[Federal Register: September 1, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 169)]
[Rules and Regulations]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Highway Administration
49 CFR Part 393
[FHWA Docket No. FHWA-97-3201]
Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Rear Impact
Guards and Rear Impact Protection
AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: The FHWA is amending the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Regulations (FMCSRs) to require that certain trailers and semitrailers
with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 4,536 kilograms (kg)
(10,000 pounds) or more, and manufactured on or after January 26, 1998,
be equipped with rear impact guards that meet the requirements of
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 223. The rear impact
guards must be installed to ensure that the trailer or semitrailer
meets the rear impact protection requirements of FMVSS No. 224. This
rulemaking is intended to ensure that the rear impact protection
requirements of the FMCSRs are consistent with the FMVSSs and to
improve the safety of operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) by
reducing the incidence of passenger compartment intrusion during
underride accidents in which the passenger vehicle strikes the rear of
the trailer. With regard to trailers and semitrailers manufactured
before January 26, 1998, motor carriers are not required to retrofit a
rear impact guard that conforms to FMVSS No. 223. However, motor
carriers operating these trailers and semitrailers are required to
continue complying with the FHWA's requirements for rear end protection
on CMVs that are not covered by FMVSSs Nos. 223 and 224.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This rule is effective on October 1, 1999.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Larry W. Minor, Office of Motor
Carrier Research and Standards, (202) 366-4009, or Mr. Charles Medalen,
Office of the Chief Counsel, (202) 366-1354, Federal Highway
Administration, Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW.,
Washington, DC 20590. Office hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.,
e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
Internet users can access all comments received by the U.S. DOT
Dockets, Room PL-401, by using the universal resource locator (URL):
http://dms.dot.gov. It is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each
year. Please follow the instructions online for more information and
An electronic copy of this document may be downloaded using a modem
and suitable communications software from the Government Printing
Office's (GPO) Electronic Bulletin Board Service at (202) 512-1661.
Internet users may reach the GPO's web page at http://
www.access.gpo.gov/nara and the Office of the Federal Register's home
page at http://www.nara.gov/fedreg.
On January 24, 1996 (61 FR 2003), the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a final rule creating FMVSSs
Nos. 223, Rear Impact Guards, and 224, Rear Impact Protection. The
requirements apply to trailers and semitrailers manufactured on or
after January 26, 1998.
The first standard, FMVSS No. 223 (49 CFR 571.223), specifies
performance requirements that rear impact guards must meet before they
can be installed on new trailers and semitrailers. It specifies
strength and energy absorption requirements for the impact guards as
well as test procedures that manufacturers and the NHTSA will use to
determine compliance with the standard. The standard also requires the
guard manufacturer to permanently label the impact guard to certify
that the device meets the requirements and to provide instructions on
the proper installation of the guard.
The second standard, FMVSS No. 224 (49 CFR 571.224), requires that
most new trailers and semitrailers with a gross vehicle weight rating
(GVWR) of 4,536 kg (10,000 pounds) or more be equipped with a rear
impact guard meeting FMVSS No. 223. Requirements for the location of
the guard relative to the rear end and sides of the trailer are also
specified in the vehicle standard. In addition, the vehicle standard
requires that the guard be mounted on the trailer or semitrailer in
accordance with the instructions of the guard manufacturer.
On January 26, 1998, the NHTSA issued a final rule responding to
petitions for reconsideration of the 1996 final rule, and making
technical amendments to the rear impact guard requirements (63 FR
3654). The 1998 final rule clarified the applicability of the energy-
absorption requirements with regard to cargo tank motor vehicles, as
defined in 49 CFR 171.8, excluded pulpwood trailers from the rear
impact protection requirements (a definition of pulpwood trailer was
added to Sec. 571.224), and revised the definition of special purpose
On May 14, 1998, the FHWA proposed amending Sec. 393.86 to ensure
that the rear impact protection requirements of the FMCSRs are
consistent with the FMVSSs and to improve the safety of operation of
CMVs by reducing the incidence of passenger compartment intrusion
during underride accidents in which the passenger vehicle strikes the
rear of the trailer (63 FR 26759). The agency indicated that this
action is necessary because the FMVSSs are applicable only to vehicle
and vehicle component manufacturers. In the absence of an amendment to
the FMCSRs, there would be no Federal requirement that motor carriers
maintain their trailers to conform to the rear impact protection
requirements of FMVSS No. 224, or repair damaged rear impact guards.
Motor carriers could also replace rear impact guards with devices that
failed to comply with the NHTSA requirements.
