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Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention; Exemption From Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention; Exemption From Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard

Christopher A. Hart
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Federal Register
March 8, 1994

[Federal Register: March 8, 1994]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 543

[Docket No. 93-46; Notice 2]
RIN 2127-AE66

 
Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention; Exemption From Vehicle Theft 
Prevention Standard

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This final rule amends the agency regulation on exempting high 
theft motor vehicle lines from parts marking by limiting the number of 
high theft lines that may be exempted. For each model year through 
model year 1996, a manufacturer may petition for exemptions for up to 
two additional lines of its passenger motor vehicles. For the four year 
period that begins with model year 1997 and ends with model year 2000, 
a manufacturer may petition for an exemption for one additional line of 
its passenger motor vehicles for each year. This final rule conforms 
the regulation to amendments made by the ``Anti Car Theft Act of 1992'' 
to Title VI (``Theft Prevention'') of the Motor Vehicle Information and 
Cost Savings Act.

DATES: Effective date: This rule is effective on April 7, 1994.
    Petitions for Reconsideration: Any petitions for reconsideration of 
this rule must be received by NHTSA no later than April 7, 1994.

ADDRESSES: Petitions for reconsideration of this rule should refer to 
the docket number and notice number cited in the heading of this notice 
and be submitted to: Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Ms. Barbara A. Gray, Office of Market Incentives, NHTSA, 400 Seventh 
Street SW., Washington, DC 20590. Ms. Gray's telephone number is (202) 
366-1740.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

1. Motor Vehicle Theft Law Enforcement Act of 1984

    The Motor Vehicle Theft Law Enforcement Act of 1984 (Pub. L. 98-
547) (Theft Act), added title VI to the Motor Vehicle Information and 
Cost Savings Act (Cost Savings Act). Pursuant to title VI, NHTSA 
promulgated 49 CFR part 541, titled ``Federal Motor Vehicle Theft 
Prevention Standard'' (Theft Prevention Standard). Part 541 establishes 
performance requirements for inscribing or affixing vehicle 
identification numbers onto certain major original equipment and 
replacement parts of high theft lines of passenger motor vehicles.
    Section 605 of title VI permits manufacturers to petition NHTSA to 
exempt high theft vehicle lines from the Theft Prevention Standard. To 
be exempted, a high theft line must satisfy two conditions. First, a 
line must be equipped with an antitheft device as standard equipment on 
the entire line for which its manufacturer seeks an exemption. Second, 
NHTSA must determine that such antitheft device is likely to be as 
effective as parts marking in reducing and deterring motor vehicle 
theft. As originally enacted, section 605 allowed the agency to grant 
an exemption for not more than two lines of any manufacturer for the 
initial model year (model year 1987) to which the vehicle theft 
prevention standard applies, and two additional lines of any 
manufacturer for each subsequent model year.
    Regulations governing the granting of exemptions are set forth in 
49 CFR part 543, ``Exemption from Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard.'' 
Part 543 sets out procedures for manufacturers to follow in preparing 
and submitting petitions for exemption from the parts marking 
requirements of part 541. It also sets forth procedures for NHTSA to 
follow in processing those petitions and determining whether they 
should be granted.

2. Anti Car Theft Act of 1992

    The ``Anti Car Theft Act of 1992'' (ACTA), which became law on 
October 25, 1992, amended title VI of the Cost Savings Act. Title VI 
was amended to redefine ``passenger motor vehicle'' to include ``any 
multipurpose passenger vehicle and light-duty truck that is rated at 
6,000 pounds gross vehicle weight or less.'' (See section 601(1) of 
title VI.) Before the amendment of title VI, ``passenger motor 
vehicle'' was defined to include passenger cars only.
    The redefinition means that certain light-duty truck lines and 
multipurpose passenger vehicle lines may now be determined to be likely 
high theft vehicles, and thus, may be subject to the parts marking 
requirements of the Theft Prevention Standard. If the lines are 
designated as high theft lines, manufacturers of certain light-duty 
trucks and multipurpose passenger vehicle lines may, under the 
procedures in part 543, petition for exemption of these lines from the 
parts marking requirements.
    The title VI amendment giving rise to this final rule restricts the 
number of exemptions from parts marking that may be granted to any 
manufacturer of high theft passenger motor vehicle lines. As a result 
of the amendments to section 605(a)(2) of title VI, the agency may 
continue to grant exemptions for two high theft lines per manufacturer 
per year, from the present through MY 1996. However, for the next four 
years, title VI states that:

