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Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Glazing Materials

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Glazing Materials

Heidi Renate King
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
4 April 2019


[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 65 (Thursday, April 4, 2019)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 13222-13223]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-06518]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571

[Docket No. NHTSA-2019-0024]
RIN 2127-AL03


Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Glazing Materials

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; withdrawal.

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SUMMARY: NHTSA withdraws its June 21, 2012 Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking (NPRM), which proposed revising Federal motor vehicle safety 
standard (FMVSS) No. 205, ``Glazing materials,'' to harmonize it with 
Global Technical Regulation (GTR) No. 6, ``Safety Glazing Materials for 
Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Equipment.'' Based on the results of 
the agency's review of available information and analysis of the 
technically substantive comments on the proposal, NHTSA is unable to 
conclude at this time that harmonizing FMVSS No. 205 with GTR No. 6 
would increase safety.

DATES: As of April 4, 2019, the proposed amendments to 49 CFR part 571 
that were contained in the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) 
published June 21, 2012 (77 FR 37477) are withdrawn.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: James Myers, Office of Crashworthiness 
Standards (Phone 202-366-1810; FAX: 202-366-2739) or Callie Roach, 
Office of the Chief Counsel (Phone: 202-366-2992; FAX: 202-366-3820).
    You may send mail to these officials at: National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 205, ``Glazing 
materials,'' (49 CFR 571.205), specifies performance requirements for 
the types of glazing that may be installed in motor vehicles. It also 
specifies the vehicle locations in which the various types of glazing 
may be installed. The purpose of FMVSS No. 205 is to reduce injuries 
(e.g., lacerations) resulting from impact to glazing surfaces, to 
ensure a necessary degree of transparency in motor vehicle windows for 
driver visibility, and to minimize the possibility of occupants being 
thrown through the vehicle windows in collisions. FMVSS No. 205 applies 
to passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, 
motorcycles, slide-in campers, pickup covers designed to carry persons 
while in motion and low speed vehicles, and to glazing materials for 
use in those vehicles.
    GTR No. 6, ``Safety Glazing Materials for Motor Vehicles and Motor 
Vehicle Equipment,'' was adopted under the United Nations/Economic 
Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) 1998 Agreement, which is administered by 
World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulation (WP.29). At the 
one-hundred-and-thirty-second session of the WP.29 in March 2004, the 
formal proposal to develop a GTR on safety glazing was adopted, and at 
that time restricted the scope of the glazing GTR to glass safety 
glazing, thereby excluding other materials, such as plastics. The 
objective of GTR No. 6 is to develop an internationally harmonized 
standard regarding the safety of glass automotive glazing materials. 
GTR No. 6 includes requirements and tests to ensure that the mechanical 
properties, optical qualities and environmental resistance of glazing 
are satisfactory; it does not include type approval, plastic glazing 
and installation requirements.

II. NPRM

    On June 21, 2012, NHTSA published a NPRM \1\ as part of the 
agency's ongoing effort to harmonize vehicle safety standards under the 
UN/ECE 1998 agreement when, and to the extent, appropriate to do so. 
The agency stated in the NPRM that harmonization with GTR No. 6 would 
modernize the test procedures for tempered glass, laminated glass, and 
glass-plastic glazing used in front windshields and rear and side 
windows. The GTR proposed an upgraded fragmentation test for testing 
the tempering of curved tempered glass, and a new procedure for testing 
an optical property of the windshield at the angle of installation, to 
more accurately reflect real world driving conditions than the current 
procedure used in Standard No. 205. The agency said further that most 
of the proposals were minor amendments that would harmonize differing 
measurements and performance requirements for similar test procedures. 
Many of the tests in the GTR were said to be substantially similar to 
tests currently included in FMVSS No. 205.
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    \1\ 77 FR 37478.
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III. Comments Received