Discussion of Comments to the NPRM
The FHWA received 5 comments in response to the notice of proposed
rulemaking (NPRM). The commenters were: the Advocates for Highway and
Auto Safety (Advocates); the American Trucking Associations (ATA); the
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS); the National Automobile
Dealers Association, American Truck Dealers Division (NADA); and,
Torcomian Industries, Inc.
All of the commenters supported the rulemaking. However, the ATA
requested changes to certain portions of the regulatory language.
The Advocates stated:
This initiative to parallel the current NHTSA standard with an
in-service [requirement] for motor carrier operations clearly will
enhance safety. We especially commend the agency for proposing the
additional benefits of public safety gained by requiring foreign
carriers to abide by the same safety standards as domestic carriers.
Given the prospective increases in trilateral freight movements
because of the North American Free Trade Agreement, this action
appropriately anticipates and counters a potentially serious threat
to highway safety from numerous new trailers/semi-trailers being
operated on U.S. highways by Canadian and Mexican carriers. This
proposal is a textbook example of an agency acting in the public
interest and it should be adopted.
The IIHS stated:
The operational requirements for commercial motor vehicles
should conform to the [F]ederal safety standards applicable to new
vehicles. Interagency cooperation and consistency are particularly
important for vehicle safety systems such as underride guards.
Properly functioning underride guards on trailers will reduce
occupant compartment intrusion in passenger vehicles striking
trailers from the rear and thus reduce deaths and injuries.
Comments About the Proposed Regulatory Language
The ATA believes the proposed language requiring rear impact guards
to be no more than 22 inches above the ground at any point across the
horizontal member is too strict a requirement for motor carriers. The
proposed requirement fails to take into account minor damage that may
occur to the impact guard in motor carrier operations.
The ATA stated:
An ATA survey conducted earlier this year of guards built to the
Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association (TTMA) Recommended
Practice--which is dimensionally identical to FMVSS 224--found that
only 8.6 percent contained noticeable damage. Further, only 3.5
percent of the guards suffered harm that would raise their height.
It typically occurred at a point near their center and consisted of
an upward ``vee-shaped'' bend.
These narrow bends ranged up to three inches high. They
typically originate from complications caused by malfunctioning dock
locking mechanisms. Dock locks are devices found at shipper
facilities. They lock onto the underride guard and hold trailers
during loading or unloading to prevent an unexpected roll-away.
Upward, center bending of underride guards occurs when the dock lock
does not completely retract and a spotting tractor moves the
trailer. These tractors use a hydraulic fifth wheel to lift the
front of a trailer, freeing the driver from having to retract its
landing gear before moving it. Much like a teeter-totter, raising
the front of a trailer lowers the rear. This drives the underride
guard into the top of the dock lock, causing the bending.
ATA and one of its affiliated organizations--The Maintenance
Council (TMC), which consists of thousands of truck equipment
professionals--explored the consequences of such damage with trailer
manufacturers. We found that the degree of bending which typically
occurs does not impair the guard's capability to fulfill the
requirements of FMVSS 223.
The ATA also requested that the FHWA revise the proposed
definitions of ``low chassis vehicles,'' ``special purpose vehicles,''
and ``wheels back vehicles'' to cover any type of motor vehicle. The
ATA believes this is necessary to retain exemptions currently provided
for several types of straight trucks. The ATA recommends replacing
``trailer or semitrailer'' with ``a motor vehicle.''
Comments About Retrofitting
The ATA, Torcomian Industries, and the NADA responded to the FHWA's
request for comments on whether the agency should consider a
retrofitting requirement for trailers and semitrailers manufactured
before January 26, 1998. The ATA believes retrofitting trailers with
new rear impact guards would be impractical and cost prohibitive,
without contributing anything to safety. The ATA stated:
Retrofitting would be impractical because trailer manufacturers
design the guard and the rear of the trailer to act in combination
to meet the energy absorption requirements of FMVSS 223. Therefore,
attaching a new rear underride guard to an older trailer might be a
recipe for disaster. Older trailers may not have an attaching
understructure to accommodate the new equipment, and may not
function as expected.
In addition, truck operators would have no way of knowing if new
guards fitted to older trailers would meet the new standards.
The cost of fitting a new guard to a new trailer--with no
unexpected complications--is $300. Since there are approximately 3
million trailers in service, the direct cost of retrofit would
exceed $900 million. Adding in the indirect cost of revenue lost due
to down time and the complications of retrofitting old trailers not
designed to meet FMVSS 224, the total balloons to over $1 billion.
