[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 170 (Thursday, September 1, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 60332-60337]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-20926]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 577

[Docket No. NHTSA-2016-0001]
RIN 2127-AL66


Update Means of Providing Recall Notification

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: NHTSA proposes to amend the means of recall notification to 
owners and purchasers required under the Safety Act to be in an 
electronic manner, in addition to first class mail, in accordance with 
Section 30130 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act 
(MAP-21) and Section 24104 of the Fixing America's Surface 
Transportation Act (FAST Act). Through this proposed rule, NHTSA also 
seeks to improve the efficacy of recalls by requiring manufacturers to 
send additional notifications of defects or noncompliance with 
applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) if a second 
notification by the manufacturer does not result in an adequate number 
of motor vehicles or replacement equipment being returned for remedy.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before October 31, 2016. In 
compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, NHTSA is also seeking 
comment on amendments to an information collection. See the Paperwork 
Reduction Act section under Rulemaking Analyses and Notices below. 
Please submit all comments relating to the information collection 
requirements to NHTSA and to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) 
at the address listed in the ADDRESSES section on or before October 31, 
2016. Comments to OMB are most useful if submitted within 30 days of 
publication.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     Internet: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and 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: U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Room W12-
140, Washington, DC 20590 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time, 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Facsimile: (202) 493-2251.
    Regardless of how you submit your comments, please include the 
docket number of this document.
    You may also call the Docket at (202) 366-9322.
    Note that all comments received will be posted without change to 
http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided. Please see the Privacy Act discussion below.
    Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all 
comments 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 19476 at 19477-
78).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For substantive issues: Jennifer 
Timian, Office of Defects Investigation, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration, at (202) 366-4000. For legal issues: Justine 
Casselle, Office of the Chief Counsel, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, at (202) 366-2992.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
I. Executive Summary
II. Notification Requirements Before and After MAP-21 and FAST Act
III. NHTSA's Proposed Amendment To Require Notification to Owners 
and Purchasers by Electronic Means in

[[Page 60333]]

Addition to Notification by First Class Mail
    A. Public Response to NHTSA's ANPRM
    B. Suggested Approaches for Electronic Notification
    C. Limitations to Electronic Notification Approaches
    D. Privacy Considerations and Impacts of Any Existing Laws
IV. Proposed Changes to Notification Requirements
V. Proposed Changes to Follow-Up Requirements
VI. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices
    A. Adjusted Estimates for Current Information Collections
    B. Estimates for New Information Collections

I. Executive Summary

    In the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), 
Congress enacted a provision authorizing NHTSA to amend the means by 
which a manufacturer of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment 
provides notification to owners, purchasers, and dealers that a vehicle 
or equipment contains a defect related to motor vehicle safety or does 
not comply with an applicable federal motor vehicle safety standard 
(FMVSS). Public Law 112-141, 31310, 126 Stat. 758 (2012). More 
recently, Section 24104 of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation 
Act (FAST Act) expressly provided that NHTSA amend 49 CFR part 577 to 
require notification to owners and purchasers by electronic means in 
addition to notification by first class mail. Public Law 114-94, 24104 
(2015). MAP-21 further authorized NHTSA to improve recall effectiveness 
by requiring manufacturers to send additional notifications of defects 
or noncompliance if a second notification by the manufacturer does not 
result in an adequate number of motor vehicles or equipment being 
returned for remedy. Public Law 112-141, 31310, 126 Stat. 758 (2012). 
NHTSA issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) 
soliciting comments and supporting information about what NHTSA might 
require as to electronic notification. See 81 FR 4007 (January 25, 
2016). We asked questions to facilitate comments from stakeholders on 
what means of notification, based on their experience, have been most 
effective in providing information to customers and motivating 
customers to have safety recall remedies performed. As part of 
implementing the MAP-21 and FAST Act notification provisions, and after 
consideration of comments received in response to the ANPRM, we now 
propose to amend Part 577 to require electronic notification means in 
addition to first class mail notification to owners and purchasers. 
This proposed update is not intended to change the scope of the 
existing rule, other than as specifically described in this notice, but 
is intended to aid in efficiently and effectively improving safety 
recall completion rates.

