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Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation: Antilock Brake Systems

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking Topics:  Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation: Antilock Brake Systems

Anne S. Ferro
September 21, 2010

[Federal Register: September 21, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 182)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 57393-57396]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 393

[Docket No. FMCSA-2010-0186]

Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation: Antilock 
Brake Systems

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Direct final rule; request for comments.


SUMMARY: The FMCSA makes permanent the existing requirement in the 
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) that trailers with 
antilock brake systems (ABS) be equipped with an external malfunction 
indicator lamp. The existing indicator lamp requirement was originally 
scheduled to sunset on March 1, 2009, but the National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a final rule on August 25, 
2009, that made permanent the requirement in the Federal Motor Vehicle 
Safety Standards (FMVSSs) that manufacturers equip trailers with ABS 
and an external antilock malfunction indicator lamp. As the requirement 
for an exterior ABS malfunction indicator lamp on trailers of the 
FMCSRs cross-references the requirements of the FMVSSs, this direct 
final rule makes the FMCSRs consistent with the August 2009 NHTSA final 

DATES: This rule is effective November 22, 2010, unless an adverse 
comment, or notice of intent to submit an adverse comment, is either 
submitted to our online docket via http://www.regulations.gov on or 
before October 21, 2010 or reaches the Docket Management Facility by 
that date. If an adverse comment, or notice of intent to submit an 
adverse comment, is received by October 21, 2010, we will withdraw this 
direct final rule and publish a timely notice of withdrawal in the 
Federal Register.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by docket number FMCSA-
2010-0186 using any one of the following methods:
    (1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
    (2) Fax: 202-493-2251.
    (3) Mail: Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of 
Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
    (4) Hand Delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone 
number is 202-366-9329.
    To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods. 
See the ``Public Participation and Request for Comments'' portion of 
the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for instructions on 
submitting comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Mike Huntley, Chief, Vehicle and 
Roadside Operations Division (MC-PSV), Office of Bus and Truck 
Standards and Operations, phone (202) 366-4325, e-mail 


I. Public Participation and Request for Comments
    A. Submitting comments
    B. Viewing comments and documents
    C. Privacy Act
    D. Public meeting
II. Abbreviations
III. Regulatory Information
IV. Background
V. Discussion of the Rule
VI. Regulatory Analyses
    A. Regulatory Planning and Review
    B. Small Entities
    C. Collection of Information
    D. Federalism
    E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
    F. Taking of Private Property
    G. Civil Justice Reform
    H. Protection of Children
    I. Indian Tribal Governments
    J. Energy Effects
    K. Technical Standards
    L. Environment

I. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We encourage you to participate in this rulemaking by submitting 
comments and related materials. All comments received will be posted, 
without change, to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any 
personal information you have provided.

A. Submitting Comments

    If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this 
rulemaking (FMCSA-2010-0186), indicate the specific section of this 
document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each 
suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and material 
online, or by fax, mail or hand delivery, but please use only one of 
these means. We recommend that you include your name and a mailing 
address, an e-mail address, or a phone number in the body of your 
document so that we can contact you if we have questions regarding your 
submission. As a reminder, FMCSA will only consider adverse comments as 
defined in 49 CFR 389.39(b).
    To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov, 
click on the ``submit a comment'' box, which will then become 
highlighted in blue. In the ``Document Type'' drop down menu select 
``Proposed Rule'' and insert ``FMCSA-2010-0186'' in the ``Keyword'' 
box. Click ``Search,'' then click on the balloon shape in the 
``Actions'' column. If you submit your comments by mail or hand 
delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 8\1/2\ by 11 
inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit them 
by mail and would like to know that they reached the Facility, please 
enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will 
consider all comments and material received during the comment period.

B. Viewing Comments and Documents

    To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble 
as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov, 
click on the ``read comments'' box, which will then become highlighted 
in blue. In the ``Keyword'' box insert ``FMCSA 2010-0186'' and click 
``Search.'' Click the ``Open Docket Folder'' in the ``Actions'' column. 
If you do not have access to the Internet, you may also view the docket 
online by visiting the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on 
the ground floor of the Department of Transportation West Building, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 
p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

C. Privacy Act

    Anyone can search the electronic form of comments received into any 
of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or 
signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, 
business, labor union, etc.). You may review a Privacy Act notice 
regarding our public dockets in the January 17, 2008, issue of the 
Federal Register (73 FR 3316).