    For MY 1997 through MY 2000, (NHTSA) may grant such an exemption 
for not more than 1 additional line of any manufacturer * * *

    Amended title VI also states that, after MY 2000, the granting of 
any further exemptions would be contingent on a determination by the 
U.S. Attorney General on whether the antitheft devices are an effective 
substitute for parts marking in substantially inhibiting vehicle theft. 
The Attorney General's determination must be made by December 1999. See 
section 602(f)(5) of title VI.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

    On July 1, 1993, NHTSA published in the Federal Register (58 FR 
35422) a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to make part 543 
consistent with the new statutory restrictions on the number of 
exemptions from the parts marking requirements of part 541. The agency 
proposed to amend part 543 to state the number of vehicle lines for 
which a manufacturer may petition for exemption for each model year 
through MY 2000.
    More specifically, NHTSA proposed that for each model year through 
model year 1996, a manufacturer may petition for exemptions for up to 
two additional lines of its passenger motor vehicles, and that for each 
model year from model year 1997 through model year 2000, a manufacturer 
may petition for exemptions for only one additional line of its 
passenger motor vehicles. NHTSA noted that the statutory language is 
more ambiguous about the number of exemptions that may be granted for 
model years 1997 through 2000 than for the years preceding that period. 
For guidance in resolving this ambiguity, the agency consulted the 
legislative history of the ACTA. The agency viewed the legislative 
history as ``strong evidence'' that Congress intended to permit each 
manufacturer to petition NHTSA to grant an exemption for only one 
additional line of its passenger motor vehicles from parts marking for 
each of model years 1997 through 2000.
    NHTSA did not propose to address exemptions for model years after 
MY 2000, since any such exemptions are contingent upon the Attorney 
General's determination to be made in 1999.
    Finally, NHTSA proposed a minor amendment to reflect the fact that 
petitions can be submitted under part 543 for light-duty trucks and 
multipurpose passenger vehicles, as well as passenger cars.

Public Comments and Final Rule

    In response to the NPRM, NHTSA received three comments. The 
comments were submitted by the American Automobile Manufacturers 
Association, (AAMA), the Ford Motor Company (Ford), and Chrysler 
Corporation (Chrysler). AAMA and Ford each commented that they believe 
the proposed changes to Part 543 conform to the Congressional intent of 
the ACTA.
    In its comment, Chrysler did not recommend any changes in the 
proposed regulatory text, but made several observations. First, that 
company noted that it offers antitheft devices as standard equipment on 
two of its low theft lines and that, under the ACTA, those two lines 
must have their low theft status reviewed by NHTSA. Chrysler stated 
that if these lines were to be determined to be high theft, it could 
lose a year's allocation of exemptions from the parts marking 
requirements. The agency notes that Chrysler's understanding is 
correct, and that the result is a logical consequence of the 
combination of the statutory mandate to review the low theft status of 
existing lines and the statutory limitation on the number of additional 
exemptions.
    Second, Chrysler stated that it agrees with NHTSA that since the 
ACTA now includes within its scope certain multipurpose passenger 
vehicles and light duty trucks, these vehicles should also be eligible 
for exemption from parts marking.
    Third, Chrysler stated that it questions the rationale for limiting 
parts marking exemptions. That company noted that in order to be 
exempted from parts marking, an antitheft device must be determined to 
be at least as effective as parts marking in deterring auto theft. 
Chrysler stated that it would seem that the ACTA should promote and 
encourage the inclusion of anti-theft devices as standard equipment on 
as many vehicle lines as possible in lieu of parts marking. That 
company argued that the ACTA's exemption limitation may have the 
practical and real effect of discouraging manufacturers from including 
antitheft devices as standard equipment on a wider array of vehicle 
lines. Chrysler stated that the ACTA should have increased the number 
of annual exemptions allowed and thereby encourage a broader base of 
vehicles equipped with effective antitheft devices offered as standard 
equipment.
    NHTSA notes that nothing in the ACTA prevents manufacturers from 
including antitheft devices as standard equipment on all of their 
vehicles. The statutory limitation on number of exemptions means only 
that, in some cases, parts marking could be required even if a high-
theft line is equipped with an effective antitheft device. While NHTSA 
understands that Chrysler disagrees with the ACTA's limitation on the 
number of additional exemptions, the agency must follow the statute as 
enacted by Congress.
    Based on the information set forth above, and in light of the fact 
that none of the public commenters recommended changes in the proposed 
regulation, NHTSA is adopting as final the regulatory text proposed in 
the NPRM.

