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Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Side Impact Protection--Light Trucks, Buses and Multipurpose Passenger Vehicles

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Side Impact Protection--Light Trucks, Buses and Multipurpose Passenger Vehicles

Barry Felrice
Federal Register
June 15, 1994

[Federal Register: June 15, 1994]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571

[Docket No. 88-06, Notice 23]
RIN: 2127-AE49

 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Side Impact Protection--
Light Trucks, Buses and Multipurpose Passenger Vehicles

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: This notice proposes to extend Standard No. 214's dynamic side 
impact protection requirements to multipurpose passenger vehicles, 
trucks and buses with a gross vehicle weight rating of 8,500 pounds or 
less and an unloaded vehicle weight of 5,500 pounds or less. These 
proposed amendments would require that each of these vehicles must 
protect its occupants in a full-scale dynamic crash test in which the 
vehicle is struck on either side by a moving deformable barrier 
simulating another vehicle. The occupants would be represented by 
instrumented test dummies. The dummies would be positioned in the 
target vehicle to measure the potential for injuries to an occupant's 
thorax and pelvis. Given the differences between these vehicles and 
passenger cars and their respective crash experiences, the agency is 
proposing possible modifications in the test procedure for these 
vehicles.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before August 15, 1994.

ADDRESSES: Comments should refer to the docket and notice numbers set 
forth above and be submitted (preferably in 10 copies) to the Docket 
Section, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, room 5109, 400 
Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC 20590. Docket hours are from 9:30 
a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Joseph Kanianthra, Chief, Side and 
Rollover Crash Protection Division, Office of Vehicle Safety Standards, 
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street SW., 
Washington, DC 20590 (202-366-4924).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Background
    IA. Existing Side Impact Requirements
    IB. Statutory Requirements
    IC. The June 1992 ANPRM
    ID. Comments on the ANPRM
II. Overview of Proposal
III. The Safety Problem
IV. Rulemaking Rationale
V. Proposal
    VA. Possible Test Procedure Modifications
    VB. Performance Requirements
    VC. Rear Seat Requirements
VI. Vehicles Covered by Proposal
VII. Benefits
VIII. Costs
IX. Leadtime/Phase-in
X. Reporting Requirements
XI. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices
XII. Submission of Comments

I. Background

IA. Existing Side Impact Requirements

    NHTSA's side impact protection requirements are set forth in 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 214, Side Impact Protection. 
The standard specifies two sets of requirements: (1) Quasi-static side 
door strength requirements for passenger cars and for ``LTVs'' (trucks, 
buses and multipurpose passenger vehicles (MPVs) with a gross vehicle 
weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds or less), and (2) dynamic 
requirements for passenger cars.
    Standard No. 214's quasi-static side door strength requirements 
seek to mitigate occupant injuries in side impacts by reducing the 
extent to which the side structure of a vehicle is pushed into the 
occupant compartment during a side impact. Under the requirements, side 
doors must resist crush forces that are applied against the door's 
outside surface in a laboratory test. The requirements have applied to 
passenger cars since January 1, 1973, and were extended to LTVs by a 
final rule published in the Federal Register (56 FR 27427) on June 14, 
1991. A phase-in for the extension of the requirements to LTVs began on 
September 1, 1993.
    NHTSA added Standard No. 214's dynamic requirements for passenger 
cars in a final rule published in the Federal Register (55 FR 45722) on 
October 30, 1990. Under the requirements, a passenger car must provide 
protection to occupants' thoracic and pelvic regions as measured by the 
accelerations registered on instrumented side impact dummies (SID) in a 
full-scale crash test. In the test, the car (known as the ``target'' 
car) is struck in the side by a moving deformable barrier (MDB) 
simulating another vehicle. A phase-in for these new requirements also 
began on September 1, 1993.
    The MDB specified in Standard No. 214's dynamic test procedure 
weighs about 3,000 pounds, and it is 33 inches high (measured from the 
ground to the top edge of the barrier face). Under the test procedure, 
the front and rear wheels of the MDB are ``crabbed'' at an angle of 27 
degrees. With the MDB face oriented at a right angle to the target car, 
the MDB moves at an angle of 27 degrees and at a speed of 33.5 mph into 
the side of the target car. These aspects of the procedure were 
selected so that the test simulates the vehicle kinematics and crash 
forces in the struck car in a real world side crash in which a vehicle 
traveling at 30 mph perpendicularly strikes the side of a vehicle 
traveling at 15 mph. The agency determined that the 30 mph/15 mph 
combination represents the threshold speed of serious chest injury, and 
that countermeasures designed for the 30 mph/15 mph condition are 
likely to be effective in reducing chest injury potential over most of 
the range of impact speeds encountered in side crashes.
    Standard No. 214's dynamic test procedure includes placing 
instrumented SIDs in the outboard front and rear seats on the struck 
side of the target car. For the thorax, the performance limit is 
expressed in terms of an injury criterion known as the Thoracic Trauma 
Index (dummy) or TTI(d). This injury criterion represents the average 
of peak acceleration values measured on the lower spine and the greater 
of the acceleration values of the upper and lower ribs of the test 
dummy. For the pelvis, the performance limit is specified in terms of 
the peak acceleration measured on the pelvis of the test dummy.

IB. Statutory Requirements

    This notice is being issued pursuant to the NHTSA Authorization Act 
of 1991. Section 2503 of that Act requires the agency to address, 
through rulemaking, the possible extension of Standard No. 214's 
dynamic side impact protection requirements for passenger cars to MPVs 
and trucks with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less and an unloaded vehicle 
weight of 5,500 pounds or less. These vehicles comprise a large 
majority of LTVs. Under section 2502 of the Act, the rulemaking must be 
conducted under the general provisions of the National Traffic and 
Motor Vehicle Safety Act concerning safety standards.
    Section 2502 required NHTSA to publish, by a specified date, either 
an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) or an NPRM concerning 
the extension of Standard No. 214's dynamic side impact requirements to 
LTVs. In accordance with this requirement, on June 5, 1992, NHTSA 
published in the Federal Register (57 FR 24009) an ANPRM on this 
subject.
    Section 2502 also provides that this rulemaking action must be 
completed within 26 months of publishing the ANPRM. The rulemaking is 
considered completed when NHTSA either promulgates a final rule or 
decides not to promulgate a rule. In either case, the agency must 
publish its decision in the Federal Register.

IC. The June 1992 ANPRM

    In the June 1992 ANPRM, NHTSA estimated that the number of LTV 
fatalities in side impact crashes will rise by about 11 percent between 
1989 and the mid-1990's, with front seat fatalities totaling 1,683 to 
1,753 annually, and rear seat fatalities totaling 58. The agency 
indicated that approximately 16 percent of the fatalities are expected 
to occur in heavy vehicle (GVWR above 10,000 pounds)-LTV side crashes, 
39 percent in light vehicle (GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less)-LTV side 
crashes, and 45 percent in single vehicle LTV crashes. For the multi-
vehicle side impacts, approximately 71 percent of the LTV fatalities 
and 78 percent of serious injuries are caused by passenger cars and 
LTVs, with LTVs being the dominant striking vehicles. A much smaller 
percentage of passenger car fatalities and injuries is caused by 
heavier vehicles in the light-duty vehicle fleet, in multi-vehicle side 
impacts.
    NHTSA explained that the possible extension of Standard No. 214's 
dynamic requirements to LTVs would primarily address LTV occupant 
fatalities and serious injuries which result from contacts between the 
side interior of LTVs and the shoulder, chest, abdomen, back and pelvis 
of an occupant. The agency estimated that by the mid-1990's, this 
portion of the side impact problem will account for about 245 LTV 
occupant fatalities and an additional 825 non-fatal serious injuries 
(AIS-3 or greater) annually.
    NHTSA stated that it believes that the same types of 
countermeasures that reduce the probability of these types of thoracic 
and pelvic injuries in passenger cars, i.e., the use of structural 
modifications in combination with padding or the use of padding alone, 
can provide safety benefits for LTVs. The agency also indicated its 
belief that the approach used in Standard No. 214 for passenger cars of 
requiring a vehicle to protect its occupants in a full-scale side 
impact crash test, utilizing an MDB and instrumented test dummies, may 
be appropriate for LTVs.
    The agency emphasized, however, that the possible extension of 
Standard No. 214's dynamic side impact requirements to LTVs presents 
the issue of whether those requirements should be extended with or 
without modification. Given the differences between passenger cars and 
LTVs and their crash experiences, changes in the dynamic test procedure 
might be desirable to make it more appropriate for LTVs. NHTSA 
requested responses to a number of questions in the ANPRM, including 
whether the weight and height of contact surface of the MDB for side 
impact testing of passenger cars should be modified to be more 
representative of the vehicles that cause injuries and fatalities in 
LTVs.
    NHTSA also noted that it had conducted two series of LTV side 
impact tests similar to the dynamic Standard No. 214 passenger car 
test. In the first test series, the agency tested seven LTVs using an 
MDB that was modified to make it more representative of crash 
conditions causing fatalities and serious injuries in light trucks. The 
weight of the MDB was increased to 4,000 pounds, and the height of the 
barrier face was raised between four and 10 inches. In the second test 
series, NHTSA tested three small LTVs and a fourth vehicle 
representative of a small LTV, using the current dynamic test 
procedure, including the 3,000 pound MDB, specified in Standard No. 214 
for passenger cars. (The fourth vehicle was a passenger car version of 
a vehicle which was then marketed in a four-wheel drive version as an 
LTV. The agency believes that both versions of the vehicle provide 
similar side impact protection.) The agency noted that the data from 
the two test series indicate that many current LTVs, especially heavier 
ones, already meet the performance criteria specified for passenger 
cars.

