[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 15 (Friday, January 23, 2015)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 3744-3785]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-00162]



[[Page 3743]]

Vol. 80

Friday,

No. 15

January 23, 2015

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, Child 
Restraint Anchorage Systems; Incorporation by Reference; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 80 , No. 15 / Friday, January 23, 2015 / 
Proposed Rules

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571

[Docket No. NHTSA-2014-0123]
RIN 2127-AL20


Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Child Restraint Systems, 
Child Restraint Anchorage Systems; Incorporation by Reference

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM); request for comments.

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SUMMARY: In accordance with NHTSA's 2011-2013 Priority Plan and the 
Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), this 
document proposes to amend Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
(FMVSS) No. 225, ``Child restraint anchorage systems,'' to improve the 
ease of use of the lower anchorages of child restraint anchorage 
systems and the ease of use of tether anchorages. This document also 
proposes changes to FMVSS No. 213, ``Child restraint systems,'' to 
amend labeling and other requirements to improve the ease of use of 
child restraint systems with a vehicle anchorage system. This NPRM 
proposes rulemaking on these and other requirements to increase the 
correct use of child restraint anchorage systems and tether anchorages, 
and the correct use of child restraints, with the ultimate goal of 
reducing injuries to restrained children in motor vehicle crashes.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before March 24, 2015.
    Proposed compliance date: We propose that the compliance date for 
the amendments in this rulemaking action would be three years following 
the date of publication of the final rule in the Federal Register. We 
propose to permit optional early compliance with the amended 
requirements.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments to the docket number identified in 
the heading of this document by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility, M-30, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, West Building, Ground Floor, Rm. W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room 
W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern 
Time, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: (202) 493-2251.
    Regardless of how you submit your comments, please mention the 
docket number of this document.
    You may also call the Docket at 202-366-9324.
    Instructions: For detailed instructions on submitting comments and 
additional information on the rulemaking process, see the Public 
Participation heading of the Supplementary Information section of this 
document. Note that all comments received will be posted without change 
to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided.
    Privacy Act: Please see the Privacy Act heading under Rulemaking 
Analyses and Notices.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical issues, you may call 
Cristina Echemendia, Office of Crashworthiness Standards (telephone: 
202-366-6345) (fax: 202-493-2990). For legal issues, you may call 
Deirdre Fujita, Office of Chief Counsel (telephone: 202-366-2992) (fax: 
202-366-3820). Address: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 
U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West 
Building, Washington, DC 20590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Table of Contents

I. Executive Summary
II. Statutory Mandate
III. Efforts To Improve Vehicle/Child Restraint Compatibility and 
Ease of Use of Child Restraint Anchorage Systems
    a. ISO Rating System
    b. SAE Guidelines
    c. NCAP Vehicle-CRS Fit Program
    d. UMTRI's LATCH Usability Study
    1. Overview of the Study
    2. Three Seat Characteristics Were Well Correlated With Correct 
Use
    A. Clearance Angle
    B. Attachment Force
    C. Anchorage Depth
IV. UMTRI's Assessment of the ISO, SAE, and NCAP Programs
V. NHTSA's Preference Is the UMTRI Approach
VI. Proposal To Improve Lower Anchorage Usability
    a. Clearance Angle
    b. Attachment Force
    c. Anchorage Depth
    d. Estimated Rate of Current Compliance
VII. Proposal To Improve Tether Anchorage Usability
    a. Limit the Zone
    b. Anchorage Must Be Accessible
    c. Standardized Configuration
    d. Clearance Around the Tether Anchorage
VIII. Conspicuity and Identification of Anchorages
    a. Marking Lower Anchorages
    b. Marking Tether Anchorages
IX. Conspicuity and Identification of CRS Connectors
    a. Lower Anchorage Connectors
    b. Tether Hook
X. Request for Comments
    a. Center Rear Seat
    b. Third Row
    c. Vehicles Currently Excluded From FMVSS No. 225
    d. Written Instructions
    1. Terminology
    2. Recommendation for Tether Anchor Use
XI. Proposed Effective Date
XII. Regulatory Notices and Analyses
XIII. Public Participation

I. Executive Summary

Introduction

    In accordance with NHTSA's 2011-2013 Priority Plan and Subtitle E 
of MAP-21, this document proposes to amend FMVSS No. 225 to improve the 
ease of use of child restraint anchorage systems. First, we propose to 
amend FMVSS No. 225 to adopt requirements that would make it easier for 
consumers to attach child restraints to the lower anchorages of child 
restraint anchorage systems. The requirements would ensure that vehicle 
manufacturers produce lower anchorages that: (a) Have sufficient 
clearance around each lower anchorage for consumers to maneuver the 
child restraint system (CRS) connector; (b) are located such that the 
CRS connector can be attached to the bar using a reasonable amount of 
force; and, (c) are within two centimeters (cm) of the outer surface of 
the ``seat bight'' (the seat bight is approximately the intersection of 
the seat bottom cushion and seat back cushion).
    Second, we propose to make tether anchorages easier to use by 
standardizing the configuration of the anchorage such that it is ``a 
rigid bar of any cross section shape,'' by prohibiting the anchorages 
from being placed under a vehicle seat or hidden under carpet, and by 
requiring them to be placed where there is enough space around the 
anchorage for consumers to tighten the tether strap.
    Third, this document proposes to amend FMVSS No. 225 and FMVSS No. 
213 to require, among other things, vehicles and CRSs to use a 
standardized symbol to more effectively identify the anchorages in the 
vehicle and the components on CRSs that attach to those anchorages.
    In addition, this document requests comments on several issues 
relating to the usability of child restraint anchorage systems. We 
request comment on whether child restraint anchorage

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systems and/or tether anchorages should be required in more rear 
seating positions than currently required, including in vehicles now 
excluded from FMVSS No. 225. We also request comment on the merits of 
requiring vehicle and CRS manufacturers to use standardized terminology 
in users' manuals in describing components of the child restraint 
anchorage system and the connectors of child restraint systems, to 
enhance consumer education and increase correct use of child restraint 
anchorage systems and child restraints. Finally, test data indicate 
that tether anchorages are sufficiently robust to provide crash 
protection to virtually all children restrained in a harnessed child 
restraint. We request comment on the merits of consumer information 
that advises consumers to attach the tether when restraining a child in 
a harnessed child restraint, regardless of the weight of the child.

Background

    In 1999, NHTSA issued FMVSS No. 225,\1\ a standard that requires 
vehicle manufacturers to equip vehicles with child restraint anchorage 
systems that are standardized and independent of the vehicle seat 
belts. The child restraint anchorage system required by FMVSS No. 225 
is a 3-point system consisting of two lower anchorages and a tether 
anchorage designed for attaching a child restraint system to a vehicle. 
Each lower anchorage consists of a six millimeter (mm) diameter 
straight rod, or ``bar,'' onto which a CRS connector can be attached. 
The two lower anchorage bars are typically located at or near the seat 
bight in a position where they will not be felt by seated adult 
occupants. The tether anchorage is a part to which a tether hook of a 
CRS can be attached. Standard No. 225 requires vehicles with three or 
more forward-facing rear seating positions to be equipped with child 
restraint anchorage systems at not fewer than two rear seating 
positions and a tether anchorage at an additional rear seating 
position. That third tether anchorage can be used when installing a CRS 
with the vehicle's seat belt. The requirements of FMVSS No. 225 were 
phased into new vehicles from 1999 to 2002 beginning with the tether 
anchorage in passenger cars in 1999, and ending with full 
implementation of FMVSS No. 225 for passenger cars, multipurpose 
passenger vehicles (MPVs), and trucks and buses \2\ on September 1, 
2002.
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    \1\ 49 CFR 571.225.
    \2\ Specifically, trucks and MPVs with a gross vehicle weight 
rating (GVWR) of 3,855 kilograms (kg) (8,500 pounds (lb)) or less, 
and to buses with a GVWR of 4,536 kg (10,000 lb) or less.
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    The 1999 rule also amended FMVSS No. 213 to require CRSs to be 
equipped with connectors that enable the CRS to attach to the vehicle's 
lower anchorages of the child restraint anchorage system.3 4 
A new head excursion performance requirement was added for forward-
facing child restraints (other than booster seats), and to meet it, 
child restraints typically use a tether strap affixed to the top of the 
restraints. The tether strap must have a hook that is designed to 
attach to the tether anchorage of the child restraint anchorage system 
(see S5.9(b) of FMVSS No. 213).
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    \3\ 49 CFR 571.213, sections S5.3.2, S5.9. Excepted from the 
requirement were booster seats, car beds, and harnesses.
    \4\ Additionally, Standard No. 213 requires all CRSs to be 
capable of attachment to the vehicle seat by a seat belt, even if 
the CRS has lower anchorage connectors.
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    In this NPRM we use the following term for the full vehicle system: 
``Child restraint anchorage system.'' \5\ We use the following for the 
lower anchorage points of a child restraint anchorage system: ``Lower 
anchorage(s).'' The tether securement point is called a ``tether 
anchorage.'' For the CRS, we use the following terms to refer to the 
various parts of a child restraint that connect to the child restraint 
anchorage system, as appropriate: ``Child restraint system connectors 
(or CRS connectors),'' ``lower anchorage connector(s),'' ``tether 
anchorage connector,'' ``tether strap,'' and ``tether hook.''
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    \5\ Many in the child passenger safety community refer to the 
child restraint anchorage system as the ``LATCH'' system, an 
abbreviation of the phrase ``Lower Anchors and Tethers for 
Children.'' The term was developed by a group of manufacturers and 
retailers soon after the 1999 final rule, for use in educating 
consumers on the availability and use of the anchorage system and 
for marketing purposes. ``LATCH'' has been used in various materials 
in the field and by NHTSA to refer to the vehicle 3-point child 
restraint anchorage system, but at times the term has been used to 
refer just to the lower two anchorages of the system, and at times 
it has been used to refer to the connectors of the child restraint 
system that attach to the lower anchorages. Also, apparently a 
number of consumers identify the tether anchorage solely with the 
``LATCH'' system, and so mistakenly do not attach the CRS's tether 
strap when using the vehicle belt system to attach a child 
restraint. Because some ambiguity has developed with the use of the 
term ``LATCH,'' we generally avoid using the term ``LATCH'' in this 
NPRM when possible.
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Developments Post-1999 Final Rule

    Child restraint anchorage systems meeting FMVSS No. 225, and child 
restraints meeting the associated requirements of FMVSS No. 213, have 
been successfully implemented in the fleet. Consumers who use the 
system generally like the system.\6\ However, many consumers do not use 
child restraint anchorage systems because they do not know enough about 
the systems.\7\ Many consumers also misuse the child restraint 
anchorage system or find aspects of it difficult to use.
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    \6\ Decina, L., et al., ``Child Restraint Use Survey: LATCH Use 
and Misuse,'' December 2006, (``Decina study''), DOT HS 810 679, 
Docket No. NHTSA-2006-26735. The Decina study is summarized in 
Appendix A to this preamble.
    \7\ Id.
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    In 2007, NHTSA held a public meeting on child restraint anchorage 
systems to see how the systems could be improved.\8\ There were 
repeated comments at the meeting that the lower anchorages often were 
embedded deep into the seat bight, making it difficult for consumers to 
reach the lower anchorages and attach the lower anchorage connectors. 
There were also complaints that it was difficult to attach lower 
anchorage connectors to the lower anchorages because of surrounding 
stiff cushions or fabric/leather or the proximity of seat belt buckles.
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    \8\ Docket No. NHTSA-07-26833. A summary of the public meeting 
can be found in Appendix B to this preamble.
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    Following the 2007 meeting, the agency identified improving the 
ease of use of child restraint anchorage systems as an area of 
significance to NHTSA. NHTSA announced in the NHTSA Vehicle Safety and 
Fuel Economy Rulemaking and Research Priority Plan 2011-2013 (March 
2011) (``2011 Priority Plan'') \9\ that the agency is addressing issues 
to improve the usability of child restraint anchorage systems and may 
initiate rulemaking on issues relating to the presence of anchorage 
systems in center rear seats, tether anchorage locations, weight limits 
of anchorages,\10\ and labeling of the anchorage locations.
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    \9\ http://www.nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/rulemaking/pdf/2011-2013_Vehicle_Safety-Fuel_Economy_Rulemaking-Research_Priority_Plan.pdf
    \10\ The agency addressed the issue of the weight limit of the 
lower anchorages by a new labeling requirement that informs 
consumers of the load limits of the child restraint anchorage 
system. See 77 FR 11626, February 27, 2012; response to petition for 
reconsideration, 79 FR 10396, February 25, 2014. NHTSA originally 
designed the child restraint anchorage systems to be strong enough 
to withstand crash forces generated by a 29.5 kg (65 lb) mass (the 
mass would be from the child restraint plus the restrained child). 
Child restraint systems and the children for whom many of them are 
designed have become heavier over the years. To ensure the lower 
anchorages are strong enough to hold the CRS plus child in serious 
and severe crashes, NHTSA adopted a labeling requirement applying to 
child restraints which, together with the restrained child, would 
impose a combined weight over 29.5 kg (65 lb) on the lower 
anchorages. These CRSs must have a label informing consumers to use 
the seat belt system instead of the lower anchorages to attach the 
child restraint to the vehicle seat once the combined weight exceeds 
29.5 kg (65 lb).

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[[Page 3746]]

    The ease of use of child restraint anchorage systems is inherently 
challenging because the vehicle is manufactured by one party and the 
child restraint is manufactured by another. The vehicle seat is 
designed with occupant comfort and safety in mind, along with 
aesthetics; child restraint compatibility can be difficult to plan for 
given the wide and constantly changing array of child restraints. 
Through usability requirements adopted in the 1999 final rule, we 
improved the interface between the vehicle anchorage system and the 
child restraint. Yet, our improvements for the vehicle side focused on 
standardizing the parameters of the 3-point anchorage system and 
specifying where the anchorage system should be positioned overall in a 
vehicle and relative to a ``child restraint fixture'' (CRF) test device 
to optimize ease of use. Although the 1999 final rule recognized the 
importance of having the lower anchorages visible or marked with an 
emblem signaling the presence and location of the anchorages, the final 
rule was the first undertaking by any country to establish a universal 
child restraint anchorage system independent of the vehicle belts. 
Thus, in making the first step toward standardizing a child restraint 
anchorage system, the agency only partially standardized the marking, 
and did not regulate features of the vehicle seat relating to cushion 
stiffness and other characteristics of the vehicle seat. For similar 
reasons, NHTSA refrained from standardizing CRS features that might 
affect compatibility, such as CRS size and mass.

New Information Improving Anchorage Systems

    New information from the University of Michigan Transportation 
Research Institute (UMTRI) has identified characteristics of the 
vehicle seat that UMTRI has found to enhance the usability of child 
restraint anchorage systems. In April 2012, UMTRI published a study 
\11\ titled, ``LATCH Usability in Vehicles'' (hereinafter ``LATCH 
Usability study''), that identified vehicle seat characteristics shown 
to affect the quality of child restraint installations. UMTRI found 
that the correct use of lower anchorages was associated with the 
following features:
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    \11\ Klinich et al., ``LATCH Usability in Vehicles,'' UMTRI-
2012-7, April 2012. Link: http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/90856. The report was sponsored by the Insurance Institute 
for Highway Safety (IIHS) for developing IIHS's rating of the 
usability of the child restraint anchorage systems in various 
vehicles. See IIHS Status Report: Vol. 47 No. 3, April 12, 2012.
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     ``Clearance angle'' greater than 54 degrees (clearance 
angle relates to the clearance around a lower anchorage from 
interfering parts that can make it difficult to maneuver the CRS lower 
anchorage connector);
     ``attachment force'' of 178 Newtons (N) (40 pounds (lb)) 
or less (attachment force is the amount of force needed to attach a 
lower anchorage connector); and,
     ``anchorage depth'' (location of the anchorage within the 
seat bight) of less than 2 centimeters (cm).
    Further, improved designs in anchorage markings have been developed 
by the International Standardization Organization (ISO) that can better 
communicate to the consumer the location and presence of the lower 
anchorages and tether anchorage, and further harmonize the safety 
standard with those of other countries.
    Today's NPRM uses the information from UMTRI and ISO to propose 
enhancements to the usability requirements in FMVSS No. 225.

Overview of Proposal

    Our ease of use improvements focus on reducing the physical effort 
needed to attach a child restraint to the lower anchorages and to the 
tether anchorage, and on improving how easily the anchorages can be 
correctly identified and accessed by a consumer.
Ease of Using Lower Anchorages
    FMVSS No. 225's current location requirements for the lower 
anchorage bars intend for the bars to be accessible, but some consumers 
find it difficult to use the bars. We propose new requirements for the 
bars to improve ease of use: a minimum clearance angle of 54 degrees, a 
maximum attachment force of 178 N (40 lb), and a location limit of less 
than 2 cm within the seat bight. These are the ease of use 
specifications the UMTRI LATCH Usability study found to correlate with 
correct child restraint installation by test subjects.
Ease of Using Tether Anchorages
    Standard No. 225 currently requires vehicle manufacturers to equip 
vehicles with a tether anchorage at three rear designated seating 
positions (two of these positions are also required to be equipped with 
lower anchorages) that enables the attachment of a standardized tether 
hook. The standard currently requires tether anchorages to be located 
in a specified zone and to be accessible without the need for any tools 
other than a screwdriver or coin. To improve the usability of the 
tether anchorage, we propose the following requirements to make it 
easier for consumers to recognize and reach the anchorage.
     We propose to amend FMVSS No. 225 to reduce the zone in 
which a tether anchorage must be located, to prevent tether anchorages 
from being placed deep under a vehicle seat.
     We propose to require tether anchorages to be accessible 
without the need for any tools and without folding the seat back or 
removing carpet or other vehicle components. (The tether anchorage may 
be covered with a cap, flap or cover, provided that the cap, flap or 
cover is specifically designed to be opened, moved aside or to 
otherwise give access to the anchorage without the use of any tools and 
is labeled with a specific symbol indicting the presence of the tether 
anchorage underneath.)
     Almost all tether anchorages are rigid metal bars, but 
there are a few made from flexible webbing, which confuses some 
consumers who are looking for a bar. We propose amending FMVSS No. 225 
to require the tether anchorage to be a rigid bar.
     Some tether anchorages are too close to a structure, such 
as a head restraint, to allow tightening of the tether strap. We 
propose to specify a minimum 165 mm (6.5 in) distance from a reference 
point on the vehicle seat to the tether anchorage so that adequate 
clearance will be provided for tightening of the tether strap. We also 
propose amending FMVSS No. 213 to limit the length of the CRS tether 
hardware assembly (which consists of a tether hook and hardware to 
tighten and loosen the tether strap) to 165 mm (6.5 in) so that the 
tightening mechanism can be easily used in the newly-specified 
clearance space around a tether anchorage.
Enhanced Ability To Identify Anchorages
    Standard No. 225 currently requires the lower anchorage bars either 
to be visible or the vehicle seat back marked showing the location of 
the bars. To improve consumers' ability to find and use lower 
anchorages, we propose amending FMVSS No. 225 to require motor vehicles 
to be marked with the ISO-developed mark near the location of each 
lower anchorage bar, even if the lower anchorage is visible. Similarly, 
we propose requiring each tether anchorage to be marked with the ISO-
developed mark for tether anchorages. In addition, we propose amending 
FMVSS No. 213 to require the ISO mark on the lower anchorage connectors 
(the components on the child restraint system that attach the child 
restraint to the lower anchorages of a child restraint

[[Page 3747]]

anchorage system) and on the tether hook.\12\ We also propose to 
require vehicle manufacturers to provide written information (e.g., in 
vehicle owners' manuals) explaining the meaning of the ISO lower 
anchorage bar and tether anchorage markings, and to require child 
restraint manufacturers to explain (in the CRS user's manual) the 
meaning of the ISO mark on the lower anchorage connectors and tether 
hook.
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    \12\ NHTSA is planning to develop new simplified education and 
consumer information programs building on the requirements proposed 
in this NPRM. Education efforts and consumer information programs 
would be developed to teach consumers to look for the ISO-developed 
marks in the vehicle to locate the lower anchorages and tether 
anchorages in their vehicles and to ``match'' them to the ISO marks 
on the CRS.
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Rulemaking Goal

    The 2005 Decina study \13\ found that many consumers did not know 
what child restraint anchorage systems were, that anchorages were 
available in the vehicle, the importance of using the anchorages or how 
to use them properly. We believe that as the requirements proposed 
today make the anchorages more conspicuous and more clearly marked, 
awareness should improve. With improved awareness, more consumers will 
likely attempt to use the anchorage system.\14\
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    \13\ ``Child Restraint Use Survey: LATCH Use and Misuse,'' 
supra.
    \14\ Field data show that use of child restraint anchorage 
systems has noticeably increased since 2006. National Child 
Restraint Use Special Study (NCRUSS), DOT HS 811 679, http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811679.pdf, and ``A Look Inside American 
Family Vehicles 2009-2010,'' Safe Kids USA (http://www.safekids.org/assets/docs/safety-basics/safety-tips-by-risk-area/sk-car-seat-report-2011.pdf). These data are discussed in Appendix A of this 
preamble.
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    The Decina study found that users who attempted to use child 
restraint anchorage systems generally liked the systems. Drivers with 
experience attaching a CRS using a child restraint anchorage system and 
using a vehicle seat belt strongly preferred using the lower anchorages 
over the seat belts. Moreover, the study also found that consumers were 
more likely to install a CRS correctly using a child restraint 
anchorage system than when a seat belt was used. NHTSA believes that as 
consumers' awareness of child restraint anchorage systems increases, 
more consumers will try them and more will use them. If the systems can 
be made easier to use, more consumers will like and regularly use the 
system compared to current usage.
    UMTRI's LATCH Usability study found that test subjects who 
correctly used the lower anchorage hardware were 3.3 times more likely 
to achieve a tight CRS installation than subjects who made errors using 
the hardware. Thus, we believe that if child restraint anchorage 
systems can be made easier to use correctly, more consumers will 
achieve a tight fit of the CRS in the vehicle. The tight fit of the CRS 
will lead to reduced child head and torso excursions in motor vehicle 
crashes, and fewer child head and torso injuries in crashes.

Estimated Costs and Benefits

    The agency estimates that the proposed requirements for improved 
usability of child restraint anchorage systems would not result in any 
increase in material cost, but would entail some redesign of vehicle 
seat features. Approximately 79 percent of vehicles would need some 
redesign to meet the proposed lower anchorage usability requirements. 
Some tether anchorages would have to be repositioned further from the 
head restraint to meet the minimum strap wrap-around distance 
requirement. A small number of vehicles that currently have webbing 
loops for tether anchorages would need to be changed to have rigid 
anchorage bars. The agency believes that these design modification are 
minor and mainly concern the vehicle seat and not the vehicle 
structure. NHTSA is proposing a 3-year lead time for complying with a 
final rule, which, we believe, would provide sufficient time for 
vehicle manufacturers to accommodate any redesign of the vehicle seat 
in their normal course of manufacture without a cost increase.
    For child restraints, we estimate that approximately 30 percent of 
forward-facing child restraints may need to have minor modification 
made to the tether hardware assembly to meet the 165 mm (6.5 in) 
maximum length requirement. We are proposing a 3-year lead time to meet 
the requirement.
    The proposal requires all the lower anchorages and tether 
anchorages to be marked with the ISO mark. We estimate the cost of ISO 
marks for a set of lower anchorages to be $0.05 and that for the tether 
anchorage to be $0.025. The total incremental cost of equipping all 
child restraint anchorage systems with appropriate ISO marks is about 
$0.58 million. The proposal also requires similar ISO marks on child 
restraint anchorage connectors, for which the agency estimates an 
incremental cost of $0.74 million. The cost of changing the written 
instructions accompanying the vehicle or the CRS to explain the ISO 
markings is expected to be negligible (<<$0.01). Therefore, the total 
cost of the proposed rule is estimated to be $1.32 million.
    We believe that the new usability requirements would improve 
correct (tight) installation, and increase tether use. If there were a 
5 percent increase in correct installation using the lower anchors and 
a 5 percent increase in tether use, the agency estimates that the 
proposed requirements would save approximately 3 lives and prevent 6 
moderate to higher severity injuries.

