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NHTSA Activities Under the United Nations World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations 1998 Global Agreement

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

NHTSA Activities Under the United Nations World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations 1998 Global Agreement

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
April 16, 2014

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 73 (Wednesday, April 16, 2014)]
[Pages 21507-21514]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-08532]



National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2013-0047]

NHTSA Activities Under the United Nations World Forum for the 
Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations 1998 Global Agreement

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

ACTION: Notice of activities under the 1998 Global Agreement and 
request for comments.


SUMMARY: NHTSA is publishing this notice to inform the public of the 
upcoming scheduled meetings of the World Forum for the Harmonization of 
Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) and its Working Parties of Experts for 
calendar year 2014. It also provides the most recent status of 
activities under the Program of Work of the 1998 Global Agreement (to 
which the United States is a signatory Contracting Party) and requests 
comments on those activities. Publication of this information is in 
accordance with NHTSA's Statement of Policy regarding Agency Policy 
Goals and Public Participation in the Implementation of the 1998 Global

[[Page 21508]]

Agreement on Global Technical Regulations (GTR).

DATES: Comments to this notice must be received on or before May 16, 

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Docket No. NHTSA-XXXX-
XXXX by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
     Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room 
W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: 202-493-2251.

Public Participation

    Comments must not exceed 15 pages in length (49 CFR part 553.21). 
Attachments may be appended to these submissions without regard to the 
15 page limit. This limitation is intended to encourage commenters to 
detail their primary arguments in a concise fashion. If a commenter 
wishes to submit certain information under a claim of confidentiality, 
three copies of the complete submission, including purportedly 
confidential business information, should be submitted to the Chief 
Counsel, NHTSA, at the street address given in the FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT section, and two copies from which the purportedly 
confidential information has been deleted should be submitted to the 
docket. A request for confidentiality should be accompanied by a cover 
letter setting forth the information specified in the agency's 
confidential business information regulation. 49 CFR part 512. All 
comments received before the close of business on the comment closing 
date indicated above for this document will be considered, and will be 
available for examination in the docket at the above address both 
before and after that date. To the extent possible, comments filed 
after the closing date will also be considered. Comments on this 
document will be available for inspection in the docket. NHTSA will 
continue to file relevant information as it becomes available for 
inspection in the docket after the closing date, and it is recommended 
that interested persons continue to examine the docket for new 
material. Those persons desiring to be notified upon receipt of their 
comments in the rules docket should enclose a self-addressed, stamped 
postcard in the envelope with their comments. Upon receiving the 
comments, the docket supervisor will return the postcard by mail. All 
submissions must include the agency name and docket number for this 
proposed collection of information. 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 heading 
    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), or you may visit http://DocketsInfo.dot.gov.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments received go to http://www.regulations.gov or the street 
address listed above. Follow the online instructions for accessing the 

International Policy and Harmonization Division (NVS-133), National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC 20590; Telephone: (202) 366-0846, fax (202) 493-2280.

Table of Contents

I. Background
    WP.29 and Its Working Parties of Experts
    1. WP.29
    2. Working Parties of Experts
II. List of Provisional Meetings of WP.29 and Its Working Parties of 
III. Status of Activities Under the Program of Work of the 1998 
Global Agreement
    A. GTRs Established in CY 2013 Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicles
    B. Status of GTRs Under Development
    1. Pedestrian Safety
    2. Head Restraints
    3. Quiet Electric and Hybrid-Electric Vehicles
    4. Electric Vehicles
    5. Light Vehicle Tires
    6. Pole Side Impact Protection and Harmonized Side Impact 
    C. Exchange of Information Item Enforcement Working Group
    D. Compendium of Candidate GTRs
IV. Request for Comments

I. Background

    On August 23, 2000, NHTSA published in the Federal Register (65 FR 
51236) a statement of policy regarding the Agency's policy goals and 
public participation in the implementation of the 1998 Global 
Agreement, indicating that each calendar year the Agency would provide 
a list of scheduled meetings of the World Forum for the Harmonization 
of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) and the Working Parties of Experts, as 
well as meetings of the Executive Committee of the 1998 Global 
Agreement (AC.3).\1\ Further, the Agency stated that it would keep the 
public informed about the Agreement's Program of Work (i.e., subjects 
designated for Global Technical Regulation (GTR) development) and seek 
comment on those subjects on a regular basis. In keeping with the 
policy, NHTSA has notified the public about the status of activities 
under the 1998 Global Agreement and sought comments on various issues 
and proposals through a series of Federal Register notices published 
beginning July 2000.\2\

    \1\ This statement of policy is codified in Appendix C of Part 
553 of Title 49 of the CFR.
    \2\ The relevant Federal Register notices include: 65 FR 44565, 
66 FR 4893, 68 FR 5333, 69 FR 60460, 71 FR 59582, 73 FR 7803, 73 FR 
8743, 73 FR 31914, 73 FR 5520, 77 FR 4618, and 78 FR 21191.