ID. Comments on the ANPRM

    The three large domestic auto manufacturers were opposed to 
extending Standard No. 214's dynamic requirements to LTVs. General 
Motors (GM) stated that it is clear, from the examination of field 
accident data, that LTVs offer side impact protection superior to that 
of passenger cars. GM also argued that a dynamic side impact test for 
LTVs would address a very small percentage of LTV occupant serious 
injuries and an even smaller percentage of total passenger car and LTV 
occupant harm. GM believed that side impact resources would be diverted 
from passenger cars where they can be most productive to an area that 
would result in little benefit to LTV occupants and society in general.
    Ford stated that it strongly believes that the dynamic side impact 
requirements should not be extended to LTVs. That company argued that 
such an extension would not meet the need for motor vehicle safety. 
Ford stated that real world traffic accident data show that LTV 
occupants are safer than passenger car occupants (1.01 fatalities per 
1000 crashes for LTVs compared to 2.05 fatalities per 1000 crashes for 
passenger cars) for non-ejected, near-side occupants in vehicle-to-
vehicle side impacts. That company noted that NHTSA research has found 
that the majority of LTVs tested to the passenger car dynamic side 
impact procedure would pass the passenger car requirements, supporting 
the field experience. Ford concluded that extending the dynamic side 
impact requirements to LTVs would represent rulemaking without any 
substantiated safety benefit. Ford also argued that the car test 
procedures define a scenario that applies to less than one percent of 
LTV fatalities, or about 0.2 percent of all motor vehicle occupant 
fatalities. That company argued that the use of scarce engineering 
resources to implement a rule with the potential to affect only about 
0.2 percent of fatalities is not justified, even if proposed 
countermeasures were 100 percent effective in every crash.
    Chrysler stated that it does not believe that there is support for 
the extension of the existing passenger car dynamic side impact 
requirements to LTVs, much less for the alternative of a more stringent 
test requirement. That company argued that NHTSA has failed to show 
that there would be a significant safety benefit from applying a 
dynamic side impact requirement to LTVs.
    Mitsubishi also questioned the need for dynamic side impact 
requirements for LTVs. It argued that: (1) These vehicles are generally 
heavier and have higher sill structures which provide substantial side 
impact protection, (2) many of the larger LTVs probably already comply 
with such requirements without the need for any countermeasures, and 
(3) the recent extension of quasi-static side door strength 
requirements will provide improved side impact protection for LTVs.
    Other vehicle manufacturers recommended that NHTSA extend Standard 
No. 214's dynamic requirements for passenger cars to LTVs, but not 
adopt more stringent requirements. Toyota stated it believes the 
agency's regulations should require, when necessary and practical, 
equal levels of safety performance regardless of vehicle category. That 
company stated that while there are some LTVs whose construction allows 
them to comply already with the passenger car requirements, this is not 
true for all LTVs. According to Toyota, there are LTVs whose 
construction is similar to that of passenger cars that do not now 
comply with the passenger car requirements. Toyota stated that it 
believes that the effectiveness of extending the passenger car 
requirements to LTVs would be greater than the agency estimates. That 
company stated, however, that if the agency were to adopt a more 
stringent requirement for LTVs, e.g., by specifying a higher, heavier 
MDB, it would impose an unreasonable burden on manufacturers. Toyota 
also argued that if the agency were to adopt an LTV rule more stringent 
than that applicable to passenger cars, those LTVs whose construction 
is similar to passenger cars could be eliminated from the U.S. market.
    Volkswagen stated that the dynamic side impact requirements should 
be extended to LTV class vehicles under 10,000 pounds GVWR. That 
company stated that the barrier was originally specified to represent 
the stiffness of light trucks, and that it should therefore remain as 
currently specified in Standard No. 214.
    Nissan stated that it believes Standard No. 214's passenger car 
dynamic test procedure can be applied to LTVs, and that there is no 
need to establish a unique test procedure. That manufacturer stated 
that data indicate that the incidence of LTVs being struck by passenger 
cars is similar to the incidence of side impacts of passenger cars by 
other passenger cars. It stated further that these incidence rates 
indicate that the mass and dimensions of the MDB currently specified in 
Standard No. 214 realistically represent the majority of the striking 
vehicle population for both passenger cars and LTVs.
    Two trade associations, the National Truck Equipment Association 
(NTEA) and the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) expressed 
concern about extending the applicability of Standard No. 214's dynamic 
requirements in light of potential impacts on their members, which 
include final stage manufacturers and alterers of certified vehicles. 
NTEA stated that it is concerned that the small businesses which 
produce work-related vehicles in multiple stages would not be able to 
conduct the dynamic test which may be proposed. It requested that the 
agency not propose extending the dynamic requirements to work-related 
multi-stage produced vehicles which are not able to pass through an 
incomplete vehicle manufacturer's certification or which cannot be 
completed within the guidelines provided for completion by the 
incomplete vehicle manufacturer. RVIA urged NHTSA to exclude motor 
homes, van conversions and other altered vehicles and otherwise limit 
the scope of the proposed requirements to those vehicle types that have 
a poor side impact injury record.
    The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) argued that 
extension of Standard No. 214's dynamic test requirements to LTVs is an 
obvious necessity after the decade-long growth of this vehicle class as 
a means of daily private transportation. IIHS stated that it disagrees 
strongly with the notion that there is no need to require that all 
vehicles in the LTV class provide a minimum level of protection to 
occupants if many vehicles in the class already provide that 
protection. That organization stated that such partial availability 
demonstrates that the proposed protection is feasible, practical, and 
easily implemented, and that it should encourage, not discourage, the 
extension of the test requirements to LTVs.
    IIHS argued, however, that the ease with which LTVs are likely to 
be able to meet the current requirements for cars does suggest that the 
injury criteria should be different for them. That organization stated 
that the agency had adopted the existing TTI(d) and pelvic g limits 
because lower maximum accelerations might be difficult to achieve in 
the car fleet. IIHS argued that while it does not accept the premise 
that lower acceleration criteria are not achievable in passenger cars, 
the agency's concern about passenger cars in this area is not relevant 
to LTVs. IIHS urged the agency to adopt appropriate lower TTI(d) and 
pelvic g limits for LTVs.
    With respect to the height and weight of the MDB, IIHS stated that 
it does not believe that the agency should specify different dynamic 
test conditions for cars and LTVs at this time. That organization 
stated that the goal of the current rulemaking should be to ensure that 
all vehicles likely to be used as light-duty passenger vehicles, 
whether cars or LTVs, meet a common, minimum standard of occupant 
protection in the crashes to which such vehicles are likely to be 
exposed. While IIHS stated that it does not believe that the test 
barrier specifications for cars and LTVs should differ at this time, it 
suggested that the current barrier (3,000 pounds) may be improperly 
specified for both types of vehicles. That organization stated that 
with increasing numbers of LTVs in the light vehicle fleet, many light 
vehicles struck in the side will be struck by other light vehicles 
weighing in excess of 3,000 pounds. IIHS stated that NHTSA should 
consider increasing the weight of the MDB to make it more 
representative of the vehicle fleet.
    The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) stated that 
it supports dynamic side impact requirements for LTVs. That 
organization emphasized, however, that it is convinced that the agency 
must (1) raise the bumper height of the LTV MDB face above 30 inches, 
(2) raise the weight, and commensurate mass, of the LTV MDB to 5,000 
pounds or more, and (3) increase the test speed of impacts above median 
levels to represent more of a worst case impact of a LTV by larger, 
heavier vehicles and some fixed objects. Advocates also argued that the 
agency should adopt lower TTI(d) and pelvic g limits than it 
established for cars, a quantified maximum intrusion standard, and 
coordinate this rulemaking with ones on rollover, roof strength and 
head injury.

