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Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Motorcycle Helmets

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Motorcycles American Government Topics:  Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Motorcycle Helmets

Christopher J. Bonanti
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
August 13, 2012


[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 156 (Monday, August 13, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Page 48105]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-19763]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571

[Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0112]


Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Motorcycle Helmets

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

ACTION: Final rule; grant of petition for reconsideration.

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SUMMARY: This document responds to a petition for reconsideration of a 
final rule issued by this agency on May 13, 2011. The final rule 
amended the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard for motorcycle 
helmets. Specifically, the final rule amended the helmet labeling 
requirements and compliance test procedures in order to make it more 
difficult to misleadingly label novelty helmets and to aid the agency 
in enforcing the standard. This document addresses issues raised in a 
petition for reconsideration relating to early compliance with the 
amended requirements.

DATES: Effective date: The effective date of the final rule amending 49 
CFR part 571 published at 76 FR 28132, May 13, 2011, is May 13, 2013.
    Compliance date: Voluntary early compliance with the final rule 
amending 49 CFR part 571 published at 76 FR 28132, May 13, 2011, is 
permitted as of August 13, 2012 if all of the amended requirements of 
the final rule are met.
    Petitions for reconsideration must be received by September 27, 
2012.

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
    For policy and technical issues: Mr. Check Kam, Office of 
Rulemaking, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: (202) 366-7002.
    For legal issues: Mr. William H. Shakely, Office of the Chief 
Counsel, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: (202) 366-2992.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Background
II. Petition for Reconsideration and Agency's Response

I. Background

    On May 13, 2011, NHTSA published a final rule amending the helmet 
labeling requirements and compliance test procedures of FMVSS No. 218, 
Motorcycle helmets, in order to make it more difficult to misleadingly 
label novelty helmets and to aid the agency in enforcing the 
standard.\1\ Specifically, the final rule required a single, enhanced 
certification label that the agency believes will discourage the 
production, sale, and attachment of labels that misleadingly resemble 
legitimate certification labels. The final rule further required that 
the size label state the helmet size in discrete, numerical terms in 
order to facilitate compliance testing. Additionally, the final rule 
amended the retention and impact attenuation test procedures and 
adopted helmet conditioning tolerances.
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    \1\ Final Rule, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; 
Motorcycle Helmets, 76 FR 28132 (May 13, 2011).
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    Two petitions for reconsideration, each dated June 23, 2011, were 
received from the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), a not-for-profit 
national trade association representing manufacturers and distributors 
of motorcycles and motorcycle parts and accessories, as well as members 
of allied trades. The first petition requested that the agency include 
in the preamble a statement permitting voluntary early compliance prior 
to the effective date of May 13, 2013. This document responds to that 
petition.
    The second petition requested that the definition of ``discrete 
size'' in FMVSS No. 218 be amended by adding language requiring that 
this value reflect the actual size of the helmet. MIC also submitted a 
clarification of its second petition, which noted various issues 
regarding the measurement of ``discrete size.'' The agency will respond 
to this petition in a separate, forthcoming document.

II. Petition for Reconsideration and Agency's Response

    MIC requested that the agency include in the preamble a statement 
permitting voluntary early compliance prior to the effective date of 
May 13, 2013, stating that such a provision is usually included in 
final rules with safety benefits. MIC asserted that allowing immediate 
voluntary compliance would serve to accelerate the goals of the rule 
and would provide needed flexibility to motorcycle helmet manufacturers 
seeking to introduce helmets complying with the amended requirements on 
a gradual basis, rather than having to stockpile inventory until the 
effective date.
    Agency Response--NHTSA is granting MIC's petition and is including 
a provision in the DATES section of this document permitting voluntary 
early compliance with the amended requirements of 49 CFR 571.218 
established by the May 13, 2011 final rule. We emphasize that a helmet 
manufactured to meet the amended requirements of FMVSS No. 218 before 
the effective date must meet all of the amended labeling and 
performance requirements.

    Issued on: August 6, 2012.
Christopher J. Bonanti,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2012-19763 Filed 8-10-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P



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