II. Statutory Mandate

    MAP-21 (Pub. L. 112-141) incorporates Subtitle E, ``Child Safety 
Standards.'' Subtitle E, Sec.  31502(a), requires that not later than 1 
year after the date of enactment of the Act, the Secretary shall 
initiate a rulemaking proceeding to amend FMVSS No. 225 ``to improve 
the ease of use for lower anchorages and tethers in all rear seat 
seating positions if such anchorages and tethers are feasible.'' 
Section 31502(b)(1) of MAP-21 states that, subject to exceptions, the 
Secretary must issue a final rule not later than 3 years after the date 
of enactment of MAP-21. An exception is for an amendment to Standard 
No. 225 which ``does not meet the requirements and considerations set 
forth in subsections (a) and (b) of section 30111 of title 49, United 
States Code [the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Vehicle 
Safety Act)].'' 15 16
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    \15\ See Sec.  31502(b)(2). That section also specifies that in 
such case that an amendment does not meet the requirements and 
considerations of Sec.  30111(a) and (b) of title 49, United States 
Code, the Secretary shall submit a report to Congress describing the 
reasons for not prescribing such a standard. [Footnote added.]
    \16\ Another exception is in Sec.  31505, which specifies that 
if the Secretary determines that any deadline for issuing a final 
rule under this Act cannot be met, the Secretary shall provide 
Congress with an explanation for why such deadline cannot be met and 
establish a new deadline for that rule. [Footnote added.]
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    The agency has interpreted Sec.  31502(a) as directing DOT to 
initiate rulemaking to improve the ease of use of lower anchorages and 
tether anchorages currently required by FMVSS No. 225 if improved 
anchorages are feasible. This interpretation is based on the plain 
meaning of the phrase ``improve the ease of use.'' We interpret 
``improve'' to mean to enhance or increase the ease of use of 
prevailing FMVSS No. 225 lower anchorages and tether anchorages, which, 
in passenger cars and small MPVs, are present ``in all rear seat 
seating positions.'' Our 2011 Priority Plan took this approach in 
focusing on improving current tether anchorage locations and labeling 
of anchorage locations. This NPRM satisfies the mandate by proposing 
requirements that would improve the ease with which

[[Page 3748]]

consumers can access and use the anchorages, and improve the visibility 
of the anchorages so that consumers can more easily identify them as 
parts of a child restraint anchorage system.
    Furthermore, this document also requests comment on whether 
additional lower anchorages and tether anchorages should be required in 
vehicles. We request comment on the need for, and feasibility of, 
additional child restraint anchorage systems and tether anchorages in 
rear seating positions, particularly in the third row of vehicles with 
three rows of seating. We also request comments on the merits and 
feasibility of installing lower anchorages and tether anchorages in 
vehicles now excluded from requirements to provide such anchorages.
    Section 31502 gives us discretion in determining whether a final 
rule in this rulemaking is warranted. We anticipate issuing a final 
rule unless an amendment ``does not meet the requirements and 
considerations set forth in subsections (a) and (b) of section 30111 of 
title 49, United States Code.'' \17\ The requirements and 
considerations of Sec. Sec.  30111(a) and (b) apply to NHTSA's FMVSS 
rulemaking under the Vehicle Safety Act. Under Sec.  30111(a), the 
Secretary is authorized to prescribe FMVSSs that are practicable, meet 
the need for motor vehicle safety, and are stated in objective terms. 
``Motor vehicle safety'' is defined in the Vehicle Safety Act as ``the 
performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment in a way that 
protects the public against unreasonable risk of accidents occurring 
because of the design, construction, or performance of a motor vehicle, 
and against unreasonable risk of death or injury in an accident, and 
includes nonoperational safety of a motor vehicle.'' Under Sec.  
30111(b) of the Vehicle Safety Act, when prescribing such standards, 
the Secretary must consider relevant available motor vehicle safety 
information, consult with appropriate agencies, consider whether a 
standard is reasonable, practicable, and appropriate for the particular 
type of motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment for which it is 
prescribed, and consider the extent to which the standard will further 
the statutory purpose of reducing traffic accidents and deaths and 
injuries resulting from traffic accidents. We understand MAP-21 as 
directing us to determine, after initiating rulemaking, whether the 
changes under consideration to FMVSS No. 225 meet the requirements and 
considerations set forth in subsections (a) and (b) of 49 U.S.C Sec.  
30111 and are feasible. We will make a decision about a final rule 
after that assessment.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \17\ Sec.  31502(b)(2).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

III. Efforts To Improve Vehicle/Child Restraint Compatibility and Ease 
of Use of Child Restraint Anchorage Systems

    Following issuance of FMVSS No. 225, there have been several 
efforts to improve the compatibility of child restraint anchorage 
systems and CRSs, and the ease of using the systems.

a. ISO Rating System

    ISO developed a rating system and criteria to provide child 
restraint and vehicle manufacturers tools for the assessment of the 
usability of ISOFIX \18\ systems.\19\ The ISO approach evaluates and 
rates the usability of a CRS's ISOFIX features, a vehicle's ISOFIX 
system, and the interaction between the two. ISO also provides 
consumers (parents and caregivers) with information to assist them in 
selecting a CRS and vehicle with ISOFIX systems that are easy to use, 
with the aim that the information will result in more correct 
installations. (More information about the ISO draft standard is in 
Appendix C to this preamble.)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \18\ ISOFIX is a system, mostly used in Europe, for the 
connection of child restraint systems to vehicles. The system has 
two vehicle rigid anchorages, two corresponding rigid attachments on 
the child restraint system and a means to limit the pitch rotation 
of the child restraint system. While the ISOFIX system is not used 
in the U.S., the system is very similar to the FMVSS No. 225 child 
restraint anchorage system and therefore, the evaluation developed 
by ISO is relevant to our work here.
    \19\ ``Road vehicles--Methods and criteria for usability 
evaluation of child restraint systems and their interface with 
vehicle anchor systems--Part 1: Vehicles and child restraint systems 
equipped with ISOFIX anchors and attachments,'' (November 2010).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

b. SAE Guidelines

    The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) developed a draft SAE 
recommended practice entitled J2893, ``Guidelines for Implementation of 
the Child Restraint Anchorage System in Motor Vehicles and Child 
Restraint Systems.'' \20\ The document provides guidelines for vehicle 
manufacturers to consider when designing characteristics of vehicle 
lower and upper (tether) anchorages, and for CRS manufacturers for 
corresponding features of CRS lower anchorage and tether connectors, so 
that each product can be made more compatible with the other. SAE 
developed tools and procedures for evaluating the child restraint 
anchorage system hardware features in vehicles and on child restraints. 
The guidelines assess whether the child restraint fixture can attach to 
the lower anchorages, the force and clearance angles needed to attach 
to the lower anchorages, the collinearity of the lower anchorages, the 
marking of the anchorages with the ISO symbol, etc. (Appendix C to this 
preamble has more information about the SAE guidelines.)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \20\ The SAE J2893 recommended practice is designated as a 
``work-in-progress'' by SAE and has not been finalized.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

c. NCAP Vehicle-CRS Fit Program

    On February 25, 2011, NHTSA published a Federal Register document 
requesting comment on the agency's plan to establish a new consumer 
information program, as part of the agency's New Car Assessment Program 
(NCAP), to improve compatibility between vehicles and child restraint 
systems and the ease of using the systems. The contemplated program 
involves vehicle manufacturers voluntarily providing NHTSA information 
about which CRSs fit in specific vehicle models, and NHTSA, in turn, 
posting this information on the NCAP Web site for consumers to use when 
making purchasing decisions. This ``Vehicle-CRS Fit program,'' still 
under consideration by NHTSA, is described in more detail in Appendix C 
of this preamble.

d. UMTRI's LATCH Usability Study

1. Overview of the Study
    In 2012, UMTRI published a report entitled, ``LATCH Usability in 
Vehicles,'' \21\ describing UMTRI's study to identify characteristics 
of child restraint anchorage systems that make the anchorage system 
easier to use. The study was conducted in three phases, the objectives 
of which were to:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \21\ Klinich et al., supra. Link: http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/90856. The report was sponsored by the Insurance 
Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for developing IIHS's rating of 
the usability of the child restraint anchorage systems in various 
vehicles. See IIHS Status Report: Vol. 47 No. 3, April 12, 2012. 
http://www.iihs.org/sr/default.aspx.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Survey model year (MY) 2010-2011 vehicles to document 
characteristics of child restraint anchorage systems in the current 
vehicle fleet;
     Evaluate the proposed ISO 29061-1: 2010 rating system 
(ratings for both the vehicle and the vehicle-to-child restraint 
interaction), SAE draft J2893 recommended practice,\22\ and NHTSA's 
proposed NCAP Vehicle-CRS Fit program to see if outcomes from those 
programs are associated with quality installations by volunteer 
subjects; and,
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \22\ The SAE J2893 Version 1--Draft 7 was used for the study. 
SAE J2893 is still under development.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Conduct volunteer tests for evaluating the quality of 
child restraint

[[Page 3749]]

installations using vehicle features as the independent measures.
    In the first phase of the study, UMTRI measured the child restraint 
anchorage system hardware and rear seat geometry of 98 top-selling MY 
2010 and 2011 vehicles. The vehicles surveyed were those often used for 
transporting children that also represented a wide range of different 
child restraint anchorage system hardware. Included in the survey were 
passenger cars, minivans, sports utility vehicles (SUVs), and pickup 
trucks. The vehicle measurements were based on procedures in the ISO 
draft standard and the SAE draft recommended practice, and some 
additional measures developed for the study, such as the depth of the 
lower anchorages into the seat bight.
    In the second phase, UMTRI calculated the usability scores for each 
vehicle in the survey using the protocols in ISO 29061-1: 2010,\23\ SAE 
draft J2893,\24\ and NHTSA's February 2011 NCAP Vehicle-CRS fit program 
under consideration. ISO ratings of vehicle child restraint anchorage 
system usability ranged from 41 percent to 78 percent. UMTRI calculated 
the ISO vehicle/child restraint interaction scores for 20 vehicles, 
identifying vehicles with a range of vehicle features, and 7 child 
restraints. ISO vehicle/child restraint interaction scores ranged from 
14 percent to 86 percent. Vehicles assessed using the SAE draft 
recommended practice met between 2 and all 10 of the recommendations. 
UMTRI evaluated the proposed NHTSA Vehicle-CRS Fit program criteria at 
one rear seating position (behind the driver's seat) for 12 vehicles 
and 7 child restraints. The 7 CRSs selected represented a variety of 
restraint types (rear facing infant seats, convertible seats, 
combination seats and belt-positioning booster seats) and child 
restraint anchorage connector features. Of the 24 pairings with 12 
vehicles and two rear-facing convertibles, one installation met all of 
NHTSA's proposed vehicle-CRS fit criteria. Twenty-three (23) 
installations of the 24 vehicle/infant seat pairings and 45 
installations of the 48 vehicle/forward-facing harness CRS pairings met 
all of the proposed vehicle-CRS fit criteria.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \23\ ``Road vehicles--Methods and criteria for usability 
evaluation of child restraint systems and their interface with 
vehicle anchor systems--Part 1: Vehicles and child restraint systems 
equipped with ISOFIX anchors and attachments,'' (November 2010).
    \24\ The SAE draft recommended practice does not involve a 
rating system; therefore, UMTRI developed a grade based on how many 
of the ten guidelines were met.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In the third phase, UMTRI conducted volunteer testing using 36 
subjects, 12 vehicles, and 3 CRS models to see if outcomes from the 
ISO, SAE and NCAP programs are associated with quality installations 
(correct installations) of child restraints by the subjects. The subset 
of 12 vehicles was chosen to provide a variety of child restraint 
anchorage system hardware characteristics. The 3 CRSs selected in this 
phase were the Safety First Alpha Omega Elite, Chicco KeyFit, and Graco 
SnugRide 30.
    The study considered a ``correct'' installation to meet the 
following criteria:
    (1) Tight installation--Child restraint did not move more than 1 
inch laterally or fore/aft when tested with a moderate pull/push 
applied at the restraint belt path.
    (2) Correct use of lower anchors (if applicable)--Child restraint 
connectors were fully engaged with the correct vehicle hardware in the 
correct orientation and the CRS belt webbing connecting to the child 
restraint anchorages was flat.
    (3) Correct use of seat belt (if applicable)--Seat belt was routed 
through the correct belt path, was not twisted, and was buckled and 
locked correctly.
    (4) Correct use of tether anchorage (if applicable)--Tether hook 
attached to the correct vehicle hardware in the correct orientation, 
routed around or under the head restraint as directed by the vehicle 
manual, and tightened so that there was 10 mm (0.39 in) or less of 
slack (measured by pinching the slack and measuring the height of the 
loop).
    (5) Correct installation angle--Installation angle was considered 
correct for rear-facing installations if the restraint indicator was at 
the correct level, and was considered correct for forward-facing 
installations if the recline foot was in the forward-facing position.
2. Three Seat Characteristics Were Well Correlated With Correct Use
    Using a series of mixed-model logistic regression models with 
various lower anchorage characteristics assessed in the study, UMTRI 
identified three features of lower anchorages that the volunteer 
testing showed were well correlated to the correct installation of 
CRSs. These were: Clearance angle, attachment force, and anchorage 
depth. UMTRI stated that the odds of correct CRS installation when the 
child restraint anchorage system met the minimum criterion for 
clearance angle, attachment force, and lower anchorage depth are 5, 9, 
and 7 times higher, respectively. UMTRI showed that subjects were 19 
times more likely to correctly install the CRS if the vehicle met all 
three usability criteria than if none of the criteria were met. Using 
multi-variate regression analysis of the volunteer data, UMTRI found 
that subjects who correctly used the lower anchorage hardware were 3.3 
times more likely to achieve a tight CRS installation than subjects who 
made errors using the hardware.

A. Clearance Angle

    Clearance angle refers to the clearance around a lower anchorage 
from parts that interfere with the ability to maneuver the CRS lower 
anchorage connector. The interfering parts can include part of the 
vehicle seat structure or excessively stiff seat cushion material. 
Clearance angle is measured by a tool (specified in the SAE draft J2893 
recommended practice) that attaches to the lower anchorages. In UMTRI's 
procedure a vertical force of 66.7 N (15 lb) \25\ is applied to the 
tool. The angle the tool achieves when that force is applied is the 
``clearance angle.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \25\ The 6.8 kg (15 lb) force application is the same as that in 
the SAE J2893 protocol.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    UMTRI determined the performance limits for clearance angle by 
analyzing the vehicle characteristics and rate of correct installation 
from the volunteer tests. Based on the user trial data shown in Figure 
1 below, UMTRI determined that a clearance angle greater than 54 
degrees will increase the likelihood of correct CRS installation.

[[Page 3750]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.000

B. Attachment Force

    Attachment force refers to the force needed to attach a child 
restraint's lower anchorage connector to a lower anchorage in a 
vehicle. UMTRI measured the force required to attach a CRS connector to 
a vehicle lower anchorage using a force gauge specified in SAE draft 
J2893. The tool is similar in shape and size to various CRS lower 
anchorage connectors in the market and to the connectors used on the 
Child Restraint Fixture and the Static Force Application Device 2 
(SFAD2) of FMVSS No. 225. A force gauge in the tool measures the force 
required to fully engage the CRS connector to a lower anchorage in a 
vehicle. A stiff seat cushion and/or obstructions surrounding a lower 
anchorage may increase the attachment force.
    Based on the data shown in Figure 2 below, UMTRI determined that an 
attachment force less than 178 N (40 lb) has a high likelihood of 
correct CRS installation.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.001


[[Page 3751]]



C. Anchorage Depth

    Anchorage depth refers to how deeply the lower anchorages are 
embedded in a vehicle seat (usually in the seat bight). UMTRI developed 
a simple tool that easily measures lower anchorage depth. The tool 
consists of a hook-type CRS connector which is marked every 2 cm.\26\ 
Lower anchorages that are set deeper into the seat bight are more 
difficult to locate, identify, and use.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \26\ UMTRI's tool was marked with different colored electrical 
tape at 2 cm intervals from the hook. When the tool was hooked onto 
the lower anchorage of the vehicle, the different colors of tape 
were exposed. For example, if the lower anchorage were exposed and 
not recessed in the seat bight at all, all colors in the hook were 
visible.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.002

    Based on the data shown in Figure 3 above, UMTRI determined that a 
lower anchorage depth less than 2 cm has a significantly higher rate of 
correct lower anchorage use than for anchorage depths greater than 2 
cm.
    UMTRI found that, while clearance angle, attachment force and 
anchorage depth are important, due to the correlation of the three 
factors it was not possible to truly identify their separate 
contributions to prediction of correct CRS installation. UMTRI believed 
that lower anchorage designs in vehicles should consider all three 
characteristics to improve rates of correct installation of child 
restraints.

IV. UMTRI's Assessment of the ISO, SAE, and NCAP Programs

    As part of UMTRI's LATCH Usability study,\27\ UMTRI evaluated 
vehicles using the draft ISO standard 29061-1:2010 and the derived SAE 
grade \28\ and found no correlation between usability ratings and 
correct installation of child restraints in the vehicles in user 
trials. Results indicated that the ISO vehicle rating, the ISO vehicle/
child restraint interaction rating and the derived SAE grade showed no 
correlation with rates of the volunteers' correct CRS installation 
using the lower anchorages (see Figure 4 below).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \27\ LATCH Usability study, 2012, supra.
    \28\ SAE recommend practice is not a rating system; therefore, 
UMTRI developed a grade based on how many of the ten guidelines were 
met.

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

[[Page 3752]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.003

    UMTRI also evaluated \29\ NHTSA's proposed Vehicle-CRS Fit program 
criteria using 12 vehicles and 7 child restraints. The user data showed 
that, among vehicle and child restraint combinations that would be 
considered compatible under the proposed criteria, only 16 percent were 
correctly installed by the volunteers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \29\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

V. NHTSA's Preference Is the UMTRI Approach

    NHTSA has evaluated the draft ISO standard and the SAE draft 
recommended practice and concludes that neither approach would likely 
improve the usability of child restraint anchorage systems as 
effectively as the specifications proposed in today's NPRM. The ISO 
draft standard primarily rates vehicles and does not directly mandate 
improvements to the usability of child restraint anchorage systems. 
Further, as discussed above, UMTRI evaluated vehicles using the draft 
ISO standard 29061-1:2010 and found no correlation between usability 
ratings and correct installation of child restraints in the vehicles in 
user trials.
    The draft SAE recommended practice J2893 would also be limited 
because it is only a guideline and does not mandate improved usability. 
In addition, as noted above, UMTRI evaluated the SAE derived grade from 
the 10 guidelines and found no correlation between the SAE derived 
grade and correct installation of child restraints in the vehicles in 
user trials.\30\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \30\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We believe that the amendments resulting from today's NPRM would be 
more effective in improving ease of use and the fit of child restraints 
in vehicles than NHTSA's proposed Vehicle-CRS fit program. The fit 
program only examines the fit of a small number of specific CRSs 
selected by the vehicle manufacturer for a specific vehicle model. 
Today's NPRM would ensure a more universal compatibility between 
vehicles and child restraints. The Vehicle-CRS fit program would be a 
voluntary program, so vehicle manufacturers have the option of not 
providing NHTSA any information about the fit of child restraints in 
their vehicles. In contrast, the changes resulting from this NPRM would 
be mandated and universal for all vehicles and all child restraints. 
The changes made to vehicle seats resulting from this rulemaking would 
make all child restraints easier to use and fit tightly on vehicle 
seats. In addition, UMTRI evaluated the NCAP Vehicle-CRS fit proposal 
and found that volunteers in user trials had a low rate of correctly 
installing CRSs even when the CRSs were ones meeting the NCAP program's 
``fit'' criteria.\31\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \31\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

VI. Proposal To Improve Lower Anchorage Usability

    This NPRM proposes amendments to improve the three features of 
lower anchorages--clearance angle, attachment force, and anchorage 
depth--that were shown to have a positive impact on correct child 
restraint installations in user trials in UMTRI's LATCH Usability 
study. NHTSA has reviewed the UMTRI study and tentatively concludes 
that the features have been reasonably shown to have a significant 
bearing on correct installations. Also, lower anchorages meeting the 
proposed requirements for clearance angle, attachment force, and 
anchorage depth appear feasible.\32\ The UMTRI procedures for measuring 
clearance angle and attachment force are similar to those in the draft 
SAE J2893 recommended practice which were developed with industry input 
and participation.\33\ NHTSA has evaluated the procedures in 10 
vehicles (MY 2005-2013) and they appear objective and repeatable. The 
agency made minor modifications to the measurement tools to enhance 
their ease of use and to further improve the repeatability of 
measurements.\34\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \32\ We are also proposing improved marking of child restraint 
anchorages and child restraint anchorage connectors to improve the 
ease of use of child restraint anchorage systems.
    \33\ We note that General Motors made the suggestion that NHTSA 
explore SAE's draft guidelines in its comments at the 2007 LATCH 
public meeting.
    \34\ NHTSA Technical Report, ``Evaluation of LATCH Usability 
Procedure,'' which is in the docket for this NPRM.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Comments to NHTSA's 2007 LATCH public meeting on child restraint 
anchorage system usability included many complaints about the 
difficulty of attaching lower anchorage connectors to lower anchorages 
because of interference from surrounding stiff cushions, fabric/leather 
or buckles. There were also observations about the difficulty of using 
the lower anchorages because they are often embedded in the

[[Page 3753]]

seat bight. It appears that the proposed changes would sufficiently 
address these problems.
    We tentatively conclude that this NPRM would ultimately increase 
child safety. The NCRUSS \35\ data show that a loose CRS installation 
comprises one of the five most significant mistakes consumers make in 
the field when installing child restraints. We wish to reduce loose CRS 
installations in the field since a loose installation could result in 
higher excursions of the child and CRS during a crash and a greater 
risk of injury due to the child's possible contact with vehicle 
interior structures, as compared to correct (tight) installations. We 
believe that if child restraint anchorage systems can be made easier to 
use correctly, then correct (tight) installations will increase.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \35\ National Child Restraint Use Special Study, supra.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

a. Clearance Angle

    Clearance angle relates to the clearance around a lower anchorage 
from interfering parts that can make it difficult to maneuver and 
attach a CRS lower anchorage connector. We believe that a clearance 
angle requirement would facilitate easier attachment of a CRS lower 
anchorage connector by preventing interference from surrounding 
components.
    ``Clearance angle'' is a criterion included in draft SAE J2893, and 
the tool we would use to measure the clearance angle was based on a 
tool developed by the SAE in draft J2893 (Version 1--Draft 7).\36\ The 
tool, illustrated in Figure 5 below, includes a load cell with a handle 
to measure the applied vertical force on the tool and a potentiometer 
to measure the angle with respect to the horizontal achieved by the 
tool during the force application. In our proposed test procedure, the 
tool would be attached to a lower anchorage. A vertical force of 66.7 N 
(15 lb) is applied to the tool. The angle the tool achieves (with 
respect to the horizontal) when that force is applied is the 
``clearance angle.'' We propose to amend FMVSS No. 225 to adopt a 
clearance angle requirement of not less than 54 degrees, as supported 
by the findings of the UMTRI LATCH Usability study. The requirement 
would apply to each lower anchorage in a vehicle.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \36\ UMTRI used this measurement tool in its LATCH Usability 
Study and measured the applied vertical force and the resulting 
clearance angle using a force gauge and an inclinometer, 
respectively.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.004

    We note that draft SAE J2893 specifies that the clearance angle 
should be greater than 75 degrees. We have differed from that draft 
specification because the UMTRI LATCH Usability study has user trial 
data to show that a clearance angle greater than 54 degrees is 
sufficient to increase the likelihood of correct CRS installation. We 
are not aware of similar user data to support the SAE target of 75 
degrees.
    Our proposed 66.7 N (15 lb) force application is the same as that 
in the draft SAE J2893 protocol. We believe that the force represents a 
low force that an adult can easily apply. A NHTSA study to determine 
the force that able-bodied adults could apply to open emergency exit 
windows found that this force ranged from 66.7 N (15 lb) to 533.7 N 
(120 lb) with a mean of 244.6 N (55 lb).\37\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \37\ Docket No. NHTSA-2007-28793-24.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

b. Attachment Force

    ``Attachment force'' refers to the force needed to attach a child 
restraint lower anchorage connector to a lower anchorage. After 
considering the UMTRI LATCH Usability study, we propose to amend FMVSS 
No. 225 to require child restraint anchorage systems to be manufactured 
such that the attachment force needed to attach an attachment force 
tool to the lower anchorage must be less than 178 N (40 lb). UMTRI's

[[Page 3754]]

volunteer subjects study indicates that an attachment force less than 
178 N (40 lb) has a high likelihood of correct CRS installation.
    The attachment force tool, illustrated in Figure 6 below, is based 
on the tool specified in SAE draft J2893 (Version 1 Draft 7) and which 
was used in the UMTRI LATCH Usability study. The end of the tool is 
similar in shape and size to various ``push-on'' CRS lower anchorage 
connectors in the market and to the connectors used on the SFAD2 of 
FMVSS No. 225. In order to improve the repeatability of the 
measurements obtained by the tool, the agency modified the tool used in 
the UMTRI LATCH Usability study as follows. A trigger switch was 
included to determine when the tool is fully engaged to a lower 
anchorage in a vehicle. A button load cell in a push handle was added 
to measure the force needed to fully engage the tool to the anchorage. 
Finally, a potentiometer was included to measure the approach angle of 
the tool with respect to the horizontal.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.005

    We note that draft SAE J2893 specifies that the attachment force 
should be less than 75 N (16.9 lb), which is more stringent than that 
proposed in this NPRM. We are proposing a 178 N (40 lb) limit because 
it is supported by the findings of UMTRI's LATCH Usability study 
showing the correlation of the limit with correct CRS installation. We 
are not aware of such data supporting the SAE limit under 
consideration.
    There is also a slight difference between the draft SAE J2893 
procedure and UMTRI's procedure regarding how the measurement is taken. 
The SAE draft procedure specifies that, when taking the measurement, 
the attachment force tool approaches the lower anchorage at an angle 
near zero degrees (i.e., it is parallel to the seat bottom cushion 
surface). UMTRI found that it is not possible to attach the tool to the 
lower anchorages in most vehicles when it is held parallel to the seat 
bottom cushion. UMTRI modified the SAE protocol for measuring the 
attachment force such that the force is measured at the angle (from 0 
to 45 degrees) to the horizontal producing the lowest force value. In 
addition to making it possible to attach the tool to the lower 
anchorages, UMTRI believed that the 0 to 45 degrees range of angles for 
attaching the measurement tool to the lower anchorages better 
represents how a parent would attach a CRS lower anchorage connector to 
the lower anchorages compared to the SAE method. NHTSA tentatively 
agrees with UMTRI's conclusions and has proposed the 0 to 45 degree 
range in this NPRM.

c. Anchorage Depth

    Anchorage depth refers to how deeply the lower anchorages are 
embedded in the vehicle seat (usually in the seat bight or seat back). 
UMTRI's LATCH Usability study found that an anchorage depth of less 
than 2 cm within the seat bight is associated with a significantly 
higher rate of correct lower anchorage use than anchorage depths 
greater than or equal to 2 cm. NHTSA proposes a requirement that each 
lower anchorage must have an anchorage depth of less than 2 cm, as 
measured by a specially-designed compliance tool (the tool is 
illustrated in Figure 7, below). The tool incorporates a hook-type CRS 
connector. The distance 2 cm from the backside of a lower anchorage bar 
when the connector is attached to a lower anchorage is marked on the 
tool (as shown in Figure 8, below). In a compliance test, the tool 
would be attached to a lower anchorage. The 2 cm mark would have to be 
visible from a vertical longitudinal plane passing through the center 
of the bar, along a line making an upward 30 degree angle with a 
horizontal plane, without the technician's manipulating the seat 
cushions in any way.

