifications and Part 
573 reports they are required to supply NHTSA.
    Although many Part 573 reports are filed each year in which the 
manufacturer states plainly that it has made a safety defect or 
noncompliance decision, there are many that do not. And, on occasion, 
there are Part 573 reports filed where the manufacturer disavows that 
it has made any such decision and that it is conducting a recall 
campaign nevertheless in order to avoid a difficulty that it has 
decided will be alleviated or reduced if it conducts the campaign. On 
most occasions the difficulty avoided is further investment of 
resources in responding to an agency investigation into the product, or 
litigation with the

[[Page 55624]]

agency over whether the product contains a safety defect or is 
noncompliant.
    These attempts to disavow defect or noncompliance decisions, which 
amount to disclaimers, are inconsistent with the Safety Act and 
introduce confusion into the public record for those safety recalls. 
See 49 U.S.C. Sec. Sec.  30118--30120. Notification to NHTSA through 
the filing of the requisite Part 573 information report is only 
prescribed and intended when the manufacturer has made a defect or 
noncompliance decision or where NHTSA has made such a decision after 
its investigation and an opportunity for a hearing. The decision is the 
necessary precedent to those filings, all of which are a matter of 
public record and shared with the public via NHTSA's Web site 
www.safercar.gov. Further, as noted above, the manufacturer is required 
to notify owners and purchasers that it has made a defect or 
noncompliance decision in its notifications to those owners and 
purchasers. See 49 CFR 577.5(c). For a manufacturer to make this 
statement, but then to have a record reflecting the direct opposite, is 
confusing and misleading.
    Accordingly, we propose to amend Part 573 to add a new paragraph 
instructing manufacturers that Part 573 reports must not contain a 
statement or implication that there is no safety defect.
    We welcome comments on this proposal.

J. Online Submission of Recalls-Related Reports, Information, and 
Associated Documents and Recalls Reporting Templates

    Under present requirements, manufacturers have the option under 
section 573.9 to submit recall-related information as a portable 
document format (.pdf) attachment to an email message to the agency. 
See 72 FR 32014 (June 11, 2007). That option has proven very useful and 
effective for both manufacturers and the agency as both seek to 
maximize the efficiency with which important recall information is sent 
to and received by the agency so that it can then be processed and 
distributed from the agency to the public via our Web site 
www.safercar.gov as well as through our recall notification service. 
The recall-related information that is routinely submitted by many 
manufacturers in this manner ranges from Part 573 reports, to 
amendments and updates to those reports, to representative copies of 
recall communications such as owner and dealer notifications and 
technical instructions, to quarterly reports reflecting the progress of 
a recall campaign.
    Nevertheless, even where a manufacturer exercises this option it 
still requires significant allocation of agency resources toward 
processing the information received via email and in a PDF format into 
the agency's systems such that it can be effectively reviewed, managed, 
stored, and then delivered to the Web site. The agency resources 
required to perform the same tasks and provide the same services in 
relation to recalls information where the manufacturer chose not to 
file using this option, but rather to submit only a hard copy via 
certified mail or other means such as expedited mail delivery or 
facsimile, are even greater.
    We seek to maximize the use of technology to lessen the agency's 
costs, reduce errors in data entry and improve the public recall 
notification process. We believe technology has reached the point where 
manufacturers all have access to the Internet and are performing many, 
if not most, business communications and tasks using it. For example, 
many manufacturers submit EWR information electronically through a Web 
portal developed for that purpose. We believe that the time has come to 
require manufacturers to submit Part 573 information through an online 
application that would be hosted and managed by the agency. Web-based 
submissions deliver maximum efficiency and reduce the agency's burden 
to translate and enter information into its database. No longer would 
the agency devote resources to identifying and correcting errors in 
translation that occur whenever agency personnel review and then 
reenter the information reviewed into the NHTSA database. A Web-based 
submission is faster and provides better delivery of recall information 
to the public encouraging quicker remediation of defective products and 
freeing up resources that are better allocated to managing and 
analyzing recall information as part of recall oversight.
    We are proposing to amend section 573.9 to require manufacturers to 
securely submit all Part 573 report information and recall notification 
materials electronically through the use of forms or direct upload 
functions that will be housed on an agency owned and controlled Web 
site. We envision this process and its functionality to be very similar 
to what many manufacturers are already doing pursuant to EWR 
requirements. As with that program, and to ensure security, we plan to 
issue passwords before allowing submissions to be made to the agency. 
Manufacturers that are currently meeting EWR requirements through the 
www.safercar.gov Web site will be able to use their EWR passwords for 
purposes of filing information and documents associated with safety 
recalls. Manufacturers will be able to track their submissions on the 
secure Web portal and we also plan to send the submitter a confirmation 
message to an email account registered with the agency confirming our 
receipt of the submission.
    As to Part 573 defect and noncompliance information reports 
specifically, we are proposing that manufacturers use one of five forms 
that we will make available on the agency Web site; one for vehicles, 
one for equipment, one for tires, one for child restraints, and one for 
vehicle alterers.\20\ The manufacturer will complete online one form 
depending on the type of product for which it made a safety defect or 
noncompliance decision, and submit it online to the agency. The fields 
of each form will pertain to each of the requirements in the 
regulations for the defect and noncompliance information reports (49 
CFR 573.6), as well as those proposed requirements in today's notice 
that are adopted in a final rule. There are also a handful of fields 
for which information is not required to be supplied by the 
manufacturer, either currently or under any of our proposals in today's 
notice, but nevertheless provide information that is useful to us and 
that we would like to have if a manufacturer is willing to supply it. 
With the exception of information that must be submitted in an initial 
report, see 49 CFR 573.6(b), the manufacturer will be able to leave 
blank those fields for which it does not have information at the time 
of filing and later resubmit the unavailable information to update or 
amend its report, as the case may be.
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    \20\ A vehicle alterer means a person who alters by addition, 
substitution, or removal of components (other than readily 
attachable components) a certified vehicle before the first 
purchaser of the vehicle other than for resale. See 49 CFR 567.4. 
Vehicle alterers may also be referred to as vehicle up-fitters. A 
separate form for vehicle alterers would be beneficial as these, 
usually, very small companies are often unfamiliar with safety 
recall reporting and a form that does not confuse ``new vehicle 
alterer'' for ``vehicle manufacturer'' would help to clarify their 
role in conducting safety recalls.
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    For VIN data, and recall remedy status as to each vehicle on a VIN 
list, we propose to provide a VIN submission template, in the form of a 
standard table that manufacturers can use or follow to develop their 
own tables. This was discussed above in our discussion related to our 
proposal to require submission of VIN lists and daily updates on recall 
remedy status. The

[[Page 55625]]

template we propose to use is in Appendix C, Form C1, attached to this 
notice.
    For vehicle recalls conducted by smaller volume vehicle 
manufacturers that are not subject to the new VIN reporting 
requirements proposed in this notice, and equipment recalls, we will 
have an online form for those manufacturers to complete and submit 
through the Web site. The fields on that form will coordinate with the 
current requirements of section 573.7, Quarterly reports. The form we 
propose to use is shown in Figure D6, Quarterly Report Form Management, 
and which is available in this rulemaking's docket.
    In addition, we propose to include direct upload functions for the 
uploading of all representative copies of communications on recalls 
that are presently required to be submitted to the agency under 
573.6(c)(10). This would include materials such as copies of owner 
notifications and dealer notifications and technical instructions. We 
also propose this function for the draft owner notification letters and 
the envelopes that manufacturers are obligated to submit to the agency 
for approval pursuant to section 577.5(a). We also propose to allow for 
an ``other'' or miscellaneous direct upload function so that a 
manufacturer can submit to us any other materials for either our review 
(such as dealer notices that manufacturers are not obligated to submit 
for our approval, but nevertheless may want to solicit the agency's 
input for any number of reasons), or for submission to its recalls 
file.
    We recognize that 49 U.S.C. 30118(c) requires that manufacturers 
notify NHTSA by certified mail when they learn a motor vehicle or 
equipment they manufactured contains a defect and decide in good faith 
that the defect is safety-related, or decide that such a product does 
not comply with an applicable FMVSS. In order to meet the statutory 
requirement, we envision manufacturers submitting a printed copy of the 
completed online form after the form has been submitted and accepted by 
the agency. The agency will design the system to allow manufacturers to 
download and print a copy of this material.
    In order to meet our proposal today to require electronic filing 
and submission of all recalls-related information and materials, we 
propose to change the heading and the regulatory text of 573.9.
    Examples of each of the forms we are proposing manufacturers be 
required to complete are available for review in this rulemaking's 
docket. Figure D1 is the form for vehicle recalls, other than vehicle 
recalls conducted by vehicle alterers. Figure D2 is the form for 
equipment recalls, other than tires and child restraints. Figure D3 is 
the form for tire recalls, Figure D4 is the form for child restraint 
recalls, and Figure D5 is the form for vehicle recalls conducted by 
vehicle alterers. Figure D6 is the proposed quarterly report form. 
Figure D7 is the proposed recalls portal dashboard, where manufacturers 
can see a summary of their Part 573 reports, as well as an example of a 
confirmation message a manufacturer will see after submitting a Part 
573 report.
    We seek comments on our proposal to amend section 573.9 to require 
online submission of the reports and information required by 573.6, as 
well as on the forms, templates and direct upload functions we have 
proposed.

K. Amendments to Defect and Noncompliance Notification Requirements 
Under Part 577

    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30119, manufacturers must provide 
notification to owners, purchasers, and dealers if the manufacturer 
decides or the agency determines that a noncompliance or safety-related 
defect exists in a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment. 
NHTSA has significant discretion as to requirements related to recall 
notifications, including the contents of these notifications. 49 U.S.C. 
30119(a)(7). At a minimum, manufacturers must provide these 
notifications within a reasonable time after first deciding that a 
product has a safety defect or noncompliance. 49 U.S.C. 30119 and 49 
CFR 577.7(a)(1). For agency-ordered notifications associated with 
ordered recalls, the agency has defined reasonable time to mean within 
60 days of the manufacturer's receipt of the order, unless the 
Administrator orders a different timeframe. 49 CFR 577.7(b). NHTSA's 
regulations specifying the contents and timing of owner and dealer 
notifications are found in 49 CFR Part 577, Defect and Noncompliance 
Notifications. Among other things, Part 577 specifies the information 
and, in some cases, the required order of that information. It also 
dictates the formatting of the envelopes containing the owner 
notifications. For owner notifications, these requirements are found in 
section 577.5, and for dealer notifications, in section 577.13.
    As indicated above, both the statute and Part 577 require that 
owners and purchasers be notified by the manufacturer within a 
reasonable time after the manufacturer first decides that either a 
safety defect or noncompliance exists. 49 U.S.C. 30119(c) and 49 CFR 
577.5(a), 577.7(a). Consistent with its interpretation of ``reasonable 
time'' for agency-order notifications that is currently found in Part 
577, see 49 CFR 577.7(b), NHTSA has recently started informing 
manufacturers conducting recalls that it expects them to conduct owner 
notifications within 60 days of their Part 573 filing. There have been 
occasions where manufacturers have expressed concerns about NHTSA's 
expectations due to difficulties the manufacturer may have faced in the 
execution of a particular recall. For example, manufacturers have 
raised concerns about providing notice within 60 days when they are 
faced with delays in obtaining recall remedy parts that will extend the 
time period by which they can feasibly offer a free remedy well beyond 
60 days after they have notified NHTSA of a safety defect or failure to 
comply with minimum safety standards. In these circumstances, 
manufacturers have contended that sending letters to owners creates 
owner confusion and frustration, as the remedy is unavailable.
    The intent of the notification requirement is to ensure that owners 
and dealers are informed of unreasonable safety risks due to defects or 
failures to meet minimum safety requirements. The requirement that this 
notification be performed within a reasonable time balances the need 
for prompt notice to owners to warn of the safety risks with the need 
to provide manufacturers limited flexibility to develop and provide the 
remedy. Even where the remedy is not ready at the time of notification, 
the manufacturer often can instruct an owner to take precautionary 
steps while the remedy is being prepared or procured in order to avoid 
or at least mitigate the occurrence of the defect or its consequence. 
Mitigation may include inspections conducted by the owner or the 
manufacturer (or its representative), observation of certain warnings 
that can be reported to the manufacturer, such as illumination of a 
malfunction indicator light, or application of an interim remedy. For 
example, if a ``check engine'' light appearing at highway speeds might 
indicate an engine defect that may lead to a fire, a simple 
notification letter before the remedy is available can alert the owner 
that, if one encounters this situation, the driver should pull over and 
shut down the vehicle immediately in order to avoid a possible vehicle 
fire.
    We do not believe the flexibility that is extended through a 
reasonableness standard could fairly be construed to mean that critical 
safety information be withheld from those that are most likely

