[Federal Register: September 25, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 185)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[Docket No. FMCSA-2006-24065]
Compliance with Interstate Motor Carrier Noise Emission
Standards: Exhaust Systems
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice; request for comments.
SUMMARY: FMCSA requests public comment on the merits of a petition for
rulemaking filed by the Truck Manufacturers Association. This trade
association, whose members include all of the major North American
manufacturers of medium and heavy-duty trucks, has petitioned FMCSA to
amend the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to eliminate
turbochargers from the list of equipment considered to be noise
dissipative devices. The Truck Manufacturers Association contends that
virtually all trucks are now equipped with turbochargers. Hence, these
trucks cannot be cited for failure to meet the visual exhaust system
inspection requirements of FMCSA's safety regulations if they have no
DATES: Comments must be received on or before October 25, 2006.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments [identified by DOT DMS Docket No.
FMCSA-2006-24065] by any of the following methods:
- Web site: http://dms.dot.gov. Follow the instructions for
submitting comments on the DOT electronic docket site.
- Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
- Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of
Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Nassif Building, Room PL-401,
Washington, DC 20590-0001.
- Hand Delivery: Room PL-401 on the Plaza Level of the
Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC, between 9
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
- Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov.
Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
Instructions: All submissions must include the Agency name and
docket number for this notice. Note that all comments received will be
posted without change (including any personal information provided) to
http://dms.dot.gov. See the Privacy Act heading for further information.
Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or
comments received, go to http://dms.dot.gov at any time or to Room PL-401 on the Plaza Level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, SW.,
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday,
except Federal holidays. The Docket Management System (DMS) is
available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. If you want to be
notified that we received your comments, please include a self-
addressed, stamped envelope or postcard or print the acknowledgement
page that appears after submitting comments online.
Privacy Act: Anyone may search the electronic form of all comments
received into any of DOT's dockets by the name of the individual
submitting the comment (or of the person signing the comment, if
submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, or other
entity). You may review DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement in the
Federal Register published on April 11, [[Page 55823]] 2000 (65 FR 19476). This statement is also available at http://dms.dot.gov.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Michael Huntley, Division Chief,
Vehicle and Roadside Operations Division (MC-PSV), Office of Bus and
Truck Standards and Operations, phone (202) 366-4001, e-mail
On October 21, 1974, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
issued final regulations establishing the Interstate Motor Carrier
Noise Emission Standards for maximum external noise emissions of motor
vehicles having a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or a gross
combination weight rating (GCWR) of more than 10,000 pounds that are
operated by commercial motor carriers engaged in interstate commerce
(39 FR 38208). These regulations were issued under the authority of
section 18 of the Noise Control Act of 1972, which also directed the
Secretary of Transportation to promulgate regulations to ensure
compliance with the EPA standards.
On February 28, 1975, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
published in the Federal Register (40 FR 8658) a text of proposed
regulations establishing measurement methodologies for determining
whether commercial motor vehicles (CMV) conform to the Interstate Motor
Carrier Noise Emission Standards published by the EPA at 40 CFR part
202. FHWA published final regulations on September 12, 1975 (40 FR
42432). The new requirements, found at 29 CFR 325.91, became effective
on October 15, 1975.
The current requirements of Sec. 325.91--unchanged since their
adoption in 1975--were established to support enforcement of EPA's
Interstate Motor Carrier Noise Emission Standards. While the
corresponding section of the EPA regulation requires CMVs with a GVWR
or GCWR of more than 10,000 pounds which are operated by interstate
motor carriers to be " * * * equipped with a muffler or other noise
dissipative device; * * *", the language adopted by FHWA in Sec.
325.91 requires the same vehicles to be " * * * equipped with either a
muffler or other noise dissipative device, such as a turbocharger
(supercharger driven by exhaust gases) * * *."
It is not clear why the language that was adopted in Sec. 325.91
is largely identical to that established by EPA except that it
additionally considers a turbocharger to be a noise dissipative device
under Sec. 325.91(b). There is no discussion in the preambles to
either the February 1975 notice of proposed rulemaking or in the
September 1975 final rule explaining why turbochargers were
specifically included in the list of noise dissipative devices. In its
petition, the Truck Manufacturers Association (TMA) noted:
At the time these regulations were written, many diesel engines
were naturally aspirated, and coincidently much louder than then-
comparable turbocharged equipped engines/trucks. In that context, it
made sense to include turbochargers with mufflers as acceptable
noise dissipative devices, since both devices quieted trucks
appreciably compared to trucks with naturally aspirated engines and
totally unmuffled exhaust systems.
All newly manufactured trucks are currently equipped and certified
to meet EPA's Transportation Equipment Noise Emission Controls
requirement of 80 dB(A) (40 CFR part 205) when they are placed into
initial service. Section 325.91 provides a simple inspection protocol
to assist Federal and State safety inspectors in confirming compliance
with the EPA exhaust system requirements of the Interstate Motor
Carrier Noise Emission Standards (40 CFR 202.22).
While FMCSA believes that the vast majority of CMV operators
currently comply with Sec. 325.91, the TMA petition notes that the
regulatory language of Sec. 325.91, as currently written, conceivably
permits vehicle operators to remove mufflers or other noise dissipative
devices and still meet the Federal inspection requirements merely
because the CMV engine is equipped with a turbocharger.
In its petition, TMA noted that
* * * removing the muffler can cause the truck to be 10-20 dB(A)
louder; a 10 to 100 fold increase in the emitted sound power level
of the vehicle.
Additionally, TMA stated that it is * * * not aware of any other
credible, satisfactorily performing, and commercially available
exhaust noise dissipative device other than mufflers.
Petition for Rulemaking
In its June 17, 2005 petition for rulemaking, TMA requested that
the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) be amended to
eliminate turbochargers from the list of equipment considered to be
noise dissipative devices. TMA proposes that the phrase ", such as a
turbocharger (supercharger driven by exhaust gases)" be removed from
49 CFR 325.91(b).
Request for Comments
FMCSA requests public comment on TMA's petition for rulemaking to
amend 49 CFR 325.91(b). Specifically, FMCSA requests that commenters
indicate whether they believe the FMCSRs should be amended as requested
by the petitioner and whether there is any data or other relevant
information to suggest the need for such a change. FMCSA also requests
information concerning the impact of the requested change on motor
carriers' ability to achieve compliance with the requirements of
FMCSA will consider all comments received by close of business on
October 25, 2006. Comments will be available for examination in the
docket at the location listed under the ADDRESSES section of this
notice. FMCSA will file comments received after the comment closing
date in the public docket and will consider them to the extent
practicable. In addition to late comments, FMCSA will also continue to
file in the public docket relevant information that becomes available
after the comment closing date. Interested persons should monitor the
public docket for new material.
Issued on: September 8, 2006.
John H. Hill,
[FR Doc. 06-8156 Filed 9-22-06; 8:45 am]
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