II. Overview of Proposal

    After considering the comments on the ANPRM and other available 
information, NHTSA has decided to propose extending Standard No. 214's 
dynamic side impact protection requirements to LTVs with a GVWR of 
8,500 pounds or less and an unloaded vehicle weight of 5,500 pounds or 
less. Given the differences between passenger cars and LTVs and their 
crash experiences, the agency is proposing possible modifications in 
the test procedure that would make it more representative of the crash 
conditions causing fatalities and serious injuries in LTVs.
    NHTSA is proposing two possible modifications: (1) Raising the 
height of the MDB, and (2) increasing the weight of the MDB. The agency 
is proposing to specify the MDB height within a range of 33 inches to 
45 inches as measured from the ground to the top edge of the barrier 
face. This would represent up to a 12-inch increase in MDB height as 
compared to the height specified for passenger car testing.
    Within the 33 inch to 45 inch proposed range, NHTSA is proposing 
two alternative methods for specifying MDB height, one of which would 
be selected by the agency for a final rule. Under the first method, the 
MDB height would be raised to match the driver H-point of the tested 
vehicle. Under the second method, the MDB height would be at the same 
level for all LTVs, or at the same level for all LTV's within a 
particular sub-group, e.g., pickups, vans and utility vehicles, with 
different levels specified for different sub-groups. The agency is 
proposing to specify the MDB's weight within a range of 3,000 pounds, 
the current weight, and 3,800 pounds.
    Under the proposal, LTVs, like passenger cars, would be required to 
meet specified TTI(d) and pelvic acceleration limits. NHTSA is 
proposing to specify a TTI(d) limit of 85 g and a pelvic acceleration 
limit of 130 g. In considering a possible extension, NHTSA is 
considering whether the requirements should apply to the front and rear 
seats of these additional vehicles (as is the case for passenger cars), 
or whether they should apply to the front seats only of these vehicles.
    To provide manufacturers with sufficient leadtime to design their 
LTVs to meet the proposed performance requirements, NHTSA is proposing 
two compliance schedules, the choice of which would be at the option of 
the manufacturer. Under the first schedule, the standard would be 
phased-in in accordance with the following implementation schedule:
     10 percent of all LTVs manufactured during the first full 
production year (September 1 to August 31) beginning approximately two 
years after the issuance of a final rule;
     25 percent of all LTVs manufactured during the second full 
year after that two-year period;
     40 percent of all LTVs manufactured during the third full 
year after that two-year period; and
     100 percent of all LTVs manufactured on or after the 
beginning of the fourth full year after that two-year period.
    Under the second schedule, no compliance would be required during 
the annual production period beginning approximately two years after 
the issuance of a final rule, but full implementation would be required 
beginning with the next production period.
    The agency is proposing to exclude walk-in vans, motor homes, tow 
trucks, dump trucks and ambulances, and is requesting comments on 
whether to exclude other special types of vehicles from the dynamic 
requirements. NHTSA is also proposing a phase-in exclusion for vehicles 
manufactured in two or more stages and for altered vehicles.

III. The Safety Problem

    NHTSA has separately analyzed the fatality and injury experience of 
LTV occupants involved in side impact crashes. As discussed in the 
Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) accompanying this NPRM, the 
agency estimates that, by the mid-1990's, side impacts will result in 
1763 fatalities for LTV occupants sitting in the front or second seat, 
annually. Front seat occupants will account for 1705 of the fatalities, 
with occupants of the second seat accounting for 58 fatalities. 
Approximately 16 percent of the LTV side impact occupant fatalities are 
expected to occur in heavy vehicle-LTV side crashes, 39 percent in 
light vehicle-LTV side crashes, and 45 percent in single vehicle LTV 
side crashes. (All of the figures in this paragraph and those in the 
next several paragraphs take into account the safety benefits of side 
door guard beams installed pursuant to the quasi-static requirements.)
    Side impacts are also expected to account for about 6,000 serious 
but non-fatal (AIS 3-5) injuries to occupants sitting in the front or 
second seat, annually.
    The extension of Standard No. 214's dynamic requirements to LTVs 
would primarily address LTV occupant fatalities and serious injuries 
which result from contacts between the side interior of LTVs and the 
shoulder, chest, abdomen, back and pelvis of the occupants. NHTSA 
estimates that by the mid-1990's, this portion of the side impact 
problem will account for 245 LTV occupant fatalities and an additional 
970 serious (AIS 3-5) injuries annually. All of the estimated 
fatalities would result from thorax injuries. Of the 970 AIS 3-5 
injuries, 857 would be thoracic injuries and 113 pelvic injuries. 
Looking solely at multi-vehicle side impacts between LTVs and other 
light vehicles, approximately 78 percent of the LTV fatal ``trunk'' 
injuries are caused by LTV's, and only 22 percent by passenger cars.
    The agency notes that the fatality rate for occupants of LTVs in 
side impact crashes is slightly less than half of that for occupants of 
passenger cars. The LTV occupant side impact fatality rate per million 
registered vehicles is 25.7, as compared to 53.3 for passenger cars. 
The occupant fatality rates for various LTV categories are as follows: 
Small pickups, 30.1; large pickups, 19.0; utility vehicles 16.0; small 
vans, 19.3, and large vans, 9.7.

IV. Rulemaking Rationale

    In multi-vehicle side impact crashes where fatalities and serious 
injuries result from contacts between the occupant and the interior 
side of the vehicle, the same basic chest injury causing dynamic event 
occurs regardless of whether the occupant is in a passenger car or LTV. 
The striking vehicle crushes the door of the target vehicle, from 
outside to inside. The inside door panel of the struck vehicle moves 
toward the occupant seated next to it, and strikes the occupant's 
thorax. Depending on the structure of the struck vehicle, the velocity 
of impact can be as high as the impact speed of the striking vehicle. 
The occupant's thorax is rapidly deformed as a result of the impact, 
resulting in injuries to the shoulder, chest, abdomen, back and/or 
pelvis. A similar event occurs in single vehicle side impacts with 
stationary objects, except that the injury mechanism is more likely to 
be related to intrusion than door contact velocity, i.e., the 
occupant's thorax is likely to experience more concentrated loading.
    LTV occupants generally face a smaller risk of side impact thoracic 
injury than passenger car occupants because seating differences between 
LTVs and passenger cars make it less likely for the thoracic-injury-
producing dynamic event described above to occur for LTVs than for 
passenger cars. LTV occupants typically sit several inches higher from 
the ground than passenger car occupants. If a passenger car strikes 
another passenger car in a side impact, the striking vehicle typically 
pushes the inside door panel of the struck vehicle directly into the 
thorax of an occupant sitting next to the door. However, if a passenger 
car strikes an LTV in a side impact, the primary part of the side 
structure that is pushed inward is more likely to be below the thorax 
of an adjacent occupant, thereby resulting in smaller injury-producing 
loads to the occupant's thorax. Further, the typically higher sill and 
side structure of LTV's offers significant resistance such that smaller 
crash loads are transmitted through the door structure to the occupant.
    While the thoracic side impact problem is not so great for LTVs as 
it is for passenger cars, it is nonetheless a significant problem which 
merits attention. As indicated above, NHTSA estimates that by the mid-
1990's, this portion of the side impact problem will account for 245 
LTV occupant fatalities and an additional 970 serious (AIS 3-5) 
injuries annually. The bulk of these fatalities and serious injuries 
occur in side impacts with LTVs, heavy vehicles, and fixed objects, 
rather than in side impacts with passenger cars.
    Given that the same basic dynamic event causes serious thoracic 
injuries and fatalities to both passenger car and LTV occupants in side 
impacts, i.e., medium to high velocity contact between the inside door 
panel and the thorax of the occupant, NHTSA believes that the same 
countermeasures developed for improved passenger car side impact 
protection are also appropriate for LTVs. There are two basic options 
to improve the side impact protection of a vehicle. It may be possible 
to increase the stiffness of the side of the vehicle and thereby reduce 
the velocity with which the vehicle side door interior strikes the 
occupant. However, given the limited available area along the side of a 
vehicle in which structure may be added and the enormous mass of a 
striking vehicle, the ability to improve safety by this means may be 
somewhat limited. The other available means of improving side impact 
protection is to cushion the impact between the side of the vehicle and 
the occupant, such as by adding padding to the side of the vehicle.
    In the rulemaking establishing dynamic side impact requirements for 
passenger cars, NHTSA determined that the risk of thoracic injury can 
be substantially reduced by the addition of padding, or a combination 
of padding and structure, to the side of a vehicle. For example, the 
agency determined, for the driver seating position, that padding is 
approximately 21 percent effective (i.e., padding reduces TTI(d) by 21 
percent), that structure and padding is about 30 percent effective, and 
that heavyweight structure and padding is 43 percent effective. As 
discussed in that rulemaking, NHTSA expected manufacturers to meet the 
dynamic side impact requirements for passenger cars primarily by adding 
padding.
    NHTSA believes that the addition of padding, or the addition of 
padding and structure, can produce significant safety benefits for LTV 
occupants in side impacts. The agency notes that it is intuitively 
obvious that it is better for an occupant to be struck by a padded door 
than the same door unpadded. In agency research, the addition of three 
inches of padding in three LTV's reduced driver TTI(d) by 19.4, 28.6 
and 35.0 percent. Pelvic g's were reduced by 24.5, 30.1 and 43.8 
percent in the same vehicles.
    Given the thoracic side impact problem that exists for LTV 
occupants and the fact that this countermeasure is readily available, 
NHTSA is currently not accepting the notion that it should decline to 
establish dynamic side impact requirements for LTVs simply because the 
type of dynamic event causing serious thoracic injuries to occupants of 
struck vehicles occurs less frequently for LTVs than for passenger 
cars.
    The purpose of a dynamic side impact protection requirement is to 
ensure that vehicles provide side impact protection to their occupants 
in a simulated crash that is representative of a typical real-world 
crash with serious-injury-causing potential. In its dynamic side impact 
protection rulemaking for passenger cars, the agency developed an 
appropriate test procedure and performance requirements for passenger 
cars. In this rulemaking, NHTSA is addressing whether those 
requirements should be extended to LTVs. Since this rulemaking is 
based, in large part, on the passenger car rulemaking, the agency 
encourages interested persons to examine the record for that 
rulemaking.
    As part of considering the possible extension of Standard No. 214's 
dynamic side impact protection requirements to LTVs, the agency has 
conducted several series of LTV dynamic side impact tests. The tests 
employed the dynamic procedure specified by Standard No. 214 for 
passenger cars, except that the height and mass of the MDB were varied.
    As explained more fully in the PEA, NHTSA has tentatively 
concluded, based on the results of these tests, that a simple extension 
of Standard No. 214's dynamic side impact protection requirements to 
LTVs would result in few, if any, safety benefits. Since the height and 
weight of the MDB specified by Standard No. 214 are representative of 
passenger cars, the test essentially replicates a crash in which a 
passenger car is the striking vehicle. The tests confirm what is 
already apparent from the real-world crash data: LTV occupants face a 
very small risk of serious thoracic injury in side impacts by striking 
passenger cars. As indicated above, this is largely because, given the 
relatively high seating position of LTV occupants, if a passenger car 
strikes an LTV in a side impact, the primary part of the side structure 
of the LTV that is pushed inward is likely to be below the thorax of an 
adjacent occupant.
    It could be argued that, notwithstanding the lack of benefits that 
would result from a simple extension of Standard No. 214's dynamic 
requirements to LTVs, NHTSA should adopt that approach to ensure that 
all light vehicles provide the same minimum level of side impact 
protection to their occupants. It could also be argued that such an 
approach would be appropriate because passenger cars and LTV's are 
operated in the same traffic environment. However, a significant 
concern about such a regulatory approach, particularly in the context 
of a requirement incorporating a full-scale dynamic test, is that it 
would result in significant compliance costs without concomitant 
benefits. Moreover, such an approach would leave unaddressed the risk 
of thoracic injury that LTV occupants do face in side impacts with 
vehicles other than passenger cars.
    A second regulatory approach would be to develop a test procedure 
that simulates the crash conditions that produce serious thoracic 
injuries in the real world. In developing Federal motor vehicle safety 
standards, NHTSA focuses on reducing the number of serious injuries and 
fatalities that are occurring in the real world. The agency has 
tentatively concluded that this approach is appropriate with respect to 
dynamic side impact protection requirements for LTVs. However, comments 
are invited on both regulatory approaches.

