[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 187 (Friday, September 26, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 57829-57830]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-23010]



[[Page 57829]]

=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571

[Docket No. NHTSA-2009-0189]
RIN 2127-AL53


Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Designated Seating 
Positions

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

ACTION: Final rule; response to petition for reconsideration.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This document responds to a petition for reconsideration of 
the agency's November 2013 final rule making amendments to the 
procedures for determining which areas of a vehicle are designated 
seating positions and the procedure for determining the number of 
seating positions. Global Automakers petitioned the agency for 
reconsideration, seeking to correct what it believes is an error in 
formula for determining the number of designated seating positions in 
longer seating positions. The agency agrees that the change was 
inadvertent and is issuing this final rule to correct this mistake.

DATES: The effective date of this final rule is September 26, 2014.
    Petitions for reconsideration must be received not later than 
November 10, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Petitions must be submitted to: Administrator, National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For non-legal issues, you may contact 
Louis Molino of the NHTSA Office of Crashworthiness Standards by 
telephone at (202) 366-1740, and by fax at (202) 493-2739.
    For legal issues, you may contact David Jasinski of the NHTSA 
Office of Chief Counsel by telephone at (202) 366-2992, and by fax at 
(202) 366-3820.
    You may send mail to both of these officials at the National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., 
Washington, DC 20590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On October 8, 2008, NHTSA published in the 
Federal Register a final rule (October 2008 final rule) revising the 
definition of ``designated seating position'' (DSP), as that term is 
used in the Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS), and 
providing a calculation procedure for determining the number of seating 
positions at a seat location.\1\ The revised definition specifies more 
clearly the areas within the interior of a vehicle that are regarded as 
being designated seating positions for trucks, multipurpose passenger 
vehicles, passenger cars, and buses. The rule also established a 
calculation procedure for determining the number of DSPs at a seat 
location for trucks and multipurpose passenger vehicles with a gross 
vehicle weight rating less than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds), 
passenger cars, and buses.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ 73 FR 58887 (Oct. 8, 2008) (Docket No. NHTSA-2008-0059).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We received ten petitions for reconsideration of the October 2008 
final rule. In a December 23, 2009 final rule,\2\ we provided a partial 
response to these petitions, which provided one year additional lead 
time, removed language from the text of the DSP definition preempting 
any State requirement premised on there being more DSPs than the number 
contemplated in the new definition, and corrected an erroneous cross 
reference.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ 74 FR 68185.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In a November 15, 2013 final rule,\3\ the agency completed its 
response to the petitions for reconsideration of the October 2008 final 
rule. That final rule made clarifying changes to the manner in which 
designated seating positions are measured. It also included technical 
corrections addressing side-facing seats and longer seating surfaces.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ 78 FR 68748.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    With respect to longer seating surfaces, the new procedure for 
calculating the number of DSPs uses one of two calculations depending 
on the overall seating surface width. For adjacent seats with a 
continuous seating surface with a width less than 1,400 mm, the seating 
surface width is divided by 350 mm and rounded down to the nearest 
whole number to determine the number of DSPs. For adjacent seats with a 
continuous seating surface width of 1,400 mm or more, the seating 
surface width is divided by 450 mm and rounded down to the nearest 
whole number.
    We made a technical correction to the calculation of the number of 
DSPs for seating locations with a seating surface width of 1,400 mm. 
This issue arose in interpretation requests received by the agency from 
Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan) and Girardin Minibus (Girardin).\4\ 
Nissan and Girardin both raised the issue of seating surfaces longer 
than 1,400 mm (1,700 mm and 1,778 mm, respectively) and asked NHTSA to 
confirm that such a seating surface could have four DSPs. Using the 
formula set forth in section 571.10(b)(2), the seating surfaces would 
have three DSPs.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ NHTSA's response to these interpretation requests can be 
found at http://isearch.nhtsa.gov/files/09-003169%20nissan.draft.dj.aug20.htm and http://isearch.nhtsa.gov/files/09-000724%20fortin.draft.dj.aug20.htm.
    \5\ A seating surface width of at least 1,800 mm would be 
required to have four DSPs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In light of the issue raised by Nissan and Girardin, we clarified 
in the regulatory text that the calculation procedure in section 
571.10(b)(2) for seating surfaces of 1,400 mm or more was intended to 
be a minimum and manufacturers can provide more DSPs than the number 
calculated by the formula for these longer seating surfaces. However, 
in the final rule's regulatory text, we also inadvertently changed the 
divisor for seating surfaces of 1,400 mm or more from 450 to 350.
    Global Automakers petitioned the agency for reconsideration of the 
November 2013 final rule. Global Automakers states that it believes 
that it was the agency's intent to continue to use 450 as the divisor 
for seating surfaces of 1,400 mm or more and petitioned the agency to 
amend section 571.10(b)(2) to reflect this intent.
    NHTSA is granting Global Automakers' petition. The agency agrees 
that it was not our intent in the November 2013 final rule to change 
the divisor for calculating the number of DSPs for seating surfaces 
with a width of 1,400 mm or more. We are issuing this final rule to 
restore the 450 mm divisor consistent with the agency's intent, as 
stated in the preamble to the November 2013 final rule.

Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

A. Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, and DOT Regulatory 
Policies and Procedures

    The agency has considered the impact of this rulemaking action 
under Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and the DOT's regulatory 
policies and procedures. This action was not reviewed by the Office of 
Management and Budget under Executive Order 12866. The agency has 
considered the impact of this action under the Department of 
Transportation's regulatory policies and procedures (44 FR 11034; 
February 26, 1979), and has determined that it is not ``significant'' 
under them.
    This action corrects an error in the November 2013 final rule 
regarding the procedure for calculating the number of designated 
seating positions to reflect the agency's intent as stated in the 
preamble text. This rulemaking action is

[[Page 57830]]

consistent with the requirement in Executive Order 13,563 that agencies 
conduct retrospective analyses of existing regulations. Today's action 
will not have any cost impacts for vehicle manufacturers. This action 
will not have any safety impacts.

B. Privacy Act

    Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all documents 
received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the document (or signing the document, if submitted on 
behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review 
DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published 
on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-78) or you may visit http://docketsinfo.dot.gov/.

C. Other Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

    In the October 2008 final rule and in the December 2009 final rule 
providing a partial response to the petitions for reconsideration, the 
agency discussed relevant requirements related to the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act, Executive Order 13132 (Federalism),\6\ Civil Justice 
Reform, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Paperwork Reduction 
Act, the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act, and 
Executive Order 13045 (Protection of Children from Environmental Health 
and Safety Risks). As today's final rule merely clarifies regulatory 
text to reflect the agency's intent in the November 2013 final rule, it 
will not have any effect on the agency's analyses in those areas.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ The issue of preemption was addressed in the preamble of the 
December 2009 final rule. See 74 FR 68187-89.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 571

    Imports, Motor vehicle safety, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Tires.

    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA amends 49 CFR Part 571 as 
follows:

PART 571--FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS

0
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 1.95.


0
2. Amend Sec.  571.10 by revising paragraph (b)(2) to read as follows:


Sec.  571.10  Designation of seating positions.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (2) For seat locations with a seating surface width, as described 
in paragraph (c), greater than or equal to 1400 mm (55.2 inches): N = 
No less than [seating surface width (in mm)/450] rounded down to the 
nearest whole number.
* * * * *

    Issued in Washington, DC, on September 11, 2014 under authority 
delegated in 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.5.
David J. Friedman,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2014-23010 Filed 9-25-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P