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New Car Assessment Program (NCAP)

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

New Car Assessment Program (NCAP)

David L. Strickland
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
September 30, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 189 (Monday, September 30, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 59866-59878]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-23700]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 575

[Docket No. NHTSA-2013-0076]


New Car Assessment Program (NCAP)

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

ACTION: Final decision.

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SUMMARY: This document announces the agency's decision to implement 
(with minor modifications) the planned update to the U.S. New Car 
Assessment Program (NCAP) that the agency announced in its June 26, 
2013 request for comments (78 FR 38266). As we discussed in that 
request for comments, this update will enhance the program's ability to 
recommend to consumers vehicle models that have rearview video systems 
that the agency believes (based on currently available data) will 
decrease the risk of backover crashes. Further, the program will no 
longer list electronic stability control (ESC) as a Recommended 
Advanced Technology Feature because ESC is now required for all light 
vehicles. For many years, NCAP has provided comparative information on 
the safety of new vehicles to assist consumers with vehicle purchasing 
decisions. NCAP was most recently upgraded for model year 2011 to 
include recommended crash avoidance technologies. Those updates, along 
with today's updates to NCAP, allow consumers to better distinguish not 
only which vehicle models have advanced crash avoidance safety features 
but also which of these advanced features are best able to help them 
avoid crashes.

DATES: These changes to the New Car Assessment Program are effective 
September 30, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical issues: Mr. Markus 
Price, Office of Vehicle Rulemaking, Telephone: 202-366-1810, 
Facsimile: 202-366-5930, NVS-121. For NCAP logistics: Mr. Clarke 
Harper, Office of Crash Avoidance Standards, Telephone: 202-366-1810, 
Facsimile: 202-366-5930, NVS-120.
    The mailing address for these officials is: National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, 
DC 20590.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Executive Summary
II. Background
    A. NCAP and the Recommended Advanced Technology Features
    B. Summary of the June 26, 2013 Request for Comments
    C. Summary of the Comments Received
III. Final Decision and Response to Comments
    A. Clarification of Phase 1 and Phase 2 Implementation Schedule
    B. Field of View Criterion
    C. Image Size Criterion
    D. Response Time Criterion
    E. Minor Test Procedure Comments
    F. Removing Electronic Stability Control from NCAP
    G. Other Issues
IV. Conclusion

I. Executive Summary

    This document announces the agency's decision to update the U.S. 
New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) to include recommendations to motor 
vehicle consumers on vehicle models that have rearview video systems 
that can substantially enhance the driver's ability to avoid a backover 
crash. This update would substitute rearview video systems for 
electronic stability control (ESC) as a Recommended Advanced Technology 
Feature on our Web site, www.safercar.gov. NCAP provides comparative 
information on the safety performance and features of new vehicles to 
assist consumers with their vehicle purchasing decisions.
    With some variations, we will implement the plan that was the 
subject of our June 26, 2013 request for comments.\1\ While the agency 
will remove ESC as a Recommended

[[Page 59867]]

Advanced Technology Feature from NCAP starting in Model Year 2014, the 
agency will be moving swiftly to incorporate rearview video systems in 
its place. In order to provide as much information to consumers as 
quickly as possible, we will be implementing our plan to update NCAP in 
two phases.
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    \1\ 78 FR 38266 (June 26, 2013) (Docket No. NHTSA-2013-0076).
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     Phase 1: The agency will immediately begin to list 
rearview video systems in the Safety Features section of 
www.safercar.gov for each vehicle model that has this safety feature 
available.
     Phase 2: As soon as the agency is able to verify that the 
vehicle model has a rearview video system meeting certain basic 
criteria (as further discussed below), the agency will recognize those 
vehicle models as having a Recommended Advanced Technology Feature on 
the www.safercar.gov Web site.
    While we have made some modifications to our initial plan for Phase 
2 in response to the comments, we believe that the original timing and 
the three criteria (field of view, image size, and response time) 
remain appropriate for the purposes of ensuring that rearview video 
systems that become listed as Recommended Advanced Technology Features 
on www.safercar.gov are designed to assist drivers in avoiding backover 
crashes. After considering the comments we received, we have clarified 
our plans for both Phase 1 and 2 in this document and the docketed test 
procedures that the agency will be using to evaluate rearview video 
systems for the purposes of Phase 2.\2\
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    \2\ Docket No. NHTSA-2013-0076.
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    While the agency generally received supportive comments to its plan 
to update NCAP, various commenters expressed concern over certain 
details in implementing this plan. Namely, commenters requested 
clarification on the phased approach that the agency plans to use to 
implement the change and expressed various concerns over how the agency 
plans to test rearview video systems to evaluate whether they are 
systems that can address the safety risk. As discussed further, below, 
we believe that the issues raised by the commenters can be resolved 
with some clarification, minor adjustments to the agency's original 
plan, and the test procedures that the agency is docketing along with 
this document.\3\ Thus, the agency believes that it is appropriate at 
this time to begin implementing its planned update to NCAP.
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    \3\ Docket No. NHTSA-2013-0076.
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    Separately, it is important to reiterate the agency's statement in 
the June 26, 2013 request for comments that the agency's planned update 
to NCAP is separate from the agency's ongoing efforts to amend FMVSS 
No. 111 pursuant to the requirements of the Cameron Gulbransen Kids 
Transportation Safety Act of 2007 (``K.T. Safety Act''). Today's final 
decision announces the agency's decision with regard to updating NCAP 
to provide information to consumers about rearview video systems. 
However, this document is not a resolution to the agency's rulemaking 
action to amend FMVSS No. 111, it does not replace the agency's efforts 
in that area, nor is this document an alternative to completing that 
rulemaking process.
    The agency believes that there will be significant advantages in 
incorporating rearview video systems into NCAP before completing a 
final rule amending FMVSS No. 111. Also, we believe that NCAP is an 
important consumer information program that not only educates consumers 
about the potential benefits of advanced safety technologies, but also 
supports the provision of these potentially life-saving technologies to 
the American public. By updating NCAP now, the agency believes that 
consumers will receive important information relating to the backover 
risk and manufacturers will receive advance recognition for designing 
and installing rearview video systems on their vehicles to mitigate 
that risk. Even after the agency promulgates a final rule to amend 
FMVSS No. 111, consumers and manufacturers will continue to benefit 
from this consumer information program during the final rule's phase-in 
period.\4\
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    \4\ The current proposal to amend FMVSS No. 111 included a 
phase-in period covering three model years. See 75 FR 76185, 76188 
(December 7, 2010) (Docket No. NHTSA-2010-0162).
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II. Background

A. NCAP and the Recommended Advanced Technology Features

    As stated above, NCAP is a consumer information program that 
provides comparative information on the safety of new vehicles to 
assist consumers with vehicle purchasing decisions and to encourage 
motor vehicle manufacturers to make safety improvements. In the area of 
crashworthiness safety (how well the vehicle protects occupants in the 
event of a crash), NCAP uses the 5-Star Safety Rating system to 
communicate the relative performance of vehicles to consumers. The 
program was most recently upgraded for model year 2011 to include 
(among other changes) recommended crash avoidance technologies 
(technologies that help driver avoid crashes). These changes indicate 
to consumers which vehicles have Recommended Advanced Technology 
Features and which do not.
    The purpose of recommending to consumers advanced crash avoidance 
technologies is to provide consumers an easy way for identifying those 
technologies that data show will address a major safety risk. To this 
end, the agency uses three prerequisites to determine which 
technologies it should include as Recommended Advanced Technology 
Features: (1) It is a technology that addresses a major crash problem; 
(2) data exists to estimate its potential effectiveness; and (3) tests 
are available to ensure a level of performance so that the technology 
will address the safety problem.
    As we described in the request for comments, rearview video systems 
meet these prerequisites that the agency established for determining 
whether a technology should be considered a Recommended Advanced 
Technology Feature on www.safercar.gov and no commenter provided any 
information to the contrary. Rearview video systems can address 
backover crashes, which constitute a major safety problem. Backover 
crashes cause a significant number of fatalities and injuries each year 
because drivers cannot see the area behind the vehicle where 
pedestrians can be located. The currently available information 
indicates that vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 
10,000 pounds or less alone are involved in approximately 210 
fatalities and 15,000 injuries per year.\5\ Further, the currently 
available experimental data from the research summarized in the Notice 
of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to amend FMVSS No. 111 lead the agency to 
believe that rearview video systems will decrease the risk of backover 
crashes.\6\ Finally, since the agency has developed test procedures to 
assess rearview video systems to ensure that they are designed so as to 
address the backover safety risk, we believe that rearview video 
systems are suitable for incorporation into NCAP as a Recommended 
Advanced Technology Feature.
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    \5\ This data include the latest information on the target 
population from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and 
the General Estimates System (GES). These two sources, in 
conjunction with the Not in Traffic Surveillance (NiTS) data, form 
the basis for our estimates of the annual fatalities and injuries 
that are caused by backover crashes.
    \6\ 75 FR 76185.