[[Page 3755]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.006

    We tentatively conclude that the proposed anchorage depth 
requirement would make the requirement in S9.2.2(a) of FMVSS No. 225 
unnecessary, so we propose deleting S9.2.2(a). S9.2.2(a) specifies that 
the lower anchorages must be located less than 70 mm (2.75 in) behind 
the rearmost point at the bottom plane of the CRF while the CRF is 
pressed rearward against the seat back with a horizontal force of 100 N 
(22.4 lb). The purpose of S9.2.2(a) is to ensure that the lower 
anchorages are not deeply recessed into the seat bight. We tentatively 
conclude that the proposed requirement for anchorage depth takes the 
place of S9.2.2(a) by ensuring the lower anchorages are not deeply 
recessed. The proposed 2 cm (0.8 in) limit on anchorage depth would not 
permit lower anchorages to be as deeply recessed into the vehicle seat 
as permitted by S9.2.2(a). The UMTRI volunteer study showed that 
accessibility of the lower anchorages--and correct CRS installation--is 
better determined using anchorage depth than the current requirement in 
S9.2.2(a).
    On the other hand, we have tentatively determined that S9.2.2(b) 
continues to be needed and should be retained even if a limit on 
anchorage depth is adopted. S9.2.2(b) specifies that the lower 
anchorages must be located more than 120 mm (4.7 in) behind the 
SgRP.\38\ Its intent is to ensure that the lower anchorages are not so 
far forward so as to cause discomfort to occupants not in CRSs or pose 
an unreasonable risk of injury in rear impacts.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \38\ SgRP (seating reference point) is the unique design H-point 
as defined in SAE Recommended Practice J1100, ``Motor Vehicle 
Dimensions,'' revised June1984.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We believe the requirement in S9.2.2(b) does not conflict with the 
proposed anchorage depth requirement. UMTRI's survey of 98 MY 2010-2011 
vehicles showed that the seat bight of the surveyed vehicles was at 
least 140 mm (1.5 in) from the estimated SgRP, as shown in Figure 9. 
(UMTRI's measurement referenced the H-point, which with regard to rear 
seats that do not move, is at the same location as the SgRP.) The 
proposed anchorage depth requirement specifies that the anchorage has 
to be less than 2 cm deep into the seat bight. Lower anchorages can be 
positioned less than 2 cm deep into the seat bight and still meet 
S9.2.2(b).

[[Page 3756]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.007

d. Estimated Rate of Current Compliance

    UMTRI's survey of 98 MY 2010-2011 vehicles \39\ showed that 9 
percent met none of the three provisions, 31 percent met one provision, 
37 percent met two provisions, and 21 percent met all three provisions 
for lower anchorages. Ninety percent met the attachment force provision 
(<178 N (40 lb)), 58 percent met the clearance angle provision (>54 
degrees) and 28 percent met the anchorage depth (<2 cm (0.8 in)) 
provision, as shown in Figure 10 below.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \39\ UMTRI LATCH Usability study, supra.
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.008
    
    Table 1, below, shows the percentages of vehicles within ranges of 
the proposed attachment force, clearance angle, and anchorage depth 
requirements.

[[Page 3757]]



 Table 1--Percentage of Vehicles (From UMTRI's Survey of 98 MY 2010-11 Vehicles) Versus Range of Lower Anchorage
                                   Attachment Force, Clearance Angle and Depth
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Attachment force                            Clearance angle
                                            Anchorage depth
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
<178N............................       89.5%  >54 degrees.........       58.0%  <1.9 cm............       28.5%
178-311N.........................        5.2%  44-54 degrees.......       23.6%  2-3.9cm............       27.5%
312-645N.........................        5.2%  35-43 degrees.......       10.7%  4-5.9 cm...........       40.8%
                                               20-34 degrees.......        7.5%  6-7.9 cm...........        3.0%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NHTSA's evaluation of 10 MY 2005-2013 vehicles \40\ resulted in 
attachment force measurements at 27 lower anchorage positions, and 
clearance angle and lower anchorage depth measurements at 31 lower 
anchorage positions. The attachment force measurements were all well 
below 178 N (40 lb). Seventeen of 31 anchorage positions had clearance 
angles greater than 54 degrees, and 16 of the 31 anchorage positions 
had an anchorage depth less than 2 cm. Five vehicles met the proposed 
clearance angle criterion and 5 met the proposed anchorage depth 
criterion at all lower anchorage positions tested. Three of the 10 
vehicles tested met all 3 proposed usability criteria for lower 
anchorages.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \40\ NHTSA Technical Report, ``Evaluation of LATCH Usability 
Procedure,'' which is in the docket for this NPRM.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

VII. Proposal To Improve Tether Anchorage Usability

    FMVSS No. 225 specifies where tether anchorages may be located, but 
consumers are still having difficulty finding, identifying, accessing, 
and using the tether anchorages. Some tether anchorages have been 
located deep under the seat (the seat would have to be folded over to 
access the anchorage) or under a carpet. Some tether anchorages are 
located too close to the seat head restraint where there is not enough 
space for the CRS tether strap to be tightened. Some tether anchorage 
configurations are differently configured from those typically found in 
vehicles, e.g., they consist of a webbing loop rather than a rigid bar. 
To improve the ease of use of tether anchorages, we propose the 
following requirements.\41\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \41\ Except for the element relating to set-back of the 
anchorage, UMTRI's LATCH Usability study did not address ease of use 
of tether anchorages.
    .
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

a. Limit the Zone

    FMVSS No. 225 specifies that tether anchorages must be located 
within the shaded zone shown in Figures 3 through 7 of FMVSS No. 225 
for the designated seating position (DSP) for which the anchorage is 
installed. The allowable zone encompasses a wide area which has 
resulted in some tether anchorages being located where consumers have 
had difficulty accessing them, such as deep under the seat where 
folding the seat is required to reach/attach the tether anchorage. This 
place is the forward-most edge of the area under the vehicle seat 
defined by the intersection of the torso line reference plane (defined 
by the SAE J826 two-dimensional drafting template) and the floor pan.
    We propose to amend Figures 3 through 7 of the standard to disallow 
tether anchorages from being placed deep under the seat. Specifically, 
the agency is proposing that the forward-most edge of the allowable 
tether anchorage zone represented by the shaded area in Figure 3 of 
FMVSS No. 225 be moved rearward to a position defined by the 
intersection of the vehicle floor with a plane that is parallel to the 
torso line reference plane and which passes through the rearmost point 
of the bottom of the seat at its centerline. We note that vehicles with 
tether anchorages located deep under the seat where the seat must be 
folded to reach the anchorages are no longer manufactured, so this 
change in requirements would have little or no impact on current 
vehicle designs. However, we tentatively believe the amendment is 
needed to prevent these designs from coming back into the fleet.
    NHTSA evaluated vehicle fleet data to find where tether anchorages 
were typically located. We reviewed combined data from a NHTSA survey 
\42\ of 24 MY 2010 vehicles and the UMTRI LATCH Usability study \43\ of 
98 MY 2010-2011 vehicles. The data indicate that the most common tether 
anchorage locations are the seat back (41 percent) and the package 
shelf (37 percent). Tether anchorage locations on the seat back are 
typical of MPVs and trucks, while the package shelf location is 
characteristic of passenger cars. Tether anchorages located on the back 
wall of the occupant compartment (8 percent) are seen only in pickup 
trucks. Less common tether anchorage locations are the roof (6 percent) 
(often found in SUVs, station wagons, and some center seats of 
passenger cars), the floor (4 percent) and under the seat \44\ (3 
percent).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \42\ Aram, M.L., Rockwell, T., ``Vehicle Rear Seat Study-
Technical Report,'' NHTSA, 2012. A copy of the report is in the 
docket.
    \43\ Supra.
    \44\ These anchorages are accessible without folding the seat.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In current vehicles, the tether anchorages located on the seat back 
and on the package shelf (the two most common locations) are mostly 
centered or slightly off-center from the DSP, as depicted in Figure 11 
below. However, in vehicles with a cargo area or another seating row 
behind the seating position with the tether anchorage (such as station 
wagons and MPVs), and vehicles without a cargo area contiguous with the 
seating position (such as pickup trucks), the tether anchorage are 
often installed on the roof, floor, back wall or under the seat.

[[Page 3758]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.009

    We considered but decided against further limiting the zones in 
Figures 3 through 7 of FMVSS No. 225. We are mindful that, when 
determining tether anchorage locations, vehicle manufacturers must 
consider the strength of the structure to which the tether anchorage is 
affixed. They also have to consider the degree to which the tether 
anchorage--or the child restraint, when using the anchorage--interferes 
with ingress, egress, seating, and/or the comfort and safety of vehicle 
occupants. Due to these considerations, vehicle manufacturers sometimes 
install tether anchorages slightly off-center to a seating position, or 
on the roof, floor, or back wall. Thus, some flexibility is needed in 
locating the anchorages. Moreover, as explained below, those atypical 
locations do not appear to pose a safety problem.
    We performed sled tests using different fore-aft and lateral tether 
anchorage locations and found no difference in CRS performance when the 
CRSs were tethered at different locations at extreme points within the 
allowable zone.\45\ In the evaluation, we conducted a series of nine 
frontal impact sled tests using the FMVSS No. 213 test protocol to 
assess the effect of tether anchorage location on dummy kinematics and 
injury outcomes. One forward-facing child restraint was used with a 
Hybrid III 3-year-old (HIII-3C) dummy in each test configuration. The 
lower anchorages were spaced 280 mm (11 in) apart. The tether anchorage 
was positioned at various locations to replicate the vehicle seat back, 
roof, and package shelf above and behind the seat bight (see Table 2 
below). At each of the tether anchorage configurations, the lateral 
position of the tether anchorage was also varied from the center to 150 
mm (5.9 in) and 300 mm (11.8 in) to the right of center.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \45\ Amenson, T., Sullivan, L.K., ``Dynamic Evaluation of LATCH 
Lower Anchor Spacing Requirements and Effect of Tether Anchor 
Location on Tether and Lower Anchor Loads,'' NHTSA, 2013. A copy of 
the report is in the docket for this NPRM.

           Table 2--Tether Anchorage Locations From Seat Bight
    [Tether anchorage locations from FMVSS No. 213 bench seat bight]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            Aft    Above
                                                           (cm)    (cm)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Package Shelf...........................................     650     585
Seat back...............................................     280     210
Roof....................................................     550    1070
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The results showed that changing the tether anchorage location did 
not significantly affect the injury outcomes of the HIII-3C dummy in 
these tests. Overall, the head injury criterion (HIC) measured in a 36 
millisecond timeframe (HIC36) ranged from 366 to 585 for the various 
tether anchorage locations and was significantly lower than the 
performance limit of 1000 (see Figure 12, below). For each of the 
various lateral positions of the tether anchorage on the seat back, the 
package shelf, and the roof, the dummy injury measures (HIC36, chest 
acceleration, and dummy excursions) were similar and significantly 
lower than the injury assessment reference values of FMVSS No. 213.
    For illustration purposes, HIC36 was the only injury criterion used 
in the following graphs; however the full data (including chest 
accelerations and excursions) can be found in the docketed technical 
report.

[[Page 3759]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.010

    The load distribution on the lower anchorages and tether anchorages 
vary depending on whether the tether anchorage is located on the 
package shelf, seat back, or roof, due to the length of the tether. 
However, varying the lateral location of the tether anchorage in each 
of these general locations (package shelf, seat back or roof), 
generated similar peak loads for the lower anchorages and tether 
anchorage despite the center or side locations of each tether anchorage 
site (see Figure 13, below).
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.011


[[Page 3760]]


    These results suggest that there is not an unreasonable safety risk 
posed by locating the tether anchorage at the lateral extreme points of 
the allowable zone. Thus, we tentatively conclude that retaining the 
zones depicted in Figures 3 to 7 of FMVSS No. 225, except to disallow 
the area under a vehicle seat, appropriately balances safety, ease of 
use, and design flexibility.

b. Anchorage Must Be Accessible

    The agency proposes to require that a tether anchorage must be in a 
location where the anchorage is accessible without the need to remove 
carpet or other vehicle components to access the anchorages. However, a 
tether anchorage may be covered with a cap, flap or cover, provided 
that the cap, flap or cover is specifically designed to be opened, 
moved aside or otherwise provide access to the anchorage. It must also 
be labeled with the ISO symbol indicting the presence of the tether 
anchorage underneath. We also propose to require the anchorage to be 
accessible without the use of any tools, including the use of a 
screwdriver or coin.

c. Standardized Configuration

    FMVSS No. 225 does not provide any material or dimensional 
requirements for tether anchorages, other than specifying that the 
tether anchorage must permit the attachment of a tether hook meeting 
the configuration and geometry specified in Figure 11 of Standard No. 
213. Most vehicle manufacturers use a metal bar design for the tether 
anchorage. These metal bars vary in cross section shape; some are round 
and others are flat. However, a few pickup trucks and MPVs provide a 
webbing loop as the tether anchorage. The webbing loop is so different 
from the conventional metal bar design that consumers have difficulty 
identifying them as tether anchorages.\46\ Also, in some cases, the 
webbing anchorages need to be retrieved from another component such as 
a foldable carpet flap that runs across the back seat. In certain 
cases, the carpet flap needs to be folded back to find the webbing 
tether anchorage and then the webbing needs to be pulled out with a 
pencil.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \46\ This issue was brought to NHTSA's attention by child 
passenger safety technicians who perform child restraint system 
checks across the country and teach/assist parents in installing 
CRSs properly.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To increase the ease of use of tether anchorages, we propose 
amending FMVSS No. 225 to standardize the configuration of the tether 
anchorage such that it is a ``rigid bar of any cross section shape.'' 
One of the main objectives of this NPRM is to increase the 
standardization of child restraint anchorage system features, because 
we believe doing so increases consumers' familiarity with the anchorage 
systems and will increase the ease of using the systems, particularly 
when coupled with education efforts that provide a simple and uniform 
message. The webbing loop design differs considerably from the 
appearance of a typical tether anchorage. Even if consumers become more 
aware of the importance of tether use, they may still fail to use a 
tether anchorage because they do not recognize the webbing loop as a 
tether anchorage. Having a standardized design for the tether 
anchorages such that they can be described as a ``rigid bar'' would 
help consumers easily recognize the anchorages in their vehicles and 
facilitate simplified and more effective messages in educational 
materials.
    The agency is seeking comment on whether further standardization of 
the tether anchorage should be pursued to make the tether anchorage a 
more recognizable vehicle feature. The agency has tentatively decided 
not to specify dimensions for the tether anchorage, to give 
manufacturers some design flexibility in meeting FMVSS No. 225's 
strength requirements. We request comment on the issue.

d. Clearance Around the Tether Anchorage

    This NPRM proposes requirements to make it easier for a consumer to 
attach a child restraint tether hook to a tether anchorage and tighten 
the tether strap. We propose to amend FMVSS No. 225 to require a 165 mm 
(6.5 in) minimum distance from a tether anchorage to a reference point 
on the vehicle DSP for which the tether anchorage is installed.
    FMVSS No. 225 specifies that tether anchorages must be located 
within the shaded zone shown in Figures 3 to 7 of the standard for the 
DSP for which the anchorage is installed. The standard specifies a 
reference point ``W'' that is 50 mm (1.9 in) below and 50 mm (1.9 in) 
rearward of the shoulder reference point (R-point),\47\ and a reference 
point ``V'' that is 350 mm (13.7 in) vertically above and 175 mm (6.8 
in) horizontally back from the H-point. The standard also specifies a 
strap wrap-around length of 200 mm (7.8 in) from the W-point and a 
strap wrap-around length of 250 mm (9.8 in) from the V-point (see 
Figure 4 of FMVSS No. 225). Tether anchorages may be located only 
within the zone that is generated using both reference points and their 
associated strap wrap-around lengths to ensure there is sufficient 
distance for a tether strap and hook to be attached to the anchorage.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \47\ R-point as defined in SAE J787b.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The UMTRI LATCH Usability study \48\ found that under current FMVSS 
No. 225, tether anchorages can be located too close to the head 
restraint, top of the seat back, or the tether attachment point on a 
CRS, resulting in insufficient clearance space to tighten the CRS 
tether strap. UMTRI reviewed the ``tether hardware assembly,'' which 
consists of the tether hook and hardware to tighten and loosen the 
tether strap, on 21 child restraints made by 11 different CRS 
manufacturers and found the tether hardware assembly to range from 102 
to 184 mm (4 to 7.2 in) in length, with 15 CRSs having tether hardware 
assembly lengths between 140 mm (5.5 in) and 165 mm (6.5 in). UMTRI 
suggests that having tether anchorages on a package shelf or behind the 
seat back at a distance of at least 165 mm (6.5 in) rearward or below 
the back of the head restraint or top of the seat back (if no head 
restraint is present) would provide better clearance for attaching the 
tether hook of a CRS and tightening the strap.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \48\ Supra.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We have reviewed the UMTRI LATCH Usability study and tentatively 
agree that specifying a minimum 165 mm (6.5 in) distance from the 
tether anchorage to a reference point on the vehicle seat would improve 
the ease of use of tether anchorages. The clearance would allow 
tightening of tether straps in most vehicles without experiencing 
interference from other structures, such as the head restraint. The 
reference point on the vehicle seat, which we have designated ``SB,'' 
would be defined as the intersection of the plane parallel to the torso 
line reference plane (defined in Figure 3 of FMVSS No. 225) that passes 
through the rearmost point of the seat and the wrap-around line \49\ 
from the ``V-point'' to the tether anchorage. The rearmost point of the 
seat includes the head restraint, if one is present. The V-point 
represents a low-mounted tether strap on a CRS and the W-point 
represents a high-mounted tether strap on a CRS. The agency believes 
both the V- and W-point could have been used for determining the 
vehicle seat reference point, SB, but we selected the V-point to define 
the reference point because it would encompass both low-mounted and 
high-mounted tether straps.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \49\ Strap wrap-around line is the nonlinear path traversed by a 
string connecting two points.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To improve compatibility between vehicles and CRSs, we also propose 
to amend FMVSS No. 213 to require that the tether hardware assembly 
(consisting of the tether hook and

[[Page 3761]]

hardware to tighten and loosen the tether strap) must be no longer than 
165 mm (6.5 in). We propose this limit so that all CRS tether straps 
will be able to be tightened given the minimum tether anchorage 
distance from the SB reference point.
    The UMTRI LATCH Usability study found that the length of the tether 
hardware assembly of the 21 child restraints it reviewed ranged from 
102 to 184 mm (4 to 7.2 in). UMTRI estimated that about 30 percent of 
CRS models might need tether hardware assembly changes to meet the 165 
mm (6.5 in) limit. We do not believe limiting the length of the tether 
hardware assembly would be overly burdensome for CRS manufacturers, 
since the assembly appears to consist of simple parts. Comments are 
requested on this issue.