The NADA suggests that the FHWA ``continue to examine both the
costs and benefits associated with applying these new standards
retroactively, as well as any technical constraints that may be
Torcomian Industries stated:
[Our] position is why not have all vehicles, regardless of year
of manufacture or design, come up to standards. The technology is
here, now * * * an ideal method of providing vehicles with underride
The transportation industry needs an underride bumper that will
bridge all of the various configurations in today's vehicles,
therefore removing any objections from the end users.
Torcomian Industries believes that establishing specific
standards of performance for underride bumpers by application is
important to help the [original equipment manufacturer] and fleet
service facilities customers better to determine how Torcomian
Industries Articulating Patented Underride Bumper Guard can help
reduce operating costs.
Torcomian Industries believes its articulating rear impact guard
can be ``easily retrofitted to all existing vehicles, whether semi-
trailer or straight truck.''
FHWA Response to Comments
The FHWA agrees with the ATA's comments about the need to revise
certain portions of the regulatory text. The agency believes it is
important to maintain the spirit and intent of Sec. 393.86(e) of the
FHWA's current requirements which states ``[m]otor vehicles constructed
and maintained so that the body, chassis, or other parts of the vehicle
afford the rear end protection contemplated shall be deemed to be in
compliance with this section.'' The FHWA has revised the proposed
definitions of ``low chassis vehicles,'' ``special purpose vehicles,''
and ``wheels back vehicles'' to make them applicable to single-unit
trucks. This action will help to make the FHWA's requirements for
single unit trucks, and trailers and semitrailers manufactured prior to
January 26, 1998, easier to understand, use and enforce.
The FHWA notes that there is a difference between the agency's
special purpose vehicle exception for single-unit trucks, and
semitrailers and trailers manufactured before January 26, 1998, and the
NHTSA's special purpose vehicle exclusion. The FHWA's exception
requires that the work-performing equipment provide some level of
protection against underride. Since the FHWA's rear impact guard
requirements for single unit trucks, and semitrailers and trailers
manufactured before January 26, 1998, do not include specific
performance criteria, the level of protection would have to be
comparable to a rear impact guard that is substantially constructed and
By contrast, the NHTSA's special purpose vehicle exclusion is based
on the impracticability of installing a rear impact guard to satisfy
the requirements of FMVSS Nos. 223 and 224. The work-performing
equipment is not required to provide protection against underride.
Although the FHWA agrees with the NHTSA's special purpose vehicle
exclusion for new semitrailers and trailers, the FHWA does not believe
it is appropriate to provide such a broad exception for single-unit
trucks, and semitrailers and trailers built before January 26, 1998.
Since the strength and dimensional requirements for the FHWA's
requirements for single unit trucks, and semitrailers and trailers not
covered by the NHTSA rule, are less stringent than NHTSA's
requirements, motor carriers should not experience difficulty achieving
compliance. Motor carriers that have maintained their vehicles to
comply with the FHWA's requirements in effect prior to the publication
of this final rule will not
have to take any actions as a result of this rulemaking.
The FHWA does not agree with the ATA's comment about the need to
remove the words ``at any point across the full width of the member.''
The removal of these words would not preclude State officials from
citing motor carriers for violating Sec. 393.86 if there is minor
damage to the rear impact guard. Since Sec. 393.86 cross-references
FMVSS Nos. 223 and 224, State officials can cite the motor carrier for
failing to meet the referenced standards if the ground clearance
exceeds 22 inches at any point across the full width of the member,
irrespective of whether Sec. 393.86 explicitly states ``at any point
across the full width of the member.''
The FHWA intends that the rear impact guard requirements be
enforced by State officials during roadside inspections and must rely
on the enforcement discretion of these officials to determine if the
rear impact guard has minor damage, or damage that appears severe
enough to adversely affect the ability of the rear impact guard to
perform its function. The FHWA did not propose enforcement tolerances
and cannot as part of this final rule provide regulatory language to
make the distinction between minor damage and more severe damage that
would necessitate repairs or replacement of the rear impact guard. The
agency believes that penalizing motor carriers for minor damage that
would not adversely affect the performance of the rear impact guard
serves no practical purpose and discourages States from taking such
With regard to the comments about retrofitting, the FHWA does not
intend to propose a retrofitting requirement for improved rear impact
protection on trailers and semitrailers manufactured before January 26,
1998. The agency continues to believe there is insufficient accident,
cost, and research data to support such a proposal, and that the
obstacles to obtaining such data are essentially insurmountable.
