[Federal Register: May 1, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 84)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 21805-21836]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr01my02-27]                         


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Part II





Department of Transportation





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National Highway Traffic Safety Administration



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49 CFR Part 571



Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Child Restraint Systems; 
Proposed Rule


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571

[Docket No. NHTSA-02-11707]
RIN 2127-AI34

 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Child Restraint Systems

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: This document proposes a number of revisions to the Federal 
safety standard for child restraint systems, including proposals for 
incorporating improved test dummies and updated procedures used to test 
child restraints, new or revised injury criteria to assess the dynamic 
performance of child restraints, and extension of the standard to apply 
it to child restraints recommended for use by children up to 65 pounds. 
This action is intended to make child restraints even more effective in 
protecting children from the risk of death or serious injury in motor 
vehicle crashes. This proposal is being issued in response to the 
Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation Act 
of 2000, which directed NHTSA to initiate a rulemaking proceeding for 
the purpose of improving the safety of child restraints.

DATES: You should submit your comments early enough to ensure that 
Docket Management receives them not later than July 1, 2002.

ADDRESSES: You may submit your comments in writing to: Docket 
Management, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, 
20590. Alternatively, you may submit your comments electronically by 
logging onto the Docket Management System Web site at http://
dms.dot.gov. Click on ``Help & Information'' or ``Help/Info'' to view 
instructions for filing your comments electronically. Regardless of how 
you submit your comments, you should mention the docket number of this 
document. You may call Docket Management at 202-366-9324. You may visit 
the Docket from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For non-legal issues, you may call 
Mike Huntley of the NHTSA Office of Crashworthiness Standards, at 202-
366-0029.
    For legal issues, you may call Deirdre Fujita of the NHTSA Office 
of Chief Counsel, at 202-366-2992.
    You may send mail to both of these officials at the National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh St., SW, Washington, 
DC, 20590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Executive Summary
II. Background
III. Existing Requirements of Standard No. 213
IV. ANPRM on Side Impact Protection
V. Agency Proposals
    a. Updated Bench Seat
    1. Introduction
    2. Post-TREAD Rulemaking Support Program
    3. Features That Should Be Changed
    i. Bottom Seat Cushion Angle
    ii. Seat Back Angle
    iii. Seat Belt Anchors
    iv. Fixed Seat Back
    4. Features That Need Not Be Changed
    i. Bottom Seat Cushion Length
    ii. Seat Back Height
    iii. Test Bench Floor
    5. What About Cushion Stiffness?
    b. Crash Pulse
    1. The Current Crash Pulse
    2. The Crash Pulse Is Not Overly Severe
    3. Adjusting the Corridors of the Pulse
    c. Improved Child Test Dummies
    1. CRABI, Hybrid III Dummies
    i. Replacing Current Dummies
    ii. Retaining the Criteria Used to Determine Which Dummy Is Used 
in Compliance Tests
    iii. Conditioning the Dummies
    2. Using A Weighted 6-Year-Old Dummy
    i. Development of the 10-Year-Old Dummy Is a Long-Term Measure
    ii. A Weighted 6-Year-Old Dummy Is a Feasible Short-Term 
Alternative
    d. Expanding The Applicability Of the Standard to 65 Lb
    e. New Or Revised Injury Criteria
    1. Scaled Injury Criteria
    i. Head Injury
    A. Should HIC Duration Be Limited To 15 Milliseconds?
    B. Test Data
    ii. Thoracic Injury
    A. Chest Acceleration
    B. Chest Deflection
    C. Weighted 6-Year-Old Dummy
    D. Test Data
    iii. Neck Injury
    iv. Tabulated Data
    2. Static Testing Criteria
VI. Proposed Effective Dates
VII. Child Passenger Safety Plan and Other Issues of the TREAD Act
    a. Comments on Possible Rulemaking
    b. Rear-Impact Test
    c. Child Restraints in NCAP Tests
VIII. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices
    a. Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and 
DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures
    b. Regulatory Flexibility Act
    c. Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)
    d. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
    e. National Environmental Policy Act
    f. Executive Order 12778 (Civil Justice Reform)
    g. Plain Language
    h. Paperwork Reduction Act
    i. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act
IX. Submission of Comments

I. Executive Summary

    This document proposes a number of revisions to Federal Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standard No. 213, ``Child Restraint Systems'' (49 CFR 
571.213). The proposed revisions would incorporate five elements into 
the standard: (a) An updated bench seat used to dynamically test add-on 
child restraint systems; (b) a sled pulse that provides a wider test 
corridor; (c) improved child test dummies; (d) expanded applicability 
to child restraint systems recommended for use by children weighing up 
to 65 pounds; and (e) new or revised injury criteria to assess the 
dynamic performance of child restraints. This proposal follows up on 
the agency's announcement in its November 2000 Draft Child Restraint 
Systems Safety Plan (Docket NHTSA-7938) that the agency will be 
undertaking rulemaking on these and other elements of Standard No. 213 
(65 FR 70687; November 27, 2000). The proposal is also issued in 
response to the mandate in the Transportation Recall Enhancement, 
Accountability and Documentation Act (the TREAD Act) (November 1, 2000, 
Pub. L. 106-414, 114 Stat. 1800) to initiate a rulemaking for the 
purpose of improving the safety of child restraints.
    Section 14(a) of the TREAD Act mandates that the agency ``initiate 
a rulemaking for the purpose of improving the safety of child 
restraints, including minimizing head injuries from side impact 
collisions.'' Section 14(b) identifies specific elements that the 
agency must consider in its rulemaking. The Act gives the agency 
substantial discretion over the decision whether to issue a final rule 
on the specific elements. Section 14(c) specifies that if the agency 
does not incorporate any element described in section 14(b) in a final 
rule, the agency shall explain in a report to Congress the reasons for 
not incorporating the element in a final rule.
    In response to section 14, the agency comprehensively examined 
possible ways of revising and updating its child restraint standard. 
Today's proposal is substantially based on a combination of pre- and 
post-TREAD Act agency activities, including extensive testing of child 
restraints and dummies by NHTSA's Vehicle Research & Test Center and by 
the agency in its New Car

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Assessment Program, and on evaluations of vehicle seat assemblies and 
pulses. The proposal is also based on data analysis, as well as agency 
review of existing global research papers and international standards. 
We have also taken into consideration submissions by the public in 
response to the agency's Safety Plan and sought an exchange of ideas 
with child restraint manufacturers as to the research being conducted 
in response to the TREAD Act, meeting with them in February 2001. There 
are a number of technical reports in the docket to which this NPRM will 
refer to from time to time in support of the proposals.
    In an advance notice of proposed rulemaking published concurrently 
with today's document, we are seeking public comments on the agency's 
work on developing a possible side impact protection standard for child 
restraint systems and on possible refinements to the approach we have 
taken thus far. In its review of the child restraint standard, NHTSA 
placed particular emphasis on improving the ability of child restraints 
to provide protection in side impact crashes. Although we have 
conducted extensive testing and analysis over the past year aimed at 
providing additional side impact protection for children in child 
restraints, there are many unknowns. We seek comment on the suitability 
of the test procedures we are considering, on appropriate injury 
criteria for children in side impacts, on cost beneficial 
countermeasures, and on other issues. The agency anticipates that 
comments to the advance notice will help us assess the benefits and 
costs of a side impact rulemaking, which will help us decide whether to 
issue a notice of proposed rulemaking in the near future and/or 
identify the work that needs to be done.
    The proposed updates to the seat assembly are based on studies that 
NHTSA contracted to have done in response to the TREAD Act. This NPRM 
proposes the following changes: the seat bottom cushion angle would be 
increased from 8 degrees off horizontal to 15 degrees; the seat back 
cushion angle would be increased from 15 degrees off the vertical to 22 
degrees; the spacing between the anchors of the lap belt would be 
increased from 222 millimeters (mm) to 392 mm in the center seating 
position and from 356 mm to 472 mm in the outboard seating positions; 
and the seat back of the seat assembly would be changed, from a 
flexible seat back to one that is fixed, to represent a typical rear 
seat in a passenger car.
    The proposed changes to the sled pulse are based on studies 
conducted in response to the TREAD Act. We propose to widen the test 
corridor to make it easier for more test facilities to reproduce. The 
wider corridor extends the pulse from 80 milliseconds (ms) to 
approximately 90 ms in duration. The expanded corridor would not reduce 
the stringency of the test, and would also make it easier to conduct 
compliance tests at speeds closer to 30 mph.
    This document proposes two initiatives toward enhancing the use of 
test dummies in the evaluation of child restraints under Standard No. 
213. NHTSA proposes to replace some of the existing dummies with the 
new 12-month-old Child Restraint Air Bag Interaction (CRABI) dummy, and 
the state-of-the art Hybrid III 3- and 6-year-old dummies. NHTSA also 
proposes testing child restraints for older children with a weighted 6-
year-old dummy (i.e., a Hybrid III 6-year-old dummy to which weights 
have been added). The total weight of the dummy would be 62 lb. The 
weighted dummy would be used to test child restraints that are 
recommended for children weighing 50 to 65 lb, and is viewed as an 
interim measure until such time as the Hybrid III 10-year-old dummy 
becomes available.
    The proposal to extend Standard No. 213 to child restraint systems 
for children who weigh 65 lb or less is based on the proposal to test 
restraints recommended for children weighing over 50 lb with the 
weighted 6-year-old dummy. The availability of that dummy makes it 
possible to extend the standard and evaluate the performance of the 
added restraints.
    The proposal to use the new and scaled injury criteria of Standard 
No. 208 is based on research that the agency did in the advanced air 
bag rulemaking, as well as NCAP and sled testing done in response to 
the TREAD Act. The scaled head injury criterion limits from the 
Standard No. 208 rulemaking are proposed herein for Standard No. 213, 
as well as the chest deflection and acceleration limits. The Nij neck 
criterion would also be added to Standard No. 213, but without the 
limits on axial force. For Standard No. 208, the agency originally 
proposed Nij without limits on axial force. However, the Alliance of 
Automotive Manufacturers persuaded the agency to incorporate more 
conservative axial force limits for the out-of-position air bag loading 
environment. 65 FR 30717, 30718; May 12, 2000. Children in child 
restraints are correctly positioned and not sustaining neck injuries 
such as those associated with exposure to severe out-of-position air 
bag loading. Therefore, the agency is proposing that Nij without limits 
on axial force be added to Standard No. 213.
    NHTSA has examined the benefits and costs of these proposed 
amendments, wishing to adopt only those amendments that contribute to 
improved safety, and mindful of the principles for regulatory 
decisionmaking set forth in Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning 
and Review. Its efforts to do so, however, have been limited by several 
factors. Two factors stand out. One is the limited time allowed by the 
schedule specified in the TREAD Act for initiating and completing this 
rulemaking. That has limited the amount and variety of information that 
the agency could obtain and testing that the agency could conduct to 
examine the efficacy of possible countermeasures under consideration 
and the effects of the various proposed amendments on child restraint 
performance. The other is the lack of specific accident data on 
children in motor vehicle crashes generally. For example, there is 
little available data on neck injury in children involved in motor 
vehicle crashes. Together, these limitations have made it difficult to 
assess and compare the benefits and costs of this rulemaking.
    NHTSA estimates that the proposal to use the new and scaled injury 
criteria of Standard No. 208 would prevent an estimated 3-5 fatalities 
and 5 MAIS 2-5 non-fatal injuries for children ages 0-1 annually. In 
addition, the proposal would save 1 fatality and mitigate 1 MAIS 2-5 
injury in the 4-to 6-year-old age group annually. The agency does not 
believe that updating the seat assembly and revising the crash pulse 
would affect dummy performance to an extent that benefits would accrue 
from such changes. Research will be conducted later this year to assess 
the effects of such changes on dummy performance.
    At this time, NHTSA has not identified countermeasures to improve 
child restraint performance in frontal tests that would allow child 
restraint manufacturers to meet the proposed neck injury criterion. 
Consequently, we were unable to estimate the costs of such 
countermeasures. Comments are requested on possible countermeasures and 
their costs. The proposal to use new dummies in compliance tests, 
including testing with a weighted 6-year-old dummy, could result in 
increased testing costs for manufacturers that want to certify their 
restraints using the tests that NHTSA will use in compliance testing. 
NHTSA estimates that use of the new dummies and other changes to the

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test procedure would add testing costs of $2.72 million. We believe 
that those changes would not result in redesign of child restraints.

II. Background

    The lack of occupant restraint use by motorists is a significant 
factor in most fatalities resulting from motor vehicle crashes. Of the 
31,910 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2000, over half (55 
percent) were unrestrained. Forty-three percent of the 1,079 child 
occupant fatalities, ages 0 through 10 years old, were unrestrained. 
For child occupants less than 5 years old, 36 percent of the 529 
fatalities were unrestrained.
    Of the 2,938,000 passenger vehicle occupants injured in crashes in 
2000, only 14 percent (409,000) were reported as unrestrained. The 
rates are about the same for child occupants. For children ages 0-10 
years old, approximately 165,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic 
crashes in 2000, and 13 percent (18,800) of these children were 
unrestrained. Of the 67,000 child occupants less than 5 years of age 
who were injured, 10 percent (6,500) were unrestrained.
    Child restraints are highly effective in reducing the likelihood of 
death and or serious injury in motor vehicle crashes. NHTSA estimates 
(``Revised Estimates of Child Restraint Effectiveness,'' Hertz, 1996) 
that for children less than one-year-old, a child restraint can reduce 
the risk of fatality by 71 percent when used in a passenger car and by 
58 percent when used in a pickup truck, van, or sport utility vehicle 
(light truck). Child restraint effectiveness for children between the 
ages 1 to 4 years old is 54 percent in passenger cars and 59 percent in 
light trucks.
    Notwithstanding the effectiveness of child restraints certified to 
Standard No. 213, the agency is continuing to examine whether the 
safety of children in child restraints can be enhanced even further. In 
2000, 256 child occupants under 5 years of age were killed while 
restrained in child restraints, and another 34,600 were injured. 
Today's NPRM is part of an effort to reduce these numbers.
    On November 27, 2000, we published a planning document that defined 
our vision for enhancing child passenger safety over the next 5 years 
(65 FR 70687). The plan contained our views on implementing three 
strategies for enhancing the safety of child occupants from birth 
through age 10: increasing restraint use; improving the performance and 
testing of child restraints; and improving mechanisms for providing 
safety information to the public. The agency requested comments on the 
plan and received suggestions on the various initiatives (Docket NHTSA 
7938).
    Many commenters responded to the second of the three strategies, 
making suggestions as to how they believed Standard No. 213 should be 
improved to further enhance child restraint performance. There was 
general concurrence with the agency's plan to undertake rulemaking with 
regard to the five elements included today in this NPRM. There was no 
objection to the agency's then-announced intention to improve side 
impact protection as a measure that would be pursued internationally in 
concert with other government and industry bodies. However, it was 
apparent from the few comments we received on the subject that those 
commenters considered it to be a long-term project requiring several 
years of research and development.
    After NHTSA completed its draft plan, but before it published the 
plan in the Federal Register, the TREAD Act was enacted on November 1, 
2000. Sections 14 of the TREAD Act directed NHTSA to initiate a 
rulemaking for the purpose of improving the safety of child restraints 
by November 1, 2001, and to complete it by issuing a final rule or 
taking other action by November 1, 2002. The relevant provisions in 
Sections 14 are as follows:

    (a) In General. Not later than 12 months after the date of 
enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall 
initiate a rulemaking for the purpose of improving the safety of 
child restraints, including minimizing head injuries from side 
impact collisions.
    (b) Elements for Consideration. In the rulemaking required by 
subsection (a), the Secretary shall consider--
    (1) whether to require more comprehensive tests for child 
restraints than the current Federal motor vehicle safety standards 
requires, including the use of dynamic tests that--
    (A) replicate an array of crash conditions, such as side-impact 
crashes and rear-impact crashes; and
    (B) reflect the designs of passenger motor vehicles as of the 
date of enactment of this Act;
    (2) whether to require the use of anthropomorphic test devices 
that--
    (A) represent a greater range of sizes of children including the 
need to require the use of an anthropomorphic test device that is 
representative of a ten-year-old child; and
    (B) are Hybrid III anthropomorphic test devices;
    (3) whether to require improved protection from head injuries in 
side-impact and rear-impact crashes;
    (4) how to provide consumer information on the physical 
compatibility of child restraints and vehicle seats on a model-by-
model basis;
    (5) whether to prescribe clearer and simpler labels and 
instructions required to be placed on child restraints;
    (6) whether to amend Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 
213 (49 CFR 571.213) to cover restraints for children weighing up to 
80 pounds;
    (7) whether to establish booster seat performance and structural 
integrity requirements to be dynamically tested in 3-point lap and 
shoulder belts;\1\
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    \1\ Standard No. 213 currently requires booster seats to be 
dynamically tested in 3-point (lap and shoulder) belts. As such, the 
agency is taking no action with respect to this provision of the 
TREAD Act. [Footnote added.]
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    (8) whether to apply scaled injury criteria performance levels, 
including neck injury, developed for Federal Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard No. 208 to child restraints and booster seats covered by in 
[sic] Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 213; and
    (9) whether to include [a] child restraint in each vehicle crash 
tested under the New Car Assessment Program.
    (c) Report to Congress. If the Secretary does not incorporate 
any element described in subsection (b) in the final rule, the 
Secretary shall explain, in a report to the Senate Committee on 
Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the House of 
Representatives Committee on Commerce submitted within 30 days after 
issuing the final rule, specifically why the Secretary did not 
incorporate any such element in the final rule.
    (d) Completion. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the 
Secretary shall complete the rulemaking required by subsection (a) 
not later than 24 months after the date of the enactment of this 
Act.

