Direct Final Rulemaking Procedures
Direct Final Rulemaking Procedures
Mark R. Rosekind
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
June 25, 2015
[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 122 (Thursday, June 25, 2015)]
[Rules and Regulations]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-15507]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
49 CFR Part 553
Direct Final Rulemaking Procedures
AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
Department of Transportation.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: NHTSA is establishing direct final rulemaking (DFR) procedures
for use in adopting amendments to its regulations on which the agency
expects it would receive no adverse public comment were it to publish
them as proposals in the Federal Register. This limitation means that
NHTSA will not use direct final rule procedures for amendments
involving complex or controversial issues. When the agency does not
expect adverse public comments on draft amendments, it will issue a
direct final rule adopting the amendments and stating that they will
become effective in a specified number of days after the date of
publication of the rule in the Federal Register, unless NHTSA receives
written adverse comment(s) or written notice of intent to submit
adverse comment(s) by the specified effective date. Adoption of these
new procedures will expedite the promulgation of routine and
noncontroversial rules by reducing the time and resources necessary to
develop, review, clear and publish separate proposed and final rules.
DATES: Effective June 25, 2015.
ADDRESSES: Docket: To access the docket and read comments received, go
to http://www.regulations.gov and search by Docket ID number NHTSA-
2013-0042 at any time.
Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all
comments received in 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 the
U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) complete Privacy Act
Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR
19476) or you may visit http://www.dot.gov/individuals/privacy/privacy-policy.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Analiese Marchesseault, Office of
Chief Counsel, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590; Telephone: (202) 366-2992.
On March 26, 2013, NHTSA proposed to establish direct final
rulemaking (DFR) procedures for use in adopting amendments to its
regulations on which no adverse public comment is expected by the
agency.\1\ The procedures were modeled after DFR procedures established
by the Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST) on
January 30, 2004 in order to expedite the process adopting non-
controversial rules issued by that office.\2\ The agency also
considered the DFR procedures adopted by several operating
administrations within DOT since 2004.\3\
\1\ 78 FR 18285 (Mar. 26, 2013).
\2\ See 48 CFR 5.35.
\3\ See 14 CFR 11.31 (Federal Aviation Administration); 49 CFR
106.40 (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration); 49
CFR 211.33 (Federal Railroad Administration); 49 CFR 389.39 (Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Administration); 49 CFR 601.36 (Federal Transit
NHTSA proposed to use the DFR process for a rule when the agency
anticipates that the rule, if proposed, would not generate adverse
comment and the final rule would therefore likely be identical to the
proposal. In those instances, the agency believed that providing notice
and opportunity for comment would not be necessary. Notice and comment
rulemaking procedures are not required under the Administrative
Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553) when an agency finds, for good
cause, that using them would be unnecessary. See 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B).
NHTSA said that it believed this procedural option would expedite the
issuance of non-controversial rules, and thereby save time and agency
resources. NHTSA emphasized that it would not use direct final rule
procedures for complex or controversial issues.
In this final rule, NHTSA adopts DFR procedures that are similar to
the proposed ones, except that the agency made some changes in response
to public comments received by the agency. NHTSA received 16 comments,
some of which were substantive and prompted NHTSA to change its
proposed DFR procedures. The comments and NHTSA's responses to them are
II. Responses to Comments on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
Seven of the 16 comments received by NHTSA contained substantive
reactions, suggestions, and recommendations. They are summarized below,
along with the agency's responses. The remaining nine comments were
nonsubstantive and/or did not apply to anything in the proposal, and
therefore are not discussed below.
A. When the Use of a DFR Would Be Appropriate
Commenters expressed different positions on the circumstances in
which they believed that issuance of a DFR would be most appropriate.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (the ``Alliance'') and the
Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) stated that the
primary determining factor in deciding whether a DFR would be
appropriate should be whether the action would generate public
interest, not whether the agency would expect adverse comment. The
Alliance suggested the agency ask whether a rule would be routine,
insignificant, and inconsequential before using the DFR process, and
cited a D.C. Circuit case noting that an agency does not create good
cause to dispense with notice and comment procedures through an
assertion that comments would not be useful.\4\ MEMA suggested the
agency ask whether the action would be so minor that the agency would
expect no comments at all.