II. Notification Requirements Before and After MAP-21 and FAST Act

    49 U.S.C. 30118(c) requires that, in the event of a defect or 
noncompliance with an applicable FMVSS in a motor vehicle or 
replacement equipment, manufacturers notify owners, purchasers, and 
dealers of the vehicle or equipment pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30119. The 
manner by which this required notice is given to owners, purchasers, 
and dealers of vehicles or equipment is governed by 49 U.S.C. 30119(d). 
Prior to MAP-21, for vehicle recalls, section 30119(d) required notice 
to be sent by first class mail to the registered owner or, if the 
registered owner could not be identified, to the most recent purchaser 
known to the manufacturer. 49 U.S.C. 30119(d)(1)(A)-(B). For recalls of 
replacement equipment, the statute required notification by first class 
mail to the most recent purchaser. Id. Manufacturers were also required 
to notify dealers under the statute ``by certified mail or quicker 
means if available.'' 49 U.S.C. 30119(d)(4).
    Section 31310 of MAP-21 amended the notice provisions in 49 U.S.C. 
30119(d) to allow the Secretary of Transportation, and by delegation 
NHTSA's Administrator, the flexibility to determine the manner by which 
notifications about safety recalls under 49 U.S.C. 30118 must be sent. 
The amended statutory language authorized the Agency to engage in a 
rulemaking to permit notification to owners and purchasers of safety 
recalls by means other than first class mail. In December 2015, 
Congress enacted the FAST Act expounding on this authority by expressly 
requiring the Agency to amend 49 CFR 577.7 to include notification to 
owners and purchasers by electronic means in addition to notification 
by first class mail.\1\
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    \1\ Notification to dealers and distributors is generally 
required to be sent ``by certified mail, verifiable or electronic 
means such as receipts or logs from electronic mail or satellite 
distribution system, or other more expeditious and verifiable 
means.'' 49 CFR 577.7(c)(2). Dealers and distributors are not 
notified by first class mail. Therefore, the FAST Act did not 
require the Agency to change the means of notification for dealers 
and distributors, and we are not proposing to do so.
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    Section 31310 of MAP-21 aimed to improve the efficacy of recalls 
not just through updating the means of notification, but also through 
allowing the Secretary to order additional notifications when 
necessary. Previously, 49 U.S.C. 30119(e) authorized the Secretary to 
order a second notification if the Secretary determined that the first 
notification failed to result in an adequate number of motor vehicles 
or items of equipment being returned for remedy. The statute was 
silent, however, as to whether additional notifications beyond a second 
notification could be required. Section 31310 resolved this question by 
amending 49 U.S.C. 30119(e), which now, under 49 U.S.C. 
30119(e)(2)(A)(i), authorizes the Secretary to order additional 
notifications if the Secretary determines that a second notification 
also failed to result in an adequate number of motor vehicles or items 
of equipment being returned for remedy.

III. NHTSA's Proposed Amendment To Require Notification to Owners and 
Purchasers by Electronic Means in Addition to Notification by First 
Class Mail

    In the ANPRM, NHTSA invited comments and supporting information on 
how the Agency can best leverage the new flexibilities given under MAP-
21 and the FAST Act to update the required means manufacturers use, 
whether as a first notification or as a follow-up notification, to 
successfully notify their customers and urge them toward seeking the 
free remedies offered. The ANRPM posed several questions about the 
variety of means and methods manufacturers use to communicate with 
their customers. Additionally, the ANPRM posed several questions about 
general owner knowledge and behavior, and asked commenters to present 
any data on owner behavior in the recall context, including whether 
owners were responsive to incentives and to the currently prescribed 
content and layout of the notifications.

A. Public Response to NHTSA's ANPRM

    We received 16 comments in response to the ANPRM regarding our 
proposed update of Part 577. Comments were submitted by Advocates for 
Highway Safety; Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Alliance); 
American Automotive Leasing Association; IHS Automotive (IHS); FCA US 
LLC (FCA); General Motors LLC (GM); Global Automakers (Global); NAFA 
Fleet Management Association (NAFA); National Automobile Dealers 
Association (NADA); National Independent Automobile Dealers Association 
(NIADA); Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA); Pandora Media, Inc. 
(Pandora); Tire Industry Association (TIA); Truck and Engine 
Manufacturers Association

[[Page 60334]]

(EMA); New Jersey Gasoline, C-Store, and Automotive Association 
(NJGCA); and Tesla Motors (Tesla).
    Many of the comments addressed general owner knowledge and behavior 
and proposed potential changes to the specific information provided to 
owners and the layout of the notifications. Many also proposed that 
NHTSA should conduct studies on these matters. Although the comments 
were insightful, NHTSA is not proposing additional or changed 
requirements as to the specific content and layout of notifications at 
this time. This NPRM is limited to updating the means of notification 
by requiring electronic notification.