[[Page 55626]]

to suffer the consequence of a safety defect or noncompliance until 
such time as the manufacturer is ready to perform the remedy aspect of 
a recall campaign. Subordinating an owner's awareness and ability to 
make an informed judgment, and to take measures to protect one from the 
risks and consequences associated with a safety defect or 
noncompliance, to the manufacturer's commercial interest in providing a 
more smoothly executed and administered campaign, is inconsistent with 
the Act.
    Accordingly, we propose to add language to section 577.7(a)(1) to 
require that manufacturers notify owners and purchasers no later than 
60 days of when they notify NHTSA that a defect or noncompliance with a 
FMVSS exists, and, should the free remedy not be available at the time 
of notification, that manufacturers issue a second notification to 
owners and purchasers once that remedy is available. As indicated 
above, this 60 day time frame parallels the requirement for agency-
ordered notifications. See 49 CFR 577.7(b). We propose to add language 
to make clear that both notifications--the first or ``interim'' 
notification to inform of the defect or noncompliance, and then the 
second notification to again inform of the defect or noncompliance and 
inform of the availability of the free remedy--will need to meet the 
requirements of Part 577.5. This added language avoids any potential 
issues or confusion over whether the notifications need to meet the 
current requirements for owner notifications of a safety recall.
    As for the requirements associated with the content of owner and 
purchaser notifications, we are proposing three measures to amplify the 
importance of the notifications and the urgency with which an owner 
should act in obtaining the remedy. First, we propose to require that 
all notification letters include ``URGENT SAFETY RECALL'' in all 
capitals letters and in an enlarged font at the top of the notification 
letter to owners and purchasers. Second, for vehicle recalls, we 
propose that the manufacturer place the VIN of the owner's vehicle 
affected by the safety defect or noncompliance within the letter. 
Third, in order to further emphasize the importance of the 
communication, and to distinguish it from other commercial 
communications, such as advertising and marketing communications, we 
propose that the envelopes in which the letters are mailed be stamped 
with logos of the U.S. Department of Transportation and NHTSA, in blue 
or black, along with a statement in red that the letter is an important 
safety recall notice issued in accordance with federal law.
    Our first two proposals were items of specific recommendation in 
the GAO's June 2011 report concerning its audit of NHTSA's safety 
recalls program and its review of mechanisms for improving that 
program. See U.S. General Accountability Office, NHTSA Has Options to 
Improve the Safety Defect Recall Process, GAO-11-603 (2011). As part of 
its audit, GAO conducted focus groups to ascertain what content in 
owner letters did or did not, or would or would not, motivate owners to 
have important recall remedies applied to their vehicles in the event 
of a recall. The focus group participants reviewed sample owner 
notification letters and their envelopes and provided feedback. A 
number of themes resonated from this research, one of which was that 
the seriousness or severity of the defect may not have been 
communicated as clearly as it could have been and that could impact an 
owner's motivation to react positively to a recall notification. GAO 
Audit at p. 31. Another theme was the importance of indicating to the 
owner that their specific vehicle was affected by the defect and 
subject to the recall. Id. Accordingly, the GAO in its report 
recommended NHTSA require owner letters to include the word ``urgent'' 
in large type in the owner letters in order to obtain owners' attention 
to the letter, and that the owner's VIN be included so that it is clear 
to the owner that their vehicle is affected by the defect and the 
subject of the letter. Id. at 37.
    We believe there is merit to the GAO's recommendations as to how we 
can adjust the content or format of owner notification letters to 
better inform and motivate owners to react positively to important 
recall notifications from manufacturers. These recommendations are 
specific and, in our view, easy to accommodate.
    Therefore, we propose to modify the language of paragraph (b) of 
section 577.5--the section that specifies the content and structure of 
owner notification letters, and the paragraph that directs that each 
letter open with a statement that the letter is being sent in 
accordance with the Safety Act.
    As to the third proposal, we are concerned that due to the sheer 
volume of materials consumers receive in their regular mail, safety 
recall notifications are being inadvertently overlooked and ignored. 
Many materials consumers now receive in their mailboxes are stamped 
with terminology designed to incite a level of urgency or immediacy and 
so terminology like ``important,'' or ``urgent,'' has become 
commonplace. We are also concerned that other business interests, such 
as interests selling extended vehicle warranties, are enclosing 
marketing, advertising, and other non-safety related materials, in 
envelopes that replicate or closely mirror safety recall notifications 
in efforts to call attention to their materials and induce the 
recipient to open them. These serve ultimately to discourage owners 
from opening safety recall notifications because the owner has grown 
accustomed to envelopes that appear to be official but simply are 
marketing something related to his/her motor vehicle or equipment, and 
will assume the materials inside do not relate to a serious safety 
concern.
    In an effort to better emphasize the importance of a recall 
notification, and to distinguish it from other mailed materials, we 
propose to require all envelopes containing safety recall owner 
notifications to have imprinted on them an identical one inch by three 
inch label found in the bottom left corner of the envelope. This is so 
that, over time, owners and consumers will recognize this label and 
immediately make the connection that the communication is a safety 
recall notification. This label is to contain the logos for the NHTSA 
as well as the U.S. Department of Transportation, in blue or black, 
with the message that the notification is an ``Important Safety Recall 
Notice Issued In Accordance With Federal Law.'' The phrase ``Important 
Safety Recall Notice'' is to be in white lettering within a solid red 
box. An example of a recall notification envelope with this new label 
can be found in Appendix D with this notice. We are hopeful that 
including our logo, the Department's logo, this message, in conjunction 
with the other present requirements for these envelopes, will 
accomplish our objectives of motivating increased owner compliance when 
they learn of a safety recall on their vehicles.
    The following is a visual image of the proposed label:

[[Page 55627]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP10SE12.003

    Accordingly, we propose to modify section 577.5(a), ``Notification 
pursuant to a manufacturer's decision,'' to incorporate this proposal.
    In addition, we propose to include direct upload functions for the 
uploading of all representative copies of communications on recalls 
that are presently required to be submitted to the agency under 
577.5(a). This change allows the agency to verify consistency with the 
above proposed changes to 573.6(c)(10) and 573.9 by requiring 
manufacturers to submit their proposed owner notification letters and 
envelopes through our online recalls portal.
    We seek comments on these proposals.

L. Regulatory Changes To Add or Make More Specific Current Requirements 
for Manufacturers To Keep NHTSA Informed of Changes and Updates in 
Defect and Noncompliance Information Reports

    Manufacturers are required to provide their defect and 
noncompliance information reports not more than five working days after 
making a safety defect or noncompliance decision. They are required to 
supply certain information in those reports at the outset--basic 
information like their name, identification of the products being 
recalled, and a description of the defect or noncompliance occasioning 
the recall. Manufacturers have the flexibility to provide other 
required information as it becomes available when and if that 
information is not available at the time of first filing. These 
timeframes and minimal requirements for the reports as initially filed 
with NHTSA are found in 49 CFR 573.6(b).
    We propose to amend section 573.6(b) in three respects. First, we 
propose to require that information not available at submission of the 
initial report be provided within five working days of when it becomes 
available and in place of the current requirement which specifies only 
that the information be provided as it becomes available. Next, to 
require manufacturers to submit to NHTSA an amended Part 573 Report 
within five working days if and when the manufacturer has new 
information that updates or corrects the information that was 
previously reported, as required by paragraphs (2), (3), (4), (8)(i) or 
(ii) of paragraph (c). These paragraphs relate to, among other things, 
the identification of the vehicles or vehicle equipment covered by a 
safety recall campaign, the total number of vehicles or items of 
equipment covered by a campaign and the associated VINs, the percentage 
of the vehicles or items of equipment covered by the campaign estimated 
to actually contain the safety defect or noncompliance, the description 
of the manufacturer's program for remedying the safety defect or 
noncompliance, and the estimated date(s) for sending notifications to 
owners and dealers about the safety recall. Further, we propose to add 
a requirement that within 90 days of a recall's available remedy, the 
manufacturer review its Part 573 Report for completeness and accuracy 
and supplement or amend it as necessary to comply with Part 573.
    We have tentatively concluded that these changes are needed for 
several reasons. First, inaccurate or incomplete 573 reports impede the 
agency's ability to effectively monitor safety recalls, or evaluate a 
safety recall's effectiveness. NHTSA cannot properly perform its 
oversight role or respond properly to the public regarding a recall 
when the agency has incomplete or inaccurate information about the 
recall. Although often NHTSA is notified of updated information or 
changes to a safety recall campaign, there continue to be many 
instances in which it is not, or the information is not provided 
promptly, or is only provided once NHTSA identifies an inaccuracy or 
inconsistency and requests the manufacturer provide an explanation. The 
agency, therefore, believes it necessary to revise the regulations to 
more clearly specify that manufacturers must promptly provide 
information not previously provided and submit updated or corrected 
information. These proposals provide a specific timeframe to submit the 
supplemental and amended information.
    The current requirement in 49 CFR 573.6(b) that the manufacturer 
submit information ``as it becomes available'' lacks precision. Since 
the agency adopted this requirement, there have been instances when, in 
our view, information has become available but the manufacturer has not 
submitted the information to the agency. To obtain the information in a 
timely manner, we propose to tighten the regulation, instead of leaving 
the language as is and engaging in unnecessary interactions with slow-
to-report manufacturers. Similarly, the agency believes that requiring 
manufacturers to amend information required by paragraphs (2), (3), 
(4), (8)(i) or (ii) of paragraph (c) within 5 working days after it has 
new information that updates or corrects information that was 
previously reported will assist in the agency's effort to monitor 
recalls, because the agency will then have correct information on 
critical matters such as the recall population, the total number of 
vehicles or items of equipment potentially containing the defect or 
noncompliance, the percentage of vehicles or items of equipment 
estimated to actually contain the defect, and the manufacturer's 
program for remedying the defect or noncompliance.
    The proposed affirmative obligation to review a Part 573 within 90 
days of an available recall remedy in order to identify any changes or 
additions needed to that report stems from our concern that employees 
who do the reporting on behalf of the manufacturer may not always have 
the updated or corrected information as soon as it is known or decided, 
and that there may be some delay within the manufacturer's organization 
in getting that information to those employees. Even if the employees 
who report have access to or receive new information immediately, those 
employees may not report the new information. The purpose of the 
affirmative review requirement is to ensure that manufacturers report 
additions and changes to previous reports. We envision our new online 
recalls portal to automatically notify the manufacturer after a recall 
remedy campaign begins so the manufacturer can be reminded to review 
its report and certify its completeness and accuracy, or submit revised 
or supplemental information and then certify the overall submission 
through the same online system. Accordingly, we propose to amend 
paragraph 573.6(b) to include this affirmative review requirement.
    We seek comments on these proposals.