VIII. Conspicuity and Identification of Anchorages

    To improve the ease with which consumers find lower anchorages and 
tether anchorages in the vehicle, we propose amending FMVSS No. 225 to 
improve conspicuity and identification of the anchorages. (In the next 
section, we propose complementary requirements amending FMVSS No. 213 
to improve conspicuity and identification of the CRS connectors.)

a. Marking Lower Anchorages

    FMVSS No. 225 (S9.5) currently requires lower anchorage bars to be 
visible, or the vehicle seat marked, to alert the consumer to the 
presence of the anchorages and to assist consumers in locating the 
lower anchorages. If the vehicle seat is marked, the current marking 
requirement is for a circle not less than 13 mm (0.51 in) in diameter, 
located within a specified distance from the horizontal centerline of 
each lower anchorage. The circle may be either solid or open, and may 
be with or without words, symbols or pictograms, but if a word, symbol 
or pictogram is used, its meaning must be explained in the vehicle's 
owner's manual.
    Decina's 2005 survey \50\ indicated that many consumers do not 
recognize that the lower anchorage bars are for installing child 
restraints or do not know that the marks indicate the presence of the 
lower anchorages. The survey showed that 55 percent of consumers who 
did not use lower anchorages to install a CRS, cited their lack of 
knowledge--not knowing what the anchorages were, that they were 
available in the vehicle, the importance of using them, or how to 
properly use them--as the reason for not using them.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \50\ ``Child Restraint Use Survey: LATCH Use and Misuse,'' 
supra.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Since currently not all lower anchorages are required to have 
markings, and since the marks, when provided, often differ in 
appearance from one vehicle model to another, current education 
campaigns rely on the vehicle's written instructions (typically the 
owner's manual) to inform the consumer of the anchorage locations. This 
is likely one reason for the consumers' lack of knowledge regarding the 
location of the lower and tether anchorages, since consumers' use of 
the owner's manual is low.
    We propose to amend FMVSS No. 225 to require all vehicles to bear a 
standardized mark, developed by ISO as a voluntary standard,\51\ at the 
location of each lower anchorage bar, regardless of whether the 
anchorage bar is visible. The mark shows where the bar is located and 
identifies the bar as a lower anchorage. The mark must be a circle not 
less than 13 mm (0.51 in) in diameter located as specified in 
S9.5(a)(3) of FMVSS No. 225. The mark is shown below in Figure 14. We 
also propose to require manufacturers to include an explanation of the 
meaning of the lower anchorages markings in written information (e.g., 
in the vehicle owner's manual, if one is provided).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \51\ ISO 13216-1:1999 ``Road vehicles--Anchorages in vehicles 
and attachments to anchorages for child restraint systems.''
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.012

    The symbol may be shown in mirror image, and the color of the 
symbol is at the option of the manufacturer. The symbol may be 
embossed.
    A number of commenters to the 2007 LATCH public meeting believed 
that the conspicuity and identification of child restraint anchorages 
should be improved. They suggested adopting the ISO symbol to mark all 
child restraint anchorage systems in order to standardize the markings 
and help the caregiver identify the anchorages.\52\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \52\ E.g., in comments to the 2007 LATCH Public Meeting, GM 
raised the merits of an industry agreement to label all tether 
anchorages with an anchorage symbol and all lower anchorages with an 
ISO lower anchorage symbol.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We tentatively agree that adopting a standardized symbol would 
help. Requiring marks for all lower anchorages (regardless of whether 
the anchorages are visible) would improve conspicuity and 
identification of the anchorages. In addition, standardized anchorage 
marks would help in the development of a consistent and simple 
education message to improve awareness of child restraint anchorage 
systems and correct identification of the anchorages. Having the 
standardized markings may help the ISO symbols become a recognizable 
icon to consumers and may help simplify consumer information. A 
simplified message using the consistent marks could increase use of 
child restraint anchorage systems and child restraints generally, 
reduce installation errors, and ultimately reduce risk of injuries and 
fatalities.
    The ISO mark has already been adopted by a majority of vehicle 
manufacturers. NHTSA surveyed 24 MY 2010 vehicles \53\ to gather data 
on rear seat characteristics, and included data on the vehicles' child 
restraint anchorage systems, such as the locations of the systems, how 
they were configured, and manufacturers'

[[Page 3762]]

recommendations for using the systems. Data on vehicles' child 
restraint anchorage systems in 98 top-selling MY 2010-2011 vehicles is 
also available from the UMTRI LATCH Usability study.\54\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \53\ Aram, M.L., Rockwell, T., ``Vehicle Rear Seat Study-
Technical Report,'' NHTSA, 2012, which is in the docket for this 
NPRM.
    \54\ ``LATCH Usability in Vehicles,'' supra.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NHTSA analyzed the data from the agency's survey and from the UMTRI 
LATCH Usability study to learn how vehicle manufacturers design and 
mark the lower anchorages in current vehicles. The combined survey data 
of 122 vehicles showed that 34 percent of the vehicles had visible 
lower anchorages, 17 percent had lower anchorages with some cover 
(slits, doors or flaps), and all other vehicles had anchorages embedded 
in the seat bight). Also, 18 percent of the surveyed vehicles had no 
marks on the lower anchorages because the anchorages were visible, 76 
percent were marked with the ISO symbol, and 6 percent were marked but 
without the ISO symbol.

b. Marking Tether Anchorages

    FMVSS No. 225 currently does not require tether anchorages to be 
marked with any symbol identifying them as such. We propose amending 
FMVSS No. 225 to require the vehicle to bear a standardized mark, also 
developed by ISO,\55\ at the location of each tether anchorage. The 
purpose of the marking requirement would be to increase consumer 
awareness of the existence of tether anchorages and to facilitate 
consumer education efforts. The mark shows the location of the tether 
anchorage and identifies the anchorage. Either of two ISO labeling 
symbols may be used (see Figure 15, below). Canada Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard (CMVSS) No. 210.1, ``User-friendly tether anchorages for 
restraint systems,'' already requires vehicles to be labeled with one 
of the ISO tether labeling symbols. We propose to require the tether 
anchorage mark to be not less than 20 mm (0.8) in height.\56\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \55\ ISO 13216-1:1999 ``Road vehicles--Anchorages in vehicles 
and attachments to anchorages for child restraint systems.'' The ISO 
standard specifies that the tether anchorage symbol has to appear on 
a cover, if a cover is used to hide the tether anchorage.
    \56\ This is the same dimensions for the tether anchorage 
markings specified in CMVSS No. 210.1.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.013

    The symbol may be shown in mirror image, and the coloring of the 
symbol is at the option of the manufacturer. The symbol may be 
embossed.
    We propose that each tether anchorage would be marked, even if it 
is plainly visible. The mark would have to be centered at the middle of 
the tether anchorage bar. The shortest distance from the nearest edge 
of the mark to the center of the tether anchorage bar must be not more 
than 25 mm (1 in). There are no specifications for the distance of the 
marks from the tether anchorage in the ISO standard or in the CMVSS, 
but we tentatively conclude that specifying a maximum spacing to the 
mark is necessary to reduce confusion in identifying and locating the 
anchorages (discussed further below). We also propose to require 
manufacturers to include an explanation of the meaning of the tether 
anchorage markings in written information (e.g., in the vehicle owner's 
manual, if one is provided).
    We propose to permit a tether anchorage to be covered with a cap, 
flap or cover, but the cap, flap or cover must be specifically designed 
to give access to the tether anchorage. We would not permit an ordinary 
floor mat to cover a tether anchorage; to be permitted, the floor mat 
would need to be specifically designed to give access to the tether 
anchorage, such as by having a flap that must be moved aside to access 
the anchorage. Moreover, if a cap, flap or cover is covering a tether 
anchorage, and the cap, flap or cover is permanently attached to the 
vehicle, the cap, flap or cover must be marked with the centered ISO 
symbol to inform consumers of the presence of the tether anchorage 
under it. If the cap, flap or cover is not permanently attached to the 
vehicle, the cap, flap or cover must be marked and the tether anchorage 
must also be separately marked, to make sure the anchorage would be 
marked in case the unattached cap, flap or cover is lost.
    We believe that alignment and proximity requirements are needed 
because some vehicles such as SUVs and station wagons have tether 
anchorages located in the seat back or the floor of the vehicle, along 
with other cargo anchorages or similar hardware. One common CRS 
installation error consumers commit is attaching a CRS tether hook to 
other cargo anchorages or hardware not designed for a tether. Since 
tether anchorages are not always marked with the ISO symbol or some 
other label identifying them as CRS tether anchorages, it is difficult 
for some consumers to distinguish which is the

[[Page 3763]]

tether anchorage. To illustrate, the MY 2012 Chevrolet Avalanche has a 
labeled tether anchorage, yet it is still difficult to see which 
structure is the tether anchorage because the symbol is on a plastic 
surface located laterally from the tether anchorage, and the tether 
anchorage is not distinguishable from other metal structures near it. 
To improve the ease of use of tether anchorages, we are specifying the 
alignment and proximity of the ISO symbol with tether anchorages so 
that the symbol can be easily associated with the anchorages.
    NHTSA's analysis of the data from the agency and UMTRI surveys of 
122 vehicles indicates that 41 percent of the vehicles had tether 
anchorages with no cover and 73 percent of the tether anchorages were 
marked with an ISO tether symbol.

IX. Conspicuity and Identification of CRS Connectors

    As suggested by some commenters in response to the 2007 LATCH 
public meeting, the agency is also proposing to require the same ISO 
marks on CRS lower anchorage connectors and on tether hooks as we have 
proposed for the vehicle components. The required marks would be in a 
smaller minimum size compared to the vehicle markings. We propose that 
the symbol may be shown in mirror image, and the color of the symbol 
may be at the option of the manufacturer. The symbol may be embossed.

a. Lower Anchorage Connectors

    We propose to amend FMVSS No. 213 to require an ISO mark on the 
lower anchorage connectors. The mark would be the same standardized 
symbol used on the vehicle's lower anchorages (see Figure 16). We 
tentatively believe that requiring CRS lower anchorage connectors to be 
marked with the same standardized symbol as the vehicle's lower 
anchorages would make consumers more aware of the existence of child 
restraint anchorage systems. Further, it would also facilitate consumer 
education efforts by simplifying education messages. Consumers could be 
simply told to match the marks on the lower anchorage connectors to the 
lower anchorage marks on the vehicle.
    We are proposing that the ISO mark for the CRS lower anchorage 
connectors shall be at least 9 mm (0.35 in) in diameter. We propose a 
smaller minimum size of the mark for this mark compared to the size of 
the ISO mark for the vehicle lower anchorages (13 mm (.51 in)) to 
accommodate the smaller space available on the lower anchorage 
connectors for the mark. We also propose to require CRS manufacturers 
to include an explanation of the meaning of the lower anchorage 
connector markings in the CRS user's manual.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.014

b. Tether Hook

    We propose to amend FMVSS No. 213 to require one of the two ISO 
tether anchorage marks on the tether hook or the tether strap of a CRS. 
If the mark is on the tether strap or a tag attached to the strap, the 
mark must be located within one inch of the tether hardware assembly 
(tether hook and adjustment hardware). The two tether anchorage mark 
options are shown below in Figure 17. Child restraint manufacturers 
would have the option of using either mark. We are proposing that the 
ISO mark must be at least 8 mm (0.35 in) in diameter. We propose a 
smaller minimum size for this mark compared to the size of the ISO mark 
for the vehicle tether anchorage (20 mm) to accommodate the smaller 
space available on the tether hook and the tether strap for the mark. 
We also propose to require CRS manufacturers to include an explanation 
of the meaning of the markings in the CRS user's manual.

[[Page 3764]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.015

    We tentatively believe that requiring a CRS tether hook or tether 
strap be marked with the same standardized symbol as the vehicle's 
tether anchorage would make consumer education more effective. It would 
simplify education messages to be able to tell consumers to match the 
mark on a CRS tether hook or strap to a tether anchorage mark in the 
vehicle.

X. Request for Comments

a. Center Rear Seat

    FMVSS No. 225 (S4.4) requires vehicles with three or more forward-
facing rear DSPs to have a child restraint anchorage system at not 
fewer than two rear DSPs.\57\ Vehicles with three or more forward-
facing rear DSPs are required to have a tether anchorage at a third 
forward-facing DSP. At least one tether anchorage must be in a forward-
facing rear DSP other than an outboard DSP (i.e., a center seat). NHTSA 
recognized in the March 5, 1999 final rule \58\ that vehicle 
manufacturers would probably install the lower anchorages in the two 
outboard seating positions because two child restraint anchorage 
systems were unlikely to fit side-by-side in the rear seat. The 
requirement for a third tether anchorage at a center seat provides 
consumers the option of installing child restraints in a center DSP, 
where there is the vehicle's belt system and a tether anchorage.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \57\ We did not require child restraint anchorage systems in all 
three rear seating positions because demographics data did not show 
that there were a significant number of families with three or more 
children in child restraint systems. NHTSA also sought to minimize 
the cost of the rule to the extent reasonable.
    \58\ 64 FR 10803, March 5, 1999, FMVS No. 225 final rule.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Information from the NHTSA rear seat survey \59\ of 24 MY 2010 
vehicles and the UMTRI survey \60\ of 98 MY 2010-2011 vehicles shows 
that vehicle manufacturers have mostly opted to install the two 
required child restraint anchorage systems in the two outboard 
positions of the second row and only equip the center seat, if 
available, with a tether anchorage. A review of the combined data from 
the NHTSA rear seat survey and the UMTRI survey found that of vehicles 
with a rear center DSP, none offered two dedicated lower anchorages in 
the center position.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \59\ Aram, M.L., Rockwell, T. ``Vehicle Rear Seat Study-
Technical Report,'' NHTSA, 2012, which is in the docket for this 
NPRM.
    \60\ LATCH Usability study, supra.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Since the issuance of the final rule, many consumers have expressed 
a desire to use the rear center seating location to install a CRS using 
the lower anchorages. NHTSA requests comment on possible ways to 
address this. The Safe Kids survey \61\ indicated that about a third of 
children in CRSs with internal harnesses (these CRSs are designed to be 
attached to the vehicle seat by the child restraint anchorage system or 
the seat belt) are installed in the rear center seat.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \61\ A Look Inside American Family Vehicles: National Study of 
79,000 car seats, 2009-2010. Safe Kids USA. September 2011.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    One approach would be to require a set of lower anchorages in the 
rear center seating position, instead of one or both of the child 
restraint anchorage systems available at the outboard positions in most 
current vehicle models. We request comment on the feasibility of 
installing a child restraint anchorage system in a rear center seating 
position and on whether we should require such installation. We believe 
there are potential limitations to the center seat, such as space, 
hardware and other features that could impede accommodating a set of 
lower anchorages in the center seat, especially if there were a set of 
lower anchorages in the outboard seating position(s).
    In addition, we believe it is more desirable to have two usable 
child restraint anchorage systems available to consumers in the rear 
seat (in the outboard positions) rather than only one in the center. 
NCRUSS \62\ data showed that of the 4,132 vehicles with children 9 
years old or younger in the second row, 329 vehicles (8 percent) had 
two children in child restraints with internal harnesses in the second 
row: 293 vehicles (7 percent) had the two children in the outboard 
seating positions and 36 vehicles (0.9 percent) had the two children in 
adjacent seating positions, (one in an outboard seating position and 
one in the center seating position). Twenty vehicles (0.5 percent) of 
the 4,132 vehicles had the three children seated in a CRS in the second 
row: 8 vehicles (0.2 percent) had three children in child restraints 
with internal harnesses, 1 vehicle (0.025 percent) had 2 child 
restraints with internal harnesses and a booster seat and 11 vehicles 
(0.26 percent) had 2 booster seats and 1 child restraint with an 
internal harness.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \62\ National Child Restraint Use Special Study, DOT HS 811 679, 
http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811679.pdf (full report pending).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A second approach would be to require a third set of dedicated 
lower anchorages in the rear center seat. Although as with the previous 
approach we generally believe insufficient space and potential 
interference with hardware and other features could impede the 
installation of dedicated set of lower anchorages for the center 
seating position in all vehicles, UMTRI studied the feasibility of 
lower

[[Page 3765]]

anchorages in the rear center seat \63\ for 85 MY 2010-2011 vehicles. 
UMTRI determined that vehicles with 710 mm (27.9 in) or more distance 
between the centerlines of outboard lower anchorages behind the driver 
and front passenger seats would have sufficient space to provide three 
sets of usable dedicated lower anchorages in the right, center, and 
left seating positions in the rear row. Based on this finding, UMTRI 
noted that 47 of the 85 vehicles surveyed (56 percent) could include a 
dedicated center lower anchorage position in addition to the two 
outboard anchorage positions without seat belt interference.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \63\ Klinich, K.D., Manary, M.A., Orton, N.R. ``Feasibility of 
Center LATCH.'' This report is in the docket for this NPRM.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We request comment on the feasibility of installing a dedicated 
child restraint anchorage system in the rear center seating position in 
addition to the two anchorage system in the outboard seating positions 
in vehicles with 710 mm (27.9 in) or more distance between the 
centerlines of outboard lower anchorages. We request comment on the 
merits of requiring such installation.
    A third approach would be based on ``simulated'' child restraint 
anchorage systems. A ``simulated'' child restraint anchorage system in 
the rear center seating position consists of the inboard lower 
anchorages of the child restraint anchorage systems in the two outboard 
seating positions and the tether anchorage in the center seat. The 
agency's rear seat study \64\ further found that of vehicles that had a 
rear center DSP (19 out of 24), 15.8 percent had instructions that 
permitted using a simulated child restraint anchorage system in the 
rear center seating position. Child passenger safety technicians 
(CPSTs) \65\ recommend using a ``simulated'' child restraint anchorage 
system only if both the manufacturer of the child restraint and the 
manufacturer of the vehicle endorse using a simulated system. We are 
interested in learning more about how widely CRS manufacturers and 
vehicle manufacturers endorse use of simulated child restraint 
anchorage systems. We request comment on whether we should encourage, 
or possibly require, CRS manufacturers and vehicle manufacturers to 
include statements in the owner's instructions endorsing the use of 
simulated child restraint anchorage systems in rear center seating 
positions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \64\ Aram, M.L., Rockwell, T. ``Vehicle Rear Seat Study-
Technical Report,'' NHTSA, 2012, which is in the docket for this 
NPRM.
    \65\ CPSTs are trained in a program conducted by Safe Kids 
Worldwide to conduct child safety seat checks across the country and 
provide parents and caregivers hands-on assistance with proper use 
of child restraint systems and seat belts.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    An issue arising with simulated child restraint anchorage systems 
relates to the spacing of the lower anchorages. FMVSS No. 225 requires 
the lower anchorages to be spaced 280 mm (11 in) apart, measured as the 
center-to-center distance of the lower anchorage bars. The distance 
between the lower anchorages is important to maintain uniformity with 
the spacing of rigid lower anchorage connectors on child 
restraints,\66\ and to standardize the configuration of the lower 
anchorages to increase the likelihood that consumers will attach a CRS 
to a child restraint anchorage system and not to a part of a vehicle 
seat that was not intended for anchoring a child restraint. If a 
vehicle has the two requisite child restraint anchorage systems with 
the lower anchorages spaced 280 mm (11 in) apart in the outboard DSPs, 
the agency questions whether the simulated child restraint anchorage 
system could have the lower anchorages spaced more than 280 mm (11 in) 
apart?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \66\ Rigid lower anchorage connectors are prevalent in Europe. 
Although they are not prevalent now in the U.S., they are permitted 
by FMVSS No. 213. ISO 13216 Road vehicles--Anchorages in vehicles 
and attachments to anchorages for child restraint systems. http://www.iso.org/iso/home.htm.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We tentatively conclude that the answer is yes. This is because 
virtually all CRS designs in the U.S. use flexible lower anchorage 
connectors (as opposed to rigid), which are uniquely capable of being 
installed using a ``simulated'' child restraint anchorage system with 
varying spacing widths. A vehicle's lower anchorages would also be 
labeled, which would reduce the chances of the consumer attaching the 
child restraint lower anchorage connectors to the wrong part. Moreover, 
as discussed below, test data so far indicate that simulated child 
restraint anchorage systems perform satisfactorily from a 
crashworthiness point of view.
    NHTSA's rear seat survey showed that the spacing of the inboard 
anchorages of the outboard seating positions varied from 270 to 675 mm 
(10.6 to 26.5 in). These included all vehicles regardless of whether a 
simulated child restraint anchorage system was recommended. Ford Motor 
Company (Ford) has endorsed in its manuals the use of simulated child 
restraint anchorage systems in Ford vehicles (e.g., Focus, Fusion) that 
have lower anchorages spaced less than 500 mm (19.6 in) apart, although 
the consumer is instructed to also obtain approval from the child 
restraint manufacturer before using a simulated child restraint 
anchorage system. We understand that Ford makes this recommendation 
based on independent tests demonstrating that distances greater than 
280 mm (11 in) between lower anchorages would not have adverse effects 
on child passenger safety.
    UMTRI data also indicate that simulated child restraint anchorage 
systems perform satisfactorily. UMTRI conducted tests to quantify the 
effect of lower anchorage spacing on CRS performance. UMTRI performed a 
total of 15 sled tests using lower anchorage spacing of 280, 500 and 
550 mm (11, 19.6 and 21.6 in) with five unspecified models of CRSs 
using the FMVSS No. 213 standard bench seat and test protocol. No 
installation issues, structural failures, or unusual dummy kinematics 
were observed. Wider spacing between lower anchorages (550 mm (21.6 in) 
compared to 280 mm (11 in)) only caused a lower anchorage peak load 
increase of 3-14 percent. No consistent trends or significant changes 
were found in seat back rotation (of rear-facing seats), peak head 
excursion, peak knee excursion, HIC, or chest acceleration.
    NHTSA's testing also found satisfactory performance when using 
lower anchorages spaced greater than 280 mm (11 in). A series of six 
frontal impact sled tests were conducted based on the FMVSS No. 213 
dynamic test procedure. Six side impact sled tests were also conducted 
by rotating the FMVSS No. 213 seat fixture 90 degrees to the direction 
of impact and using the half-sine pulse and velocity that was used in 
NHTSA's development of a proposed side impact test procedure.\67\ In 
the frontal impact sled tests, an all-in-one child restraint (Alpha 
Omega Elite) was tested in its forward-facing mode with a HIII-3C 
dummy, and an infant carrier (Evenflo Discovery 5) was tested in the 
rear-facing mode with a 12-month-old CRABI dummy. In the side impact 
sled tests, the same all-in-one restraint was tested in its forward-
facing mode with a Q-series 3-year-old child (Q3s) dummy and a 
different infant carrier (Graco Infant Safe Seat Step 1) was tested in 
the rear-facing mode with a 12-month-old CRABI dummy. Three tests of 
each CRS model were performed varying the lower anchorage spacing at 
280, 400 and 520 mm (11, 15.7, 20.4 in).\68\ Similar to other studies, 
the

[[Page 3766]]

results showed that increasing the lower anchorage spacing did not 
affect the injury measures of the dummies used in the frontal and side 
impact sled tests. The HIC values and head and chest accelerations were 
all within acceptable limits for the 3-year-old and 12-month old child 
dummies in 20 mph (32 km/h) side impacts and 30 mph (48 km/h) frontal 
impacts.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \67\ See NPRM proposing to add a side impact test to FMVSS No. 
213, 79 FR 4570, January 28, 2014.
    \68\ The NHTSA rear seat study showed that all the vehicles 
except the Toyota Tundra had lower anchorage spacing less than 520 
mm (20.4 in). The lower anchorages on the Toyota Tundra Crew and 
Extended Cab models were spaced greater than 580 mm (22.8 in) apart. 
The Tundra owner's manual contains no statements on use of simulated 
child restraint anchorage systems in the center position. NHTSA 
considered the spacing on the Toyota Tundra vehicles outliers in the 
study, and thus chose 520 mm (20.4 in) as the widest lower anchorage 
spacing in its testing.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Given that there appears to be a lower need for the lower 
anchorages to be 280 mm (11 in) apart in a simulated child restraint 
anchorage system than in the required child restraint anchorage 
systems, and given that simulated systems appear to be performing 
satisfactorily in dynamic testing, should we encourage or require CRS 
manufacturers and vehicle manufacturers to include, in instruction 
manuals, statements that endorse the use of simulated child restraint 
anchorage systems in rear center seating positions? An advantage of CRS 
and vehicle manufacturers endorsing simulated child restraint anchorage 
systems is to provide consumers the option of installing a CRS in the 
center rear seat with the lower anchorages plus tether at no cost.
    In examining this question, another issue to consider is whether 
the strength of the lower anchorages of the simulated system needs to 
be tested as a unit to FMVSS No. 225's strength requirements (S9.4). We 
tentatively conclude that the answer is no, such testing appears 
redundant. This is because the strength of the lower anchorages would 
be assessed when the requisite child restraint anchorage systems at the 
outboard DSPs are tested. Further, our sled tests showed that the loads 
of the lower anchorages do not change significantly with the different 
lower anchorage spacing (280, 400 and 520 mm).\69\ If the agency were 
to test the strength of a simulated child restraint anchorage system, a 
new test device would have to be developed because the test device 
currently used in FMVSS No. 225 is made to test only lower anchorages 
that are spaced 280 mm (11 in) apart.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \69\ Amenson, T., Sullivan, L.K., ``Dynamic Evaluation of LATCH 
Lower Anchor Spacing Requirements and Effect of Tether Anchor 
Location on Tether and Lower Anchor Loads.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A separate, but related, issue to consider is the potential problem 
of users using the same lower anchorage for the attachment of two lower 
anchorage connectors from adjacent child restraints. We request 
comments on solutions to mitigate this possible misuse problem. Ford 
includes a warning in vehicle owner's manuals to ``never attach two 
child safety seats to the same anchor.'' We request comment on whether 
vehicle manufacturers have received any complaints of confusion or 
reports of failures due to consumers installing two CRSs to the same 
lower anchorage. We also request comment on whether CPSTs have 
encountered this type of misuse in the field.
    There is also the issue of whether we should limit the lateral 
spacing of the lower anchorages of the simulated system, to prohibit 
vehicle manufacturers from recommending the use of the inboard lower 
anchorages if the anchorages are more than a specified distance, such 
as 520 mm (20.4 in). NHTSA has test data indicating satisfactory 
performance by CRSs attached to lower anchorages spaced a maximum 520 
mm (20.4 in) apart. We do not have test data assessing lower anchorages 
spaced more than 520 mm (20.4 in) apart.

