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Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Stability and Control of Medium and Heavy Vehicles During Braking

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking Topics:  Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Stability and Control of Medium and Heavy Vehicles During Braking

Ricardo Martinez
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
February 17, 1998

[Federal Register: February 17, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 31)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 7724-7727]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr17fe98-38]

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

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571

[Docket NHTSA-98-3345]
RIN 2127-AG06

 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Stability and Control of 
Medium and Heavy Vehicles During Braking

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

ACTION: Final rule; petitions for reconsideration.

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

SUMMARY: This document amends Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
(FMVSS) No. 121, Air Brake Systems, to allow the alternate placement of 
the external antilock braking system (ABS) malfunction indicator lamp 
on trailers that have limited or non-existent structures to which the 
lamp and associated wiring can be attached. The purpose of the 
malfunction indicator lamp is to inform drivers, and maintenance and 
inspection personnel, of malfunctions in a trailer's ABS. The agency 
will permit the placement of the lamp on certain trailers (such as 
liquid tank, dry bulk, container chassis, and lowbed trailers) on the 
left side of the trailer near the red rear side marker lamp, or the 
front face of the left rear fender of trailers equipped with fenders. 
In addition, this document defines the methodology that is used to 
measure distances between the lamps (closest edge of the effective 
projected luminous lens area of each lamp). This rulemaking allows 
designers and manufacturers maximum design flexibility in the location 
of the malfunction indicator lamp while still ensuring that the lamp 
will serve its purpose.

DATES: Effective Date: The amendments in this final rule are effective 
March 1, 1998. Optional early compliance with these changes is 
permitted beginning February 17, 1998.
    Petitions for Reconsideration: Any petition for reconsideration of 
this rule must be received by NHTSA no later than April 3, 1998.

ADDRESSES: Petitions for Reconsideration should be submitted to: U.S. 
Department of Transportation, Docket Management, Room PL-401, 400 
Seventh Street, SW, Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Joseph P. Scott, Office of Crash 
Avoidance Standards, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 
400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590 (202) 366-8525.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background
II. Petitions for Reconsideration
    A. Intensity and Photometric Requirements
    B. Location
    i. Advocates location petition
    ii. TTMA location petition
III. NHTSA Decision
    A. Intensity and Photometric Requirements
    B. Location
IV. Costs
V. Regulatory Analysis and Notices

I. Background

    On September 23, 1996, NHTSA published a final rule (Docket 92-29; 
Notice 11) amending Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 
121, Air Brake Systems, to specify the location, labeling, color, 
activation protocol, and photometric intensity of antilock braking 
system (ABS) malfunction indicator lamps on the exterior of trailers 
and trailer convertor dollies. (61 FR 49691). The purpose of this 
malfunction indicator lamp is to inform drivers, and maintenance and 
inspection personnel, of malfunctions in a trailer's ABS.
    New truck tractors are required to be equipped with ABS as of March 
1, 1997, and new air-braked trailers and single-unit trucks will be 
required to be so equipped beginning March 1, 1998. These vehicles will 
also be required to be equipped with indicator lamps to alert their 
drivers of ABS malfunctions. Each truck, including a truck tractor, 
equipped to tow trailers will be required to be equipped with two in-
cab warning lamps: one to indicate malfunctions in its own ABS, and 
another to indicate ABS malfunctions on units it tows. Trailers will be 
required to be equipped with an electrical circuit capable of signaling 
a trailer ABS malfunction to the cab of the towing unit.
    NHTSA recognized that, during the initial transition period, there 
is a high likelihood that new ABS-equipped trailers will frequently be 
towed by older, non-ABS-equipped tractors or trucks that will not have 
the capability to receive ABS malfunction signals transmitted from 
trailers. Accordingly, to provide the driver, maintenance, and Federal 
and State inspection personnel with the ability to determine a 
malfunction with the trailer ABS, the agency requires that trailers, 
including convertor dollies, also be equipped with a separate external 
ABS malfunction indicator. A final rule responding to petitions for 
reconsideration extended this requirement until March 1, 2009 (61 FR 
5949, February 15, 1996). During this interim eleven-year period, 
external ABS malfunction indicator lamps must be installed on trailers. 
The agency reasoned that, after that time period, there would be 
sufficient new ABS-equipped truck tractors and towing trucks fitted 
with the in-cab trailer ABS malfunction warning indicator lamps to 
obviate the need for the separate trailer-mounted ABS malfunction 
warning lamp.
    As stated in the September 23, 1996, Federal Register Notice, NHTSA 
decided to require that the external trailer ABS malfunction indicator 
lamp be located near the rear of the trailer. The agency believes that 
this lamp will be readily seen by the drivers using their rearview 
mirrors, and during walk-around inspections. The agency notes that this 
lamp will only activate in those situations when the trailer ABS has 
malfunctioned or during the check of lamp function whenever power is 
first applied to the ABS and the vehicle is stationary. The external 
trailer ABS malfunction indicator lamp must be located near the rear of 
the left side of a trailer when viewed from the rear of the trailer, no 
closer than 150 mm (5.9 inches) and not more that 600 mm (23.6 inches) 
from the red rear side marker lamp. The agency selected this range to 
ensure a standardized location of this lamp near the trailer rear, 
thereby facilitating its being viewed by drivers, while providing 
flexibility to trailer manufacturers. This requirement combined the 
suggestions of Midland-Grau, TTMA, ATA, and Grote concerning the 
specific location requirements for the trailer ABS malfunction 
indicator relative to the red rear side marker lamp. This decision 
reflects several considerations. In this standardized location, the 
lamp can be seen by drivers, as well as fleet maintenance and roadside 
inspection personnel, during pre-trip and post-trip inspections.
    Also as stated in the September 23, 1996, Federal Register Notice, 
NHTSA decided--after reviewing the docket comments--to amend the 
standard