    Each of the initiatives contemplated by the TREAD Act as possible 
upgrades to Standard No. 213 were included in the agency's plan as 
possible candidates for rulemaking to enhance the performance of child 
restraint systems. \2\ Notwithstanding the effectiveness of child 
restraints certified to Standard No. 213, the thrust of the 5-year plan 
was to consider possible rulemaking that could enhance the performance 
of child restraints even further. Enhancements were considered in terms 
of improved crash protection and in terms of increased usability of the 
restraints so that misuse is reduced. At the same time, we believed 
then, and continue to do so now, that in making regulatory

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decisions on possible safety enhancements, the agency must bear in mind 
the consumer acceptance of cost increases.
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    \2\ In addition, Section 14 of the TREAD Act required an NPRM to 
establish a child restraint safety rating consumer information 
program to provide consumers information for use in the purchase of 
child restraints. The NPRM was issued on October 29, 2001, and 
published November 6, 2001 (66 FR 56146, 66 FR 56048). Further, on 
October 29, 2001, the agency issued an NPRM on Standard No. 213's 
labeling and owner's manual requirements that responds to section 
14(b)(5) of the Act. 66 FR 55623, November 2, 2001. The Act also 
required a study on the use and effectiveness of booster seats and a 
5-year strategic plan to reduce, by 25 percent, deaths and injuries 
caused by failure to use the appropriate booster seat in the 4-to 8-
year-old age group.
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    Weighing all these factors, the agency has tentatively decided that 
safety enhancements are warranted in the aspects of the child1 
restraint standard discussed below in section IV.

III. Existing Requirements of Standard No. 213

    The following discussion summarizes current provisions in Standard 
No. 213 relating to the performance of child restraint systems.
    1. The performance of a child restraint system is evaluated in 
dynamic tests involving a 30 mph velocity change, which is 
representative of a severe crash. Each child restraint is tested while 
attached to a standardized seat assembly. Restraints are tested while 
attached to the standard seat assembly by various means. The restraint 
system is anchored to a test seat with a lap belt only, or a lap/
shoulder belt if the restraint system is a booster seat designed for 
these belts. In another test, the child restraint is required to meet 
more demanding requirements with respect to the permissible forward 
motion of the dummy's head, which is typically accomplished by use of a 
tether attached to the top of the child restraint. Beginning in 2002, 
child restraints will also be subjected to frontal crash simulations 
when anchored to the test seat assembly by a new child restraint 
anchorage system (49 CFR 571.225).\3\ Built-in child seats are 
evaluated by crash testing the vehicle they are built into, or by 
simulating a crash with the built-in seat dynamically tested with parts 
of the vehicle surrounding it.
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    \3\ Standard No. 225 requires motor vehicle manufacturers to 
provide vehicles equipped with the child restraint anchorage systems 
that are standardized and independent of the vehicle seat belts. The 
new independent system has two lower anchorages, and one upper 
anchorage. Each lower anchorage includes a rigid round rod or 
``bar'' unto which a hook, a jaw-like buckle or other connector can 
be snapped. The bars are located at the intersection of the vehicle 
seat cushion and seat back. The upper anchorage is a ring-like 
object to which the upper tether of a child restraint system can be 
attached. (The system is widely known as the ``LATCH system,'' an 
acronym developed by manufacturers and retailers for ``lower anchors 
and tether for children.'') The LATCH system is required to be 
installed at two rear seating positions. In addition, a tether 
anchorage is required at a third position. By requiring an easy-to-
use anchorage system that is independent of the vehicle seat belts, 
NHTSA's standard makes possible more effective child restraint 
installation and thereby increases child restraint effectiveness and 
child safety. The standard is estimated to save 36 to 50 lives 
annually, and prevent 1,231 to 2,929 injuries. See 64 FR 10786; 
March 5, 1999.
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    2. To protect the child, limitations are set on the amount of force 
that can be exerted on the head and chest of a child test dummy during 
the dynamic testing. (S5.1.2 of Standard No. 213). To reduce the 
possibility of injury that child occupants in child restraint systems 
may incur if they contact vehicle interior surfaces during a crash, 
limitations are also set on the amount of frontal head and knee 
excursions that can be experienced by the test dummy. To prevent a 
child from being ejected from rearward-facing restraints (e.g., infant 
restraints), limitations are set on the amount that such restraints can 
tip forward (S5.1.4 of Standard No. 213).
    3. During dynamic testing, no load-bearing or other structural part 
of any child restraint system may separate so as to create jagged edges 
that could cut and injure a child. If the child restraint has 
adjustable positions, it may not shift positions if doing so could 
potentially catch a child's limbs between the shifting parts or allow 
the child to ``submarine'' (i.e., allow the child to slide down and out 
of the restraint during a crash) (S5.1.1 of Standard No. 213).
    4. To prevent injuries to children during crashes from contact with 
the surfaces of the child restraint itself, the standard specifies 
requirements for the size and shape of those surfaces. In addition, 
protective padding requirements are set for restraints designed for use 
by infants (S5.2 of Standard No. 213). The standard specifies a minimum 
surface area for those surfaces that support the side of the child's 
torso. Each surface must be flat or concave and have a continuous 
surface of not less than 24 square inches for systems recommended for 
children weighing 20 lb or more, or 48 square inches for systems 
recommended for children weighing less than 20 lb (S5.2.2.1(b)).
    5. The belts, buckles, and attachment hardware used in child 
restraint systems have to meet abrasion and corrosion resistance 
requirements (S5.4.1 and S5.4.2). Additionally, the belts in child 
restraints must adjust to snugly fit occupants, not transfer any crash 
loads from the vehicle to the child, and must restrain the child's 
upper and lower torso (S5.4.3 of Standard No. 213).
    6. The amount of force necessary to open belt buckles and release a 
child from a restraint system is specified so that children will not be 
able to unbuckle themselves, but adults will be able to do so quickly 
and easily (S5.4.3.5 and S6 of Standard No. 213).
    7. Information necessary for the proper use of the child restraint 
system must be permanently labeled on the child restraint and presented 
in an information booklet that accompanies the child restraint system. 
The child restraint must also provide a special location or compartment 
on the child restraint system in which the information booklet may be 
permanently stored, so that the parent or other user of the child 
restraint can always have available the necessary safety information 
(S5.5 of Standard No. 213). Standard No. 213 also requires each child 
restraint system to be accompanied by a postage-paid registration form 
so that purchasers can register with the manufacturer and thereby be 
directly notified in the event of a safety recall. Manufacturers must 
retain the names and addresses of registrants for a period of six 
years. (S5.8 of Standard No. 213; 49 CFR part 588).
    8. Each material used in a child restraint system must meet the 
flammability requirements of S4 of FMVSS No. 302 (49 CFR 571.302) (S5.7 
of Standard No. 213).
    9. Beginning September 1, 2002, child restraint systems must have 
components permanently attached to them that will enable them to be 
anchored to a new child restraint anchorage system that will be 
standard on all new passenger vehicles. The vehicle anchorage system 
consists of two bars that are at or close to the intersection of the 
vehicle seat cushion and seat back, and a top tether anchorage located 
typically (a) on the rear shelf below the rear window in passenger 
cars, or (b) on the floor or on or under the seat structure of sport 
utility vehicles and minivans. Child restraints will still be capable 
of being anchored to the vehicle seat by the vehicle seat belts.
    10. Child restraints certified for use in both motor vehicles and 
aircraft must pass an additional test when attached to a representative 
airplane seat, and provide additional information on the proper use of 
the restraint system in an airplane seat (S8 of Standard No. 213).

IV. ANPRM on Side Impact Protection

    In an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) published 
concurrently with today's NPRM, we are seeking public comments on the 
agency's work on developing a possible side impact protection standard 
for child restraint systems and on possible refinements to the approach 
we have taken thus far. In its review of the child restraint standard 
in response to the TREAD Act, NHTSA placed particular emphasis on 
improving the ability of child restraints to provide protection in side 
impact crashes. Although we have conducted extensive testing and

[[Page 21810]]

analysis over the past year aimed at providing additional side impact 
protection for children in child restraints, there are many unknowns. 
We seek comment on the suitability of the test procedures we are 
considering, on appropriate injury criteria for children in side 
impacts, on cost beneficial countermeasures, and on other issues. The 
agency anticipates that comments to the advance notice will help us 
assess the benefits and costs of a side impact rulemaking, which will 
help us decide whether to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking in the 
near future and/or identify the work that needs to be done.

V. Agency Proposals

a. Updated Bench Seat

1. Introduction
    This NPRM proposes to update the standard vehicle seat assembly 
used in Standard No. 213's dynamic testing. The original seat assembly 
was developed in the mid-1970's by the Highway Safety Research 
Institute at the University of Michigan. The bench seat was based on 
the configuration and performance parameters of the 1974 Chevrolet 
Impala production front bench seat. Static and dynamic characteristics 
of the production seat were modeled into the frame deformation and foam 
stiffness of the standard seat.
    NHTSA proposes to update the following features of the seat 
assembly: the seat bottom cushion angle would be increased from 8 
degrees off horizontal to 15 degrees; the seat back cushion angle would 
be increased from 15 degrees off the vertical to 22 degrees; the 
spacing between the anchors of the lap belt would be increased from 222 
millimeters (mm) to 392 mm in the center seating position and from 356 
mm to 472 mm in the outboard seating positions; and the seat back of 
the seat assembly would be changed from a flexible seat back to one 
that is fixed, to represent a typical rear seat in a passenger car. 
Figures 1A, 1B and 1B' of Standard No. 213 would be revised to reflect 
these changes, as would the drawing package of the seat assembly (SAS-
100-1000, with Addendum A, dated October 23, 1998) that is incorporated 
by reference (see 49 CFR 571.5) into the standard.
    This proposal is based on evaluations we have made regularly over 
the years, and most recently this year in response to the TREAD Act, of 
the need to update or improve the seat assembly used for testing child 
restraints. There is no question that the seat assembly should be 
representative of production seats to the extent possible so that a 
child restraint's true performance in a crash can be assessed. However, 
while to the extent possible it may be desirable for the seat assembly 
to mirror production seats, our program work developing and evaluating 
the standard seat assembly was guided by a number of additional 
considerations. The seat assembly must be durable and must contribute 
to obtaining repeatable and comparable test results for child 
restraints. Meeting the performance requirements of Standard No. 213 on 
the test seat should ensure that child restraints performed adequately 
on the variety of different seats found in cars on the road. In 
comparison to some vehicle seats, the test seat might present more 
demanding test conditions, but this was acceptable if the test seat 
were representative of many seats used in vehicles. Differences between 
the standard seat assembly and production seats could be disregarded if 
the differences did not affect child restraint performance on the seat. 
The seat assembly did not need to conform to non-identical features 
that were unlikely to have a confounding effect on child restraint 
performance.
    These considerations counseled against changing the seat assembly 
significantly in the past. Child restraints were performing well in the 
field. The few features that we thought could be updated, such as the 
seat assembly's cushion angle and seat back angle, were not thought to 
affect safety sufficiently to warrant use of the agency's limited 
resources for that purpose. We were also concerned about possible cost 
increases to child restraints that might occur as some manufacturers 
passed on the costs of possibly having to retest all child restraints 
on the market.
    With the passage of section 14(b) of TREAD, Congress has presented 
its belief that the seat assembly should be updated to reflect the 
designs of production seats. We concur with considering the issue 
further. We have identified a number of features of the present seat 
assembly that could be updated, which are discussed below. Later this 
year, NHTSA will undertake an assessment of what effect, if any, the 
updated seat assembly might have on the performance of child 
restraints.
2. Post-TREAD Rulemaking Support Program
    In response to TREAD, NHTSA initiated a test program to assess seat 
parameters of production seats, working with Veridian Engineering 
(Veridian) and the U.S. Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division at 
Patuxent River, Maryland (PAX). Veridian gathered information on 
geometry and stiffness of seats of vehicles tested in NHTSA's 2001 New 
Car Assessment Program (NCAP). PAX analyzed the seat geometry data, 
including seat cushion angle, seat back angle, seat cushion length, 
seat back length, tether anchor locations, child restraint anchorage 
system anchor locations, and seat belt locations. A report by PAX on 
the project is available in the docket. This preamble provides an 
overview of the results. Readers are referred to the report for a 
detailed explanation of the methodology used in the test program, and 
the results of each parameter, sorted by vehicle class.
    To summarize the report, the research program analyzed the seat 
geometries of 35 vehicles. Because of time constraints and the fact 
that the test for determining force/deflection characteristics of the 
vehicle seat is a destructive test (that is, a section of the seat 
cushion had to be cut out and removed), the agency utilized vehicles 
that had previously undergone testing in the agency's New Car 
Assessment Program but whose rear seats had not been destroyed or 
discarded. Every attempt was made to obtain vehicles from a range of 
vehicle classes for evaluation. Of these vehicles, 19 were passenger 
cars, 11 were SUVs, 4 were minivans, and 1 was a pickup truck. PAX 
analyzed the various seat geometry measurements of the vehicles, by 
seating position (outboard or middle) and vehicle class, and identified 
some features of the bench that do not reflect current vehicle designs.
    We have tentatively determined that a number of those features 
should be changed, that some others need not be, and that a few 
features (e.g., seat cushion stiffness) require further analysis before 
we can decide whether we should change them. Generally, where there is 
a notable difference between the existing seat assembly and the fleet, 
the agency has proposed changing the seat assembly to make it more 
representative of the existing vehicle fleet.
    We request comments on the proposal, particularly with regard to 
the latter category. NHTSA will be conducting further analyses of some 
of the proposed changes, since the analyses could not be completed in 
time for this NPRM. Information we obtain will be placed in the docket. 
Further, later this year, NHTSA will be evaluating dynamically most of 
the changes that we propose to make to the seat bench, to ensure that 
these changes do not result in compromising the safety currently 
afforded by child restraints. Results of this testing will be compared 
to compliance test data of existing child restraints to evaluate the 
effect of the changes. Comparison of these tests will

[[Page 21811]]

aid in the agency's decision regarding whether to adopt the proposed 
changes in a final rule.
3. Features That Should Be Changed
i. Bottom Seat Cushion Angle
    Currently, the seat assembly has a seat pan angle of 8 deg. off 
horizontal. In the 35 vehicles surveyed, 77 seat pan angle measurements 
were made of rear seats, from either the outboard position or the 
center position, or if the vehicle had a third seating position, from 
that position as well. PAX found that 39% of the seat pan angle 
measurements were within 16 deg. to 20 deg. off horizontal and 35% of 
the seat pan angle measurements fell within 11 deg. to 15 deg. of 
horizontal. The test data show an average seat pan angle of 15.5 deg.. 
We have tentatively decided that the seat pan angle of the seat 
assembly should be increased to 15 deg. off horizontal. A 15 deg. angle 
would be in accordance with the bottom seat cushion angle specified by 
ECE Regulation 44.
    Comments are requested on the effect of this change on the 
performance of child restraints in actual vehicles. In a September 18, 
2000 petition for rulemaking, Ford Motor Company indicated that using 
the ECE Regulation 44 seat cushion angle would solve a problem it has 
found using the present seat assembly to test ``rear-facing child 
restraint systems (CRS) equipped with rigid Lower Anchors and Tethers 
for Children (LATCH) system attachments.'' Under Standard No. 213, 
child restraints may use rigid attachments to connect to the lower 
anchorage bars of LATCH systems, or may use non-rigid attachments (such 
as those attached to the child restraint by webbing material). Ford 
believed that the seat cushion angle of the seat assembly is driving 
the design of rear-facing child restraints. Because the current seat 
assembly is flatter than actual vehicle seats, when infant restraints 
are installed on actual vehicle seats, the restraints are installed at 
an overly steep angle. Ford stated that the overly steep angle can be 
corrected in conventional restraints by tipping the restraint back and 
placing a rolled towel under the base, near the seat bight. However, an 
infant restraint with rigid LATCH attachments will not have any 
flexibility that will allow it to be tipped backwards while remaining 
connected to the lower anchorage bars. To solve this problem, Ford 
suggested using the ECE Regulation 44 seat assembly, which has a 
15 deg. bottom seat cushion angle, modified to have the LATCH anchorage 
bars included in the assembly.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ The petition is granted to the extent it is consistent with 
today's NPRM. However, granting of the petition does not mean that 
the changes requested will be adopted. Granting of the petition 
indicates that the agency believes that the recommended change has 
merit and warrants further review and evaluation. A decision whether 
to adopt the recommended change will be made on the basis of all 
available information developed in the course of the rulemaking 
proceeding, in accordance with statutory criteria.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