The rear impact guard requirements applicable to single-unit
trucks, and trailers manufactured prior to January 26, 1998, do not
specify minimum strength, or energy absorption capabilities, nor do
they prohibit the use of impact guards that have a ground clearance
less than 762 mm (30 inches), or are closer than 61 cm (24 inches) to
the rear and 45.7 cm (18 inches) to the sides of the vehicle. In
addition, the current regulation allows impact guards to be constructed
of more than one section provided the lateral distance between the
sections does not exceed 610 mm (24 inches). As a result, manufacturers
have used a number of rear impact guard designs to satisfy the FHWA's
To develop a sound technical basis for a retrofitting proposal, the
FHWA would have to establish criteria for determining which of the
older impact guard designs should be considered acceptable and which
ones should be replaced. The FHWA would then have to estimate the total
number of guards that would have to be replaced or modified, the per-
unit and total cost for replacing or modifying those guards (including
lost revenues while the trailer was being retrofitted), and the
benefits in lives saved and injuries prevented if a certain number of
vehicles were retrofitted. This is particularly difficult because some
rear impact guards currently in use may meet or exceed the NHTSA's
strength requirements but fail to meet dimensional or energy absorption
requirements. Others may meet the dimensional requirements but fall
short of the minimum strength requirements.
The FHWA indicated in its NPRM that the agency does not have test
data or engineering analyses concerning the performance capabilities of
the rear impact guard designs currently in use. The Interstate Commerce
Commission (ICC) did not have authority to regulate vehicle and
component manufacturers when it issued the first rear underride
protection requirements in 1952 and, consequently, had no authority to
compel manufacturers to provide technical data on their products. Also,
the initial FMVSSs issued by the FHWA (before the NHTSA became a
separate agency) did not include rear impact protection requirements.
Therefore, the agency did not have access to this information during
the relatively short period of time (between 1966 and 1970, when the
NHTSA was established) in which vehicle and component manufacturers
were regulated by the FHWA. Because of the lack of technical data
concerning the performance capabilities of underride devices currently
in use, the agency cannot prepare an accurate estimate of the costs and
benefits associated with a retrofitting requirement.
The FHWA cannot determine whether the ATA's estimate of more than
$1 billion dollars is accurate. However, the agency believes the cost
per trailer for retrofitting impact guards is likely to be greater than
the cost per trailer for installing rear impact protection on new
trailers. Generally, the costs associated with retrofitting components
on motor vehicles exceeds the cost of installing those components while
the vehicle is being manufactured.
For the purpose of determining a lower bound of a cost range for
retrofitting trailers with rear impact guards, the cost estimates
provided by the NHTSA in its final rule on rear impact guards and rear
impact protection and some of those used by the FHWA in its conspicuity
retrofitting rulemaking may be used.
The NHTSA estimates rear impact guards meeting the requirements of
FMVSS No. 223 cost approximately $128 to $148 per trailer or
semitrailer (61 FR 2004, January 24, 1996). This cost includes an
incremental increase (above the cost of current rear impact guards) of
between $77 and $96 per guard to satisfy the rear impact guard and rear
impact protection requirements.
The FHWA indicated in its NPRM concerning trailer conspicuity that
the estimated costs for retrofitting approximately 1.4 million trailers
with retroreflective sheeting is $339 million if a two-year phase-in
period is allowed (63 FR 33611, June 19, 1998). These figures include
an estimate of $144 per trailer for the value of revenues that cannot
be generated while the trailer is being retrofitted. It is difficult to
estimate the loss in revenues because of the variety of trailer types,
the variety of motor carrier operations and the rates that are charged,
and the overall manner in which some trailers are used--being left idle
at the motor carrier's terminals for periods of time that may be as
short as a few hours to several days.
It is acknowledged by most interested parties that the costs for
retrofitting a trailer to meet the requirements of FMVSSs Nos. 223 and
224 generally would be greater than the costs of retrofitting a trailer
to meet the conspicuity requirements of FMVSS No. 108. At a minimum,
the time required to retrofit new underride devices would be greater
than that associated with applying retroreflective tape. The result
would be significantly higher labor and lost-revenue costs. The lower
bound for the cost range of retrofitting would therefore exceed $339
million. This would certainly be the case if more than 1.4 million
trailers were required to be retrofitted within a short timeframe.