\4\ See Docket No. NHTSA-2013-0042-0013, Alliance of Automobile
Manufacturers Comments at 3, citing Action on Smoking and Health v.
Civil Aeronautics Board, 713 F.2d 795 (D.C. Cir. 1983).
NHTSA agrees with the Alliance that asking whether an action is
likely to generate public interest is an appropriate first step in
deciding whether to use the DFR process, and that a belief that
comments would not be useful to the agency does not create good cause.
We also agree with the Alliance that ``routine, insignificant, and
inconsequential actions'' could be appropriate for a DFR. However, the
agency also believes that some actions appropriate for a DFR could
sometimes be consequential, like technical corrections that could
generate positive interest and have considerable impact for those
affected by a rule, as EMA suggested in its comments.\5\ Some rules
that could be viewed as ``routine and insignificant,'' in contrast,
could also be more appropriate for a notice of proposed rulemaking
(NPRM) if they happen to be likely to generate adverse comment.
\5\ Docket No. NHTSA-2013-0042-0012.
With regard to the comment from MEMA, NHTSA is concerned that
initiating a DFR process only when we anticipate no comments at all
would be too narrow of an inquiry, and could severely and unhelpfully
curtail the usefulness of having DFR procedures. If the agency was
considering a rule that would have a positive impact on stakeholders,
and expected only supportive comments, it would not seem to make sense
to issue an NPRM rather than a DFR simply because there would be
For the above reasons, NHTSA continues to believe that asking
whether adverse comment is likely serves as the most accurate and
objective barometer of whether an action appropriately falls under the
``unnecessary'' exception to the APA's prior notice and comment
requirement. The use of this barometer is also consistent with the DFR
procedures adopted by other parts of the Department.
B. Examples of Actions for Which a DFR May Be Appropriate
In the NPRM, the agency listed a number of examples of actions for
which a DFR would likely be appropriate, and received various comments
in response. We emphasize that the purpose of the action finalized
today is not to draw parameters around which rulemaking activities are
subject to notice and comment procedures under the APA, but simply to
prescribe specific procedures for the agency to follow with regard to
certain actions that are not subject to notice and comment procedures
under the APA. In light of that, and also to ensure that the agency has
considered all relevant comments, the following discussion groups
comments by the DFR examples in the NPRM, and provides the agency's
response to each:
Non-Substantive Amendments, Such as Clarifications or Corrections, to
an Existing Rule
The Alliance and MEMA stated that a DFR would not be appropriate
for a rule clarifying an existing rule. Instead, both suggested that
the agency use a NPRM or the existing response letter process used for
requests for interpretation. NHTSA agrees that for major
clarifications, a NPRM would best accommodate any potential public
input. The agency also agrees that the existing process of issuing
letter responses continues to adequately address situations where an
interpretation is requested for a particular factual situation.
To be clear, the DFR process is not intended to replace either of
the processes identified by commenters; rather, it can serve a
supplementary role for minor clarifications or corrections that are not
specific to a requestor's particular situation. One hypothetical
example could be if the agency describes reporting details in a final
rule preamble as applicable in all instances, but includes
corresponding regulatory text providing those details for all
applicable provisions except one. A rulemaking better aligning the
appropriate details to all applicable provisions, as described in
preamble but not clear in the regulatory text, could be one such
clarification where a DFR would be appropriate. Therefore, consistent
with the procedures adopted by OST and other parts of the
Department, NHTSA is retaining this example in the final regulatory
Updates to Existing Forms or Rules, Such as Incorporation by Reference
of the Latest Technical Standards, or Changes Affecting NHTSA's
The Alliance suggested that updating forms did not need to be
included in the list because that category is already excluded from
notice and comment procedures under the APA as something that addresses
``agency organization, procedure, or practice.'' The Alliance also
agreed that NHTSA internal procedures would be an appropriate use of
the DFR process.
The Alliance's comment combines two potential uses of a DFR that
could be, but are not necessarily related. First, NHTSA agrees that
forms dealing with rules of agency organization, procedure or practice,
or any other rules dealing with those subjects, would be excluded from
notice and comment procedures under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(A). Second,
rulemakings regarding forms used by the agency that are not limited to
internal functions, could be excluded from the notice and comment
requirements of the APA under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B) if they meet the
parameters described in today's final rule. As described above, today's
action simply prescribes procedures for the agency to follow with
regard to certain actions not subject to notice and comment under the
APA. The procedures established under this rule could conceivably be
applied to actions exempted from notice and comment under 5 U.S.C.