ii. Seat Back Angle
    Currently, the seat assembly has a seat back angle of 15 deg. off 
vertical. Seventy-eight seat back angle measurements of rear seats in 
the 35 vehicles surveyed were taken from either the outboard or center 
seat position, or, if available, the third seating position. From this 
analysis, the average seat back angle for all measurements taken is 
22 deg. off of vertical. This is an increase of 7 deg. over the current 
angle specified for the FMVSS No. 213 seat assembly. Forty-four percent 
of all the measurements taken yielded seat back angles between 21 deg. 
and 25 deg.. For these reasons, NHTSA proposes increasing the angle to 
22 deg..
iii. Seat Belt Anchors
    The current seat assembly has a lateral spacing of 222 mm between 
the lap belt anchors in the center seating position, and a lateral 
spacing of 500 mm for the outboard seating positions. Based on the 
evaluation of the 35 vehicles surveyed, the average lap belt anchor 
spacing in center seating positions in the modern vehicle fleet is 392 
mm. Thirty-nine percent of the measurements taken for the center 
seating position fell in the range of 351 mm to 400 mm, while 63 
percent of the measurements were between 301 mm and 400 mm. As such, 
the current seat assembly represents a distance that is 170 mm smaller 
than that of the current vehicle fleet. We propose increasing the 
spacing to 392 mm for the center seating position to represent the 
average of the current vehicle fleet. Based on the evaluation of the 35 
vehicles surveyed, the average lap belt anchor spacing in the outboard 
seating positions is 472 mm, as compared to 500 mm on the current 
Standard No. 213 standard seat assembly. Thirty-three percent of the 
measurements taken were greater than 500 mm, while 90 percent were 
above 400 mm. As the average anchorage spacing for outboard seating 
positions in the modern vehicle fleet is 28 mm less than that on the 
current standard seat assembly, we propose to change the spacing to 472 
mm to more accurately represent actual vehicles. Comments are requested 
on how changing the spacing will affect the performance of a child 
restraint in dynamic tests.
iv. Fixed Seat Back
    NHTSA proposes that the seat back of the seat assembly be changed 
to represent a fixed vehicle seat. Steel rods should replace the 
existing aluminum rods. A fixed seat back will be more representative 
of the rear seat of today's passenger cars, and would harmonize with 
ECE regulations. Because NHTSA strongly recommends that children under 
the age of twelve ride in the back seat, changing the seat assembly to 
represent a typical rear seat seems appropriate. However, vans and 
multipurpose vehicles with multiple seating rows may be more closely 
represented by a flexible seat back. Comments are requested on this 
issue. NHTSA is currently evaluating the effect of the change on child 
restraint performance by use of MADYMO simulations, and will further 
study the effect of flexible versus rigid seat backs through sled 
testing to be performed later this year.
4. Features That Need Not Be Changed
    NHTSA has tentatively decided that the following features of the 
bench seat need not be changed because they either reflect the design 
of production seats or are different but that difference is deemed not 
to have an effect on child restraint performance in dynamic testing. 
Comments are requested on these features.
i. Bottom Seat Cushion Length
    Currently, the seat assembly has a bottom seat cushion length of 
508 mm. In order to find the average bottom seat cushion length, 78 
measurements were taken in the 35 vehicles surveyed. Analysis depicts 
the average seat pan length as 461 mm. The average bottom seat cushion 
length for 64% of the measurements was found to lie within the range of 
451 mm to 500 mm. Therefore, the current FMVSS No. 213 seat assembly 
has a seat pan length that is about 50 mm longer than the average seat 
pan length observed in today's vehicle fleet. We do not believe that 
this difference is consequential, as the reduced seat cushion length 
does not cause an incompatibility with existing child restraint 
designs.
ii. Seat Back Height
    Currently, the 213 seat assembly has a seat back height of 610 mm. 
In the 35 vehicles surveyed, 78 measurements of the height of the seat 
back were made in both the outboard and center positions. These data 
yield an average seat back height of 619 mm. The highest percentage of 
seat back length measurements fell within the range of 601 mm to 700 
mm. This percentage

[[Page 21812]]

represented 64% of the vehicle measurements. Because the Standard No. 
213 seat assembly is only 9 mm lower than the average seat back height 
observed in today's fleet, we do not see a need to propose to raise the 
height of the seat back.
iii. Test Bench Floor
    In response to the agency's draft Child Protection System Safety 
Plan, Ford recommended that the standardized bench seat should have a 
floor (see Docket 7938-20). Ford believed that the current test seat 
assembly cannot evaluate a rear-facing child restraint that is equipped 
with a support leg, as has been developed and is currently used in 
other countries. We are declining to add a floor to the test assembly 
at this time, since Standard No. 213 does not allow support legs in 
compliance testing. Under Standard No. 213, rear-facing restraints are 
only to be attached to the seat assembly via the lap belt or the 
anchorages of the LATCH system. As such, the inclusion of a floor 
structure on the Standard No. 213 standard seat assembly is not 
necessary at this time.
5. What About Cushion Stiffness?
    Comments are requested on whether the seat assembly's cushion 
should be made stiffer. PAX found the average stiffness of the Standard 
No. 213 seat assembly to be marginally softer than most, but not all 
new vehicles on the road today. The force deflection curves generated 
by PAX show that the current Standard No. 213 seat cushion is softer at 
both the fore and aft outboard positions than almost all seat cushions 
in vehicles of the modern fleet. As part of the work performed in 1988 
to reexamine the Standard No. 213 procedures,\5\ the stiffness 
characteristics of the Standard No. 213 seat cushion material were 
compared with the characteristics of then current model vehicle seats. 
Static force versus deflection tests were conducted on the Standard No. 
213 seat cushion foams, and these curves were then compared with 
similar curves that had been developed for ten vehicles which had been 
measured in a separate project in 1987. The distribution of force 
versus deflection curves found in that evaluation closely parallel 
those found by PAX, in that most vehicle seats were stiffer than the 
Standard No. 213 seat assembly, but there was at least one vehicle seat 
that was softer. Sled tests were performed in 1988 to compare the dummy 
response of the Standard No. 213 seat cushion, a representative cushion 
that was softer, and a stiff cushion. The dummy response differences 
were not sufficiently large or consistent to warrant specifying a 
different cushion than the foam used in Standard No. 213. Thus, the 
Standard No. 213 cushion was considered to be ``representative'' of the 
rear seats of then current cars.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \5\ Hiltner, Edward C. and MacLaughlin, Thomas F., ``Child 
Seating Test Procedure Development,'' NHTSA Final Report No. DOT HS 
807 466, March 1989.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We are interested in increasing the stiffness of the cushion, but 
are uncertain what, if any, differences will be seen in dynamic 
testing. We request comments on what the stiffness should be. Comments 
are also requested on what effect changing the test seat stiffness 
would have on child restraint performance in dynamic testing.

b. Crash Pulse

    This NPRM would slightly revise the Standard No. 213 pulse. We 
propose to extend the pulse to approximately 90 milliseconds (msec), 
and to widen the test corridor to make it easier for more test 
facilities to reproduce it. The expanded corridor would not reduce the 
stringency of the test, and would also make it easier to conduct 
compliance tests at speeds closer to 30 mph. We found in studying 
vehicle crash pulses that the Standard No. 213 pulse is more severe 
than most other pulses, but is similar to crash pulses of large sport 
utility vehicles and light trucks--passenger vehicles that are becoming 
more and more popular for use as family vehicles--and very similar to 
the crash pulse of small school buses.
1. The Current Crash Pulse
    In Standard No. 213's dynamic sled test, a test dummy is secured in 
a child restraint, which in turn is attached to a representative 
vehicle bench seat (seat assembly). The assembly is then subjected to 
acceleration to simulate a vehicle crash. The child restraint must 
manage the force from the simulated crash so that the forces imparted 
to the dummy are within tolerable limits. The force imposed on the 
child restraint and dummy is a function of the acceleration onset rate, 
peak, and duration. Paragraph S6.1.1(b)(1) of Standard No. 213 
specifies that when child restraints are tested in the 48 km/h (30 mph) 
dynamic test, the acceleration of the test platform must be entirely 
within the curve shown in Figure 2 of the standard.\6\ ``Crash pulse'' 
refers to the change in the sled's velocity over time. The severity of 
a crash pulse is a function of its onset rate, peak g and its time of 
occurrence, and duration. The standard has a relatively severe crash 
pulse, in that the sled is accelerated relatively quickly to an 
acceleration of approximately 24 g's (24 times the force of gravity) 
and maintains the 24 g level for a relatively long time period (37 to 
42 msec) before returning to zero acceleration.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ Our laboratory test procedure (TP) for Standard 213 (TP-213-
04, September 1, 1997), specifies a ``tolerance band,'' or 
``acceleration function envelope,'' that incorporates the upper 
limit of Figure 2 and that also sets a lower limit (see section 
D.3.3, ``Impact Severity'' (page 53)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Pulses can vary as to their shape, onset rate, peak acceleration, 
and duration. NHTSA's research in the mid-1990's showed that Standard 
No. 213's pulse was more severe than the ``average car'' pulse of 1988-
1991. Crash pulses obtained from Standard No. 208 vehicle crash tests 
indicated a peak G occurring much later in the crash event compared to 
Standard No. 213 and a longer pulse duration. The upper limit of the 
Standard No. 208 pulse ended at 135 msec, compared to 81 msec for the 
Standard No. 213 pulse.
    Since the mid-1970's, vehicle front ends of passenger cars have 
become softer, allowing for more front-end crush to take place. This 
results in crash pulses that are much longer in duration than car crash 
pulses of 30 years ago. Current cars have crash pulses that are 
generally longer in duration than that of Standard No. 213. The peak 
G's are similar, so the longer duration means that the average model 
year 2001 passenger car has a less severe pulse than the standard.\7\ 
Because of these changes in car design, we have been asked to 
reconsider the crash pulse in Standard No. 213 to ensure that it is 
representative of the crash pulses of today's vehicles. See, e.g., 
Ford's comment on NHTSA's draft Child Restraint Systems Safety Plan, 
docket 7938-20.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ FMVSS No. 213's pulse is quite different than any other 
pulse used to regulate child restraints. The Europeans, the 
Canadians and the Australians all use different crash pulses to test 
their child restraints. The FMVSS No. 213 pulse seems to be more 
severe than the other pulses because of its sharp rise time and the 
short duration of the crash pulse. Of these three international 
pulses, the only similarity between the three was the time duration. 
All other pulses used to regulate child restraints, except FMVSS No. 
213, ended beyond 100 msec. The U.S. has about 10 times the LTV 
sales as Europe (50 percent versus 5 percent). In Australia, LTV 
sales constitute about 25 percent of the total vehicles sold in that 
country.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We have also been asked to re-examine the crash pulse because it is 
difficult to duplicate due to the narrow corridors in the laboratory 
test procedure. Very few labs are able to replicate the 213 pulse. 
Transportation Research Center (TRC), a testing laboratory, submitted a 
petition to NHTSA on October 6, 1999, which we

[[Page 21813]]

granted, regarding the pulse corridor specified in the laboratory test 
procedure for Standard No. 213. Due to features of the TRC sled and 
others of its type generally (HYGE), TRC stated that there is a problem 
with achieving the acceleration curve specified in the standard and 
suggested that the pulse can be slightly revised, by manipulating time 
zero, to accommodate HYGE sleds without affecting test results.
    Standard No. 213 specifies that, when testing child restraints in 
the 48 km/h test, the acceleration of the test platform must be 
entirely within a specified curve. The curve begins at zero g's and 
zero time. TRC stated that its HYGE sled is generally unable to produce 
the required acceleration curve. The sled ``fires'' by cracking a seal 
between a high pressure chamber and a low pressure chamber, with the 
flow of gas (around a metering pin, which controls acceleration curve 
shapes) from high pressure to low pressure providing the acceleration 
force. TRC explained that initially, the area available for gas flow is 
small, and a short amount of time is required for pressure to build 
enough to cause significant acceleration. Because there is a lag time 
between initiation of the test and appreciable acceleration of the 
sled, when the curve begins at zero g's and zero time, a significant 
portion of the curve is not within the tolerance band required by the 
present test procedure. When time zero is manipulated so that the 
initial acceleration pulse falls within the zero to 10 millisecond 
envelope, and the acceleration at time zero is 1.25 g's, the required 
tolerance band is achieved.
    We have determined that TRC's petition merits consideration. In 
December 1998, NHTSA issued a final rule amending the sled test 
requirement in Standard 208, ``Occupant Crash Protection,'' by, among 
other things, revising how time zero is defined (63 FR 71390, December 
28, 1998). The sled test in that standard tests occupant response for 
air bag restraint systems. In that rulemaking, NHTSA determined that it 
is impractical for that test to have time zero at 0.0 g acceleration, 
because of the time lag between initial movement of the sled and 
significant acceleration. The agency decided that the start of the sled 
test will be determined by a specific acceleration level for the sled 
which corresponds to a time at which the most rapid acceleration 
begins, at about 0.5 g's (63 FR at 71393). Similarly, TRC would like 
NHTSA to revise its pulse envelope specifications for child restraint 
testing to allow a small deviance at time zero ``so that * * * sleds 
[similar to TRC's] may defendably participate in certification and 
compliance testing.''
2. The Crash Pulse Is Not Overly Severe
    Following passage of the TREAD Act, NHTSA had PAX analyze the crash 
pulses of over 150 vehicles tested under FMVSS No. 208 and under the 
agency's frontal New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). Based on the 
analysis of model year (MY) 1995 to MY 2000 vehicles, PAX found that 
the current pulse in Standard No. 213 was more severe \8\ than that of 
most passenger vehicles in today's fleet, but was similar to the pulses 
of truck and truck-like multipurpose passenger vehicles (i.e., large 
sport utility vehicles, SUVs) in Standard No. 208 tests, except that 
the truck pulse was much longer in duration than the Standard No. 213 
pulse. A report by PAX on the research project is available in the 
docket.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ A more severe crash pulse is defined as one having a higher 
acceleration onset rate, higher peak acceleration, and/or a shorter 
time duration.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To summarize the report, PAX obtained ``average'' crash pulses from 
the FMVSS No. 208 vehicle crash tests and NCAP tests. To obtain average 
NCAP and FMVSS No. 208 pulses, 59 vehicles were separated into 4 
classes: Cars, SUV's, trucks, and vans. The pulses were then filtered, 
and the peak velocity, peak G, and duration of the crash pulse were 
recorded.
    The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Recommended Practice for 
electronic processing of vehicle crash test acceleration data, as given 
in SAE J211, is Channel Frequency Class 60. Filtered at SAE J211 Class 
60 (100 Hz cutoff frequency), the average car pulse had a peak 
acceleration of 24 g's at 70 msec and pulse duration of approximately 
115 msec. When this pulse was overlaid with the Standard No. 213 pulse, 
the 213 pulse enclosed no portion of the average car curve. The average 
car had an initial slope similar to FMVSS No. 213, but then the vehicle 
began to crush before stiffening up again. For vans, the average van 
pulse had a peak acceleration of 22 g's at 42 msec and pulse duration 
of 140 msec. Both the van pulse and the 213 pulse had almost identical 
rise times, but then after 10 msec, the van pulse began to behave like 
the car pulse. However, small portions of the van pulse were enclosed 
by the 213 pulse corridor.
    With SUV's, the average SUV pulse had a peak acceleration of 26 g's 
at 27 msec and a pulse duration of 113 msec. When the SUV pulse was 
overlaid with the 213 corridor, the time of peak G for the SUV pulse 
was very similar to the 213 pulse, which peaks at 20 msec, and the rise 
time between the two pulses was also very similar. Portions of the SUV 
pulse fell within the 213 corridor a number of times.
    For pick-up trucks, the average truck pulse had a peak acceleration 
of 26 g's at 24 msec and a pulse duration of 114 msec. When the truck 
pulse was overlaid with the 213 corridor, there were many similarities. 
Not only did the two curves peak at almost the same time but the rise 
time was very similar. Also, for the first 65 msec, the truck pulse 
fell within the corridors of 213 many times. Although the duration of 
the pulse was different, the truck pulse and the 213 pulse appeared to 
be very similar.
    A summary of the PAX findings are set forth in Table 4.

                      Table 4.--Summary of PAX Pulse Data Filtered at SAE Class 60 (100 Hz)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                    Time (msec)
                           Pulse type                               Peak G   ------------------------ V
                                                                               Duration     Peak G       (kph)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Average Passenger Car...........................................          24         115          31          55
Average SUV.....................................................          26         113          35          52
Average Truck...................................................          29         114          39          52
Average Van.....................................................          22         140          26          54
FMVSS No. 213...................................................          21          81          20          48
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 21814]]

    Based on this information, we have decided not to reduce the 
severity of Standard No. 213's crash pulse. PAX found that the current 
crash pulse is very similar to the pulse of light trucks, SUVs and 
small school buses in acceleration onset rate and peak magnitude.
    Figures 2, 3 and 4 plot acceleration curves of SUVs, trucks, and a 
small school bus. These plots show that the existing Standard No. 213 
pulse corridor closely represents pulses of these vehicles. As shown in 
the figures, the first 70 msec represents several modern day vehicles 
used to transport children. Increasingly, light trucks, SUVs and small 
school buses are being used to transport children in child restraints. 
Based on these findings, we conclude that the stringency of the FMVSS 
No. 213 crash pulse is justified to better ensure that each child 
restraint will not have structural degradation in a crash, and will 
limit forces to the head, neck, and torso to tolerable levels, no 
matter the vehicle the child is in.
    The agency is seeking comment on whether a more severe crash pulse 
should be established for testing child restraint systems. Comments are 
sought on the trapezoidal-shaped corridor proposed, and on the 
parameters that determine the level of severity of a pulse for child 
restraint systems. Does the trapezoidal-shaped corridor provide a 
sufficient representation of the current vehicle fleet, or are there 
other pulse shapes that would be more representative and/or more 
severe?
    The agency is also seeking comment as to whether the total change 
of velocity of the current Standard No. 213 pulse (delta v = 30 mph) 
should be increased to 33 mph to be equivalent to a 30 mph crash into a 
rigid barrier. Typically, a delta v of 33 mph is seen in a 30 mph rigid 
wall test required for adult protection in Standard No. 208.
3. Adjusting the Corridors of the Pulse
    We are proposing minor revisions to the crash pulse. We would 
extend it to approximately 90 msec, and would widen the test corridor 
so that several testing facilities can satisfactorily reproduce the 
FMVSS No. 213 crash pulse (see figure 5). The expanded corridor would 
not sacrifice the stringency of the current pulse. The proposal would 
ensure the rapid rise as is currently in the standard but also 
accommodate small deviations at time zero as requested by the TRC 
petition. The change in the boundary of the corridor would provide 
laboratories the flexibility to generate a pulse that would be closer 
to a V = 30 mph.

BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

[[Page 21815]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP01MY02.001


[[Page 21816]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP01MY02.002


[[Page 21817]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP01MY02.003


[[Page 21818]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP01MY02.004

BILLING CODE 4910-59-C
    NHTSA proposes that the sled pulse for Standard No. 213 (see figure 
5, above) should have the coordinates given in the following table 5:

                Table 5.--Proposed Sled Pulse Coordinates
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      Point                          Time   Acceleration
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                               Upper Bound
------------------------------------------------------------------------
A................................................        0             3
B................................................       10            25
C................................................       52            25
D................................................       90             0
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                               Lower Bound
------------------------------------------------------------------------
E................................................        4             0
F................................................       13            19
G................................................       46            19
H................................................       75             0
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NHTSA will be further evaluating the proposed changes. Sled tests 
using the proposed crash pulse will be conducted later this year, and 
the information we obtain will be placed in the docket. Results of this 
testing will be compared to compliance test data of existing child 
restraints to evaluate the effect of the changes. Comparison of these 
tests will aid in the agency's decision as to whether the proposed 
changes should be adopted in a final rule.

c. Improved Child Test Dummies

    This document proposes two initiatives toward enhancing the use of 
test dummies in the evaluation of child restraints under Standard No. 
213. NHTSA proposes to replace some of the existing dummies with 
improved dummies representing children of approximately the same age as 
the replaced dummies. NHTSA also proposes testing child restraints for 
older children by using a weighted 6-year-old dummy (i.e., a dummy to 
which weights have been added). The total weight of the dummy would be 
62 lb. The weighted dummy would be used to test child restraints that 
are recommended for children weighing 50 to 65 lb. (This NPRM also 
proposes expanding the applicability of Standard No. 213 to restraint 
systems recommended for use by children weighing up to 65 lb. See 
section IV(e) of this preamble.)
    Child restraint systems must be certified as meeting Standard No. 
213's requirements when dynamically tested with test dummies that 
represent children of different ages. The current dummies used in 
Standard No. 213 compliance testing are the uninstrumented newborn 
infant, the uninstrumented 9-month-old infant, and the Hybrid II 3- and 
6-year-old dummies. NHTSA selects which test dummy to use based on the 
mass of the children for whom the manufacturer recommends for the child 
restraint. Table 6 sets forth which dummies are used to test child 
restraints based on the mass recommendations established for the 
restraint by the manufacturer. If a child restraint were recommended 
for a range of children whose mass overlaps, in whole or in part, two 
or more of the mass ranges in the table, the restraint is tested with 
the dummies specified for each of those ranges. Thus, for example, if a 
child restraint were recommended for children having masses greater 
than 13 kg and up to 20kg, it would be tested with the 9-month-old 
dummy, the 3-year-old dummy and the 6-year-old dummy.

                    Table 6.--Use of Current Dummies
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                         Dummy(ies) currently used in
 Recommended mass range (kilograms)           compliance testing
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Not greater than 5 kg (0 to 11 lb).  Newborn.
Greater than 5 but not greater than  Newborn, 9-month-old.
 10 kg (11 to 22 lb).
Greater than 10 but not greater      9-month-old, Hybrid II 3- year-old.
 than 18 kg (22 to 40 lb).
Greater than 18 (40 to 50 lb)......  Hybrid II 6- year-old.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 21819]]

1. CRABI, Hybrid III Dummies
i. Replacing Current Dummies
    The first initiative is a proposal to replace three of the test 
dummies now used in Standard No. 213 compliance tests with new test 
dummies. The design and performance criteria for the new dummies were 
incorporated into NHTSA's regulation for anthropomorphic test devices, 
49 CFR part 572, by rulemaking actions concluded last year. The new 
dummies are the Child Restraint Air Bag Interaction (CRABI) 12-month-
old infant dummy (Part 572, Subpart R), the Hybrid III 3-year-old child 
dummy (Subpart P), and the Hybrid III 6-year-old child dummy (Subpart 
N). The dummies are used in compliance tests that the agency adopted 
last year for testing advanced air bag systems under Standard No. 208, 
``Occupant Crash Protection.'' We would retain the newborn infant dummy 
in Standard No. 213's compliance tests, but would replace the 9-month-
old dummy (Part 572, Subpart J) with the CRABI.\9\ We would replace the 
Hybrid II 3- and 6-year-old dummies with their Hybrid III (HIII) 
counterparts. Thus, just as in the protocol today under Standard No. 
213, there would be four child test dummies used for compliance 
testing.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ Britax Child Safety Inc. submitted a petition for rulemaking 
on September 22, 2000, to allow manufacturers to specify use of the 
CRABI in compliance testing in place of the 9-month-old dummy. To 
the extent the petition is consistent with this NPRM, it is granted.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The new dummies were incorporated into Part 572 because they 
comprise a new generation of test dummies that are more representative 
of human children than their Hybrid II counterparts, and allow for the 
assessment of the potential for more types of injuries in motor vehicle 
crashes. The biofidelity, reliability and repeatability of the test 
dummies were discussed in the final rules incorporating the dummies 
into Part 572. See, final rules for the CRABI (65 FR 17188; March 31, 
2000); Hybrid III 3-year-old (65 FR 15254; March 22, 2000); Hybrid III 
6-year-old dummy (65 FR 2065; January 13, 2000). The CRABI dummy is 
instrumented with head, neck and chest accelerometers, while the 9-
month-old dummy is not. The Hybrid III child dummies have a broader 
selection of instruments to assess the injury potential to child 
occupants, including a multi-segmented neck, multi-rib thorax and 
abdominal load monitors, while the Hybrid II dummies have limited 
biofidelity in the neck area and are not instrumented to measure neck 
injury. Because of their superior instrumentation, the CRABI dummy and 
the Hybrid III child dummies can provide a fuller evaluation of the 
performance of child restraint systems in protecting young children.
    Simply substituting the dummies for the existing ones might not, in 
itself, affect child restraint performance. There does not seem to be a 
significant difference between the Hybrid II and Hybrid III dummies in 
their ability to measure head and chest accelerations or in dummy 
kinematics relevant to head and knee excursions. A series of frontal, 
Standard No. 213 sled tests were conducted to evaluate the equivalency 
between the Hybrid II child dummies currently used in the standard with 
the CRABI dummy and the Hybrid III 3- and 6-year-old dummies. Results 
from previously performed compliance tests (Hybrid II dummies) were 
identified, and the Hybrid III and CRABI dummies were seated in various 
CRS and vehicle belt configurations in order to establish a full 
complement of tests with both the Hybrid II and Hybrid III dummies. 
Where needed, additional sled tests were performed with the Hybrid II 
dummies. HIC, chest acceleration, and head and knee excursion values 
were compared between the Hybrid II and Hybrid III dummies for each age 
group. Test results indicate similar performance between the Hybrid II 
and Hybrid III child dummy families. See, ``A Comparative Evaluation of 
the Hybrid II and Hybrid III Child Dummy Families,'' a copy of which 
has been placed in the docket. Nonetheless, replacing the Hybrid II 3- 
and 6-year-old dummies with their Hybrid III counterparts would enhance 
safety by the latter's greater instrumentation capabilities and 
improved biofidelity, and by the adoption of injury criteria that the 
Hybrid II dummies cannot measure. This NPRM proposes new injury 
criteria of that sort, which are discussed in section V (f), infra.
ii. Retaining the Criteria Used To Determine Which Dummy Is Used in 
Compliance Tests
    NHTSA proposes to retain the criteria that are used to determine 
which dummy is used in Standard No. 213's compliance test. Table 7 sets 
forth the dummies that would be used to test child restraints, based on 
the mass of the children for whom the restraint is recommended.

                  Table 7.--Proposed Use of New Dummies
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              Dummy(ies) currently
   Recommended mass range      used in compliance   Dummies proposed for
         (kilograms)                 testing                 use
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Not greater than 5 kg (0 to   Newborn.............  Newborn.
 11 lb).
Greater than 5 but not        Newborn, 9-month-old  Newborn, CRABI.
 greater than 10 kg (11 to
 22 lb).
Greater than 10 but not       9-month-old, 3-year-  CRABI, HIII 3-year-
 greater than 18 kg (22 to     old.                  old.
 40 lb).
Greater than 18 kg but not    6-year-old..........  HIII 6-year-old.
 greater than 22.7 kg (40 to
 50 lb).
Greater than 22.7 kg (Over    ....................  Weighted HIII 6-year-
 50 lb).                                             old.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Comments are requested on the merits of replacing the existing 
dummies with the three new ones. The agency has tentatively decided 
that it would no longer use the 9-month-old dummy (which weighs 20 lb) 
to test child restraints because the newborn and the CRABI (22 lb) 
appear sufficient to evaluate the performance of a child restraint 
recommended for infants. Comments are requested on whether the 9-month-
old dummy would still be needed to test child restraints, and if so, 
which restraints should be tested with that dummy. The 9-month-old 
dummy better represents a 9-month-old child than the CRABI, since the 
CRABI is slightly more massive as a device representing a 12-month-old. 
Thus, retaining the 9-month-old in compliance testing might increase 
the scrutiny of the standard of infant restraints, which argues for 
continued use of the dummy in compliance tests (although there would be 
costs associated with such use). Also, some rear-facing infant car 
seats/carriers that are designed with a

[[Page 21820]]

handle for toting the infant outside of the vehicle are recommended for 
use with infants weighing only up to 20 lb. Even though the CRABI (at 
22 lb) is heavier than the children recommended for those restraints, 
we tentatively conclude that the CRABI can and should be used in 
compliance tests of these restraints because it is instrumented and the 
9-month-old (20 lb) dummy is not. Do all infant car seat/carriers have 
back supports that are high enough to support the CRABI?
    Relatedly, the agency's policy has been, to the extent possible, to 
test each child restraint with dummies that are at the ends of the 
weight range of children for whom the restraint is recommended. The 
smaller of the two dummies with which we test child restraints is used 
for assessing the potential for ejection, while the larger dummy is 
used for assessing structural integrity. Be that as it may, we would 
test a child restraint that is recommended for use by children weighing 
20 to 40 lb forward-facing with the CRABI (22 lb) dummy, and not with 
the 9-month-old (20 lb) dummy, even though the 9-month-old dummy is 
closer in weight/mass to the lower end of the recommended weight range 
for the restraint. The difference in stature between the 9-month-old 
and the 12-month-old CRABI is nominal--the 9-month-old is 27.9 inches 
tall, while the 12-month-old CRABI is 29.4 inches tall (the sitting 
heights are 17.7 inches and 18.3 inches, respectively). As such, both 
dummies will likely provide nearly identical measures of the 
possibility for ejection. Comments are requested on this issue.
    Comments are requested on whether there is a need to specify in 
Part 572 a test dummy representing an 18-month-old child. Transport 
Canada has evaluated an 18-month-old CRABI child dummy that weighs 25 
lb. However, because NHTSA has not evaluated the dummy, we have not 
assessed whether it should be used in compliance testing. There also 
does not appear to be a significant need for the dummy. The dummy would 
be used in tests of convertible\10\ restraints that are recommended for 
use in the rear-facing configuration by children weighing over 22 lb. 
As noted above, restraints that are recommended for use by children 
over 22 lb (and less than 40 lb) are subject to testing with the Hybrid 
II 3-year-old (33 lb) dummy. Virtually all convertible restraints 
currently on the market are certified rear-facing for up to at least 30 
lb, and often to 35 or 40 lb. The 3-year-old dummy therefore is more 
representative of children at the upper end of the recommended weight 
ranges for these restraints than the 18-month-old dummy.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ A convertible child restraint can be used rear-facing with 
infants and young toddlers, and forward-facing with older toddlers. 
They typically are recommended for use by children from birth until 
the child reaches 40 lb.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The height recommendations would not change. The 850 mm height 
criterion was originally based on the 95th percentile 1-year-old and 
not the 9-month-old, so the substitution of the CRABI 12-month-old for 
the 9-month does not require a change.

        Table 8.--Dummy Selection Based on Height Recommendations
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              Dummy(ies) currently
  Recommended height range     used in compliance   Dummies proposed for
         (kilograms)                 testing                 use
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Not greater than 650 mm.....  Newborn.............  Newborn.
Greater than 650 mm but not   Newborn, 9-month-old  Newborn, CRABI.
 greater than 850 mm.
Greater than 850 mm but not   9-month-old, HII 3-   CRABI, HIII 3-year-
 greater than 1100 mm.         year-old.             old.
Greater than 1100 mm........  HII 6-year-old......  HIII 6-year-old.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

iii. Conditioning the Dummies
    This document proposes detailed descriptions of the clothing, 
conditioning and positioning procedures for the dummies to ensure that 
the test conditions are carefully controlled.
    Clothing for the 12-month-old CRABI and the Hybrid III 3- and 6-
year-old dummies is currently specified in the corresponding sections 
of Part 572 that identify the design and performance criteria for each 
dummy. (Clothing is described in Sec. 572.154(c)(2) of Part 572 for the 
CRABI 12-month-old; in Sec. 572.144(c)(1) for the Hybrid III 3-year-
old; and in Sec. 572.124(c)(2) for the Hybrid III 6-year-old.) It is 
proposed that the clothing specified in Part 572 for each dummy be used 
in the Standard No. 213 compliance test, except with respect to the 
identification of appropriate footwear. S9.1(c) of Standard No. 213 
prescribes size 7M sneakers for the 3-year-old dummy and size 12\1/2\ M 
sneakers for the 6-year-old dummy with rubber toe caps, uppers of 
Dacron and cotton or nylon and a total mass of 0.453 kg. No such 
specifications are in Part 572. As such, we propose that S9.1(c) 
Standard No. 213 maintain the specification of footwear for the Hybrid 
III 3- and 6-year-old dummies. The clothing and footwear for the 
weighted 6-year-old dummy (see section V.d.2, infra) would be the same 
as that specified in Part 572 for the Hybrid III 6-year-old dummy.
    The conditioning specifications specified in S9.3 of Standard No. 
213 would be revised to reflect the same pre-test conditioning 
procedures that are currently specified in Standard No. 208 for the 
CRABI 12-month-old and the Hybrid III 3- and 6-year-old dummies. 
Namely, each dummy would be maintained at a temperature between 69 and 
72 degrees F (between 20.6 and 22.2 degrees C) for at least 4 hours 
prior to a test. This would ensure that each dummy is conditioned in a 
manner that is consistent with the provisions specified in Part 572 for 
each dummy and its specific subassemblies. The dummy positioning 
requirements in S10 of Standard No. 213 would remain essentially 
unchanged. We note that S10.2.1(a) of Standard No. 213, which specifies 
rotating the legs of the 9-month-old dummy prior to placement of the 
dummy in a child restraint, is not needed for the CRABI 12-month-old 
dummy because of the spinal structure of the CRABI dummy.\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ The proposed regulatory text of this NPRM retains the 
specifications in Standard No. 213 for conditioning and positioning 
the 9-month-old dummy and the Hybrid II dummies because the dummies 
would continue to be used in compliance tests until the mandatory 
compliance date of a final rule (which is proposed to be November 1, 
2004).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. Using a Weighted 6-Year-Old Dummy
    The second initiative relates to enhancing the dynamic evaluation 
of child restraints that are designed for older children. This NPRM 
proposes to use a weighted Hybrid III 6-year-old dummy to test child 
restraints that are