Regulatory Impacts

A. Executive Order 12866 and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    NHTSA has considered the impact of this rulemaking action under 
Executive Order 12866 and the Department of Transportation's regulatory 
policies and procedures. This action has been determined not to be 
``significant'' other either. This rule simply sets forth amendments 
conforming part 543 to the amendments to title VI. The rule itself has 
no impacts on the manufacturers of passenger motor vehicles. The agency 
has also determined that the economic and other impacts of this rule 
are so minimal that a full regulatory evaluation is not required.

2. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The agency has also considered the effects of this rulemaking 
action under the Regulatory Flexibility Act. I certify that this final 
rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities. As already noted, this rule simply sets forth 
amendments conforming part 543 to the amendments to title VI. The rule 
itself will have no impacts on the manufacturers of passenger motor 
vehicles or on small organizations or governmental units that purchase 
passenger motor vehicles. Accordingly, the agency has not prepared a 
regulatory flexibility analysis.

3. National Environmental Policy Act

    In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 
the agency has considered the environmental impacts of this rule and 
determined that it will not have a significant impact on the quality of 
the human environment.

4. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The procedures in this rule for manufacturers to submit petitions 
for exemption from parts marking to NHTSA are considered to be 
information collection requirements, as that term is defined by the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in 5 CFR part 1320. The 
information collection requirements for part 543 have been submitted to 
and approved by the OMB, pursuant to the requirements of the Paperwork 
Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). This collection of information 
has been assigned OMB Control No. 2127-0542 (``Petitions for exemption 
from the vehicle theft prevention standard'') and has been approved for 
use through July 31, 1995.

5. Federalism

    This action has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and 
criteria contained in Executive Order 12612, and it has been determined 
that the rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to 
warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment.

6. Civil Justice Reform

    This final rule does not have any retroactive effect, and it does 
not preempt any State law. Section 613 of the Motor Vehicle Information 
and Cost Savings Act (15 U.S.C. 2020), provides that judicial review of 
this rule may be obtained pursuant to section 504 of the Cost Savings 
Act, (15 U.S.C. 2004). The Cost Savings Act does not require submission 
of a petition for reconsideration or other administrative proceedings 
before parties may file suit in court.

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 543

    Administrative practice and procedure, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration, Reporting requirements.

    In consideration of the foregoing, 49 CFR part 543 is amended to 
read as follows:

PART 543--[AMENDED]

    1. The authority citation for part 543 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 15 U.S.C. 2025; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 
1.50.

    2. Section 543.5(a) is revised to read as follows:


Sec. 543.5  Petition: General requirements.

    (a) For each model year through model year 1996, a manufacturer may 
petition NHTSA to grant exemptions for up to two additional lines of 
its passenger motor vehicles from the requirements of part 541 of this 
chapter. For each of model years 1997 through 2000, a manufacturer may 
petition NHTSA to grant an exemption for one additional line of its 
passenger motor vehicles from the requirements of part 541 of this 
chapter.
* * * * *
    3. Section 543.6(a) introductory text is republished for the 
convenience of the reader and paragraph (a)(1) is revised to read as 
follows:


Sec. 543.6  Petition: Specific content requirements.

    (a) Each petition for exemption filed under this part must include:
    (1) A statement that an antitheft device will be installed as 
standard equipment on all vehicles in the line for which an exemption 
is sought;
* * * * *
    Issued on: March 2, 1994.
Christopher A. Hart,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 94-5188 Filed 3-7-94; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-M

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