[[Page 55628]]

M. Requirement To Notify NHTSA In the Event of Filing of Bankruptcy of 
a Recalling Manufacturer

    We propose to amend Part 573 to add a requirement that a 
manufacturer must notify NHTSA if it files a bankruptcy petition or is 
the subject of an involuntary bankruptcy petition for which relief has 
been ordered in a United States Bankruptcy Court. Based upon our 
experience, it is necessary to learn of any bankruptcy proceedings when 
the petition is filed, so that we may act to enforce the provisions of 
the Safety Act. This, in turn, would protect the interests of owners 
and consumers of recalled vehicles and equipment. Often, NHTSA learns 
of bankruptcies well after the petition filing date, which limits the 
ability of the agency to address issues including performance of 
outstanding recalls. Notice of bankruptcy proceedings will provide the 
agency with vital information in order for it to take appropriate steps 
to ensure the completion of the manufacturer's recall remedy campaign.
    NHTSA has authority to collect information that is vital to 
carrying out its functions under the Safety Act. The National Traffic 
and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, Public Law 89-563 (1966), 80 
Stat. 728, authorizes NHTSA to issue regulations as necessary to carry 
out the Act. Id at Sec.  118, 80 Stat 728; See 15 U.S.C. 1407 (1990), 
repealed and recodified without substantive change, PL 103-272, July 5, 
1994, 108 Stat 745 (1994), and Section 30119(a) authorizes NHTSA to 
collect information to adequately inform the agency of a defect or 
noncompliance. NHTSA believes that this information will assist its 
efforts to carry out the recall remedy provisions of the Safety Act. 
Secondarily, receiving notice of a manufacturer's bankruptcy in a 
timely manner will help NHTSA to effectuate the new statutory 
requirement of section 31312 of the MAP-21 Act. Section 31312 of MAP-21 
adds a new section 30120A to Chapter 301 of Title 49, United States 
Code. That section specifies that a manufacturer's filing of a petition 
in bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of Title 11 does not negate the 
manufacturer's safety recall responsibilities under the Safety Act.
    Accordingly, we propose to amend Part 573 to add section 573.16, to 
require the reporting of a bankruptcy petition to NHTSA. We seek 
comments on these proposals.

N. Lead Time

    We understand that manufacturers need lead time to modify their 
existing EWR databases and software if today's proposed amendments to 
the EWR regulation, or logical outgrowths of them, are adopted in a 
final rule. The proposed amendments requiring some lead time include 
the requirement for light vehicle manufacturers to provide the vehicle 
type and fuel and/or propulsion system type in their quarterly EWR 
submissions and adding Stability Control systems, FCA, LDP, and 
Backover Prevention components to EWR reporting. Because manufacturers 
will need time to modify existing EWR databases and software to conform 
their systems to meet the amendments proposed today, we propose a lead 
time of one year from the date the final rule is published. We believe 
this lead time is an adequate amount of time for manufacturers to 
comply with the proposed amendments. Accordingly, the proposed 
effective date for the amendments to light vehicle type, light vehicle 
fuel and/or propulsion system reporting and components will be the 
first reporting quarter that is one year from the date the final rule 
is published.
    For the proposal to amend the manner in which substantially similar 
lists are submitted, we do not believe a long lead time is necessary. 
We propose that the effective date for this amendment be 60 days after 
the date the final rule is published.
    We understand that adopting today's proposals to require larger 
vehicle manufacturers to supply VIN information electronically and in 
the manner specified will require those manufacturers to modify or 
adjust their existing databases and software in order to arrange for 
the submission of this information and the daily updates of it. We 
further understand that the requirements to file online Part 573 
Reports and quarterly reports (where applicable) using the forms 
prescribed will also require some lead time, including time for 
manufacturers to register and be provided passwords and to conduct 
training of staff. We propose the effective date for these proposals be 
180 days after the date the final rule is published.
    For the remaining proposals affecting requirements under Parts 573 
and 577, we do not believe as long a lead time is necessary. Those 
proposals do not require changes to technology or investment of 
additional resources. Accordingly, we propose the effective date for 
all remaining proposals that are adopted be 60 days after the date the 
final rule is published.
    We seek comments on our proposed lead time and effective dates.

V. Request for Comments

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 in your comments. Your comments must not be 
more than 15 pages long.\21\ We 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.
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    \21\  See 49 CFR Sec.  553.21.
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    Please submit your comments by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility, M-30, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Room W12-
140, Washington, DC 20590.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West 
Building, Room W12-140, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday 
through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: (202) 493-2251.
    If you are submitting comments electronically as a PDF (Adobe) 
file, we ask that the documents submitted be scanned using Optical 
Character Recognition (OCR) process, thus allowing the agency to search 
and copy certain portions of your submissions.\22\
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    \22\ Optical character recognition (OCR) is the process of 
converting an image of text, such as a scanned paper document or 
electronic fax file, into computer-editable text.
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    Please note that pursuant to the Data Quality Act, in order for 
substantive data to be relied upon and used by the agency, it must meet 
the information quality standards set forth in the OMB and DOT Data 
Quality Act guidelines. Accordingly, we encourage you to consult the 
guidelines in preparing your comments. OMB's guidelines may be accessed 
at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg/reproducible.html. DOT's 
guidelines may be accessed at http://dmses.dot.gov/submit/DataQualityGuidelines.pdf.

How can I be sure that my comments were received?

    If you submit your comments by mail and 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

[[Page 55629]]

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, you should submit three copies of your complete 
submission, including the information you claim to be confidential 
business information, to the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, at the address given 
above under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. 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 our confidential business information regulation.\23\
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    \23\ See 49 CFR Sec.  512.
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    In addition, you should submit a copy, from which you have deleted 
the claimed confidential business information, to the Docket by one of 
the methods set forth above.

Will the Agency consider late comments?

    We will consider all comments received before the close of business 
on the comment closing date indicated above under DATES. To the extent 
possible, we will also consider comments received after that date. 
Therefore, if interested persons believe that any new information the 
agency places in the docket affects their comments, they may submit 
comments after the closing date concerning how the agency should 
consider that information for the final rule.
    If a comment is received too late for us to consider in developing 
a final rule (assuming that one is issued), we will consider that 
comment as an informal suggestion for future rulemaking action.

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.

VI. Privacy Act Statement

    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://dms.dot.gov.

VII. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

A. Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    Executive Order 12866, ``Regulatory Planning and Review'' (58 FR 
51735, October 4, 1993) provides for making determinations whether a 
regulatory action is ``significant'' and therefore subject to Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) review and to the requirements of the 
Executive Order. The Order defines as ``significant regulatory action'' 
as one that is likely to result in a rule that may:
    (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or 
adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the 
economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public 
health or safety, or State, local, or Tribal governments or 
communities;
    (2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an 
action taken or planned by another agency;
    (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, 
user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients 
thereof; or
    (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal 
mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles set forth in 
the Executive Order.
    This document was reviewed under E.O. 12866 and the Department of 
Transportation's regulatory policies and procedures. This rulemaking 
action is not considered ``significant'' under Department of 
Transportation policies and procedures. The effects of these proposed 
changes have been analyzed in a Preliminary Regulatory Evaluation. The 
proposals being made within this document that relate to adding 
reporting fields for light vehicle and medium-heavy vehicle 
manufacturers would place only a minimal burden on EWR manufacturers 
through a one-time adjustment to their EWR databases and software. The 
agency estimates that the proposal will result in a one-time burden of 
$62,208 per light vehicle manufacturer and $10,368 per bus, emergency 
vehicle, and medium-heavy vehicle manufacturer. In addition, the 
proposals being made within this document that relate to new VIN 
submission requirements will result in a one-time burden of $51,200 per 
manufacturer. The agency also estimates an annual cost burden of 
$133,930 per manufacturer for the proposed amendments to Part 577 to 
notify owners and purchaser of recalled motor vehicles and motor 
vehicle equipment.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) of 1980 (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) 
requires agencies to evaluate the potential effects of their proposed 
and final rules on small businesses, small organizations and small 
governmental jurisdictions. Section 605 of the RFA allows an agency to 
certify a rule, in lieu of preparing an analysis, if the proposed 
rulemaking is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities.
    This proposed rule would affect all motor vehicle and motor vehicle 
equipment manufacturers. The proposed changes to the EWR regulations, 
the foreign defect reporting regulation, defect and noncompliance 
information reports, and defect and noncompliance notifications would 
affect manufacturers of light vehicles, buses, emergency vehicles, 
medium-heavy vehicles, motorcycles and trailers, tires and motor 
vehicle equipment.
    In order to determine if any of these manufacturers are small 
entities under the RFA, NHTSA reviewed the North American Industry 
Classification System (NAICS) codes. Business entities are defined as 
small businesses using the North American Industry Classification 
System (NAICS) code, for the purposes of receiving Small Business 
Administration (SBA) assistance. One of the criteria for determining 
size, as stated in 13 CFR 121.201, is the number of employees in the 
firm. For establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing or 
assembling automobiles and light and medium-heavy duty trucks, buses, 
new tires, or motor vehicle body manufacturing, the firm must have less 
than 1,000 employees to be classified as a small business. For 
establishments manufacturing the safety systems for which reporting 
will be required, the firm must have less than 750 employees to be 
classified as a small business. For establishments manufacturing truck 
trailers, motorcycles, child restraints, re-tread tires, other vehicles 
equipment and alterers, and second-stage manufacturers, the firm must 
have less than 500 employees to be classified as a small business. In 
determining the number of employees, all employees from the parent 
company and its subsidiaries are considered and compared to the 1,000 
employee

[[Page 55630]]

threshold. Many of the bus companies are owned by other larger 
companies.
    The agency separately published a Preliminary Regulatory Evaluation 
that includes a regulatory flexibility analysis. That document sets 
forth in detail the agency's analysis and is located in the docket.
    The agency believes that there are a substantial number of small 
businesses that will be affected by the proposed amendments to the 
Early Warning Rule, the Foreign Defect Reporting Rule, the Defect and 
Noncompliance Information Reports, and Defect and Noncompliance 
Notification; however, we do not believe that the requirements, which 
involve reporting and recordkeeping, will amount to a substantial 
economic burden, as discussed in the Cost section of the Preliminary 
Regulatory Evaluation.
    In summary, as stated in the agency's Preliminary Regulatory 
Evaluation, this proposal will not have a significant economic impact 
on a substantial number of small businesses. For the reasons stated in 
the Preliminary Regulatory Evaluation, the agency believes that the 
proposed amendments to Part 573, Part 577 and 579 will not have a 
significant economic impact on vehicle manufacturers, and motor vehicle 
equipment manufacturers including tire manufacturers affected by the 
proposed rule. Accordingly, I certify that this proposed rule would not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.

C. Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    Executive Order 13132 on ``Federalism'' requires us to develop an 
accountable process to ensure ``meaningful and timely input by State 
and local officials in the development of ``regulatory policies that 
have federalism implications.'' The Executive Order defines this phrase 
to include regulations ``that have substantial direct effects on the 
States, on the relationship between the national government and the 
States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the 
various levels of government.'' The agency has analyzed this proposed 
rule in accordance with the principles and criteria set forth in 
Executive Order 13132 and has determined that it will not have 
sufficient federalism implications to warrant consultation with State 
and local officials or the preparation of a federalism summary impact 
statement. The changes proposed in this document only affect a rule 
that regulates submission of information the manufacturers of motor 
vehicles and motor vehicle equipment, which does not have substantial 
direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national 
government and the States, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities among the various levels of government, as specified 
in Executive Order 13132.

D. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4) requires 
agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits, and 
other effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate 
likely to result in expenditures by State, local or tribal governments, 
in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of more than $100 million 
annually (adjusted annually for inflation with base year of 1995). 
Adjusting this amount by the implicit gross domestic product price 
deflator for the year 2007 results in $130 million (119.682 / 92.106 = 
1.30). This proposal would not result in expenditures by State, local 
or tribal governments. This proposal only applies to motor vehicle and 
equipment manufacturers. The proposal would result in one-time cost of 
about $4.75 million for proposed EWR and Part 573 VIN changes and about 
$7.5 million annually recurring costs to manufacturers for notifying 
owners and purchasers of recalls under the proposed changes to Part 
577. This proposal would not result in expenditures by motor vehicles 
and equipment manufacturers of more than $130 million annually and, 
therefore, would not require an assessment per the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act of 1995.

E. Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    Pursuant to Executive Order 12988, ``Civil Justice Reform'' \24\ 
the agency has considered whether this proposed rule would have any 
retroactive effect. We conclude that it would not have a retroactive or 
preemptive effect, and judicial review of it may be obtained pursuant 
to 5 U.S.C. 702. That section does not require that a petition for 
reconsideration be filed prior to seeking judicial review.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \24\ See 61 FR 4729 (February 7, 1996).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

F. Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, a person is not required 
to respond to a collection of information by a Federal agency unless 
the collection displays a valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
control number. The Information Collection Request (ICR) for the 
proposed revisions to the existing information collections described 
below has been forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
for review and comment. The ICR describes the nature of the information 
collections and their expected burden.
    The collection of information associated with Part 579 is titled 
``Reporting of Information and Documents About Potential Defects'' and 
has been assigned OMB Control Number 2127-0616. This collection is 
approved by OMB. The collection of information associated with Part 573 
and portions of Part 577 is titled, ``Defect and Noncompliance 
Reporting and Notification.'' This collection is approved by OMB and 
has been assigned OMB Control Number 2127-0004.
1. Part 579 Collections
    When NHTSA most recently requested renewal of the information 
collection associated with Part 579, the agency estimated that the 
collection of information would result in 2,355 responses, with a total 
of 82,391 burden hours on affected manufacturers. These estimates were 
based on 2006 EWR data. The agency has published two amendments to the 
EWR regulation since then which will affect the reporting burden on 
manufacturers. On May 29, 2007, the agency eliminated the requirement 
to produce hard copies of a subset of field reports known as ``product 
evaluation reports.'' 72 FR 29435. On September 17, 2009, NHTSA issued 
a final rule that modified the reporting thresholds for quarterly EWR 
reports. 74 FR 47740. The reporting threshold for light vehicle, 
medium-heavy vehicle (excluding buses and emergency vehicles), 
motorcycle, and trailer manufacturers was changed from an annual 
production of 500 vehicles to an annual production of 5,000 vehicles. 
The reporting threshold for emergency vehicles stayed the same, but the 
reporting threshold for bus manufacturers was changed from an annual 
production of 500 vehicles to an annual production of 100 vehicles. 
These changes have reduced the number of manufacturers required to 
report certain information and the amount of information those 
manufacturers are required to report. Because these changes will affect 
the burden on manufacturers, our burden hour estimates need to be 
adjusted.
a. Adjusted Estimates for Current Information Collections
    In the EWR final regulatory Evaluation (July 2002, NHTSA docket 
 8677), it was assumed that reviewing and/or processing would 
be required for death and injury claims/notices,

[[Page 55631]]

property damage claims, non-dealer field reports, and foreign death 
claims. It was also assumed that customer complaints, warranty claims, 
and dealer field reports would not impose incremental burden hours 
since computer systems were set up to automatically count these 
aggregate data points. Table 1 below shows the number of documents 
submitted in 2011 by reporting type.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP10SE12.004

    The agency assumed that a total of 5 minutes would be required to 
process each report with the exception of foreign death claims. For 
these, it would require 15 minutes. Multiplying this average number of 
minutes times the number of documents NHTSA receives in each reporting 
category will yield burden hours (see Table 2).

[[Page 55632]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP10SE12.005

    The burden hours associated with aggregate data submissions for 
customer complaints, warranty claims, and dealer field reports are 
included in reporting and computer maintenance hours. The burden hours 
for computer maintenance are calculated, based on industry input, by 
multiplying the hours of computer use (for a given category) by the 
number of manufacturers reporting in a category. Similarly, reporting 
burden hours are calculated based on industry input, by multiplying 
hours used to report for a given category by the number of 
manufacturers for the category. Using these methods and the number of 
manufacturers who reported in 2011, we have estimated the burden hours 
for reporting cost and computer maintenance (see Table 3).

                  Table 3--Estimated Annual Burden Hours for Reporting and Computer Maintenance
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                     Hours for
                                     Number of       Quarterly     Annual burden     computer      Annual burden
   Vehicle/Equipment category      manufacturer      hours to        hours for      maintenance      hours for
                                   reporting in     report per       reporting          per          computer
                                       2011        manufacturer                    manufacturer     maintenance
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Light Vehicles..................              40               8           1,280             347          13,880
Medium-Heavy Vehicles...........              30               5             600            86.5           2,595
Trailers........................              68               1             272            86.5           5,882
Motorcycles.....................              21               2             168            86.5           1,817
Emergency Vehicles..............               8               5             160            86.5             692
Buses...........................              29               5             580            86.5           2,509
Tires...........................              38               5             760            86.5           3,287
Child Restraint.................              29               1             116            86.5           2,509
Vehicle Equipment...............               5               1              20  ..............  ..............
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.......................  ..............  ..............           3,956  ..............          33,170
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Thus, the total burden hours for EWR death and injury data, 
aggregate data and non-dealer field reports is 7,178 (Table 2) + 3,956 
(Table 3) + 33,170 (Table 3) = 44,304 burden hours.
    In order to provide the information required for foreign safety 
campaigns, manufacturers must (1) determine whether vehicles or 
equipment that are covered by a foreign safety recall or other safety 
campaign are identical or substantially similar to vehicles or 
equipment sold in the United States, (2) prepare and submit reports of 
these campaigns to the agency, and (3) where a determination or notice 
has been made in a language other than English, translate the 
determination or notice into English before transmitting it to the 
agency. NHTSA estimated that preparing and submitting each foreign 
defect report (foreign recall campaign) would require 1 hour of 
clerical staff and that translation of determinations into English 
would require 2 hours of technical staff (note: this assumes that all 
foreign campaign reports would require translation, which is unlikely).

[[Page 55633]]

NHTSA received 104 foreign recall reports in 2011 which results in 104 
hours for preparation and submission of the reports (104 defect reports 
x 1 hour clerical = 104 hours) and 208 hours for technical time (104 
foreign recall reports x 2 hours technical = 208 hours.)
    With respect to the burden of determining identical or 
substantially similar vehicles or equipment to those sold in the United 
States, manufacturers of motor vehicles are required to submit not 
later than November 1 of each year, a document that identifies foreign 
products and their domestic counterparts. NHTSA continues to estimate 
that the annual list could be developed with 8 hours of professional 
staff time. NHTSA has received lists from 85 manufacturers for 2011, 
resulting in 680 burden hours (85 vehicle manufacturers x 8 hours = 680 
hours).
    Therefore, the total annual hour burden on manufacturers for 
reporting foreign safety campaigns and substantially similar vehicles/
equipment is 992 hours (680 hours professional time + 104 hours 
clerical time + 208 hours technical time).
    Section 579.5 also requires manufacturers to submit notices, 
bulletins, customer satisfaction campaigns, consumer advisories and 
other communications that are sent to more than one dealer or owner. 
Manufacturers are required to submit this information monthly. However, 
the burden hours associated with this information were inadvertently 
not included in the overall burden hours calculated and submitted with 
the previous information collection request. Therefore, we have 
estimated the burden hours necessary for manufacturers to comply with 
this requirement.
    Section 579.5 does not require manufacturer to create these 
documents. Manufacturers are only required to send copies to NHTSA. 
Therefore, the burden hours are only those associated with collecting 
the documents, preparing them for mailing, and sending them to NHTSA. 
Manufacturers are required to submit the documents within 5 working 
days after the end of the month in which they were issued. 
Manufacturers are allowed to submit them by mail, by facsimile or by 
email. Most manufacturers submit them by email (about 75 percent), some 
manufacturers send in paper copies by mail and others send in 
electronic copies on disk by mail.
    NHTSA receives about 7,000 notices a year. We estimate that it 
takes about 5 minutes to collect, prepare and send a notice to NHTSA. 
Therefore, we estimate that it takes 7,000 documents x 5 minutes = 
35,000 minutes or 584 hours for manufacturers to submit notices as 
required under Part 579.5.
    Based on the foregoing, we estimate the burden hours for 
manufacturer to comply with the current EWR requirements, the foreign 
campaign requirements and the Part 579.5 requirements are 45,880 burden 
hours (44,304 hours for EWR requirements + 992 hours for foreign 
campaign requirements + 584 hours for Part 579.5).
b. New Collections
    NHTSA believes that if this NPRM is made final, there will be a 
one-time increase of 27,160 burden hours on those reporting under Part 
579, Subpart C. Adding vehicle type, fuel and/or propulsion system 
type, and four new components (stability control, FCA, LDP, and 
backover prevention) to the vehicle EWR reporting is likely to create a 
one-time cost for manufacturers to amend their reporting template and 
revise their software system to appropriately categorize the data. We 
estimate that one-time cost to revise EWR databases and software 
proposed in the NPRM would involve 2 weeks of a computer programmer's 
time and 8 hours of a manager's time per one component or fuel/
propulsion element. Thus, an increase in burden hours for light vehicle 
manufacturers will be 80 hours x 6 (vehicle type, 4 components and 
fuel/propulsion) = 480 hours for a computer programmer and 8 hours x 6 
(vehicle type, 4 components and fuel/propulsion) = 48 hours for a 
computer manager or 528 burden hours. For bus, emergency vehicle and 
medium/heavy vehicle manufacturers, we estimate 80 hours for computer 
programmers and 8 hours for computer manager to add the stability 
control and/or RSC component. There are currently 40 light vehicle 
manufacturers and 67 bus (29), emergency vehicle (8) and medium-heavy 
vehicle (30) manufacturers which would be affected by the proposed 
changes. The additional burden hours for light vehicle manufacturers 
would be 528 x 40 = 21,120 more burden hours. For bus, emergency 
vehicle and medium/heavy vehicle manufacturers, we estimate an 
additional 88 x 67 = 5,896 burden hours. For these reasons, if this 
NPRM is made final, NHTSA believes industry will incur a one-time 
increase in 21,120 + 5,896 = 27,016 more burden hours to implement the 
proposed requirements to NHTSA.
    Today's proposal also proposes changes to Part 579, Subpart B. We 
believe the burden associated with adding a requirement that 
manufacturers supply the list of substantially similar vehicles 
electronically will be minimal. The agency believes the electronic 
submission of annual substantially similar vehicle information will 
take an additional hour for an IT technician to submit their lists to 
NHTSA. There are about 85 substantially similar vehicle list 
submissions per year and about 80 percent are already submitted 
electronically. Thus, we estimate that manufacturers will incur about 
17 additional burden hours per year to submit substantially similar 
vehicle lists electronically. NHTSA believes that if this NPRM is made 
final, there will be increase of 17 burden hours on those reporting 
under Part 579, Subpart B.
    We estimate that the total burden hours associated with the Part 
579 requirements would be 45,880 hours for current reporting 
requirements + 27,016 hours for proposed new requirements + 17 hours 
for proposed electronic submission of substantially similar list = 
72,913 burden hours pursuant to the regulatory changes made pursuant to 
Part 579, which represents a reduction in the burden hours estimated 
for the current collection (82,391 burden hours).
2. Parts 573 and 577 Collections
    The approved information collection associated with Part 573 and 
portions of Part 577 is associated with an estimated annual burden of 
21,370 hours associated with an estimated 175 respondents per year. The 
control number for these collections is OMB Control Number 2127-0004. 
For information concerning how we calculated these estimates please see 
the Federal Register Notices 76 FR 17186 (March 28, 2011) and 76 FR 
34803 (June 14, 2011).
    These estimates require revision. For several of the current 
collections, we have more current information on which to base 
estimates, and so we are making adjustments to those estimates to 
provide more accurate assessments of burden. Also, our proposals in 
today's notice will result in a number of new collections which require 
burden calculations.
a. Adjusted Estimates for Current Information Collections
    Our prior estimates of the number of manufacturers each year that 
would be required to provide information under Part 573, the number of 
recalls for which Part 573 information collection requirements would 
need to be met, and the number of burden hours associated with the 
requirements currently covered