553(b)(3)(A) as well as 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B).
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) noted
that not all changes in forms or incorporation of material will be
noncontroversial, and suggested that NHTSA revise the procedures to
specify that it will review each rule and determine whether it is
controversial. The Alliance and the Rubber Manufacturers Association
(RMA) argued that updating industry standards may not be appropriate
for a DFR if the changes are substantive. The Alliance stated that most
revisions to technical standards are substantive. RMA also suggested
that an incorporation by reference of latest technical standards would
raise concerns if a manufacturer was using previous standards based on
earlier NHTSA requirements. In that instance, RMA suggested the use of
initial voluntary compliance dates with a phase-in.
NHTSA appreciates the above concerns raised by commenters. NHTSA
recognizes that the agency has typically deferred making updates to
voluntary consensus standards until the standards have been changed in
a substantively significant way. Again, the listed examples of
situations where a DFR may be appropriate were not intended to imply
that a DFR will always be used in those situations, or that the agency
would shortcut its process of determining whether notice and comment
are unnecessary under the APA. NHTSA will assess every potential DFR
individually to determine whether using the DFR process would be
appropriate. NHTSA will not use the DFR to make updates to existing
forms or rules, such as an incorporation by reference of the latest
technical standards, that would involve complex or controversial
issues. We have added this language to the final regulatory text to
eliminate any confusion. We also emphasize, again, that if NHTSA ever
errs in its judgment and issues a DFR for an action that should have
been issued through an NPRM, the public will have an opportunity to
file an adverse comment stating as such.
For the above reasons, and consistent with the procedures adopted
by OST and other parts of the Department, NHTSA is retaining these
examples in the final regulatory text.
Minor Substantive Rules or Changes to Existing Rules on Which the
Agency Does Not Expect Adverse Comment
The Alliance also argued that the category of ``minor substantive
rules or changes to existing rules on which the agency does not expect
adverse comment'' was too subjective. An individual commenter, Sam
Creasey, also expressed concern with this provision, and stated that it
should not replace the standard comment process. Related to its comment
on when the use of a DFR would be appropriate, the Alliance stated that
the standard should be that no substantive public comments are
NHTSA disagrees with the Alliance's position. As explained above,
NHTSA is concerned that initiating a DFR process only when we
anticipate no comments at all would be too narrow of an inquiry, and
could severely and unhelpfully curtail the usefulness of having DFR
procedures. Moreover, we could envision a scenario in which a DFR could
be appropriate and we expect to receive only positive comments--whether
substantive or not, if comments are only positive and do not provide
the agency with information that would lead it to issue a final rule
different from what was proposed, there would not appear to be any
utility to going through the notice and comment process. That said,
NHTSA, like other agencies, has broad discretion under the APA to
determine when prior notice and comment are necessary for a rulemaking.
As also explained above, NHTSA will assess every potential DFR
individually, and will rely on notice and comment rulemaking when we
believe that a DFR would not be appropriate. Again, this rule simply
prescribes specific procedures for the agency to follow with regard to
certain actions that are not subject to notice and comment procedures
under the APA. It does not alter which actions are subject to such
procedures. We continue to believe that some types of minor rules or
changes properly fall into the category of actions for which notice and
comment are unnecessary.
The Alliance listed an example of a past proposal on which issues
raised during the comment process were likely unanticipated by NHTSA,
and argued that this supported the Alliance's position that expectation
of adverse comment would not be an appropriate standard for when the
DFR process should be used. Sam Creasey also stated that one of the
important purposes of the comment process is to help inform the agency
of unexpected adverse consequences to its rules. NHTSA agrees that it
is important for it to consider adverse comments, especially when
initially unanticipated by the agency, but believes that the use of a
comment period for DFRs, as established by these procedures, can easily
accomplish this objective. If a situation similar to the example
provided by the Alliance were to occur after issuance of these
procedures, the agency would be required by the procedures to respond
to its receipt of any adverse comment or notice of intent to submit
adverse comment by withdrawing the controversial provisions of the DFR
and, if the agency chose to move forward with the action, proceed with
a new notice of proposed rulemaking, with its attendant notice and
comment period. The standard of anticipated adverse comments would
simply help to answer the question of whether a particular action would
be noncontroversial--it would not completely eliminate the need for
that underlying analysis.