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[[Page 59868]]

B. Summary of the June 26, 2013 Request for Comments

    Our request for comments outlined our plan to update NCAP to 
include rearview video systems. We stated that, in order to accomplish 
the goal of providing information to consumers as quickly as possible, 
we would leverage different sections of www.safercar.gov and update 
NCAP in two phases. Currently, the agency provides information on 
www.safercar.gov for each vehicle model concerning the vehicle's 5-Star 
Safety Ratings, stating whether the vehicle model has a Recommended 
Advanced Technology Feature, and listing the major safety features 
available on the vehicle model. Thus, we designed the two-phase 
implementation approach for rearview video systems as follows:
     Phase 1: The agency would immediately begin to list 
rearview video systems in the Safety Features section for each vehicle 
model on www.safercar.gov that has this safety feature available.
     Phase 2: As soon as the agency is able to verify that the 
vehicle model has a rearview video system meeting certain basic 
criteria (as further discussed below) the agency would recognize those 
vehicle models as having a Recommended Advanced Technology Feature on 
the www.safercar.gov Web site.
    As stated in our request for comments, this two-phase approach 
enables the agency to minimize the amount of time needed for the agency 
to begin providing information to consumers (Phase 1). Further, this 
approach maximizes the usefulness of the consumer information in the 
long run by ensuring that the rearview video systems listed as a 
Recommended Advanced Technology Feature are systems that are designed 
to address the backover safety problem (Phase 2).
    Towards achieving this goal in Phase 2, we outlined three criteria 
that the agency would use to evaluate rearview video systems for the 
purposes of listing them as a Recommended Advanced Technology Feature. 
We stated that to address the backover safety problem, rearview video 
systems need to (at a minimum):
    (1) Show a visual image of a minimum area behind the vehicle that 
is associated with the greatest crash risk,
    (2) show this area at a sufficient size so as to enable the driver 
to make judgments about the objects behind the vehicle, and
    (3) show this area quickly enough to provide the driver with the 
relevant information before he/she begins the backing maneuver.
    To ensure that rearview video systems recommended in Phase 2 can 
accomplish those three goals, we stated in the request for comments our 
plan to incorporate (with one modification) the field of view, image 
size, and response time requirements and test procedures that we 
proposed in the NPRM to amend FMVSS No. 111. These requirements would 
become the criteria for determining which rearview video systems would 
qualify as a Recommended Advanced Technology Feature.
    We planned to incorporate the field of view and image size 
requirements because those criteria apply to the most basic functions 
that the rearview video system needs to perform. As discussed in the 
NPRM to amend FMVSS No. 111, the field of view criterion for a 20-foot 
by 10-foot zone directly behind the vehicle covers the areas behind the 
vehicle that are associated with the greatest backover crash risk.\7\ 
Further, the available research indicates that the image size criterion 
(that the test objects contained in the rearview image subtend to a 
visual angle of at least 5 minutes of arc \8\) will help ensure that 
drivers are able to make judgments about the objects contained in the 
rearview image.\9\ We also stated that we planned to utilize the test 
procedures proposed in the NPRM to evaluate conformity with these 
criteria for the purposes of NCAP.
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    \7\ See 75 FR 76185, 76227.
    \8\ The NPRM to amend FMVSS No. 111 proposed two requirements 
relating to image size. See id. First, the horizontal width of the 3 
test objects in the last row along the 20-foot by 10-foot zone 
subtend to an average visual angle of 5 minutes of arc. Second, for 
each of those test objects, the subtended angle must not subtend to 
any angle less than 3 minutes of arc. We plan to continue to use 
this approach in evaluating conformity with the NCAP rearview video 
system criteria.
    \9\ The available research cited in the NPRM to amend FMVSS No. 
111 states that a driver can make judgments about an object if the 
object is shown at a subtended angle of 5 minutes of arc. See 75 FR 
76185, 76229.
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    Further, we planned to adopt the 2.0 second response time 
requirement from the NPRM to amend FMVSS No. 111 as a criterion for 
listing a rearview video system as a Recommended Advanced Technology 
Feature. The agency believes that this requirement is especially 
important because, regardless of the quality of the image shown to the 
driver, if the image is not shown before a driver begins a backing 
maneuver, then it is unlikely that the rearview video system will be 
able to assist the driver in avoiding a backover crash. As the agency 
explained in the FMVSS No. 111 NPRM, we believe the 2.0-second limit is 
appropriate given the amount of time necessary for rearview video 
systems to conduct the necessary system checks and the activation times 
that are achievable by liquid crystal displays.\10\
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    \10\ See 75 FR 76185, 76230.
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    In order to evaluate conformity with the 2.0 second response time 
criterion for the purposes of NCAP, we recognized in the request for 
comments that it is important to establish the state of the vehicle 
prior to testing for response time. Thus, we planned to include the 
following vehicle conditioning procedure when assessing conformity with 
the NCAP response time criterion.

    Image response time test procedure. The temperature inside the 
vehicle during this test is any temperature between 15 [deg]C and 25 
[deg]C. Immediately prior to commencing the actions listed in 
subparagraphs (a)-(c) of this paragraph, all components of the 
rearview video system are in a powered off state. Then:
    (a) open the driver's door,
    (b) activate the starting system using the key,\11\ and
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    \11\ The terms ``starting system'' and ``key'' have the same 
meanings that these terms have in FMVSS No. 114, Theft protection 
and rollaway prevention. See 49 CFR Part 571.114.
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    (c) place the vehicle in reverse at any time not less than 4 
seconds after the driver's door is opened.

    Immediately after the vehicle is conditioned in accordance with the 
above procedure, the agency would select the reverse gear in the 
vehicle and measure the 2.0-second response time. As mentioned 
previously, we believe that this conditioning procedure appropriately 
balanced the need for vehicle conditioning prior to testing conformity 
with this NCAP criterion and the need to ensure that the rearview image 
is available to the driver at a time that is appropriate for a driver 
relying on it to avoid a backover crash. Our naturalistic driving data 
\12\ indicate that approximately 90 percent of the time drivers do not 
select the reverse gear to begin the backing maneuver less than 4.25 
seconds after opening the vehicle's door. In other words, only 
approximately 10 percent of the time drivers enter their vehicle and 
select the reverse gear in less than 4.25 seconds. Thus, the vehicle 
conditioning procedure shown above reasonably approximates the real-
world conditions under which drivers would use these

[[Page 59869]]

systems and a vehicle conforming to the 2.0 second criteria under those 
test conditions would have the rearview image available for the driver 
in a timely fashion.
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    \12\ These data are information NHTSA prepared in support of the 
research report titled ``On-Road Study of Drivers' Use of Rearview 
Video Systems.'' See Mazzae, E. N., et al. (2008). On-Road Study of 
Drivers' Use of Rearview Video Systems (ORSDURVS), National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration, DOT HS 811 024. A summary of these 
naturalistic driving data prepared for that study (as it pertains to 
the length of time drivers take to select the reverse gear) is 
available in Docket No. NHTSA-2010-0162-0227.
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C. Summary of the Comments Received