V. Proposal

    The agency has decided to propose extending Standard No. 214's 
dynamic side impact protection requirements to LTVs, with possible 
modifications in the test procedure to make it more representative of a 
typical real-world crash with serious-injury-causing potential to LTV 
occupants. The agency is considering two possible modifications: (1) 
Raising the height of the MDB, and (2) increasing the mass of the MDB. 
In considering a possible extension, NHTSA is considering whether the 
requirements should apply to the front and rear seats of these 
additional vehicles (as is the case for passenger cars), or whether 
they should apply to the front seats only of these vehicles.

VA. Possible Test Procedure Modifications

    NHTSA tentatively concludes that the height of the MDB should be 
increased because use of this test device with its current height would 
not create a dynamic event that is representative of the ones likely to 
cause serious chest injuries to LTV occupants in real world crashes. In 
particular, with the MDB at a height which is representative of a 
passenger car, the primary part of the side structure of the LTV that 
is pushed inward is below the thorax of the adjacent LTV occupant. 
However, in real world side impact crashes in which LTV occupants are 
likely to experience serious chest injuries, the side structure of the 
LTV is typically pushed inward at a height near that of the occupant's 
thorax. This typically occurs as a result of the LTV being struck in 
the side by a vehicle other than a passenger car. Vehicles other than 
passenger cars are, of course, typically higher than passenger cars.
    There are a number of possible approaches to determining how much 
to raise the height of the MDB, assuming that it needs to be raised. 
One approach is to focus on the struck vehicle. The agency notes that, 
unlike passenger cars for which vehicle and seating height are very 
similar, the height of LTVs and LTV seating positions vary 
considerably. Since the primary relevant safety problem is an impact in 
which the side structure of the vehicle directly adjacent to an 
occupant is pushed inward at the height of the thorax of the occupant, 
the height of the MDB could be based on the H-point of the struck 
vehicle. This approach would ensure that LTVs provide thoracic side 
impact protection when they are struck in the side by another LTV of a 
height that pushes the side door structure inward toward adjacent 
occupants.
    Another approach is to focus on striking vehicles. The agency notes 
that the two types of striking vehicles that are most likely to cause 
severe chest injuries in side impacts are standard pickups and compact 
pickups. These vehicles cause 26 percent and 16 percent of all such 
injuries, respectively. Thus, MDB height could be based on the heights 
of the front ends of these vehicles, which are considerably higher than 
passenger cars.
    NHTSA notes that since the heights of the front ends of LTVs and 
even of pickup trucks vary, specifying a single height that is equally 
representative of all LTVs does not appear to be possible. The agency 
also notes that specifying a single height could raise practicability 
concerns, depending on the height selected. In addition to being 
concerned that a test procedure simulates conditions representative of 
real world crashes, the agency must also ensure that its safety 
standards are practicable. One concern about a test procedure that 
specifies a single MDB height that is representative of large pickup 
trucks is whether a requirement based on that procedure is practicable 
for compact LTVs that have much lower seating heights than the front 
end heights of large pickup trucks.
    NHTSA is proposing to specify an MDB height within a range of 33 
inches to 45 inches as measured from the ground to the top edge of the 
barrier face. By way of comparison, the MDB height for passenger car 
testing is 33 inches.
    Within the proposed range, the agency is proposing two alternative 
methods for specifying MDB height, one of which would be selected by 
the agency for a final rule. Under the first method, the MDB height 
might be raised, as compared to the current height for passenger car 
testing, to match the driver H-point of the tested LTV (or possibly the 
front passenger H-point for testing the side of the vehicle away from 
the driver).
    One example of such an approach would be to raise the barrier 
height by the amount that the H-point height of the tested vehicle 
exceeds 21 inches. Barrier heights would be raised in one-inch 
increments up to a maximum of 12 inches. A maximum would be established 
to ensure that the barrier face top edge would not be above the window 
of the struck vehicle.
    Another example, which uses driver H-point ranges for setting 
barrier height, would be as follows. For driver H-points 25 inches or 
lower, the MDB height would be raised four inches. For driver H-points 
higher than 25 inches but lower than 29 inches, the MDB height would be 
raised seven inches. For driver H-points at least 29 inches high but 
lower than 31 inches, the MDB height would be raised nine inches. For 
driver H-points 31 inches or higher, the MDB would be raised 11 inches.
    Under the second method, the MDB height would be raised either to 
the same level for all LTV's, or to the same level for all LTV's within 
a particular sub-group, e.g., pickups, vans and utility vehicles, with 
different levels specified for different subgroups. The level could 
correspond to the average H-point height of the LTV population as a 
whole or to the average H-point height of each LTV sub-group.
    NHTSA requests comments on these approaches, and on the appropriate 
vehicle groupings and MDB heights to select under such approaches.
    If the agency adopts a methodology in which the MDB height is based 
on the height of the driver H-point of the tested vehicle, it would be 
necessary to specify a method for determining that H-point. The agency 
would contemplate adopting, for purposes of a final rule, an approach 
based on procedures specified in S4, H-Point Machine, of SAE Standard 
J826 (May 1987), Devices for Use in Defining and Measuring Vehicle 
Seating Accommodation. NHTSA requests comments on such an approach.
    In addition to proposing to raise the height of the MDB for LTV 
testing, the agency is also considering increasing its weight. NHTSA 
derived the weight of the current barrier from the median curb weight 
of passenger cars (3,181 pounds in 1989) and light trucks (3,958 pounds 
in 1989). This resulted in a weighted average of 3,423 pounds, which 
was adjusted downward to account for the then-projected lower weight of 
vehicles in the 1990's. Based on these considerations, NHTSA derived a 
barrier weight of 3,000 pounds. Since the late 1980's, however, the 
sales weighted average curb weight of the passenger car and LTV fleet 
has been increasing, and is now about 3,310 pounds. The average curb 
weight of passenger cars is now 2,970 pounds, and the average curb 
weight of LTVs is about 3,900 pounds. The above weights were derived 
from the sales weighted EPA test weight for 1993 passenger cars and 
LTV's, minus 300 pounds.
    The agency is proposing to specify the MDB's weight within a range 
of 3,000 pounds to 3,800 pounds. The lower end of the range is the 
current weight of the MDB, as specified by Standard No. 214 for 
passenger car testing. The upper end of the range is based on the 
average weight of striking vehicles in LTV crashes where an LTV 
occupant had an AIS  3 torso injury, as observed in 1988-91 
NASS data. NHTSA is not proposing an MDB weight above 3,800 pounds 
because of concerns about practicability. In particular, the agency 
believes that as MDB weight is increased much above 3,600 pounds, there 
are increasing concerns about the feasibility of smaller LTV's meeting 
the dynamic test requirements with such a barrier.
    Although NHTSA is proposing alternative approaches for specifying 
MDB height and weight, it believes it is desirable, to facilitate more 
focused comments, to specifically request comments on certain options, 
considering the pros and cons of those options.
    There are several possible advantages in specifying a single height 
and weight for the barrier. Specification of a single height and a 