II. Abbreviations

ABS Anti-lock Braking Systems
CMV Commercial Motor Vehicle
CVSA Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance

[[Page 57394]]

DFR Direct Final Rule
FMCSA Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
FMCSR Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation
FMVSS Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard
FR Federal Register
FHWA Federal Highway Administration
NHTSA National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

III. Regulatory Information

    We are publishing this direct final rule under 49 CFR 389.11 and 
389.39 because we believe the rule is a routine, non-controversial 
amendment to 49 CFR 393. The rule would ensure consistency between 49 
CFR Part 393 and NHTSA's 49 CFR 571.121. The FMCSA does not expect 
adverse comments. If no adverse comments or notices of intent to submit 
an adverse comment are received by October 21, 2010, this rule will 
become effective as stated in the DATES section. In that case, 
approximately 30 days before the effective date, we will publish a 
document in the Federal Register stating that no adverse comments were 
received and confirming that this rule will become effective as 
scheduled. However, if we receive any adverse comments or notices of 
intent to submit an adverse comment, we will publish a document in the 
Federal Register announcing the withdrawal of all or part of this 
direct final rule. If an adverse comment applies only to part of this 
rule (e.g., to an amendment, a paragraph, or a section) and it is 
possible to remove that part without defeating the purpose of this 
rule, we may adopt, as final, those parts of this rule on which no 
adverse comments were received. We will withdraw the part of this rule 
that was the subject of an adverse comment. If we decide to proceed 
with a rulemaking following receipt of any adverse comments, we will 
publish a separate notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) and provide a 
new opportunity for comment.
    A comment is considered ``adverse'' if the comment explains why 
this rule or a part of this rule would be inappropriate, including a 
challenge to its underlying premise or approach, or would be 
ineffective or unacceptable without a change.

IV. Background

    NHTSA published a final rule requiring ABS on truck tractors, other 
air-braked heavy vehicles including trailers, and hydraulic-braked 
trucks in the Federal Register (on March 10, 1995 60 FR 13216). As 
amended by that final rule, FMVSS No. 121, Air Brake Systems, required 
two separate in-cab ABS malfunction indicator lamps for each truck 
tractor, one for the tractor's ABS (effective March 1, 1997) and the 
other for the trailer's ABS (effective March 1, 2001). The final rule 
also required air-braked trailers to be equipped with an externally 
mounted ABS malfunction lamp (effective March 1, 1998) so that the 
driver of a non-ABS equipped tractor or an ABS-equipped tractor 
manufactured prior to March 1, 2001, towing an ABS-equipped trailer 
would be alerted in the event of a malfunction in the trailer ABS.
    On March 10, 1995, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) 
published a notice of intent to initiate a rulemaking concerning 
requirements of ABS on commercial motor vehicles (CMV) operating in 
interstate commerce (60 FR 13306). On July 12, 1996, FHWA published a 
notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that proposed requiring motor 
carriers to maintain the ABS on CMVs manufactured on or after the 
effective date of the NHTSA requirements (61 FR 36691). The FHWA 
subsequently published a final rule on May 4, 1998, amending the FMCSRs 
to require that air-braked truck tractors manufactured on or after 
March 1, 1997, and air-braked single-unit trucks, buses, trailers, and 
converter dollies manufactured on or after March 1, 1998, be equipped 
with ABS that meet the requirements of FMVSS No. 121 (63 FR 24454). In 
addition, FHWA required motor carriers to maintain the ABS on these 
vehicles. Specifically with respect to the exterior ABS malfunction 
warning lamp for trailers, the amendments to section 393.55(e) of the 
FMCSRs incorporated by reference--without modification--the 
requirements of S5.2.3.3 of FMVSS No. 121.
    The requirement for the trailer-mounted ABS malfunction indicator 
lamp was originally scheduled to expire on March 1, 2009. NHTSA 
established this sunset date based on the assumption that after this 
eight-year period, many of the pre-2001 tractors that did not have the 
dedicated trailer ABS malfunction indicator lamp would no longer be in 
long-haul service. NHTSA based its decision on the belief that the 
typical tractor life was five to seven years and therefore decided on 
an eight-year period for the external ABS malfunction indicator lamp 
requirement. NHTSA further stated its belief that there would be no 
need for a redundant ABS malfunction lamp mounted on the trailer after 
the vast majority of tractors were equipped with an in-cab ABS 
malfunction indicator lamp for the trailer.
    Before the trailer-mounted ABS malfunction indicator lamp 
requirement expired, NHTSA received two petitions from the Commercial 
Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). CVSA is an international not-for-profit 
organization comprised of Federal, State, provincial, territorial, and 
local motor carrier safety officials and industry representatives from 
the United States, Canada, and Mexico. On October 22, 2007, CVSA 
petitioned NHTSA to make the trailer-mounted external antilock 
malfunction indicator lamp permanent instead of allowing it to expire. 
CVSA included in its petition suggested regulatory text along with its 
rationale for why the extension should be permanent.
    The CVSA rationale included four points. The first point was many 
pre-2001 tractors were still expected to be in use when the malfunction 
indicator lamp requirement was set to expire (at the time, March 1, 
2009). These tractors do not have the in-cab trailer ABS malfunction 
indicator lamp that was believed to render the external lamp redundant. 
Second, CVSA argued that for double and triple trailer applications, it 
would not be possible to determine, from an in-cab lamp alone, which 
trailer ABS is malfunctioning without external lamps. Third, CVSA 
stated that many trailer repair shops rely on the external lamp to 
quickly diagnose the operational status of the trailer's ABS without 
having to couple a post-2001 tractor to the trailer. With an external 
indicator lamp, a tractor of any age can be used, making inspection 
significantly easier. Fourth, the petition argued that without the 
external lamp, the signal from the in-cab lamp may be confusing, as it 
may indicate either a malfunctioning in-cab bulb, a functioning pre-
1998 trailer (with no ABS), a problem with the communication circuit 
between the trailer and tractor, or a malfunctioning ABS. The external 
lamp helps to diagnose the situation.
    On October 15, 2008, CVSA again petitioned NHTSA to amend FMVSS No. 
121, by requesting that the agency issue a stay of the sunset date of 
March 1, 2009 for the external ABS malfunction indicator lamp. CVSA 
stated that a stay would prevent a time gap in the regulation, while 
NHTSA continued to evaluate CVSA's 2007 petition. CVSA stated that the 
vehicle inspection process has already been complicated by the ABS and 
ABS malfunction indicator lamp requirements, and a time gap would 
further complicate the inspection