If, as Torcomian Industries argues, the agency attempted to require
retrofitting all CMVs, the lower bound for the cost range would almost
certainly exceed $1 billion. The significant increase in the lower
bound for the cost range would be due to the large number of single-
unit trucks that would be subject to a retrofitting requirement. The
number of registered trucks in 1996 (excluding Federal, State, County,
and municipal trucks; truck tractors; farm trucks;
pickups; vans; sport utilities; and other light trucks) was 73,983,774,
while the number of registered private and commercial trailers and
semitrailers was only 4,339, 079.1 Even if only a fraction
of the registered trucks were subject to the FMCSRs--a fraction that
cannot be determined accurately--the number of trucks that would have
to be retrofitted would greatly exceed the number of trailers.
\1\ ``Highway Statistics 1996,'' Federal Highway Administration,
November 1997 (FHWA-PL-003).
The FHWA believes it is inappropriate to initiate a retrofitting
rulemaking when the data to develop more detailed cost estimates does
not exist and cannot be generated without a massive program of economic
Discussion of Final Rule
Paragraph (a)(1) of Sec. 393.86 provides a general statement of the
applicability of the new rear impact guard requirements and cross
references FMVSS Nos. 223 and 224. Paragraph (a)(1) also identifies the
types of trailers (which are defined in Sec. 390.5 and Sec. 393.5) that
are exempted from the new rear impact guard requirements. Paragraphs
(a)(2) through (a)(5) specify the following requirements, respectively:
The minimum width for the impact guard; the maximum ground clearance;
the maximum distance from the rear of the vehicle to the rear surface
of the impact guard; and the cross-sectional vertical height of the
horizontal member of the guard. Paragraph (a)(6) specifies the
certification and labeling requirements. The agency has included
detailed requirements in Sec. 393.86 (a)(2) through (a)(6) to help
motor carriers quickly determine if the underride device on a newly
manufactured trailer meets the NHTSA's requirements, and to assist
State agencies responsible for enforcing motor carrier safety
The existing requirements (for all CMVs manufactured after December
31, 1952, except trailers or semitrailers manufactured on or after
January 26, 1998) are covered under paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(3).
Paragraph (b)(1) specifies the minimum dimensions for the rear impact
guard as installed on the motor vehicle. Paragraph (b)(2) requires that
the impact guard must be substantially constructed and attached by
bolts, welding, or other comparable means. Paragraph (b)(2) differs
from the current attachment requirements in that the phrase ``firmly
attached'' has been replaced with ``attached by means of bolts,
welding, or other comparable means'' to make the regulations easier to
understand and enforce.
The current language contained in paragraph (e) has been revised
and included in a new paragraph (b)(3). The final rule indicates that
low chassis vehicles, special purpose vehicles, and wheels back
vehicles which are constructed and maintained so that the body,
chassis, or other parts of the vehicle provide rear end protection
comparable to an impact guard(s) conforming to the requirements of
paragraph (b)(1) of Sec. 393.86 shall be considered in compliance with
Applicability to Canadian and Mexican Vehicles
The final rule is applicable to vehicles operated in the United
States by Canada- and Mexico-based motor carriers. Although the Federal
governments of Canada and Mexico have not indicated whether they intend
to require rear impact guards (which meet the NHTSA standard) on newly
manufactured trailers operating in their countries, the FHWA believes
that it is appropriate to require such guards on foreign-based trailers
manufactured on or after the effective date of the NHTSA requirements
if those vehicles are operated within the United States.
Commercial motor vehicles operated in the United States by Canada-
and Mexico-based motor carriers are currently required to comply with
the rear underride device requirements for single-unit trucks, and
trailers manufactured before January 26, 1998. The revision of
Sec. 393.86 requires that trailers and semitrailers manufactured on or
after January 26, 1998, and operated by foreign-based motor carriers
meet the NHTSA standards.
Although the FHWA specifically requested comments from Canada- and
Mexico-based motor carriers and original equipment manufacturers that
sell trailers and semitrailers for the Canadian and Mexican markets,
the agency did not receive comments from such parties. The FHWA has
received numerous telephone inquiries from Canada-based motor carriers
and trailer manufacturers that sell trailers and semitrailers for the
Canadian market. The agency advised each caller that foreign motor
carriers are currently required to comply with all the requirements of
part 393 and that the proposed revision of Sec. 393.86 did not include
an exception for foreign-based motor carriers. The agency also advised
these companies of the process for submitting comments to the
rulemaking docket and, on several occasions, sent via facsimile a copy
of the NPRM to Canada-based motor carriers that were unable to access
the Federal Register via the Internet. The agency believes that ample
opportunity has been provided to foreign-based motor carriers to raise
any issues which would necessitate consideration of an exception to the
requirements of Sec. 393.86 and that it is appropriate to require all
motor carriers operating in the United States to comply with this rule.