    In response, the agency received comments from a variety of 
organizations including manufacturers, trade associations, and advocacy 
groups. The trade associations included the Alliance of Automotive 
Manufacturers (Alliance), the Association of Global Automakers, Inc. 
(Global Automakers), the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association 
(MEMA) and the Automotive Safety Council (ASC). The vehicle and 
equipment manufacturers included General Motors, LLC (GM), Honda Motor 
Co., Ltd. (Honda), BMW AG, BMW of North America, LLC (BMW), Ford Motor 
Company (Ford), Tesla Motors, Inc. (Tesla), and Delphi. The advocacy 
groups submitting comments included the Insurance Institute for Highway 
Safety (IIHS), the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), and the 
Advocates for Highway Safety (the Advocates). In general, the comments 
supported the agency's plan to update NCAP to include rearview video 
systems as opposed to ESC.
    The most significant concerns raised by vehicle manufacturers 
focused on the criteria that the agency would use to evaluate systems 
during Phase 2 (i.e., the field of view, image size, and response 
time). While many of these concerns requested clarifications of the 
agency's test methods, others requested changes to those methods. For 
example, the manufacturers expressed concern with the field of view 
criteria and how their use of overlays in the rearview image may affect 
their conformity with that criterion. In another example, several 
manufacturers suggested different test procedures for assessing 
conformity with the response time criterion based on their system 
design.
    Further, both vehicle and equipment manufacturers requested the 
agency provide more clarification as to the details of Phase 1 and 
Phase 2 implementation. Questions included the timing of each phase, 
and the systems that would qualify under each phase. The equipment 
manufacturers further commented that additional consideration should be 
given to autonomous vehicle controls that may prevent backover crashes 
and that rearview video systems should be added to the Monroney label 
(the label that is affixed on new vehicles offered for sale on the 
dealership lot).
    While the advocacy groups generally supported the agency's plan to 
update NCAP, one advocacy group opposed including rearview video 
systems into NCAP unless the final rule amending FMVSS No. 111 pursuant 
to the K.T. Safety Act is released concurrently with the update.

III. Final Decision and Response to Comments

    While the agency received and reviewed the aforementioned comments, 
these comments do not support any significant deviation from the 
agency's original plan to update NCAP that it announced in the June 26, 
2013 request for comments. The available information continues to 
support the decision to provide information to consumers about rearview 
video systems as soon as possible. Thus, in this final decision, we 
announce our intention to implement the plan to update NCAP from that 
request for comments.
    Pursuant to that plan, we will remove ESC from the list of 
Recommended Advanced Technology Features beginning in Model Year 2014 
and add rearview video systems using a two-phase process. First, we 
will immediately begin listing rearview video systems (for vehicle 
models that have these systems) in the Safety Features section of 
www.safercar.gov. Second, as soon as we are able to verify that vehicle 
models with rearview video systems meet the field of view, image size, 
and response time criteria, we will begin listing those vehicles as 
having a rearview video system that is a Recommended Advanced 
Technology Feature.
    However, in response to the comments received, we believe it is 
appropriate to clarify and institute various minor adjustments to this 
plan. As will be discussed in greater detail below, this document 
clarifies that agency's intention with regard to each phase of the two-
phase implementation strategy. It further describes the various 
adjustments to the test procedure for evaluating conformity with the 
NCAP field of view, image size, and response time criteria. These 
adjustments have been incorporated into the test procedures that 
accompany this document in the docket. The more significant changes in 
these procedures from the request for comments were: (1) Clarified how 
the test procedures and performance criteria apply to rearview video 
systems with alternate views and overlays; (2) added a maximum time to 
the response time vehicle conditioning test procedure; and (3) adjusted 
the test reference point as suggested by the commenters. The following 
is our analysis and response to the comments.

A. Clarification of Phase 1 and Phase 2 Implementation Schedule

    As mentioned above, the agency announced its plan to use a two-
phase approach to incorporate rearview video systems as a Recommended 
Advanced Technology Feature in NCAP. We stated in the June 26, 2013 
request for comments that we would leverage different portions of the 
Web site in order to minimize the amount of time needed before the 
agency can begin providing consumers information while also maximizing 
the usefulness of the consumer information in the long run. In response 
to the comments received, we are clarifying various aspects of this 
implementation schedule.
Clarifying the Systems That Qualify for Phase 1 and the Timing of Phase 
1
    In our June 26, 2013 request for comments we explained that the 
agency's plan during Phase 1 would be to immediately begin indicating 
on www.safercar.gov which vehicle models have rearview video systems as 
an available safety feature. We received comments from MEMA and Global 
Automakers requesting clarification regarding what systems would 
qualify under this phase and what the timing is for this phase.
    The systems that the agency would list in the Safety Features 
section of www.safercar.gov for each vehicle model would be those that 
the manufacturers advertise (or represent through other means such as 
informing the agency) as a system that provides a view of the area 
behind the vehicle. These systems are sometimes listed as ``backup 
cameras'' or under other similar labels. In other words, they are 
rearview video systems (not additional mirrors or lenses) that may be 
listed as a Recommended Advanced Technology Feature but have not yet 
been evaluated to one or more of the Phase 2 criteria. For instance, a 
rearview video system that does not meet the response time criterion in 
Phase 2, cannot not be listed among the Recommended Advanced Technology 
Features, but will be listed in the Safety Features section.
    The intent of the Safety Features section of each vehicle model's 
page on www.safercar.gov is to provide a central location (easily 
accessible by consumers) with uniform lists of potential additional 
safety information that consumers can use to compare different vehicle 
models. Under Phase 1, the agency would be providing this additional 
information about models with rearview video systems but not

[[Page 59870]]

evaluating the systems to determine whether they meet criteria designed 
to ensure that they address the backover safety problem. Since 
information about whether vehicle models have rearview video systems is 
currently available, the agency will immediately begin adding this 
information to the Safety Features section of www.safercar.gov upon the 
publication of this document.
Timing for Implementing Phase 2
    In our request for comments, we did not provide a specific 
timetable for Phase 2. Instead, we stated our plan to begin listing 
rearview video systems as Recommended Advanced Technology Features as 
soon as the agency is able to verify that those systems meet certain 
basic criteria (as further discussed below) that are designed to ensure 
that these systems will help drivers avoid backover crashes. We 
received a number of comments from manufacturers and their trade 
associations requesting that the agency clarify the timing of Phase 2 
and incorporate ``lead time'' into the implementation schedule for 
Phase 2. For example, the Alliance requested that the Phase 2 change to 
NCAP be incorporated at least six months after the publication of the 
test procedures accompanying this document. In another example, GM 
commented that Phase 2 should begin on the first September 1 date that 
is at least six months after the publication of the test procedures.
    While we acknowledge the commenters' concerns, our decision for the 
purposes of implementing Phase 2 of incorporating rearview video 
systems into NCAP as a Recommended Advanced Technology Feature remains 
the same. We are not convinced, as the commenters seem to suggest, that 
implementing Phase 2 requires a specific timetable affording 
manufacturers ``lead time.'' First, unlike when the agency promulgates 
a new FMVSS, participation in NCAP is voluntary. Second, in the case of 
this particular technology, the test procedure and performance criteria 
for the purposes of NCAP are similar to existing procedures that have 
been publically available since 2010. Given the previous public 
availability of similar testing procedures and the voluntary nature of 
this program, the agency does not believe that a specific timetable is 
necessary for the implementation of this particular technology into 
NCAP. The agency will work closely with manufacturers to quickly 
determine whether their systems meet the Phase 2 criteria. We believe 
that, by working expeditiously with manufacturers, we can begin to 
provide information to consumers as soon as possible and encourage 
manufacturers to participate in this aspect of NCAP.
    Thus, the agency sees no reason to delay implementing Phase 2. As 
we will discuss further in a later section, we will no longer be 
listing ESC as a Recommended Advanced Technology Feature for Model Year 
2014. Thus, as soon as the agency can determine (whether through 
information supplied by a manufacturer or through the agency's own 
testing) that a certain vehicle model has rearview video systems that 
meet the Phase 2 criteria, the agency will implement Phase 2 for that 
particular model (i.e., list the vehicle model as having the 
Recommended Advanced Technology Feature).
Clarifying the Safety Feature and the Recommended Advanced Technology 
Feature
    In the comments from MEMA and Global Automakers, both organizations 
requested that the agency clarify to consumers what the difference is 
between a rearview video system listed in the Safety Features section 
of the Web site versus a rearview video system listed as a Recommended 
Advanced Technology Feature. There is concern from both organizations 
that it will not be apparent to consumers what the difference is when 
one system is listed as a safety feature whereas another may be listed 
as a Recommended Advanced Technology Feature.
    We agree with the commenters that the agency should clarify the 
differences between rearview video systems that are listed as a safety 
feature versus those that are listed as a Recommended Advanced 
Technology Feature. We believe that consumers should be able to 
recognize that rearview video systems listed as Recommended Advanced 
Technology Feature are systems that have been evaluated against certain 
performance criteria designed to ensure that these systems can help 
drivers avoid backover crashes. Thus, in our implementation of Phase 1, 
we will note on www.safercar.gov that rearview video systems that are 
listed only as safety features are systems that have not yet been 
evaluated to determine whether they conform to the criteria discussed 
in this document.
Listing Features as Optional or Standard
    In addition to the above comments, Global Automakers expressed 
concern that the agency intended to limit listing rearview video 
systems as safety feature or a Recommended Advanced Technology Feature 
only to situations where this equipment is standard. It was not our 
intent to list rearview video systems only in situations where they are 
offered as standard equipment. Thus, for both Phase 1 and Phase 2, we 
will note whenever the system is offered as standard or as optional 
equipment.