single weight would result in a simpler test procedure. For example, 
there would be no need to determine the precise H-point height or to 
adjust the height and weight of the MDB for testing different vehicles.
    The agency believes that the combination of raising the MDB to a 
height in the middle portion of the proposed range, e.g., seven to nine 
inches above the passenger car barrier height, and increasing its 
weight to 3600 pounds would be sufficient to create a dynamic event 
that is representative of the ones likely to cause serious chest 
injuries to occupants in the most vulnerable LTVs in real world 
crashes. In particular, the MDB with that combination of height/weight 
would, in a dynamic test, push the side structure of the vast majority 
of LTV's inward at a level near that of the occupant's thorax.
    In addition, assuming that a single height and a single weight were 
selected, the agency is concerned that raising the MDB height to a 
level above the middle portion of the proposed range and/or increasing 
its weight above 3600 pounds could raise practicability problems for 
compact LTV's whose H-points are typically only a few inches higher 
than passenger cars.
    One possible concern about specifying a single height would be 
whether some manufacturers might raise occupant seating height to more 
easily meet the requirements. Moving the seat too high could increase 
the vehicle's propensity to rollover.
    Other possible options are to specify the height of the MDB to 
match the H-point of the test vehicle individually or select a setting 
that would best match the H-point heights of a group of vehicles 
belonging to a particular type. Specifying the height of the MDB to 
match the H-point height would result in a test that is similar to that 
for passenger cars in that the impact of the barrier relative to the 
occupant's position would be similar. Manufacturers could not avoid the 
need to add padding simply by raising seating height.
    While this would simulate an accident severity that is likely to be 
experienced by an occupant in that vehicle for thoracic injuries, there 
may be practical difficulties encountered in conducting side impact 
tests in that manner. When the MDB height is set to match the H-point 
of the test vehicle, structurally identical models with different 
suspension systems that cause changes in H-point heights, would be 
tested at different severities, resulting in the possibility of 
requiring different countermeasures for what is essentially the same 
vehicle. Also, the added step of determining H-point height could 
introduce variability in test results.
    The agency seeks comments on the proposal for a single height and 
for multiple height settings for the MDB in LTV testing.
    The increases in MDB height and weight are the primary test 
procedure changes that NHTSA believes may be needed in extending 
Standard No. 214's dynamic requirements to LTV's. The agency does not 
believe that any changes are needed in the speed or angle of the MDB, 
and believes that only minor adjustments may be necessary with respect 
to point of impact.
    The specified point of impact for passenger cars is generally 37 
inches forward of the center line of the wheelbase of the struck 
vehicle. However, for cars with wheelbases greater than 114 inches, the 
point of impact is 20 inches behind the front axle. This ensures that 
the impact point for cars with very long wheelbases is not so far 
toward the rear of the car that the front seat dummy does not 
experience a full impact. The agency is proposing, with one exception, 
the same impact point for LTVs. To ensure that the impact point is not 
too far forward for LTVs with very short wheelbases, the agency is 
proposing that for LTVs with wheelbases of 98 inches or less, the 
impact point would be 12 inches rearward of vehicle's front axle 
centerline. This would ensure that the MDB would not likely bridge 
across the front and rear axles in short wheelbase LTVs.
    NHTSA notes that GM expressed concern that specification of impact 
point based on wheelbase could result in the possibility of having to 
impact two structurally identical LTV's at two different locations. 
This is because manufacturers sometimes offer the same LTV with several 
different wheelbases. The agency requests comments on whether the 
specified impact point should be adjusted to eliminate this 
possibility. For example, should the agency either specify impact point 
based on driver H-point instead of wheelbase or provide a manufacturer 
option in this area?
    The agency also requests comments on whether any other changes 
should be made in any part of Standard No. 214's dynamic test 
procedure, in order to make it appropriate for LTV's.
    The proposed changes in the regulatory text of Standard No. 214 are 
set forth at the end of this notice. NHTSA notes that the 
specifications for the side impact MDB are set forth in part 587. While 
the agency is not setting forth specific changes to part 587, it would, 
for purposes of a final rule, specify any necessary changes to reflect 
the possibly higher, heavier MDB for LTV testing.
    NHTSA notes that the weight of the MDB is adjustable by means of 
removable ballast plates located over the rear axle and directly 
rearward of the front axle of the carriage (See Figure 2 of Standard 
No. 214). The weights are placed such that the weight distribution 
front-to-rear remains as close to the weight distribution in the 
standard 3000 pound barrier as possible.
    The agency notes that the barrier face is vertically adjustable 
using the hole patterns on the standard passenger car MDB carriage 
front. The hole patterns currently permit the barrier to be raised 4.0 
inches, 7.25 inches, 9.25 inches, and 11.25 inches above the standard 
passenger car barrier height of 33 inches. (See NHTSA Side Impact 
Moving Deformable Barrier Drawing No. DSL-1281, page 5.)
    Depending on the height specification that might be adopted in a 
final rule, there could be a need to modify the positions of the holes 
on the frame. There may also be a need to extend the height of the 
frame to provide adequate support for the raised barrier plate. The 
agency has conducted its research tests using a barrier modified in 
this way.
    The agency would also, for purposes of a final rule, make any 
necessary conforming changes to Figure 2 of Standard No. 214. This 
figure shows the side impact MDB.

VB. Performance Requirements

    Standard No. 214 specifies TTI(d) limits of 85 g for 4-door cars 
and 90 g for 2-door cars. The standard specifies a pelvic acceleration 
limit of 130 g for all cars. NHTSA is proposing to specify a TTI(d) 
limit of 85 g, the same limit as applies to 4-door passenger cars, and 
a pelvic acceleration limit of 130 g, the same level as applies to all 
passenger cars.
    While some commenters suggested that LTVs might be able to meet 
even more stringent TTI(d) and pelvic acceleration limits than cars, 
the agency notes that safety standards are not based on the criterion 
of maximum feasible safety. The agency believes that TTI(d) and pelvic 
acceleration limits of 85 g and 130 g, respectively, will make a 
significant contribution to improve side impact protection for LTVs. 
This is particularly true given the fact that the agency is considering 
adjusting the passenger car test procedure, making it more stringent in 
the case of LTVs, so that it better reflects the types of crashes that 
result in serious injuries to LTV occupants.
    NHTSA notes that, in establishing a slightly higher TTI(d) limit of 
90 g for 2-door passenger cars, it explained that it is generally more 
difficult for manufacturers to achieve lower TTI(d) for two-door cars 
than four-door cars, given that the door on a two-door model is 
typically wider than on a four-door model. The reason two-door cars 
usually have wider doors is to provide occupant access to the rear 
seat. Two-door LTV's do not typically have wider doors, since the front 
doors do not provide occupant access to a rear seat. Moreover, many 
LTVs generally have stiffer side structures than small and medium 
passenger cars, especially those LTV's equipped with side door beams. 
Therefore, the agency believes that the 85 g limit can be specified for 
all LTV's. NHTSA requests comment on this issue.