    This notice provides the latest and current status of the Agency's 
activities at the World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle 
Regulations under the 1998 Global Agreement.

WP.29 and Its Working Parties of Experts

1. WP.29
    WP.29 was established on June 6, 1952 as the Working Party on the 
Construction of Vehicles, a subsidiary body of the Inland Transport 
Committee (ITC) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe 
(UNECE). In March 2000, WP.29 became the ``World Forum for 
Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29).'' The objective of the 
WP.29 is to initiate and pursue actions aimed at the worldwide 
harmonization or development of technical regulations for vehicles.\3\ 
Providing uniform conditions for periodical technical inspections and 
strengthening economic relations worldwide, these regulations are aimed 

    \3\ For general information about WP.29, see the document, 
``World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29)--How 
It Works, How to Join It,'' available at http://www.unece.org/transport/resources/publications/publications.html. (last accessed 
December 17, 2013).

--Improving vehicle safety;
--protecting the environment;
--promoting energy efficiency; and
--increasing anti-theft performance.

WP.29 currently administers three UNECE Agreements:

[[Page 21509]]

    1. UNECE 1958 Agreement concerning the Adoption of Uniform 
Technical Prescriptions for Wheeled Vehicles, Equipment and Parts Which 
Can Be Fitted and/or Be Used on Wheeled Vehicles and the Conditions for 
Reciprocal Recognition of Approvals Granted on the Basis of These 
    2. UNECE 1998 Agreement concerning the Establishing of Global 
Technical Regulations for Wheeled Vehicles, Equipment and Parts which 
can be Fitted and/or be Used on Wheeled Vehicles.
    3. UNECE 1997 Agreement concerning the Adoption of Uniform 
Conditions for Periodical Technical Inspections of Wheeled Vehicles and 
the Reciprocal Recognition of such Inspections.
    Four committees coordinate the activities of WP.29:

AC.1--Administrative Committee for 1958 Agreement
AC.2--Administrative Committee for the Coordination of Work
AC.3--Executive Committee for 1998 Agreement
AC.4--Administrative Committee for 1997 Agreement
    AC.1, AC.3 and AC.4 are the Administrative/Executive Committees for 
the Agreements administered by WP.29, constituting all Contracting 
Parties of the respective Agreements.
    The coordination of work of the World Forum is managed by a 
Steering Committee (AC.2) comprising the Chairperson and Secretariat of 
WP.29, the Chairpersons of the Executive Committees of the 1958, 1997, 
and 1998 Agreements administered by WP.29, the representatives of the 
European Community, Japan and the United States of America, and the 
Chairpersons of WP.29's subsidiary bodies (GRs or Working Parties). The 
duties of AC.2 are to develop and recommend to WP.29 a Program of Work, 
to review the reports and recommendations of WP.29's subsidiary bodies, 
to identify items that require action by WP.29 and the time frame for 
their consideration, and to provide recommendations to WP.29.
2. Working Parties of Experts
    The permanent subsidiary bodies of WP.29, also known as GRs (Groups 
of Rapporteurs), assist the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle 
Regulations in researching, analyzing and developing requirements for 
technical regulations in the areas of their expertise. There are six 
subsidiary bodies:

Working Party on Lighting and Light-Signaling (GRE)
Working Party on Brakes and Running Gear (GRRF)
Working Party on Passive Safety (GRSP)
Working Party on General Safety Provisions (GRSG)
Working Party on Pollution and Energy (GRPE)
Working Party on Noise (GRB)
    Each subsidiary body consists of persons whose expertise is 
relevant to the area covered by the body. All proposals for new 
regulations or amendments to existing regulations are referred by the 
World Forum to its relevant subsidiary bodies for the development of 
technical recommendations. In view of the significance of the role of 
these subsidiary bodies, they have been given permanent status under 
the UN and have been designated as permanent and formal ``Working 
Parties.'' More specifically, the working parties and their areas of 
expertise are outlined below:
Active Safety of Vehicles and Their Parts (Crash Avoidance)
Working Party on Lighting and Light-Signaling (GRE)
Working Party on Brakes and Running Gear (GRRF)

    The regulations in this area seek to improve the behavior, handling 
and equipment of vehicles so as to decrease the likelihood of a road 
crash. Some of the regulations seek to increase the ability of drivers 
to detect and avoid hazardous circumstances. Others seek to increase 
the ability of drivers to maintain control of their vehicles. Specific 
examples include regulations applying to lighting and light-signaling 
devices, braking, steering, tires and rollover stability. This area of 
safety technology is rapidly changing. The advent of advanced 
technologies (e.g., electronic control systems, advanced sensors and 
communication) is providing opportunities for developing new approaches 
for helping drivers avoid crashes.
Passive Safety (Crashworthiness)
Working Party on Passive Safety (GRSP)