B. Field of View Criterion

    In our request for comments, we stated our plan to use the proposed 
field of view requirements and test procedures in the NPRM to amend 
FMVSS No. 111 as a criterion for the purposes of Phase 2 of this update 
to NCAP. We stated that a field of view criterion for a 20-foot by 10-
foot zone directly behind the vehicle (as measured by the test 
procedures in the NPRM to amend FMVSS No. 111) would cover the areas 
behind the vehicle that are associated with the greatest backover crash 
risk. While the commenters raised various concerns with this planned 
criterion, we believe that the following clarifications of the agency's 
test procedures will address their concerns. We continue to believe 
that the field of view criterion is important and appropriate for 
determining which rearview video systems the program should list as a 
Recommended Advanced Technology Feature. The following were the 
concerns raised by the commenters and our responses to those concerns.
Placement of Test Objects F and G and Low Rear Height Vehicles
    As proposed in the NPRM to amend FMVSS No. 111, the test procedure 
to evaluate the field of view (which covers 5 feet from either side of 
the vehicle center line to 20 feet longitudinally from the vehicle's 
rear bumper) would use seven test objects placed along the perimeter of 
the 10-foot by 20-foot zone behind the vehicle. See Figure 1, below. To 
meet the field of view criterion for the purposes of NCAP, a rearview 
video system would need to show the entirety of test objects A through 
E (the test objects greater than 10 feet behind the vehicle bumper) and 
show at minimum a width of 5.9 inches (150 mm) along any point of test 
objects F and G (the test objects only 1 foot behind the vehicle 
bumper). While manufacturers raised concerns with this criterion, we 
believe that it is appropriate to incorporate it (unaltered) into NCAP 
for the purposes of assessing rearview video systems in Phase 2.
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

[[Page 59871]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR30SE13.001

    Certain manufacturers expressed two concerns with this test 
procedure to evaluate the field of view criterion. First, both the 
Alliance and Global Automakers assert that test objects F and G should 
be placed in a location that is proportional to the vehicle width (as 
opposed to 5 feet to the left and right of the vehicle centerline). 
They contend that vehicles using a 130 degree camera would not cover 
the required portions of test objects F and G (in their current 
locations). Second, the Alliance stated that certain vehicles with a 
low rear height (i.e., a vehicle that is not high off the ground) has 
less height flexibility for mounting a camera. Thus, the Alliance 
suggests that vehicles with an upper protected surface of the rearmost 
body structure of 750 mm or less be required to show only a minimum 
height of 0.4 meters (half the height) of test objects A through E 
(objects greater than 10 feet from the vehicle bumper).

[[Page 59872]]

    We disagree with the manufacturers that this procedure for 
evaluating the field of view criterion does not accommodate vehicles 
with rearview video systems using a 130 degree camera or vehicles with 
a low rear height. When we originally developed this test procedure for 
the NPRM to amend FMVSS No. 111, we specifically designed this test 
procedure to be able to accommodate these types of vehicle designs. In 
response to the manufacturers' first concern, it seems clear that if we 
take into account three-dimensional nature of a camera's field of view, 
a 130 degree camera will cover the specified areas of all the test 
objects even if the vehicle has a low rear height. In tests conducted 
by the agency, the vast majority of vehicles equipped with rearview 
video systems were capable of meeting the field of view requirements as 
proposed in the NPRM.\13\ Thus, we are unaware of any camera that has a 
vertical angle limitation which would prevent it from easily being 
mounted at a pitch which covers the full height of test objects A 
through E.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ See Docket No. NHTSA-2010-0162-0133, Vehicle Rearview Image 
Field of View and Image Quality Measurement.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In response to the manufacturers' second concern, we note that the 
portions of the F and G test objects that must be shown are measured by 
width only in order to accommodate vehicles of varying height and 
width. Thus, we disagree with the manufacturers that a 130-degree 
camera is unable to cover the width parameters for test objects F and 
G. We believe that the diagrams presented by the commenters regarding 
the inability of the 130-degree camera to cover test objects F and G 
fail to consider the three-dimensional properties of a camera's viewing 
angles. As Magna, a rearview video system manufacturer, stated in their 
comments to the NPRM to amend FMVSS No. 111, a 130-degree camera can 
readily cover the 5.9-inch (150-mm) width parameters of test objects F 
and G when mounting height and camera pitch is considered.\14\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ See Comments from Magna Mirrors, April 5, 2011. Docket No. 
NHTSA-2010-0162.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Since the available information indicates that existing systems 
either already conform to (or can be easily adjusted to conform to) the 
field of view criterion from the June 26, 2013 request for comments, we 
believe there is no reason to adjust this criterion to reduce the field 
of view below the 10-foot by 20-foot zone where there is the highest 
risk of a backover crash.
Default View
    The second concern from manufacturers was a question regarding 
alternative views of the area behind the vehicle that manufacturers 
provide with their systems. In their comments, Honda described an 
alternate view called ``top-view'' where the rearview video system 
displays a focused view of the area immediately behind the vehicle for 
the purposes of assisting in trailer hitching. Honda notes that this 
view would not conform to the field of view criterion we described in 
the request for comment. Honda stated that this mode is only active 
when a driver intentionally switches to that mode and that the rearview 
video reverts to a default view that conforms to the field of view 
criterion upon each new ignition cycle. Similar to Honda's comment, BMW 
also stated its belief that drivers should have the ability to switch 
to alternative views that may not meet the field of view criterion and 
that rearview video systems can default to the NCAP field of view.
    While the agency is concerned that drivers may permanently or 
accidentally deactivate the rearview safety feature, the agency does 
not intend to preclude this design flexibility for the purposes of NCAP 
because those features also have the potential to afford drivers 
benefits in other contexts. However, we believe that the field of view 
criterion and the test procedure accompanying this document address 
these concerns from Honda and BMW by balancing our safety concerns with 
the commenters' request for design flexibility. The test procedure that 
the agency would use to verify conformity with the field of view 
criterion does not include any procedure that selects an alternate 
view. The test uses the initial (or default after each ignition cycle) 
view that appears after the vehicle's starting systems is activated and 
the vehicle is placed into reverse.
    By defining these conditions in the test procedure, the agency 
would evaluate the initial/default view of a rearview video system for 
the purposes of assessing conformity to the NCAP field of view 
criterion. Thus, vehicles with rearview video systems that are 
Recommended Advanced Technology Features will provide drivers with a 
view that covers the greatest areas of backover risks during a backing 
maneuver. However, manufacturers would not be precluded from offering 
drivers additional convenience features when designing vehicles to 
conform to the NCAP field of view criterion.
Overlays
    The third concern raised by the manufacturers was the effect of 
overlays on a rearview video system's ability to conform with the field 
of view criteria. For example, GM commented that they currently provide 
two types of overlays in their vehicles' rearview video displays. The 
first type is a wire frame that indicates the path of the vehicle. GM 
asserted that these provide distance and predicted path information 
that can assist a driver when reversing the vehicle. The second type is 
target warnings. GM stated that these are a crash avoidance feature 
that can identify objects that are potentially in the path of the 
vehicle and warn the driver about the presence of these objects. 
Similar to GM's comment on overlays, the Alliance stated that elements 
such as guidelines, arrows, icons, and warning messages (e.g., ``Check 
Surroundings for Safety'') may not meet the NCAP field of view 
criterion. Both commenters requested that the NCAP field of view 
criterion include provisions that allow the use of overlays.
    The agency agrees with the commenters that video image overlays may 
have the potential to add safety-related features to rearview video 
systems by drawing drivers' attention to potential hazards behind the 
vehicle. This is especially true if rearview video systems are designed 
to warn drivers of the presence of pedestrians behind the vehicle. 
However, the agency is conscious that overlays (whether they are object 
detection warnings, path prediction guidelines, warning statements such 
as ``Check Surroundings for Safety,'' etc.) can be potentially applied 
to the rearview image in both safe and unsafe manners. Depending on 
their size, location, and orientation, overlays have the potential to 
create unsafe blind zones in the rearview image and to mask small 
obstacles, such as children. Without further research, the agency is 
not currently aware of a practicable and objective method of 
discriminating between safe and unsafe applications of overlays.
    Thus, the test procedure and the field of view performance criteria 
for the purposes of Phase 2 of incorporating rearview video systems 
into NCAP will not limit the use of overlays so long as the overlays do 
not cover the portions of the test objects specified in the field of 
view performance criterion and test procedures. In other words, systems 
with overlays will still be required to meet the field of view 
criterion so long as those overlays do not obscure any portion of the 
test object. However, as discussed earlier, the test procedures 
published with this document assess conformity with the Phase 2 
criteria based on the default (or initial) view after each ignition 
cycle that the vehicle shows in the rearview image. Therefore, overlays 
would conform to the field of