Rulemaking Analyses and Notices
Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) and DOT
Regulatory Policies and Procedures
The FHWA has determined that this action is a significant
regulatory action within the meaning of Executive Order 12866, and is
significant within the meaning of Department of Transportation
regulatory policies and procedures because of the substantial public
interest in the prevention of rear-underride accidents involving CMVs.
This rule requires that certain trailers and semitrailers manufactured
on or after January 26, 1998, be equipped with rear impact protection
devices meeting the requirements of FMVSS No. 223 and installed on
trailers in accordance with FMVSS 224. Motor carriers are responsible
for maintaining the underride protection devices on these trailers. It
is anticipated that the economic impact of this requirement will be
minimal because the NHTSA requires trailer manufacturers to equip new
trailers and semitrailers with rear impact guards and the FHWA's
rulemaking only requires motor carriers to maintain the improved
underride protection devices. It is expected that the costs of
repairing damaged underride devices will be the only economic burden
placed upon motor carriers and that this burden generally will not
exceed the costs of properly repairing underride devices on trailers
manufactured prior to the effective date of the NHTSA's requirements.
Accordingly, further regulatory evaluation is not necessary.
Regulatory Flexibility Act
In compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-
612), the FHWA has evaluated the effects of this rule on small
entities. This rule modifies the rear impact protection standards for
trailers in the FMCSRs to make them consistent with the manufacturing
standards in the FMVSS No. 224, which requires the installation of rear
impact protection devices conforming to FMVSS No. 223 on certain newly-
manufactured semitrailers and trailers. The FHWA believes that
maintenance costs of the rear impact
protection devices required under the new FMVSSs will be minimal. The
maintenance costs only apply to small entities that have trailers that
were manufactured on or after January 26, 1998, and are required to be
equipped with rear impact guard protection meeting the requirements of
FMVSS Nos. 223 and 224.
As of September 1996, the FHWA estimates that there were
approximately 382,128 interstate motor carriers. Of these carriers,
136,360 own, term-lease or trip-lease 6 or fewer trailers (68,405 have
1 trailer, 45,770 have 2-3 trailers, and 22,185 have 4-6 trailers). The
number of motor carriers that own, term-lease or trip-lease more than 6
trailers, but fewer than 21 is 21,793 (6,658 carriers have 7-8
trailers, 6,197 have 9-11 trailers, 3,887 carriers have 12-14 trailers,
2,779 carriers have 15-17 trailers, and 2,272 carriers have 18-20
trailers). If only those motor carriers that own, term-lease, or trip-
lease 20 or fewer trailers are considered small entities, this
rulemaking could have an economic impact on up to 158,153 small
The economic impact on each of the motor carriers will vary
depending on the number of trailers that the carrier would be
responsible for maintaining and the severity of the damage to the rear
impact guard. For the most severe level of damage (e.g., damage from a
passenger car crashing into the rear of the trailer), the motor carrier
would be required to replace the rear impact guard.
The Small Business Administration (SBA), which oversees agencies'
compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, has published
guidelines to classify small business. The SBA has indicated that for
entities engaged in motor freight transportation and warehousing, small
businesses are those with $18.5 million or fewer dollars in annual
receipts. For a private motor carrier with a principal business other
than transportation that operates 20 trailers and has annual receipts
of $18.5 million, the total economic impact would most likely be less
than one tenth of one percent of the carrier's annual receipts. For
example, if all 20 trailers had to have the rear impact guards replaced
and the total costs for parts and labor for each trailer reached
$1,000, the economic impact would be one tenth of one percent ($20,000/
$18.5 million). Although the FHWA does not have documentation
concerning the replacement costs for a rear impact guard meeting the
requirements of FMVSS Nos. 223 and 224, the agency believes the costs
would be less than $1,000.
Based on its analysis of impacts on small entities summarized
above, the FHWA believes that this rule will affect a substantial
number of small entities, but will not have a significant economic
impact on these entities.
Executive Order 12612 (Federalism Assessment)
This action has been analyzed in accordance with the principles and
criteria contained in Executive Order 12612, and it has been determined
that this rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to
warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment.
Executive Order 12372 (Intergovernmental Review)
Catalog of Domestic Assistance Program Number 20.217, Motor Carrier
Safety. The regulations implementing Executive Order 12372 regarding
intergovernmental consultation on Federal programs and activities do
not apply to this program.
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act
This rule does not impose an unfunded Federal mandate, as defined
by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1532 et seq.),
that will result in the expenditure by State, local, and tribal
governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100
million or more in any one year.