[[Page 21821]]

recommended for use by children with masses up to 29.5 kg (65 lb).
    A child reaching 40 lb (18 kg) has outgrown a convertible or 
toddler restraint, but still must be restrained by special means to 
safely ride in a vehicle. Parents tend to move these young children 
into the vehicle belt system, only to find that the lap and shoulder 
belts do not properly fit their children. The children are not yet 
large enough to sit with their backs against the vehicle seat back 
cushion with their knees bent over the seat edge. To compensate for a 
shoulder belt crossing their face or neck, some children tend to place 
the shoulder belt behind their backs, which results in no restraint of 
the child's upper torso. Children also find it more comfortable to bend 
their knees at the vehicle seat cushion's edge than to ride with the 
edge of the cushion pressing against their calves. Because their legs 
are not long enough to enable them to bend their knees at the cushion's 
edge while riding in a vehicle, children generally slouch down in the 
vehicle seat and scoot forward on the seat. Slouching raises the lap 
belt over their soft-tissue areas, which exposes abdominal organs to 
crash forces that can be imposed by the lap belt.
    Klinich et al. estimates that children who are less than 148 
centimeters in standing height do not adequately fit the seat belt and 
seating system in vehicles (``Study of Older Child Restraint/Booster 
Seat Fit and NASS Injury Analysis,'' DOT HS 808 248, November 1994.) 
Current NHTSA guidelines recommend booster seat use for children up to 
age 8, unless the child is 4' 9".
    A booster seat improves the fit of a vehicle's belts on children. 
Booster seats are ``child restraint systems'' regulated in the same 
manner as other child restraint systems by Standard No. 213. The 
boosters come in a variety of styles, the majority having high-backs, 
with shoulder strap adjuster features on the sides. Belt-positioning 
seats (also referred to as ``belt-positioning boosters'') must be used 
with a lap and shoulder belt system. Boosters provide a raised seating 
platform for the child, which provides a taller sitting height. Raising 
the child helps position both the vehicle's lap and shoulder belts 
correctly. The seating platform also allows the child's knees to bend 
comfortably while the child is riding in the vehicle, which greatly 
reduces the tendency to slouch. Booster seats are dynamically tested by 
the agency using the 6-year-old test dummy, which weighs approximately 
48 pounds and is about 48" tall.
    In September 1996, the NTSB issued Safety Recommendation H-96-25, 
which asked NHTSA to revise Standard No. 213 to establish performance 
standards for booster seats that can restrain children up to 80 pounds. 
The Safety Board expressed concern about the performance of boosters 
when restraining a child that weighs more than the 6-year-old dummy 
that is currently used in Standard No. 213 compliance testing. This 
concern was also expressed by the Blue Ribbon Panel II in March 1999 
(``Blue Ribbon Panel II: Protecting Our Older Child Passengers'') in 
its report on ways to increase the use of age- and size-appropriate 
occupant restraints by children ages 4 through 15. Most booster seats 
currently on the market are certified for use by children weighing up 
to 80 lb. To better evaluate the performance of these boosters with 
children at the higher end of the weight range recommended for the 
restraint, the agency is pursuing two separate but parallel efforts to 
address the protection needs of older children. The first is a long-
term program to develop a 76-lb, 10-year-old dummy. The second is a 
short-term initiative to use a weighted 6-year-old dummy to test 
booster seats beyond the 50-lb weight limit specified in FMVSS No. 213. 
The weighted dummy weighs 62 lb.
i. Development of the 10-Year-Old Dummy Is a Long-Term Measure
    A 10-year-old dummy is being developed, but it is not far enough 
along in its development to be part of this NPRM.\12\ The following 
summarizes the work on the dummy thus far.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \12\ The legislative history to TREAD indicates that Congress 
was interested in the potential for using the 10-year-old dummy 
specified in ECE 44. That dummy is manufactured by the Netherlands 
Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), which 
manufactures the other test dummies referenced in ECE 44. These 
dummies are TNO's ``P'' series of child dummies, which includes a 
newborn, a 9-month, 18-month, and 3-, 6-, and 10-year-old. All P 
series dummies are of similar construction. The agency evaluated the 
3-year-old child dummy and found it to have insurmountable seating 
stability problems when placed in a child restraint, and un-human-
like impact kinematics because of its cervical and thoracic spine 
construction. We also found problems with the instrumentation. As a 
result, because of design similarities of all P series dummies, our 
engineering judgment was the 10-year-old TNO dummy would not be 
suitable for use in crash testing. Subsequently, TNO began 
developing the Q series dummies, which appear likely to be more 
biofidelic, stable and reliable than their predecessor. The dummies 
are still in development and are not available for use now.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In early 2000, NHTSA asked the Society of Automotive Engineers 
(SAE) Dummy Family Task Group (DFTG) to develop a test dummy 
representative of a 10-year-old child. The development and adoption of 
a dummy this size is seen as a long-term solution to ensuring the 
proper restraint of the approximately 10 percent of the population 
between the sizes of 6-year-olds and 5th percentile adult females, and 
could potentially be used in evaluating the performance of booster 
seats and vehicle belt systems. The group met initially in May 2000 to 
define the concept. The weight and height of the proposed dummy were 
provided from the Center for Disease Control Data Bank, and was 
targeted to be approximately 4'6" and 72 lb. The basic construction was 
envisioned to be similar to that of the small female dummy. The dummy 
was to be able to be positioned in erect seated, slouched seated, 
standing, and kneeling postures to fully evaluate possible restraint 
configurations.
    The task group held its first review meeting in June 2000, and 
reviewed impact responses scaled from the small female and 6-year-old 
dummies. At that time, provisional performance requirements were 
defined, and the anthropometry and mass goals were finalized. The dummy 
instrumentation was specified to measure injury parameters for the 
following body regions: head, neck, shoulder, thorax, pelvis, femur, 
and tibia.
    The first 10-year-old prototype was assembled in February 2001. It 
weighed about 76 lb. The task group reviewed this prototype, and 
directed design corrections. Subsequently, the first drawings were 
completed in April 2001. GM and NHTSA separately performed preliminary 
dummy performance verifications in Spring 2001 and Summer 2001, 
respectively. The agency is now conducting an extensive evaluation of 
the dummy, which will include a series of sled testing of the dummy. If 
no problems are encountered, NHTSA may issue an NPRM proposing the 
incorporation of the 10-year-old dummy into Part 572 by early 2003. 
When it issues such an NPRM, NHTSA will also undertake rulemaking on 
Standard No. 213 to propose using the dummy in compliance tests. At 
this time, we invite views on the development and potential use of the 
10-year-old dummy in Standard No. 213's compliance tests.
ii. A Weighted 6-Year-Old Dummy Is a Feasible Short-Term Alternative
    As a short-term, interim measure, NHTSA is proposing the use of a 
weighted Hybrid III 6-year-old dummy (hereinafter ``HIII-6CW'') for use 
in testing child restraints that are recommended for use by children 
weighing from 50 to 65 lb.
    The agency developed the dummy by adding weights to the current 
Hybrid III 6-year-old child dummy to increase the

[[Page 21822]]

total weight from approximately 52 pounds \13\ to over 60 pounds.\14\ 
NHTSA added approximately 10 pounds to the dummy so that it could be 
used to represent slightly heavier children. The initial design concept 
utilized carbon steel weights that were rigidly attached to the dummy 
in two locations: (1) a weight located on the superior side of the 
pelvis between the pelvis and the lumbar adaptor; and (2) weights 
located on the lateral sides of the thoracic spine box. The steel 
pelvis weight added 3.8 pounds to the dummy while the spine weights 
added a total of 5 pounds (each weight was 2.5 pounds on right and left 
sides). The resulting dummy weight was approximately 60 pounds. The 
modifications also increased the dummy's seating height by one inch. 
This change in stature appeared to be acceptable; a heavier occupant 
could also be slightly taller.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ The Hybrid III 6-year-old dummy weighs about 51.5 lb, 
whereas the Hybrid II dummy weighs approximately 48 lb. A 50th 
percentile 6-year-old weighs 51 lb.
    \14\ The agency originally began this project by evaluating 
whether weight could be added to the HIII 6-year-old dummy by way of 
a weighted vest. We purchased a weighted vest from First Technology 
Safety Systems, a dummy manufacturer, to evaluate its design. The 
weights were contained in pouches located over the abdomen in the 
front and over the lower back of the dummy's posterior. On 
inspection of the vest on the dummy, we decided that this design 
would be unacceptable for use in compliance testing. Because the 
weights were not rigidly attached to the dummy, the weights could 
rattle or even slap in a dynamic event and possibly create noisy 
data signals in the dummy's instrumentation responses. Further, the 
vest was somewhat bulky, and the agency was concerned that it could 
affect the positioning of the dummy within the restraint system. The 
agency therefore concluded that the weighted vest concept was not a 
feasible alternative.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Following preliminary testing with the carbon steel weights and 
upon experiencing some belt retention problems, we determined that 
better weight and center of gravity distributions could be achieved 
through the use of a dense Tungsten alloy material. The geometry of the 
spine and pelvis weights was redesigned to achieve a weight of 5.1 
pounds for the pelvis weight and 5.2 pounds total for the spine 
weights. The increased density offered by the Tungsten alloy allowed 
each of the weights to be reduced in size, thus reducing the 
possibility of interference between the ribs and the spine weights. 
Further, the dummy's seated height was only increased by approximately 
0.7 inches over the unweighted HIII-6C dummy.
    Preliminary evaluation tests have been conducted on dummies 
equipped with both the steel and Tungsten alloy versions of the 
weights. These tests included thoracic calibration impacts, torso 
flexion tests, and dynamic sled tests. The weights withstood dynamic 
impacts and testing without causing excessive noise or vibrations in 
the data channels. (Adding the weights does not require any permanent 
modifications to the dummy. When the weights are removed, the dummy 
reverts to its original condition and meets the existing Part 572 
specifications for the Hybrid III unweighted 6-year-old dummy.)
    Component tests conducted with the steel version indicate that the 
added weights did not appear to introduce structural or instrumentation 
problems. The thoracic responses met the calibration requirements of 
the unweighted HIII-6C dummy; however, the peak probe force measured 
during the compression interval was near the upper end of the corridor. 
Thus, the thoracic impact response corridor may need to be adjusted for 
the weighted dummy. Electronic responses and visual observations 
confirmed that there was no contact between the ribs and the spine 
weights during the oblique impacts. The torso flexion tests also met 
all of the requirements of the unweighted HIII-6C dummy.
    Sled tests have been conducted with both the steel and Tungsten 
versions. For all sled tests, the current Standard No. 213 pulse and 
buck were used. Both versions of the dummy have been tested with 
different booster seats and with 3-point (lap and shoulder) belt 
systems. The results of the dummy, particularly with the high mass 
Tungsten weights, appear to be reasonable as compared to the standard 
HIII-6C dummy. That is, there have been no structural or electronic 
deficiencies observed as a result of the sled testing. Additionally, a 
series of four Standard No. 213 sled tests using various child 
restraints were performed to compare the response of the unweighted 
Hybrid III 6-year-old dummy to the HIII-6CW. Tests of the revised 
weighted 6-year-old H-III dummy produced normal dummy kinematics 
(motion in midsagittal plane) in booster seats and regular belt 
systems.
    A technical report discussing the agency's work in developing the 
dummy, titled ``Evaluation of the Weighted Hybrid III Six-Year-Old 
Dummy,'' has been placed in the docket. A proposal to incorporate the 
specifications and performance criteria for the HIII-6CW in Part 572 
will be published in early 2002 in the Federal Register.

d. Expanding the Applicability of the Standard to 65 Lb

    NHTSA proposes to amend Standard No. 213 to increase the upper 
limits of its applicability so that it would apply to child restraint 
systems for children who weigh 65 lb or less. Currently, the standard 
defines ``child restraint system'' as ``any device except Type I [lap] 
or Type II [lap/shoulder] seat belts, designed for use in a motor 
vehicle or aircraft to restrain, seat, or position children who weigh 
50 pounds or less'' (S4). We would amend the definition to increase the 
weight limit to 65 lb.
    The effect of the amendment would be to apply Standard No. 213 to 
devices that are recommended for children weighing 50 to 65 lb. There 
has been considerable interest over the years in raising the limit to 
require that child restraint systems that are recommended for older 
children (i.e., booster seats) perform adequately in a crash. The aim 
of raising the limit was to bring booster seats that are recommended 
for children over 50 lb within Standard No. 213 and subject them to 
that standard's dynamic test, just as other restraints are tested under 
the standard. The intent to evaluate booster seat performance more 
thoroughly by dynamically testing them could not be realized, however, 
without a test dummy representing an older child. It would make little 
sense to raise the standard's limit above 50 lb if a test device were 
not available to test the performance of the restraint. Further, 
booster seats were not being marketed so as to be beyond the standard's 
purview; their recommended usage included children weighing less than 
50 lb so they were, at least, subject to the 30 mph dynamic test with 
the 6-year-old (48 lb) dummy. For these reasons, NHTSA decided against 
increasing the 50 lb limit in the definition of ``child restraint 
system.'' (See 58 FR 46928, 46932 for a discussion of the agency's 
decision not to undertake rulemaking on this issue.)
    Today, we are proposing to incorporate a weighted 6-year-old dummy 
(62 lb total weight) into Part 572. We tentatively conclude that the 
dummy can provide useful information on the performance of booster 
seats that are recommended for children above 50 lb. Accordingly, we 
propose to increase the 50 lb weight limit in the definition of child 
restraint system to 65 lb. In the event that the weighted 6-year-old 
dummy is not determined to be sufficient for testing child restraints 
for children weighing above 50 lb, what would be the advantages and 
disadvantages of raising the limit nonetheless? Regardless of whether 
the

[[Page 21823]]

weighted 6-year-old dummy were adopted, comments are also requested on 
the advantages and disadvantages of increasing the weight limit to 
eighty pounds (80 lb) in the absence of an 80-lb test device. Our 
tentative conclusion is that the weighted 6-year-old dummy is not 
sufficient to assess the dynamic performance of a booster seat in 
restraining an 80-lb child. Consumers Union (CU) has suggested in its 
comment to the agency's draft child passenger protection plan (Docket 
NHTSA-7938, page 11) that manufacturers should not be permitted to 
recommend a child restraint for children of weights above the weight of 
the largest test dummy used to evaluate the restraint in compliance 
testing. NHTSA previously declined the suggestion, believing that 
limiting the recommendations in the manner suggested could result in 
safety losses. (For example, a manufacturer would not be able to 
recommend a toddler restraint for children above the weight of the 3-
year-old dummy, 33 lb, which would result in 3-year-olds being 
graduated out of child restraints at too early an age.) (61 FR 30824; 
June 18, 1996.) Comments are requested on CU's suggestion with respect 
to booster seats. If the weighted dummy were adopted, should 
manufacturers be allowed to recommend boosters for children only up to 
62 lb?

e. New or Revised Injury Criteria

    This section describes proposed amendments to the measures that we 
use to assess the performance of child restraints under Standard No. 
213. We propose injury criteria that are the same as the scaled injury 
criteria for children specified in Standard No. 208, Occupant Crash 
Protection. We also propose some requirements similar to the static 
testing requirements of Standard No. 213. The requirements that child 
restraints must maintain system integrity and limit excursion of the 
torso, head and knees in the simulated frontal impact would not be 
changed.
    The agency requests comments on each of the proposed injury 
criteria. Comments are solicited on what risk levels are acceptable, 
what factors should be considered in selecting performance limits and 
whether the same limits as in Standard No. 208 should be established 
for the child restraint standard. The two standards address different 
sources of potential harm to children. The injury criteria for children 
in Standard No. 208 are intended to minimize the risk from a deploying 
air bag (ensuring that the air bag deploys in a manner much less likely 
to cause serious or fatal injury to out-of-position occupants). The 
injury criteria in Standard No. 213 are intended to limit the severity 
of forces imposed on a child during a crash. Child restraints meeting 
these criteria have worked effectively to maintain high levels of 
performance in crashes. Because the injury criteria of the standards 
are intended to minimize risks from different injury sources, it might 
be reasonable to have non-identical criteria.
1. Scaled Injury Criteria
    The injury criteria that a child restraint must meet when 
restraining a dummy would change in several ways. Lower head and chest 
injury criteria are proposed, but the duration within which 
accelerations are measured would be limited. A new criterion for chest 
deflection is also proposed, as well as new criteria for neck injury. 
Currently, Standard No. 213 specifies a head injury criterion (HIC) of 
1000 and maximum acceleration level for the chest (60g). These were 
based on the criteria that were specified for the adult male test dummy 
in Standard No. 208 in the early 1980's, when injury criteria were 
incorporated into Standard No. 213 (44 FR 72131; December 13, 1979). At 
that time, there were no injury criteria that were separately scaled 
from an adult dummy to reflect anatomical differences and differing 
injury tolerance of children. In the agency's May 2000 final rule on 
advanced air bag technology, NHTSA amended Standard No. 208 by, among 
other things, adjusting the criteria and performance limits to account 
for motor vehicle injury risks faced by different size occupants. (65 
FR 30680; May 12, 2000.) See also a paper titled ``Development of 
Improved Injury Criteria for the Assessment of Child Restraint 
Systems,'' that has been placed in the docket.
i. Head Injury
    This NPRM proposes to replace the HIC 1000 limit in Standard No. 
213 with the scaled HIC values adopted by the May 2000 air bag final 
rule: 700 for 6-year-old dummy, 570 for the 3-year-old dummy; and 390 
for the CRABI 12-month-old. In Standard No. 208, these values are 
calculated over a 15 millisecond (msec) duration. We propose to 
calculate HIC over a 15 msec duration (HIC15) for Standard 
No. 213. Comments are requested on this issue, however, because while 
HIC15 is appropriate for Standard No. 208, there currently 
is no limit on the time duration used to calculate HIC in Standard No. 
213. Generally speaking, limiting the time duration lowers the 
calculated HIC values.
A. Should HIC Duration Be Limited to 15 Milliseconds?
    We have previously declined to limit the time duration for 
calculating HIC in Standard No. 213 compliance tests because of the 
possible lessening of the stringency of the standard. Prior to the May 
2000 rule on advanced air bags, Standard No. 208 limited HIC to 1000 
but limited the calculation to a maximum time interval of 36 msec 
(100036). In 1995, we were asked to amend Standard No. 213 
to calculate HIC using a 36 msec time duration, as was done at the time 
for Standard No. 208. The agency decided against limiting HIC because 
we determined that HIC values were generally lower when the time 
interval was limited to 36 msec (HIC36), compared to 
HICunlimited (an unlimited time duration may be used to 
calculate HIC). Given that a HIC36 limit could have reduced 
the stringency of the standard, there was not enough information 
justifying any limit on the time interval. Thus, NHTSA decided against 
limiting HIC to 36 msec in Standard No. 213. 69 FR 35127, July 6, 1995.
    Now, however, we are considering limiting the time interval for 
measuring HIC in the child restraint standard. Standard No. 208 had 
provided for calculating HIC for the entire crash duration as the child 
restraint standard does now, but NHTSA limited the maximum time 
duration of the HIC calculation to 36 msec for Standard No. 208 because 
low acceleration crashes over a long time duration could exceed HIC 
1000unlimited even though they were not likely to result in 
brain injuries. The agency determined that limiting the duration over 
which HIC is calculated to a maximum of 36 msec, while limiting HIC to 
1000, assured that the acceleration level of the head will not exceed 
60 g's for any period greater than 36 msec. The 60 g acceleration limit 
was set as a reasonable head injury threshold by the originators of the 
``Wayne State Tolerance Curve,'' which was used in the development of 
the HIC calculation. 51 FR 37028; October 17, 1986.
    The time interval was further reduced to 15 msec by the May 2000 
final rule amending Standard No. 208. The May 2000 rule on advanced air 
bags replaced 100036 with HIC 70015, based on 
recommendations from motor vehicle manufacturers that the duration for 
the HIC computations should be limited to 15 msec with a limit of 700 
for the 50th percentile adult male dummy. NHTSA determined 
that the stringency of HIC 70015 was equivalent to HIC 
100036 for

