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Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment

Christopher J. Bonanti
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
September 3, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 170 (Tuesday, September 3, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 54209-54214]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-21370]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571

[Docket No. NHTSA-2011-0052]
RIN 2127-AL41


Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Lamps, Reflective 
Devices, and Associated Equipment

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

ACTION: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: The agency is proposing to amend the Federal motor vehicle 
safety standard (FMVSS) on lamps, reflective devices, and associated 
equipment to allow the license plate mounting surface on motorcycles to 
be at an angle of up to 30 degrees beyond vertical. Adoption of this 
proposal would increase manufacturer design flexibility without 
compromising safety or increasing costs. In addition, it would also 
make the requirements of the standard more in line with European 
regulations.

DATES: Comments to this proposal must be received on or before November 
4, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by the docket number in 
the heading of this document, by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on 
the electronic docket site by clicking on ``Help'' or ``FAQ.''
     Mail: Docket Management Facility, M-30, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Ground 
Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590.
     Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 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 comments, you should mention the 
docket number of this document.
    You may call the Docket Management Facility at 202-366-9826.
    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: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all 
comments received in 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) or you may visit http://www.dot.gov/privacy.html.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov, or the street 
address listed above. Follow the online instructions for accessing the 
dockets.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For technical issues: Mr. Markus Price, Office of Crash Avoidance 
Standards, NHTSA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, 
Washington, DC 20590 (Telephone: (202) 366-0098) (Fax: (202) 366-7002).
For legal issues: Mr. Thomas Healy, Office of the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Washington, DC 20590 
(Telephone: (202) 366-2992) (Fax: (202) 366-3820).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    NHTSA published a NPRM on December 30, 2005 \1\ to reorganize FMVSS 
No. 108, Lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment, and 
improve the clarity of the standard's requirements thereby increasing 
its utility for regulated parties. NHTSA published a final rule on 
December 4, 2007,\2\ amending FMVSS No. 108 by reorganizing the 
regulatory text so that it provides a more straight-forward and logical 
presentation of the applicable regulatory requirements; incorporating 
important agency interpretations of the existing requirements; and 
reducing reliance on third-party documents incorporated by reference. 
It was the agency's goal during the rewrite process to make no 
substantive changes to the requirements of the standard.
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    \1\ 70 FR 77454, (Dec. 30, 2005).
    \2\ 72 FR 68234, (Dec. 4, 2007).
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    Included in the third party documents whose requirements were 
transferred to the regulatory text of the standard was SAE J587 OCT81, 
License Plate Lamps (Rear Registration Plate Lamps). Among other 
requirements derived from SAE J587 OCT81, paragraph S6.3.3 of the

[[Page 54210]]