[[Page 57395]]

process and cause additional confusion for drivers and maintenance 
    On March 3, 2009, NHTSA concurrently published an interim final 
rule extending the sunset date for the requirement by six months, to 
September 1, 2009 (74 FR 9173), and an NPRM to extend the requirement 
to March 1, 2011 (74 FR 9202). In the NPRM, NHTSA explained that it 
expected to be able to fully analyze and address the issues raised by 
the CVSA petitions prior to March 1, 2011. NHTSA also indicated that if 
it was able to fully resolve the outstanding issues it could make the 
requirement permanent in a final rule based on the NPRM.
    NHTSA determined in a final rule published on August 25, 2009 (74 
FR 42781) that the external lamp provides information that assists 
maintenance personnel and roadside inspectors, conveys important 
diagnostic data and supplies functional details critical for multiple 
trailer operations. NHTSA eliminated the sunset date and made the 
requirement for the external lamp permanent.
    NHTSA concluded that trailer maintenance operations would be more 
difficult if technicians had to couple a trailer to a post-2001 tractor 
or use additional specialized equipment in order to diagnose the state 
of a trailer's ABS, when a standardized trailer-mounted lamp already 
provides the same information. This inconvenience could diminish the 
effectiveness of some maintenance operations. Furthermore, the external 
lamp provides both drivers and roadside inspectors information about 
multiple trailer combinations that is otherwise unavailable. Without 
it, the in-cab information can only indicate the existence of a 
malfunctioning trailer ABS. The external lamp, however, can pinpoint 
which trailer's ABS is malfunctioning, allowing drivers or inspectors 
to take the appropriate remedial action.
    NHTSA noted that since it was making the requirement permanent 
because of the benefits the external lamp provides even when coupled 
with an in-cab trailer ABS indicator present on all tractors built 
after March 1, 2001, it was unnecessary to address the numbers of pre-
2001 tractors that are still in use.
    NHTSA noted that in making the existing requirement permanent, it 
was not implying that this issue could not be readdressed in future 
rulemaking, if new developments made the requirement unnecessary. In 
its comments to the March 2009 NPRM, the American Trucking Associations 
stated that in the future, wireless transmissions of the vehicle fault 
messages will be the means of inspection, making external malfunction 
lamps obsolete. NHTSA noted that it would take appropriate action if 
future designs and new inspection and maintenance practices eliminated 
the need for external malfunction lamps. NHTSA found good cause to make 
its August 25, 2009 rule effective on August 31, one day before the 6-
month extension of the requirement for an external malfunction 
indicator lamp expired. This effective date forestalled a time gap in 
the regulatory standard but did not result in any new burdens, since 
trailer manufacturers were already required to install the indicator 

V. Discussion of the Rule

    The FMCSA is using a direct final rule to promulgate this 
requirement because no adverse comments are expected. NHTSA found good 
cause to make the requirement for a malfunction indicator lamp 
permanent and FMCSA finds good cause to incorporate the same standard, 
as it is not expected to be controversial. This rule simply requires 
trailer operators to maintain in good order the malfunction indicator 
lamp NHTSA requires manufacturers to install.