VC. Rear Seat Requirements

    As part of considering an extension of Standard No. 214's dynamic 
side impact requirements to LTVs, NHTSA is considering whether the 
requirements should apply to the front and rear seats of these 
additional vehicles (as is the case for passenger cars), or whether 
they should apply to the front seats only of these vehicles.
    On the subject of whether the requirements should apply to the rear 
seats of LTVs, NHTSA wishes to call attention to the cost assessment in 
the PEA for this proposal which raises concerns about the cost 
effectiveness of requiring the second row of seats in LTVs to meet 
these proposed requirements. For instance, Tables VIII-6 and VIII-7 of 
the PEA show the ``costs per equivalent life saved'' from covering the 
second row of seats are up to 43 times greater than the costs per 
equivalent life saved from covering the front seats. These additional 
costs would be incurred to achieve much lesser benefits. NHTSA 
estimates that only 4 to 15 percent of all potential benefits would 
accrue to occupants of rear seats. However, the costs to cover the rear 
seats range from 23 percent to as high as 74 percent of the total cost 
of this rulemaking, depending on the option.
    The agency is very interested in public comments addressing 
whether, in view of these cost-effectiveness estimates, second seats in 
LTVs should be covered by these requirements. In addition, the agency 
is interested in knowing what provision light truck manufacturers would 
make for rear-seat occupants if the final rule were limited to the 
front seats.
    The agency notes that the occupants of second seats are very often 
children, especially in minivans, which constitute the majority of LTVs 
with more than one row of seats. Thus, a decision to apply the dynamic 
side impact requirements to second seats would ensure that children 
riding in these seating positions in vehicles designed and sold for 
family transportation are afforded the same level of protection offered 
to adults in the front seats.1 NHTSA notes that while the 
regulatory text set forth in this document does not apply the dynamic 
side impact requirements to the second seats of LTVs, the agency may, 
depending on the comments, apply the requirements to second seats in a 
final rule.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\NHTSA's analysis (PEA, pp. V-25 and V-26) indicates that, 
depending on the alternative, application of the requirements to 
second seats would prevent an additional 4 to 6 fatalities and 7 to 
14 serious injuries annually. About \1/3\ of these benefits would 
accrue to children under the age of 15.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NHTSA notes that many LTVs have an aisle between one of the rear 
outboard seating positions and the side of the vehicle. The agency does 
not believe there would be any reason to apply the proposed 
requirements to such seating positions, since they are far enough away 
from the side of the vehicle that occupants are not likely to 
experience thoracic injuries in a side impact. Therefore, if NHTSA were 
to cover rear outboard seating positions where the outermost edge of 
the rear seat cushion is more than 10 inches away from the interior 
surface of the side door or wall.

VI. Vehicles Covered by Proposal

    As indicated above, the NHTSA Authorization Act of 1991 required 
the agency to address, through rulemaking, the possible extension of 
Standard No. 214's dynamic side impact requirements for passenger cars 
to MPVs and trucks with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less and an unloaded 
vehicle weight of 5,500 pounds or less. The agency has considered 
whether the requirements should also be applied to vehicles with a GVWR 
greater than 8,500 pounds but less than 10,000 pounds, as well as 
whether some vehicles with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less and an 
unloaded vehicle weight of 5,500 pounds or less should be excluded.
    Based on its test series, NHTSA believes that larger, heavier LTVs 
already meet the proposed dynamic requirements, even with the higher, 
heavier MDB. Therefore, the agency believes there is no reason to apply 
the requirements to LTVs with a GVWR above 8,500 pounds.
    The agency believes that it may be appropriate to exclude some LTVs 
with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less and an unloaded vehicle weight of 
5,500 pounds or less. NHTSA is proposing to exclude motor homes, walk-
in vans, tow trucks, dump trucks, ambulances, and vehicles which have 
no doors or exclusively have doors that are designed to be easily 
attached or removed so the vehicle can be operated without doors.
    Many motor homes, walk-in vans, tow trucks, dump trucks and 
ambulances would already be excluded from the proposed requirements 
because they have a GVWR greater than 8,500 pounds. Moreover, most that 
are not excluded would likely already meet the proposed requirements 
since they would still tend to be among the larger, heavier LTV's. 
NHTSA is proposing to exclude these categories of vehicles because of 
the combination of two factors: (1) The likelihood that they already 
comply with the proposed requirements, and (2) many vehicles within 
these categories tend to have unusual side structures and are often 
produced in small volumes, making it potentially very expensive, on a 
per vehicle basis, to confirm compliance for purposes of certification.
    The agency is proposing to exclude vehicles which have no doors, or 
exclusively have doors that are designed to be easily attached or 
removed so the vehicle can be operated without doors, because it would 
be impracticable for such vehicles to meet the proposed requirements.
    There is a specialized class of small businesses involved in the 
final stage manufacture of vehicles manufactured in two or more stages, 
and/or in the conversion or alteration of new vehicles. In several 
recent rulemakings, including those extending Standard No. 214's quasi-
static side door strength requirements and Standard No. 208's automatic 
crash protection requirements to LTVs, NHTSA has addressed at length 
the issue of compliance by these ``final-stage manufacturers.''
    The agency believes that the extension of Standard No. 214's 
dynamic requirements to LTVs raises the same basic issues concerning 
final stage manufacturers as the earlier rulemakings on Standards No. 
214 and No. 208. NHTSA has tentatively concluded that the proposed 
requirements would not pose an unreasonable burden on final stage 
manufacturers, since they have the same means for certifying compliance 
as they do for Standard No. 208's automatic crash protection 
requirements and Standard No. 214's quasi-static side door strength 
requirements.
    In many cases, final stage manufacturers can certify compliance 
simply by staying with limits set by the incomplete vehicle 
manufacturer. Some final stage manufacturers build their own vehicle 
body structures. However, these manufacturers are generally larger than 
most final stage manufacturers, and have greater engineering and 
testing expertise. Final stage manufacturers can also band together to 
sponsor testing and/or engineering analysis.
    For a full discussion of these issues, see 56 FR 12472, 12477-80, 
March 26, 1991 (final rule extending Standard No. 208's automatic 
protection requirements to LTVs); 57 FR 26609, 26612-17, June 15, 1992 
(response to petitions for reconsideration of extension of Standard No. 
208's automatic protection requirements to LTVs); 56 FR 27427, 27435-
36, June 14, 1991 (final rule extending Standard No. 214's quasi-static 
side door strength requirements to LTVs); 58 FR 19628-31, April 15, 
1993 (response to petition concerning the extension of Standard No. 
214's quasi-static side door strength requirements to LTVs).
    NHTSA requests comments on the proposed exclusions discussed above 
and on whether any other LTVs should be excluded. NHTSA notes that 
buses within the specified weight limits are covered by the proposal. 
Some vans are classified as buses. While most such vans have a GVWR 
above 8,500 pounds, there may be some smaller ones with a lower GVWR. 
The agency is aware that some small buses have an unusual side 
structure, in that the passenger portion of the bus is wider than the 
portion which includes the driver seat. NHTSA specifically requests 
comments on whether any such buses have a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less 
and, if so, whether the proposed test procedure would be appropriate 
for vehicles with that type of side structure. NHTSA also specifically 
requests comments on the ability of manufacturers of LTVs designed to 
be driven by persons with disabilities to comply with the proposed 
requirements.

VII. Benefits

    NHTSA's analysis of benefits is presented in the PEA. As discussed 
in that document, estimated benefits would vary depending on the 
barrier weight and height specified in a final rule. All LTV's are 
believed to meet the proposed requirements using the barrier specified 
by Standard No. 214 for passenger car testing. Thus, benefits would be 
negligible for that option. The benefits would increase as barrier 
weight and height increase.
    The PEA provides estimates of benefits for six different barrier 
height alternatives, with the barrier weight at 3,000 and 3,600 pounds. 
The height of the barrier varies between 35 inches and 45 inches for 
these alternatives. The estimates of benefits cited below reflect those 
alternatives.
    If the dynamic side impact requirements were extended to the front 
seat only, with a barrier weight of 3,000 pounds, the agency estimates 
that there would be 1 to 63 fewer fatalities and 13 to 287 fewer AIS 2-
5 injuries annually, depending on the height of the barrier. With a 
barrier weight of 3,600 pounds, NHTSA estimates that there would be 32 
to 116 fewer fatalities and 122 to 472 fewer AIS 2-5 injuries annually, 
depending on the height of the barrier.
    If the requirements were extended to the front and rear seats, with 
a barrier weight of 3,000 pounds, the agency estimates that there would 
be 5 to 69 fewer fatalities and 20 to 301 fewer AIS 2-5 injuries 
annually. With a barrier weight of 3,600 pounds, NHTSA estimates that 
there would be 36 to 122 fewer fatalities and 129 to 486 fewer AIS 2-5 
injuries annually.
    As discussed in the PEA, there are a number of assumptions 
underlying these estimates, including the assumption that 12 light 
truck make/models for which the agency has test data are representative 
of vehicles in their body style/size class. Another assumption is that 
either padding or a combination of padding and structure would be 
employed as countermeasures.