[[Page 21824]]

long duration pulses, because while HIC15 produces a lower 
numerical value for long duration events, its 700 lower failure 
threshold compensated for the reduction.\15\ The final rule employed a 
15 msec time interval whenever calculating the HIC function in Standard 
No. 208, and limited the maximum response of the adult male dummy to 
700 and the response of the smaller dummies to suitably scaled maximums 
(700 for the 6-year-old, 570 for the 3-year-old, and 390 for the 
CRABI).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \15\ In addition, the agency also believed that, for pulse 
durations shorter than approximately 25 mses, the HIC 
70015 requirement is more stringent than HIC 
100036.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Since the TREAD Act directs us to consider adopting the scaled 
injury criteria adopted by the May 2000 final rule on advanced air 
bags, we are proposing that the HIC limits of 70015, 
57015 and 39015 be incorporated into Standard No. 
213 for tests with the 6-year-old, the 3-year-old and the CRABI, 
respectively. NHTSA believes that it should take a cautious approach in 
modifying the head injury tolerance level set by the HIC requirement. 
Comments are requested on the appropriateness of both the scaled HIC 
limits and on a 15 msec (or other) time interval for calculating HIC. 
In cases of head contacts with softer surfaces, such as an airbag 
system, the time duration of the contact is longer than in head 
contacts with hard surfaces. Since HIC was initially developed for high 
acceleration, short duration impact events, it is appropriate to limit 
the HIC calculation in such airbag impacts, since the acceleration 
levels are low but time duration is long and not similar to the 
original intent of the HIC criterion. Data from sled testing of child 
restraints conducted at the agency's Vehicle Research & Test Center 
(VRTC) and from evaluating child restraints as part of the agency's New 
Car Assessment Program (NCAP) show that there was not a major 
difference between HICunlimited and HIC36, 
indicating that the HIC responses are from contact events shorter than 
36 msec. Further, accident data show that 79 percent of all brain 
injuries for children 0-8 years old are due to contact, which would 
imply the prevalence of short duration head acceleration events. This 
finding appears to indicate a reasonable basis for making Standard No. 
213's calculation of HIC consistent with Standard No. 208. Comments are 
requested on whether the time interval should be limited to 15 msec, to 
36 msec, or not at all. Limiting the time interval to 15 msec would 
produce lower HIC values than the current method of calculating HIC in 
Standard No. 213, but the reduction in HIC100036 to the 
lower failure thresholds of 70015, 57015 and 
39015 should achieve equivalent performance.
    The agency does not know at this time the degree to which HIC 
70015 and the scaled thresholds for the smaller dummies 
would reduce the current HIC failure rate of Standard No. 213 because 
data from past tests are unavailable in a format that allows us to 
recalculate the relevant values. However, based upon agency test 
results, we expect a high passage rate for HIC15. A series 
of five rear-facing and five forward-facing tests were conducted at 
VRTC with the CRABI dummy. In those tests, all five passed the 
HIC15390 requirement in the rear-facing tests. Three of five 
passed for the forward-facing tests. Forward facing tests with the 
Hybrid III 3-year-old dummy have indicated 100 percent passage of the 
HIC15570 requirement in Standard No. 213 conditions. A 
series of nine sled tests conducted under the NCAP program at an 
elevated sled test velocity of 35 mph also experienced a 100 percent 
passage of the requirement; a series of 20 in-vehicle crash tests with 
Hybrid III 3-year-old dummies conducted in NCAP produced over a 60 
percent passage of the HIC15 requirement for these higher 
speed impact test conditions. For the 6-year-old Hybrid III dummy, the 
HIC15700 requirement was met 91 percent of the time in a 
series of 11 tests. Based upon these results, the agency has 
tentatively concluded that incorporation of the scaled HIC15 
criteria for these Hybrid III child dummies would be reasonable. 
Comments on test result experience of vehicle and/or child restraint 
manufacturers with the Hybrid III child dummies and the scaled 
HIC15 responses are sought.
B. Test Data
    The agency conducted two series of tests to evaluate if the child 
injury tolerance limits specified in FMVSS No. 208 are appropriate and 
practicable for use in testing child restraints using Hybrid III child 
dummies. The first series of sled tests was performed by VRTC to 
determine the performance of typical forward-facing child restraint 
systems secured by either a lap belt only, a lap and shoulder belt, or 
the LATCH system (the child restraint's attachments were attached to 
the child restraint by webbing material). The Hybrid III 3-year-old 
test dummy was used in this testing. The child restraint systems were 
installed and tested in either the rear seat of a contemporary sedan or 
the seating assembly specified in FMVSS No. 213. In addition, three 
sled acceleration pulses were studied: a typical Standard No. 208 
frontal barrier crash (30 mph), an NCAP frontal crash (35 mph), and a 
Standard No. 213 pulse. The results of the VRTC sled testing are 
tabulated in Table 9 and discussed in a paper titled, ``Dynamic 
Evaluation of Child Restraints Using Various Frontal Crash Pulses,'' 
which is available from the docket.

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[[Page 21826]]

    The second series of tests were performed in 20 NCAP vehicle crash 
tests to determine the performance of forward-facing child restraint 
systems restrained in the rear seat by a lap and shoulder belt with top 
tether and by a LATCH system (lower anchorages and top tether). The 
Hybrid III 3-year-old test dummy was also used in this testing. The 
results of these NCAP crash tests are tabulated and set forth in Table 
10, infra.
    Data from the VRTC sled tests and the NCAP full scale vehicle tests 
suggest that the new Standard No. 208 head injury criteria, 
HIC15 with its lower performance limit (570 for 3-year-old) 
is equivalent to the current HICunlimited with a performance 
limit of 1000. This conclusion is reached based upon the observation 
that both the Hybrid II HICunlimited, and the Hybrid III 
HIC15, responses in Standard No. 213 appear to comply with 
their respective criteria limits with roughly a 50 percent margin.
ii. Thoracic Injury
A. Chest Acceleration
    This document proposes new limits on chest acceleration and chest 
deflection. Currently, Standard No. 213 limits chest acceleration to 60 
g's. The May 2000 final rule on advanced air bags scaled this value to 
55 g's for the 3-year-old dummy and 50 g's for the CRABI. The chest 
acceleration limit remained at 60 g's for the 6-year-old dummy. We 
propose incorporating the same limits into Standard No. 213. For the 
12-month-old CRABI dummy, the agency has observed chest accelerations 
of around 40 g's in rearward-facing child restraints. For forward-
facing restraints using the 12-month-old CRABI dummy, nearly 75 percent 
of agency test results exceeded the 50 g limit, with accelerations 
generally less than 55 g's. Chest acceleration responses for both the 
3- and 6-year-old dummies were well below their respective criteria in 
agency tests.
B. Chest Deflection
    Currently, there is no chest deflection limit in Standard No. 213 
because the current Hybrid II test dummies cannot measure chest 
deflection. Incorporating the Hybrid III 6- and 3-year-old dummies into 
Standard No. 213, as proposed in this NPRM, would enable us to measure 
deformation-deflection of the thorax sternum. Because the dummies would 
be capable of measuring this injury parameter, we propose that Standard 
No. 213 include limits on chest deflection.
    The May 2000 final rule on advanced air bags reduced the deflection 
limit for the 50th percentile male dummy from 76 mm to 63 mm (from 3 
inches (in) to 2.5 in). These limits were then scaled to obtain 
equivalent performance limits for the 6- and 3-year-old dummies. The 
CRABI does not measure chest deflection, so no limit was specified for 
that dummy. Compression deflection of the sternum relative to the spine 
was limited in Standard No. 208 to 40 mm (1.6 in) for the 6-year-old 
dummy and 34 mm (1.3 in) for the 3-year-old dummy.
    We propose the same limits for Standard No. 213, except for the 
weighted 6-year-old dummy (see next section, below). Comments are 
requested as to whether these limits are appropriate for testing child 
restraint systems, particularly with respect to webbing systems and 
impact shields that some child restraints use to restrain forward 
movement of the child's torso.
C. Weighted 6-Year-Old Dummy
    Based upon scaling considerations of increased mass of the thoracic 
spine, greater chest compression limits appear to be justified for the 
HIII-6CW since this dummy would represent either an 8-year-old, or an 
80th- to 90th-percentile 6-year-old in weight and stature.
    In evaluating chest acceleration, a pure mathematical evaluation 
would indicate that accelerations should be somewhat lower for the 
heavier dummy. However, considering that both the 5th- percentile 
female and Hybrid III 6-year-old dummy have a 60g limit for injury 
assessment purposes, the agency is reluctant to propose a reduction to 
a lower g level for a dummy that is sized between the female and the 
existing 6-year-old.
    Accordingly, the agency proposes to incorporate a 42 mm deflection 
limit for the weighted 6-year-old and a chest acceleration limit of 60 
g.
D. Test Data
    Data from the VRTC and NCAP tests indicate a high passing rate for 
chest acceleration and deflection tests. In the VRTC frontal sled 
tests, 94 percent of the tests of the LATCH seats (15 out of 16) 
resulted in passing values for chest acceleration (average 43 g's), and 
100 percent (17 out of 17) passed chest deflection (average 0.61 in). 
For the non-LATCH seats, 76 percent (13 out of 17) passed chest 
acceleration (average 47 g's) and 100 percent (16 out of 16) passed 
chest deflection (average 0.73 in). These data suggest that the 
Standard No. 208 chest acceleration and chest deflection limits are 
practicable for child restraint systems.
iii. Neck Injury
    Currently, there is no neck injury criterion in Standard No. 213, 
because the current Hybrid II test dummies are not designed with neck 
force measurement capability. However, the CRABI 12-month-old and the 
Hybrid III 3- and 6-year-old dummies have been designed to measure neck 
bending moments and forces in the fore and aft direction, and axial 
compression and tension loads. Because the dummies are capable of 
measuring neck injury parameters, we are proposing that the standard 
include a new neck criterion.
    The May 2000 final rule on advanced air bags specified limits for a 
neck injury criterion, Nij, for the adult and child dummies used in 
Standard No. 208 compliance testing. Nij is a new injury formula that 
accounts for the combination of flexion, extension, tension and 
compression. Nij accounts for the superposition of loads and moments, 
and the additive effects on injury risk. Standard No. 208 includes an 
additional, more stringent tension/compression limit to independently 
control these potentially injurious loading modes in the air bag 
environment to out-of-position children.
    This NPRM proposes to incorporate an Nij criterion in Standard No. 
213 that is the same as that specified in Standard No. 208, except that 
the limit on peak tension and compression would not be adopted and the 
``in-position'' critical values\16\ would be used for calculation of 
the Nij. This decision is consistent with the agency's recognition of 
in-position critical values in the Standard No. 208 final rule, and 
with the observation that neck injury for children properly restrained 
in child restraints is not as prevalent as for those positioned in 
close proximity to an air bag at the time of deployment. A precise 
determination of neck injuries to children in child restraints has been 
difficult to quantify. When the NASS and FARS data are sorted to 
examine neck injury for children restrained in a child restraint and 
involved in a crash severity comparable to the Standard No. 213 sled 
pulse, few neck injuries are observed. However, biomechanics 
researchers have indicated to the agency that, although not frequent, 
such injuries do occur under severe crash

[[Page 21827]]

conditions. In the agency's tests of child restraints, discussed below, 
the Nij values calculated when applying the in-position critical values 
ranged around Nij = 1. NHTSA has tentatively determined that Standard 
No. 213 will incorporate the neck criterion of Nij = 1.0, where the 
critical values are the in-position values shown in Table 10, and the 
axial force is not limited. Comments are requested on this issue. NHTSA 
also requests comments on the need for any type of neck injury 
criterion at all in Standard No. 213, and the difficulty child 
restraint manufacturers may have in meeting this new injury measurement 
requirement.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \16\ The FMVSS No. 208 final rule proposed both ``out-of-
position'' and ``in-position'' critical values for Nij. The out-of-
position values are applicable to the air bag loading environment 
where the loading to the neck is due to the occupant being out of a 
normal seating position in close proximity to the air bag. In-
position critical values are applicable for conditions such as child 
restraints, where the occupant is properly positioned and neck 
forces and moments result from inertial loadings.

                                                                           Table 10.--Nij In-Position Critical Values
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                            Nij intercepts
             Dummy size              -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     Tension                                Compress                               Flexion                               Extension
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CRABI...............................  1460 N (328 lbf).....................  1460 N(328 lbf)......................  43 Nm (32 lbf-ft)....................  17 Nm (13 lbf-ft)
3 YO................................  2340 N (526 lbf).....................  2120 N (477 lbf).....................  68 Nm (50 lbf-ft)....................  30 Nm (22 lbf-ft)
6 YO................................  3096 N (696 lbf).....................  2800 N (629 lbf).....................  93 Nm (69 lbf-ft)....................  42 Nm (31 lbf-ft)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

iv. Tabulated Data
    Table 9, supra, and the following table 11, set forth the data from 
the NCAP tests. They show that meeting the Nij is practicable, 
especially for LATCH seats, but that the neck measurements have little 
compliance margin for Nij = 1.0. A detailed discussion of the findings 
can be found in the technical paper, ``Dynamic Evaluation of Child 
Restraints Using Various Frontal Crash Pulses,'' previously referenced 
in this preamble.

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BILLING CODE 4910-59-C
2. Static Testing Criteria
    Certain changes to the requirements for which compliance is 
measured in a static test seem appropriate by an incorporation of the 
new test dummies.
    Comments are requested on whether changes are needed to S5.2.3, 
which specifies a padding requirement for child restraints used by 
children weighing less than 22 lb. Should the requirement be deleted? 
NHTSA specified the requirement (whose thickness and static compression 
specifications are compliance-tested statically) because there was no 
instrumented infant test dummy available at the time (1979) the 
requirement was adopted. The agency's goal was to establish dynamic 
test requirements for infant restraints, so that the total energy 
absorption capability of the padding and underlying structure could be 
measured. (44 FR 72131, 72135). Since today's NPRM proposes use of the 
instrumented CRABI 12-month-old dummy for use in testing restraints 
recommended for children under 22 lb, we propose deleting S5.2.3.
    The standard refers to use of one or more Hybrid II dummies in some 
of the static tests. These references would be

[[Page 21829]]

changed to the Hybrid III dummies or the CRABI. See, e.g., S5.2.1.2, on 
use of the dummies to determine whether a seat back is required. See 
also S5.4.3.5(b) and S6.2.3 (post-impact buckle force release). NHTSA 
proposes to amend S6.2.3 so that the tension would be 90 N when a child 
restraint is tested with the CRABI, and 350 N when a child restraint is 
tested with the weighted 6-year-old dummy. Comments are requested as to 
what other requirements should be changed.

VI. Proposed Effective Dates

    TREAD requires us to complete this rulemaking by November 1, 2002. 
Based on that date, the following section discusses tentative 
conclusions about the dates on which compliance with the requirements 
would become mandatory.
    a. We believe that manufacturers could begin certifying their child 
restraints based on testing done on the new seat assembly by 2 years 
after the date of a final rule. That compliance date would be November 
1, 2004. While we do not expect the proposed changes to the seat 
assembly to have a major effect on the results of compliance tests, 
restraint manufacturers will likely have to conduct testing to confirm 
compliance of their restraints. This will be a financial impact on the 
manufacturers that, coupled with the fact that some redesign may be 
necessary to meet the revised injury criteria (see next section), would 
be more appropriately spread out over a 2-year time period.
    b. We propose providing 2 years of leadtime (two years after 
publication of a final rule) before specifying the use of the new CRABI 
and Hybrid III dummies in compliance tests and the revised or new 
injury criteria. That compliance date would be November 1, 2004. We 
believe that child restraint systems generally are already able to meet 
the proposed requirements using the new dummies, so redesign of current 
child restraints would not be generally needed. For some non-LATCH 
restraints, however, redesign might be needed to meet the new 
HIC15 and chest acceleration requirements, so longer 
leadtime might be needed. (As noted in section V(f), supra, some of the 
tested restraints failed to meet the proposed limits in the VRTC 
tests.) Comments are requested on how much leadtime would be necessary.
    We also propose that manufacturers should be permitted the option 
of voluntarily using the new test dummies prior to the date on which 
they would be required to do so. Note, however, that this proposal also 
specifies that a manufacturer's selection of a compliance option (i.e., 
to use the new dummies prior to the mandatory compliance date) must be 
made prior to, or at the time of the compliance test and that the 
selection is irrevocable for that child restraint. This provision is 
needed for us to efficiently carry out our enforcement 
responsibilities. We want to avoid the situation of a manufacturer 
confronted with an apparent noncompliance (based on a compliance test) 
with the option it has selected responding to that noncompliance by 
arguing that its products comply with a different option for which the 
agency has not conducted a compliance test. To ensure that we will not 
be asked to conduct multiple compliance tests first for one compliance 
option, then for another, we would require manufacturers to select the 
option by the time it certifies the child restraint system and prohibit 
them from thereafter selecting a different option for the restraint. 
This would mean that failure to comply with the selected option would 
constitute a noncompliance regardless of whether the restraint complies 
with another option. (Of course, a manufacturer may petition for an 
exemption from the recall requirements of the statute on the basis that 
the noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle 
safety.)
    c. As for using the weighted 6-year-old dummy to test restraints 
(typically booster seats) recommended for children with masses of over 
22.7 kg (weights over 50 lb), we propose that the dummy can begin to be 
used in compliance tests 180 days after publication of a final rule to 
incorporate the dummy into Part 572. The weighted dummy's kinematic 
performance is comparable to that of the unweighted 6-year-old dummy. 
We do not anticipate that manufacturers would have to redesign their 
booster seats to certify compliance using the dummy.