[[Page 55634]]

by this information collection require adjustment as explained below.
    Previously, we calculated an average of 650 Part 573 information 
reports were filed with NHTSA each year by approximately 175 distinct 
manufacturers (MFRs). After reviewing more recent records which reflect 
higher recall volumes, we are adjusting this estimate to 280 distinct 
manufacturers filing an average of 680 Part 573 information reports 
each year.
    We continue to estimate that it takes a manufacturer an average of 
4 hours to complete each notification report to NHTSA and that 
maintenance of the required owner, purchaser, dealer and distributors 
lists requires 8 hours a year per manufacturer. Accordingly, the 
subtotal estimate of annual burden hours related to the reporting to 
NHTSA of a safety defect or noncompliance and maintenance of owner and 
purchaser lists is 4,960 hours annually ((680 notices x 4 hours/report) 
+ (280 MFRs x 8 hours)).
    In addition, we continue to estimate an additional 2 hours will be 
needed to add to a manufacturer's information report details relating 
to the manufacturer's intended schedule for notifying its dealers and 
distributors, and tailoring its notifications to dealers and 
distributors in accordance with the requirements of 49 CFR Sec.  
577.13. This would total to an estimated 1,360 hours annually (680 
notices x 2 hours/report).
    In the event a manufacturer supplied the defect or noncompliant 
product to independent dealers through independent distributors, that 
manufacturer is required to include in its notifications to those 
distributors an instruction that the distributors are to then provide 
copies of the manufacturer's notification of the defect or 
noncompliance to all known distributors or retail outlets further down 
the distribution chain within five working days. See 49 CFR Sec.  
577.8(c)(2)(iv). As a practical matter, this requirement would only 
apply to equipment manufacturers since vehicle manufacturers generally 
sell and lease vehicles through a dealer network, and not through 
independent distributors. We believe our previous estimate of roughly 
90 equipment recalls per year needs to be adjusted to 80 equipment 
recalls per year to better reflect recent recall figures. Although the 
distributors are not technically under any regulatory requirement to 
follow that instruction, we expect that they will, and have estimated 
the burden associated with these notifications (identifying retail 
outlets, making copies of the manufacturer's notice, and mailing) to be 
5 hours per recall campaign. Assuming an average of 3 distributors per 
equipment item, (which is a liberal estimate given that many equipment 
manufacturers do not use independent distributors) the total number of 
burden hours associated with this third party notification burden is 
approximately 1,200 hours per year (80 recalls x 3 distributors x 5 
hours).
    As for the burden linked with a manufacturer's preparation of and 
notification concerning its reimbursement for pre-notification 
remedies, consistent with previous estimates (see 69 Fed. Reg. 11477 
(March 10, 2004)), we continue to estimate that preparing a plan for 
reimbursement takes approximately 8 hours annually, and that an 
additional 2 hours per year is spent tailoring the plan to particular 
defect and noncompliance notifications to NHTSA and adding tailored 
language about the plan to a particular safety recall's owner 
notification letters. In sum, these required activities add an 
additional 3,600 annual burden hours ((280 manufacturers x 8 hours) + 
(680 recalls x 2 hours)).
    The Act and Part 573 also contain numerous information collection 
requirements specific to tire recall and remedy campaigns, as well as a 
statutory and regulatory reporting requirement that anyone that 
knowingly and intentionally sells or leases a defective or noncompliant 
tire notify NHTSA of that activity.
    Manufacturers are required to include specific information relative 
to tire disposal in the notifications they provide NHTSA concerning 
identification of a safety defect or noncompliance with FMVSS in their 
tires, as well as in the notifications they issue to their dealers or 
other tire outlets participating in the recall campaign. See 49 CFR 
Sec.  573.6(c)(9). We previously estimated about 10 tire recall 
campaigns per year; however, we are adjusting this figure to 15 tire 
campaigns per year to better reflect recent figures. We estimate that 
the inclusion of this additional information will require an additional 
two hours of effort beyond the subtotal above associated with non-tire 
recall campaigns. This additional effort consists of one hour for the 
NHTSA notification and one hour for the dealer notification for a total 
of 30 burden hours (15 tire recalls a year x 2 hours per recall).
    Manufacturer owned or controlled dealers are required to notify the 
manufacturer and provide certain information should they deviate from 
the manufacturer's disposal plan. Consistent with our previous 
analysis, we continue to ascribe zero burden hours to this requirement 
since to date no such reports have been provided and our original 
expectation that dealers would comply with manufacturers' plans has 
proven true.
    Accordingly, we estimate 30 burden hours a year will be spent 
complying with the tire recall campaign requirements found in 49 CFR 
573.6(c)(9).
    Additionally, because the agency has yet to receive a single report 
of a defective or noncompliant tire being intentionally sold or leased 
in the fourteen years since this rule was proposed, our previous 
estimate of zero burden hours remains unchanged with this notice.
    NHTSA's supporting information for the current Part 577 information 
collection did not include estimates of the burden linked with the 
requirement to notify owners and purchasers of a safety recall. Today, 
we estimate that burden. We estimate that it takes manufacturers an 
average of 8 hours to draft their notification letters, submit them to 
NHTSA for review, and then finalize them for mailing to their affected 
owners and purchasers. We calculate that the Part 577 requirements 
result in 5,440 burden hours annually (8 hours per recall x 680 recalls 
per year).
b. New Collections
    We recognize that our proposal to require owner notifications 
within 60 days of filing a Part 573 report will increase the burden 
hours associated with the requirement to notify owners and purchasers 
of a safety recall. We calculated that about 25% of past recalls did 
not include an owner notification mailing within 60 days of the filing 
of the Part 573 report. Under the proposed requirements, manufacturers 
would have to send two letters in these cases: an interim notification 
of the defect or noncompliance within 60 days and a supplemental letter 
notifying owners and purchasers of the available remedy. Accordingly, 
we estimate that 1,360 burden hours will be added by this 60-day 
interim notification requirement (680 recalls x .25 = 170 recalls; 170 
recalls times 8 hours per recall = 1,360 hours). Therefore we calculate 
the total burden created by Part 577 to notify owners and purchasers of 
defective vehicles or motor vehicle equipment at 6,800 hours (5,440 + 
1,360).
    We believe the burden associated with the added requirement that 
manufacturers supply the list of VINs associated with the vehicles 
covered by their recall campaigns will be minimal. As discussed 
earlier, manufacturers are already required to have ready at the 
agency's request a list of VINs for

[[Page 55635]]

vehicles covered by each recall. They must also have the status of the 
remedy of each vehicle on that list at the end of each quarterly 
reporting period, and so they will know the vehicles (and associated 
VINs) that have not been remedied and be able to provide updated 
information. They must, as a practical matter, and in order to meet the 
requirement that they identify current owners based on State 
registration data (which is accessed using VINs), be able to provide 
the States with a list of VINs, and, more than likely, that list would 
be in an electronic format that can be transferred readily to each 
State for its use in compiling its list of owner names and addresses 
associated with each VIN. Any added burden, therefore, is reduced to 
time and costs associated with the manufacturer's transfer of that 
information to NHTSA through a secure server using SFTP.
    We anticipate that the initial electronic submission of a VIN list 
to NHTSA's database will require one hour to compile per recall and 
that the recurring daily updates will add no additional hourly burden 
as it will be an automated process handled by the manufacturer's 
electronic servers. We calculate that 10 affected motorcycle 
manufacturers will now submit VINs for an average of 2 recalls each 
year and 19 affected light vehicle manufacturers will submit VINs for 
an average of 8 recalls each year. We estimate this will add an 
additional 172 burden hours (1 hour x 2 recalls x 10 MFRs + 1 hour x 8 
recalls x 19 MFRs).
    While we believe the automated process to submit VINs and daily VIN 
remedy updates will be minimally burdensome, we do believe the affected 
29 manufacturers will incur a more complex burden during the initial 
setup and configuration of their computer systems. We estimate that 
each of the 29 manufacturers will spend a total of 60 hours creating a 
standardized VIN list template they will use in their VIN submissions 
to NHTSA. This estimate of 60 hours includes the time needed for 
software development (24 hours), data preparation (24 hours), and file 
naming (12 hours). We estimate the configuration of the manufacturers' 
databases to supply the needed VIN information in a format suitable to 
be received by NHTSA's computer servers will require a total of 300 
hours. This estimate of 300 hours includes the time needed for software 
development (180 hours), data preparation (60 hours), and database 
management including the purchase of any needed new hardware (60 
hours). Also, we estimate that the one-time VIN submissions related to 
the recall campaigns from the past 24 months will require 60 burden 
hours. This estimate of 60 hours includes the time needed for software 
development (24 hours), data preparation (24 hours), and file naming 
(12 hours). We calculate that these one-time burdens will only be 
incurred in the first year and include 1,740 hours for VIN list 
template creation (29 MFRs x 60 hours), 8,700 hours for the daily VIN 
update system configuration (29 MFRs x 300 hours), and 1,740 hours for 
the historical VIN submissions (29 MFRs x 60 hours) for a combined 
total of 12,180 hours (1,740 + 8,700 + 1,740).
    Due to our proposed changes to quarterly reporting, specifically, 
lifting the requirement to calculate and submit recall quarterly 
reports for the largest manufacturers of light vehicles or motorcycles, 
this burden will decrease. We now estimate an average 515 quarterly 
reports will be filed per quarter (or 2,060 reports per year) by the 
manufacturers not required to submit VINs under our proposed changes to 
Part 573. Accordingly, we revise our previous calculation of 12,000 
burden hours (3,000 quarterly reports x 4 hours/report) to a new 
calculation of 8,240 burden hours for quarterly reporting (2,060 
quarterly reports x 4 hours/report). This will result in a reduction of 
3,760 hours annually.
    As to the new requirement that manufacturers utilize NHTSA's new 
online recalls portal for the submission of all recall documents, we 
believe there will be minimal burden. Manufacturers typically produce 
their Part 573 reports by entering the needed data into a computer word 
processor, emailing and/or printing and mailing their report. NHTSA's 
new online recalls portal will simply replace the manufacturer's data 
entry method and delivery with a standardized online form. We do 
believe there will be some unmeasured burden reduction by having a 
centralized Web site where manufacturers can find assistance in 
conducting their recall and upload all of their recall documents. 
However, we do estimate a small burden of 2 hours annually in order to 
set up their recalls portal account with the pertinent contact 
information and maintaining/updating their account information as 
needed. We estimate this will require a total of 560 hours annually (2 
hours x 280 MFRs).
    We recognize that manufacturers will incur additional burden in 
meeting the new requirement to submit changes or additions to the 
information supplied in an earlier Part 573 report, as well as in 
conducting the active review of Part 573 report information within 90 
days of a recall's available remedy. In our experience, roughly 10 
percent of safety recalls involve a change or addition to the 
information supplied in a 573 Report. The vast majority of these 
changes or additions are to only a single, discrete, informational 
component, such as a change in the number of products to be campaigned 
or a change in the manufacturer's estimation of when it will begin its 
owner and dealer notifications. As such, these amended reports are 
relatively simple and straightforward and will require little time to 
submit through NHTSA's new online recalls portal.
    As for the active review of the Part 573 information report 
conducted within 90 days of the recall's available remedy, we estimate 
this review will take no more than 30 minutes per recall, as the 
informational components to be provided in a Part 573 report that will 
now require an update or correction to NHTSA are very discrete and 
straightforward. Accordingly, we estimate that there will be an 
additional burden of 340 hours a year (680 recalls at 30 minutes each).
    In view of the fact that the requirement to inform NHTSA of a 
change or update in these recall components is new, we will liberally 
assume that the number of amended reports will double. Therefore, we 
assume that 20 percent of Part 573 reports will involve a change or 
addition. At 30 minutes per amended report, this will add an additional 
68 burden hours per year (680 recalls x .20 = 136 recalls; 136/2 = 68 
hours).
    As to the proposal to require manufacturers to notify NHTSA in the 
event of a bankruptcy, we expect this notification to take an estimated 
2 hours to draft and submit to NHTSA. We estimate that only 10 
manufacturers might submit such a notice to NHTSA each year, so we 
calculate the total burden at 20 hours (10 MFRs x 2 hours).
    Due to the initial costs associated with the Part 573 VIN 
submission proposal, our burden estimate is higher for the first year 
of this rule. The Part 573 and Part 577 requirements found in this 
proposal will require 39,530 burden hours in the first year of this 
rule and then 27,350 hours each subsequent year. Due to this range of 
estimates, we will request the maximum estimate of 39,530 burden hours. 
Accordingly, we plan to request approval from OMB to add an additional 
18,160 burden hours a year, for a total of 39,530 burden hours for the 
regulatory changes proposed to Part 573 and Part 577.
    We request comment on our burden hour estimate.
    Apart from the burden hours estimated above, several of our