Paperwork Reduction Act
This document does not contain information collection requirements
for the purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 [44 U.S.C. 3501
National Environmental Policy Act
The agency has analyzed this rulemaking for the purpose of the
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and
has determined that this action would not have any effect on the
quality of the environment.
Regulation Identification Number
A regulation identification number (RIN) is assigned to each
regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations.
The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda
in April and October of each year. The RIN contained in the heading of
this document can be used to cross-reference this action with the
List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 393
Highways and roads, Motor carriers, Motor vehicle equipment, Motor
Issued on: August 26, 1999.
Gloria J. Jeff,
Federal Highway Deputy Administrator.
In consideration of the foregoing, the FHWA is amending title 49,
Code of Federal Regulations, chapter III, as follows:
1. The authority citation for part 393 continues to read as
Authority: Section 1041(b) of Pub. L. 102-240, 105 Stat. 1914,
1993 (1991); 49 U.S.C. 31136 and 31502; 49 CFR 1.48.
2. Section 393.5 is amended by adding the definitions of ``low
chassis vehicle,'' ``special purpose vehicle,'' and ``wheels back
vehicle,'' and by revising the definitions of ``pulpwood trailer,''
``rear extremity,'' and ``side extremities'' (now ``side extremity''),
placing them in alphabetical order, to read as follows:
Sec. 393.5 Definitions.
* * * * *
Low chassis vehicle. (1) A trailer or semitrailer manufactured on
or after January 26, 1998, having a chassis which extends behind the
rearmost point of the rearmost tires and which has a lower rear surface
that meets the guard width, height, and rear surface requirements of
Sec. 571.224 in effect on the date of manufacture, or a subsequent
(2) A motor vehicle, not described by paragraph (1) of this
definition, having a chassis which extends behind the rearmost point of
the rearmost tires and which has a lower rear surface that meets the
guard configuration requirements of Sec. 393.86(b)(1).
* * * * *
Pulpwood trailer. A trailer or semitrailer that is designed
exclusively for harvesting logs or pulpwood and constructed with a
skeletal frame with no means for attachment of a solid bed, body, or
Rear extremity. The rearmost point on a motor vehicle that falls
above a horizontal plane located 560 mm (22 inches) above the ground
and below a horizontal plane located 1,900 mm (75 inches) above the
ground when the motor vehicle is stopped on level ground; unloaded; its
fuel tanks are full; the tires (and air suspension, if so equipped) are
inflated in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations; and the
motor vehicle's cargo doors, tailgate, or other permanent structures
are positioned as they normally are when the vehicle is in motion.
Nonstructural protrusions such as taillamps, rubber bumpers, hinges
and latches are excluded from the determination of the rearmost point.
* * * * *
Side extremity. The outermost point on a side of the motor vehicle
that is above a horizontal plane located 560 mm (22 inches) above the
ground, below a horizontal plane located 1,900 mm (75 inches) above the
ground, and between a transverse vertical plane tangent to the rear
extremity of the vehicle and a transverse vertical plane located 305 mm
(12 inches) forward of that plane when the vehicle is unloaded; its
fuel tanks are full; and the tires (and air suspension, if so equipped)
are inflated in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations.
Non-structural protrusions such as taillights, hinges and latches are
excluded from the determination of the outermost point.
* * * * *
Special purpose vehicle. (1) A trailer or semitrailer manufactured
on or after January 26, 1998, having work-performing equipment that,
while the motor vehicle is in transit, resides in or moves through the
area that could be occupied by the horizontal member of the rear impact
guard, as defined by the guard width, height and rear surface
requirements of Sec. 571.224 (paragraphs S5.1.1 through S5.1.3), in
effect on the date of manufacture, or a subsequent edition.
(2) A motor vehicle, not described by paragraph (1) of this
definition, having work-performing equipment that, while the motor
vehicle is in transit, resides in or moves through the area that could
be occupied by the horizontal member of the rear impact guard, as
defined by the guard width, height and rear surface requirements of
* * * * *
Wheels back vehicle. (1) A trailer or semitrailer manufactured on
or after January 26, 1998, whose rearmost axle is permanently fixed and
is located such that the rearmost surface of the tires (of the size
recommended by the vehicle manufacturer for the rear axle) is not more
than 305 mm (12 inches) forward of the transverse vertical plane
tangent to the rear extremity of the vehicle.
(2) A motor vehicle, not described by paragraph (1) of this
definition, whose rearmost axle is permanently fixed and is located
such that the rearmost surface of the tires (of the size recommended by
the vehicle manufacturer for the rear axle) is not more than 610 mm (24
inches) forward of the transverse vertical plane tangent to the rear
extremity of the vehicle.
