National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
49 CFR Parts 571, 585, 587, and 595
Docket No. NHTSA 98-4405; Notice 1
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards;
Occupant Crash Protection
AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.
SUMMARY: The agency is proposing to upgrade the agency's occupant protection standard to require advanced air bags. While current air bags have been shown to be highly effective in reducing overall fatalities, they sometimes cause fatalities to out-of-position occupants, especially children. The agency's proposal would require that improvements be made in the ability of air bags to cushion and protect occupants of different sizes, belted and unbelted, and would require air bags to be redesigned to minimize risks to infants, children, and other occupants. The advanced air bags would be required in some new passenger cars and light trucks beginning September 1, 2002, and in all new cars and light trucks beginning September 1, 2005. The agency's proposal is consistent with provisions included in the NHTSA Reauthorization Act of 1998 which mandate the issuance of a final rule for advanced air bags.
An appendix to this document responds to several petitions concerning requirements for air bag performance.
DATES: Comments must be received by [insert date 90 days after publication of the NPRM in the Federal Register].
ADDRESSES: Comments should refer to the docket number and notice number, and be submitted to: Docket Management, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590 (Docket hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
For information about air bags and related rulemakings: Visit the NHTSA web site at http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov and select "Air Bags" under "Popular Information."
For non-legal issues: Clarke Harper, Chief, Light Duty Vehicle Division, NPS-11, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: (202) 366-2264. Fax: (202) 366-4329.
For legal issues: Edward Glancy, Office of Chief Counsel, NCC-20, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: (202) 366-2992. Fax: (202) 366-3820.
Overview of Proposed Requirements.
Safety Problem and the Agency's Remedial Actions.
Air Bags: Safety Issues.
Lives Saved and Lost.
Causes of Air Bag Fatalities.
Air Bag Requirements.
Comprehensive Agency Plan to Address Air Bag Fatalities.
Interim Rulemaking Solutions.
Existing and Future Vehicles-in-Use.
Longer-Term Rulemaking Solution.
Educational Efforts; Child Restraint and Seat Belt Use Laws.
Proposal for Advanced Air Bags.
Existing and Proposed Test Requirements.
Tests for Requirements to Preserve and Improve Occupant Protection for Different Size Occupants, Belted and Unbelted.
Safety of Medium to Large Teenagers and Adults.
Safety of Small Teenagers and Small Adults.
Tests for Requirements to Minimize the Risk to Infants, Children and Other Occupants from Injuries and Deaths Caused by Air Bags.
Safety of Infants.
Safety of 3-Year-Old Children.
Safety of 6-Year-Old Children.
Safety of Small Teenage and Adult Drivers.
Lead Time and Proposed Effective Date.
Selection of Options.
Availability of Retrofit Manual On-Off Switches.
Costs and Benefits.
Rulemaking Analyses and Notices.
Request for Comments.
Proposed Regulatory Text
Appendix--Response to Petitions
Petitions Requesting that New Test Requirements be Added to Standard No. 208.
Petition Requesting Extension of the Provision Allowing On-Off Switches for Vehicles without Rear Seats or with Small Rear Seats.
Petitions Requesting a Permanent Option of Using Unbelted Sled Test instead of Unbelted Barrier Test.
Petition Objecting to NHTSA's Final Rule on Depowering.