[[Page 59873]]

view criterion (even when they obscure portions of the test objects) if 
they are manually activated by the driver.
    However, we note that on-screen overlays (such as guidelines) may 
react to driver use of the steering wheel and that the steering wheel 
position can affect a vehicle's conformity to the field of view 
criterion. Thus, in order to ensure test repeatability, the test 
procedures that accompany this document will clarify the steering wheel 
test condition by stating that the steering wheel is in a position 
where the longitudinal centerline of all vehicle tires are parallel to 
the vehicle longitudinal centerline. This steering wheel position 
simulates the straight ahead steering wheel position, which most likely 
simulates the conditions drivers experience when conducting a backing 
maneuver along a straight driveway.
    At the moment, we believe this is the most appropriate balance for 
ensuring that rearview video systems that are listed as Recommended 
Advanced Technology Features can address the backover safety risk and 
still have the flexibility to incorporate advanced object detection 
functions. The agency encourages manufacturers to develop systems that 
detect and highlight pedestrians and we note that such overlays would 
not affect a rearview video system's conformity to the NCAP field of 
view criterion because such a system would not activate an overlay 
during our field of view test. However, the agency remains cautious 
that overlays may have the potential to operate unsafely depending on 
their size, orientation, and placement in the rearview image. Although 
the agency is currently unaware of a practicable and objective method 
of distinguishing safe overlays from unsafe overlays at this time, we 
expect that manufacturers will design overlays conscious of the fact 
that the rearview video systems that are part of NCAP are systems that 
address an important safety purpose.

C. Image Size Criterion

    As mentioned above, the June 26, 2013 request for comments 
indicated that the agency planned to incorporate the proposed image 
size requirement set forth in the NPRM to amend FMVSS No. 111 as a 
criterion for the purposes of NCAP. We cited the available research 
that indicates that showing the test objects in the rearview image at a 
subtended visual angle of at least 5 minutes of arc will help ensure 
that drivers are able to make judgments about the objects contained in 
the rearview image. The agency continues to believe that it is 
appropriate to include image size as a criterion for listing a rearview 
video system as a Recommended Advanced Technology Feature as it 
received no comments in opposition to this criterion.
    However, we acknowledge the concern from Global Automakers that 
certain rearview displays may have a curved or transparent outer lens 
that may affect the ability to affix a ruler to the rearview display as 
described the test procedure proposed in the NPRM to amend FMVSS No. 
111. Depending on the specific situation, we note that it may be 
necessary to remove the transparent cover or use an alternative method 
to obtain the measurement of the subtended angle. The agency believes 
that, as long as the measurement of the subtended angle is valid, 
accommodating rearview video systems with transparent covers over the 
rearview display in the performance of the test will not alter the test 
results. Thus, the test procedure (accompanying this document) that we 
will use to evaluate conformity with the image size criterion for the 
purposes of NCAP is the proposed test procedure set forth in the NPRM 
to amend FMVSS No. 111.

D. Response Time Criterion

    As mentioned above, the agency indicated in its June 26, 2013 
request for comments that it plans to evaluate the response time of 
rearview video systems before listing them as a Recommended Advanced 
Technology Feature. We stated that the 2.0-second limit is appropriate 
given the amount of time necessary for rearview video systems to 
conduct the necessary system checks and the activation times that are 
achievable by liquid crystal displays. Because the availability of the 
rearview image at the beginning of the backing maneuver is critical to 
realizing the safety benefits of this technology, we believe that it is 
appropriate for these systems to activate as soon as possible.
    However, we acknowledged the concerns of manufacturers that the 2.0 
second response time requirement that was proposed as a part of the 
NPRM to amend FMVSS No. 111 did not specify the vehicle condition prior 
to testing. Based on the comments received from the NPRM to amend FMVSS 
No. 111, we believe that the vehicle's state can affect the results of 
the test. Thus, we indicated in our June 26, 2013 request for comments 
that our plan for NCAP would be to use a test procedure to condition 
the vehicle prior to testing the response time criterion. To that end, 
we indicated that we would use the following procedure:

    Image response time test procedure. The temperature inside the 
vehicle during this test is any temperature between 15 [deg]C and 25 
[deg]C. Immediately prior to commencing the actions listed in 
subparagraphs (a)-(c) of this paragraph, all components of the 
rearview video system are in a powered off state. Then:
    (a) open the driver's door,
    (b) activate the starting system using the key,\15\ and
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \15\ The terms ``starting system'' and ``key'' have the same 
meanings that these terms have in FMVSS No. 114. See 49 CFR 571.114.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (c) place the vehicle in reverse at any time not less than 4 
seconds after the driver's door is opened.

    The manufacturers and their trade associations had additional 
concerns in response to the new test procedure that we announced in the 
request for comments. We address those concerns in the sections that 
follow and have made the appropriate adjustments in the test procedures 
accompanying this document in the docket.
Two-Second Response Time Criterion
    Various commenters stated that the response time criterion should 
be greater than 2.0 seconds. Without additional reasoning, the Alliance 
stated that it supported a 3.0 second response time criterion so long 
as the vehicle is preconditioned according to the test procedure 
specified in the request for comments. Similarly, GM stated a 2.5 
second maximum response time is more appropriate in order to 
accommodate the various types of displays that rearview video systems 
may use because integrated console displays require additional time to 
activate when compared to in-mirror displays. Separately, Global 
Automakers stated that some systems are designed to begin system 
activation when the ignition is on and the engine is running. Thus, 
they suggest that the vehicle conditioning begin when the vehicle's 
ignition is turned to the on position (as opposed to when the door is 
opened).
    While we have considered the concerns expressed by the commenters, 
they do not compel us to change the response time criterion of 2.0 
seconds for the purposes of NCAP. The agency believes very strongly 
that this criterion is as important as the field of view and image size 
criteria. As we stated before, a rearview image that shows the 
appropriate areas behind the vehicle at the appropriate size will still 
be unable to help the driver avoid a crash if it does not appear in a 
timely fashion (i.e., before the driver begins the backing maneuver). 
When we began the rulemaking process to amend FMVSS No. 111 by issuing 
an ANPRM in March of 2009, we recognized this important