[[Page 7725]]

requiring intensity and photometric requirements of the external 
trailer ABS malfunction indicator lamp. The commenters requested that 
conformance be allowed to the July 1972 version of the SAE J592 (as 
well as the June 1992 version), since the earlier version is referenced 
in FMVSS 108 and many currently-manufactured and stocked lamps have 
been certified as having met the earlier version of the standard. These 
commenters also stated that the agency's proposal to rotate the lamp 90 
degrees was inappropriate since the requirement would necessitate 
designing new lamps for an extremely limited market. They suggested 
that such a redesign would add costs for little apparent gain. 
Alternatively, they requested the agency to require the use of a 
combination clearance/side marker lamp instead of a simple side marker 
lamp, because the combination lamps, which have ``PC'' marked on the 
lens or housing in accordance with SAE J759, Lighting Identification 
Code, have a uniform and wide diffused beam pattern throughout the full 
180 degrees left and right range. NHTSA amended the standard to permit 
conformance to either the July 1972, or June 1992 version of SAE J592. 
Additionally, the standard has been amended to require that a 
combination clearance/side marker lamp with a ``PC'' marked on the lens 
or housing in accordance with SAE J759, Lighting Identification Code, 
be used as the external trailer ABS warning lamp. The agency agreed 
with the commenters that this change will provide additional 
flexibility, without any detriment to safety. Based on the available 
information concerning the light output pattern of combination 
clearance/side marker lamps, the agency decided that rotating the lamp 
is not necessary to achieve the intended function of this lamp.

II. Petitions for Reconsideration

    NHTSA received two petitions for reconsideration to the September 
23, 1996, final rule. The first petition received was from Advocates 
for Highway Safety (Advocates). Their concerns are with the external 
ABS malfunction indicator lamp's (1) intensity and photometric 
requirements, and (2) location. The second petition was from TTMA 
requesting that the location requirements not be specified 
dimensionally, to accommodate the placement of the lamp on certain 
trailers (such as liquid tank, dry bulk, container chassis, and lowbed 
trailers) that have limited surface area to which the malfunction 
indicator lamp can be attached. The petitions are summarized in 
following two sections (a) Intensity and Photometric Requirements, and 
(b) Location.

A. Intensity and Photometric Requirements

    In its October 3, 1996, petition, Advocates for Highway Safety 
(Advocates) stated that they ``support photometric standardization of 
ABS malfunction lamps in FMVSS No. 108, but we are concerned that 
marker lamp luminous intensity on very bright days with certain 
lighting angles by the sun may not be sufficient to ensure that truck 
drivers can determine that a malfunction lamp is lit.''