[[Page 55636]]

proposals in today's notice involve investment as well as recurring 
costs. We estimate these costs as follows:
    We estimate that the IT staff and database professionals that will 
be paid to assist the manufacturers in creating their VIN list 
templates, configuring their daily VIN update systems, and gathering 
historical recall VIN information, average an hourly rate of $110 per 
hour. At this hourly rate, the VIN list template creation cost would 
total $191,400 ($110 x 60 hours x 29 MFRs). The cost to configure the 
manufacturer's system to automatically submit VIN updates would total 
$957,000 ($110 x 300 hours x 29 MFRs). The cost to provide the VINs for 
the last 24 months of safety recalls would total $191,400 ($110 x 60 
hours x 29 MFRs). Also, the required hardware that will need to be 
purchased we estimate will average $5,000 for a total of $145,000 
($5,000 x 29 MFRs). We estimate that these one year costs will total 
$1,484,800 ($191,400 + $957,000 + $191,400 + $145,000).
    As explained above, we estimate that each manufacturer will spend 3 
hours compiling and submitting these VIN lists. The subsequent daily 
updates on the changes in recall remedy status for any of the vehicles 
involved in the recall, however, will be conducted through an automated 
process performed by the manufacturers' computer servers. Accordingly, 
we ascribe zero costs to this automated function.
    As for costs associated with notifying owners and purchasers of 
recalls, we estimate this costs $1.50 per notification on average. This 
cost estimate includes the costs of printing, mailing, as well as the 
costs vehicle manufacturers may pay to third-party vendors to acquire 
the names and addresses of the current registered owners from state and 
territory departments of motor vehicles. In reviewing recent recall 
figures, we determined that an estimated 20 million letters are mailed 
yearly totaling $30,000,000 ($1.50 per letter x 20,000,000 letters). 
The changes to Part 577 requiring a manufacturer to notify their 
affected customers within 60 days would add an additional $7,500,000 
(20,000,000 letters x .25 requiring interim owner notifications = 
5,000,000 letters; 5,000,000 x $1.50 = $7,500,000). In total we 
estimate that the Part 577 requirements along with the new proposal to 
require notifications within 60 days will cost manufacturers a total 
$37,500,000 annually ($30,000,000 owner notification letters + 
$7,500,000 interim notification letters = $37,500,000).
    We estimate the incremental costs associated with the proposed 
amendments total $12.25 million (3.27 million for EWR + $1.48 million 
for Part 573 VIN changes + $7.5 million in recall notification letters) 
in the first year and $7.5 million recurring costs annually in the 
second and subsequent years for recall notification letters.
    Comments are invited on:
     Whether the collection of information is necessary for the 
proper performance of the functions of the Department, including 
whether the information will have practical utility.
     Whether the Department's estimate for the burden of the 
information collection is accurate.
     Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected and to minimize the burden of the 
collection of information on respondents, including the use of 
automated collection techniques or other forms of information 
technology.
    Please submit any comments, identified by the docket number in the 
heading of this document, by the methods described in the ADDRESSES 
section of this document to NHTSA and OMB.

G. Executive Order 13045

    Executive Order 13045 applies to any rule that: (1) Is determined 
to be ``economically significant'' as defined under E.O. 12866, and (2) 
concerns an environmental, health or safety risk that NHTSA has reason 
to believe may have a disproportionate effect on children. If the 
regulatory action meets both criteria, we must evaluate the 
environmental health or safety effects of the planned rule on children, 
and explain why the planned regulation is preferable to other 
potentially effective and reasonably feasible alternatives considered 
by us.
    This rulemaking is not economically significant.

H. Regulation Identifier Number (RIN)

    The Department of Transportation assigns a regulation identifier 
number (RIN) to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of 
Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center 
publishes the Unified Agenda in or about April and October of each 
year. You may use the RIN contained in the heading at the beginning of 
this document to find this action in the Unified Agenda.

I. Plain Language

    Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write all rules in 
plain language. Application of the principles of plain language 
includes consideration of the following questions:
     Have we organized the material to suit the public's needs?
     Are the requirements in the rule clearly stated?
     Does the rule contain technical language or jargon that 
isn't clear?
     Would a different format (grouping and order of sections, 
use of headings, paragraphing) make the rule easier to understand?
     Would more (but shorter) sections be better?
     Could we improve clarity by adding tables, lists or 
diagrams?
     What else could we do to make the rule easier to 
understand?
    If you have any responses to these questions, please include them 
in your comments on this proposal.

J. Data Quality Act

    Section 515 of the FY 2001 Treasury and General Government 
Appropriations Act (Public Law 106-554, section 515, codified at 44 
U.S.C. 3516 historical and statutory note), commonly referred to as the 
Data Quality Act, directed OMB to establish government-wide standards 
in the form of guidelines designed to maximize the ``quality,'' 
``objectivity,'' ``utility,'' and ``integrity'' of information that 
Federal agencies disseminate to the public. As noted in the EWR final 
rule (67 FR 45822), NHTSA has reviewed its data collection, generation, 
and dissemination processes in order to ensure that agency information 
meets the standards articulated in the OMB and DOT guidelines. Where 
the proposed rule change is requiring additional reporting by 
manufacturers, the new requirements will serve to improve the quality 
of the data NHTSA receives under the EWR rule, enabling the agency to 
be more efficient and productive in proactively searching for potential 
safety concerns as mandated through the TREAD Act.

K. Executive Order 13609: Promoting International Regulatory 
Cooperation

    The policy statement in section 1 of Executive Order 13609 
provides, in part:

    The regulatory approaches taken by foreign governments may 
differ from those taken by U.S. regulatory agencies to address 
similar issues. In some cases, the differences between the 
regulatory approaches of U.S. agencies and those of their foreign 
counterparts might not be necessary and might impair the ability of 
American businesses to export and compete internationally. In 
meeting shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, 
environmental, and other issues, international regulatory 
cooperation can identify approaches that are at least as protective 
as those that are or would be adopted in the absence of such 
cooperation.

[[Page 55637]]

International regulatory cooperation can also reduce, eliminate, or 
prevent unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements.

    NHTSA requests public comment on whether (a) ``regulatory 
approaches taken by foreign governments'' concerning the subject matter 
of this rulemaking and (b) the above policy statement, have any 
implications for this rulemaking.

VIII. Proposed Regulatory Text

List of Subjects in 49 CFR parts 573, 577, and 579

    Motor vehicle safety, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, 
Tires.

    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA proposes that parts 573, 
577, and 579 be amended as set forth below:

PART 573--DEFECT AND NONCOMPLIANCE RESPONSIBILITY AND REPORTS

    1. Revise the authority citation for part 573 to read as follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30102, 30103, 30116-30121, 30166; 
delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.95 and 49 CFR 501.8.

    2. Amend Sec.  573.4 by adding the definitions of ``Light vehicle'' 
and ``Motorcycle'' in alphabetical order to read as follows:


Sec.  573.4  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Light vehicle means any motor vehicle, except a bus, motorcycle, or 
trailer, with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs or less.
    Motorcycle means a motor vehicle with motive power having a seat or 
saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than 
three wheels in contact with the ground.
* * * * *
    3. Amend Sec.  573.6 by revising paragraphs (b), (c)(2)(iii), 
(c)(3), and (c)(5) to read as follows:


Sec.  573.6  Defect and noncompliance information report.

* * * * *
    (b) Each report shall be submitted not more than 5 working days 
after a defect in a vehicle or item of equipment has been determined to 
be safety related, or a noncompliance with a motor vehicle safety 
standard has been determined to exist. At a minimum, information 
required by paragraphs (1), (2) and (5) of paragraph (c) of this 
section shall be submitted in the initial report. The remainder of the 
information required by paragraph (c) of this section that is not 
available within the five-day period shall be submitted within 5 
working days of when it becomes available. In addition, each 
manufacturer shall amend information required by paragraphs (2), (3), 
(4), (8)(i) or (ii) of paragraph (c) within 5 working days after it has 
new information that updates or corrects information that was 
previously reported. Within 90 days of the date the recall remedy 
becomes available, the manufacturer shall review its defect and 
noncompliance information report and certify its completeness and 
accuracy or supplement or amend it as necessary to comply with this 
section. Each manufacturer submitting new information relative to a 
previously submitted report shall refer to the notification campaign 
number when a number has been assigned by the NHTSA.
* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (iii) In the case of items of motor vehicle equipment, the 
identification shall be by the generic name of the component (tires, 
child seating systems, axles, etc.), part number (for tires, a range of 
tire identification numbers, as required by 49 CFR 574.5), size and 
function if applicable, the inclusive dates (month and year) of 
manufacture if available, brand (or trade) name, model name, model 
number, as applicable, and any other information necessary to describe 
the items.
* * * * *
    (3) The total number of vehicles or items of equipment potentially 
containing the defect or noncompliance, and, where available the number 
of vehicles or items of equipment in each group identified pursuant to 
paragraph (c)(2) of this section.
    (i) If the manufacturer has manufactured for sale, sold, offered 
for sale, introduced or delivered for introduction in interstate 
commerce, or imported into the United States 25,000 or more light 
vehicles or 5,000 or more motorcycles in the current calendar year or 
the calendar year prior, the reporting vehicle manufacturer shall 
provide the vehicle identification number (VIN) of each vehicle 
potentially containing the defect or noncompliance and, as to each VIN 
listed, the recall remedy status of the vehicle associated with that 
VIN identified by one of the following categories: Unremedied; 
inspected and repaired; inspected and determined not to require repair; 
exported; stolen; scrapped; the owner was unable to be notified; other 
(reason remedy could not be performed is specified); recall remedy not 
yet available; or deleted (vehicle removed from recall). For vehicles 
with a recall remedy status of inspected and repaired or inspected and 
determined not to require repair, the manufacturer shall provide the 
date those actions were completed. A manufacturer shall provide this 
information in accordance with the table ``VIN Table for Safety 
Recall,'' provided at Web page http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Manufacturers and follow the instructions there for submitting 
this information and must, once daily at a time designated by the 
agency, for 10 years from the date it first provides its VIN list, 
provide any changes to this information using application programming 
interface via Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).
    (ii) Each manufacturer of vehicles covered by (i) above, on a one-
time basis only and no later than 180 days after [the effective date of 
final rule] (i), shall submit the same information as in (i) for each 
defect or noncompliance notification campaign filed within 24 months 
prior to [the effective date of final rule]. A manufacturer must 
provide this information in the same manner as in (i) above and must, 
once daily at a time designated by the agency, for 10 years from the 
date it first provided notification of the defect or noncompliance 
pursuant to this section, provide any changes to this information using 
application programming interface via Hypertext Transfer Protocol 
(HTTP). Manufacturers that did not manufacture for sale, sell, offer 
for sale, introduce or deliver for introduction in interstate commerce, 
or import into the United States 25,000 or more light vehicles or 5,000 
or more motorcycles in the current calendar year or the calendar year 
prior to [the effective date of the final rule] are not subject to this 
requirement.
    (iii) A manufacturer of motor vehicles not required to submit 
information under (i) above may voluntarily submit the Vehicle 
Identification Number (VIN) of each vehicle potentially containing the 
defect or noncompliance. A manufacturer that voluntarily submits 
information under this paragraph must submit VIN information in 
accordance with (i) and comply with the requirements of (ii) above.
* * * * *
    (5) A description of the defect or noncompliance, including both a 
brief summary and a detailed description, with graphic aids as 
necessary, of the nature and physical location (if applicable) of the 
defect or noncompliance. In addition, the manufacturer shall identify 
and describe the risk to motor vehicle safety reasonably related to the 
defect or noncompliance consistent with its

[[Page 55638]]

evaluation of risk required by 49 CFR 577.5(f).
* * * * *
    4. Revise the first sentence of paragraph (a) of Sec.  573.7 to 
read as follows:


Sec.  573.7  Quarterly reports.

    (a) With the exception of vehicle manufacturers that are required 
to supply information pursuant to Sec.  573.6(c)(3)(i), each 
manufacturer who is conducting a defect or noncompliance notification 
campaign to manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or owners shall 
submit to NHTSA a report in accordance with paragraphs (b), (c), and 
(d) of this section.
* * * * *
    5. Revise Sec.  573.9 to read as follows:


Sec.  573.9  Address for submitting required reports and other 
information.

    All submissions, except as otherwise required by this part, shall 
be submitted through the forms and links provided on the Web page 
http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Manufacturers. Defect and noncompliance 
information reports required by section 573.6 of this part shall be 
submitted using one of the following forms, depending upon the type of 
product that is the subject of the report: ``Defect and/or 
Noncompliance Information Report Form--Vehicles;'' ``Defect and/or 
Noncompliance Information Report Form--Equipment;'' ``Defect and/or 
Noncompliance Information Report Form--Tires;'' ``Defect and/or 
Noncompliance Information Report Form--Child Restraints;'' ``Defect 
and/or Noncompliance Information Report--Vehicle Alterers.'' In 
addition, a printed copy of the information report as filed must be 
submitted by certified mail in accordance with 49 U.S.C. Sec.  30118(c) 
and addressed to the Associate Administrator for Enforcement, National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Attention: Recall Management 
Division (NVS-215), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. 
The information required by paragraphs 573.6(c)(3)(i) and (ii) of this 
part shall be submitted using the form, ``VIN Table for Safety Recall'' 
located at http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Manufacturers. Reports 
required under section 573.7 of this part shall be submitted using the 
form, ``Quarterly Report Form'' also located at this Web page.
* * * * *
    6. Add Sec.  573.15 as follows:


Sec.  573.15  Disclaimers.