VI. Regulatory Analysis

    We developed this rule after considering numerous statutes and 
executive orders related to rulemaking. Below we summarize our analyses 
based on 13 of these statutes or executive orders.

A. Regulatory Planning and Review

    This rule is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) 
of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, and does not 
require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 
6(a)(3) of that Order. The Office of Management and Budget has not 
reviewed the rule.

B. Small Entities

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we have 
considered whether this rule would have a significant economic impact 
on a substantial number of small entities. The term ``small entities'' 
comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are 
independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, 
and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000.
    The FMCSA certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this rule will not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. Comments submitted in response to this finding will be 
evaluated under the criteria in the ``Regulatory Information'' section 
of this preamble.

C. Collection of Information

    This rule calls for no new collection of information under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

D. Federalism

    A rule has implications for federalism under Executive Order 13132, 
Federalism, if the rule has a substantial direct effect on State or 
local governments and would either preempt State law or impose a 
substantial direct cost of compliance on them. We have analyzed this 
rule under that Order and have determined that it does not have 
federalism implications.

E. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) 
requires Federal agencies to assess the effects of their discretionary 
regulatory actions. In particular, the Act addresses actions that may 
result in the expenditure by a State, local, or tribal government, in 
the aggregate, or by the private sector of $100,000,000 or more in any 
one year. Though this rule will not result in such an expenditure, we 
do discuss the effects of this rule elsewhere in this preamble.

F. Taking of Private Property

    This rule will not effect a taking of private property or otherwise 
have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental 
Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property 

G. Civil Justice Reform

    This rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) 
of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, 
eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

H. Protection of Children

    We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection 
of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This rule 
is not an economically significant rule and does not create an 
environmental risk to health or risk to safety that may 
disproportionately affect children.

I. Indian Tribal Governments

    This rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 
13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, 
because it does not have a substantial

[[Page 57396]]

direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between 
the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of 
power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian 

J. Energy Effects

    We have analyzed this rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions 
Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 
Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a ``significant 
energy action'' under that order because it is not a ``significant 
regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to 
have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use 
of energy. The Administrator of the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs has not designated it as a significant energy 
action. Therefore, it does not require a Statement of Energy Effects 
under Executive Order 13211.

K. Technical Standards

    The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) (15 
U.S.C. 272 note) directs agencies to use voluntary consensus standards 
in their regulatory activities unless the agency provides Congress, 
through the Office of Management and Budget, with an explanation of why 
using these standards would be inconsistent with applicable law or 
otherwise impractical. Voluntary consensus standards are technical 
standards (e.g., specifications of materials, performance, design, or 
operation; test methods; sampling procedures; and related management 
systems practices) that are developed or adopted by voluntary consensus 
standards bodies.
    This rule does not use technical standards. Therefore, we did not 
consider the use of voluntary consensus standards.

L. Environment

    We have analyzed this rule under the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321-4370f) and FMCSA's NEPA Implementing 
Procedures and Policy for Considering Environmental Impacts (FMCSA 
Order 5610.1) paragraph 6.bb of Appendix 2, and have concluded that 
this action is one of a category of actions which do not individually 
or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. A 
Categorical Exclusion Determination is available for inspection or 
copying in the regulations.gov Web site listed under ADDRESSES.

 List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 393

    Highway safety, Motor Carriers, Motor vehicle safety.

For the reasons set forth in the preamble, FMCSA amends 49 CFR part 393 
as follows:


1. The authority citation for part 393 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 322, 31136, 31151 and 31502; sec. 1041(b), 
Pub. L. 102-240, 105 Stat. 1914, 1993 (1991); and 49 CFR 1.73.

2. Amend Sec.  393.55 by revising paragraph (e) to read as follows:

Sec.  393.55  Antilock brake systems.

* * * * *
    (e) Exterior ABS malfunction indicator lamps for trailers. Each 
trailer (including a trailer converter dolly) manufactured on or after 
March 1, 1998, and subject to the requirements of paragraph (c)(2) of 
this section, shall be equipped with an ABS malfunction indicator lamp 
which meets the requirements of FMVSS No. 121 (49 CFR 571.121, 

Anne S. Ferro,
[FR Doc. 2010-23479 Filed 9-20-10; 8:45 am]

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