III.  Rulemaking Analyses and Notices


    A.  Executive Order 12866 and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    NHTSA has considered the potential impacts of this proposed rule under Executive Order 12866 and the Department of Transportation's regulatory policies and procedures. This document was reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget under E.O. 12866, "Regulatory Planning and Review." This document has been determined to be significant under the Department's regulatory policies and procedures. While the potential cost impacts of the proposed rule are far below the level that would make this a significant rulemaking, the rulemaking addresses a topic of substantial public interest.

    The agency has prepared a separate document addressing the benefits and costs for the proposed rule. A copy is being placed in the docket.

    As discussed in that document and in the preceding sections of this NPRM, the crash data that would be collected by EDRs under the proposed rule would be extremely valuable for the improvement of vehicle safety by improving and facilitating crash investigations, the evaluation of safety countermeasures, advanced restraint and safety countermeasure research and development, and advanced ACN. However, the improvement in vehicle safety would not occur directly from the collection of crash data by EDRs, but instead from the ways in which the data are used by researchers, vehicle manufacturers, ACN and EMS providers, government agencies, and other members of the safety community. Therefore, it is not presently practical to quantify the safety benefits.

    We estimate that about 67 to 90 percent of new light vehicles are already equipped with EDRs. As discussed earlier, vehicle manufacturers have provided EDRs in their vehicles by adding EDR capability to their vehicles' air bag control systems. The costs of EDRs have been minimized, because they involve the capture into memory of data that is already being processed by the vehicle, and not the much higher costs of sensing much of that data in the first place.

    The costs of the proposed rule would be the incremental costs for vehicles equipped with EDRs to comply with the proposed requirements. As discussed in the agency's separate document on benefits and costs, we estimate the total annual costs of the proposed rule to range from $5.7 to $8.6 million. While the potential costs include technology costs, paperwork maintenance costs, and compliance costs, the paperwork maintenance and compliance costs are estimated to be negligible. The proposal would not require additional sensors to be installed in vehicles, and the major technology cost would result from a need to upgrade EDR memory chips. The total cost for the estimated 11.2 to 15.2 million vehicles that already have an EDR function to comply with the proposed regulation is estimated to be $5.7 to $7.7 million. If manufacturers were to provide EDRs in all 16.8 million light vehicles, the estimated total cost is $8.6 million. A complete discussion of how NHTSA arrived at these costs may be found in the separate document on benefits and costs.


    B.  Regulatory Flexibility Act

    NHTSA has considered the impacts of this rulemaking action under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). I certify that the proposed amendment would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    The following is the agency's statement providing the factual basis for the certification (5 U.S.C. 605(b)). If adopted, the proposal would directly affect motor vehicle manufacturers, second stage or final manufacturers, and alterers. SIC code number 3711, Motor Vehicles and Passenger Car Bodies, prescribes a small business size standard of 1,000 or fewer employees. SIC code No. 3714, Motor Vehicle Part and Accessories, prescribes a small business size standard of 750 or fewer employees.

    Only four of the 18 motor vehicle manufacturers affected by this proposal would qualify as a small business. Most of the intermediate and final stage manufacturers of vehicles built in two or more stages and alterers have 1,000 or fewer employees. However, these small businesses adhere to original equipment manufacturers' instructions in manufacturing modified and altered vehicles. Based on our knowledge, original equipment manufacturers do not permit a final stage manufacturer or alterer to modify or alter sophisticated devices such as air bags or EDRs. Therefore, multistage manufacturers and alterers would be able to rely on the certification and information provided by the original equipment manufacturer. Accordingly, there would be no significant impact on small businesses, small organizations, or small governmental units by these amendments. For these reasons, the agency has not prepared a preliminary regulatory flexibility analysis.


    C.  Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, a person is not required to respond to a collection of information by a Federal agency unless the collection displays a valid OMB control number. For the standardization and information collection requirements, NHTSA has submitted to OMB a request for approval of the following collection of information. Public comment is sought on the proposed collection.