final rule required that the rear license plate holder be mounted at an 
angle  15 degrees of a plane perpendicular to that on which 
the vehicle stands.
    In response to the final rule, the agency received petitions for 
reconsideration from Harley-Davidson Motor Company (Harley-Davidson) 
(January 18, 2008) and Ford Motor Company (Ford) (January 18, 2008) 
asking the agency to reconsider the mounting angle requirements for 
license plate holders. In addition to the petitions for reconsideration 
filed by Harley-Davidson and Ford, the agency had previously received a 
petition for rulemaking from the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) on 
March 14, 2005, requesting that the agency modify the license mounting 
angle requirement to allow license plates to be mounted between 30 
degrees upward and 15 degrees downward of a plane perpendicular to that 
on which the vehicle stands. MIC also submitted an untimely petition 
for reconsideration of the FMVSS No. 108 final rule on March 19, 2009, 
requesting that the agency amend the license plate angle mounting 
requirement. Pursuant to its procedural regulations, the agency has 
treated that untimely petition as a petition for rulemaking.\3\
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    \3\ 49 CFR 553.35.
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    Harley-Davidson and Ford argued that, in their view, license plate 
holders are not lamps, reflective devices or associated equipment and, 
therefore, were not regulated under the pre-rewrite version of FMVSS 
No. 108. Harley-Davidson and Ford stated that since the pre-rewrite 
version of FMVSS No. 108 did not regulate license plate holders, 
regulating license plate holders in the final rule imposed a 
substantive change in the requirements of the standard contrary to the 
agency's stated policy in the final rule. Additionally, Harley-Davidson 
and Ford stated that the license plate mounting provisions of SAE J587 
OCT81 were intended as instructions for evaluating the photometric 
performance of license plate lamps, not as a requirement for how 
license plates must be mounted on a vehicle. Finally, Harley-Davidson 
requested that if the agency decided that the license plate mounting 
angle was regulated under FMVSS No. 108, the agency amend the final 
rule so that the mounting angle requirements are the same as the most 
recent revision of SAE Standard J587 and the requirements in the 
European Union which both allow motorcycle license plates to be mounted 
at an angle 30 degrees upward from vertical.
    In its 2005 petition for rulemaking, MIC asked NHTSA to harmonize 
the license plate mounting angle requirements for motorcycles with 
European requirements. MIC argued that changing the license plate 
mounting angle would not adversely affect safety or interfere with law 
enforcement's ability to read license plates. MIC stated that by 
allowing a 30 degree upward angle, the license plate lamp can be 
physically located closer to the plate, retaining the incident angle 
and providing the same amount of illumination. Locating the license 
plate lamp closer to the plate would allow the rear of the motorcycle 
to be designed to be shorter with no effect on the real world 
illumination. MIC stated that harmonization also has benefits in 
reducing unnecessary design and manufacturing efforts, as well as 
reducing unnecessary parts-sourcing and parts-supply complexity, 
allowing manufacturers to apply these resource savings to other, more 
important issues.
    In separate notices issued on April 26, 2011, NHTSA granted a 
petition for rulemaking to amend the license plate angle mounting 
requirement in FMVSS No. 108 \4\ and denied the petitions for 
reconsideration of the 2007 final rule on the same issue.\5\ In the 
notice denying the petitions for reconsideration, NHTSA set forth the 
justification for why the agency considers the mounting angle of a 
license plate to be regulated under FMVSS No. 108. NHTSA is issuing 
this NPRM as a result of granting the petition for rulemaking to amend 
the license plate angle mounting requirement in paragraph S6.3.3 of 
FMVSS No. 108.
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    \4\ See 76 FR 23254, (April 26, 2011) (granting petition for 
rulemaking).
    \5\ See 76 FR 23255, (April 26, 2011) (denying petitions for 
reconsideration).
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II. Agency Proposal

    NHTSA is proposing to amend FMVSS No. 108 to change the license 
plate mounting requirements for motorcycles to allow license plate 
mounting angles of up to 30 degrees upward from vertical (an installed 
plate will face above the horizon) if the upper edge of the license 
plate is not more than 1.2 m (47.25 inches) from the ground. The 
maximum downward angle (an installed plate will face below the horizon) 
at which a motorcycle license plate could be mounted would remain 15 
degrees as would the maximum upward angle on motorcycles for which the 
upper edge of the license plate was more than 1.2 m (47.25 inches) from 
the ground. NHTSA believes that amending the motorcycle license plate 
mounting angle requirements to allow mounting angles of up to 30 
degrees upward from vertical if the upper edge of the license plate is 
not more than 1.2 m (47.25 inches) above the ground would reduce costs 
for manufacturers by allowing them to use the same mounting hardware 
for the license plate in both the U.S. and Europe. We do not believe 
that this proposal would compromise safety because the proposed changes 
to the license plate mounting angle requirement would not affect law 
enforcement or the public's ability to view the plate.
    Amending the motorcycle license plate mounting requirements to make 
the requirements more in line with European regulations will increase 
manufacturer design flexibility without decreasing safety. Increasing 
manufacturer design flexibility and decreasing manufacturer costs in 
this case will allow manufacturers to better allocate resources which 
lead to increased compliance and increased safety. The agency is also 
soliciting comment on amending the mounting angle requirement for all 
other types of vehicles to allow license plates to be mounted at an 
angel of up to 30 degrees upward of vertical in order to maintain the 
consistency across vehicle classes that currently exist. After 
receiving public comment the agency may decide to allow license plates 
to be mounted on all vehicles at an angle of up to 30 degrees upward of 
vertical. The agency may also decide to allow license plates to be 
mounted at an angle of up to 30 degrees upward of vertical only on all 
vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds and less.
    NHTSA is also soliciting comment on adopting the license plate 
mounting angle requirements contained in European Economic Community 
(EEC) Directive 93/94/EEC. Directive 93/94/EEC is different from the 
agency's proposal in that it permits a motorcycle license plate to be 
mounted up to 30 degrees upward from vertical if the upper edge of the 
license plate is not more than 1.5 m (59.1 inches) from the ground. 
Directive 93/94/EEC specifies that the upper edge of the license plate 
must not be more than 1.5 m above the ground when the vehicle is 
unladen while the agency's proposal does not contain a maximum mounting 
height for motorcycle license plates. Directive 93/94/EEC applies only 
to motorcycles and not other vehicles.
    In addition to visually observing license plate characters by eye 
sight, many law enforcement and traffic management organizations use 
license plate recognition (reading) technology to read license plate 
characters. NHTSA