[[Page 59874]]

safety concern and proposed a 1.25 second response time.
    However, in the NPRM, we proposed a 2.0 second requirement for the 
purposes of amending FMVSS No. 111. We cited two technological 
limitations that necessitated a longer maximum response time. First, a 
need for additional tolerances for certain systems to produce the 
required image in part because those systems conduct image quality 
control checks before displaying the image. Both GM and Gentex stated 
in their comments that a required image response time of 1.25 may 
adversely affect the image quality displayed in those systems.
    Second, the agency noted that liquid crystal displays (LCDs) 
require time to warm-up before they can display an image and that this 
time may vary depending on the location of the visual display. The 
agency acknowledged that in-mirror displays (which are only activated 
when the reverse gear is selected) may require additional warm-up time 
when compared to in-dash displays (which may be already in use for 
other purposes such as route navigation). For these reasons, the 
proposed rule in the NPRM extended the image response time requirement 
to 2.0 seconds. The agency was not aware of any rationale that 
justified extending the response time requirement beyond 2.0 seconds.
    For the purposes of evaluating conformity of the response time 
criterion in NCAP, we see no reason to deviate from what we proposed as 
appropriate for FMVSS No. 111. Further, we are still concerned that a 
slow-responding rearview video system will fail to present the rearview 
image to the driver in time to assist the driver in avoiding a backover 
crash. The agency recognizes that, in order to reduce the risk of a 
backover crash, the countermeasure needs to be available when the risk 
is present. It seems clear from the available information that the 
backover risk exists as soon as the vehicle begins moving in reverse.
    While we acknowledge GM's comment that our response time criterion 
is based (in part) on the timing that is technically feasible for 
rearview video systems that use in-mirror displays, we disagree that 
integrated console displays will necessarily have longer response 
times. In deciding to propose the 2.0 second response time for the 
purposes of FMVSS No. 111, we reasoned that in-mirror systems would 
take longer to initialize than integrated console systems due to their 
generally powered-off state during normal vehicle operation. Without 
additional data (or some technical reason) demonstrating a rationale 
that explains why integrated console systems now require more time than 
we believed was necessary for in-mirror displays, we are not convinced 
that it is not technically possible for rearview video systems to 
achieve a 2.0 response time criterion for the purposes of NCAP. We note 
that manufacturers using integrated console screens with their rearview 
video systems may always initialize their screens at an earlier time 
before the vehicle is shifted into reverse in order to further minimize 
their response time.
    We have also considered Global Automakers' comment that some 
vehicles initialize their rearview video system when the ignition is 
activated and the engine is running. We note that this is permissible 
and nothing in the test procedure precludes such a system for the 
purposes of being considered a Recommended Advanced Technology Feature 
in NCAP. However, for the reasons mentioned above, we decline to adjust 
the NCAP rearview video system test conditioning procedure to include 
additional time from when the driver opens the vehicle door (as 
suggested by Global Automakers) or extend the response time to 3.0 
seconds (as suggested by the Alliance). Given the severity of the 
potential safety risk of not presenting the rearview image to the 
driver in a timely fashion, neither commenter presented a rationale 
that supports extending the response time criterion or its conditioning 
procedure.
    As noted above, we believe that there are simple strategies 
available that would enable manufacturers to significantly reduce their 
response time (e.g., initializing a console screen earlier). Thus, in 
order to recommend to consumers rearview video systems as Recommended 
Advanced Technology Features that adequately address the backover 
safety risk, we do not believe it is appropriate to adjust the test 
procedure in the manner suggested by the commenters for the purposes of 
NCAP.
Maximum Test Procedure Time
    In addition, various commenters stated that, in order save power, 
electronic systems in vehicles will initiate sleep mode if the vehicle 
is inactive for a given period of time. Thus, these commenters 
expressed concern with the fact that the vehicle conditioning test 
procedure that we specified in the request for comments has a minimum 
procedure time but not a maximum procedure time. In other words, while 
the agency would not place the vehicle into reverse less than 4.0 
seconds after the door is opened, the commenters are concerned that the 
agency would wait much longer than 4.0 seconds before placing the 
vehicle into reverse and testing for the response time criterion. Thus, 
for example, GM recommended that the procedure specify that the vehicle 
is shifted into reverse a maximum 60 seconds after the vehicle is 
started. Using similar reasoning, Ford suggested a 5 second maximum 
time for activating the starting system (as measured from a new item in 
the vehicle conditioning procedure where the vehicle door is closed 
after it is opened).
    We agree with the commenters that this part of the vehicle 
conditioning procedure is unspecified and that it should be specified 
for the purposes of evaluating conformity with the NCAP response time 
criterion. Thus, we have included a maximum vehicle conditioning 
procedure time in addition to the original minimum time of 4.0 seconds 
in the test procedures that accompany this document in the docket. For 
the purposes of the NCAP conformity test, we have chosen to include a 
maximum procedure time of 6.0 seconds because our intent is to test the 
rearview video system response time at a point in time that is close to 
4.0 seconds after the vehicle door is opened. As we mentioned in our 
request for comments, we believe that a response time of 2.0 seconds 
(as measured in accordance with a condition procedure that lasts 4.0 
seconds) will cover the vast majority of potential driving behavior and 
ensure that the rearview image is available to the driver at the 
appropriate time.\16\
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    \16\ We note that the test procedure accompanying this document 
in the docket specifies that the vehicle is placed in reverse at any 
time that is between 4.0 seconds and 6.0 seconds from when the 
vehicle door was opened. In other words, the rearview video system 
must be able to achieve the response time of 2.0 seconds when the 
vehicle is conditioned using a procedure that lasts any amount of 
time between 4.0 and 6.0 seconds to qualify as a Recommended 
Advanced Technology Feature in NCAP.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Other Response Time Test Procedure Issues
    GM and the Alliance commented that the NCAP criterion does not 
indicate how to determine that the shift to reverse has been 
accomplished. They suggested that an easy and reliable method for 
determining that reverse has been selected is to observe the backup 
lamps.
    We have considered these comments regarding using the backup 
lamp(s) as a reference point for the start of the response time 
criteria (reverse has been selected). While it is possible that on many 
vehicles measuring the activation of the backup lamps is a reasonable

[[Page 59875]]

proxy for determining when the reverse has been selected, it is not the 
only means for determining that this item in the test procedure is 
complete. Although it is important that the agency conduct the test and 
determine the point in time that the driver (or test engineer) selects 
reverse, any valid means for achieving this goal will produce a valid 
test under the test procedures accompany this document in the docket. 
Thus, the test procedure accompanying this document in the docket does 
not specify a specific method of determining when reverse is selected.
    However, we believe it is helpful to clarify the point in time at 
which we begin measuring the 2.0 second response time. As mentioned 
above, the vehicle conditioning procedure specified in the June 26, 
2013 request for comments specified that the vehicle is placed in 
reverse within a specified range of time. We intended this aspect of 
the vehicle conditioning procedure to refer to the selection of the 
reverse direction by the driver (or test engineer). Thus, the test 
procedures accompanying this document in the docket clarifies this 
aspect of the vehicle conditioning procedure by specifying that reverse 
is selected within a specified range of time (as opposed to specifying 
that the vehicle is placed in reverse within a specified range of 
time).