    The regulations in this area seek to minimize the risk and severity 
of injury for the occupants of a vehicle and/or other road users in the 
event of a crash. As is done in other working groups, extensive use is 
made of crash statistics to identify safety problems for which a 
regulation or amendment to an existing regulation is needed and define 
a proper cost/benefit approach when improving performance requirements 
in this area. This is important, given the overall impact of new 
requirements on vehicle construction, design and cost. Specific 
examples of current regulations include ones addressing the ability of 
the vehicle structure to manage crash energy and resist intrusion into 
the passenger compartment, occupant restraint and protection systems 
for children and adults, seat structure, door latches and door 
retention, pedestrian protection, and for motorcycles, the quality of 
the protective helmet for the rider. This area of technology also is 
changing rapidly and becoming more complex. Examples include advanced 
protection devices that adjust their performance in response to the 
circumstances of individual crashes.
General Safety Considerations
Working Party on General Safety Provisions (GRSG)
    The regulations in this area address vehicle and component features 
which are not directly linked to the above-mentioned subject areas. For 
example, windshield wipers and washers, controls and displays, and 
glazing are grouped under this heading. Further, theft prevention and 
the considerations related to motorcoaches and other mass public 
transport vehicles are covered under this category.
Environmental Considerations
Working Party on Pollution and Energy (GRPE)
Working Party on Noise (GRB)

    In general, the regulations in this area address questions of the 
pollution of the environment, noise disturbances and conservation of 
energy (fuel consumption). However, the issue of quiet vehicles' 
unintended safety consequence related to pedestrian safety is currently 
being addressed by GRB even though this group does not normally address 
safety issues. This is because the necessary acoustics experts needed 
to develop a safety regulation to address the issue are part of this 
Special Technical Considerations
Informal Working Groups (IWGs)
    In some cases, a specific problem needs to be solved urgently or 
needs to be addressed by persons having a special expertise. There are 
also cases where an issue cuts across multiple GRs or is not 
specifically relevant to any of them. In such situations, a special 
informal working group may be entrusted with the analysis of the 
problem and invited to prepare a proposal for a regulation. Although 
such cases have traditionally been kept to a minimum, the rapid 
development of complex new technologies is increasing the necessity for 
using this approach.

[[Page 21510]]

II. List of Provisional Meetings of WP.29 and Its Working Parties of 

    The following list shows the scheduled meetings of WP.29 and its 
subsidiary Working Parties of Experts for calendar year 2014. In 
addition to these meetings, Working Parties of Experts may schedule, if 
necessary, IWG sessions outside their regular schedule in order to 
address technical matters specific to GTRs under consideration. The 
formation and timing of these groups are recommended by the sponsoring 
Contracting Party and are approved by WP.29 and AC.3. The schedules and 
places of meetings are made available to interested parties in 
proposals and periodic reports which are posted on the Web site of 
WP.29, which can be found at: http://www.unece.org/trans/main/welcwp29.html (last accessed December 17, 2013).
2014 Provisional Schedule of Meetings of WP.29 and Its Working Parties 
of Experts
    7-10 Working Party on Pollution and Energy (GRPE) (68th session)
    4-6 Working Party on Noise (GRB) (59th session)
    17-21 Working Party on Brakes and Running Gear (GRRF) (76th 
    10 Administrative Committee for the Coordination of Work (WP.29/
AC.2) (114th session)
    11-14 World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) 
(162nd session)
    31-3 Working Party on Lighting and Light-Signalling (GRE) (71st 
    5-9 Working Party on General Safety Provisions (GRSG) (106th 
    19-23 Working Party on Passive Safety (GRSP) (55th session)
    3-6 Working Party on Pollution and Energy (GRPE) (69th session)
    23 Administrative Committee for the Coordination of Work (WP.29/
AC.2) (115th session)
    24-27 World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) 
(163rd session)
    1-3 Working Party on Noise (GRB) (60th session)
    16-19 Working Party on Brakes and Running Gear (GRRF) (77th 
    7-10 Working Party on General Safety Provisions (GRSG) (107th 
    20-22 Working Party on Lighting and Light-Signalling (GRE) (72nd 
    10 Administrative Committee for the Coordination of Work (WP.29/
AC.2) (116th session)
    11-14 World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) 
(164th session)
    14 Working Party on Pollution and Energy (GRPE) (70th session)
    9-12 Working Party on Passive Safety (GRSP) (56th session)

III. Status of Activities Under the Program of Work of the 1998 Global 

    The current Program of Work of the 1998 Global Agreement is listed 
in the table below. Note that the items listed are for those related to 
vehicle safety only.