For the above reasons, and consistent with the procedures adopted
by OST and other parts of the Department, NHTSA is retaining this
example in the final regulatory text.
C. Definition of Adverse Comment
Several commenters disagreed with NHTSA's explanation of adverse
comment in the preamble, although they supported the proposed
regulatory text. The Alliance and MEMA argued that if a comment
recommended additional changes, it should be considered adverse whether
or not the comment explained why the notice would be ineffective
without the change. The commenters argued that NHTSA's proposed
treatment of such a comment would be inconsistent with the Department's
Office of the Secretary (OST) DFR procedures, and would inappropriately
transfer to the public a burden of ``proving'' that incorporation of
their comment would be needed to make the proposed action effective.
Both commenters stated that the proposed regulatory text, which, unlike
the preamble, did not include the ``why'' language, appeared more
consistent with the OST DFR procedures and the commenters' own
preferences. Global Automakers expressed similar concerns, arguing that
a DFR could be effective without a change but also unwise or
undesirable, in which case it should be considered adverse without
commenters having to prove ineffectiveness.
NHTSA agrees that the proposed regulatory text was not intended to
impose any obligation or expectation that a commenter ``prove''
anything related to a comment on a DFR, including effectiveness of the
notice without it. We also agree that an action could be effective
without a suggested additional change, but still have unanticipated
adverse consequences. A comment on a DFR could conceivably alert the
agency to such effects without having to explain why the notice would
be ineffective without the change. NHTSA is therefore maintaining the
regulatory definition of ``adverse comment'' as proposed. This
definition aligns with the definition adopted by OST in its DFR
procedures and is consistent with the definitions adopted by other
parts of the Department.
That said, however, we continue to believe that not all comments
recommending additional actions should be automatically considered
adverse. For example, it may not be appropriate to halt finalization of
a necessary and noncontroversial action simply because it led a
commenter to suggest an additional action that would also be
beneficial. Several DOT operating administrations \6\ specify in the
regulatory text of their DFR procedures that a comment recommending
additional rule changes would not be considered adverse unless it
explained that the notice would be ineffective without the change. RMA
suggested that NHTSA revise this explanation to state that the agency
would not consider a comment recommending additional actions or changes
``outside the scope of the rule'' to be adverse, unless the comment
also stated why the DFR would be ineffective without the additional
actions or changes. We believe that this revision appropriately
addresses both the commenters' and the agency's concerns, and are
therefore adopting it.
\6\ The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Pipeline and
Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).
Global Automakers asked NHTSA to follow the Administrative
Conference of the United States (ACUS) recommendation \7\ that ``in
determining whether a significant adverse comment is sufficient to
terminate a direct final rulemaking, agencies should consider whether
the comment raises an issue serious enough to warrant a substantive
response in a notice-and-comment process.'' We agree that such an
adverse comment would appropriately result in a withdrawal of the
portion of a DFR to which it applied. By the same reasoning, a
frivolous or irrelevant comment would not result in a withdrawal, just
as it would also not raise an issue serious enough to warrant a
substantive response in a notice-and-comment rulemaking. We agree with
this logic. We also believe these assessments will occur as part of the
analysis of whether a potential action is complex or controversial. As
stated in the proposal, NHTSA will not use the DFR process for complex
or controversial actions.
\7\ Administrative Conference of the United States
Recommendation number 95-4 (January 15, 1995), ``Procedures for
Noncontroversial and Expedited Rulemaking,'' at 3. http://www.acus.gov/recommendation/procedures-noncontroversial-and-expeditedrulemaking.