    In the NPRM, the agency requested public comment on whether the

[[Page 13223]]

proposed amendments reflecting provisions of the GTR are suitable for 
being adopted into the Federal glazing standard. NHTSA received 
comments from 14 entities in response to the NPRM to adopt GTR 
provisions in FMVSS No. 205.\2\ These comments came from trade 
associations, glazing manufacturers, automobile manufacturers, a 
glazing industry expert, and a safety technology company. Overall, most 
of the comments supported the harmonization efforts, though several 
suggested revisions or requested clarification. A few commenters were 
opposed to certain aspects of the proposed harmonization of glazing 
standards, with one respondent completely opposing the NPRM. NHTSA also 
received comments for definitions, markings, and cost.
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    \2\ Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0083.
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IV. Decision to Withdraw Rulemaking

    Crash data indicates that current glazing materials are performing 
acceptably. Since the 1960s, the magnitude of the safety problem for 
glazing has been substantially reduced.\3\ The increased availability 
of automatic occupant protection systems has resulted in a substantial 
reduction in the numbers of occupants impacting the windshield and thus 
being exposed to lacerative injuries from broken glass. The current 
glazing standard ensures that emerging and evolving glazing 
technologies produce commensurate benefits and that glazing remains a 
safety concern rather than becoming a safety problem.
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    \3\ Kahane, C.J. (2015, January). Lives saved by vehicle safety 
technologies and associated Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, 
1960 to 2012--Passenger cars and LTVs--With reviews of 26 FMVSS and 
the effectiveness of their associated safety technologies in 
reducing fatalities, injuries and crashes. (Report No. DOT HS 812 
069). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration.
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    According to agency crash data, occupant ejection, particularly 
during rollover events, is a much larger safety problem than 
lacerations from broken glass. NHTSA addressed this safety problem by 
issuing FMVSS No. 226, ``Ejection mitigation,'' in 2011. The standard 
became fully phased-in in 2017. While glazing materials may be one 
component of an ejection mitigation countermeasure system, the scope of 
FMVSS No. 205 is focused on material performance in terms of the 
glazing mechanical strength, optical properties, and environmental 
durability. The tests described in FMVSS No. 205 assure conformance 
with minimum required glazing equipment performance levels.
    Based on the results of our review and of available data and 
analysis of the technically substantive comments, the agency is unable 
to conclude at this time that harmonizing FMVSS No. 205 with GTR No. 6 
would, on balance, increase or decrease safety. While some of the 
proposed changes would be expected to improve safety as they more 
accurately reflect real world driving conditions, others may result in 
a decrease in safety. NHTSA has determined that it does not have 
sufficient data to evaluate the safety implications of harmonizing 
FMVSS No. 205 with GTR No. 6. Therefore, NHTSA has determined that the 
most appropriate path forward at this time is to withdraw the 2012 
NPRM.
    In order to better inform future agency decisions, NHTSA is 
planning a glazing research study. NHTSA is also monitoring SAE 
International's efforts to publish a new Glazing Standard, SAE Standard 
J3097 ``Standard for Safety Glazing Materials for Glazing Motor 
Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Equipment Operating on Land Highways.'' If 
this study is undertaken as planned, it may enable the agency to reach 
clearer conclusions about the impact of harmonizing FMVSS No. 205 with 
GTR No. 6. Depending on the outcome of that study and SAE's progress, 
NHTSA would consider those data in potential next steps.
    The agency notes that this document does not represent a decision 
whether or not to adopt GTR No. 6. NHTSA voted in favor of establishing 
a global technical regulation (GTR) on automotive glazing and 
considered adopting the regulations by issuing an NPRM in 2012. 
However, after considering public comments received in response to the 
proposal, the agency is withdrawing the NPRM to reconsider its next 
steps. Accordingly, NHTSA withdraws the 2012 proposed glazing GTR 
harmonization rulemaking.

    Issued in Washington, DC, under authority delegated in 49 CFR 
part 1.95 and 501.5.
Heidi Renate King,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2019-06518 Filed 4-3-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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