* * * * *
3. Section 393.86 is revised to read as follows:
Sec. 393.86 Rear impact guards and rear end protection.
(a)(1) General requirements for trailers and semitrailers
manufactured on or after January 26, 1998. Each trailer and semitrailer
with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4,536 kg (10,000 pounds) or more,
and manufactured on or after January 26, 1998, must be equipped with a
rear impact guard that meets the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle
Safety Standard No. 223 (49 CFR 571.223) in effect at the time the
vehicle was manufactured. When the rear impact guard is installed on
the trailer or semitrailer, the vehicle must, at a minimum, meet the
requirements of FMVSS No. 224 (49 CFR 571.224) in effect at the time
the vehicle was manufactured. The requirements of paragraph (a) of this
section do not apply to pole trailers (as defined in Sec. 390.5 of this
chapter); pulpwood trailers, low chassis vehicles, special purpose
vehicles, wheels back vehicles (as defined in Sec. 393.5); and trailers
towed in driveaway-towaway operations (as defined in Sec. 390.5).
(2) Impact guard width. The outermost surfaces of the horizontal
member of the guard must extend to within 100 mm (4 inches) of the side
extremities of the vehicle. The outermost surface of the horizontal
member shall not extend beyond the side extremity of the vehicle.
(3) Guard height. The vertical distance between the bottom edge of
the horizontal member of the guard and the ground shall not exceed 560
mm (22 inches) at any point across the full width of the member. Guards
with rounded corners may curve upward within 255 mm (10 inches) of the
longitudinal vertical planes that are tangent to the side extremities
of the vehicle.
(4) Guard rear surface. At any height 560 mm (22 inches) or more
above the ground, the rearmost surface of the horizontal member of the
guard must be within 305 mm (12 inches) of the rear extremity of the
vehicle. This paragraph shall not be construed to prohibit the rear
surface of the guard from extending beyond the rear extremity of the
vehicle. Guards with rounded corners may curve forward within 255 mm
(10 inches) of the side extremity.
(5) Cross-sectional vertical height. The horizontal member of each
guard must have a cross sectional vertical height of at least 100 mm
(3.94 inches) at any point across the guard width.
(6) Certification and labeling requirements for rear impact
protection guards. Each rear impact guard used to satisfy the
requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section must be permanently
marked or labeled as required by FMVSS No. 223 (49 CFR 571.223, S5.3).
The label must be on the forward-facing surface of the horizontal
member of the guard, 305 mm (12 inches) inboard of the right end of the
guard. The certification label must contain the following information:
(i) The impact guard manufacturer's name and address;
(ii) The statement ``Manufactured in ____'' (inserting the month
and year that the guard was manufactured); and,
(iii) The letters ``DOT'', constituting a certification by the
guard manufacturer that the guard conforms to all requirements of FMVSS
(b)(1) Requirements for motor vehicles manufactured after December
31, 1952 (except trailers or semitrailers manufactured on or after
January 26, 1998). Each motor vehicle manufactured after December 31,
1952, (except truck tractors, pole trailers, pulpwood trailers, or
vehicles in driveaway-towaway operations) in which the vertical
distance between the rear bottom edge of the body (or the chassis
assembly if the chassis is the rearmost part of the vehicle) and the
ground is greater than 76.2 cm (30 inches) when the motor vehicle is
empty, shall be equipped with a rear impact guard(s). The rear impact
guard(s) must be installed and maintained in such a manner that:
(i) The vertical distance between the bottom of the guard(s) and
the ground does not exceed 76.2 cm (30 inches) when the motor vehicle
(ii) The maximum lateral distance between the closest points
between guards, if more than one is used, does not exceed 61 cm (24
(iii) The outermost surfaces of the horizontal member of the guard
are no more than 45.7 cm (18 inches) from each side extremity of the
(iv) The impact guard(s) are no more than 61 cm (24 inches) forward
of the rear extremity of the motor vehicle.
(2) Construction and attachment. The rear impact guard(s) must be
substantially constructed and attached by means of bolts, welding, or
other comparable means.
(3) Vehicle components and structures that may be used to satisfy
the requirements of paragraph (g) of this section. Low chassis
vehicles, special purpose vehicles, or wheels back vehicles constructed
and maintained so that the body, chassis, or other parts of the vehicle
provide the rear end protection comparable to impact guard(s)
conforming to the requirements of paragraph (b)(1) of this section
be considered to be in compliance with those requirements.
[FR Doc. 99-22699 Filed 8-31-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P