RMA requested that NHTSA specify that objections about an effective
or implementation date, cost or benefits estimates would be adverse
comments. RMA also asked how NHTSA would treat general support but
opposition to an effective date because of unnecessary burden without
benefit--specifically, whether NHTSA would amend the effective date in
the revised DFR or open another rulemaking. We would consider an
effective or implementation date to be a ``provision of the rule,'' and
therefore a comment objecting to an effective or implementation date
would be considered a comment critical to a provision of the rule, and
thus adverse. We believe that a comment objecting to cost or benefits
estimates that also contained an objection to the adoption of the rule
or any provision of the rule, including an objection based solely on
the cost or benefits, would be adverse. However, an objection to the
cost or benefits estimates alone would likely not be considered
OOIDA requested that NHTSA confirm that comments submitted through
the Web site regulations.gov would be considered ``received in
writing'' under the DFR procedures. We confirm this understanding.
D. Content and Issuance of a DFR
Several commenters asked for greater specification on the timing of
different stages of a DFR. MEMA stated that NHTSA must specify and
follow uniform timeliness throughout the issuance of a DFR. The
Alliance asked for more clarification of when the ``order is issued''
for purposes of judicial review, and recommended that NHTSA state in
the notice that the date of confirmation of rule is considered the
promulgation date. We do not believe this would be consistent with what
we consider the date of issuance for other rulemakings. As with other
final rules, the date of publication of a direct final rule in the
Federal Register is considered the date of issuance. Thus, for direct
final rules, NHTSA would consider the publication date as the starting
point for the purpose of calculating judicial review.
Global Automakers and MEMA requested that NHTSA specify it will
always provide at least 30 days for comment. OOIDA and RMA requested
that NHTSA specify a minimum 60-day comment period. RMA further asked
that NHTSA explain in the rulemaking why a shorter period is necessary
if 30 days are used instead. OOIDA also argued that failing to set any
minimum comment period without noting what circumstances would affect
the comment period length does not provide sufficient notice to the
public. MEMA stated that if the agency believed more than 30 days were
needed, a DFR may not be appropriate.
NHTSA believes that a minimum 30-day comment period is reasonable,
and that the certainty of a minimum comment period could be useful to
potential stakeholders. Therefore, we are amending the regulatory text
to state that at least 30 days will be provided for comments. We do not
agree that a minimum of 60 days should be mandatory, because in many
instances, such as for actions with no anticipated stakeholder
interest, a longer comment
period would not provide additional benefit. However, we continue to
believe it is appropriate for the agency to use its discretion in
providing a longer comment period when 30 days is anticipated to be
insufficient for any reason. This will allow the agency to use a longer
period for actions that may require more time for review either due to
the nature of the action, or, as suggested by OOIDA, to ensure access
for a key stakeholder group.
In establishing its DFR procedures, OST declined to specify any
minimum comment period in the regulatory test, explaining that ``In
practice, it is in OST's interest to provide a comment period of
sufficient length to allow interested parties to determine whether they
wish or need to submit adverse comments. Too short a comment period
could stymie the direct final rule process by forcing commenters to err
on the side of caution and file an intent to submit adverse comment to
stop the direct final rule process in cases involving any uncertainty
of the effect of a direct final rule.'' 69 FR 4456.
Stating that it would be consistent with an ACUS recommendation,
Global Automakers requested that NHTSA specify in the final rule either
that (1) the agency will issue a second notice confirming the DFR will
go into effect at least 30 days after the first notice; or (2) unless
the agency issues a notice withdrawing a DFR-issued rule by a
particular date, the rule will be effective no less than 30 days after
the specified date. MEMA requested that the regulatory text of the
procedures specify exactly when a DFR would go into effect, and that a
notice be published within 15 days either confirming no comments were
received or noting the withdrawal of the notice due to comments
We agree that further specification would be useful, and believe
the suggestion from Global Automakers would accomplish this
effectively. Therefore, the regulatory text has been revised to state
that if no written adverse comment or written notice of intent to
submit adverse comment is received, the rule will become effective no
less than 45 days after the date of publication of the DFR. The
regulatory text also specifies that NHTSA will publish a notice in the
Federal Register if no adverse comment was received that confirms the
rule will become effective on the date indicated in the DFR. The agency
will either specify in the text of the DFR the exact period after which
the rule will become effective, or issue a second notice confirming
which date the DFR will go into effect. We believe that the minimum 45
day period between publication and effective dates will allow the
agency to properly assess whether adverse comments were received, and
to issue a confirmation notice if appropriate.