[[Page 54211]]

invited one license plate reader manufacturer to demonstrate its 
equipment to NHTSA personnel.\6\ Based on this demonstration and 
conversations with the manufacturer about the capabilities of the 
license plate reading system, NHTSA has tentatively concluded that 
allowing license plates to be mounted at an angle of 30 degree upward 
from vertical will not affect the ability of license plate recognition 
technology to read license plate characters. NHTSA seeks comment as to 
whether allowing motorcycle license plates to be mounted at an angle of 
30 degrees upward from vertical will negatively affect the ability of 
license plate recognition technology to read license plate characters.
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    \6\ The demonstration was conducted on March 12, 2008, by Jason 
T. Laquatra/Vice President of Field Operations ELSAG North America, 
Law Enforcement Systems, and his associate.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

III. Costs, Benefits, and the Proposed Compliance Date

    Because this proposal is intended to increase manufacturer design 
flexibility by amending the license plate mounting angle requirements 
for motorcycles, the agency does not anticipate that there will be any 
costs associated with this rulemaking action. The agency believes that 
this rulemaking action will result in minor benefits resulting from 
cost saving associated with increased design flexibility that would not 
exceed $0.05 per motorcycle. Because the agency does not believe that 
benefits from this rulemaking action will rise to the level that the 
action will be economically significant, the agency did not conduct a 
separate economic analysis for this rulemaking.
    The agency proposes an effective date of 60 days after the final 
rule should one be published.

IV. Public Participation

How do I prepare and submit comments?

    Your comments must be written and in English. To ensure that your 
comments are correctly filed in the Docket, please include the docket 
number of this document in your comments. Your comments must not be 
more than 15 pages long.\7\ 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.
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    \7\ See 49 CFR 553.21.
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    Please submit your comments by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on 
the electronic docket site by clicking on ``Help'' or ``FAQ.''
     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.
    If you are submitting comments electronically as a PDF (Adobe) 
file, we ask that the documents submitted be scanned using Optical 
Character Recognition (OCR) process, thus allowing the agency to search 
and copy certain portions of your submissions.\8\
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    \8\ Optical character recognition (OCR) is the process of 
converting an image of text, such as a scanned paper document or 
electronic fax file, into computer-editable text.
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    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 Office of Management 
and Budget (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. DOT's guidelines may be accessed at http://dmses.dot.gov/submit/DataQualityGuidelines.pdf.

How can I be sure that my comments were received?

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

How do I submit confidential business information?

    If you wish to submit any information under a claim of 
confidentiality, you should submit three copies of your complete 
submission, including the information you claim to be confidential 
business information, to the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, at the address given 
above under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. 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.\9\
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    \9\ See 49 CFR 512.
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    In addition, you should submit a copy, from which you have deleted 
the claimed confidential business information, to the Docket by one of 
the methods set forth above.

Will the agency consider late comments?

    We will consider all comments received before the close of business 
on the comment closing date indicated above under DATES. To the extent 
possible, we will also consider comments received after that date. 
Therefore, if interested persons believe that any new information the 
agency places in the docket affects their comments, they may submit 
comments after the closing date concerning how the agency should 
consider that information for the final rule.
    If a comment is received too late for us to consider 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 materials placed in the docket for this document 
(e.g., the comments submitted in response to this document by other 
interested persons) at any time by going to http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the online instructions for accessing the dockets. You may also 
read the materials at the Docket Management Facility by going to the 
street address given above under ADDRESSES. The Docket Management 
Facility is open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through 
Friday, except Federal holidays.