VIII. Costs

    The PEA also presents the agency's analysis of costs. As with 
benefits, estimated costs would vary depending on the barrier weight 
and height specified in a final rule. Since all LTV's are believed to 
meet the proposed requirements using the barrier specified by Standard 
No. 214 for passenger car testing, vehicle costs would be negligible 
for that option. However, there would be testing costs.
    Costs would increase as barrier weight and height increase. The PEA 
provides estimates of costs for the same barrier height/weight 
alternatives as for benefits. The estimates of costs cited below 
reflect those alternatives.
    While some LTVs already meet the proposed requirements and would 
not require any changes, NHTSA believes that all other LTVs could be 
brought into compliance either by the addition of three inches or less 
of padding to the door or side of the vehicle adjacent to each outboard 
occupant's thorax, or by the addition of a combination of padding and 
structure.
    If the dynamic side impact requirements were extended to the front 
seat only and assuming that the appropriate countermeasures were added 
to those vehicles requiring changes, NHTSA estimates the average cost 
per LTV of adding the countermeasure to be $5.55 to $37.07, depending 
on the weight and height specified for the barrier. (The average cost 
per LTV is based on the costs for all LTVs, including those which would 
not require the addition of countermeasures.) The addition of the 
lifetime fuel costs of carrying the extra weight of the padding/
structure increases the average cost per LTV to $7.91 to $65.90. 
Another possible cost relates to secondary weight, i.e., weight 
increases in other parts of the vehicle which might be made to 
compensate for the additional weight of the padding/structure. With the 
addition of secondary weight and the lifetime fuel costs of carrying 
the secondary weight, the average cost per LTV would be $10.47 to 
$97.22.
    If the proposed requirements were extended to the front and rear 
seats, NHTSA estimates the average cost per LTV of adding the 
countermeasure to be $7.33 to $55.18. The addition of the lifetime fuel 
costs of carrying the extra weight of the padding/structure increases 
the cost per LTV to $10.59 to $98.69. With the addition of secondary 
weight and the lifetime fuel costs of carrying the secondary weight, 
the average cost per LTV would be $14.13 to $145.96.
    As with its estimates of benefits, NHTSA's costs estimates are 
based on a number of assumptions which are discussed in the PEA.

IX. Leadtime/Phase-In

    NHTSA believes that the extension of the dynamic side impact 
requirements to LTVs would require a similar leadtime to that provided 
for passenger cars, since the countermeasures and testing needs are the 
same. The agency is therefore proposing to establish the same phase-in 
options as it provided for passenger cars.
    More specifically, to provide manufacturers with sufficient 
leadtime to design their LTVs to meet the proposed performance 
requirements, NHTSA is proposing two compliance schedules, the choice 
of which would be at the option of the manufacturer. Under the first 
schedule, the standard would be phased-in in accordance with the 
following implementation schedule:

10 percent of all LTVs manufactured during the first full production 
year (September 1 to August 31) beginning approximately two years after 
the issuance of a final rule;
25 percent of all LTVs manufactured during the second full year after 
that two-year period;
40 percent of all LTVs manufactured during the third full year after 
that two-year period; and
100 percent of all LTVs manufactured on or after the beginning of the 
fourth full year after that two-year period.

    Under the second schedule, no compliance would be required during 
the production period beginning approximately two years after the 
issuance of a final rule, but full implementation would be required 
beginning with the next production period.

X. Reporting Requirements

    Whenever the agency specifies a phase-in of some performance 
requirement, it is necessary for enforcement of that phase-in to 
require manufacturers to report, at the end of each production period 
during the phase-in, its total production of vehicles and the number of 
such vehicles that are certified as complying with the relevant 
performance requirement. While the agency is not setting forth specific 
regulatory text concerning reporting in this NPRM, it would, for 
purposes of a final rule, establish essentially the same side impact 
reporting requirements for LTV manufacturers as it established in part 
586 for passenger car manufacturers.

XI. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

Executive Order 12866 and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    NHTSA has considered the costs and other impacts that would be 
associated with this proposal if it were adopted as a final rule. This 
rulemaking document was reviewed under Executive Order 12866, 
``Regulatory Planning and Review.'' This rulemaking action is 
considered significant under that executive order and the DOT 
Regulatory Policies and Procedures because it could have an annual 
effect on the economy of $100 million or more. The agency's analysis of 
costs and benefits is presented in the Preliminary Economic Assessment, 
which is being placed in the docket. A summary of costs and benefits is 
presented earlier in this notice.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    NHTSA has also considered the effects of this regulatory action 
under the Regulatory Flexibility Act. I hereby certify that it would 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. Accordingly, the agency has not prepared a preliminary 
regulatory flexibility analysis.
    The primary cost effect of the proposed requirements would be on 
incomplete vehicle manufacturers, which are not small entities. 
Although many final stage manufacturers are small businesses, NHTSA 
estimates that the vast majority of those businesses would not be 
significantly affected by the proposed requirements. Final stage 
manufacturers would have the same means for certifying compliance as 
they do for Standard No. 208's automatic crash protection requirements 
and Standard No. 214's quasi-static side door strength requirements. In 
many cases, final stage manufacturers can certify compliance simply by 
staying with limits set by the incomplete vehicle manufacturer. Some 
final stage manufacturers build their own vehicle body structures. 
However, these manufacturers are generally larger than most final stage 
manufacturers, and have greater engineering and testing expertise. 
Final stage manufacturers can also band together to sponsor testing 
and/or engineering analysis.
    Small organizations and governmental units should not be 
significantly affected since the potential cost impacts associated with 
this proposed action should only slightly affect the purchase price of 
new motor vehicles.

National Environmental Policy Act

    NHTSA has analyzed this rulemaking for the purposes of the National 
Environmental Policy Act. The addition of padding and structure would 
result in increased material usage by manufacturers, primarily plastic 
and metal. There could also be increased material usage associated with 
possible secondary weight. The agency estimates that LTVs could 
increase in average curb weight by 0.07 percent to 1.25 percent. Such 
added weight would result in a very slight increase in fuel 
consumption. After considering these impacts, the agency has determined 
that implementation of this action would not have any significant 
impact on the quality of the human environment.

Executive Order 12612 (Federalism)

    The agency has analyzed this proposal in accordance with the 
principles and criteria set forth in Executive Order 12612. NHTSA has 
determined that this proposal does not have sufficient federalism 
implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The reporting and recordkeeping requirements associated with this 
proposed rule are being submitted to the Office of Management and 
Budget for approval in accordance with 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35 under OMB 
No.: 2127-0558; ADMINISTRATION: National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration; TITLE: Production Reporting System for Side Impact 
Protection Compliance (49 CFR part 586); NEED FOR INFORMATION: To 
assess compliance with dynamic side impact protection phase-in 
requirements; PROPOSED USE OF INFORMATION: To determine if 
manufacturers are complying with the dynamic side impact protection 
phase-in schedule; FREQUENCY: Annually; BURDEN ESTIMATE: 384 hours; 
RESPONDENTS: 16; FORM(S): None; AVERAGE BURDEN HOURS FOR RESPONDENT: 24 
hours.

For further information contact: The Information Requirements Division, 
M-34, Office of the Secretary of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, 
SW., Washington, DC 20590, (202) 366-4735, or Edward Clarke, Office of 
Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, room 3228, 
Washington, DC 20503, (202) 395-7340.

Civil Justice Reform

    This proposed rule would not have any retroactive effect. Under 
section 103(d) of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act 
(Safety Act; 15 U.S.C. 1392(d)), whenever a Federal motor vehicle 
safety standard is in effect, a State may not adopt or maintain a 
safety standard applicable to the same aspect of performance which is 
not identical to the Federal standard, except to the extent that the 
State requirement imposes a higher level of performance and applies 
only to vehicles procured for the State's use. Section 105 of the 
Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 1394) sets forth a procedure for judicial review 
of final rules establishing, amending or revoking Federal motor vehicle 
safety standards. That section does not require submission of a 
petition for reconsideration or other administrative proceedings before 
parties may file suit in court.

XII. Submission of Comments

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on the proposal. 
It is requested but not required that 10 copies be submitted.
    All comments must not exceed 15 pages in length. (49 CFR 553.21). 
Necessary 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 above, and seven 
copies from which the purportedly confidential information has been 
deleted should be submitted to the Docket Section. 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 the proposal 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 received too 
late for consideration in regard to the final rule will be considered 
as suggestions for further rulemaking action. Comments on the proposal 
will be available for inspection in the docket. The NHTSA will continue 
to file relevant information as it becomes available 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.

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 571

    Imports, Motor vehicle safety, Motor vehicles, Rubber and rubber 
products, Tires.

    In consideration of the foregoing, 49 CFR part 571 would be amended 
as follows:

PART 571--FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS

    1. The authority citation for part 571 would continue to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 15 U.S.C. 1392, 1401, 1403, 1407; delegation of 
authority at 49 CFR 1.50.

    2. Section 571.214 would be amended by revising S2, adding S3(f) 
through S3(h), revising S5.1, S6.1, S6.11, and S7, and adding S8.5 
through S8.9.3, to read as follows:


Sec. 571.214  Standard No. 214, Side Impact Protection.