B. Location

i. Advocates Location Petition
    In its petition dated October 3, 1996, Advocates stated that ``only 
intermittent and not continuous monitoring of the ABS status on 
converter dollies will be possible. Advocates is concerned about the 
possible negative safety implications of this outcome. Apart from this 
reservation, Advocates supports the new location protocol.''
ii. TTMA location petition
    On March 7, 1997, Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association (TTMA) 
petitioned NHTSA to modify 571.121 paragraph S5.2.3.3(c)(1)and be 
revised to read as follows--where brackets indicate deletions and 
underlining indicates additions:

``(c) Location requirements. (1) Each trailer that is not a trailer 
converter dolly shall be equipped with a lamp mounted on a permanent 
structure on the left side of the trailer as viewed from the rear 
[no closer than 150 mm (5.9 inches), and no farther than 600 mm 
(23.6 inches), from] near the red rear side marker lamp or on the 
front face of the left rear fender of trailers equipped with 
fenders.''

    TTMA's petition requested that the location requirements not be 
specified dimensionally, so as to accommodate the placement of the lamp 
on certain trailers, such as liquid tank, dry bulk, container chassis, 
and lowbed trailers that have limited surface area to which the 
malfunction indicator lamp can be attached.

III. NHTSA Decision

A. Intensity and Photometric Requirements

    Advocates is correct in their assertion that marker lamp luminous 
intensity on very bright days with certain lighting angles by the sun 
may not be sufficient to ensure that truck drivers can determine that a 
malfunction lamp is lit, but failed to note that NHTSA has the same 
photometric requirements for clearance and side markers. This ABS 
malfunction indicator lamp is intended to be used as an indicator for 
the driver and maintenance and roadside inspection personnel, but is 
not intended to serve as an overly bright ``warning beacon'' to all 
other road users, when the ABS malfunctions. The foundation brakes are 
designed to function properly even when the ABS has malfunctioned.
    In section ``E. Intensity and Photometric Requirements'' of the 
final rule, NHTSA specified--supported by industry comments--that the 
intensity and photometric requirements for the external ABS malfunction 
indicator lamp will be subjected to the same photometric 1 
requirements as those specified in Standard No. 108.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Photometric values specify the amount of light emitted by a 
lamp, when measured from a specific distance.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    On March 10, 1995, AAMA and TTMA petitioned NHTSA to require that 
the external ABS malfunction indicator lamp be subjected to the same 
photometric requirements as those specified in Standard No. 108. NHTSA 
tentatively agreed with these petitioners in its December 13, 1995, 
final rule and proposed that the lamps meet the photometric 
requirements for clearance, side marker, and identification lamps 
specified by SAE Recommended Practice J592 JUN92 for clearance lamps, 
which are referenced in Standard No. 108.
    Specifically, the agency proposed that ABS malfunction indicator 
lamps meet the photometric performance requirements specified in SAE 
J592 JUN92 for the luminous intensity of side marker lamps. Those 
requirements specify minimum intensity values at test points of 45 
degrees along a horizontal axis and 10 degrees along a vertical axis, 
when measured from a lamp distance of at least three meters. In 
addition, the agency proposed that the lamp be mounted on the trailer 
in such a manner that its beam is directed toward the front of the 
trailer and rotated 90 degrees so that its top and bottom become its 
sides. The agency believed that such an orientation of the lamp would 
ensure that its widest light beam is in a vertical plane just outboard 
of the side of the trailer, and hence would be more likely to be 
visible by the driver through the tractor's rearview mirrors.
    Truck-Lite, TTMA, and Midland-Grau requested that conformance be 
allowed to the July 1972 version of SAE J592 (as well as the June 1992 
version), since that earlier version is referenced in Standard No. 108 
and many currently manufactured and stocked lamps have

[[Page 7726]]

been certified as having met that version of the standard. These 
commenters also stated the agency's proposal to rotate the lamp 90 
degrees was inappropriate since the requirement would necessitate 
designing new lamps for an extremely limited market. They suggested 
that such a design would add costs for little apparent gain. 
Alternatively, they requested the agency to require the use of a 
combination clearance/side marker lamp instead of a simple side marker 
lamp, because the combination lamps, which have ``PC'' marked on the 
lens or housing in accordance with the SAE J759, Lighting 
Identification Code, have a uniform and wide diffused beam pattern 
throughout the full 180 degree left and right range. Thus, if this type 
of lamp is used, rotating the lenses, or mounting the lamp facing 
toward the front of the trailer would be unnecessary.
    After reviewing the comments, NHTSA has amended the standard to 
permit conformance to either the July 1972, or June 1992 version of SAE 
J592. Additionally, the standard is being amended to require that a 
combination clearance/side marker lamp with a ``PC'' marked on the lens 
or housing in accordance with SAE J759 JAN95, Lighting Identification 
Code, be used as the external trailer ABS warning lamp. The agency 
agrees with the commenters that this change will provide additional 
flexibility, without any detriment to safety. Based on the available 
information concerning the light output pattern of combination 
clearance/side marker lamps, the agency has decided that rotating the 
lamp is not necessary to achieve the intended function of this lamp.
    After reviewing Advocates' petition, NHTSA concluded that it 
provided no new information or data that was not considered previously 
during the rulemaking process. The agency, therefore, denies Advocates' 
petition with respect to the intensity and photometric requirements.