The Alliance stated that it supported the agency's proposed
procedures for withdrawing a DFR either in whole or in part. RMA stated
that this language was unprecedented in the DFR procedures of other DOT
modes, and requested that NHTSA specify which parts of a DFR would be
severable and which would be treated as whole units. RMA argued that if
the agency did not do so, it would create uncertainty and could
generate unnecessary comments where there otherwise would not have been
any. An example given was a commenter that may object to only parts of
a DFR being implemented.
NHTSA disagrees that language specifying that a DFR may be
withdrawn in whole or in part is unprecedented in other DOT modes; the
Federal Aviation Administration established DFR procedures with such a
provision in 2000.\8\ NHTSA agrees with RMA that it would alleviate
uncertainty for the agency to know as precisely as possible which parts
of the DFR should be severable in the case of adverse comments.
However, we believe the potential variations of severability within a
given notice could be endless, ranging from notices that are not
severable at all to notices where each provision is severable.
Therefore, it would be preferable for a commenter to specify to which
aspects of the notice they intended their comment to apply than for the
agency to outline every provision to be considered as a ``whole'' or
``part.'' NHTSA intends to remind commenters of the importance of
specifying to which aspects of the notice their comment applies, to
ensure that the agency withdraws only those areas that receive adverse
\8\ 14 CFR 11.31; 65 FR 50850.
OOIDA requested that NHTSA confirm it understands that the use of
the DFR procedure would not relieve the agency of any obligation to
perform a regulatory flexibility, Paperwork Reduction Act, or cost/
benefit analysis for a given notice. NHTSA confirms this understanding.
Global Automakers asked NHTSA to adopt an ACUS recommendation \9\
that a DFR include the full text of the regulation and supporting
materials. NHTSA's proposed procedures simply applied the existing
requirement for notices of proposed rulemakings to DFRs, which is that
rules provide ``a description of the subjects and issues involved or
the substance and terms of the rule.'' NHTSA understands this concern.
A DFR is, after all, a final rule, meaning that technically, the
agency, under the proposed language, would not need to include the
regulatory text in the notice, which would be problematic in the
assumed ordinary instance where the agency does not receive adverse
comment and does not need to pull back the initial final rule. NHTSA
believes that its longstanding interpretation of the requirement is
consistent with the ACUS recommendation, and, therefore, believes that
this instance will not occur for DFRs. However, in order to alleviate
any potential concerns, the agency has added new subsection (c) to make
clear that all DFRs will include the full regulatory text of the final
\9\ Administrative Conference of the United States
Recommendation number 95-4 (January 15, 1995), ``Procedures for
Noncontroversial and Expedited Rulemaking,'' at 2. http://www.acus.gov/recommendation/procedures-noncontroversial-and-expeditedrulemaking.
RMA requested that NHTSA include the phrase ``Direct Final Rule''
under the ``action'' caption of DFRs. NHTSA agrees with this request
and will do so.
III. Statutory and Executive Orders
Executive Orders 12866 and 13563
NHTSA has determined that this action is not a significant
regulatory action under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563, or under the
Department's Regulatory Policies and Procedures. There are no costs
associated with the rule. There will be some cost savings in Federal
Register publication costs and efficiencies for the public and NHTSA
personnel in eliminating duplicative reviews.
Regulatory Flexibility Act
NHTSA certifies that this rule will not have a significant impact
on a substantial number of small entities.
Executive Order 13132
NHTSA does not believe that there will be sufficient federalism
implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism assessment.
Paperwork Reduction Act
The rule does not contain any information collection requirements
under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
NHTSA has determined that the requirements of Title II of the
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 do not apply to this rulemaking.
National Technology Transfer Advancement Act
Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement
Act (NTTAA) requires NHTSA to evaluate and use existing voluntary
consensus standards in its regulatory activities unless doing so would
be inconsistent with applicable law (e.g., the statutory provisions
regarding NHTSA's vehicle safety authority) or otherwise impractical.
Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards developed or
adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies. Technical standards
are defined by the NTTAA as ``performance-based or design-specific
technical specification and related management systems practices.''
They pertain to ``products and processes, such as size, strength, or
technical performance of a product, process or material.''