    Agency:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

    Title:  Event Data Recorder Information Collection Requirements

    Type of Request:  New collection.

    OMB Clearance Number:  None assigned.

    Form Number:  This collection of information will not use a standard form.

    Requested Expiration Date of Approval:  Three years from the date of approval.

    Summary of the Collection of Information:  To improve the availability and usability of data collected by motor vehicle sensors during a crash event, the proposed regulation would require manufacturers that voluntarily equip vehicles with an EDR to record specified data elements and to standardize the format of the resulting data.

    Motor vehicle manufacturers voluntarily equipping vehicles with an EDR would also be required to submit information to the agency on accessing and retrieving the stored data. The technical specifications would be required to be of sufficient detail to permit an individual to design and build a tool for accessing and downloading the data in the specified format. This information would be required to be submitted not later than 90 days before the beginning of the production year in which the EDR equipped vehicles are to be offered for sale.

    Description of the Need for the Information and Proposed Use of the Information

    The information sought by NHTSA in this collection would be used by the agency and crash investigators (e.g., other government agencies, police investigators, motor vehicle crash researchers, etc.) to access and retrieve standardized crash data from voluntarily installed EDRs. Improving the availability of crash event data would permit the agency to improve analysis of a restraint system's crash protection performance and the determination of crash-avoidance system effectiveness. Improving the data elements and data available to the agency would allow NHTSA to make more targeted rulemaking decisions, thus improving overall vehicle safety in the future.

    Description of the Likely Respondents (Including Estimated Number, and Proposed Frequency of response to the Collection of Information)

    NHTSA estimates that a maximum of 18 vehicle manufacturers would submit the required information. The manufacturers are makers of passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks and buses that have a GVWR of 3,855 kg (8,500 pounds) or less and an unloaded vehicle weight of 2,495 kg (5,500 pounds). For each report, a manufacturer would provide, in addition to its identity: (1) non-proprietary technical information of sufficient detail to permit an individual to design and build a tool to download the EDR data in the specified format and (2) information of sufficient detail to permit access to the data in each vehicle make and model produced by the manufacturer that is equipped with an EDR.

    Manufacturers would be required to submit the above information once per year.

    Estimate of the Total Annual Reporting and Recordkeeping Burden Resulting from the Collection of Information

    NHTSA estimates that each manufacturer would incur a total of 30 burden hours per year under this collection. The agency estimates that each manufacturer would incur 20 burden hours per year to comply with the information collection and 10 burden hours per year for data standardization. The estimate for the hour burden arising from the information submission is based on the fact that manufacturers would be submitting existing information from its vehicle production data and equipment specification data. As the industry voluntarily standardizes EDR output, the agency anticipates this burden would decrease because manufacturers will be able to cite voluntary industry standards in place of technical specifications. The burden arising from the recordkeeping portion of this request would be a result of manufacturers reprogramming existing sensor systems to meet the data standardization requirements of this program. Given the lead time of the proposed regulation, this reprogramming could be accomplished during a scheduled upgrade of a motor vehicle's sensor systems. This one time reprogramming cost is estimated between $100,000 and $180,000, for the entire industry. Once a manufacturer has standardized all of the existing sensors, we would anticipate this burden to be reduced to a minimal number.

    NHTSA estimates the total annual burden hours to be $18,900. (30 burden hours x 18 manufacturers x $35 / burden hour)

    If a manufacturer needed to increase the electronic storage capability of the existing sensors to comply with the proposal, this would result in an additional cost of $0.50 per vehicle. As discussed above and in the separate document on costs and benefits, the estimated cost for the entire industry from the increased memory and software reprogramming is $5.7 to $8.6 million.

    Persons desiring to submit comments on the information collection requirements should direct them to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Room 10235, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC, 20503; Attention: Desk Officer for U.S. Department of Transportation.