B. Location

    The agency agrees with Advocates that ``only intermittent and not 
continuous monitoring of the ABS status on converter dollies will be 
possible.'' Since the structure of a trailer converter dolly is 
difficult to see from the cab of a towing vehicle, NHTSA does not 
expect that the ABS malfunction lamp on the dolly will be seen 
continuously by drivers through the rearview mirror on the towing 
vehicle.
    In the final rule published on September 23, 1996, NHTSA specified 
that the ABS malfunction lamp on trailer converter dollies be located 
on a permanent structure of the dolly and be visible to a person 
standing on the road surface near the location of the lamp. The agency 
believes that the lamp placement will allow it to be readily seen 
during a walk-around vehicle inspection. FMVSS No. 121, S5.2.3.3(c)(2) 
requires that the lamp be located 375 mm or higher above the road 
surface with no portion of the lamp being obscured by any structure on 
the dolly, and that the lamp must be visible to a person standing 3 
meters from its location. There were no objections to this location by 
any commenters, when it was proposed in the Federal Register notice. 
Hence, the agency decided to adopt this location requirement as 
proposed for the ABS malfunction lamp on dollies.
    The agency agrees with TTMA that certain trailers, due to their 
design, would not be able to accommodate an ABS malfunction indicator 
lamp with the location specified in S5.2.3.3(c)(1). However, the agency 
believes that instead of deleting the dimensionally-specific 
requirements for locating the lamp on standard trailers, additional 
requirements should be included in FMVSS 121, S5.2.3.3 to accommodate 
those trailers about which TTMA is concerned. Therefore, to accommodate 
both current and future trailer design configurations that possess 
limited or non-existent structures to which the lamp can be secured and 
to allow designers and manufacturers maximum design flexibility in the 
construction of their equipment, NHTSA will permit the placement of the 
lamp on certain trailers, such as liquid tank, dry bulk, container 
chassis, and lowbed trailers:
    (1) Near the red rear side marker lamp--readily viewed by the 
driver and maintenance and roadside inspection personnel; or
    (2) On the front face of the left rear fender of trailers equipped 
with fenders.
    This action will allow the light to be installed on an existing 
trailer surface area that is viewable by the driver, without the need 
for major design modifications. Therefore, this action will hold down 
the cost of complying with the mandated lamp.
    The current location requirements, as specified in S5.2.3.3(c)(1), 
provide minimum and maximum dimensions for placement of the malfunction 
indicator lamp relative to the red rear side marker lamp. However, the 
regulatory text does not specify whether these dimensions are from the 
centerlines of the lamps or from the edges of the lamps. In this 
notice, the agency clarifies this ambiguity by specifying that the 
dimensions are based upon an edge-to-edge measurement between the 
lamps, and including a definition of the term, ``effective projected 
luminous lens area,'' which is used in the regulatory text. 
Accordingly, the regulatory text is amended to reflect this 
clarification.

IV. Costs

    NHTSA has already evaluated the economic impact of requiring 
trailers and dollies to be equipped with an external ABS malfunction 
indicator lamp in the final rule on heavy vehicle ABS published on 
March 10, 1995. The agency estimated that the unit cost of requiring an 
ABS lamp on trailers and dollies is $9.43. Since this rule does not 
require additional equipment, but only specifies location and a 
definition for ``effective projected luminous lens area,'' the rule 
should not have any impact on previously estimated costs or benefits. 
The agency notes there will be some cost savings, compared to the 
September 1996 final rule, since manufacturers will not have to 
redesign those trailers lacking a structure on which to install the 
lamp. A significant minority of the trailers (approximately 25 percent) 
would have needed a permanent structure attached to the trailer to 
comply with the proposed requirement. Locating the lamp in the rear of 
the trailer also reduces installation costs and improves durability 
since less wire will be needed between the ABS electronic control unit 
(ECU) and the light it activates, compared to locating the indicator at 
the front of the trailer.