B. Suggested Approaches for Electronic Notification

    Most commenters generally supported the use of electronic means and 
provided suggestions on which types would be best suited for recall 
notifications. Advocates for Highway Safety stated its belief that 
email and text message notification should be required, as both methods 
allow for delivery receipt. It also suggested that newspaper, radio, 
television, internet, and social media be required methods of 
notification. Finally, it suggested that manufacturers use direct-to-
vehicle communications to notify owners.
    IHS suggested that social media, digital radio broadcasts, and 
connected car applications are ``future looking applications of 
reaching audiences who may not respond to direct mail or even email 
notices.'' IHS further commented that some manufacturers use a method 
called Voice Broadcast which is a ``notice in advance of the mailing or 
other communication to alert the consumer to the forthcoming first 
class mail communication.''
    The Alliance recommended that the Agency permit a multi-tiered 
approach that allows manufacturers to use a variety of electronic 
communication methods. The Alliance noted that manufacturers already 
use multiple electronic communication methods such as ``robo-calls, 
agent-assisted calls, Facebook notifications, and other means,'' 
especially when recall completion rates are low.
    Similar to the Alliance's comments, GM suggested that any changes 
to Part 577 be flexible, allowing for new technologies as they arise, 
and further commented that the demographics of the vehicle and the 
particular recall issue must be better understood as they each play a 
key role in recall completion rates. GM noted that it has used robo-
calls, live calls, in-vehicle calls, and social media to reach out to 
its owners. The company found social media effective for the purpose of 
raising awareness, but could not tie it to significant gains in recall 
completion.
    Tesla provided a contextual example of successful electronic 
notifications used in a recent recall. As Tesla has every Tesla 
customer's email address, email notifications were sent to every 
customer two weeks before the physical mailings were ready to be 
mailed. Thirty percent of Tesla customers had their vehicle remedied by 
the time the physical mailings were sent via first class mail. Tesla 
agrees that electronic notification is instantaneous but, though very 
effective, should be supplemental to the current first class mail 
standard.
    NAFA agreed that electronic notification should be added to the 
existing first class mail notification.
    NIADA suggested that NHTSA move away from a ``one-sized fits all 
approach,'' and allow notification means such as email, text messaging, 
internet, OnStar, Blue Link, and other technologies. NIADA commented 
broadly that it supports strategies that expand how owners are reminded 
of recalls.
    Pandora noted that it worked with GM in the past to notify targeted 
owners with audio notifications about open recalls. Pandora further 
shared that its notifications are interactive and can connect a user 
directly to scheduling or to a manufacturer's Web site.
    EMA shared that many fleets and dealers already use a variety of 
electronic means to connect with owners, such as email, telephone, text 
messages, direct service database flags, and more.
    TIA and NJGCA provided no data as to the effectiveness of first 
class mail notifications, but opined that ``change-of-address'' impacts 
notifications. TIA further commented that tire manufacturers ``could 
use the Internet and social media to notify owners about safety recalls 
. . .'' but tire manufacturers currently only provide first class mail 
notifications and sometimes a press release.

C. Limitations to Electronic Notification Approaches

    Not all commenters supported the use of electronic means during the 
recall notification process and some commenters highlighted some 
concerns or limitations with various methods of electronic 
communications.
    Survey results provided by the Alliance and Global included 
information about the success of various means of notification. Per the 
results, neither was able to correlate recall completion rates with a 
specific outreach method. The Alliance and Global noted that there is 
no ability to connect social media outreach to particular VINs and no 
guarantee that owners will not treat emails from manufacturers as SPAM 
or JUNK, even with a valid delivery receipt.
    GM also recognized some concerns such as the difficulty of 
obtaining owner email addresses without paying a third-party and social 
media privacy policies. GM did not recommend that email notification 
replace first class mail notification, and noted that delivery rates 
through first class mail can be as high as 96%.
    The American Automotive Leasing Association stated its position 
that a change to Part 577 should not burden lessors with requirements 
to send any additional notifications, email or otherwise, to vehicle 
lessees.
    EMA commented that existing first class mail notification is very 
effective for commercial vehicle recalls because the owner records are 
typically better kept amongst the commercial vehicle market. 
Additionally, EMA does not believe social media notifications will be 
useful for the commercial vehicle market.