                                                      Sponsoring contracting
 Working party of experts           Subject                   party             Chair of informal working group
WP.29....................  Exchange of Information-  United States..........  United States.
                           Enforcement Working
GRRF.....................  GTR on Tires for Light    France.................  UK.
                           Phase 2 of GTR No. 7      Japan..................  UK.
                            (Head Restraints).
                           Phase 2 of GTR No. 9      Japan/Germany..........  Germany/Japan.
                            (Pedestrian Safety).
GRSP.....................  GTR on Pole Side Impact.  Australia..............  Australia.
                           Exchange of Information   United States..........  United States.
                            on Harmonized Side
                            Impact Dummies.
                           Electric Vehicles Safety  United States/Japan/     United States/Japan.
                            GTR.                      European Commission
GRB......................  GTR on Quiet Road         United States/Japan/EC.  United States/Japan.
                            Transport Vehicles.

A. GTRs Established in CY 2013

Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicles
    GTR 13 for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Vehicles was established \4\ on 
June 27, 2013, after a 6-year effort. Work on the GTR was initiated 
when WP.29 adopted an Action Plan prepared by the co-sponsors (United 
States, Germany and Japan) to develop a GTR for compressed gaseous and 
liquefied hydrogen fuel vehicles in June 2007.\5\ WP.29 formed an IWG 
to develop a GTR for these types of vehicles with the aim of attaining 
levels of safety equivalent to those for conventional gasoline-powered 
vehicles. In June 2013, the GTR for hydrogen vehicles was established 
by a unanimous vote in WP.29. It covers the safety of automotive 
hydrogen fuel containers, hydrogen fuel lines and their related 
components, as well as the safety of high-voltage components.

    \4\ Under the 1998 Global Agreement, GTRs are established by 
consensus vote of the Agreement's Contracting Parties present and 
    \5\ The GTR Action Plan (ECE/TRANS/WP.29/2007/4 I) and GTR 
proposal (ECE/TRANS/WP.29/AC.3/I 7) can be found at http://www.unece.org/trans/main/wp29/wp29wgs/wp29gen/gen2007.html and 
proposal.html, respectively.

    Consistent with the provisions set forth under the 1998 Agreement, 
NHTSA is currently evaluating the GTR for adoption and will provide a 
regular status report to WP.29.
    For a possible second phase of work, the co-sponsors of the 
hydrogen GTR are discussing and developing a new work plan and roadmap. 
Focus topics for this Phase are expected to include:

(a) Potential harmonization of vehicle crash tests
(b) Potential scope revision to address additional vehicle classes
(c) Potential harmonization of crash test specifications
(d) Requirements for material compatibility and hydrogen embrittlement
(e) Requirements for the fueling receptacle
(f) Evaluation of performance-based test for long-term stress rupture 
proposed in Phase 1

[[Page 21511]]

(g) Consideration of research results reported after completion of 
Phase 1--specifically research related to electrical safety, hydrogen 
storage systems, and post-crash safety

B. Status of GTRs Under Development

1. Pedestrian Safety
    As discussed in the 2013 notice, the November 2008 session, WP.29 
voted to establish GTR 9 on Pedestrian Safety.\6\

    \6\ 78 FR 21191. NHTSA received one comment from the American 
Motorcycle Association on the Pedestrian Safety GTR, offering to 
assist NHTSA in evaluating how this GTR could also reduce injuries 
to motorcyclists. The comment has been forwarded to those at NHTSA 
working on a proposal to introduce the GTR in the United States.