    The agency will consider comments by the public on this proposed collection of information in:

    OMB is required to make a decision concerning the collection of information contained in the proposed regulation between 30 and 60 days after publication of this document in the Federal Register. Therefore, a comment to OMB is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives it within 30 days of publication. This does not affect the deadline for the public to comment to NHTSA on the proposed regulation.

    NHTSA requests comments on its estimates of the total annual hour and cost burdens resulting from this collection of information. Please submit comments according to the instructions under the Comments heading of this notice. Comments are due by [insert date that is 60 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register].


    E.  Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    Executive Order 13132 requires NHTSA to develop an accountable process to ensure "meaningful and timely input by State and local officials in the development of regulatory policies that have federalism implications." "Policies that have federalism implications" is defined in the Executive Order to include regulations that have "substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government."  Under Executive Order 13132, the agency may not issue a regulation with Federalism implications, that imposes substantial direct costs, and that is not required by statute, unless the Federal government provides the funds necessary to pay the direct compliance costs incurred by State and local governments, or the agency consults with State and local officials early in the process of developing the proposed regulation. NHTSA may also not issue a regulation with Federalism implications and that preempts State law unless the agency consults with State and local officials early in the process of developing the proposed regulation.

    The agency has analyzed this rulemaking action in accordance with the principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 13132 and has determined that, although the proposed regulation would preempt conflicting State law, it does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant consultation with State and local officials or the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. The proposed rule would have no substantial effects on the States, or on the current Federal-State relationship, or on the current distribution of power and responsibilities among the various local officials.


    F.  Executive Order 12778 (Civil Justice Reform)

    This proposed rule would not have any retroactive effect.  Under section 49 U.S.C. 30103, 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. This section would not apply to the proposed rule, because it would not be a Federal motor vehicle safety standard. General principles of preemption law would apply, however, to displace any conflicting state law or regulations. If the proposed rule were made final, there would be no requirement for submission of a petition for reconsideration or other administrative proceedings before parties could file suit in court.


    G.  National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (NTTAA), Public Law 104‑113, section 12(d) (15 U.S.C. 272) directs us to use voluntary consensus standards in regulatory activities unless doing so would be inconsistent with applicable law or otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards (e.g., materials specifications, test methods, sampling procedures, and business practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies, such as the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). The NTTAA directs us to provide Congress, through OMB, explanations when we decide not to use available and applicable voluntary consensus standards.

    As discussed above, both the SAE Vehicle Event Data Interface (J1698-1) Committee and the IEEE Motor Vehicle Event Data Recorder (MVDER) working group (P1616) are developing standards specific to EDRs. While there are currently no voluntary consensus standards for EDR data elements or data format, the agency will consider such standards when they are available. Where appropriate, the agency has incorporated by reference SAE J211, Class 60 for the specified data filtering requirements.


    H.  Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) requires Federal agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits, and other effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of more than $ 100 million in any one year (adjusted for inflation with base year of 1995). Before promulgating a rule for which a written statement is needed, section 205 of the UMRA generally requires NHTSA to identify and consider a reasonable number of regulatory alternatives and adopt the least costly, most cost-effective, or least burdensome alternative that achieves the objectives of the rule. The provisions of section 205 do not apply when they are inconsistent with applicable law. Moreover, section 205 allows NHTSA to adopt an alternative other than the least costly, most cost-effective, or least burdensome alternative if the agency publishes with the final rule an explanation why that alternative was not adopted. If adopted, this proposed rule would not impose any unfunded mandates under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995. This proposed rule would not result in costs of $100 million or more to either State, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or to the private sector. Thus, this proposed rule is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 and 205 of the UMRA.


    I.  Regulation Identifier Number (RIN)

    The Department of Transportation assigns a regulation identifier number (RIN) to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. You may use the RIN contained in the heading at the beginning of this document to find this action in the Unified Agenda.