D. Privacy Considerations and Impacts of Any Existing Laws

    Three (3) commenters, the Alliance, GM, and TIA, commented on 
specific privacy concerns or existing state and Federal laws that might 
be impacted by the use of electronic recall communications.
    GM noted that the expertise to market via electronic communications 
is often housed in the manufacturer's marketing department. While a 
specific legal restriction was not cited, GM did suggest that owner 
data from state registrations would need housing in a ``safe haven'' 
where the manufacturer could only use that data within legal 
constraints. GM further mentioned that some social media privacy 
policies restrict the amount of feedback the vehicle manufacturer can 
obtain and some publishers do not offer any feedback at all. As such, 
it would be difficult to measure the effectiveness of some social media 
recall notifications.
    The Alliance commented that some forms of social media, like 
Twitter, restrict the amount of content shared to users. For example, a 
recall communication containing a summary of the recall, safety risk, 
available remedy, and contact information would be difficult to 
transmit given Twitter's 140 character limit restriction. Also, the 
Alliance recommended an additional study needed to ensure new means of 
notification do not conflict with the Controlling the Assault of Non-
Solicited

[[Page 60335]]

Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM Act), the Telephone Consumer 
Protection Act (TCPA), and the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act as 
amended.
    TIA cautioned the Agency in requiring additional personal 
information to be provided back to the tire manufacturers in order to 
facilitate electronic recall notifications. TIA noted that 49 CFR part 
574 prohibits manufacturers from using registration information for 
marketing purposes; however, TIA claims tire manufacturers have 
circumvented this prohibition and TIA worries any additional data that 
tire retailers must collect (such as customer email addresses) may 
create a competitive disadvantage to independent tire retailers.