    The GTR contains two sets of performance criteria applying to: (a) 
The hood; and (b) the front bumper. Unique test procedures address 
adult and child head and adult leg impact protection for each of the 
two crash scenarios. At the time GTR 9 was adopted, a legform impactor 
developed by TRL (Transport Research Laboratory, UK) was used to 
evaluate front bumper impact performance. WP.29, however, agreed to 
consider the future use of a newer legform impactor called Flex-PLI 
(Flexible Pedestrian Legform Impactor), which may be more biofidelic. 
At the May 2011 session of GRSP, NHTSA reported research results that 
raised concerns about the readiness of the Flex-PLI device. As a 
result, at its June 2011 session, WP.29 agreed to form a new IWG under 
the sponsorship and chairmanship of Germany and Japan to further refine 
the Flex-PLI device to replace the existing leg form impacter in GTR 9. 
A task force bumper test area was established within the informal group 
with the objective to improve the Flex-PLI test procedure as the size 
of the bumper test area is reduced due to new bumper designs. The 
European Commission is chairing this effort.
    To evaluate the Flex-PLI, the IWG started an international vehicle 
round-robin test program in September 2012, and finalized it in March 
2013. Testing was conducted in Europe, Korea and the United States. The 
results showed a stable performance of the legform impactor with good 
repeatability. No problem with durability was found during testing. The 
working group has also developed certification procedures and cost 
benefit assessments for the Flex-PLI.
    With regard to the injury criteria, the IWG agreed on injury 
assessment reference values (IARVs) that were derived from two 
different approaches, one proposed by Germany and another proposed by 
Japan. NHTSA requested information about the derivation of the injury 
risk functions using these two approaches, as the information had not 
been made available to the IWG. At this point the United States is not 
prepared to agree or disagree with the IAVRs in the current draft 
proposal for this GTR amendment until our own cost-benefit analysis is 
completed. For this reason, the United States recommended including 
alternate language allowing Contracting Parties to select different 
IARVs using cost-benefit analysis in their own country, provided they 
were based on the same injury risk functions used to select the IARVs 
in the GTR. The United States also added language to the draft preamble 
of this pending GTR amendment to reflect our concerns about the level 
of stringency of the IARVs.
    The formal proposal to amend GTR 9 by introducing the Flex-PLI 
impactor was submitted to GRSP in December 2013. Delegates objected to 
the United States proposal, and instead a footnote was added allowing 
only contracting parties without pre-existing pedestrian protection 
regulations or standards to adopt other IARVs, but without included any 
criteria for those IARVs. The international Organization of Motor 
Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) objected to this language also, therefore 
while GRSP agreed to recommend the draft GTR to WP.29 for a vote at the 
June 2014 session, it also agreed to ask for WP.29's advice regarding 
the injury criteria issue at the March 2014 session. The document would 
then be returned to GRSP for the May 2014 session if necessary.
2. Head Restraints
    The GTR for head restraints (GTR 7) was established by WP.29 at its 
March 2008 session. At that time, the GTR incorporated a dynamic test 
option to some of the static requirements using the Hybrid III test 
dummy. It was anticipated that a new dummy, the Biofidelic Rear Impact 
Dummy (BioRID II), might eventually allow for a full system whiplash 
evaluation test that incorporates the combined performance of the seat 
and head restraint, but the dummy was not then sufficiently developed 
to incorporate, even as an option, the way the Hybrid III dummy was 
incorporated. Therefore, in November 2009, WP.29 initiated a second 
phase of development for the GTR by forming a new IWG tasked with the 
development of a fully developed BioRID II test tool, including test 
procedures, injury criteria and associated corridors.
    At the December 10-11, 2012 meeting of the IWG, the chairman 
confirmed that the development of a proposal for a certification 
procedure of the BioRID II was in progress and that the study, which is 
funded by the EC, identified areas of dummy performance, (specifically, 
reproducibility) still required further investigation. He also reported 
that the group may have to consider proposing it as an option to Hybrid 
III rather than a replacement. The goal of the IWG was to submit a 
proposal for consideration at the December 2013 session of GRSP.
    At the June, 2013 session of WP.29 the chairman reported that the 
IWG had agreed on draft proposals for: (i) An effective head restraint 
height measurement procedure and (ii) an appropriate dynamic test, 
including the test procedure and the associated corridors for the 
BioRID II. However, he added that the development of injury criteria 
for the use of the BioRID II was at a critical point, because medical 
research in the United States was still progressing, but not as rapidly 
as was expected. As a result, WP.29 agreed to extend the mandate of the 
IWG until the end of 2015. Since that time, availability of redesigned 
BioRID II dummies from the manufacturer has caused some additional 
changes, but the IWG is still hopeful that it can submit a proposal for 
consideration at the May 2014 session of GRSP. If GRSP votes to 
recommend the amendments at that session, WP.29 could vote on the 
amendments as early as the November 2014 session, earlier than this new 
    At the December 2013 session of GRSP, a new proposal to amend the 
GTR was submitted jointly by Germany, the Netherlands, and the United 
Kingdom. The proposal would require front outboard designated seating 
positions to have at least one position of head restraint adjustment 
that was not less than 830 mm, an increase of 30 mm over the current 
requirement of 800 mm, and to have no position of head restraint 
adjustment that was less than 720 mm, a decrease of 30 mm over the 
current requirement of 750 mm.
    Both OICA and the United States submitted informal documents 
responding to this proposal. OICA indicated that the new measurement 
method included in the draft proposal from the IWG would lead to 
results on average 30 mm lower than when using the current measurement 
method and that therefore, the effect of this proposal combined with 
that change would be to require an average 60 mm increase in head 
restraint height. The United States document requested data to support 
the proposal, and also noted that feasibility issues had previously 
been raised when high head restraint heights had been proposed in the 

[[Page 21512]]

3. Quiet Electric and Hybrid-Electric Vehicles
    As discussed in the 2013 notice, in 2009, NHTSA published a report 
on the incident rates of crashes involving hybrid-electric vehicles and 
pedestrians under different scenarios.\7\ The U.S. study, using crash 
data collected from several states, compared vehicle to pedestrian 
crash rates for hybrid electric-vehicles and vehicles with internal 
combustion engines (ICE). In the study, the agency concluded that there 
was an increased rate of pedestrian crashes for hybrid electric 
vehicles versus similarly sized ICE vehicles. In 2010, the agency 
published a second report that found that the overall sound levels for 
the hybrid-electric vehicles tested were lower at low speeds than for 
the peer ICE vehicles tested.\8\