V. Regulatory Notices and Analyses

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

    NHTSA has considered the impact of this rulemaking action under 
Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, and the Department of 
Transportation's regulatory policies and procedures. This rulemaking 
document was not reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget under 
E.O. 12866, ``Regulatory Planning and Review.'' The proposal contained 
in this rulemaking document does not result in any increased costs or 
significant benefits. Therefore, it is not considered to be significant 
under E.O. 12866 or the Department's regulatory policies and 
procedures.

[[Page 54212]]

Executive Order 13609: Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation

    The policy statement in section 1 of Executive Order 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.

    This notice proposes to more closely align the U.S. regulatory 
requirements for mounting motorcycle license plates with those of 
European countries. The proposed changes will increase manufacturer 
design flexibility without decreasing safety. Increasing manufacturer 
design flexibility and decreasing manufacturer costs in this case will 
allow manufacturers to better allocate resources which lead to 
increased compliance and increased safety.
    NHTSA requests public comment on whether there are any ``regulatory 
approaches taken by foreign governments'' concerning the subject matter 
of this rulemaking, beyond those already mentioned in this notice, 
which the agency should consider.

National Environmental Policy Act

    We have reviewed this proposal for the purposes of the National 
Environmental Policy Act and determined that it would not have a 
significant impact on the quality of the human environment.

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 rulemaking for any proposed 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). 
The Small Business Administration's regulations at 13 CFR part 121 
define a small business, in part, as a business entity ``which operates 
primarily within the United States.'' 13 CFR 121.105(a). No regulatory 
flexibility analysis is required if the head of an agency certifies the 
rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities.
    NHTSA has considered the effects of the proposed rule under the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act. I certify that this proposed rule would not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. This proposal amends the license plate mounting angle for 
motorcycles. We do not anticipate that there will be any increased 
costs as a result of this rulemaking action. Accordingly, we do not 
anticipate that this proposal would have a significant economic impact 
on a substantial number of small entities.

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.

Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    Pursuant to Executive Order 12988, ``Civil Justice Reform,'' \10\ 
NHTSA has

[[Page 54213]]

considered whether this rulemaking would have any retroactive effect. 
This proposed rule does not have any retroactive effect.
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    \10\ 61 FR 4729 (Feb. 7, 1996).
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Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    Section 202 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) 
requires Federal agencies to prepare a written assessment of the costs, 
benefits, and other effects of a proposed or final rule that includes a 
Federal mandate likely to result in the expenditure by State, local, or 
tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of more 
than $100 million in any one year (adjusted for inflation with base 
year of 1995).
    Before promulgating a rule for which a written statement is needed, 
section 205 of the UMRA generally requires NHTSA to identify and 
consider a reasonable number of regulatory alternatives and adopt the 
least costly, most cost-effective, or least burdensome alternative that 
achieves the objectives of the rule. The provisions of section 205 do 
not apply when they are inconsistent with applicable law. Moreover, 
section 205 allows NHTSA to adopt an alternative other than the least 
costly, most cost-effective, or least burdensome alternative if the 
agency publishes with the final rule an explanation why that 
alternative was not adopted.
    This proposed rule is not anticipated to result in the expenditure 
by state, local, or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the 
private sector in excess of $100 million annually. The cost impact of 
this proposed rule is expected to be $0. Therefore, the agency has not 
prepared an economic assessment pursuant to the Unfunded Mandate Reform 
Act.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the procedures established by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 
1995 (PRA), a person is not required to respond to a collection of 
information by a Federal agency unless the collection displays a valid 
OMB control number. This proposed rule does not contain any collection 
of information requirements requiring review under the PRA.

Executive Order 13045

    Executive Order 13045 \11\ applies to any rule that: (1) is 
determined to be economically significant as defined under E.O. 12866, 
and (2) concerns an environmental, health or safety risk that NHTSA has 
reason to believe may have a disproportionate effect on children. If 
the regulatory action meets both criteria, we must evaluate the 
environmental health or safety effects of the proposed rule on 
children, and explain why the proposed regulation is preferable to 
other potentially effective and reasonably feasible alternatives 
considered by us.
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    \11\ 62 FR 19885 (Apr. 23, 1997).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    This proposed rule does not pose such a risk for children. The 
primary effects of this proposal are to amend the license plate 
mounting angle for motorcycles.