IV. Proposed Changes to Notification Requirements

    After considering the relevant comments provided, we propose to 
amend 49 CFR 577.7 to require notification by electronic means in 
addition to first class mail every time a recall notification is 
required. The proposal gives the recalling manufacturer the flexibility 
to define and determine the electronic means they feel are most 
effective to employ in an effort to optimize the recalls completion for 
a particular recall campaign. As many of the commenters noted, there 
are a wide variety of electronic means currently available for use by 
manufacturers and some have chosen to use as a supplementary means of 
notification with varying degrees of success. A flexible approach 
values the knowledge and experience of the recalling manufacturers 
concerning what means are most likely to reach and resonate with their 
owners and motivate them toward taking steps to have their products 
remedied.
    Accordingly, we propose defining ``electronic means'' to include 
``electronic mail, text messages, radio or television notifications, 
vehicle infotainment console messages, over-the-air alerts, social 
media or targeted online campaigns, phone calls, including automated 
phone calls, or other real time means.'' As with any recall 
communication, the Agency retains the discretion to require other means 
and additional notifications if the manufacturer's chosen means is 
impractical, does not feasibly reach all of the purchasers or owners 
impacted, or the Agency otherwise deems inappropriate. At this time we 
decline to set any additional and mandatory notification means beyond 
the electronic means identified here.
    The Agency recognizes that the proposed definition of ``electronic 
means'' is broad and that certain proposed means of electronic 
notification may be difficult to achieve in practice given the current 
content requirements of 49 CFR part 577. We propose a broad definition 
of ``electronic means'' now in anticipation that we may amend the 
content requirements of 49 CFR part 577 in the future. However, at this 
time, we propose to require that any electronic notification issued 
under this paragraph comply with the content requirements of 49 CFR 
part 577, or provide a hyperlink to a notice that complies with the 
content requirements of 49 CFR part 577, or a representative copy of 
such a notice along with instructions on how a vehicle owner can 
determine whether his or her vehicle is impacted.
    Vehicle safety recalls require inclusion of the owner's VIN in the 
part 577 notification letter. We recognize that is not always feasible 
through social media or other electronic means where a notice may be 
viewed by more than one individual. In that case, a representative copy 
of a notice may be used, so long as additional information is given as 
to how an owner could readily determine whether his or her vehicle or 
equipment is impacted by the recall. For those manufacturers that are 
currently required to support NHTSA's VIN search tool and offer VIN-
based safety recall search tools on their Web sites pursuant to 
existing regulation, the communication must also direct viewers to 
NHTSA's VIN search tool \1\ and the manufacturer's search tool.
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    \1\ NHTSA's VIN search tool is available at https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/.
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    It must be noted that this proposed rule does not alter a 
manufacturer's requirements under 49 CFR part 573, nor is an amendment 
to 49 CFR part 573 required at this time. Manufacturers must continue 
to comply with 49 CFR 573.6 by filing representative copies of ``all 
notices, bulletins, and other communications that relate directly to 
the defect or noncompliance and are sent to more than one manufacturer, 
distributor, dealer or purchaser.'' Electronic notifications are 
notices, bulletins, or other communications under 49 CFR 573.6. 
Currently, manufacturers provide representative copies to NHTSA via the 
online Recalls Portal. Upon the publishing of the Final Rule, 
manufacturers will continue to do so, as the online Recalls Portal will 
be updated to allow for manufacturers to select their choice among one 
of the allowable electronic means. Representative copies are required 
even if a manufacturer chooses to issue Part 577-compliant notices via 
electronic means such as radio or television notifications, vehicle 
infotainment console messages, over-the-air alerts, telephone calls, or 
other allowable means. In practice, manufacturers can submit to the 
online Recalls Portal copies of electronic messages (emails), 
screenshots of messages or alerts, and scripts of calls or ads, for 
example.
    We also note that 49 CFR 577.7(c)(2) concerning notifications to 
dealers and distributers already contains language providing for 
notification ``by certified mail, verifiable electronic means such as 
receipts or logs from electronic mail or satellite distribution system, 
or other more expeditious and verifiable means. . . .'' At this time, 
the Agency does not believe a change to the required means of 
notification to dealers and distributers is warranted.
    In response to concerns expressed about whether the proposed 
electronic notification requirement will conflict with existing federal 
laws aimed at protecting consumers and businesses from unwanted 
electronic messages, the Agency's position is that it will not. Recall 
notifications are safety-related informational messages. The proposed 
changes in this rulemaking are not intended to exempt from federal 
laws, including but not limited to the CAN-SPAM Act, the TCPA, and the 
Do-Not-Call Implementation Act, conduct that is unlawful under those 
laws.
    We request comments on this proposal and any alternative approaches 
that allow for numerous electronic notification means, but at the same 
time ensure that the notification communicates the long-standing and 
essential components of traditional Part 577 first class mailings. That 
is, that the manufacturer had decided there is a safety defect or 
failure to meet minimum safety standards; that the safety defect or 
failure to comply increases the risk of a motor vehicle crash, injury 
and/or fire; a safety recall is being conducted; and a remedy will be 
provided at no cost. More specifically, we request comment on our 
proposed approach to permit discretion in the means chosen to meet the 
requirement of electronic notification. In addition to our request for 
comments on our proposed definition of ``electronic means,'' we request 
comment on whether the terms ``social media or targeted online 
campaigns'' need further definition, given that such proposed 
electronic notification means are fundamentally different from other 
means targeted at individual owners. Finally, we request comment on our 
proposal to require inclusion of directions to NHTSA's VIN search tool 
and the manufacturer's search tool, for

[[Page 60336]]

social media campaigns, for example, which we believe will allow owners 
to readily ascertain the application of the safety recall to vehicles 
and equipment they own.

V. Proposed Changes to Follow-Up Requirements

    As mentioned above, MAP-21 authorized NHTSA to require 
manufacturers to send additional notifications of defects or 
noncompliance if a second notification by the manufacturer does not 
result in an adequate number of motor vehicles or equipment being 
returned for remedy. Public Law 112-141, Sec.  31310, 126 Stat. 758 
(2012). Although 49 CFR 577.10 currently provides that the 
Administrator ``may authorize the use of other media besides first-
class mail for a follow-up notification,'' we propose a minor revision 
to this section for clarity and consistency purposes. Still subject to 
the Administrator's approval, we propose clarifying that a follow-up 
notification shall be sent by first class mail and by electronic means 
in the same manners we propose be included in 49 CFR 577.7 above. We 
request comment on this proposed clarification.