    \7\ ``Research on Quieter Cars and the Safety of Blind 
Pedestrians, A Report to Congress'' prepared by National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 
October 2009. This report can be found at http://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/NVS/Crash%20Avoidance/Technical%20Publications/2010/RptToCongress091709.pdf.
    \8\ Garay-Vega, Lisandra; Hastings, Aaron; Pollard, John K.; 
Zuschlag, Michael; and Stearns, Mary D., Quieter Cars and the Safety 
of Blind Pedestrians: Phase I, John A. Volpe National Transportation 
Systems Center, DOT HS 811 304 April 2010, available at http://www.nhtsa.gov/DOT/NHTSA/NVS/Crash%20Avoidance/Technical%20Publications/2010/811304rev.pdf.

    The Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and 
Tourism (MLIT), after studying the feasibility of alert sounds for 
electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, issued guidelines for pedestrian 
alert sounds in 2010. MLIT concluded that pedestrian alert sounds 
should be required only on hybrid-electric vehicles that can run 
exclusively on an electric motor, electric vehicles and fuel-cell 
vehicles. MLIT guidelines require that electric and hybrid-electric 
vehicles generate a pedestrian alert sound whenever the vehicle is 
moving forward at any speed less than 20 km/h and when the vehicle is 
operating in reverse. The guidelines do not require vehicles to produce 
an alert sound when the vehicle is operating, but stopped, such as at a 
traffic light. Also, manufacturers are allowed to equip the vehicle 
with a switch to deactivate the alert sound temporarily.
    WP.29 also determined that vehicles propelled in whole or in part 
by electric means, present a danger to pedestrians and consequently 
adopted guidelines covering alert sounds for electric and hybrid 
vehicles that are closely based on the Japanese guidelines at its March 
2011 meeting. The guidelines were published as an annex to the UNECE 
Consolidated Resolution on the Construction of Vehicles (R.E.3).
    Considering the international interest and work in this new area of 
safety, the United States, the European Commission (EC) and Japan 
agreed to work, as co-sponsors, on a new GTR to develop harmonized 
pedestrian minimum sound requirements for electric and hybrid-electric 
vehicles under the 1998 Global Agreement.\9\

    \9\ Additionally, the agency is taking this action because the 
Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act requires the agency to issue a 
standard specifying minimum sound for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles. 
The agency announced its proposal on January 14, 2013 (78 FR 2797).

    WP.29 is currently working to develop the GTR. In 2013, three 
meetings of the IWG were held: (1) Brussels, Belgium, in April, (2) 
Washington DC, in July, and (3) Tokyo, Japan in December.
    At its November 2013 session, WP.29 decided to extend the timeline 
for completing the GTR by one year--it is now expected to be 
established November 2015. The next meeting of the IWG will take place 
in Washington DC in May 2014. The meeting agendas, reports and related 
documents can be found on the UN Web site for this IWG.\10\

    \10\ https://www2.unece.org/wiki/display/trans/GTR+for+QRTV.

4. Electric Vehicles
    At the March 2012 session of WP.29, the co-sponsors (the United 
States, Japan, and the EC) submitted a joint proposal (ECE/Trans/WP.29/
2012/36. and its Corr1) to establish two working groups to address the 
safety and environmental issues associated with electric vehicles 
(EVs). The WP.29 Executive Committee adopted this proposal as well as 
approved China, per its request, as the fourth co-sponsor.
    For the safety aspects, an electric vehicle safety (EVS) IWG was 
formed to begin development of the GTR, which would apply to high 
voltage hybrid and pure electric vehicles with a gross vehicle mass of 
4,536 kilograms or less, their batteries, and other associated high-
risk components. The United States chairs the IWG with China and the EU 
as co-vice chairs, and Japan as the secretary. To the extent possible, 
the GTR will include performance-based requirements and testing 
protocols designed to allow for innovation, while ensuring that the 
unique safety risks posed by electric vehicles are mitigated. The GTR 
will address the safety of high voltage electrical components, 
including lithium-ion and other types of batteries, their performance 
during normal use, after a crash event, and while recharging at a 
residential or commercial station.
    The third and fourth EVS IWG meetings were held in 2013: (1) Tokyo, 
Japan, in April and (2) Beijing, China, in October. At these meetings, 
the IWG exchanged current regulatory, technical and research 
information and drafted an outline for the GTR. The IWG also discussed 
the OICA's proposal which was submitted for the IWG consideration. This 
proposal contained requirements based on the existing UNECE regulation 
(R100) for electric vehicle safety, which included safety requirements 
for occupant protection against high voltage and rechargeable energy 
storage systems. At the Beijing IWG meeting, the U.S. submitted a 
battery research plan and approach to rulemaking to the IWG for 
information and consideration. As presented at the IWG meetings, NHTSA 
believes that it is important to select boundary conditions and test 
methods that appropriately and accurately capture the nature of the 
vehicle working/or operating environment. The research tests include 
mechanical shock, mechanical integrity, fire hazard, vibration, thermal 
shock, cycling, and others. Based on the approach of the Hydrogen Fuel-
Cell Vehicle GTR no. 13, NHTSA is using similar vehicle conditions to 
establish the rechargeable energy storage system (REESS) research test 
boundary conditions, such as operating temperatures and test 
temperature and exposure time for fire test. For example, the vibration 
schedule must be representative of the general operating environment of 
a vehicle. Each performance requirement and test method must correlate 
to safety risks of in-use and post-crash automobiles. The abuse 
conditions that NHTSA believes must be considered in the process of 
developing performance standards include mechanical penetration, 
internal short circuit, chemical compatibility, and the liberation of 
stranded energy in the post-crash or inoperative environment. We 
believe that the results of the anticipated research will play an 
important role in better informing the appropriate approach to evaluate 
battery system safety.
    NHTSA recognizes that the OICA proposal addresses some of the 
general topics that may be required by a comprehensive REESS safety 
standard. However, many of these requirements were developed to 
evaluate criteria under conditions unrelated to the automotive 
applications during use and post-crash. Some of these requirements 
support general reliability criteria for product development but do not