b. Third Row

    FMVSS No. 225 requires that at least one of the two required child 
restraint anchorage systems be installed at a second row seating 
position in each vehicle that has three or more rows. In the 1997 NPRM 
underlying the 1999 final rule establishing the standard, the agency 
requested comment on demographic data on the number of children 
typically transported in child restraints in family vehicles, to 
evaluate the need for additional child restraint anchorage systems in 
vehicles with three or more rows. The data we received did not show 
there were a significant number of families with three or more children 
in child restraints. Based on that data, NHTSA issued FMVSS No. 225 to 
require only two full child restraint anchorage systems in vehicles, 
plus the third tether anchorage.
    We request comment on whether FMVSS No. 225 should require child 
restraint anchorage systems or tether anchorages in all rear seating 
positions. Would requiring child restraint anchorage systems or tether 
anchorages in all rear seating positions meet the need for motor 
vehicle safety? Would the requirement protect the public against 
unreasonable risk of death or injury in an accident? There were a 
number of comments to the 2007 LATCH public meeting expressing 
dissatisfaction with the number of child restraint anchorage systems 
that are present in the third row of vehicles. Some commenters said 
that consumers sometimes purchase vehicles with three or more rows to 
accommodate large families, but are unable to install all of the child 
restraints with child restraint anchorage systems because the third row 
does not have the systems.
    NHTSA examined MY 2013 fleet data to determine the availability of 
child restraint anchorage systems in the third row. We estimate that 
57.2 percent of vehicles with three rows have one additional seating 
position equipped with a child restraint anchorage system (additional 
to those required), 10 percent have two additional seating positions 
equipped with a child restraint anchorage system, and 32.7 percent do 
not have child restraint anchorage systems in the third row.\70\ 
UMTRI's LATCH Usability study \71\ found that 71 percent of vehicles 
with a third row had one or two tether anchorages in the third row 
(most were in addition to those required), 9 percent had 3 tether 
anchorages in the third row (most were in addition to those required), 
and 19 percent did not have a tether anchorage in the third row. In 
assessing the safety need for the requirement, we will consider how 
frequently child restraint anchorage systems are used in the third row. 
Recent surveys show that only about 2.4 \72\ to 4.5 percent \73\ of 
children in CRSs with internal harnesses (CRSs that would use the lower 
anchorages) are seated in the third row. We believe that the low use of 
the third row is due in part to the small number of families with 
multiple children in CRSs with internal harnesses.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \70\ Based on 2013 vehicle production estimates submitted by 
vehicle manufacturers to NCAP.
    \71\ ``LATCH Usability in Vehicles,'' supra.
    \72\ NCRUSS, supra.
    \73\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    There is also reduced space in the third row, which may make it 
difficult to fit most rear-facing CRSs. Information obtained from our 
February 25, 2011, request for comments notice \74\ on the proposed 
NCAP Vehicle-CRS Fit program indicated that rear-facing CRSs are not 
likely to be used in the third row of a vehicle due to the available 
space. Several comments from vehicle manufacturers (Nissan, the 
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Alliance) and the Association of 
Global Automakers) stated that vehicle designs present greater fit 
challenges for rear-facing CRSs in the third row. The groups stated 
that as CRSs continue to get larger and heavier and, as vehicles get 
smaller for fuel economy purposes, compatibility problems may become

[[Page 3767]]

even more prevalent for the third row positions. Consumers Union (CU) 
also expressed that it may be unreasonable for some vehicles to be 
expected to fit rear-facing CRSs in the third row. CU stated that its 
own evaluations have shown a need to fold second row seats flat in 
order to install a third row rear-facing CRS since many second row 
seats are not adjustable fore/aft. General Motors (GM) stated that 
because second row seats are often not adjustable, it is often 
``impractical'' to install rear-facing CRS in the third row. GM 
referenced data collected via Safe Kids from July 2009 through January 
2011 which showed that only one percent of children arrive at CRS 
checkpoints in a rear-facing CRS in the third row of a vehicle. UMTRI 
also commented that NHTSA's NCAP Vehicle-CRS fit program should not 
require rear-facing CRSs to fit in all available third row positions 
because most parents and caregivers do not choose to install rear-
facing CRSs in this row.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \74\ Docket NHTSA-2010-0062; 76 FR 10637.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NHTSA requests comment on whether FMVSS No. 225 should require 
child restraint anchorage systems in the third row if it is not 
altogether feasible to use rear-facing CRSs in the third row due to 
reduced space in that row. Information is also requested on the 
likelihood of consumers placing rear-facing CRSs in the third row, even 
if CRSs could fit in that row. Even if rear-facing child restraints 
could not or would not be installed using child restraint anchorage 
systems in the third row of a vehicle, are child restraint anchorage 
systems needed in the third row for forward-facing CRSs? The lower 
anchorages (plus tether anchorage) have a weight limit of 29.5 kg (65 
lb) combined weight (CRS + child), meaning that consumers are 
instructed not to use the lower anchorages to attach a child restraint 
when the combined weight of the CRS and child exceeds 29.5 kg (65 lb). 
Consider also newly revised car seat use recommendations developed by 
NHTSA and by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) \75\ recommending 
that children should stay in a rear-facing CRS for as long as possible, 
within the top height and weight limit allowed by the CRS manufacturer. 
Most convertible CRSs specify a maximum child weight of 15.8-18 kg (35-
40 lb) in the rear-facing mode.\76\ All this indicates that, for child 
restraint anchorage systems installed at third row seating positions, 
use of the lower anchorages in the third row might only be for a 
relatively short period for forward-facing restraints.\77\ If the lower 
anchorages were used after a child is transitioned to a forward-facing 
restraint (typically when the child reaches 15.8-18 kg (35-40 lb)), 
they would be used only while the child weighs 14.5 to 22.6 kg (32 to 
50 lb), depending on the CRS weight.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \75\ Policy Statement--Child Passenger Safety. Committee on 
Injury, Violence and Poison prevention March 21.2011) Pediatrics--
Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2011/03/21/peds.2011-0213.full.pdf+html (last accessed June 24, 2014).
    \76\ This corresponds to the weight of a 50th to 80th percentile 
4-year-old child.
    \77\ Generally lower anchorages would be used to attach a rear-
facing child restraint until the child is 15.8-18.1 kg (35-40 lb), 
and then used for a forward-facing restraint only while the child 
weighs 14.5-22.6 kg (32 to 50 lb), depending on CRS weight.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Would an amendment requiring child restraint anchorage systems or 
tether anchorages at some or all third row seating positions meet the 
requirements and considerations of Sec.  30111(a) and (b) of the 
Vehicle Safety Act? Currently, for vehicles that do not have a tether 
anchorage at the rear center seating position in the second row, a 
tether anchorage is already required to be in a third row seating 
position. Thus, the proposed requirement would be to have a second or 
third tether anchorage in the third row. We also request comment on the 
feasibility of installing child restraint anchorage systems and tether 
anchorages in some or all rear seating positions in vehicles with three 
or more rows.
    We estimate that including lower anchorages in two additional 
seating positions would cost $7.2 million in vehicles with a third row 
($2.50 per additional lower anchorage set) and $5.2 million for tether 
anchorages in all third row seating positions ($1.33 per additional 
tether anchorage). Testing costs would increase $1,500 per additional 
child restraint anchorage system in each seating position for each 
vehicle model. We request comment on these cost estimates.

c. Vehicles Currently Excluded From FMVSS No. 225

    1. We request comments on the feasibility of installing anchorages 
in convertibles. FMVSS No. 225 currently excludes convertibles from 
having to provide tether anchorages in rear seating positions. In 
comments to the 1997 NPRM, GM and Mitsubishi stated that vehicle 
manufacturers have technical problems installing tether anchorages in 
convertibles because the vehicles have folding roofs, a stowage area 
behind the seat back for the top and its mechanism, and less rear seat 
space. NHTSA agreed that many convertibles could have design problems, 
and determined that it could not at that time readily separate those 
convertibles from those without technical problems. All convertibles 
were excluded from the requirement.
    Since the time FMVSS No. 225 was established, tether anchorage 
designs have evolved and vehicle manufacturers have had over 10 years 
of experience installing them to meet the standard. Among 35 
convertible vehicle models with a rear seat in the 2013 vehicle fleet, 
ten are equipped with the full child restraint anchorage system (lower 
anchorages and tether anchorage) in two rear DSPs, 14 are equipped with 
only the lower anchorages at two rear DSPs, and 11 are not equipped 
with any anchorages. We propose deleting the exclusion of convertible 
vehicles from the requirement to provide tether anchorages. We wish to 
know why the technical problems that existed in 1997 could not be 
overcome by the knowledge gained since 1997. We request comments on the 
feasibility of installing tether anchorages in the second row of 
convertibles, and in the first row in convertibles that do not have a 
second row.
    2. FMVSS No. 225, at S5(e), states that a vehicle--

with a rear designated seating position for which interference with 
transmission and/or suspension components prevents the location of 
the lower bars of a child restraint anchorage system anywhere within 
the zone described by S9.2 or S15.1.2.2(b) such that the attitude 
angles of S15.1.2.2(a) could be met, is excluded from the 
requirement to provide a child restraint anchorage system at that 
position. However, except as provided elsewhere in S5 of this 
standard, such a vehicle must have a tether anchorage at a front 
passenger designated seating position.

    We request comment on whether this exclusion in S5(e) of FMVSS No. 
225 is still needed. Since the issuance of FMVSS No. 225, manufacturers 
have gained experience in designing and installing vehicle seats with 
lower anchorages. We believe that vehicle seats could be installed with 
the lower anchorages so as not to interfere with transmission and/or 
suspension components. We have tentatively determined there is no 
longer a need for S5(e) and propose deleting it.

d. Written Instructions

    NHTSA requests comments on the following possible ways to enhance 
the instructions provided consumers about using child restraint 
anchorage systems.
1. Terminology
    Standard No. 225 (S12) requires vehicle manufacturers to provide

[[Page 3768]]

written instruction for using child restraint anchorage systems and 
tether anchorages. Standard No. 213 (S5.6.1) specifies that child 
restraint systems provide printed instructions that include a step-by-
step procedure for installing and securing the child restraint system 
in a vehicle. To improve the ease of use of child restraint anchorage 
systems, should the written information provided pursuant to Standards 
No. 225 and No. 213 use standardized terminology referring to the parts 
of the child restraint anchorage system and the components of the child 
restraint that connect the CRS to the vehicle? We request comment on 
whether requiring the following terms in child restraint and vehicle 
user's manuals would help make the instructions clearer and more 
uniform: ``lower anchor(s)'' and ``tether anchor'' for components of 
the child restraint anchorage system, and ``lower anchor attachments'' 
and ``tether'' for components of the CRS that are used to connect the 
CRS to the vehicle. A ``lower anchor attachment'' is comprised of a 
``lower anchor connector'' and a ``lower anchor strap,'' (for flexible 
lower anchor attachments) and a ``tether'' is comprised of a ``tether 
hook'' and a ``tether strap.'' Would standardized terminology improve 
consumer education efforts and increase the likelihood that child 
restraints would be used correctly? \78\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \78\ We tentatively believe that the term ``LATCH'' is not clear 
enough for this purpose. As explained in an earlier footnote, the 
term ``LATCH,'' is an acronym for ``Lower Anchors and Tethers for 
Children,'' which was developed by industry as a consumer-friendly 
term to describe the child restraint anchorage system. While the 
term has been beneficial, it is also associated with some ambiguity 
and confusion. For one thing, various vehicle and CRS manufacturers 
have used the term ``LATCH'' in users' manuals differently. 
``LATCH'' has been used to refer to the ``lower anchors'' of a child 
restraint anchorage system, the full 3-point child restraint 
anchorage system, or to the CRS tether. Also, some consumers 
mistakenly associate CRS tether use only with attachment of the CRS 
using the lower anchorages of a child restraint anchorage system and 
not with a CRS attachment using the seat belt, a misconception 
possibly reinforced by the LATCH term.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. Recommendation for Tether Anchorage Use
    NHTSA has tentatively determined that consumers should be 
instructed to always attach the CRS tether when restraining a child in 
a forward-facing CRS with an internal harness. Further, we believe that 
the instruction is appropriate when the CRS is installed using the 
lower anchorages of a child restraint anchorage system \79\ and when 
the CRS is installed using a seat belt. The instruction is simple and 
would increase the ease of use of tether anchorages. The agency 
requests comments on this issue.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \79\ NHTSA amended FMVSS No. 213 (February 27, 2012, 77 FR 
11626) (response to petition for reconsideration, February 25, 2014, 
79 FR 10396) to require, among other things, a label on some CRSs, 
specifying the maximum child weight for using the lower anchorages 
to install child restraints with internal harnesses. Child weight 
limit = 29.5 kg (65lb)-CRS weight. The 2014 final rule provided 
manufacturers an option of rounding the value up to the next 
multiple of 2.2 kg (5 lb) using a lookup table.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    If consumers were provided the simple and straightforward 
instruction to always attach the tether on the subject CRSs, we believe 
that tether use would increase, to the benefit of child passengers. In 
tests of a restrained dummy in forward-facing CRSs with harnesses, 
researchers found reduced head excursions due to tether use in frontal 
sled tests conducted at different speeds.\80\ Field data indicate that 
the most common injury to children restrained in child restraints is a 
head injury, and the source of injury is often contact with vehicle 
structures in front of the child restraint, such as the vehicle front 
seat back.\81\ We tentatively conclude that the use of tethers would 
reduce the magnitude of head excursions, and that reduced head 
excursions would result in fewer and less severe head injuries.\82\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \80\ UMTRI Research Review--Crash Protection for Child 
Passengers: Rationale for Best Practice, January-March 2012, Volume 
43, Number 1. http://www.umtri.umich.edu/content/rr_43_1.pdf.
    \81\ Analysis of 1993-2007 NASS-CDS data files showed that the 
most-common AIS 2+ injuries among children restrained in rear seats 
were to the head and face and the most-common contacts for AIS 2+ 
injuries to these children were the seat and back support. An 
estimated 39 percent of AIS 2+ injuries in frontal crashes to 
children restrained in rear seats were to the head and face with 59 
percent of these injuries resulting from contact with the seat and 
back support in front of the seating position.
    \82\ We believe that tether use may particularly benefit taller 
children since they may experience greater head excursion than 
children with shorter seated height.
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    Test data indicate that tether anchorages are extremely robust and 
would be reasonably able to withstand crash forces generated by 
virtually all restrained children in the subject CRSs. As explained 
below, NHTSA (a) estimated the dynamic loads that are imparted to 
tether anchorages in 47-56 km/h (30-35 mph) crashes; \83\ (b) assessed 
the strength of current tether anchorages through quasi-static 
laboratory testing; and (c) analyzed those data to estimate the dynamic 
loads that current anchorages would be able to withstand. NHTSA has 
tentatively determined that the analysis shows that tether anchorages 
are sufficiently strong to warrant an instruction that they should be 
used with all children restrained in a forward-facing CRS with an 
internal harness.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \83\ Additionally, our analysis of 1993-2007 NASS-CDS data files 
indicate that 99.4 percent of crashes that involve restrained 
children have delta Vs less than or equal to 30 mph.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dynamic Loads
    The agency estimated the loads that are imparted to tether 
anchorages in relatively severe crashes. We reviewed Transport Canada 
data of tether anchorage loads measured in 47-56 km/h (30-35 mph) full 
frontal rigid barrier crash tests of 20 MY 2009 and 2010 vehicle 
models.\84\ Transport Canada placed child restraints in the outboard 
rear seating positions using the child restraint anchorage system 
(including the top tether). The program involved 28 crash tests with 
the HIII-6C dummy and 4 crash tests with the HIII-10C dummy. The weight 
of the CRSs used in the tests ranged from 5.1 kg (11.4 lb) to 11.3 kg 
(25.1 lb), and the combined weight of the CRS plus the 6 year-old and 
10 year-old child dummies ranged from 28.1 to 42.1 kg (62 to 93 lb). 
The peak vehicle acceleration in these crash tests ranged from 30 g to 
68 g.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \84\ Dynamic Load Measurement of Child Restraint Anchors in 
Frontal Vehicle Crashes Conducted by Transport Canada, See docket 
for this notice of proposed rulemaking. Details of the Transport 
Canada tests are available in Docket No. NHTSA-2014-0026.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In the Transport Canada tests, the total anchorage loads (sum of 
forces on the lower anchors and the tether anchor) ranged from 7,500 N 
(1,686 lb) to 20,800 N (4,676 lb) with the HIII-6C dummy, and from 
13,300 N (2,990 lb) to 20,400 N (4,586 lb) with the HIII-10C dummy (see 
Tables A1(a) and A1(b) in the Appendix to the preamble of the February 
25, 2014 final rule, 79 FR at 10414-10416). The peak measured tether 
loads ranged from 677 N (152 lb) to 6,951 N (1,562 lb). The tether 
loads were approximately 8 percent to 50 percent of the total measured 
anchorage loads, with an average of 29 percent of the total. There were 
no tether anchorage failures in any of the tests.\85\
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    \85\ The Transport Canada tests included a 56 km/h (35 mph) 
frontal impact test of a Kia Forte with a Hybrid III 10 year-old 
child dummy restrained in Safety 1st Apex 65 CRS. The CRS was 
installed in the right outboard rear seat with lower and tether 
anchorages. The CRS weighed about 5.9 kg (13 lb). The combined 
weight (child+CRS) in this test was 40.8 kg (90 lb), the peak 
vehicle acceleration was 46 G. The total maximum anchorage loads 
measured in this test was 20,395 N (4,584.9 lb). The peak tether 
anchorage load was 7,759 N (1,744.3 lb). In that test, one of the 
lower anchorages failed but the tether anchorage was intact.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We believe the data from the Transport Canada tests (involving 47-
56 km/h (30-35 mph) full frontal rigid barrier crash tests) represent 
just about all crashes involving restrained children

[[Page 3769]]

in the subject CRSs in the U.S. Our analysis of real world crash data 
indicate that 99.4 percent of crashes that involve children in CRSs 
have delta Vs less than or equal to 30 mph.\86\ Thus, the Transport 
Canada data are indicative of the loads that are typically imposed on 
tether anchorages in virtually all crashes involving children in 
forward-facing CRSs with internal harnesses.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \86\ Analysis of 1993-2007 NASS-CDS data files.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Measured Strength of Tether Anchors in the Current Fleet
    We conducted quasi-static tests on child restraint anchorages in 11 
MY 2006-2011 \87\ vehicle models and 18 MY 2013 vehicle models \88\ to 
assess the strength of the anchorages in the current fleet. (These 
vehicles were previously crash-tested, but NHTSA examined the vehicles 
to assess the condition of the child restraint anchorage systems to 
determine the suitability of the vehicles for inclusion in the quasi-
static test program.) A static pull test was conducted on the tether 
anchors alone in three rear seating positions using a cable at loading 
rates similar to that specified in FMVSS No 225, but to higher loads or 
to anchorage failure.\89\
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    \87\ Valentin-Ruiz, et al. ``Quasi-static load tests to evaluate 
the strength of child restraint anchorage systems in MY 2006-2011 
vehicles,'' NHTSA Report, December 2013. See docket for this notice 
of proposed rulemaking.
    \88\ ``Quasi-static load tests to evaluate the strength of child 
restraint anchorage systems in MY 2013 vehicles,'' ALPHA Technology 
Associates, Inc., December 2013. See docket for this notice of 
proposed rulemaking.
    \89\ A few tether anchorage load tests were conducted until 
failure of the anchorages. However, after an equipment failure, the 
tether loads were limited to 10,000 N (2,248 lb) to prevent damage 
to the equipment. Since the tether anchorage tests were performed 
after the lower anchorage tests, and because some of the vehicle 
seats experienced excessive seat damage and deformation during the 
lower anchorage tests, achieving target loads in the tether 
anchorage tests was not possible in some vehicles.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Among the 11 MY 2006-2011 vehicle models tested, 27 tether anchors 
were subjected to quasi-static loads. All the tether anchorages had 
strengths greater than 10,000 N (2,248 lb). Three tether anchorages 
were loaded to failure: Failure of the tether anchorage occurred at 
11,900 N (2,675 lb) in the Ford Taurus, and 13,200 N (2,967 lb) and 
14,400 N (3,237 lb) in the Toyota Yaris.
    Among the 18 MY 2013 vehicle models tested, 43 tether anchors were 
subjected to quasi-static loads. All of the tether anchorages had 
strengths greater than 10,000 N (2,248 lb).\90\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \90\ Twenty-five tether anchors were tested to increased loads. 
In some tests, even though there was no anchorage failure, there was 
significant displacement and deformation of adjoining structures 
including the seat. In some cases, the target loads could not be 
achieved because of significant deformation of the seat structure.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dynamic to Static Strength
    Although there is no consistent and direct correlation between 
dynamic to static strength of anchorage systems, and although the 
dynamic to static strength ratio is vehicle specific, data show that 
child restraint anchorage systems are able to withstand higher loads 
dynamically than statically. In the Alliance's petition for 
reconsideration of the strength requirements of the 1999 final rule 
establishing FMVSS No. 225, the Alliance indicated that the quasi-
static test load of FMVSS No. 225 simulating a high-speed impact should 
be approximately 50 percent of the expected dynamic load.\91\ Toyota 
also expressed the view \92\ that the tether anchorage is able to 
withstand greater loads dynamically than statically, and estimated the 
value to be 30 percent.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \91\ See 68 FR 38208, 38218; June 27, 2003.
    \92\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NHTSA has estimated the minimum dynamic loads that current 
anchorages would be able to withstand, given the information from the 
Alliance and Toyota regarding a dynamic to quasi-static load 
relationship and the quasi-static load data that were available from 
our test program. NHTSA's quasi-static anchorage load tests showed that 
all tether anchorages had a static strength greater than 10,000 N 
(2,248 lb). Applying the more conservative assumption for a dynamic to 
static strength ratio of 1.3, the dynamic strength of the tether 
anchorages is expected to be greater than 13,000 N (2,922 lb).
    This estimated dynamic strength of 13,000 N (2,990 lb) is about two 
times the tether anchorage loads measured in Transport Canada's 47-56 
km/h (30-35 mph) frontal vehicle crash tests. In those tests, the peak 
measured tether loads ranged from 677 N (152 lb) to 6,951 N (1,562 lb). 
These data suggest that tether anchorages are unlikely to fail in 
virtually all crashes involving children restrained in forward-facing 
CRSs with internal harnesses.
    We have tentatively determined that the benefits of tether use for 
all children in the subject CRSs (regardless of child weight) outweigh 
the risks occurring from tether anchorage failure due to a higher 
combined weight and/or a higher severity crash. Thus, we believe that 
tethers should be attached regardless of child weight in forward-facing 
CRSs with internal harnesses.\93\ The tether supplements the primary 
attachment of the CRS to the vehicle seat (the primary attachment is 
accomplished by the lower anchorages of the child restraint anchorage 
system or by the vehicle seat belt). The primary attachment of the CRS 
to the vehicle should never fail in a crash since its integrity is 
needed to avoid a catastrophic uncoupling of the CRS from the 
vehicle.\94\ Further, child restraints are required by FMVSS No. 213 to 
provide basic crash protection, including head protection, when 
installed only by the lower anchorages of a child restraint anchorage 
system or a seat belt, without the tether. The tether contributes to 
the basic crash protection provided by CRSs by enhancing head 
protection. Given the data that indicate that tether anchorages are 
already reasonably robust to withstand crash forces, we tentatively 
believe that tether use should be recommended for all children in 
forward-facing child restraints with internal harnesses so that the 
enhanced head protection can be achieved.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \93\ When the combined weight of CRS+child exceeds 29.5 kg (65 
lb), the CRS is to be attached by the seat belt plus tether.
    \94\ Thus, the combined weight of CRS+child should not exceed 
29.5 kg (65 lb) on the lower anchorages.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Some CRS manufacturers are currently recommending tether use for 
all forward-facing child restraints with internal harnesses, regardless 
of the child weight.\95\ Given the available information on anchorage 
strength and on the benefits of tether use, we tentatively believe that 
such an instruction should be encouraged. We request comment on the 
merits of an instruction to consumers to use the tether to install all 
forward-facing child restraints with internal harnesses.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \95\ The CRS manufacturers instruct consumers to attach the CRS 
by the seat belt plus tether when the combined weight of CRS+child 
exceeds the weight limit of the child restraint anchorage system.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