VI. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563, and DOT Regulatory Policies and 
Procedures

    This rulemaking document was not reviewed under Executive Order 
12866 or Executive Order 13563. NHTSA has considered the impact of this 
NPRM under the Department of Transportation's regulatory policies and 
procedures. This action would amend Part 577 to update the procedures 
by which manufacturers notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of 
defects and noncompliances in an effort to improve vehicle safety 
recall completion rates. The rulemaking imposes no new significant 
burdens on the manufacturers and does not create significant related 
costs that would require the development of a full cost/benefit 
evaluation. Since this action also does not change the number of those 
organizations or individuals subject to this requirement, the impacts 
of the rule are limited. Therefore, this rulemaking has been determined 
to be not ``significant'' under the Department of Transportation's 
regulatory policies and procedures and the policies of the Office of 
Management and Budget.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    We have also considered the impact of this notice under the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act. I certify that this rule is not expected to 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The following provides the factual basis for this 
certification under 5 U.S.C. 605(b). The amendments almost entirely 
affect manufacturers of motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment.
    SBA uses size standards based on the North American Industry 
Classification System (``NAICS''), Subsector 336--Transportation 
Equipment Manufacturing, which provides a small business size standard 
of 1,000 employees or fewer for automobile manufacturing businesses. 
Other motor vehicle-related industries have lower size requirements 
that range between 100 and 750 employees. For example, according to the 
SBA coding system, businesses that manufacture truck trailers, travel 
trailers/campers, and vehicular lighting equipment, qualify as small 
businesses if they employ 500 or fewer employees. Small businesses are 
subject to the notification requirements and therefore may be affected 
by the proposed changes in this NPRM. However, the impacts of this 
rulemaking on small businesses are minimal, as this proposed procedural 
update does not impose a significant additional burden or additional 
costs.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, Public Law 104-4, 
requires agencies to prepare a written assessment of the cost, benefits 
and other effects of proposed or final rules that include a federal 
mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal 
governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of more than 
$100 million annually. Because this rulemaking would not have a $100 
million effect, no Unfunded Mandates assessment will be prepared.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501, 
et. seq.), Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) for each collection of information they 
conduct, sponsor, or require through regulations. In compliance with 
the PRA, we announce that NHTSA is seeking comment on a revision of a 
currently approved collection.
    Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
    Title: 49 CFR part 577, Defect and Noncompliance Notification.
    Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved collection.
    OMB Control Number: 2127-0004.
    Form Number: The collection of this information uses no standard 
form.
    Requested Expiration Date of Approval: Three (3) years from the 
date of approval.
Summary of the Collection of Information
    This approved information collection is associated with 49 CFR Part 
573 and portions of 49 CFR part 577, and consists of important safety 
recall information that motor vehicle and motor vehicle equipment 
manufacturers must submit.
Description of the Need for the Information and Use of the Information
    The information is needed for NHTSA to better serve the public by 
effectively monitoring safety recalls and by providing timely recall 
information to consumers regarding specific vehicles. Owners and 
purchasers will benefit from the increased ease with which they can 
ascertain information on recalled vehicles. The public at large will 
benefit from a decrease in the numbers of defect or noncompliant 
vehicles on public roads and, concurrently, a decrease in the incident 
or risk of incident of injuries and fatalities associated with those 
defects and failures to comply, that we expect to result from increased 
recalls completion rates stemming from the public's enhanced ability to 
quickly locate important safety recall information on vehicles they 
drive.
Description of the Likely Respondents (Including Estimated Number, and 
Proposed Frequency of Response to the Collection of Information)
    Should this proposal be made final, we expect that all 
manufacturers regulated by NHTSA and currently subject to the defect 
and noncompliance reporting and notification requirements will continue 
to be subject to the updated requirements.
Estimate of the Total Annual Reporting and Recordkeeping Burden 
Resulting From the Collection of Information
    Today's proposed rule requiring manufacturers to notify their 
affected owners by electronic means in addition to first class mail 
notifications will add some paperwork burden to the industry. However, 
electronic methods such as email, social media accounts, over-the-air 
communications and others are existing technologies and largely free of 
charge.
    Given the recent increase in the number of safety recalls the 
Agency administers yearly and the volume of products included in those 
recalls, this information collection burden hour total is increased 
from previous estimates. The Agency anticipates that each recall

[[Page 60337]]

will require 4 burden hours for the manufacturer to plan its strategy 
for meeting the electronic notification requirement and executing that 
strategy. With an estimated 854 recalls filed each year, we estimate a 
new 3,416 burden hours (854 recalls x 4 hours) for this new 
requirement.
    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 minimize the burden of the collection of 
information on respondents, including the use of automated collection 
techniques or other forms of information technology.
    A comment to OMB is most effective if OMB receives it within 30 
days of publication. Send comments to the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, 725 17th Street 
NW., Washington, DC 20503, Attn: NHTSA Desk Officer. PRA comments are 
due within 30 days following publication of this document in the 
Federal Register.
    The Agency recognizes that the collection of information contained 
in today's proposed rule may be subject to revision in response to 
public comments.