    (a) A report submitted to NHTSA pursuant to Sec.  573.6 regarding a 
defect which relates to motor vehicle safety shall not contain any 
statement or implication that there is no defect, or that the defect 
does not relate to motor vehicle safety.
    (b) A report submitted to NHTSA pursuant to Sec.  573.6 regarding a 
noncompliance with an applicable motor vehicle safety standard shall 
not contain any statement or implication that there is not a 
noncompliance.
* * * * *
    7. Add Sec.  573.16 as follows:


Sec.  573.16  Reporting bankruptcy petition.

    Each manufacturer that files a bankruptcy petition, or is the 
subject of an involuntary petition for which relief has been ordered, 
pursuant to Title 11 of the United States Code, 11 U.S.C. 101 et seq., 
shall provide NHTSA a report as specified below.
    (a) The name of the court, the docket number, and the name, address 
and telephone number of the manufacturer's legal representative:
    (b) a copy of the bankruptcy petition;
    (c) a list of the recalls for which the manufacturer filed a 
``Defect and noncompliance information report'' with NHTSA pursuant to 
49 CFR 573.6; and
    (d) the information specified in 49 CFR 573.7(b) for each recall 
listed pursuant to section (c) above.
    Each report pursuant to this section must be received by NHTSA not 
more than 5 working days after the date the petition is filed in the 
United States Bankruptcy Court. Reports shall be addressed to the 
Associate Administrator for Enforcement, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration, Attention: Recall Management Division (NVS-215), 
1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., Washington, DC 20590, or submitted as an 
attachment to an email message to [email protected] in a portable 
document format (pdf.).
* * * * *

PART 577--DEFECT AND NONCOMPLIANCE NOTIFICATION

    1. Revise the authority citation for part 577 to read as follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 30102, 30103, 30116-121, 30166; delegation 
of authority at 49 CFR 1.95 and 49 CFR 501.8.

    2. Amend Sec.  577.5 by revising paragraphs (a) and (b) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  577.5  Notification pursuant to a manufacturer's decision.

    (a) When a manufacturer of motor vehicles or replacement equipment 
determines that any motor vehicle or item of replacement equipment 
produced by the manufacturer contains a defect that relates to motor 
vehicle safety, or fails to conform to an applicable Federal motor 
vehicle safety standard, the manufacturer shall provide notification in 
accordance with paragraph (a) of Sec.  577.7, unless the manufacturer 
is exempted by the Administrator (pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) or 
30120(h)) from giving such notification. The notification shall contain 
the information specified in this section. The information required by 
paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section shall be presented in the form 
and order specified. The information required by paragraphs (d) through 
(h) of this section may be presented in any order. Except as authorized 
by the Administrator, the manufacturer shall submit a copy of its 
proposed owner notification letter, including any provisions or 
attachments related to reimbursement, to NHTSA's Recall Management 
Division (NVS-215) no fewer than five Federal Government business days 
before it intends to begin mailing it to owners. The manufacturer shall 
mark the outside of each envelope in which it sends an owner 
notification letter with a notation that includes the words ``SAFETY,'' 
RECALL,'' and ``NOTICE,'' all in capital letters and in a type that is 
larger than that used in the address section, and is also 
distinguishable from the other type in a manner other than size. It 
shall also imprint on the outside of this envelope a label, one inch by 
three inches in size and located in the bottom left corner of the 
envelope. The label to be used is located at http://www.safercar.gov/Vehicle+Manufacturers/RecallsPortal/SafetyRecallLabel. This label shall 
not be used for any purpose other than compliance with this paragraph 
by any entity outside of the Department of Transportation. Except where 
the format of the envelope has been previously approved by NHTSA's 
Recall Management Division (NVS-215), each manufacturer must submit the 
envelope format it intends to use to that division at least five 
Federal Government business days before mailing the notification to 
owners. Submission of envelopes and proposed owner notification letters 
shall be made by the means identified in 49 CFR 573.9. Notification 
sent to an owner whose address is in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico 
shall be written in both English and Spanish.
    (b) At the top of the notification, the statement ``URGENT SAFETY 
RECALL,'' in all capital letters and in a type size that is larger than 
that used in the remainder of the letter. Then followed beneath by, for 
vehicle recalls,

[[Page 55639]]

the statement ``This notice applies to your vehicle, (manufacturer to 
insert VIN for the particular vehicle).'' Then followed beneath by an 
opening statement: ``This notice is sent to you in accordance with the 
National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act.''
* * * * *
    3. Amend Sec.  577.7 by revising the first sentence of (a)(1) and 
adding a second sentence to read as follows:


Sec.  577.7  Time and manner of notification.

    (a) * * *
    (1) Be furnished no later than 60 days from the date the 
manufacturer files its defect or noncompliance information report in 
accordance with 49 CFR 573.6(a). In the event that the remedy for the 
defect or noncompliance is not available at the time of notification, 
the manufacturer shall issue a second notification in accordance with 
the requirements of this part once that remedy is available. * * *
* * * * *

PART 579--REPORTING OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS ABOUT 
POTENTIAL DEFECTS

    1. Revise the authority citation for part 579 to read as follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30102-103, 30112, 30117-121, 30166-167; 
delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.95 and 49 CFR 501.8.

Subpart A--General

    2. In Sec.  579.4 amend paragraph (c) by revising the definition of 
``Service brake system'' and adding the definitions of ``Backover 
prevention system,'' ``Compressed natural gas (CNG),'' ``Compression 
ignition fuel (CIF),'' ``Electric battery power (EBP),'' ``Electronic 
stability control,'' ``Forward collision avoidance system,'' ``Fuel 
and/or propulsion system type,'' ``Fuel-cell power (FCP),'' ``Hybrid 
electric vehicle (HEV),'' ``Hydrogen based power (HBP),'' ``Lane 
departure prevention system,'' ``Plug-in hybrid (PHV),'' ``Roll 
stability control,'' ``Spark ignition fuel (SIF),'' and ``Visibility'' 
in alphabetical order to read as follows:


Sec.  579.4  Terminology.

* * * * *
    (c) Other terms. * * *
* * * * *
    Backover prevention system means a system that has:
     A visual image of the area directly behind a vehicle that 
is provided in a single location to the vehicle operator and by means 
of indirect vision.
* * * * *
    Compressed natural gas (CNG) means, in the context of reporting 
fuel and/or propulsion system type, a system that uses compressed 
natural gas to propel a motor vehicle.
* * * * *
    Compression ignition fuel (CIF) means, in the context of reporting 
fuel and/or propulsion system type, a system that uses diesel or any 
diesel-based fuels to propel a motor vehicle. This includes biodiesel.
* * * * *
    Electric battery power (EBP) means, in the context of reporting 
fuel and/or propulsion system type, a system that uses only batteries 
to power an electric motor to propel a motor vehicle.
* * * * *
    Electronic stability control system for light vehicles is used as 
defined in S4. of Sec.  571.126 of this chapter.
    For buses, emergency vehicles, and medium/heavy vehicles it means a 
system:
     That augments vehicle directional stability by applying 
and adjusting the vehicle brake torques individually at each wheel 
position on at least one front and at least one rear axle of the 
vehicle to induce correcting yaw moment to limit vehicle oversteer and 
to limit vehicle understeer;
     That enhances rollover stability by applying and adjusting 
the vehicle brake torques individually at each wheel position on at 
least one front and at least one rear axle of the vehicle to reduce 
lateral acceleration of a vehicle;
     That is computer-controlled with the computer using a 
closed-loop algorithm to induce correcting yaw moment and enhance 
rollover stability;
     That has a means to determine the vehicle's lateral 
acceleration;
     That has the means to determine the vehicle's yaw rate and 
to estimate its side slip or side slip derivative with respect to time;
     That has the means to estimate vehicle mass or, if 
applicable, combination vehicle mass;
     That has the means to monitor driver steering input;
     That has a means to modify engine torque, as necessary, to 
assist the driver in maintaining control of the vehicle and/or 
combination vehicle; and
     That, when installed on a truck tractor, has the means to 
provide brake pressure to automatically apply and modulate the brake 
torques of a towed semi-trailer.
* * * * *
    Forward collision avoidance system means a system:
     That has an algorithm or software to determine distance 
and relative speed of an object or another vehicle directly in the 
forward lane of travel; and
     That provides an audible, visible, and/or haptic warning 
to the driver of a potential collision with an object in the vehicle's 
forward travel lane.
    The system may also include a feature:
     That pre-charges the brakes prior to, or immediately 
after, a warning is issued to the driver;
     That closes all windows, retracts the seat belts, and/or 
moves forward any memory seats in order to protect the vehicle's 
occupants during or immediately after a warning is issued; or
     That applies any type of braking assist or input during or 
immediately after a warning is issued.
* * * * *
    Fuel and/or propulsion system type means the variety of fuel and/or 
propulsion systems used in a motor vehicle, as follows: compressed 
natural gas (CNG); compression ignition fuel (CIF); electric battery 
power (EBP); fuel-cell power (FCP); hybrid electric vehicle (HEV); 
hydrogen based power (HBP); plug-in hybrid (PHV); spark ignition fuel 
(SIF); and other (OTH).
* * * * *
    Fuel-cell power (FCP) means, in the context of reporting fuel and/
or propulsion system type, a system that uses fuel cells to generate 
electricity to power an electric motor to propel a motor vehicle.
* * * * *
    Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) means, in the context of reporting 
fuel and/or propulsion system type, a system that uses a combination of 
an electric motor and internal combustion engine to propel a motor 
vehicle.
* * * * *
    Hydrogen based power (HBP) means, in the context of reporting fuel 
and/or propulsion system type, a system that uses hydrogen to propel a 
vehicle through means other than a fuel cell.
* * * * *
    Lane departure prevention system means a system:
     That has an algorithm or software to determine the 
vehicle's position relative to the lane markers and the vehicle's 
projected direction; and
     That provides an audible, visible, and/or haptic warning 
to the driver of unintended departure from a travel lane.
    The system may also include a feature:
     That applies the vehicle's stability control system to 
assist the driver to maintain lane position during or immediately after 
the warning is issued;

[[Page 55640]]