E. Minor Test Procedure Comments

    In addition to the above comments, certain manufacturers also 
raised a few points regarding the test procedures for assessing 
conformity with the Phase 2 criteria that require clarification. We 
agree with the commenters that these points should be clarified and 
respond to them as follows:
Orientation of Test Objects F and G
    We acknowledge the Alliance's concern regarding whether test 
objects F and G can be rotated in order to aim the 150-mm-vertical 
stripe towards the camera. We note that the test procedure and the 
field of view criteria adopted for the purposes of NCAP in this 
document merely requires that a 150-mm width (along the circumference) 
of test objects F and G be visible and does not restrict the 
orientation of the vertical stripe on those test objects. The criterion 
is that the 150-mm wide circumference is visible. Thus, it is 
permissible to rotate test objects F and G in order to facilitate 
measuring that part of the field of view criterion.
Test Loading Conditions
    The Alliance also commented that the vehicle loading test 
conditions in the proposal to amend FMVSS No. 111 differed from the 
loading conditions for the other requirements in FMVSS No. 111. The 
Alliance recommended that the loading requirements be harmonized for 
both the rearview mirror and rearview video system tests at the average 
occupant weight of 68 kg. Unlike in the other requirements in FMVSS No. 
111, the loading conditions in the test procedure proposed for rearview 
video systems in the NPRM to amend FMVSS No. 111 separate the occupant 
weight load (68 kg) into two portions (45 kg on the seat pan and 23 kg 
on the floorboard) for a driver and four passengers in their designated 
seating positions.
    We disagree with the Alliance that the same loading conditions 
should be applied to the rearview video system test (for the purposes 
of NCAP) and the other requirements of FMVSS No. 111. We are concerned 
that in some cases that a different weight distribution may impact the 
vehicle's pitch in a way that modifies the outcome of the rearview 
video system test. Unlike the mirror requirements of FMVSS No. 111, 
rearview video systems that are Recommended Advanced Technology 
Features under NCAP would not necessarily be adjustable in the 
horizontal and vertical direction. Therefore, the potential impacts of 
vehicle pitch (because of weight) are more critical than in the mirror 
provisions of FMVSS No. 111. Furthermore, the agency believes that 
splitting the weight about the seat and floor pan more accurately 
simulates an actual vehicle occupant. Accordingly, we continue to 
believe that the test procedure loading conditions from the NPRM to 
amend FMVSS No. 111 is more appropriate for evaluating rearview video 
systems in the context of the Phase 2 criteria for NCAP.
    However, we believe that the test procedure could be improved by 
more clearly stating how the vehicle would be loaded if it has more 
than 5 designated seating positions. Thus, we have clarified the test 
procedures accompanying this document in the docket by specifying that 
when a vehicle has more than 5 designated seating positions, the 
weights that add up to 68 kg simulating each of the five occupants 
shall be placed in the driver's designated seating position and any 
other available designated seating position in the vehicle.
Test Reference Point
    By incorporating the test procedures proposed in the NPRM to amend 
FMVSS No. 111, we planned to use a test reference point simulating the 
eye point of a 50th percentile male driver for the purposes of 
evaluating conformity with the Phase 2 criteria. The procedure 
establishes a test reference point where an image is taken to evaluate 
conformity with the field of view and image size criteria in NCAP. The 
procedure identifies an initial forward-looking eye midpoint of the 
driver (Mf) that is 632 mm above the H point (a defined 
location on the driver seat) and 96 mm aft of the H point. The 
procedure also establishes a head/neck joint center (J) 100 mm rearward 
of the forward-looking eye midpoint and 588 mm vertically above the H 
point. A point of rotation (J2) is then determined by 
drawing an imaginary horizontal line between the forward-looking eye 
midpoint (Mf) and a point vertically above the head/neck 
joint center (J). Finally, the procedure locates the test reference 
point (Mr) by rotating the forward-looking eye midpoint 
about the aforementioned point of rotation until the straight-line 
distance between the test reference point and the center of the visual 
display reaches the shortest possible value. The locations of these 
points are visually represented in the NPRM proposing to amend FMVSS 
No. 111.\17\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \17\ See 75 FR 76185, 76233.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The Alliance commented to one specific aspect of this procedure. 
They stated that while the forward looking eye midpoint of the driver 
(Mf) is located 632 mm vertically above the H point in the 
proposed rule, FMVSS No. 104, Windshield wiping and washing systems, 
references a horizontal plane 635 mm vertically above the H point. In 
order to increase consistency across the various standards, the 
Alliance requested that we use a forward looking eye midpoint of the 
driver (Mf) that is 635 mm above the H point.
    We agree that the requirements of FMVSS No. 104 and today's 
decision for the purposes of NCAP should be harmonized. We believe that 
a 3 mm testing height modification from the requirements proposed in 
the NPRM would not have any significant impact on the test results. We 
analyzed what the potential difference in test results could be for 
different eye points and found that (between a 5th percentile female 
and a 95th percentile male) the difference in apparent image size was 
only 0.03 minutes of arc (a small amount compared to the 5 minutes arc 
image size criterion). Thus, we agree with the Alliance that it is 
appropriate to use the eye point that is 635 mm above the H point for 
the purposes of evaluating rearview video systems in NCAP.

[[Page 59876]]

Driver Seating Position
    By incorporating the driver seating position test conditions from 
the NPRM to amend FMVSS No. 111, our plan in the request for comments 
was to use a driver seating position that is adjusted to: (1) The 
midpoint of the longitudinal adjustment range, (2) the lowest point 
along the vertical adjustment range, and (3) have a seat back angle at 
the vertical portion of the H-point machine's torso weight hanger at 25 
degrees. In its comments, the Alliance suggested that the driver 
seating position condition in the proposed test procedure be harmonized 
with the test procedure in FMVSS No. 208, Occupant crash protection. In 
other words, the Alliance recommends that the longitudinal adjustment 
for the driver seating condition can be the closest adjustment point to 
the rear of the midpoint if no adjustment point exists at the midpoint. 
They also recommend that the condition specify that seat backs are 
adjusted to the ``manufacturer's nominal design riding position'' 
recommended by the manufacturer.
    The agency has considered these comments regarding the driver 
seating position. We agree with the Alliance that this test procedure 
(for the purposes of NCAP) should clarify the longitudinal adjustment 
setting of the driver seat should no adjustment position exist at the 
exact longitudinal midpoint. We agree with the Alliance's 
recommendation that in this situation, the closest adjustment position 
to the rear of the longitudinal midpoint should be used. Thus, the test 
procedures accompanying this document in the docket will address this 
change.
    However, we decline to adopt the manufacturer's recommended nominal 
seat back position test condition as proposed by the Alliance. Unlike 
in FMVSS No. 208, we believe it is necessary to specify the seating 
position when testing rearview video systems for the purposes of NCAP 
because these tests address different safety concerns. While FMVSS No. 
208 regulates crash protection, FMVSS No. 111 regulates rear 
visibility. Unlike in FMVSS No. 208, variations in the seat back 
position can significantly affect the eye point used to evaluate 
conformity with the NCAP criteria (particularly with respect to the 
possibility that certain interior features of the vehicle's cabin can 
become obstacles between the specified eye point in the test procedure 
and the rearview image). Thus, the test procedures accompanying this 
document in the docket do not adopt a nominal seat back position test 
condition as requested by the commenter. Instead, it will continue to 
use a seat back angle at the vertical portion of the H-point machine's 
torso weight hanger at 25 degrees.

F. Removing Electronic Stability Control From NCAP

    In the June 26, 2013 request for comments, we stated that we will 
remove ESC as a Recommended Advanced Technology Feature from NCAP. We 
received no comments opposed to our plan. We continue to believe that 
listing ESC as a recommended technology is no longer useful information 
to consumers seeking comparative information about different vehicle 
models because ESC is now a required safety feature on vehicles with 
GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less. Thus, in implementing this update to 
NCAP, we will be substituting rearview video systems for ESC on 
www.safercar.gov. Therefore, we will not continue to list ESC as a 
Recommended Advance Technology Feature beginning with the current Model 
Year 2014.

G. Other Issues

Monroney Label
    A number of commenters (Delphi, ASC, and MEMA) suggested that the 
agency incorporate all of the safety technology information onto the 
Monroney Label (the label that is affixed on new vehicles offered for 
sale on the dealership lot). The commenters suggested that placing this 
information on the Monroney Label would more quickly and effectively 
achieve the goal of informing consumers about the potential safety 
benefits of rearview video systems. We agree with these commenters that 
exploring additional ways to promote NCAP safety information on the 
Monroney Label would be useful. We reiterate our statements from the 
request for comment that we are currently considering whether to 
incorporate additional advanced crash avoidance technologies (beyond 
rearview video systems) into NCAP.\18\ When we have determined which 
additional technologies will be incorporated, we will also consider 
whether we should initiate a rulemaking to determine whether and how 
the incorporated advanced technologies should be included on the 
Monroney label.
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    \18\ See 78 FR 20597, Request for Comments, April 5, 2013.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Other Technologies Beyond Rearview Video Systems
    Other commenters (Delphi, AMA, ASC, and Tesla) also recommended 
that the agency consider other advanced crash avoidance technologies 
for NCAP and not preclude the potential for these other technologies to 
be added to NCAP. We agree with the commenters that additional 
technologies should be considered for incorporation into NCAP. As 
mentioned above, we are considering what additional technologies to 
incorporate into NCAP. We published a request for comments on April 5, 
2013 suggesting various new technologies for incorporation into NCAP. 
We will continue to explore additional improvements to NCAP in addition 
to the update announced by this document.
Forthcoming Publication of UMTRI Research
    The Alliance and General Motors both commented that a forthcoming 
study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute 
(UMTRI) may indicate that rearview video systems are already having a 
significant impact on reducing crashes. They asserted that, if this is 
the case, then Phase 2 may not be necessary. While the agency is 
encouraged that organizations continue to devote resources to 
researching backover crashes (and how to avoid these crashes), the 
information is currently unavailable. Thus, the agency is unable to 
utilize this information to further refine the performance criteria 
established by this document for the purposes of NCAP. However, 
regardless of the results of the UMTRI research, minimum performance 
criteria are still necessary in order to ensure that the systems 
recommended to consumers by NCAP are systems designed to assist drivers 
in avoiding backover crashes. Even if the currently available equipped 
systems are suitable for helping drivers avoid backover crashes, NCAP 
would not be able to ensure that future systems that it recommends 
would be similarly suitable for avoiding backover crashes without some 
minimum performance criteria.
Concerns About the K.T. Safety Act and the Final Rule To Amend FMVSS 
No. 111
    Two commenters expressed concerns about the K.T. Safety Act and our 
ongoing efforts to amend FMVSS No. 111 pursuant to requirements of the 
K.T. Safety Act. First, the Advocates commented that NHTSA should not 
update NCAP to include rearview video systems without concurrently 
issuing a final rule amending FMVSS No. 111 because the update to NCAP 
does not fulfill the requirements of the K.T. Safety Act. Second, 
Global Automakers commented that the agency should