XI. Proposed Effective Date

    The agency is proposing a lead time of 3 years from date of 
publication of the final rule. This means that vehicles manufactured on 
or after the date 3 years after the date of publication of the final 
rule would be required to meet the ease of use requirements. In 
addition, child restraints manufactured on or after the date 3 years 
after the date of publication of the final rule would be required to 
meet the proposed FMVSS No. 213 requirements. We propose to permit 
optional early compliance with the requirements beginning 60 days after 
the date of publication of the final rule.
    We believe there is good cause for providing a 3-year lead time. 
The lead time is long enough for vehicle manufacturers to redesign the 
lower anchorages in their vehicles to meet the

[[Page 3770]]

proposed requirements. The UMTRI LATCH Usability study survey of 98 MY 
2010-2011 vehicles indicates that 79 percent will need some redesigning 
to comply with the new lower anchorage usability requirements, and a 
small percentage of vehicles that currently use webbing loops for 
tether anchorages will need to redesign the anchorages to rigid 
anchorage bars. We believe that these design modifications are minor 
and mainly concern the vehicle seat and not the vehicle structure. Some 
tether anchorages may have to be repositioned to provide the 165 mm 
(6.5 in) strap wrap-around distance. This modification to the tether 
anchorage location in some vehicles is also minor and would not require 
any changes to the vehicle structure.
    The 1999 final rule promulgating FMVSS No. 225 provided a 3-year 
lead time (with a phase-in) for compliance with the lower anchorage 
requirements even though vehicles did not have lower anchorages. The 
main requirements proposed by this NPRM involve only adjustments to the 
positioning of lower anchorages and tether anchorages already installed 
pursuant to FMVSS No. 225 and some modifications to seat cushion 
stiffness. Therefore, the agency is proposing a 3-year lead time, with 
no phase-in, since we believe that the lead time is sufficient for 
vehicle manufacturers to reposition lower anchorages and tether 
anchorages, if needed, to change seat cushion characteristics, and to 
mark the lower anchorages and tether anchorage with the ISO signage. 
Three years would also be sufficient time to change the relatively few 
tether anchorages that are made of webbing material to rigid anchorage 
bars. The three years of lead time would provide sufficient time for 
manufacturers to change the written instructions provided with the 
vehicles as proposed.
    We also believe that 3 years of lead time provides sufficient time 
for child restraint manufacturers to meet the proposed rule. Comments 
are requested on whether this lead time should be shortened. This NPRM 
proposes minor changes to the requirements applying to CRSs. The 
requirements are: Limiting the length of the tether hardware assembly 
(consisting of a tether hook and hardware to tighten and loosen the 
tether strap) to 165 mm (6.5 in) (UMTRI estimated that about 30 percent 
of CRS models might need some changes to the tether hardware assembly 
to meet the 165 mm (6.5 in) limit), marking the lower anchorage 
connectors and the tether connector (hook) with the ISO marking, and 
changing written instructions provided to consumers to include the 
defined terms and instruction on using the tether. These are minor 
changes that do not affect the shell or any other structure of the 
child restraint. We believe the marking and user's instructions 
amendments could be implemented in a year. Would it be worthwhile to 
implement some or all of the proposed changes to child restraints 
before the proposed changes are implemented for vehicles, particularly 
the marking and user's written instructions requirements? The combined 
data from NHTSA's survey of 24 MY 2010 vehicles and from UMTRI's LATCH 
Usability study indicate that, of the 122 vehicles surveyed, 76 percent 
of lower anchorages and 73 percent of tether anchorages were marked 
with the ISO symbol. Since many child restraint anchorage systems are 
already being marked with the ISO symbol, we tentatively conclude that 
it might be beneficial to have a shorter lead time to mark the CRS 
lower anchorage connectors and tether hook with the ISO symbol than 3 
years after publication of a final rule. In that way, consumers can 
begin learning sooner rather than later to match the ISO symbols on 
CRSs with the ISO symbols in the vehicle.

XII. Regulatory Notices and Analyses

Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review), E.O. 
13563, and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    The agency has considered the impact of this rulemaking action 
under E.O. 12866, E.O. 13563, and the Department of Transportation's 
regulatory policies and procedures. This rulemaking was not reviewed by 
the Office of Management and Budget under E.O. 12866, ``Regulatory 
Planning and Review.'' The rulemaking action has also been determined 
to be not significant under the Department's regulatory policies and 
procedures.
    The total cost of the proposed rule is estimated to be $1.32 
million. The cost is primarily due to the ISO labeling requirement.

Vehicle Costs

    The agency tentatively concludes that the proposed requirements for 
attachment force, clearance angle and anchorage depth would not add 
costs to the vehicle. To meet the requirements, vehicle seat designs 
would change, but the redesigns would involve simple modifications to 
the existing vehicle materials (i.e., the seat cushion) and not an 
addition to the vehicle or a change to the vehicle structure. We 
estimate that vehicle seats in approximately 79 percent of vehicles 
would be affected, but the changes to meet the requirement would only 
call for steps such as cutting larger open areas in the seat foam 
surrounding the lower anchorage bars, or repositioning the seat cushion 
relative to the anchorage bars. Redesigning the vehicle seats to meet 
the requirements would be a one-time event, and would be so minor that 
the costs for the redesigns would be slight. In addition, NHTSA 
proposes to provide three years of lead time before manufacturers must 
certify their vehicles as meeting the final rule requirements. That 
lead time would provide sufficient time for manufacturers to minimize 
costs since they may incorporate designs that meet the new requirements 
into their regular vehicle redesign and manufacturing cycle.
    The agency estimates that the cost of conducting the lower 
anchorage usability tests for evaluating attachment force, clearance 
angle, and anchorage depth would be an average of $300 per vehicle. We 
estimate that 560 models comprise the 16.32 million vehicles sold 
annually that are subject to this NPRM. The total testing cost for 560 
models is $168,000. This testing cost, distributed among the 16.32 
million vehicles sold annually, with an average model life of 10 years, 
is approximately $0.001 per vehicle.
    With regard to the proposed tether anchorage requirements, some 
tether anchorages in existing vehicles will have to be moved further 
from the head restraint to meet the minimum strap wrap-around distance 
requirement. NHTSA has tentatively determined that such a change would 
not add cost to the vehicle, since new material, or substantial change 
to vehicle design, would not be needed. The agency estimates that the 
cost of conducting the tether location measurement would be 
approximately $50. We estimate that 560 models comprise 16.32 million 
vehicles sold annually, for an annual testing cost of $28,000. This 
testing cost, distributed among the 16.32 million vehicles sold 
annually, with an average model life of 10 years, is significantly less 
than $0.001 per vehicle. Since these testing costs per vehicle (lower 
anchorage usability tests and tether anchorage location test) is so 
small, it is not included in the overall costs of the rule).
    A very small percentage of vehicles that currently have webbing 
loops for tether anchorages will need to make the anchorages rigid 
bars. It is difficult to estimate the redesign costs of these vehicles 
because the number of vehicles affected is very small. Comments are 
requested on the redesign costs and

[[Page 3771]]

certification costs for these vehicles, and how a 3-year lead time for 
complying with the new requirements affects those costs.
    The proposal would require all the lower anchorages and tether 
anchorages to be marked with the ISO signage. We estimate there are 
16.32 million vehicles produced annually, with 31.9 million lower 
anchorage-equipped seating positions and 42.9 million tether anchorage-
equipped seating positions. Our survey of 122 MY 2010-2011 vehicles 
indicates that 82 percent of lower anchorages and 73 percent of tether 
anchorages already are marked with the ISO symbol. We estimate the cost 
of ISO marks for a set of lower anchorages to be $0.05 and the cost of 
marking the tether anchorage would be $0.025. The total incremental 
cost to have ISO marks for all lower anchorages in the fleet is $0.29 
million (= $0.05 x 0.18 x 31.9). The total incremental cost to have ISO 
marks for all tether anchorages in the fleet is $0.29 million (= $0.025 
x 0.27 x 42.9). Therefore, the total incremental cost of labeling all 
child restraint anchorages with appropriate ISO marks is about $0.58 
million.
    The cost of changing the written instructions accompanying the 
vehicle is expected to be negligible (significantly less than $0.01).

Child Restraint System Costs

    The proposal would require the length of the tether hardware 
assembly (which consists of a tether hook and a webbing tightening 
mechanism) of child restraint systems to be not greater than 165 mm 
(6.5 in). About 30 percent of forward-facing child restraints may need 
some minor modification to the tether hardware assembly to meet the 
length limit. We tentatively conclude that a 3-year lead time is 
sufficient for this purpose. The tether hardware assembly is a simple 
part that can be easily produced and attached to child restraint 
tethers.
    The NPRM also proposes to require the ISO marks to be placed on 
child restraint anchorage connectors. The agency estimates that 14.9 
million CRSs are sold in the U.S. annually, of which 75 percent (11.18 
million infant carriers, convertibles, forward-facing only, 
combination, and 3-in-1 CRSs) have lower anchorage connectors and of 
which 48 percent (7.18 million convertibles, forward-facing only, 
combination, and 3-in-1 CRSs) have tethers. Applying an estimated cost 
of $0.05 for ISO marks on one set of lower anchorage connectors, the 
total cost for all applicable CRSs is $0.56 million (= $0.05 x 11.18 
million). Applying an estimated cost of $0.025 for ISO marks on a 
tether anchorage connector, the total cost for all applicable CRSs is 
$0.18 million (= $0.025 x 7.18 million). Therefore, we estimate that 
the total cost of adding ISO marks to child restraint anchorage 
connectors is $0.74 million (= $0.56 million + $0.18 million).
    The cost of changing the written instructions accompanying the CRS 
is expected to be negligible (significantly less than $0.01).

Benefits

    We expect the new usability requirements would improve correct 
(tight) installation of CRSs, and increase tether use. Survey data 
indicate that the tether is used in 56 percent of child restraint 
installations, but is used correctly in only 39 percent of the 
installations.\96\ The data also indicate that approximately 60 percent 
of child restraints are installed using the lower anchorages.\97\
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    \96\ Eichelberger, A.H., Decina, L.E., Jermakian, J.S., McCartt, 
A.T., ``Use of top tether with forward facing child restraints: 
Observations and driver interviews,'' Insurance Institute for 
Highway Safety, April 2013.
    \97\ NCRUSS, DOT HS 811 679, http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811679.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Assuming a 5 percent increase in tether use, and using data on the 
reduction in injury measures in sled tests with and without tether 
use,\98\ the agency estimates that the proposed changes to the tether 
anchorage requirements of FMVSS Nos. 213 and 225 could save 1.5 lives 
and prevent 4 moderate to severe injuries. Assuming a 5 percent 
increase in correct CRS installation due to the proposed improvements 
to the lower anchorage requirements, and using the reduction in injury 
measures in sled tests with loose and tight installations,\99\ the 
agency estimates that the proposed usability requirements for the lower 
anchorages could save 1.4 lives and prevent 2.4 moderate to severe 
injuries. Therefore, we estimate that the proposed requirements could 
save about 2.9 lives and prevent 6 moderate to severe injuries per 
year.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \98\ Final Economic Assessment FMVSS No. 213 and 225 Child 
Restraint Systems and Child Restraint Anchorage Systems, 1999, 
Docket No. NHTSA-1998-2290, Item No. 27. Table 6b of the Final 
Economic Assessment shows a head injury measure for the 3-year-old 
child dummy of 503 when tether is used and 631 when tether is not 
used.
    \99\ Final Economic Assessment FMVSS No. 213 and 225 Child 
Restraint Systems and Child Restraint Anchorage Systems, 1999, 
Docket No. NHTSA-1998-3390, Item No. 27. Table 4 of the Final 
Economic Assessment shows a head injury measure for the 6-year-old 
child dummy of 642 for tight installation and 697 for loose 
installation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The proposed rule would also streamline FMVSS No. 225 by removing 
outdated material, such as sections of the standard that relate to 
requirements that were phased in when the standard was adopted. 
Streamlining FMVSS No. 225, a result of retrospectively reviewing the 
standard, would be consistent with E.O. 13563, ``Improving Regulation 
and Regulatory Review'' and the plain language provisions of E.O. 
12866.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., 
as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act 
(SBREFA) of 1996) whenever an agency is required to publish a notice of 
proposed rulemaking or final rule, it must prepare and make available 
for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the 
effect of the rule on small entities (i.e., small businesses, small 
organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions), unless the head 
of an agency certifies the rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. Agencies must also 
provide a statement of the factual basis for this certification.
    I certify that this proposed rule would not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. NHTSA 
estimates there to be 29 manufacturers of child restraints, none of 
which are small businesses. Even if there were a small CRS 
manufacturer, the impacts of this proposed rule would not be 
significant. This NPRM proposes minor changes to the requirements 
applying to CRSs. The requirements are: Limiting the length of the 
tether hardware assembly (tether hook and tightening mechanism) to 165 
mm (6.5 in) (UMTRI estimated that about 30 percent of CRS models might 
need some changes to the tether hardware assembly to meet the 165 mm 
(6.5 in) limit), marking the lower anchorage connectors and the tether 
hook or tether strap with the ISO marking, and changing written 
instructions provided to the owners to include the defined terms and 
instruction on using the tether. These are minor changes that do not 
affect the shell or any other structure of the child restraint. We 
believe that there would be no incremental cost due to limiting the 
tether hardware assembly to 165 mm (6.5 in) since the tether hardware 
assembly costs would not increase because of the requirement. We 
estimate that the cost of marking the CRS child restraint anchorage 
connectors would be about $0.05 per set of lower anchorage connectors 
and $0.03 per tether hook. Changing the written instructions

[[Page 3772]]

accompanying CRSs would be negligible (significantly less than $0.01).
    There are six small vehicle manufacturers. We believe that the 
proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on these 
manufacturers. The vehicles produced by the small manufacturers already 
have to provide child restraint anchorage systems and tether anchorages 
meeting FMVSS No. 225, unless the vehicle is excluded from the 
standard. We believe that the changes proposed in this NPRM only make 
adjustments to the physical features of the anchorage systems, 
adjustments that should have a positive impact on the ease of use of 
the systems, but that are small in terms of affecting the overall 
configuration of current anchorage systems. We estimate the cost of 
marking the lower anchorages and the tether anchorages would only be 
<$0.12 approximately (depending on the number of anchorages in the 
vehicle) per vehicle. The cost of changing the written instructions 
accompanying the vehicle would be negligible (<$0.01).
    Final-stage vehicle manufacturers buy incomplete vehicles and 
complete the vehicle. Alterers modify new vehicles. In either case, 
NHTSA tentatively concludes that the impacts of a final rule on such 
entities would not be significant. Final-stage manufacturers or 
alterers installing rear seats in vehicles subject to FMVSS No. 225 
already have to provide child restraint anchorage systems and tether 
anchorages meeting FMVSS No. 225. We believe that the changes proposed 
in this NPRM only make small adjustments to the physical features of 
the anchorage systems, adjustments that should have a positive impact 
on the ease of use of the systems, but that are minor in terms of the 
impact on the configuration of current anchorage systems. We estimate 
the cost of marking the lower anchorages and the tether anchorages 
would be less than $0.12 per vehicle (depending on the number of 
anchorages in the vehicle). The cost of changing the written 
instructions accompanying the vehicle would be negligible 
(significantly less than $0.01 per vehicle).

National Environmental Policy Act

    NHTSA has analyzed this proposed rule for the purposes of the 
National Environmental Policy Act and determined that it would not have 
any significant impact on the quality of the human environment.

Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    NHTSA has examined today's proposed rule pursuant to Executive 
Order 13132 (64 FR 43255, August 10, 1999) and concluded that no 
additional consultation with States, local governments or their 
representatives is mandated beyond the rulemaking process. The agency 
has concluded that the rulemaking would not have sufficient federalism 
implications to warrant consultation with State and local officials or 
the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. The proposed 
rule would not 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.''
    NHTSA rules can preempt in two ways. First, the National Traffic 
and Motor Vehicle Safety Act contains an express preemption provision: 
When a motor vehicle safety standard is in effect under this chapter, a 
State or a political subdivision of a State may prescribe or continue 
in effect a standard applicable to the same aspect of performance of a 
motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment only if the standard is 
identical to the standard prescribed under this chapter. 49 U.S.C. 
30103(b)(1). It is this statutory command by Congress that preempts any 
non-identical State legislative and administrative law addressing the 
same aspect of performance.
    The express preemption provision described above is subject to a 
savings clause under which ``[c]ompliance with a motor vehicle safety 
standard prescribed under this chapter does not exempt a person from 
liability at common law.'' 49 U.S.C. 30103(e) Pursuant to this 
provision, State common law tort causes of action against motor vehicle 
manufacturers that might otherwise be preempted by the express 
preemption provision are generally preserved. However, the Supreme 
Court has recognized the possibility, in some instances, of implied 
preemption of such State common law tort causes of action by virtue of 
NHTSA's rules, even if not expressly preempted. This second way that 
NHTSA rules can preempt is dependent upon there being an actual 
conflict between an FMVSS and the higher standard that would 
effectively be imposed on motor vehicle manufacturers if someone 
obtained a State common law tort judgment against the manufacturer, 
notwithstanding the manufacturer's compliance with the NHTSA standard. 
Because most NHTSA standards established by an FMVSS are minimum 
standards, a State common law tort cause of action that seeks to impose 
a higher standard on motor vehicle manufacturers will generally not be 
preempted. However, if and when such a conflict does exist--for 
example, when the standard at issue is both a minimum and a maximum 
standard--the State common law tort cause of action is impliedly 
preempted. See Geier v. American Honda Motor Co., 529 U.S. 861 (2000).
    Pursuant to Executive Order 13132 and 12988, NHTSA has considered 
whether this proposed rule could or should preempt State common law 
causes of action. The agency's ability to announce its conclusion 
regarding the preemptive effect of one of its rules reduces the 
likelihood that preemption will be an issue in any subsequent tort 
litigation. To this end, the agency has examined the nature (e.g., the 
language and structure of the regulatory text) and objectives of 
today's proposed rule and finds that this proposed rule, like many 
NHTSA rules, would prescribe only a minimum safety standard. As such, 
NHTSA does not intend that this proposed rule would preempt state tort 
law that would effectively impose a higher standard on motor vehicle 
manufacturers than that established by today's proposed rule. 
Establishment of a higher standard by means of State tort law would not 
conflict with the minimum standard proposed here. Without any conflict, 
there could not be any implied preemption of a State common law tort 
cause of action.

Civil Justice Reform

    With respect to the review of the promulgation of a new regulation, 
section 3(b) of Executive Order 12988, ``Civil Justice Reform'' (61 FR 
4729, February 7, 1996) requires that Executive agencies make every 
reasonable effort to ensure that the regulation: (1) Clearly specifies 
the preemptive effect; (2) clearly specifies the effect on existing 
Federal law or regulation; (3) provides a clear legal standard for 
affected conduct, while promoting simplification and burden reduction; 
(4) clearly specifies the retroactive effect, if any; (5) adequately 
defines key terms; and (6) addresses other important issues affecting 
clarity and general draftsmanship under any guidelines issued by the 
Attorney General. This document is consistent with that requirement.
    Pursuant to this Order, NHTSA notes as follows. The preemptive 
effect of this proposed rule is discussed above. NHTSA notes further 
that there is no requirement that individuals submit a petition for 
reconsideration or pursue other administrative proceeding before they 
may file suit in court.

[[Page 3773]]

Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)

    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. Before seeking OMB 
approval, Federal agencies must provide a 60-day public comment period 
and otherwise consult with members of the public and affected agencies 
concerning each collection of information requirement. NHTSA believes 
the proposed requirement to explain the meaning of the proposed 
standardized marks on the lower anchorage connectors and the tether 
hook in the CRS instruction manual would constitute a ``collection of 
information'' requirement for child restraint system manufacturers. We 
are providing a 60-day comment period on reporting burdens and other 
matters associated with the instruction requirement.
    OMB has promulgated regulations describing what must be included in 
the request for comment document. Under OMB's regulation (5 CFR 
1320.8(d)), an agency must ask for public comment on the following:
    Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the 
proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether 
the information will have practical utility;
    The accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed 
collection of information, including the validity of the methodology 
and assumptions used;
    How to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information 
to be collected;
    How to minimize the burden of the collection of information on 
those who are to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, 
electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or 
other forms of information technology, e.g. permitting electronic 
submission of responses.
    In compliance with these requirements, NHTSA asks for public 
comments on the following collection of information:
    Title: ``Consolidated Child Restraint System Registration, Labeling 
and Defect Notifications.''
    OMB Control Number: 2127-0576.
    Requested Expiration Date of Approval: Three years from the 
approval date.
    Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved collection.
    Affected Public: Business, Individuals and Households.
    Summary of the Collection of Information: This rulemaking proposes 
to require CRS manufacturers to include an explanation of the meaning 
of the standardized markings on the lower anchorage connectors and the 
tether hook (if available on the CRS) in the printed instructions 
already provided with each new CRS. The standardized markings on the 
CRS lower anchor connector and tether hook would help in the 
development of a consistent and simple education message to improve 
awareness of child restraint anchorage systems and improve correct 
installation of child restraints.
    NHTSA anticipates a change to the hour burden or costs associated 
with FMVSS No. 213 due to inclusion of an explanation of the meaning of 
the standardized markings in the CRS printed instructions. Child 
restraint manufacturers produce, on average, a total of approximately 
4,500,000 child restraints per year. We estimate 2 seconds of 
additional burden per child restraint for the addition of the 
information on the existing instruction manual (2 sec x 4,500,000 units 
= 9,000,000 seconds = 2,500 hours).
    Estimated Additional Annual Burden: 2,500 Hours.
    Comments are invited on: Whether the proposed collection of 
information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of 
the Department, including whether the information will have practical 
utility; the accuracy of the Department's estimate of the burden of the 
proposed information collection; ways to enhance the quality, utility 
and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize 
the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including 
the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of 
information technology.
    You may submit comments (identified by the DOT Docket ID Number 
above) by any of the following methods: Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go 
to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for 
submitting comments. Mail: Docket Management Facility: U.S. Department 
of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground 
Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001. Hand Delivery or 
Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Fax: 202-493-2251. 
Regardless of how you submit your comments, please provide the docket 
number of this document. You may call the Docket at (202) 366-9324.
    Note that all comments received will be posted without change to 
http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided. Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments 
received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, 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).