[[Page 21513]]

directly support safety performance metrics. Rather they may only imply 
safety by demonstrating the lack of a safety failure during the tested 
conditions, which are unacceptable from a performance point of view. 
Other requirements impose safety relevant abuse conditions to a cell or 
module then observe or measure the response to that abuse. During REESS 
development, these tests may describe some sub-component safety limits 
that are useful in designing protections from those conditions. 
However, they generally do not cascade to vehicle or pack level 
performance, and boundary conditions to these tests must be accurately 
defined to the specific application requirements.
    NHTSA believes that a system-level evaluation is the most 
appropriate method for determining safety performance in this context. 
NHTSA will continue to work with the IWG and share technical data and 
analysis for future IWG discussions and drafting the GTR.
5. Light Vehicle Tires
    The IWG for developing a GTR on light vehicle tires began its work 
in September 2006. The activity is sponsored by France and chaired by 
the UK. The GTR would apply to radial passenger and light truck tires 
designed for use on vehicles with a gross mass of 10,000 pounds or 
less. Its provisions include five mandatory performance and labeling 
requirements (tire sidewall markings, tire dimensions, high speed 
performance, low pressure and endurance performance, and wet traction 
    In addition, there are two optional modules, with one containing a 
tire strength test and bead unseating resistance test, and the second 
containing a tire rolling sound emission test. During the course of the 
development of the GTR, it became apparent that the requirements for 
light truck tires would require more time to develop. It was therefore 
decided by WP.29 to split the work on the GTR into two phases. The 
first phase covers passenger car tires only, and the second will 
address the light truck tires.
    NHTSA received a comment from the Rubber Manufacturers Association 
(RMA) on this GTR in response to the 2013 Federal Register notice. The 
RMA noted that the GTR should have been included in the ``GTRs Nearing 
Completion and Establishment by Vote'' section, rather than the ``GTRs 
Under Development'' section, and urged the agency to vote in support of 
the GTR at the November 2013 session of WP.29. The vote has yet to 
occur because of an outstanding issue involving the validation of a 
trailer-based method for evaluating wet traction performance of tires. 
The U.S. is currently conducting research in this area which should 
conclude by mid-2014. Subsequently, if agreement is reached on the 
final text of the GTR, a vote to establish it is expected to take place 
at the November 2014 session of WP.29/AC.3.
6. Pole Side Impact Protection and Harmonized Side Impact Dummies
    In November 2009, an informal meeting was held in Washington, DC 
among interested experts to discuss international cooperation in the 
development of harmonized side impact dummies. In June 2010, WP.29 
formed an IWG to develop a GTR for pole side impact (PSI) protection 
under the sponsorship and chairmanship of Australia. At the same time, 
an IWG on Harmonized Side Impact Dummies was formed under the 
sponsorship and chairmanship of the United States. The second group was 
tasked with supporting the PSI GTR by evaluating and further developing 
the World Side Impact Dummy (WorldSID) family of dummies. The two 
groups have generally met in conjunction. The side impact dummy IWG 
held its first meeting in November of 2009 and the PSI group held its 
first meeting in November 2010. The first tasks of the PSI IWG included 
confirming the safety need for the GTR and assessing potential 
candidate crash test procedures for the GTR. As originally planned, the 
GTR would contain pole side impact test procedures using side impact 
test dummies representing a WorldSID 50th percentile adult male and a 
WorldSID 5th percentile adult female.
    At the November 2013 session, WP.29 adopted a Pole Side Impact GTR 
that incorporates an oblique pole test similar to that in the FMVSS No. 
214, ``Side impact protection;'' however, it uses the 50th percentile 
male WorldSID dummy only. While WP.29 agreed to a change of the terms 
of reference of the IWG to allow a GTR with only one dummy instead of 
both the World SID 50th percentile adult male and World SID 5th 
percentile adult female as originally planned, it included a provision 
that no Contracting Party would be required to initiate the process to 
adopt the GTR until both phases were complete, even if it were to vote 
in favor of the first phase of the GTR. However, the United States was 
not in a position to vote yes on the IARVs for the 50th percentile 
adjult male at the time the vote was taken and was concerned about its 
future position since it could not predict the outcome of a second 
phase. Therefore, the United States abstained from the vote for the 
pole side impact GTR.
    At the November 2012 session, WP.29 established Mutual Resolution 
(M.R.1) of the 1958 and 1998 Agreements concerning the description and 
performance of test tools and devices necessary for the assessment of 
compliance of wheeled vehicles, equipment and parts according to the 
technical prescriptions specified in Regulations and global technical 
regulations. It is intended that test tools and devices necessary for 
compliance assessment will be comprehensively defined in terms of their 
essential characteristics and performance in an addenda to M.R.1. In 
conformity with this a parallel proposal to the Pole Side Impact GTR 
for Addendum 2 to M.R.1 introducing drawings and specifications for the 
WorldSID 50th percentile male will be submitted at a later stage to 
GRSP and to WP.29 for adoption. The Secretariat of the UN is currently 
negotiating with the International Organization for Standardization 
(150) which holds the copywrite on many of the documents on how to 
incorporate them into M.R.I.
    Concerning the 5th percentile female WorldSID dummy, as previously 
reported, issues will significantly increase development time for this 
dummy. Currently, the effort on the 5th percentile female is expected 
to be completed by December 2015. Because of this, the PSI IWG has 
suspended its meetings until the 5th percentile female WorldSID dummy 
development is complete. At that time it will resume its meetings to 
complete work on the GTR to incorporate the second dummy.