National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    Section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement 
Act (NTTAA) requires NHTSA to evaluate and use existing voluntary 
consensus standards in its regulatory activities unless doing so would 
be inconsistent with applicable law (e.g., the statutory provisions 
regarding NHTSA's vehicle safety authority) or otherwise impractical.
    Voluntary consensus standards are technical standards developed or 
adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies. Technical standards 
are defined by the NTTAA as ``performance-based or design-specific 
technical specification and related management systems practices.'' 
They pertain to ``products and processes, such as size, strength, or 
technical performance of a product, process or material.''
    Examples of organizations generally regarded as voluntary consensus 
standards bodies include the American Society for Testing and Materials 
(ASTM), the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and the American 
National Standards Institute (ANSI). If NHTSA does not use available 
and potentially applicable voluntary consensus standards, we are 
required by the Act to provide Congress, through OMB, an explanation of 
the reasons for not using such standards.
    While SAE J587 APR 1997, License Plate Lamps (Rear Registration 
Plate Lamps), contains a mounting angle requirement for motorcycles 
similar to the agency's proposal, the agency did not believe that it 
would be appropriate to adopt J587 APR 1997 in its entirety. FMVSS 108 
currently requires that when a single lamp is used to illuminate the 
plate, the lamp and license plate holder shall bear such relation to 
each other that at no point on the plate will the incident light make 
an angle of less than 8 degrees to the plane of the plate. SAE J587 APR 
1997 version eliminated this requirement. While the agency considered 
incorporating SAE J587 APR 1997 in its entirety, we concluded that the 
deletion of the test requirement to maintain an 8 degree relationship 
between the lamp and the license plate holder might negatively impact 
the direction toward which the plate reflects the light provided by the 
license plate lamp. For this reason the agency has decided to not to 
use a voluntary consensus standard in this regulatory activity.

Executive Order 13211

    Executive Order 13211 \12\ applies to any rule that: (1) is 
determined to be economically significant as defined under E.O. 12866, 
and is likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, 
distribution, or use of energy; or (2) that is designated by the 
Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs as a 
significant energy action. If the regulatory action meets either 
criterion, we must evaluate the adverse energy effects of the proposed 
rule and explain why the proposed regulation is preferable to other 
potentially effective and reasonably feasible alternatives considered 
by NHTSA.
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    \12\ 66 FR 28355 (May 18, 2001).
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    This proposal amends the license plate mounting angle for 
motorcycles. Therefore, this proposed rule will not have any adverse 
energy effects. Accordingly, this proposed rulemaking action is not 
designated as a significant energy action.

Regulation Identifier Number (RIN)

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

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?

[[Page 54214]]

     Would more (but shorter) sections be better?
     Could we improve clarity by adding tables, lists, or 
diagrams?
     What else could we do to make the rule easier to 
understand?
    If you have any responses to these questions, please include them 
in your comments on this proposal.

Privacy Act

    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 organization, 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) or you may visit 
http://www.dot.gov/privacy.html.

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 571

    Imports, Motor vehicle safety, Motor vehicles, and Tires.

    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA proposes to amend 49 CFR 
Chapter V 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 571.108 is amended by revising S6.6.3 and adding S6.6.3.1 
and S6.6.3.2 to read as follows:


Sec.  571.108  Standard No. 108; Lamps, reflective devices, and 
associated equipment.

* * * * *
    S6.6.3 License plate holder. Each rear license plate holder must be 
designed and constructed to provide a substantial plane surface on 
which to mount the plate.
    S6.6.3.1 Except as provided in S6.6.3.2, the plane of the license 
plate mounting surface and the plane on which the vehicle stands must 
be perpendicular within 15 degrees upward (an installed plate will face 
above the horizon) and 15 degrees downward (an installed plate will 
face below the horizon).
    S6.6.3.2 For motorcycles on which the license plate is designed to 
be mounted on the vehicle such that the upper edge of the license plate 
is 1.2 m or less from the ground, the plane of the license plate 
mounting surface and the plane on which the vehicle stands must be 
perpendicular within 30 degrees upward (an installed plate will face 
above the horizon) and 15 degrees downward (an installed plate will 
face below the horizon).
* * * * *

    Issued in Washington, DC, on August 22, 2013 under authority 
delegated in 49 CFR 1.95.
Christopher J. Bonanti,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 2013-21370 Filed 8-30-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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