National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    Under the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 
(NTTAA) (Pub. L. 104-113), all Federal agencies and departments shall 
use technical standards that are developed or adopted by voluntary 
consensus standards bodies, using such technical standards as a means 
to carry out policy objectives or activities determined by the agencies 
and departments. Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards 
(e.g., material 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) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). 
The NTTAA directs us to provide Congress, through OMB, explanations 
when we decide not to use available and applicable voluntary consensus 
standards.
    NHTSA reviewed various procedures and requirements developed by ISO 
and SAE to improve the ease of use of child restraint anchorage 
systems. ISO developed a rating system that evaluates and rates the 
usability of the CRS's ISOFIX features, the vehicle's ISOFIX system, 
and the interaction between the two.\100\ SAE developed a draft 
recommended practice providing guidelines to vehicle manufacturers to 
consider when designing characteristics of vehicle lower and upper 
(tether) anchorages, and to CRS manufacturers for corresponding 
features of CRS lower anchorage and tether connectors.\101\ In our 
review, we determined that the ISO and SAE draft programs overall are 
unlikely to improve the usability of child restraint anchorage systems 
as effectively as today's NPRM. The ISO

[[Page 3774]]

draft standard primarily rates the vehicles and does not directly 
mandate improvements to the usability of child restraint anchorage 
systems. Further, UMTRI evaluated vehicles using the draft ISO standard 
29061-1:2010 and found no correlation between usability ratings and 
correct installation of child restraints in the vehicles in user 
trials. The draft SAE recommended practice J2893 is limited because it 
is a guideline and does not mandate improved usability.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \100\ Draft ISO Standard 29061-1:2010, ``Road vehicles--Methods 
and criteria for usability evaluation of child restraint systems and 
their interface with vehicle anchor systems--Part 1: Vehicles and 
child restraint systems equipped with ISOFIX anchors and 
attachments,'' (November 2010).
    \101\ Draft SAE J2893, ``Guidelines for Implementation of the 
Child Restraint Anchorage System in Motor Vehicles and Child 
Restraint Systems.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    However, we have tentatively determined that aspects of the ISO and 
SAE procedures and requirements would improve the ease of use of child 
restraint anchorage systems and have proposed their inclusion in this 
NPRM. This NPRM proposes to require the signage developed by ISO for 
marking lower anchorages and tether anchorages in vehicles, and lower 
anchorage connectors and tether hooks on CRSs. This NPRM also proposes 
to adopt the clearance angle and attachment force criteria developed by 
draft SAE Standard J2893, and proposes to use SAE-developed tools and 
procedures for evaluating child restraint anchorage system hardware in 
vehicles.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), 
Public Law 104-4, 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 annually (adjusted 
for inflation with base year of 1995). Adjusting this amount by the 
implicit gross domestic product price deflator for the year 2010 
results in $136 million (110.993/81.606 = 1.36). This NPRM would not 
result in a cost of $136 million or more to either State, local, or 
tribal governments, in the aggregate, or the private sector. Thus, this 
NPRM is not subject to the requirements of sections 202 of the UMRA.

Executive Order 13609 (Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation)

    The policy statement in section 1 of E.O. 13609 provides, in part:
    The regulatory approaches taken by foreign governments may differ 
from those taken by U.S. regulatory agencies to address similar issues. 
In some cases, the differences between the regulatory approaches of 
U.S. agencies and those of their foreign counterparts might not be 
necessary and might impair the ability of American businesses to export 
and compete internationally. In meeting shared challenges involving 
health, safety, labor, security, environmental, and other issues, 
international regulatory cooperation can identify approaches that are 
at least as protective as those that are or would be adopted in the 
absence of such cooperation. International regulatory cooperation can 
also reduce, eliminate, or prevent unnecessary differences in 
regulatory requirements.
    NHTSA requests public comment on the ``regulatory approaches taken 
by foreign governments'' concerning the subject matter of this 
rulemaking. In the discussion above on the NTTAA, we have noted that we 
have reviewed the procedures and regulations developed by ISO and SAE 
to increase the ease of use of child restraint anchorage systems and 
have used parts of those procedures in this NPRM. Comments are 
requested on the above policy statement and the implications it has for 
this rulemaking.

Regulation Identifier Number

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

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 write to us 
with your views.
    In our proposed regulatory text for FMVSS No. 225, we have removed 
outdated sections and deleted obsolete language in an effort to make 
the standard more concise and easier to understand. We also propose to 
renumber some sections when multiple outdated paragraphs would be 
deleted, so that the standard would be easier to read. Please let us 
know if there are other housekeeping measures we could take to improve 
the plain language of the standard.

XIII. Public Participation

    In developing this proposal, we tried to address the concerns of 
all our stakeholders. Your comments will help us improve this proposed 
rule. 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 
units or page numbers of the preamble, or the regulatory sections.
--Be sure to include the name, date, and docket number with your 
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 your comments to the docket electronically by logging 
onto http://www.regulations.gov or by the means given in the ADDRESSES 
section at the beginning of this document.
    Please note that pursuant to the Data Quality Act, in order for 
substantive data to be relied upon and used by the agency, it must meet 
the information quality standards set forth in the OMB and DOT Data 
Quality Act guidelines. Accordingly, we encourage you to consult the 
guidelines in preparing your comments. OMB's guidelines may be accessed 
at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg/reproducible.html.

[[Page 3775]]

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 a copy from which you have deleted the claimed confidential 
business information to the docket. 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 the docket 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 the 
docket receives after that date. If the docket 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 the docket at the address 
given above under ADDRESSES. You may also see the comments on the 
Internet (http://regulations.gov).
    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.
    Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments 
received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, 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 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477-78).

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 571

    Imports, Motor vehicle safety, Motor vehicles, and Tires; 
Incorporation by Reference.

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

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. Section 571.5 is amended by adding paragraphs (k)(5) through (k)(8), 
to read as follows:


Sec.  571.5  Matter incorporated by reference.

* * * * *
    (k) * * *
    (5) [Reserved]
    (6) Drawing Package, ``NHTSA Anchorage Depth Tool,'' dated August 
19, 2013, into Sec.  571.225.
    (7) Drawing Package, ``NHTSA Attachment Force Tool,'' dated May 22, 
2013, into Sec.  571.225.
    (8) Drawing Package, ``NHTSA Clearance Angle Tool,'' dated May 21, 
2013, into Sec.  571.225.
* * * * *
0
3. Section 571.213 is amended by adding S5.6.1.12, revising S5.9(a), 
S5.9(b) and S5.9(c), and adding Figure 15 and Figure 16 in numerical 
order, to read as follows:


Sec.  571.213  Child restraint systems.

* * * * *
    S5.6 Printed Instructions for Proper Use.
* * * * *
    S5.6.1.12 In the case of child restraint systems marked as 
specified in S5.9 (a) and (b), explain that the markings identify the 
lower anchorage connectors and the tether anchorage connector, 
respectively, and that the consumer should look for corresponding marks 
on the vehicle child restraint anchorage system to attach the 
appropriate connectors of the child restraint system.
* * * * *
    S5.9 Attachment to child restraint anchorage system.
    (a) Each add-on child restraint, other than a car bed, harness and 
belt-positioning seat, shall have components permanently attached that 
enable the restraint to be securely fastened to the lower anchorages of 
the child restraint anchorage system specified in Standard No. 225 
(Sec.  571.225) and depicted in Drawing Package SAS-100-1000, Standard 
Seat Belt Assembly with Addendum A or in Drawing Package, ``NHTSA 
Standard Seat Assembly; FMVSS No. 213, No. NHTSA-213-2003'' (both 
incorporated by reference, see Sec.  571.5). The connectors must be 
attached to the add-on child restraint by use of a tool, such as a 
screwdriver. In the case of rear-facing child restraints with 
detachable bases, only the base is required to have the connectors. The 
connectors designed to attach the add-on child restraint to the lower 
anchorages of the child restraint anchorage system shall be permanently 
marked with the pictogram in Figure 15. The pictogram is not less than 
9 mm in diameter.
    (b) In the case of each child restraint system that has components 
for attaching the system to a tether anchorage, those components shall 
include a tether hook that conforms to the configuration and geometry 
specified in Figure 11 of this standard. The tether hook or the tether 
strap shall be permanently marked with either pictogram shown in Figure 
16. If the mark is on the tether strap or on a tag attached to the 
tether strap, the mark must be located within 25 mm of the tether 
hardware assembly (which consists of a tether hook and a webbing 
tightening mechanism designed to tighten or loosen the tether strap).
    (c) In the case of each child restraint system that has components, 
including belt webbing, for attaching to an anchorage of a child 
restraint anchorage system, the belt webbing shall be adjustable so 
that the child restraint can be tightly attached to the vehicle. The 
length of the tether hardware assembly, which consists of a tether hook 
and a mechanism designed to tighten and loosen the tether strap, shall 
not exceed 165 mm.
* * * * *

[[Page 3776]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.016


    Notes 1. Drawing not to scale.
    2. Symbol may be shown in mirror image.
    3. Color of the symbol is at the option of the manufacturer.

    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.017
    

    Notes 1. Drawing not to scale.
    2. Symbol may be shown in mirror image.
    3. Color of the symbol is at the option of the manufacturer.
    4. Either symbol may be marked at the option of the 
manufacturer.

0
4. Section 571.225 is amended by:
0
a. Revising S4.2;
0
b. Removing S4.3, S4.4 and S4.5, redesignating S4.6 as S4.3 and 
revising newly redesignated S4.3;
0
c. Removing S5(e);
0
d. Revising S6.1(a), S6.1(b), S6.2, and removing S6.2.1 through 
S6.2.2.2;
0
e. Revising S6.3 and removing S6.3.1 through S6.3.4.4;
0
e. Revising the first sentence of S8, the introductory text of S8.1, 
and removing and reserving S8.2;
0
f. Removing the introductory text of S9, revising S9.1.1(d) and 
S9.2.2(a), adding S9.2.4 and S9.2.5, and revising S9.5;
0
g. Revising S11, S12(b) and S12(c), and adding S12(d);
0
f. Removing S13 through S16.4;
0
g. Revising Figures 3, 8 and 9, removing and reserving Figures 10, 11, 
and 19, and adding Figures 24 through 27.
    The revised and added text and figures read as follows:


Sec.  571.225  Child restraint anchorage systems.

* * * * *
    S4.2 Vehicles shall be equipped as specified in paragraphs (a) 
through (c) of this paragraph, except as provided in S5.
    (a) Each vehicle with three or more forward-facing rear designated 
seating positions shall be equipped as specified in S4.2(a)(1) and (2).
    (1) Each vehicle shall be equipped with a child restraint anchorage 
system conforming to the requirements of S6 and S9 at not fewer than 
two forward-facing rear designated seating positions. At least one of 
the child restraint anchorage systems shall be installed at a forward-
facing seating position in the second row in each vehicle that has 
three or more rows, if such a forward-facing seating position is 
available in that row.
    (2) Each vehicle shall be equipped with a tether anchorage 
conforming to the requirements of S6 at a third forward-facing rear 
designated seating position. The tether anchorage of a child restraint 
anchorage system may count towards the third required tether anchorage. 
In each vehicle with a forward-facing rear designated seating position 
other than an outboard designated seating position, at least one tether 
anchorage (with or without the lower anchorages of a child restraint 
anchorage system) shall be at such a designated seating position.
    (b) Each vehicle with not more than two forward-facing rear 
designated seating positions shall be equipped with a child restraint 
anchorage system conforming to the requirements of S6 and S9 at each 
forward-facing rear designated seating position.
    (c) Each vehicle without any forward-facing rear designated seating 
position shall be equipped with a tether

[[Page 3777]]

anchorage conforming to the requirements of S6 at each front forward-
facing passenger seating position.
    S4.3 Movable seats. (a) A vehicle that is equipped with a forward-
facing rear designated seating position that can be moved such that it 
is capable of being used at either an outboard or non-outboard forward-
facing seating position shall be considered as having a forward-facing 
non-outboard seating position. Such a movable seat must be equipped 
with a tether anchorage that meets the requirements of S6 or a child 
restraint anchorage system that meets the requirements of S6 and S9, if 
the vehicle does not have another forward-facing non-outboard seating 
position that is so equipped.
    (b) Tether and lower anchorages shall be available for use at all 
times, except when the seating position for which it is installed is 
not available for use because the vehicle seat has been removed or 
converted to an alternate use such as allowing for the carrying of 
cargo.
* * * * *
    S6.1 * * *
    (a) Consist of a rigid bar of any cross section shape that permits 
the attachment of a tether hook (of a child restraint system) meeting 
the configuration and geometry specified in Figure 11 of Standard No. 
213 (Sec.  571.213);
    (b) Be accessible without the need for any tools and without 
folding the seat back or removing carpet or other vehicle components to 
access the anchorages. However, the tether anchorage may be covered 
with a cap, flap or cover, provided that the cap, flap or cover is 
specifically designed to be opened, moved aside or to otherwise give 
access to the anchorage and is labeled with the symbol shown in Figure 
27 of this standard.
* * * * *
    S6.2 Location of the tether anchorage.
    (a)(1) Subject to S6.2(b), the part of each tether anchorage to 
which a tether hook attaches must be located within the shaded zone 
shown in Figures 3 to 7 of this standard of the designated seating 
position for which it is installed. The zone is defined with reference 
to the seating reference point (see Sec.  571.3). (For purposes of the 
figures, ``H Point'' means seating reference point.) A tether anchorage 
may be recessed in the seat back, provided that it is not in the strap 
wrap-around area at the top of the vehicle seat back. For the area 
under the vehicle seat, the forwardmost edge of the shaded zone is 
defined by the intersection of the vehicle floor with a plane that is 
parallel to the torso line reference plane and which passes through the 
rearmost point of the bottom of the seat at the centerline of the seat, 
as shown in Figure 3.
    (2) The distance of the tether anchorage from a reference point 
(SB) obtained by the intersection of a plane parallel to the torso line 
reference plane that passes through the rearmost point of the seat and 
the strap wrap-around line from the V-point to the tether anchorage, 
shall be no less than 165 mm as shown in Figure 8 of this standard. The 
rearmost point of the seat includes the rearmost point of the head 
restraint, if a head restraint is present. For adjustable head 
restraints, the rearmost point of the seat is determined with the head 
restraint positioned at its highest position. For adjustable head 
restraints, the strap wrap-around line from the V-point to the tether 
anchorage shall be routed under the head restraint and between the 
adjustment bars or adjacent to an adjustment bar. In vehicle seating 
positions with integrated head restraints or with head restraints that 
do not provide space under the head restraint to route a tether strap, 
route the strap wrap-around line from the V-point to the tether 
anchorage over the head restraint. In seating positions without head 
restraints, route the strap wrap-around line from the V-point to the 
tether anchorage over the seat back.
    (b) In the case of a vehicle that--
    (1) Has a user-ready tether anchorage for which no part of the 
shaded zone shown in Figures 3 to 7 of this standard of the designated 
seating position for which the anchorage is installed is accessible 
without removing a seating component of the vehicle; and
    (2) Has a tether strap routing device that is--
    (i) Not less than 65 mm behind the torso line for that seating 
position, in the case of a flexible routing device or a deployable 
routing device, measured horizontally and in a vertical longitudinal 
plane; or
    (ii) Not less than 100 mm behind the torso line for that seating 
position, in the case of a fixed rigid routing device, measured 
horizontally and in a vertical longitudinal plane, the part of that 
anchorage that attaches to a tether hook may, at the manufacturer's 
option (with said option selected prior to, or at the time of, 
certification of the vehicle) be located outside that zone.
    (iii) The measurement of the location of the flexible or deployable 
routing device described in S6.2(b)(2)(i) is made with SFAD 2 properly 
attached to the lower anchorages. A 40 mm wide nylon tether strap is 
routed through the routing device and attached to the tether anchorage 
in accordance with the written instructions required by S12 of this 
standard. The forwardmost contact point between the strap and the 
routing device must be within the stated limit when the tether strap is 
flat against the top surface of the SFAD and tensioned to 55 to 65 N. 
In seating positions without lower anchorages of a child restraint 
anchorage system, the SFAD 2 is held with its central lateral plane in 
the central vertical longitudinal plane of the seating position. The 
adjustable anchorage attaching bars of the SFAD 2 are replaced by 
spacers that end flush with the back surface of the SFAD 2.
    (iv) The distance from the routing device (where the strap has 
completely cleared the routing device as shown in Figure 9) to the 
tether anchorage shall be no less than 165 mm.
    S6.3 Strength requirements for tether anchorages.
    (a) When tested in accordance with S8, the tether anchorage must 
not separate completely from the vehicle seat or seat anchorage or the 
structure of the vehicle.
    (b) Provisions for simultaneous and sequential testing. (1) In the 
case of vehicle seat assemblies equipped with more than one tether 
anchorage, the force referred to in S6.3 may, at the agency's option, 
be applied simultaneously to each of those tether anchorages. However, 
that force may not be applied simultaneously to tether anchorages for 
any two adjacent seating positions whose midpoints are less than 400 mm 
apart, as measured in accordance with S6.3(b)(i) and (ii) and Figure 
20.
    (i) The midpoint of the seating position lies in the vertical 
longitudinal plane that is equidistant from vertical longitudinal 
planes through the geometric center of each of the two lower anchorages 
at the seating position. For those seating positions that do not 
provide lower anchorages, the midpoint of the seating position lies in 
the vertical longitudinal plane that passes through the SgRP of the 
seating position.
    (ii) Measure the distance between the vertical longitudinal planes 
passing through the midpoints of the adjacent seating positions, as 
measured along a line perpendicular to the planes.
    (2) A tether anchorage of a particular child restraint anchorage 
system will not be tested with the lower anchorages of that anchorage 
system if one or both of those lower anchorages have been previously 
tested under this standard.
* * * * *
    S8 Test procedures. Each vehicle shall meet the requirements of 
S6.3

[[Page 3778]]

when tested according to the following procedures. * * *
    S8.1 Apply the force specified in S6.3 as follows--
* * * * *
    S8.2 [Reserved]
    S9. Requirements for the lower anchorages of the child restraint 
anchorage system.
* * * * *
    S9.1.1 * * *
    (d) The bars must not be capable of being stowable or foldable.
* * * * *
    S9.2 Location of the lower anchorages.
* * * * *
    S9.2.2 * * *
    (a) Located such that when the lower anchorage depth tool depicted 
in Drawing Package, ``NHTSA Lower Anchorage Depth Tool,'' dated June 
2014 (incorporated by reference; see Sec.  571.5), is attached to the 
anchorage bar, the 2 cm mark on the tool is visible from a vertical 
longitudinal plane passing through the center of the bar, along a line 
making an upward 30 degree angle with a horizontal plane; and
* * * * *
    S9.2.4 The lower anchorages shall be located such that no more than 
178 N (40 lb) of force is needed to securely attach the tool, depicted 
in Drawing Package, ``NHTSA Attachment Force Tool,'' dated June 2014 
(incorporated by reference; see Sec.  571.5), to an anchorage bar with 
the tool positioned in at least one angle from 0 degrees to 45 degrees 
from the horizontal using the procedure in S11(b) of this standard.
    S9.2.5 The lower anchorages shall be located such that the tool 
depicted in Drawing Package, ``NHTSA Clearance Angle Tool,'' dated June 
2014 (incorporated by reference; see Sec.  571.5), measures a clearance 
angle of at least 54 degrees using the procedure in S11(c) of this 
standard.
* * * * *
    S9.5 Marking and conspicuity requirements.
    S9.5.1 Requirements for lower anchorages.
    (a) Above each bar installed pursuant to S4, the vehicle shall be 
permanently marked with a circle that:
    (1) Is not less than 13 mm in diameter;
    (2) Contains the pictogram shown in Figure 24 of this standard; and
    (3) Is located such that its center is on each seat back between 50 
and 100 mm above or on the seat cushion 100 25 mm forward 
of the intersection of the vertical transverse and horizontal 
longitudinal planes intersecting at the horizontal centerline of each 
lower anchorage, as illustrated in Figure 22. The center of the circle 
must be in the vertical longitudinal plane that passes through the 
center of the bar (25 mm).
    (4) The circle may be on a tag.
    (b) The bars may be covered by a removable cap or cover, provided 
that the cap or cover is permanently marked with the pictogram shown in 
Figure 24. If the cap or cover is permanently attached to the vehicle, 
the lower anchorage bars are not required to be separately marked with 
the pictogram. If the cap or cover is not permanently attached to the 
vehicle, the lower anchorage bars must also be marked with the circle 
meeting S9.5.1(a)(1) through (a)(3) of this standard.
    S9.5.2 Requirements for tether anchorages.
    (a) For each tether anchorage installed pursuant to S4, there shall 
be a permanent mark that:
    (1) Consists of the pictogram shown in Figure 25 of this standard 
that is not less than 20 mm in diameter;
    (2) The center of the circle in the longitudinal direction must be 
in the vertical longitudinal plane that passes through the center of 
the tether anchorage bar (5 mm), as shown in Figure 26 
(Front View) of this standard.
    (3) The nearest edge of the mark shall be located not more than 25 
mm away from the tether anchorage bar as shown in Figure 26 (Side View) 
of this standard.
    (b) The tether anchorage bar may be covered by a cap or cover that 
is removable without the use of any tool, provided that the cap or 
cover is permanently labeled with a mark meeting the requirements of 
S9.5.2(a)(1). The center of the mark on the cap or cover shall be 
centered at the middle of the tether anchorage bar, as shown in Figure 
27 of this standard. If the cap or cover is permanently attached to the 
vehicle, the tether anchorage is not required to be separately marked. 
If the cap or cover is not permanently attached to the vehicle, the 
tether anchorage must also be marked with the circle meeting 
S9.5.2(a)(1) through S9.5.2(a)(3) of this standard.
* * * * *
    S11. Test procedures. Each vehicle shall meet the requirements of 
this standard when tested according to the following procedures. Where 
a range of values is specified, the vehicle shall be able to meet the 
requirements at all points within the range.
    (a) Strength requirements.
    (1) Forward force direction. Place SFAD 2 in the vehicle seating 
position and attach it to the two lower anchorages of the child 
restraint anchorage system. Do not attach the tether anchorage. A 
rearward horizontal force of 135 15 N is applied to the 
center of the lower front crossbar of SFAD 2 to press the device 
against the seat back as the fore-aft position of the rearward 
extensions of the SFAD is adjusted to remove any slack or tension. 
Apply a preload force of 500 N horizontally and in the vertical 
centerline of the SFAD 2 at point X. Increase the pull force as 
linearly as practicable to a full force application of 11,000 N in not 
less than 24 seconds and not more than 30 seconds, and maintain at an 
11,000 N level for 1 second.
    (2) Lateral force direction. Place SFAD 2 in the vehicle seating 
position and attach it to the two lower anchorages of the child 
restraint anchorage system. Do not attach the tether anchorage. A 
rearward force of 135 15 N is applied to the center of the 
lower front crossbar of SFAD 2 to press the device against the seat 
back as the fore-aft position of the rearward extensions of the SFAD is 
adjusted to remove any slack or tension. Apply a preload force of 500 N 
horizontal and perpendicular to the longitudinal centerline of the SFAD 
2 at point X of the test device. Increase the pull force as linearly as 
practicable to a full force application of 5,000 N in not less than 24 
seconds and not more than 30 seconds, and maintain at a 5,000 N level 
for 1 second.
    (b) Attachment force. The seat back angle, if adjustable, is set at 
the manufacturer's nominal design seat back angle. Remove any lower 
anchorage cover if present. To measure attachment force, hold the force 
attachment tool perpendicularly aligned with the center of the lower 
anchorage. Position the tool at an angle of 0 to 45 degrees from the 
horizontal, and push the tool towards the lower anchorage. Measure the 
force needed to engage the tool to the lower anchorage.
    (c) Clearance angle. The seat back angle, if adjustable, is set at 
the manufacturer's nominal design seat back angle. Remove any lower 
anchorage cover if present. To measure clearance angle, attach the 
clearance angle tool to the lower anchorage and apply a vertical force 
of 67 N (15 lb) to the tool. Measure the angle (with respect to the 
horizontal) of the tool while the force is being applied.
* * * * *
    S12. Written instructions.
* * * * *
    (b) In the case of vehicles required to be marked as specified in 
paragraphs S4.1, S9.5.1 and S9.5.2, explain the

[[Page 3779]]

meaning of markings provided to locate the lower anchorages of child 
restraint anchorage systems and the top tether anchorages;
    (c) Include instructions that provide a step-by-step procedure, 
including diagrams, for properly attaching a child restraint system's 
tether strap to the tether anchorages; and
    (d) Include instructions on how to locate and access the tether 
anchorage and the lower anchorages.

Figures to Sec.  571.225

* * * * *
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.018

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.019


    Notes: SB point is the intersection of the plane parallel to the 
torso line reference plane that passes through the rearmost point of 
the vehicle seat, and the strap wrap-around line from the V-point to 
the tether anchorage.


[[Page 3780]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.020

* * * * *
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.021


    Notes: 1. Drawing not to scale.
    2. Symbol may be shown in mirror image.
    3. Color of the symbol at the option of the manufacturer.

    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.022
    


[[Page 3781]]


    Notes: 1. Drawing not to scale.
    2. Symbol may be shown in mirror image.
    3. Color of the symbol at the option of the manufacturer.

    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.023
    
    (Tolerance of 5 mm)
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP23JA15.024
    

(Tolerance of 10 mm in the Longitudinal and/or Lateral 
Plane.)

    Note: The following Appendices will not appear in the CFR.