VII. Child Passenger Safety Plan and Other Issues of the TREAD Act

a. Comments on Possible Rulemaking

    On November 27, 2000, the agency published a request for comments 
on a draft planning document that NHTSA prepared that outlined our 
vision for enhancing child passenger safety over the next few years (65 
FR 70687). The plan contained our views on implementing three 
strategies for improving the safety of child occupants from birth 
through age 10: increasing restraint use; improving the performance and 
testing of child restraints; and improving mechanisms for providing 
safety information to the public. The agency received about 30 comments 
on the draft plan.
    Many commenters responded to the second of the three strategies, 
making suggestions as to how they believed Standard No. 213 should be 
improved to further enhance child restraint performance. Based on the 
comments we received, we believe that this NPRM substantially addresses 
them. Commenters strongly supported the plan to update the standard 
seat assembly and evaluate the crash pulse specified in Standard No. 
213 for compliance tests of child restraint systems. Commenters 
endorsed the plan to undertake rulemaking to add the CRABI and Hybrid 
III child test dummies to the standard, along with the scaled injury 
criteria. Commenters supported extending the scope of the standard to 
child restraint systems recommended for children above 50 lb. 
Additionally, the November 2, 2001 NPRM (66 FR 55623) addressed 
comments suggesting improvements to Standard No. 213's labeling 
requirements.
    It should be noted that there were a few comments on amending 
Standard No. 213 to incorporate side impact protection requirements. 
These comments will be addressed in the forthcoming ANPRM.

b. Rear-Impact Test

    No comments were received on incorporating rear impact test 
requirements into Standard No. 213.
    As directed by the TREAD Act, we have considered whether to 
incorporate a rear impact test into the standard. During 1991-2000, 
9,580 passenger vehicle occupants under 9 years old were fatally 
injured. Of these, 690 were killed in rear impact crashes (average of 
69 per year), while 3751 and 2759 children were killed in front and 
side impact crashes, respectively. Of the 690 children killed in rear 
impact crashes in 1991-2000, 129 were restrained with a lap and/or 
shoulder belt; 218 were in child restraint systems; 280 were 
unrestrained and 63 were of other or unknown restraint use. Of the 69 
children killed per year in rear impacts, on average 22 of them were in 
child restraint systems.
    Data from the Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS) for 1991-2000 
show 108 children, ages less than 1 year old, were fatally injured in 
rear impact crashes, while 655 children of that age group were killed 
in frontal crashes and 391 were killed in side crashes.
    Based on these data and the timeframe of the TREAD Act, we have 
primarily focused on frontal and side impact protection. However, the 
agency

[[Page 21830]]

intends to explore potential upgrades to Standard No. 213 in rear 
impact protection as part of the ANPRM.

c. Child Restraints in NCAP Tests

    Section 14(b)(9) of the TREAD Act requires consideration of 
``[w]hether to include child restraints in each vehicle crash tested 
under the New Car Assessment Program.''
    Each year since 1979, the agency has evaluated vehicle 
crashworthiness in frontal impact under the New Car Assessment Program 
(NCAP). In 1997, a side impact program was initiated and added to the 
NCAP. Under the NCAP, the agency conducts approximately 40 frontal and 
40 side impact crash tests each year. For the frontal crash, the agency 
does these tests with two 50th percentile dummies in the front seat. 
Side impact crash tests are also conducted with a two 50th percentile 
dummies, however one dummy is placed in the driver seat and the other 
in the left rear passenger seat.
    In response to the TREAD Act, NCAP incorporated various child 
restraints into frontal NCAP crash tests for the model year 2001 
testing. Child restraints were placed in a total of twenty vehicles, 
varying in type and size. The agency evaluated performances of six 
different five-point-harness forward-facing child restraints. A fully 
instrumented Hybrid-III three-year-old dummy was used to assess 
performance. In each vehicle tested, the subject child restraint was 
secured tightly, as prescribed by the child restraint manufacturer's 
instructions. In addition, all child restraints, whether secured with 
LATCH or secured with a lap/shoulder belt, used a top tether. Similar 
testing will be conducted for both the front and side NCAP program in 
model year 2002.
    Section 14(g) of the TREAD Act requires NHTSA to establish a child 
restraint safety rating consumer information program. NHTSA published a 
proposed rating program on November 6, 2001 (66 FR 56146, 66 FR 56048), 
which discussed the placement of child restraints in each vehicle crash 
tested under the New Car Assessment Program as a possible approach to 
obtain information for a rating program. We used the results of the 
child restraint NCAP tests in determining the feasibility of the 
proposal. The agency has asked for public comment on the rating program 
proposal and will consider the comments received, and all other 
available information, in deciding whether to include child restraints 
in vehicles tested under NCAP over the long-term.

VIII. Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

a. Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and DOT 
Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    The agency has considered the impact of this rulemaking action 
under Executive Order 12866 and the Department of Transportation's 
regulatory policies and procedures and determined that it is 
``significant'' because of Congressional and public interest in 
upgrading Standard No. 213 and the performance of child restraint 
systems. Accordingly, the action was reviewed under the Executive 
Order.
    As discussed below and in NHTSA's preliminary regulatory evaluation 
(PRE) for this NPRM \17\, the proposal to use new dummies in compliance 
tests, including a weighted 6-year-old dummy, could result in increased 
testing costs for manufacturers that want to certify their restraints 
using the tests that NHTSA will use in compliance testing. The PRE 
estimates that use of the new dummies and other aspects of the changes 
to the test procedure would add testing costs of $2.72 million. We 
believe that use of the new dummies, in itself, would not necessitate 
redesign of child restraints. The new dummies perform similarly to the 
ones presently used in compliance testing.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \17\ NHTSA's preliminary regulatory evaluation (PRE) discusses 
issues relating to the potential costs, benefits and other impacts 
of this regulatory action. The PRE is available in the Docket for 
this rule and may be obtained by contacting docket Management at the 
address or telephone number provided at the beginning of this 
document. You may also read the document via the Internet, by 
following the instructions in the section below entitled, ``Viewing 
Docket Submissions.'' The PRE will be listed in the docket summary.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    On the other hand, the new neck injury criteria would necessitate 
improvements in the performance of some child restraints. The agency 
estimates that the proposal to use the new and scaled injury criteria 
of Standard No. 208 would prevent an estimated 3-5 fatalities and 5 
MAIS 2-5 non-fatal injuries for children ages 0-1 annually. In 
addition, the proposal would save 1 fatality and mitigate 1 MAIS 2-5 
injury in the 4- to 6-year-old age group annually. These were estimated 
by evaluating the test results of some child restraints that failed the 
proposed neck injury criterion, and estimating what benefits would 
accrue if those restraints were redesigned so that they could just pass 
the proposed criterion. The needed design changes appear to be small, 
because the restraints that met or came close to meeting the proposed 
Nij limit appear outwardly to be the same as those that failed to meet 
it. Thus far, NHTSA has been unable to identify what changes 
manufacturers could make to enable their restraints to meet the 
proposed criterion. While meeting the proposed Nij limit appears 
feasible because test results for some current child restraints show 
that they met the proposed Nij value, we do not know which particular 
design features generally reduced Nij. Thus, we could not estimate the 
costs of such countermeasures. Comments are requested on possible 
countermeasures and their costs.
    The agency does not believe that updating the seat assembly and 
revising the crash pulse would affect dummy performance to an extent 
that benefits would accrue from such changes. Research will be 
conducted later this year to assess the effects of such changes on 
dummy performance.

b. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, as amended, requires 
agencies to evaluate the potential effects of their proposed and final 
rules on small businesses, small organizations and small governmental 
jurisdictions. I hereby certify that this NPRM would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
NHTSA estimates there to be about 10 manufacturers of child restraints, 
four or five of which could be small businesses. Manufacturers might 
have to make some design changes to some child restraints to meet the 
new injury criteria, particularly the neck injury criterion. NHTSA does 
not know the extent or nature of such changes, and has requested 
comments on them and their costs. We believe that only small changes to 
child restraints would be needed to allow them to pass the proposed 
neck injury criterion. Thus, there would likely be no impact on the 
number of child restraint producers. Comments are requested on the 
changes that are needed and the effect of this rule on the number of 
child restraint producers.
    A rule adopting today's proposals would increase the testing that 
NHTSA conducts of child restraints, which in turn could increase the 
certification responsibilities of manufacturers. However, the agency 
does not believe such an increase would constitute a significant 
economic impact on small entities, because these businesses currently 
must certify their products to the dynamic test of Standard No. 213. 
That is, the products of these manufacturers already are subject to 
dynamic testing using child test dummies. The effect of this proposal 
on most child restraints is to subject them to testing with new dummies 
in place of

[[Page 21831]]

existing ones. Testing child restraints on a new seat assembly is not 
expected to significantly affect the performance of the restraints.

c. 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 compliance 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, the agency 
consults with State and local governments, or the agency consults with 
State and local officials early in the process of developing the 
proposed regulation. NHTSA also may 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.
    We have analyzed this proposed rule in accordance with the 
principles and criteria set forth in Executive Order 13132 and have 
determined that this proposal does not have sufficient Federal 
implications to warrant consultation with State and local officials or 
the preparation of a Federalism summary impact statement. The proposal 
would not have any substantial impact on the States, or on the current 
Federal-State relationship, or on the current distribution of power and 
responsibilities among the various local officials.

d. 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 ($100 million adjusted annually for 
inflation, with base year of 1995). (Adjusting this amount by the 
implicit gross domestic product price deflator for the year 2000 
results in $109 million.) This NPRM will not result in costs of $109 
million or more to either State, local, or tribal governments, in the 
aggregate, or to the private sector. Thus, this NPRM is not subject to 
the requirements of sections 202 of the UMRA.

e. National Environmental Policy Act

    NHTSA has analyzed this proposal for the purposes of the National 
Environmental Policy Act. The agency has determined that implementation 
of this action would not have any significant impact on the quality of 
the human environment.

f. Executive Order 12778 (Civil Justice Reform)

    This proposal would not have any retroactive effect. Under 49 
U.S.C. 21403, 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. 49 U.S.C. 21461 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.

g. Plain Language

    Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write all rules in 
plain language. Application of the principles of plain language 
includes consideration of the following questions:
     Have we organized the material to suit the public's needs?
     Are the requirements in the rule clearly stated?
     Does the rule contain technical language or jargon that 
isn't clear?
     Would a different format (grouping and order of sections, 
use of headings, paragraphing) make the rule easier to understand?
     Would more (but shorter) sections be better?
     Could we improve clarity by adding tables, lists, or 
diagrams?
     What else could we do to make the rule easier to 
understand?
    If you have any responses to these questions, please include them 
in your comments on this proposal.

h. 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. This proposed rule 
does not contain any collection of information requirements requiring 
review under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

i. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement 
Act of 1995 (NTTAA) directs us to use voluntary consensus standards in 
our 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 
International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The NTTAA directs 
us to provide Congress, through OMB, explanations when we decide not to 
use available and applicable voluntary consensus standards.
    There are no voluntary consensus standards available for use at 
this time.

IX. Submission of Comments

How Can I Influence NHTSA's Thinking on This Proposed Rule?

    In developing this proposal, we tried to address the concerns of 
all our stakeholders. Your comments will help us improve this proposed 
rule. We invite you to provide different views on options we propose, 
new approaches we haven't considered, new data, how this proposed rule 
may affect you, or other relevant information. We welcome your views on 
all aspects of this proposed rule, but request comments on specific 
issues throughout this document. Your comments will be most effective 
if you follow the suggestions below:

--Explain your views and reasoning as clearly as possible
--Provide solid technical and cost data to support your views
--If you estimate potential costs, explain how you arrived at the 
estimate
--Tell us which parts of the proposal you support, as well as those 
with which you disagree
--Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns
--Offer specific alternatives
--Refer your comments to specific sections of the proposal, such as the

[[Page 21832]]

units or page numbers of the preamble, or the regulatory sections
--Be sure to include the name, date, and docket number with your 
comments

How Do I Prepare and Submit Comments?

    Your comments must be written and in English. To ensure that your 
comments are correctly filed in the Docket, please include the docket 
number of this document in your comments.
    Your comments must not be more than 15 pages long (49 CFR 553.21). 
We established this limit to encourage you to write your primary 
comments in a concise fashion. However, you may attach necessary 
additional documents to your comments. There is no limit on the length 
of the attachments.
    Please submit two copies of your comments, including the 
attachments, to Docket Management at the address given above under 
ADDRESSES.
    Comments may also be submitted to the docket electronically by 
logging onto the Dockets Management System Web site at http://
dms.dot.gov. Click on ``Help & Information'' or ``Help/Info'' to obtain 
instructions for filing the document electronically.

How Can I Be Sure That My Comments Were Received?

    If you wish Docket Management to notify you upon its receipt of 
your comments, enclose a self-addressed, stamped postcard in the 
envelope containing your comments. Upon receiving your comments, Docket 
Management will return the postcard by mail.

How Do I Submit Confidential Business Information?

    If you wish to submit any information under a claim of 
confidentiality, you should submit three copies of your complete 
submission, including the information you claim to be confidential 
business information, to the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, at the address given 
above under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. In addition, you should 
submit two copies, from which you have deleted the claimed confidential 
business information, to Docket Management at the address given above 
under ADDRESSES. When you send a comment containing information claimed 
to be confidential business information, you should include a cover 
letter setting forth the information specified in our confidential 
business information regulation. (49 CFR part 512.)

Will the Agency Consider Late Comments?

    We will consider all comments that Docket Management receives 
before the close of business on the comment closing date indicated 
above under DATES. To the extent possible, we will also consider 
comments that Docket Management receives after that date. If Docket 
Management receives a comment too late for us to consider it in 
developing a final rule (assuming that one is issued), we will consider 
that comment as an informal suggestion for future rulemaking action.

How Can I Read the Comments Submitted by Other People?

    You may read the comments received by Docket Management at the 
address given above under ADDRESSES. The hours of the Docket are 
indicated above in the same location.
    You may also see the comments on the Internet. To read the comments 
on the Internet, take the following steps:
    (1) Go to the Docket Management System (DMS) Web page of the 
Department of Transportation (http://dms.dot.gov/).
    (2) On that page, click on ``search.''
    (3) On the next page (http://dms.dot.gov/search/), type in the 
four-digit docket number shown at the beginning of this document. 
Example: If the docket number were ``NHTSA-2002-1234,'' you would type 
``1234.'' After typing the docket number, click on ``search.''
    (4) On the next page, which contains docket summary information for 
the docket you selected, click on the desired comments. You may 
download the comments. However, since the comments are imaged 
documents, instead of word processing documents, the downloaded 
comments are not word searchable.
    Please note that even after the comment closing date, we will 
continue to file relevant information in the Docket as it becomes 
available. Further, some people may submit late comments. Accordingly, 
we recommend that you periodically check the Docket for new material. 
Upon receiving the comments, the docket supervisor will return the 
postcard by mail.

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 571

    Motor vehicle safety, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, 
Tires.

    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA proposes to amend 49 CFR 
Part 571 as set forth below.

PART 571--[Amended]

    1. The authority citation for Part 571 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30115, 30117 and 30166; 
delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.50.

    2. Section 571.213 would be amended by:
    a. Revising the definition of ``child restraint system'' in S4;
    b. Revising the introductory text of S5.1.2;
    c. Adding S5.1.2.1 and S5.1.2.2;
    d. Revising the introductory text of S5.2.1.2, revising 
S6.1.1(a)(1), S6.1.1(d), and the introductory text of S6.2.3;
    e. Revising S7, and S9.1(c);
    f. Adding S9.1(d), S9.1(e) and S9.1(f);
    g. Revising S9.3, S10.2.1(b)(2), S10.2.1(c)(1)(i), 
S10.2.1(c)(1)(i), introductory text, S10.21(c)(1)(i)(B) and 
S10.2.1(c)(2) and S10.2.2(c)(2); and,
    h. Revising Figure 2.
    The revised and added text and figure would read as follows:


Sec. 571.213  Standard No. 213, Child restraint systems.

* * * * *
    S4. Definitions.
    Child restraint system means any device, except Type I or Type II 
seat belts, designed for use in a motor vehicle or aircraft to 
restrain, seat, or position children who weigh 65 pounds or less.
* * * * *
    S5.1.2  Injury criteria. When tested in accordance with S6.1 and 
with the test dummies specified in S7, each child restraint system 
manufactured before November 1, 2004, shall--
* * * * *
    S5.1.2.1  When tested in accordance with S6.1 and with the test 
dummies specified in S7, each child restraint system manufactured on or 
after November 1, 2004, shall--
    (a) Limit the resultant acceleration at the location of the 
accelerometer mounted in the test dummy head such that, for any two 
points in time, t1 and t2, during the event which 
are separated by not more than a 15 millisecond time interval and where 
t1 is less than t2, the maximum calculated head 
injury criterion (HIC15) shall not exceed the limits 
specified in the table in this S5.1.2.1, determined using the resultant 
head acceleration at the center of gravity of the dummy head, 
ar, expressed as a multiple of g (the acceleration of 
gravity), calculated using the expression:

[[Page 21833]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP01MY02.041

    (b) The resultant acceleration calculated from the output of the 
thoracic instrumentation shall not exceed the limits specified in the 
table in this S5.1.2.1, except for intervals whose cumulative duration 
is not more than 3 milliseconds.
    (c) Compression deflection of the sternum relative to the spine, as 
determined by instrumentation, shall not exceed the limits specified in 
the table in this S5.1.2.1.