Regulatory 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 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.

Privacy Act

    Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments 
received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's 
complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on 
April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-78).

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 577

    Administrative practice and procedure, Motor vehicles, Motor 
vehicle safety, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Proposed Regulatory Text

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, NHTSA proposes to amend 
49 CFR part 577 as follows:

PART 577--DEFECT AND NONCOMPLIANCE NOTIFICATION

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1. The authority citation for part 577 continues 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.

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2. Amend Sec.  577.7 by revising paragraph (a)(2)(i) through (iv) and 
adding paragraphs (a)(2)(v) and (vi) to read as follows:


Sec.  577.7  Time and manner of notification.

    (a) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (i) In the case of a notification required to be sent by a motor 
vehicle manufacturer, by first class mail and by electronic means to 
each person who is registered under State law as the owner of the 
vehicle and whose name and address are reasonably ascertainable by the 
manufacturer through State records or other sources available to him. 
If the owner cannot be reasonably ascertained, the manufacturer shall 
notify the most recent purchaser known to the manufacturer. The 
manufacturer shall also provide notification to each lessee of a leased 
motor vehicle that is covered by an agreement between the manufacturer 
and a lessor under which the manufacturer is to notify lessees directly 
of safety-related defects and noncompliances.
    (ii) In the case of a notification required to be sent by a 
replacement equipment manufacturer--
    (A) By first class mail and by electronic means to the most recent 
purchaser known to the manufacturer, and
    (B) (Except in the case of a tire) if decided by the Administrator 
to be required for motor vehicle safety, by public notice in such 
manner as the Administrator may require after consultation with the 
manufacturer.
    (iii) In the case of a manufacturer required to provide 
notification concerning any defective or noncomplying tire, by first 
class or certified mail and by electronic means.
    (iv) In the case of a notification to be sent by a lessor to a 
lessee of a leased motor vehicle, by first class mail and by electronic 
means to the most recent lessee known to the lessor. Such notification 
shall be sent within ten days of the lessor's receipt of the 
notification from the vehicle manufacturer.
    (v) Notification by electronic means required by paragraph (a)(2) 
of this section is defined to include notification by electronic mail, 
text messages, radio or television notifications, vehicle infotainment 
console messages, over-the-air alerts, social media or targeted online 
campaigns, telephone calls, automated or otherwise, or other real time 
means. No matter the means identified by the manufacturer, the 
Administrator retains the discretion to require other means and 
additional notifications if the manufacturer's chosen means is 
impractical, does not feasibly reach all of the purchasers or owners 
impacted, or is otherwise deemed inappropriate. Any electronic 
notification issued under this paragraph must either comply with the 
content requirements of Sec.  577.5(b) through (g) of this part, 
provide an internet hyperlink to a notice that complies with the 
content requirements of Sec.  577.5(b) through (g), or provide an 
internet hyperlink to a representative copy of a notice that complies 
with the content requirements of Sec.  577.5(b) through (g) along with 
instructions on how the purchaser or owner can determine whether his or 
her vehicle or equipment is impacted.
    (vi) In the case of a notification by electronic means that may be 
viewed by more than one individual, manufacturers who are currently 
required to support NHTSA's VIN search tool and offer VIN-based safety 
recall search tools pursuant to existing regulation under this chapter, 
such notification must direct viewer to NHTSA's VIN search tool and the 
manufacturer's search tool.
* * * * *
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3. Amend Sec.  577.10 by revising paragraph (g) to read as follows:


Sec.  577.10  Follow-up notification.

* * * * *
    (g) A follow-up notification shall be sent by first class mail and 
by electronic means pursuant to Sec.  577.7(a)(2) of this part. 
Notwithstanding any other provision of this part, the Administrator may 
authorize the use of other media besides first class mail and 
electronic means for a follow-up notification.
* * * * *

    Issued in Washington, DC, on August 25, 2016 under authority 
delegated pursuant to 49 CFR 1.95.
Gregory K. Rea,
Associate Administrator for Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2016-20926 Filed 8-31-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P