Appendix A: Field Studies

Decina Study--2005

    Three years after FMVSS No. 225 was fully phased in and child 
restraints made to meet the corresponding changes in FMVSS No. 213, 
NHTSA conducted a survey from April to October 2005 to assess the 
progress made since 2002 and identify the possible needs for 
additional steps. See Decina et al., ``Child Restraint Use Survey: 
LATCH Use and Misuse,'' supra.). NHTSA wanted to know whether 
drivers of vehicles equipped with child restraint anchorage systems 
were using the systems to secure child restraints to the vehicle 
seat, and if so, whether they were properly installing the 
restraints. In the survey, the make/model and the type of restraint 
installed in each seating position were recorded for each vehicle, 
and the demographic characteristics and the type of child restraint 
system were collected for each occupant. In addition, information 
was gathered about the drivers' knowledge of child restraint 
anchorage systems, along with their opinions on how easy it was for 
them to use the systems. The study involved 1,121 children from 
birth to age 4 in child restraint systems.
    Key findings of the survey were:
    (a) Of the child restraints located in a seating position 
equipped with an upper tether anchor, 55 percent were attached to 
the vehicle using the upper tether.
    (b) Among the 87 percent who placed the CRS at a position 
equipped with lower anchors, 60 percent used the lower attachments 
to secure the restraint to the vehicle.
    (c) In 13 percent of the vehicles equipped with child restraint 
anchorage systems in which there was a child restraint, the 
restraint was placed in a seat position not equipped with lower 
anchors--instead, the vehicle seat belt was used to secure the 
restraint to the vehicle.
    (d) Sixty-one (61) percent of upper tether nonusers and 55 
percent of lower anchorage nonusers cited their lack of knowledge--
not knowing what the anchorages were, that they were available in 
the vehicle, the importance

[[Page 3782]]

of using them, or how to use them properly--as the reason for not 
using them.
    (e) Of those drivers with experience using both lower anchorages 
and seat belts: (1) 81 percent of upper tether anchorage users and 
74 percent of lower anchorage users said upper tether and/or lower 
anchorages were easy to use; and (2) 75 percent preferred the lower 
anchorages over seat belts.
    (f) Sixty-one (61) percent of child restraints installed with 
child restraint anchorage systems were securely installed.
    All in all, the Decina study found that consumers who have 
experience with the child restraint anchorage systems like them. 
Among consumers having knowledge of both lower anchorages and seat 
belt attachment, 75 percent preferred using lower anchorages. 
Further, the report found that child restraint anchorage systems are 
helping to reduce the incorrect installation of child restraints (61 
percent of child restraints installed with child restraint anchorage 
systems were securely installed, as compared to about 40-46 percent 
of CRSs installed by seat belts securely installed).
    However, the report also indicated that proper use of child 
restraint anchorage systems is not inherently evident. Many drivers 
do not use the anchorage system because they do not know about it or 
understand its purpose. There is also some confusion about where the 
anchorages can be found. In addition, there were differing degrees 
of difficulty using the anchorages depending on location and 
configuration of the CRS hardware.

National Child Restraint Use Special Study--2011 Data

    The National Child Restraint Use Special Study (NCRUSS) is a 
large-scale nationally-representative survey that involves both an 
inspection of the child passenger's restraint system by a CPST and a 
detailed interview of the driver.\102\ The survey collected 
information on drivers and their child passengers of ages 0-8 years 
between June and August 2011. NCRUSS data were collected at 24 
primary sampling units (PSUs) across the country. The PSUs were 
previously established from a separate ongoing data collection 
effort, the National Automotive Sampling System (NASS). The PSUs are 
defined geographically, similar to cities or counties. The PSUs were 
selected to cover urban, rural, and suburban environments and are 
located in 17 different states.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \102\ National Child Restraint Use Special Study, DOT HS 811 
679, http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811679.pdf (Full report 
pending).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The survey collected 4,167 observations on children under 9 
years of age, of which 268 (weighted percentage = 8.5 percent) were 
of infant seats with a base, 142 (weighted percentage = 3.6 percent) 
were of convertible or all-in-one type CRSs installed in rear-facing 
mode and 1,983 (weighted percentage = 49.6 percent) were of 
convertible, combination or all-in-one type CRSs installed in 
forward-facing mode with harness. The remaining observations were of 
children in other types of restraints including booster seats, seat 
belts, vests, car beds, etc. The survey also found less than 2 
percent of children unrestrained.
    For CRSs with internal harnesses, the survey results show that 
49 percent of CRSs were installed with lower anchorages, 44 percent 
were installed with seat belts, and 7 percent with both seat belt 
and lower anchorages. When the analysis was restricted to only 
vehicles equipped with child restraint anchorage systems, 61 percent 
of the CRSs were installed using the lower anchorages and 9 percent 
with both seat belt and lower anchorages. Decina had found that 55 
percent of the harnessed CRSs observed in vehicles with child 
restraint anchorage systems were attached using the lower 
anchorages. The NCRUSS study shows a 15 percent increase in the rate 
of all lower anchorage installations from 2005 to 2011.
    As for tether use, for forward-facing CRSs with internal 
harnesses,\103\ tether use was 71 percent when installed with the 
lower anchorages and 31 percent when installed with seat belts.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \103\ Rear-facing seats and booster seats are not typically 
equipped or used with tether straps in the U.S.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Safe Kids Worldwide (Safe Kids) Data

    In September 2011, Safe Kids published a study based on 79,000 
observations from ``car seat check'' events and appointments that 
took place between October 1, 2009 and September 30, 2010.\104\ Safe 
Kids developed a standardized checklist that it uses at car seat 
check events and records how the child and/or child restraint 
arrived at the event and how the child and/or child restraint left 
the event. The checklists are then scanned and entered into a 
database that Safe Kids manages and updates.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \104\ ``A Look Inside American Family Vehicles 2009-2010,'' Safe 
Kids USA (http://www.safekids.org/assets/docs/safety-basics/safety-tips-by-risk-area/sk-car-seat-report-2011.pdf).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The study found that correct installation ranged between 39 to 
61 percent for seat belt installations and between 46 to 60 percent 
for lower anchorage installation. Safe Kids defined correct seat 
belt installation as one in which the child restraint's 
manufacturer's instructions were followed and that is in accordance 
with the Child Passenger Safety Certification Program (CPSCP) \105\ 
best practices, including seat belt routing, tightness (must not 
move more than 1 inch side to side or front to back when grasped by 
the belt path) and having a locked seat belt. Correct lower 
anchorage installation consisted of using the lower anchorages as 
instructed in both the CRS and vehicle manuals as well as following 
the CPSCP best practices including: Using correct hardware, using 
connectors in the right direction, correct identification of the 
designated lower anchors in the vehicle and installation tightness.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \105\ The National Child Passenger Safety Certification Program 
certifies individuals as CPSTs. NHTSA assists in developing the 
curriculum of the certification; the National CPS Board oversees the 
quality and integrity of the training and certification 
requirements; and Safe Kids Worldwide functions as the certifying 
body.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Safe Kids found a 7 percentage point difference in correct use 
between lower anchorage installations and seat belt installations 
for infant seats with base, and a 10 percentage point difference in 
correct use between lower anchorage installations and seat belt 
installations of forward-facing seats, with lower anchorage 
installations having the higher rates of correct use. For other 
rear-facing seats, seat belt installations had a 1 percentage point 
advantage of correct use compared to installations with lower 
anchorages.
    As for tether use, the study found 59 percent correct tether use 
in forward-facing CRSs.
    We also reviewed Safe Kids sample data from the first quarter of 
2012 comprising 17,000 observations. The data showed that 48 percent 
of CRSs with internal harness were installed with the lower 
anchorages, 46 percent with the seat belt and 6 percent with both 
seat belt and lower anchorages in all vehicles (data did not 
distinguish whether the vehicles were equipped with child restraint 
anchorage systems). Overall tether usage in forward-facing CRSs with 
internal harness was only 29 percent. Tether use was 45 percent when 
the CRS was attached with lower anchorages and 15 percent when the 
CRS was attached with seat belt.\106\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \106\ The reduced tether use in the 2012 Safe Kids data compared 
to NHTSA's NCRUSS study could be attributed to the differences in 
the two observation samples. The Safe Kids observations are made at 
seat check stations where caregivers come to seek advice from the 
CPSTs on correct CRS installation. These caregivers may be novice 
CRS users or are unsure of the method of CRS installation. 
Therefore, this convenience sample of observations may be biased 
towards incorrect or non-ideal CRS installations. On the other hand, 
the NCRUSS observations are from a stratified sample representative 
of CRS use and installation in the United States and are designed to 
be bias-free.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Appendix B: Summary of 2007 Public Meeting

    In response to the 2006 report by Decina et al., supra, NHTSA 
held a public meeting on February 8, 2007 to bring together child 
restraint and vehicle manufacturers, retailers, technicians, 
researchers, and consumer groups to discuss ways to improve child 
passenger safety through improving CRS designs and increasing the 
proper use of child restraint systems.\107\ Questions were posed to 
the participants of the public meeting regarding child restraint 
anchorage system design, ease of use, and approaches to educating 
the public about proper use.\108\ NHTSA solicited comments on design 
considerations for tether anchorage locations, lower anchorage 
accessibility, system availability in the center seating position, 
and design of child restraint hooks and connectors. With respect to 
child restraint anchorage system ease of use, NHTSA was interested 
in the development of more user-friendly connectors, consumer 
information on vehicle child restraint anchorage system hardware, 
and CRS and vehicle compatibility. As for consumer education, NHTSA 
wanted to know what types of

[[Page 3783]]

questions consumers had and how to spread child restraint anchorage 
system awareness.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \107\ 72 FR 3103, January 24, 2007, notice of public meeting, 
request for comments.
    \108\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The agency received comments from vehicle manufacturers, child 
passenger advocacy groups, researchers, and individuals. While the 
comments and suggestions received on child restraint anchorage 
system were varied, the main themes were as follows:
    Lower Anchorages: There was support for improving the 
conspicuity, accessibility, and ease of use of the lower anchorages 
without compromising comfort to adult occupants, and standardizing 
the location of the lower anchorages.
    Markings of Anchorages: There were suggestions for requiring all 
anchorages to be marked by the International Standards Organization 
(ISO) symbol regardless of anchorage visibility, requiring similar 
markings for the CRS connectors, and considering color coded labels 
to clarify the anchorage locations for each DSP.
    Child restraint anchorage system for rear center seat: There was 
support for requiring a child restraint anchorage system in all rear 
center seats, or developing provisions to use the inboard anchorages 
of the outboard seating position for the center seat while taking 
into consideration the possibility of misuse when two CRSs are 
connected to the same anchorage.
    Child restraint anchorage system for 3rd row seating positions: 
Some suggested requiring additional child restraint anchorage 
system-equipped DSPs for vehicles with three or more rows.
    Consumer education: There were suggestions on using consistent 
terminology in education material and developing up-to-date uniform 
curriculum, requiring that a DVD or Web site be included in the 
instruction manual for CRS installation, emphasizing the use of 
tethers and explicitly encouraging the use of child restraint 
anchorage systems rather than simply listing it as an option for 
installation.
    A more detailed summary of comments received from the 2007 
public meeting regarding child restraint anchorage system ease of 
use is set forth below.

Lower Anchorage Usability

     Advocates for Highway Safety (Advocates), the American 
Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and Safe Ride News (SRN) suggested that 
lower anchors be located farther forward in the seat bight to 
increase visibility and make installation and removal easier.
     Advocates suggested that lower anchors need to be just 
as accessible as seat belts. Otherwise, parents will continue to 
install child restraints with seat belts over the LATCH system.
     SafetyBelt Safe USA (SBS) said that it is more 
difficult to remove restraints from recessed anchors.
     SRN called for further research into whether hidden 
lower anchors are a deterrent to using the LATCH system.
     Honda was concerned that moving anchors out of the seat 
bight would cause occupant discomfort and would necessitate the 
redesign of some seats. Instead, Honda suggested that there might be 
a different way to clear space around anchors without moving them 
forward.
     General Motors (GM) suggested that NHTSA evaluate SAE's 
lower anchor access design guidelines.

Conspicuity and Identification of Anchors (Marking of Anchors)

     GM, Advocates, AAP, SRN, and the University of Virginia 
(UVA) recommended that all tethers and lower anchors, regardless of 
visibility, be conspicuously marked. GM suggested that the industry 
develop a voluntary agreement to label all tethers with an anchor 
symbol and all lower anchors with a baby dot symbol. The connectors 
on the child restraint would also be labeled with the same symbols 
for easy matching.
     AAP, SRN, and several CPSTs recommended that sets of 
lower anchors be labeled or color coded to clarify which seating 
position they serve, especially in the case of overlapping lower 
anchors.

Tether Anchorage Specifications, Location, and Accessibility

     GM and SRN supported further restriction of the tether 
zone to eliminate problems associated with tethers located 
underneath seats and to make tether anchors more accessible. It was 
also noted that further limitation of this zone would also ensure 
that child restraints with shorter tether straps would be able to 
reach the tether anchor.
     Honda recommended that NHTSA gain full understanding of 
the optimal tether locations for different vehicle configurations 
before further restricting the zone. It noted that tether anchor 
locations in many vehicles are limited due to strength requirements.
     Honda recommended that NHTSA consider the comfort, 
ingress/egress and excursion space of other occupants when 
determining acceptable tether locations.
     AAP recommended that vehicle manufacturers provide 
tether locations forward of seats for use with rear-facing seats.

Anchorage System for Center Seat

     GM and Honda recommended that provisions be developed 
for the use of inboard lower anchors from outboard seats to create a 
center seat full LATCH system. However, Honda noted that it does not 
currently encourage this type of use since these anchors often are 
not set 280 mm (11 in) apart, as specified in FMVSS No. 225. Honda, 
SBS, GM and SRN recommended that NHTSA research the range of safe 
distances between lower anchors in order to determine the 
feasibility of this type of use.
     AAP was concerned that if consumers are given the 
option of attaching a child seat to the inboard anchors of outboard 
seats, they will then attach two child restraints to the same lower 
anchor when installing adjacent restraints. One CPST recommended a 
solution of making lower anchors smaller in size to discourage 
parents from attempting to attach multiple restraints to a single 
anchor.
     Advocates, UVA, and three CPSTs suggested that all 
center seats be equipped with a full LATCH system.
     AAP, Advocates, and two CPSTs agreed that conflicting 
information is currently given to parents regarding the center seat 
position being the ``safest'' and the availability of full LATCH 
systems in the center seat. The commenters suggested that this 
discrepancy should be reconciled to avoid confusion when installing 
seats in the center position. Possible solutions suggested include a 
dedicated set of center seat anchors or built-in center seat child 
restraints.

Full LATCH for 3rd Row Seat Positions

     SRN and SBS suggested that the minimum number of full 
LATCH systems for a vehicle with three rows be increased. They 
thought that providing more LATCH systems per vehicle could reduce 
the number of incidences where multiple restraints are attached to a 
single anchor.

Consumer Education

     AAP advised against inconsistent vocabulary, 
recommending that NHTSA clarify certain terminology, such as 
``LATCH'' referring to the entire system rather than just the lower 
anchorages.
     Cohort 22 and UVA suggested that either a DVD or a Web 
site link be included in instruction manuals to provide users an 
installation video that would better clarify what a ``tight fit'' 
means.
     Honda suggested making a tether strap routing procedure 
available to consumers.
     AAP believed that the importance of the tether in the 
LATCH system must be emphasized to consumers. SRN recommended that 
manuals explicitly encourage the use of LATCH rather than simply 
listing it as an option for installation.
     GM, Honda, SRN, and a CPST emphasized the importance of 
consumer education and public awareness of LATCH. SRN suggested that 
an up-to-date and uniform curriculum of information be developed so 
that the information given to parents and caregivers is consistent 
from all sources (e.g. hospitals, police, and doctors).

Appendix C: Other Usability Efforts

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

    ISO, a worldwide voluntary federation of ISO member bodies, is 
drafting an approach toward improving the usability of a child 
restraint anchorage system called ``ISOFIX.'' \109\ (ISO 29061-
1:2010, Road vehicles--Methods and criteria for usability evaluation 
of child restraint systems and their interface with vehicle 
anchorage systems--Part 1: Vehicles and child restraint systems 
equipped with ISOFIX anchorages and attachments.) The draft ISO 
approach uses a rating system and criteria to provide child 
restraint and vehicle manufacturers with a tool for the assessment 
of the usability of ISOFIX systems. ISO also provides consumers 
(parents and caregivers) with information to assist them in 
selecting a CRS and vehicle with ISOFIX systems that are easy to 
use, with the aim that the information will result in more correct 
installations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \109\ ISOFIX is a system, mostly used in Europe, for the 
connection of child restraint systems to vehicles. The system has 
two vehicle rigid anchorages, two corresponding rigid attachments on 
the child restraint system and a means to limit the pitch rotation 
of the child restraint system.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The ISO approach evaluates and rates the usability of the CRS's 
ISOFIX features, the

[[Page 3784]]

vehicle's ISOFIX system, and the interaction between the two. While 
the ISOFIX system is not used in the U.S., the system is very 
similar to the FMVSS No. 225 child restraint anchorage system and 
therefore, the evaluation developed by ISO can mostly be applied to 
our systems. The vehicle assessment with this methodology include 
the instructions on how to identify the number and location of 
ISOFIX-equipped seating positions, the visibility and labeling of 
the ISOFIX anchorages, the proximity of hardware equipment to the 
tether anchorage that could be mistakenly used to attach the tether, 
and interference between lower anchorages and seat belt equipment. 
The interaction between the vehicle and CRS is evaluated using the 
criteria listed in Table 2.
    The ISOFIX systems of the CRS, vehicle, and the interaction 
between the two are rated using a weighted scoring system with the 
weights corresponding to the importance of each criterion for 
improving ease of use and correct installation. Each criterion is 
rated on a 3 point scale where a rating of good, average, and poor 
are given a score of 3, 1, and 0, respectively. The importance of 
each criterion is also rated on a 3 point scale ranging from 1 to 3, 
with 3 being the most important.

   Table 2--Criteria Items in Form 3 of ISO 29061-1:2010 With Scoring
                                 System
                      [CRS and vehicle interaction]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          Score Good,
                                          average and       Importance
                                          poor (3/1/0     (A,B,C = 3/2/1
                                             points           points
                                         respectively)    respectively)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.1.1 Using the CRS, are the prepared
 vehicle ISOFIX anchorages accessible
 during the connecting process (i.e.,
 is it possible to use them?)
3.1.2 ISOFIX anchorages accessible
 during installation process?
3.1.3 Is there clear feedback that the
 CRS is correctly attached to the
 ISOFIX anchorages?
3.1.4 Can the ISOFIX attachments be
 tightened after the initial
 connection to the lower anchorages?
3.1.5 Flexible attachments only: When
 properly installed, no hidden slack
 can exist in lower attachments.
3.1.6 Is the child harness fully
 operable when ISOFIX is installed
 properly?
3.2.1 Actions required to attach the
 tether to the tether anchorage?
3.2.2 Can tether be tightened
 properly?
3.2.3 Is there clear feedback that the
 child restraint system is correctly
 attached to the tether anchorage?
3.3.1 Actions required to adjust the
 primary anti-rotational device to the
 correct position (e.g., a support leg
 in a rearward installation)?
3.3.2 Actions required to operate any
 secondary anti-rotational device(s)
 [e.g., a rebound bar, or rebound
 tether(s), in a rearward
 installation]?
3.4.1 CRS and base preparation: CRS
 Base and CRS shell ready for
 installation?
3.4.2 Actions required to attach the
 CRS shell to base?
3.4.3 Is there a clear feedback of
 correct locking of the CRS to the
 base?
3.4.4 Actions required to detach CRS
 from base?
3.5.1 Ease of releasing tension of
 tether?
3.5.2 Actions required to detach and
 store the tether strap after tension
 has been released?
3.5.3 Ease of releasing tension of
 flexible CRS attachments?
3.5.4 Actions required to remove and
 store the primary anti-rotational
 device?
3.5.5 Actions required to remove and
 store any secondary anti-rotational
 device(s)?
3.5.6 Actions required to detach the
 attachments from the ISOFIX
 anchorages?
------------------------------------------------------------------------

b. Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Recommended Practice (Draft)

    A draft SAE recommended practice entitled J2893,\110\ 
``Guidelines for Implementation of the Child Restraint Anchorage 
System in Motor Vehicles and Child Restraint Systems,'' developed by 
SAE's Child Restraint Systems Standards Committee, provides 
guidelines to vehicle manufacturers for certain characteristics of 
vehicle lower and upper (tether) anchorages, and to CRS 
manufacturers for corresponding features of CRS lower anchorage and 
tether connectors, so that each of their products can be made more 
compatible with the other. SAE developed tools and procedures for 
evaluating the child restraint anchorage system hardware features in 
vehicles and child restraints. The eleven guidelines include the 
following:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \110\ The SAE J2893 Version 1-Draft 7 was used for the UMTRI 
study. Any mention of the SAE J2893 recommendations throughout this 
document will refer to this draft version of the guidelines which 
are still under development.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Can the child restraint fixture attach to the lower anchors?
    Is the force to attach lower anchors less than 75 Newton (N) 
(16.9 pound (lb))?
    Is the clearance angle as measured with a specified angle 
measurement tool greater than 75 degrees?
    When resting unattached on the vehicle seat, is the lateral 
angle of the child restraint fixture less than 5 degrees?
    When installed on the lower anchors, is the pitch angle of the 
child restraint between 5 and 20 degrees?
    Does a specified collinearity tool attach to the lower anchors?
    Does a specified angle measurement tool contact any rigid 
structure around the lower anchors?
    When installed, is the distance from the Z-point on the child 
restraint fixture to the seat cushion less than 51 mm?
    Are tether anchors marked with the ISO Symbol?
    Are lower anchors marked with the ISO symbol?
    If a tether router is present, does it accommodate a specified 
tether hardware assembly clearance tool?

c. NCAP's Pending Vehicle-CRS Fit Program

    On February 25, 2011,\111\ NHTSA published a request for 
comments on the agency's plan to adopt a new consumer information 
program that would be part of the agency's New Car Assessment 
Program (NCAP). The intent of the program is to make it easier for 
consumers to obtain a CRS that fits well in their vehicle. (76 FR 
10637, February 25, 2011, Docket No NHTSA-2010-0062.)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \111\ 76 FR 10637, February 25, 2011 request for comment, Docket 
No NHTSA-2010-0062. NHTSA is in the process of considering the next 
steps for the program.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NHTSA proposed the Vehicle-CRS Fit program to be a voluntary 
program, in which NHTSA would make available to consumers 
information provided by vehicle manufacturers as to the specific 
CRSs that fit in specific vehicle models. NHTSA developed a set of 
criteria to define what constitutes an acceptable ``fit'' under the 
program. The plan was for vehicle manufacturers to use the criteria 
to assess the fit of child restraints in their vehicles and 
determine which CRSs can be identified as fitting the vehicle. The 
vehicle manufacturers

[[Page 3785]]

would provide this information to NHTSA, and NHTSA in turn would 
post this information on the agency's NCAP Web site, 
www.safercar.gov.
    The agency proposed that part of the assessment of an adequate 
fit would evaluate the interface of the CRS with the child restraint 
anchorage system. The agency proposed that the following criteria be 
included in evaluating the fit of a CRS in a vehicle:
    Whether the tether of the CRS can be attached to the tether 
anchorage;
    Whether the tether can be properly tightened once attached to 
the tether anchorage;
    Whether the lower anchorage connectors on the CRS can be 
properly attached to the vehicle's lower anchorages;
    Whether the lower anchorage connectors on the CRS can be 
tightened (if necessary) once connected to the lower anchorages;
    Whether the seat belt buckles for adjacent seating positions are 
available for use by other passengers after the CRS is installed in 
the vehicle using the lower anchorages of a child restraint 
anchorage system; and
    Whether the upper weight limit of the CRS is less than the upper 
weight limit specified for the vehicle's lower anchorages.
    NHTSA envisioned that consumers would use the information on the 
safecar.gov Web site to see the CRSs that the vehicle manufacturer 
has said will fit a particular vehicle. As part of the program, 
NHTSA would conduct spot-checks of the manufacturers' information to 
verify that the identified CRSs do meet the fit criteria of the 
program.

    Issued on: January 5, 2015.
R. Ryan Posten,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.

[FR Doc. 2015-00162 Filed 1-22-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P