V. Regulatory Analysis and Notices

1. Executive Order 12866 (Federal Regulatory Planning and Review) and 
DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    This rulemaking was not reviewed under Executive Order 12866, 
Regulatory Planning and Review. NHTSA has analyzed this proposal and 
determined that it is not ``significant'' within the meaning of the 
Department of Transportation's regulatory policies and procedures. The 
impacts of the rule are so minimal as not to warrant preparation of a 
full regulation evaluation. As noted above, NHTSA has already evaluated 
the economic impact of requiring an external ABS malfunction indicator 
lamp. For details, see the Final Economic Assessment (FEA) titled, 
``Final Rules FMVSS Nos. 105 & 121 Stability and Control While Braking 
Requirements and Reinstatement of Stopping Distance Requirements for 
Medium and Heavy Vehicles,'' published in June 1994.

[[Page 7727]]

2. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, NHTSA has 
evaluated the effects of this action on small entities. Based upon this 
evaluation, I certify that the amendment will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Vehicle and 
brakes manufacturers typically do not qualify as small entities. 
Further, aside from the relatively small cost impacts noted above, the 
amendments will not affect costs or benefits beyond those addressed in 
the FEA for the ABS final rule. Accordingly, no regulatory flexibility 
analysis has been prepared.

3. Executive Order 12612 (Federalism)

    This action has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and 
criteria contained in Executive Order 12612, and it has been determined 
that the rule does not have sufficient Federalism implications to 
warrant preparation of a Federalism Assessment. No State laws are 
affected.

4. National Environmental Policy Act

    NHTSA has analyzed this final rule for the purposes of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The agency has determined that 
implementation of this action will not have any significant effect on 
the quality of human environment. This final rule will result in no 
changes to motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment production or 
disposal processes.

5. Executive Order 12778 (Civil Justice Reform)

    This rulemaking will have no retroactive effect. Under 49 U.S.C. 
30103, whenever a Federal motor vehicle safety standard is in effect, a 
State may not adopt or maintain a safety standard applicable to the 
same aspect of performance which is not identical to the Federal 
standard, except to the extent that the State requirement imposes a 
higher level of performance and applies only to vehicles produced for 
use in that State. The 49 U.S.C. 30161 sets forth a procedure for 
judicial review of rulemakings establishing, amending, or revoking 
Federal motor vehicle safety standards. That section does not require 
submission of a petition for reconsideration or other administrative 
proceedings before parties may file suit in court.

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 571

    Imports, Motor vehicle safety, Motor vehicles, Rubber and rubber 
products, Tires.

    In consideration of the foregoing, the agency is amending FMVSS No. 
121, Air Brake Systems, in title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, 
Part 571 as follows:

PART 571--FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS

    1. The authority citation for part 571 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30115, 30117, and 30166; 
delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.50.

    2. Section 571.121 is amended by adding a new definition of 
``Effective Projected Luminous Lens Area'' to S4; by revising 
S5.2.3.3(c)(1); and by adding S5.2.3.3(c)(3) to read as follows:


Sec. 571.121  Standard No. 121; Air brake systems.

* * * * *
S4. Definitions
* * * * *
    Effective projected luminous lens area means that area of the 
projection on a plane perpendicular to the lamp axis of that portion of 
the light-emitting surface that directs light to the photometric test 
pattern, and does not include mounting hole bosses, reflex reflector 
area, beads or rims that may glow or produce small areas of increased 
intensity as a result of uncontrolled light from small areas (\1/2\ 
degree radius around the test point).
* * * * *
S5.2.3.3 Antilock malfunction indicator
*****
    (c) Location requirements. (1) Each trailer that is not a trailer 
converter dolly shall be equipped with a lamp mounted on a permanent 
structure on the left side of the trailer as viewed from the rear, no 
closer than 150 mm (5.9 inches), and no farther than 600 mm (23.6 
inches) from the red rear side marker lamp, when measured between the 
closest edge of the effective projected luminous lens area of each 
lamp.
* * * * *
    (3) Each trailer that is not a trailer converter dolly and on which 
the malfunction indicator lamp cannot be placed within the location 
specified in S5.2.3.3(c)(1) shall be equipped with a lamp mounted on a 
permanent structure on the left side of the trailer as viewed from the 
rear, near the red rear side marker lamp or on the front face of the 
left rear fender of a trailer equipped with fenders.
* * * * *
    Issued: February 5, 1998.
Ricardo Martinez, M.D.
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 98-3629 Filed 2-13-98; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P



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