C. Exchange of Information Item

Enforcement Working Group
    At the June 2011 session of WP.29, NHTSA proposed that WP.29 
consider forming a new working group that would meet to facilitate the 
regular exchange of non-proprietary or otherwise non-privileged 
information on enforcement-related activities from around the world to 
help governments identify and manage incidences of automotive non-
compliance or defects more quickly. The participants of WP.29 welcomed 
and accepted the proposal. To date, four meetings of the IWG have been 
held, each during the November 2011, June 2012, November 2012, and June 
2013 sessions of WP.29. The IWG is open to all the delegates to WP.29 
including the Contracting Parties, Non-Governmental Organizations and 
industry associations and is expected to meet twice a year going 
forward (each

[[Page 21514]]

June and November sessions of WP.29) subject to the agreement of WP.29.

D. Compendium of Candidate GTRs

    Article 5 of the 1998 Global Agreement provides for the creation of 
a compendium of candidate technical regulations submitted by the 
Contracting Parties. To date, NHTSA has submitted several FMVSSs for 
inclusion in this Compendium. These FMVSSs have all been listed in the 
Compendium after an affirmative vote of the Executive Committee of the 
1998 Global Agreement.
    The FMVSS currently listed in the Compendium include:

 FMVSS No. 108: Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated 
 FMVSS No. 135: Passenger Car Brake Systems
 FMVSS No. 139: New Pneumatic Radial Tires for Light Vehicles
 FMVSS No. 202a: Head Restraints
 FMVSS No. 205: Glazing Materials
 FMVSS No. 213: Child Restraint Systems
 EPA and DOT programs for Light-duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas 
Emissions Standards and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium and Heavy-
Duty Engines and Vehicles
 EPA and NHTSA Programs for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards 
and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium and Heavy-Duty Engines and 
 EPA and NHTSA Programs for Revisions and Additions to the 
Motor Vehicle Fuel Economy Label: New Fuel Economy and Environment 
Labels for a New Generation of Vehicles
    No additional candidate technical regulations have been added as of 
the publication of this notice.

IV. Request for Comments

    NHTSA invites public comments on the various activities outlined in 
this notice. As discussed in Appendix C of 49 CFR part 553, if NHTSA 
votes ``yes'' on a GTR, the agency will publish a notice requesting 
public comment on adopting the regulation as a U.S. standard. Any 
decision by NHTSA whether to issue a final rule adopting the regulation 
or to issue a notice terminating consideration of that regulation will 
be made in accordance with applicable U.S. law and only after careful 
consideration and analysis of public comments. In the event that NHTSA 
issues a final rule based on a GTR and, due to the public comments and/
or new information and data, the final rule significantly differs from 
the GTR, NHTSA will consider seeking amendments to the GTR in an effort 
to achieve consistency. The agency plans to issue individual notices 
based on each GTR as it is established by WP.29 and will consider 
additional detailed comments at that time.

Claude H. Harris,
Acting Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2014-08532 Filed 4-15-14; 8:45 am]

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