     That applies any type of steering input to assist the 
driver to maintain lane position during or immediately after the 
warning is issued; or
     That applies any type of braking pressure or input to 
assist the driver to maintain lane position during or immediately after 
the warning is issued.
* * * * *
    Plug-in hybrid (PHV) means, in the context of reporting fuel and/or 
propulsion system type, a system that combines an electric motor and an 
internal combustion engine to propel a motor vehicle and is capable of 
recharging its batteries by plugging in to an external electric 
current.
* * * * *
    Roll stability control system means a system:
     That enhances rollover stability by applying and adjusting 
the vehicle brake torques to reduce lateral acceleration of a vehicle;
     That is computer-controlled with the computer using a 
closed-loop algorithm to enhance rollover stability;
     That has a means to determine the vehicle's lateral 
acceleration;
     That has the means to determine the vehicle mass or, if 
applicable, combination vehicle mass;
     That has a means to modify engine torque, as necessary, to 
assist the driver in maintaining rollover stability of the vehicle and/
or combination vehicle; and
     That, when installed on a truck tractor, has the means to 
provide brake pressure to automatically apply and modulate the brake 
torques of a towed semi-trailer.
* * * * *
    Service brake system means all components of the service braking 
system of a motor vehicle intended for the transfer of braking 
application force from the operator to the wheels of a vehicle, 
including the foundation braking system, such as the brake pedal, 
master cylinder, fluid lines and hoses, braking assist components, 
brake calipers, wheel cylinders, brake discs, brake drums, brake pads, 
brake shoes, and other related equipment installed in a motor vehicle 
in order to comply with FMVSS Nos. 105, 121, 122, or 135 (except 
equipment relating specifically to a parking brake). This term also 
includes systems and devices for automatic control of the brake system 
such as antilock braking, traction control, and enhanced braking, but 
does not include systems or devices necessary for electronic stability 
control, forward collision avoidance, lane departure prevention, or 
backover prevention. The term includes all associated switches, control 
units, connective elements (such as wiring harnesses, hoses, piping, 
etc.), and mounting elements (such as brackets, fasteners, etc.).
* * * * *
    Spark ignition fuel (SIF) means, in the context of reporting fuel 
and/or propulsion system type, a system that uses gasoline, ethanol, or 
methanol based fuels to propel a motor vehicle.
* * * * *
    Visibility means the systems and components of a motor vehicle 
through which a driver views the surroundings of the vehicle including 
windshield, side windows, back window, and rear view mirrors, and 
systems and components used to wash and wipe windshields and back 
windows. This term includes those vehicular systems and components that 
can affect the ability of the driver to clearly see the roadway and 
surrounding area, such as the systems and components identified in 
FMVSS Nos. 103, 104, and 111. This term also includes the defogger, 
defroster system, the heater core, blower fan, windshield wiper 
systems, mirrors, windows and glazing material, heads-up display (HUD) 
systems, and exterior view-based television systems for medium-heavy 
vehicles, but does not include exterior view-based television systems 
for light vehicles which are defined under ``Backover prevention 
system'' and exterior lighting systems which are defined under 
``Lighting.'' This term includes all associated switches, control 
units, connective elements (such as wiring harnesses, hoses, piping, 
etc.), and mounting elements (such as brackets, fasteners, etc.).
* * * * *
    3. Amend Sec.  579.6 by:
    a. Redesignating paragraph (b) as paragraph (b)(1); and
    b. Add paragraph (b)(2) to read as follows
* * * * *
    (b)(1) Information, documents and reports that are submitted to 
NHTSA's early warning data repository must be submitted in accordance 
with Sec.  579.29 of this part. Submissions must be made by a means 
that permits the sender to verify that the report was in fact received 
by NHTSA and the day it was received by NHTSA.
    (2) The annual list of substantially similar vehicles submitted 
pursuant to Sec.  579.11(e) of this part shall be submitted to NHTSA's 
early warning data repository identified on NHTSA's Web page http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ewr/ewr.cfm. A manufacturer shall use the 
template provided at the early warning Web site, also identified on 
NHTSA's Web page http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ewr/xls.cfm, for 
submitting the list.
* * * * *

Subpart C--Reporting of Early Warning Information

    4. Amend Sec.  579.21 by:
    a. Revising the first sentence of paragraph (a);
    b. Revising the first sentence of paragraph (b)(2);
    c. Revising the first sentence of paragraph (c); and
    d. Adding a fifth sentence to paragraph (c) to read as follows:


Sec.  579.21  Reporting requirements for manufacturers of 5,000 or more 
light vehicles annually.

* * * * *
    (a) Production information. Information that states the 
manufacturer's name, the quarterly reporting period, the make, the 
model, the model year, the type, the platform, the fuel/propulsion 
system type coded as follows: CNG (compressed natural gas), CIF 
(compression ignition fuel), EBP (electric battery power), FCP (fuel-
cell power), HEV (hybrid electric vehicle), HBP (hydrogen based power), 
PHV (plug-in hybrid), SIF (spark ignition fuel) and OTH (Other), and 
production. * * *
* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (2) For each incident described in paragraph (b)(1) of this 
section, the manufacturer shall separately report the make, model, 
model year, the type, the fuel/propulsion system type (as specified in 
paragraph (a)), and VIN of the vehicle, the incident date, the number 
of deaths, the number of injuries for incidents occurring in the United 
States, the State or foreign country where the incident occurred, each 
system or component of the vehicle that allegedly contributed to the 
incident, and whether the incident involved a fire or rollover, coded 
as follows: 01 steering system, 02 suspension system, 03 service brake 
system, 05 parking brake, 06 engine and engine cooling system, 07 fuel 
system, 10 power train, 11 electrical system, 12 exterior lighting, 13 
visibility, 14 air bags, 15 seat belts, 16 structure, 17 latch, 18 
vehicle speed control, 19 tires, 20 wheels, 22 seats, 23 fire, 24 
rollover, 25 electronic stability control system, 26 forward collision 
avoidance system, 27 lane departure prevention system, 28 backover 
prevention system, 98 where a system or component not covered by 
categories 01 through 22 or 25 through 28, is specified in the claim or 
notice,

[[Page 55641]]

and 99 where no system or component of the vehicle is specified in the 
claim or notice. * * *
    (c) Numbers of property damage claims, consumer complaints, 
warranty claims, and field reports. Separate reports on the numbers of 
those property damage claims, consumer complaints, warranty claims, and 
field reports which involve the systems and components that are 
specified in codes 01 through 22, or 25 through 28 in paragraph (b)(2) 
of this section, or a fire (code 23), or rollover (code 24). * * * For 
each report, the manufacturer shall separately state the vehicle type 
and fuel/propulsion type if the manufacturer stated more than one 
vehicle type or fuel/propulsion type for a particular make, model, 
model year in paragraph (a) of this section.
* * * * *
    5. Amend Sec.  579.22 by:
    a. Revising the first sentence of paragraph (b)(2);
    b. Revising the first sentence of paragraph (c); and
    c. Revising the first sentence of paragraph (d) as follows:


Sec.  579.22  Reporting requirements for manufacturers of 100 or more 
buses, manufacturers of 500 or more emergency vehicles and 
manufacturers of 5,000 or more medium-heavy vehicles (other than buses 
and emergency vehicles) annually.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
* * * * *
    (2) For each incident described in paragraph (b)(1) of this 
section, the manufacturer shall separately report the make, model, 
model year, and VIN of the bus, emergency vehicle or medium-heavy 
vehicle, the incident date, the number of deaths, the number of 
injuries for incidents occurring in the United States, the State or 
foreign country where the incident occurred, each system or component 
of the vehicle that allegedly contributed to the incident, and whether 
the incident involved a fire or rollover, coded as follows: 01 Steering 
system, 02 suspension system, 03 service brake system, hydraulic, 04 
service brake system, air, 05 parking brake, 06 engine and engine 
cooling system, 07 fuel system, gasoline, 08 fuel system, diesel, 09 
fuel system, other, 10 power train, 11 electrical, 12 exterior 
lighting, 13 visibility, 14 air bags, 15 seat belts, 16 structure, 17 
latch, 18 vehicle speed control, 19 tires, 20 wheels, 21 trailer hitch, 
22 seats, 23 fire, 24 rollover, 25 electronic stability control system/
roll stability control system, 98 where a system or component not 
covered by categories 01 through 22 or 25 is specified in the claim or 
notice, and 99 where no system or component of the vehicle is specified 
in the claim or notice. * * *
    (c) Numbers of property damage claims, consumer complaints, 
warranty claims, and field reports. Separate reports on the numbers of 
those property damage claims, consumer complaints, warranty claims, and 
field reports which involve the systems and components that are 
specified in codes 01 through 22, or 25 in paragraph (b)(2) of this 
section, or a fire (code 23), or rollover (code 24). * * *
    (d) Copies of field reports. For all buses, emergency vehicles and 
medium-heavy vehicles manufactured during a model year covered by the 
reporting period and the nine model years prior to the earliest model 
year in the reporting period, a copy of each field report (other than a 
dealer report or a product evaluation report) involving one or more of 
the systems or components identified in paragraph (b)(2) of this 
section, or fire, or rollover, containing any assessment of an alleged 
failure, malfunction, lack of durability, or other performance problem 
of a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment (including any 
part thereof) that is originated by an employee or representative of 
the manufacturer and that the manufacturer received during a reporting 
period.
* * * * *
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

[[Page 55642]]

Appendix A
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP10SE12.006


[[Page 55643]]



Appendix B
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP10SE12.007

Appendix C

                                      Form C1--Example VIN Table Submission
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Recall
                VIN                    Recall    Date added    disposition    Remedy date        Comment 30
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1JN4B76Y2XB645813..................     09V165     03/07/09               R      07/23/09
1JN4B76Y2XB645814..................     09V165     03/07/09               I      03/07/11
1JN4B76Y2XB645815..................     09V165     03/07/09               U   ...........
1JN4B76Y2XB645816..................     09V165     03/07/09               Z   ...........
1JN4B76Y2XB645817..................     09V165     03/07/09               U   ...........
1JN4B76Y2XB645818..................     09V165     03/07/09               U   ...........
1JN4B76Y2XB645819..................     09V165     03/07/09               Z   ...........
1JN4B76Y2XB645820..................     09V165     03/07/09               R      11/04/10
1JN4B77Y2XB645816..................     09V165     03/07/09               R      07/05/09
1JN4B76Y2XB445814..................     09V165     03/07/09               U   ...........
1JN4B76Y2XB645821..................     09V165     03/07/09               R      03/07/11
1JN4B76Y2XB645822..................     09V165     03/07/09               X   ...........
1JN4B77Y2XB645817..................     09V165     03/07/09               Z   ...........
1JN4B76Y2XB445815..................     09V165     03/07/09               I      08/09/11
1JN4B76Y2XB645823..................     09V165     03/07/09               Z   ...........
1JN4B76Y2XB645824..................     09V165     03/07/09               R      11/02/11
1JN4B77Y2XB645818..................     09V165     03/07/09               U   ...........
1JN4B76Y2XB645874..................     09V165     03/07/09               D   ...........  NOT RECALLED.
1JN4B76Y2XB645864..................     09V165     03/07/09               D   ...........  NOT RECALLED.
1JN4B76Y2XB445816..................     09V165     03/07/09               U   ...........
1JN4B76Y2XB645825..................     09V165     03/07/09               U   ...........
1JN4B76Y2XB645758..................     09V165     04/11/09               U   ...........  LATE ADDITION.
1JN4B76Y2XB645826..................     09V165     03/07/09               Z   ...........
1JN4B77Y2XB645819..................     09V165     03/07/09               I      04/08/09  .....................
1JN4B76Y2XB445817..................     09V165     03/07/09               I      11/02/11
1JN4B76Y2XB645827..................     09V165     03/07/09               R      03/07/11
1JN4B76Y2XB645813..................     09V165     03/07/09               R      01/23/10
1JN4B76Y2XB645814..................     09V165     03/07/09               S   ...........
1JN4B76Y2XB635815..................     09V165     03/07/09               X   ...........
1JN4B76Y2XB945816..................     09V165     03/07/09               S   ...........
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


                         Recall Disposition Key
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
     X   Recall Remedy Not Yet Available.
     R   Inspected and Repaired.
     U   Unremedied.
     I   Inspected and Determined Not to Require Repair.
     Z   The Owner was Unable to be Notified.
     E   Exported.
     T   Stolen.
     S   Scrapped.
     D   Deleted.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 55644]]

Appendix D
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP10SE12.008

Appendix E

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Vehicle manufacturers to submit daily VIN updates
------------------------------------------------------------------------
     1   American Suzuki Motor Corp.
     2   BMW Of North America, LLC.
     3   Bombardier Recreational Products Inc.
     4   Chrysler Group LLC.
     5   Ducati North America.
     6   Ford Motor Company.
     7   General Motors LLC.
     8   Genuine Scooters, LLC.
     9   Harley-Davidson Motor Company.
    10   Honda (American Honda Motor Co.)
    11   Hyundai Motor Company.
    12   Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.
    13   Kia Motors Corporation.
    14   Land Rover.
    15   Leggett & Pratt, Incorporated- Masterack.
    16   Mazda Motor Corp.
    17   Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC.
    18   Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.
    19   Nissan North America, Inc.
    20   Piaggio USA, Inc.
    21   Polaris Industries, Inc.
    22   Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
    23   STR Motorsports Inc. DBA Kymco USA.
    24   Subaru Of America, Inc.
    25   Toyota Motor Corporation.
    26   Triumph Motorcycles America LTD.
    27   Volkswagen Of America, Inc.
    28   Volvo Cars Of N.A. LLC.
    29   Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Issued on: August 27, 2012.
Daniel C. Smith,
Senior Associate Administrator, Vehicle Safety.
[FR Doc. 2012-21574 Filed 9-7-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P