Examples of organizations generally regarded as voluntary consensus
standards bodies include the American Society for Testing and Materials
(ASTM), the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and the American
National Standards Institute (ANSI). If NHTSA does not use available
and potentially applicable voluntary consensus standards, we are
required by the Act to provide Congress, through OMB, an explanation of
the reasons for not using such standards.
NHTSA has not identified any applicable voluntary consensus
standards for this procedural rule.
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 comments (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). For more information
on DOT's implementation of the Privacy Act, please visit: http://www.dot.gov/privacy.
List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 553
Administrative practice and procedure, Motor vehicle safety.
For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration is amending 49 CFR part 553 as follows:
PART 553--RULEMAKING PROCEDURES
1. The authority citation for part 553 is revised to read as follows:
Authority: 49 U.S.C. 322, 1657, 30103, 30122, 30124, 30125,
30127, 30146, 30162, 32303, 32502, 32504, 32505, 32705, 32901,
32902, 33102, 33103, and 33107; delegation of authority at 49 CFR
2. Add Sec. 553.14 to read as follows:
Sec. 553.14 Direct final rulemaking.
If the Administrator, for good cause, finds that notice is
unnecessary, and incorporates that finding and a brief statement of the
reasons for it in the rule, a direct final rule may be issued according
to the following procedures.
(a) Rules that the Administrator judges to be non-controversial and
unlikely to result in adverse public comment may be published as direct
final rules. These may include rules that:
(1) Are non-substantive amendments, such as clarifications or
corrections, to an existing rule;
(2) Update existing forms or rules, such as incorporations by
reference of the latest technical standards where the standards have
not been changed in a complex or controversial way;
(3) Affect NHTSA's internal procedures, such as filing requirements
and rules governing inspection and copying of documents;
(4) Are minor substantive rules or changes to existing rules on
which the agency does not expect adverse comment.
(b) The Federal Register document will state that any adverse
comment or notice of intent to submit adverse comment must be received
in writing by NHTSA within the specified time after the date of
publication of the direct final rule and that, if no written adverse
comment or written notice of intent to submit adverse comment is
received in that period, the rule will become effective a specified
number of days (no less than 45) after the date of publication of the
direct final rule. NHTSA will provide a minimum comment period of 30
(c) If no written adverse comment or written notice of intent to
submit adverse comment is received by NHTSA within the specified time
after the date of publication in the Federal Register, NHTSA will
publish a document in the Federal Register indicating that no adverse
comment was received and confirming that the rule will become effective
on the date that was indicated in the direct final rule.
(d) If NHTSA receives any written adverse comment or written notice
of intent to submit adverse comment within the specified time after
publication of the direct final rule in the Federal Register, the
agency will publish a document withdrawing the direct final rule, in
whole or in part, in the final rule section of the Federal Register. If
NHTSA decides to proceed with a provision on which adverse comment was
received, the agency will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in
the proposed rule section of the Federal Register to provide another
opportunity to comment.
(e) An ``adverse'' comment, for the purpose of this subpart, means
any comment that NHTSA determines is critical of any provision of the
rule, suggests that the rule should not be adopted, or suggests a
change that should be made in the rule. A comment suggesting that the
policy or requirements of the rule should or should not also be
extended to other Departmental programs outside the scope of the rule
is not adverse.
3. In Sec. 553.15, revise the section heading and paragraphs (a),
(b)(1), and (b)(3) to read as follows:
Sec. 553.15 Contents of notices of proposed rulemaking and direct
(a) Each notice of proposed rulemaking, and each direct final rule,
is published in the Federal Register, unless all persons subject to it
are named and are personally served with a copy of it.
(b) * * *
(1) A statement of the time, place, and nature of the rulemaking
* * * * *
(3) A description of the subjects and issues involved or the
substance and terms of the rule.
(c) In the case of a direct final rule, the agency will also
include the full regulatory text in the document published in the
* * * * *
4. Revise Sec. 553.23 to read as follows:
Sec. 553.23 Consideration of comments received.
All timely comments are considered before final action is taken on
a rulemaking proposal or direct final rule. Late filed comments will be
considered to the extent practicable.
Issued in Washington, DC, on June 18, 2015 under authority
delegated in 49 CFR 1.95.
Mark R. Rosekind,
[FR Doc. 2015-15507 Filed 6-24-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P
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