[[Page 59877]]

ensure that the requirements in the final rule do not deviate from the 
criteria that are established in today's document updating NCAP.
    In response to the Advocates, we agree that this document does not 
fulfill the requirements of the K.T. Safety Act. We agree that this 
document announcing the agency's decision to update NCAP is not a 
substitute for the agency's obligation under the K.T. Safety Act to 
expand the required field of view to enable drivers of motor vehicles 
to avoid backover crashes. As we discussed previously, this document is 
not a resolution to the rulemaking action to amend FMVSS No. 111. 
However, we cannot agree with the Advocates that it is unreasonable to 
pursue this update to NCAP prior to the promulgation of a final rule 
amending FMVSS No. 111 pursuant to the K.T. Safety Act. As we mentioned 
above, we believe that this update to NCAP will immediately help inform 
consumers about the risks of backover crashes, the potential safety 
benefit of rearview video systems by helping drivers avoid such 
crashes, and the vehicle models that are equipped with these systems. 
These goals can be achieved independent prior to the promulgation of a 
final rule to amend FMVSS No. 111 and during the phase-in period after 
its promulgation. Thus, we see no reason to delay this decision to 
update NCAP.
    In response to Global Automakers, we cannot rule out the 
possibility that the administrative record for the rulemaking to amend 
FMVSS No. 111 may require the agency to conclude in a manner that is 
inconsistent with today's final decision on updating NCAP. While we 
agree in principle with Global Automakers that the criteria for 
evaluating rearview video systems in NCAP should not be different from 
the requirements eventually established in a final rule amending FMVSS 
No. 111, that rulemaking action is still pending and the agency's 
decisions in that rulemaking will need to be based on that rulemaking's 
administrative record. As we explained in our response to the 
Advocates' comment, this document is not a resolution to the issues 
presented in the ongoing rulemaking to amend FMVSS No. 111. The 
requirements that are appropriate for a final rule amending FMVSS No. 
111 must be considered in the context of establishing a Federal 
regulation. Thus, while the agency understands the concern expressed by 
Global Automakers, the outcome of this final decision to update NCAP is 
separate from our rulemaking action to amend FMVSS No. 111 and cannot 
be determinative of the outcome of that action.
Request for Additional Public Consultation
    Additionally, Global Automakers suggested that the agency hold a 
technical workshop to help increase public dialogue on the NCAP 
rearview video system criteria. Separately, MEMA contended in their 
comments that NHTSA should provide additional public consultation and 
dialogue (e.g., a public workshop or an additional request for comments 
in the Federal Register) because adopting the criteria from the NPRM to 
amend FMVSS No. 111 creates a ``de facto final rule and compliance 
standard.''
    In response to MEMA, we disagree that this document creates a de 
facto final rule and compliance standard. NCAP is a voluntary program 
where the agency provides comparative safety information about vehicle 
models to motor vehicle consumers. It is not a rule that applies to any 
particular person or entity. Instead, the essence of the program is the 
agency publishing the available comparative safety information on 
various vehicle models that are available for sale to help consumers 
make informed purchasing decisions. The agency has published a notice 
to the public and solicited comments regarding its plans to update NCAP 
in the interests of designing a program that serves the interests of 
consumers making vehicle purchase decisions. Through our June 26, 2013 
request for comments and today's final decision responding to those 
comments, we believe that we have provided ample opportunity for public 
consultation and dialogue on the matter and believe that any further 
consultation is likely to further delay providing this useful 
information to motor vehicle consumers without any significant 
improvements to the program.
IIHS Research
    IIHS commented that they support NHTSA's efforts to promote 
countermeasures that assist drivers in avoiding backover crashes. They 
also agreed that promoting rearview video systems through NCAP is a 
useful step toward addressing the backover safety problem. IIHS noted 
that all the available data show that rearview video systems greatly 
increase visibility behind the vehicle and should create a measureable 
effect on reducing backing crashes.
    However, they stated that their preliminary data has yet to suggest 
these systems are preventing crashes and reducing loss. They cite their 
Highway Loss Data Institute compared insurance claim frequencies for 
physical damage to the at-fault vehicle (collision coverage) and 
physical damage to a struck vehicle or property (property damage 
liability coverage) in select Mazda and Mercedes-Benz vehicle models 
with and without rearview video systems. They stated that, for these 
models, the claim frequencies were directionally inconsistent across 
coverage types and they did not observe statistically significant 
reductions in claim frequencies. The authors of the study of Mercedes-
Benz vehicles further noted that the transmission status was unknown 
meaning that all crashes were considered--including those for which 
backup cameras have no ability to prevent. Finally, the authors of the 
study of Mazda vehicles noted that there was a reduction in bodily 
injury claims, which was statistically significant for paid claims of 
high severity and that this suggests that the cameras may be reducing 
some non-occupant crashes.
    As always, the agency appreciates the data that the IIHS provided. 
Our recent experimental research on the effectiveness of rearview video 
systems has focused primarily on the crash problems directly addressed 
in the K.T. Safety Act, which are backover crashes involving vulnerable 
populations such as those involving young children. While the IIHS data 
is not focused specifically on these types of crashes, the agency 
expects data on crashes resulting in a severe injury or death may 
resemble the direction and magnitude of effectiveness found in our 
experimental research. In other words, even though the IIHS data 
examines all crashes (not just backover crashes) considering only data 
on crashes that resulted in severe injuries or deaths may reveal a 
correlation between rearview video systems and these types of injuries.
    The agency understands that these types of crashes occur much less 
frequently than property damage crashes, which makes it more difficult 
to find statistical significance using the Highway Loss Data Institute 
methodology. In the IIHS analysis of crash data for Mercedes-Benz 
vehicles with and without rearview video systems, the organization did 
not find a statistically significant difference (which may be partially 
attributable to the data's wide confidence interval). However, in their 
analysis of Mazda data the organization found a statistically 
significant reduction (22.2 percent) in high severity bodily injury 
crashes. As IIHS stated in their comments, this data is still 
preliminary data. Further, this data is not designed to isolate the 
effect of rearview video systems on the specific type of crashes that 
we are addressing in this

[[Page 59878]]

document--backover crashes. However, when considering these studies as 
well as the other available studies completed by NHTSA and other 
organizations, including all the limitations within the methodologies, 
the agency continues to believe that the installation of rearview video 
systems will decrease the risk of pedestrian backover crashes.

IV. Conclusion

    For all the reasons stated above, we believe that it is appropriate 
to update NCAP to substitute rearview video systems for ESC at this 
time. We believe that this two-phased approach is the most suitable 
approach for maximizing not only how quickly the agency can begin 
providing information to consumers, but also the quality of information 
that will be provided. As we stated previously, this final decision 
covers only the agency's planned update to NCAP to incorporate rearview 
video systems. This document does not serve as a resolution to the 
agency's ongoing rulemaking to amend FMVSS No. 111 and does not 
substitute the agency's efforts in that area. We remain committed to 
completing the rulemaking to amend FMVSS No. 111 pursuant to the 
requirements of the K.T. Safety Act.

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 32302, 30117, 30166, 30181, and 30182; 
delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.95.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on September 24, 2013 under authority 
delegated in 49 CFR 1.95.
David L. Strickland,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2013-23700 Filed 9-27-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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