* * * * *
    S2. This standard applies to passenger cars. Effective September 1, 
1993, sections S3(a), S3(e), S3.1 through S3.2.3, and S4 of the 
standard apply to multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses 
with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less, except for walk-in vans. 
Effective September 1, 1996, sections S3(f) through S3(h) and S5 of the 
standard apply to multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses 
with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less and an unloaded vehicle weight of 
5,500 pounds or less, except for walk-in vans, motor homes, tow trucks, 
dump trucks, ambulances, and vehicles which have no doors or 
exclusively have doors that are designed to be easily attached or 
removed so the vehicle can be operated without doors.
* * * * *
    S3* * *
    (f) When tested according to the conditions of S6, each 
multipurpose passenger vehicle, truck and bus manufactured on or after 
September 1, 1999 shall meet the requirements of S5.1, S5.2, and S5.3 
in a 33.5 miles per hour impact in which the vehicle is struck on 
either side by a moving deformable barrier. A part 572, subpart F test 
dummy is placed in the front outboard seating position on the struck 
side of the vehicle.
    (g) Except as provided in paragraph (h) of this section, from 
September 1, 1996 to August 31, 1999, a specified percentage of each 
manufacturer's combined yearly production of multipurpose passenger 
vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less and an 
unloaded vehicle weight of 5,500 pounds or less, as set forth in S8, 
shall, when tested under the conditions of S6, meet the requirements of 
S5.1, S5.2, and S5.3 in a 33.5 miles per hour impact in which the 
vehicle is struck on either side by a moving deformable barrier. A part 
572, subpart F test dummy is placed in the front outboard seating 
position on the struck side of the vehicle.
    (h) A manufacturer may, at its option, comply with the requirements 
of this paragraph instead of paragraph (g) of this section. When tested 
under the conditions of S6, each multipurpose passenger vehicle, truck 
and bus with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less and an unloaded vehicle 
weight of 5,500 pounds or less manufactured from September 1, 1997 to 
August 31, 1999 shall meet the requirements of S5.1, S5.2, and S5.3 in 
a 33.5 miles per hour impact in which the vehicle is struck on either 
side by a moving deformable barrier. A part 572, subpart F test dummy 
is placed in the front outboard seating position on the struck side of 
the vehicle.
* * * * *
    S5.1  Thorax. The Thoracic Trauma Index (TTI(d)) shall not exceed 
85 g for passenger cars with four side doors, shall not exceed 90 g for 
passenger cars with two side doors, and shall not exceed 85 g for 
multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses, when calculated in 
accordance with the following formula:

TTI(d)=1/2 (GR+GLS)

    The term ``GR'' is the greater of the peak accelerations of 
either the upper or lower rib, expressed in g's and the term 
``GLS'' is the lower spine (T12) peak acceleration, expressed in 
g's. The peak acceleration values are obtained in accordance with the 
procedure specified in S6.13.5.
* * * * *
    S6.1  Test weight. Each vehicle is loaded to its unloaded vehicle 
weight, plus 300 pounds or its rated cargo and luggage capacity 
(whichever is less), secured in the luggage or load-carrying area, plus 
the weight of the necessary anthropomorphic test dummies. Any added 
test equipment is located away from impact areas in secure places in 
the vehicle. The vehicle's fuel system is filled in accordance with the 
following procedure. With the test vehicle on a level surface, pump the 
fuel from the vehicle's fuel tank and then operate the engine until it 
stops. Then, add Stoddard solvent to the test vehicle's fuel tank in an 
amount which is equal to not less than 92 percent and not more than 94 
percent of the fuel tank's usable capacity stated by the vehicle's 
manufacturer. In addition, add the amount of Stoddard solvent needed to 
fill the entire fuel system from the fuel tank through the engine's 
induction system.
* * * * *
    S6.11  Impact reference line. For passenger cars with a wheelbase 
of 114 inches or less and for other vehicles with a wheel base of 
greater than 98 inches but not greater than 114 inches, on the side of 
the vehicle that will be struck by the moving deformable barrier, place 
a vertical reference line which is 37 inches forward of the center of 
the vehicle's wheelbase. For vehicles with a wheelbase greater than 114 
inches, on the side of the vehicle that will be struck by the moving 
deformable barrier, place a vertical reference line which is 20 inches 
rearward of the centerline of the vehicle's front axle. For vehicles 
other than passenger cars, with a wheelbase of 98 inches or less, on 
the side of the vehicle that will be struck by the moving deformable 
barrier, place a vertical reference line, which is 12 inches rearward 
of the centerline of the vehicle's front axle.
* * * * *
    S7  Positioning procedure for the Part 572 Subpart F Test Dummy. 
Position a correctly configured test dummy, conforming to subpart F of 
part 572 of this chapter, in the front outboard seating position on the 
side of the test vehicle to be struck by the moving deformable barrier 
and, if the vehicle is a passenger car, position another conforming 
test dummy in the rear outboard position on the same side of the 
vehicle, as specified in S7.1 through S7.4. Each test dummy is 
restrained using all available belt systems in all seating positions 
where such belt restraints are provided. In addition, any folding 
armrest is retracted.
* * * * *
    S8.5  Multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses 
manufactured on or after September 1, 1996 and before September 1, 
1997.
    S8.5.1  The combined number of multipurpose passenger vehicles, 
trucks and buses with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less and an unloaded 
vehicle weight of 5,500 pounds or less complying with the requirements 
of S3(g) shall be not less than 10 percent of:
    (a) the average annual production of multipurpose passenger 
vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less and an 
unloaded vehicle weight of 5,500 pounds or less manufactured on or 
after September 1, 1993, and before September 1, 1996, by each 
manufacturer, or
    (b) the manufacturer's annual production of multipurpose passenger 
vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less and an 
unloaded vehicle weight of 5,500 pounds or less during the period 
specified in S8.5.
    S8.6  Multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses 
manufactured on or after September 1, 1997 and before September 1, 
1998.
    S8.6.1  The combined number of multipurpose passenger vehicles, 
trucks and buses with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less and an unloaded 
vehicle weight of 5,500 pounds or less complying with the requirements 
of S3(g) shall be not less than 25 percent of:
    (a) the average annual production of multipurpose passenger 
vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less and an 
unloaded vehicle weight of 5,500 pounds or less manufactured on or 
after September 1, 1994, and before September 1, 1997, by each 
manufacturer, or
    (b) the manufacturer's annual production of multipurpose passenger 
vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less and an 
unloaded vehicle weight of 5,500 pounds or less during the period 
specified in S8.6.
    S8.7  Multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses 
manufactured on or after September 1, 1998 and before September 1, 
1999.
    S8.7.1  The combined number of multipurpose passenger vehicles, 
trucks and buses with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less and an unloaded 
vehicle weight of 5,500 pounds or less complying with the requirements 
of S3(g) shall be not less than 40 percent of:
    (a) the average annual production of multipurpose passenger 
vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less and an 
unloaded vehicle weight of 5,500 pounds or less manufactured on or 
after September 1, 1994, and before September 1, 1997, by each 
manufacturer, or
    (b) the manufacturer's annual production of multipurpose passenger 
vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less and an 
unloaded vehicle weight of 5,500 pounds or less during the period 
specified in S8.7.
    S8.8  Walk-in vans, motor homes, tow trucks, dump trucks, 
ambulances, and vehicles which have no doors or exclusively have doors 
that are designed to be easily attached or removed so the vehicle can 
be operated without doors may be excluded from all calculations of 
compliance with S8.5.1, S8.6.1 and S8.7.1.
    S8.9  Multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses produced by 
more than one manufacturer.
    S8.9.1  For the purposes of calculating average annual production 
of multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR of 
8,500 pounds or less and an unloaded vehicle weight of 5,500 pounds or 
less for each manufacturer and the number of multipurpose passenger 
vehicles, trucks and buses with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less and an 
unloaded vehicle weight of 5,500 pounds or less manufactured by each 
manufacturer under S8.5.1, S8.6.1 and S8.7.1, a vehicle produced by 
more than one manufacturer shall be attributed to a single manufacturer 
as follows, subject to S8.9.2:
    (a) A vehicle which is imported shall be attributed to the 
importer.
    (b) A vehicle manufactured in the United States by more than one 
manufacturer, one of which also markets the vehicle, shall be 
attributed to the manufacturer which markets the vehicle.
    S8.9.2  A vehicle produced by more than one manufacturer shall be 
attributed to any one of the vehicle's manufacturers specified by an 
express written contract, reported to the National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration under 49 CFR part 586, between the manufacturer 
so specified and the manufacturer to which the vehicle would otherwise 
be attributed under S8.9.1.
    S8.9.3  Each multipurpose passenger vehicle, truck and bus with a 
GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less and an unloaded vehicle weight of 5,500 
pounds or less that is manufactured in two or more stages or that is 
altered (within the meaning of Sec. 567.7 of this chapter) after having 
previously been certified in accordance with part 567 of this chapter 
is not subject to the requirements of S3(g).

    Issued on: June 10, 1994.
Barry Felrice,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 94-14578 Filed 6-14-94; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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