                          Table to S5.1.2.1(a)-(c).--Injury Limits for Head and Thorax
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                         Maximum
                                    calculated HIC15      Maximum thoracic G's        Maximum chest deflection
            Test dummy                   values               (S5.1.2.1(b))                 (S5.1.2.1(c))
                                      (S5.1.2.1(a))
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
12-month-old subpart R............               390  50 g's                        N/A.
3-year-old subpart P..............               570  55 g's                        34 mm (1.3 in).
6-year-old subpart N..............               700  60 g's                        40 mm (1.6 in).
Weighted 6-year-old...............               700  60 g's                        42 mm (1.65 in).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (d) Neck injury. For the measurement of neck injury, the following 
injury criteria shall be met when calculated based on data recorded for 
the first 300 milliseconds of the sled pulse.
    (1) The shear force (Fx), axial force (Fz), and bending moment (My) 
shall be measured by the dummy upper neck load cell for 300 
milliseconds, as specified in S5.1.2.1(d). Shear force, axial force, 
and bending moment shall be filtered for Nij purposes at SAE J211/1 
rev. Mar95 Channel Frequency Class 600 (see 49 CFR 571.208, S4.7).
    (2) During the event, the axial force (Fz) can be either in tension 
or extension, the occipital condyle bending moment (Mocy) can be in 
either flexion or extension. This results in four possible loading 
conditions for Nij: tension-extension (Nte), tension-flexion (Ntf), 
compression-extension (Nce), or compression-flexion (Ncf). For the 
calculation of Nij using the equation set forth in S5.1.2.1(d)(3), the 
critical values, Fzc and Myc, are as specified in the table to this 
S5.1.2.1(d) for each of the dummies used in the test.
    (3) At each point in time, only one of the four loading conditions 
occurs. The Nij value corresponding to that loading condition is 
computed and the three remaining loading modes shall be considered to 
have a value of zero. The equation for calculating each Nij loading 
condition is given by:


Nij = (Fz/Fzc) + (Mocy/Myc)

    (4) None of the four Nij values shall exceed 1.0 at any time during 
the event.

                            Table to S5.1.2.1(d)--Critical Values for Calculating Nij
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                          Myc when a flexion      Myc when an
                                Fzc when Fz is in    Fzc when Fz is in     moment exists at    extension moment
          Test dummy                 tension            compression         the occipital        exists at the
                                                                               condyle         occipital condyle
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
12-Month-Old Subpart R.......  1460 N               1460 N               43 Nm                17 Nm
                               (328 lbf)            (328 lbf)            (32 lbf-ft)          (13 lbf-ft)
3-Year-Old Subpart P.........  2340 N               2120 N               68 Nm                30 Nm
                               (526 lbf)            (477 lbf)            (50 lbf-ft)          (22 lbf-ft)
6-Year-Old Subpart N.........  3096 N               2800 N               93 Nm                42 Nm
                               (696 lbf)            (629 lbf)            (69 lbf-ft)          (31 lbf-ft)
Weighted 6-Year-Old..........  3096 N               2800 N               93 Nm                42 Nm
                               (696 lbf)            (629 lbf)            (69 lbf-ft)          (31 lbf-ft)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    S5.1.2.2 At the manufacturer's option (with said option irrevocably 
selected prior to, or at the time of, certification of the restraint), 
child restraint systems manufactured before November 1, 2004 may be 
tested to the requirements of S5 while using the test dummies specified 
in S7.1.2 of this standard according to the criteria for selecting test 
dummies specified in that paragraph. That paragraph specifies the 
dummies used to test child restraint systems manufactured on or after 
November 1, 2004. If a manufacturer selects the dummies specified in 
S7.1.2 to test its product, the injury criteria specified by S5.1.2.1 
of this standard must be met. Child restraints manufactured on or after 
November 1, 2004, must be tested using the test dummies specified in 
S7.1.2.
* * * * *
    S5.2  Force distribution.
* * * * *
    S5.2.1.2  The applicability of the requirements of S5.2.1.1 to a 
front-facing child restraint, and the conformance of any child 
restraint other than a car bed to those requirements, is determined 
using the largest of the test dummies specified in S7 for use in 
testing that restraint, provided that the 6-year-old dummy described in 
subpart I or in subpart N of part 572 of this chapter is not used to 
determine the applicability of or compliance with S5.2.1.1. A front-
facing child restraint system is not required to comply with S5.2.1.1 
if the target point on either side of the dummy's head is below a 
horizontal plane tangent to the top of--
* * * * *
    S6.1.1  Test conditions.
    (a)  Test devices.
    (1) The test device for testing add-on restraint systems to frontal 
barrier impact simulations is a standard seat assembly consisting of a 
simulated vehicle bench seat, with three seating positions, which is 
described in Drawing Package SAS-100-1000 with Addendum ______: Seat 
Base Weldment (consisting of drawings and a bill of materials), dated 
______ (will be

[[Page 21834]]

incorporated by reference in Sec. 571.5). The assembly is mounted on a 
dynamic test platform so that the center SORL of the seat is parallel 
to the direction of the test platform travel and so that movement 
between the base of the assembly and the platform is prevented.
* * * * *
    (d)(1) When using the test dummies specified in 49 CFR part 572, 
subparts C, I, J, or K, performance tests under S6.1 are conducted at 
any ambient temperature from 19 deg. C to 26 deg. C and at any relative 
humidity from 10 percent to 70 percent.
    (2) When using the test dummies specified in 49 CFR part 572, 
subparts N, P or R, performance tests under S6.1 are conducted at any 
ambient temperature from 20.6 deg. C to 22.2 deg. C and at any relative 
humidity from 10 percent to 70 percent.
* * * * *
    S6.2.3 Pull the sling tied to the dummy restrained in the child 
restraint system and apply the following force: 50 N for a system 
tested with a newborn dummy; 90 N for a system tested with a 9-month-
old dummy; 90 N for a system tested with a 12-month-old dummy; 200 N 
for a system tested with a 3-year-old dummy; 270 N for a system tested 
with a 6-year-old dummy; or 350 N for a system tested with a weighted 
6-year-old dummy. The force is applied in the manner illustrated in 
Figure 4 and as follows:
* * * * *
    S7 Test dummies. (Subparts referenced in this section are of part 
572 of this chapter.)
    S7.1 Dummy selection. Select any dummy specified in S7.1.1, S7.1.2 
or S7.1.3, as appropriate, for testing systems for use by children of 
the height and mass for which the system is recommended in accordance 
with S5.5. A child restraint that meets the criteria in two or more of 
the following paragraphs in S7 may be tested with any of the test 
dummies specified in those paragraphs.
    S7.1.1 Child restraints that are manufactured before November 1, 
2004, are subject to the following provisions.
    (a) A child restraint that is recommended by its manufacturer in 
accordance with S5.5 for use either by children in a specified mass 
range that includes any children having a mass of not greater than 5 
kg, or by children in a specified height range that includes any 
children whose height is not greater than 650 mm, is tested with a 
newborn test dummy conforming to part 572 subpart K.
    (b) A child restraint that is recommended by its manufacturer in 
accordance with S5.5 for use either by children in a specified mass 
range that includes any children having a mass greater than 5 but not 
greater than 10 kg, or by children in a specified height range that 
includes any children whose height is greater than 650 mm but not 
greater than 850 mm, is tested with a newborn test dummy conforming to 
part 572 subpart K, and a 9-month-old test dummy conforming to part 572 
subpart J.
    (c) A child restraint that is recommended by its manufacturer in 
accordance with S5.5 for use either by children in a specified mass 
range that includes any children having a mass greater than 10 kg but 
not greater than 18 kg, or by children in a specified height range that 
includes any children whose height is greater than 850 mm but not 
greater than 1100 mm, is tested with a 9-month-old test dummy 
conforming to part 572 subpart J, and a 3-year-old test dummy 
conforming to part 572 subpart C and S7.2, provided, however, that the 
9-month-old dummy is not used to test a booster seat.
    (d) A child restraint that is recommended by its manufacturer in 
accordance with S5.5 for use either by children in a specified mass 
range that includes any children having a mass greater than 18 kg, or 
by children in a specified height range that includes any children 
whose height is greater than 1100 mm, is tested with a 6-year-old child 
dummy conforming to part 572 subpart I.
    (e) A child restraint that is manufactured on or after [date to be 
inserted would be the date 180 days after publication of a final rule 
incorporating a weighted 6-year-old dummy into Part 572], and that is 
recommended by its manufacturer in accordance with S5.5 for use either 
by children in a specified mass range that includes any children having 
a mass greater than 22.7 kg (50 lb), or by children in a specified 
height range that includes any children whose height is greater than 
1100 mm, is tested with a weighted 6-year-old child dummy conforming to 
part 572 Subpart [to be determined].
    S7.1.2 Child restraints that are manufactured on or after November 
1, 2004, are subject to the following provisions.
    (a) A child restraint that is recommended by its manufacturer in 
accordance with S5.5 for use either by children in a specified mass 
range that includes any children having a mass of not greater than 5 
kg, or by children in a specified height range that includes any 
children whose height is not greater than 650 mm, is tested with a 
newborn test dummy conforming to part 572 subpart K.
    (b) A child restraint that is recommended by its manufacturer in 
accordance with S5.5 for use either by children in a specified mass 
range that includes any children having a mass greater than 5 but not 
greater than 10 kg, or by children in a specified height range that 
includes any children whose height is greater than 650 mm but not 
greater than 850 mm, is tested with a newborn test dummy conforming to 
part 572 subpart K, and a 12-month-old test dummy conforming to part 
572 subpart R.
    (c) A child restraint that is recommended by its manufacturer in 
accordance with S5.5 for use either by children in a specified mass 
range that includes any children having a mass greater than 10 kg but 
not greater than 18 kg, or by children in a specified height range that 
includes any children whose height is greater than 850 mm but not 
greater than 1100 mm, is tested with a 12-month-old test dummy 
conforming to part 572 subpart R, and a 3-year-old test dummy 
conforming to part 572 subpart P and S7.2, provided, however, that the 
12-month-old dummy is not used to test a booster seat.
    (d) A child restraint that is recommended by its manufacturer in 
accordance with S5.5 for use either by children in a specified mass 
range that includes any children having a mass greater than 18 kg, or 
by children in a specified height range that includes any children 
whose height is greater than 1100 mm, is tested with a 6-year-old child 
dummy conforming to part 572 subpart N.
    (e) A child restraint that is manufactured on or after [date to be 
inserted would be the date 180 days after publication of a final rule 
incorporating a weighted 6-year-old dummy into Part 572], and that is 
recommended by its manufacturer in accordance with S5.5 for use either 
by children in a specified mass range that includes any children having 
a mass greater than 22.7 kg (50 lb), or by children in a specified 
height range that includes any children whose height is greater than 
1100 mm, is tested with a weighted 6-year-old child dummy conforming to 
Part 572 Subpart [to be determined].
    S7.1.3  Voluntary use of alternative dummies. At the manufacturer's 
option (with said option irrevocably selected prior to, or at the time 
of, certification of the restraint), child restraint systems 
manufactured before November 1, 2004 may be tested to the requirements 
of S5 while using the test dummies specified in S7.1.2 according to the 
criteria for

[[Page 21835]]

selecting test dummies specified in that paragraph. Child restraints 
manufactured on or after November 1, 2004, must be tested using the 
test dummies specified in S7.1.2.
* * * * *
    S9.1  Type of clothing.
* * * * *
    (c) 12-month-old dummy (49 CFR part 572, subpart R). When used in 
testing under this standard, the dummy specified in 49 CFR part 572, 
subpart R, is clothed in a cotton-polyester based tight fitting sweat 
shirt with long sleeves and ankle long pants whose combined weight is 
not more than 0.25 kg (.55 lb).
    (d) Hybrid II three-year-old and Hybrid II six-year-old dummies (49 
CFR part 572, subparts C and I). When used in testing under this 
standard, the dummies specified in 49 CFR part 572, subparts C and I, 
are clothed in thermal knit, waffle-weave polyester and cotton 
underwear or equivalent, a size 4 long-sleeved shirt (3-year-old dummy) 
or a size 5 long-sleeved shirt (6-year-old dummy) having a mass of 
0.090 kg, a size 4 pair of long pants having a mass of 0.090 kg, and 
cut off just far enough above the knee to allow the knee target to be 
visible, and size 7M sneakers (3-year-old dummy) or size 12\1/2\M 
sneakers (6-year-old dummy) with rubber toe caps, uppers of dacron and 
cotton or nylon and a total mass of 0.453 kg.
    (e) Hybrid III 3-year-old dummy (49 CFR part 572, subpart P). When 
used in testing under this standard, the dummy specified in 49 CFR part 
572, subpart P, is clothed in a cotton-polyester based tight fitting 
sweat shirt with long sleeves and ankle long pants whose combined 
weight is not more than 0.25 kg (.55 lb), and size 7M sneakers with 
rubber toe caps, uppers of dacron and cotton or nylon and a total mass 
of 0.453 kg.
    (f) Hybrid III 6-year-old dummy (49 CFR part 572, subpart N) and 
Hybrid III weighted 6-year-old dummy (40 CFR part 572, subpart____). 
When used in testing under this standard, the dummy specified in 49 CFR 
part 572, subpart N, and in Subpart [to be determined], is clothed in a 
light-weight cotton stretch short-sleeve shirt and above-the-knee 
pants, and size 12.5M sneakers with rubber toe caps, uppers of dacron 
and cotton or nylon and a total mass of 0.453 kg.
* * * * *
    S9.3  Preparing dummies. (Subparts referenced in this section are 
of Part 572 of this chapter.)
    S9.3.1  When using the test dummies conforming to part 572 subparts 
C, I, J, or K, prepare the dummies as specified in this paragraph. 
Before being used in testing under this standard, dummies must be 
conditioned at any ambient temperature from 19 deg.C to 25.5 deg.C and 
at any relative humidity from 10 percent to 70 percent, for at least 4 
hours.
    S9.3.2  When using the test dummies conforming to Part 572 Subparts 
N, P, R, or [subpart on the weighted 6-year-old dummy to be inserted], 
prepare the dummies as specified in this paragraph. Before being used 
in testing under this standard, dummies must be conditioned at any 
ambient temperature from 20.6 deg. to 22.2 deg. C (69 deg. to 72 deg. 
F) and at any relative humidity from 10 percent to 70 percent, for at 
least 4 hours.
* * * * *
    S10.2.1 * * *
    (b) * * *
    (2) When testing rear-facing child restraint systems, place the 
newborn, 9-month-old or 12-month-old dummy in the child restraint 
system so that the back of the dummy torso contacts the back support 
surface of the system. For a child restraint system which is equipped 
with a fixed or movable surface described in S5.2.2.2 which is being 
tested under the conditions of test configuration II, do not attach any 
of the child restraint belts unless they are an integral part of the 
fixed or movable surface. For all other child restraint systems and for 
a child restraint system with a fixed or movable surface which is being 
tested under the conditions of test configuration I, attach all 
appropriate child restraint belts and tighten them as specified in 
S6.1.2. Attach all appropriate vehicle belts and tighten them as 
specified in S6.1.2. Position each movable surface in accordance with 
the instructions that the manufacturer provided under S5.6.1 or S5.6.2. 
If the dummy's head does not remain in the proper position, tape it 
against the front of the seat back surface of the system by means of a 
single thickness of 6 mm-wide paper masking tape placed across the 
center of the dummy's face.
    (c)(1)(i) When testing forward-facing child restraint systems, 
extend the arms of the 9-month-old or 12-month-old test dummy as far as 
possible in the upward vertical direction. Extend the legs of the 9-
month-old or 12-month-old test dummy as far as possible in the forward 
horizontal direction, with the dummy feet perpendicular to the 
centerline of the lower legs. Using a flat square surface with an area 
of 2,580 square mm, apply a force of 178 N, perpendicular to:
    (B) The back of the vehicle seat in the specific vehicle shell or 
the specific vehicle, in the case of a built-in system, first against 
the dummy crotch and then at the dummy thorax in the midsagittal plane 
of the dummy. For a child restraint system with a fixed or movable 
surface described in S5.2.2.2, which is being tested under the 
conditions of test configuration II, do not attach any of the child 
restraint belts unless they are an integral part of the fixed or 
movable surface. For all other child restraint systems and for a child 
restraint system with a fixed or movable surface that is being tested 
under the conditions of test configuration I, attach all appropriate 
child restraint belts and tighten them as specified in S6.1.2. Attach 
all appropriate vehicle belts and tighten them as specified in S6.1.2. 
Position each movable surface in accordance with the instructions that 
the manufacturer provided under S5.6.1 or S5.6.2.
* * * * *
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P
    (2) When testing rear-facing child restraint systems, extend the 
dummy's arms vertically upwards and then rotate each arm downward 
toward the dummy's lower body until the arm contacts a surface of the 
child restraint system or the standard seat assembly in the case of an 
add-on child restraint system, or the specific vehicle shell or the 
specific vehicle, in the case of a built-in child restraint system. 
Ensure that no arm is restrained from movement in other than the 
downward direction, by any part of the system or the belts used to 
anchor the system to the standard seat assembly, the specific shell, or 
the specific vehicle.
* * * * *
    S10.2.2 * * *
    (c) * * *
    (2) The back of the vehicle seat in the specific vehicle shell or 
the specific vehicle, in the case of a built-in system, first against 
the dummy crotch and then at the dummy thorax in the midsagittal plane 
of the dummy. For a child restraint system with a fixed or movable 
surface described in S5.2.2.2, which is being tested under the 
conditions of test configuration II, do not attach any of the child 
restraint belts unless the belt is an integral part of the fixed or 
movable surface. For all other child restraint systems and for a child 
restraint system with a fixed or movable surface that is being tested 
under the conditions of test configuration I, attach all appropriate 
child restraint belts and tighten them as specified in S6.1.2. Attach 
all appropriate vehicle belts and tighten them as specified in S6.1.2. 
Position each movable surface in accordance with the instructions that 
the

[[Page 21836]]

manufacturer provided under S5.6.1 or S5.6.2.
* * * * *
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP01MY02.007


    Issued on April 24, 2002.
Stephen R. Kratzke,
Associate Administrator for Safety Performance Standards.
[FR Doc. 02-10507 Filed 4-25-02; 10:00 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-C