Automatic occupant crash protection and seat belt use
In this section—
(1) “bus” means a motor vehicle with motive power (except a trailer) designed to carry more than 10 individuals.
(2) “multipurpose passenger vehicle” means a motor vehicle with motive power (except a trailer), designed to carry not more than 10 individuals, that is constructed either on a truck chassis or with special features for occasional off-road operation.
(3) “passenger car” means a motor vehicle with motive power (except a multipurpose passenger vehicle, motorcycle, or trailer) designed to carry not more than 10 individuals.
(4) “truck” means a motor vehicle with motive power (except a trailer) designed primarily to transport property or special purpose equipment.
Inflatable Restraint Requirements.—
Not later than September 1, 1993, the Secretary of Transportation shall prescribe under this chapter an amendment to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208 issued under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966. The amendment shall require that the automatic occupant crash protection system for both of the front outboard seating positions for each of the following vehicles be an inflatable restraint (with lap and shoulder belts) complying with the occupant protection requirements under section 220.127.116.11 of Standard 208:
(A) 95 percent of each manufacturer’s annual production of passenger cars manufactured after August 31, 1996, and before September 1, 1997.
(B) 80 percent of each manufacturer’s annual production of buses, multipurpose passenger vehicles, and trucks (except walk-in van-type trucks and vehicles designed to be sold only to the United States Postal Service) with a gross vehicle weight rating of not more than 8,500 pounds and an unloaded vehicle weight of not more than 5,500 pounds manufactured after August 31, 1997, and before September 1, 1998.
(C) 100 percent of each manufacturer’s annual production of passenger cars manufactured after August 31, 1997.
(D) 100 percent of each manufacturer’s annual production of vehicles described in clause (B) of this paragraph manufactured after August 31, 1998.
(2) Manufacturers may not use credits and incentives available before September 1, 1998, under the provisions of Standard 208 (as amended by this section) to comply with the requirements of paragraph (1)(D) of this subsection after August 31, 1998.
Owner Manual Requirements.—
In amending Standard 208, the Secretary of Transportation shall require, to be effective as soon as possible after the amendment is prescribed, that owner manuals for passenger cars, buses, multipurpose passenger vehicles, and trucks equipped with an inflatable restraint include a statement in an easily understandable format stating that—
(1) either or both of the front outboard seating positions of the vehicle are equipped with an inflatable restraint referred to as an “airbag” and a lap and shoulder belt;
(2) the “airbag” is a supplemental restraint and is not a substitute for lap and shoulder belts;
(3) lap and shoulder belts also must be used correctly by an occupant in a front outboard seating position to provide restraint or protection from frontal crashes as well as other types of crashes or accidents; and
Seat Belt Use Laws.—Congress finds that it is in the public interest for each State to adopt and enforce mandatory seat belt use laws and for the United States Government to adopt and enforce mandatory seat belt use regulations.
(1) On application of a manufacturer, the Secretary of Transportation may exempt, on a temporary basis, motor vehicles of that manufacturer from any requirement under subsections (b) and (c) of this section on terms the Secretary considers appropriate. An exemption may be renewed.
(2) The Secretary of Transportation may grant an exemption under paragraph (1) of this subsection if the Secretary finds that there has been a disruption in the supply of any component of an inflatable restraint or in the use and installation of that component by the manufacturer because of an unavoidable event not under the control of the manufacturer that will prevent the manufacturer from meeting its anticipated production volume of vehicles with those restraints.
(3) Only an affected manufacturer may apply for an exemption. The Secretary of Transportation shall prescribe in the amendment to Standard 208 required under this section the information an affected manufacturer must include in its application under this subsection. The manufacturer shall specify in the application the models, lines, and types of vehicles affected. The Secretary may consolidate similar applications from different manufacturers.
(4) An exemption or renewal of an exemption is conditioned on the commitment of the manufacturer to recall the exempted vehicles for installation of the omitted inflatable restraints within a reasonable time that the manufacturer proposes and the Secretary of Transportation approves after the components become available in sufficient quantities to satisfy both anticipated production and recall volume requirements.
(5) The Secretary of Transportation shall publish in the Federal Register a notice of each application under this subsection and each decision to grant or deny a temporary exemption and the reasons for the decision.
(6) The Secretary of Transportation shall require a label for each exempted vehicle that can be removed only after recall and installation of the required inflatable restraint. The Secretary shall require that written notice of the exemption be provided to the dealer and the first purchaser of each exempted vehicle other than for resale, with the notice being provided in a way, and containing the information, the Secretary considers appropriate.
This section revises, but does not replace, Standard 208 as in effect on December 18, 1991, including the amendment of March 26, 1991 (56 Fed. Reg. 12472), to Standard 208, extending the requirements for automatic crash protection, with incentives for more innovative automatic crash protection, to trucks, buses, and multipurpose passenger vehicles. This section may not be construed as—
(A) affecting another provision of law carried out by the Secretary of Transportation applicable to passenger cars, buses, multipurpose passenger vehicles, or trucks; or
(B) establishing a precedent related to developing or prescribing a Government motor vehicle safety standard.
(2) This section and amendments to Standard 208 made under this section may not be construed as indicating an intention by Congress to affect any liability of a motor vehicle manufacturer under applicable law related to vehicles with or without inflatable restraints.
On October 1, 1992, and annually after that date through October 1, 2000, the Secretary of Transportation shall submit reports on the effectiveness of occupant restraint systems expressed as a percentage reduction in fatalities or injuries of restrained occupants compared to unrestrained occupants for—
(A) a combination of inflated restraints and lap and shoulder belts;
(B) inflated restraints only; and
(C) lap and shoulder belts only.
In consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Defense, the Secretary of Transportation also shall provide information and analysis on lap and shoulder belt use, nationally and in each State by—
(A) military personnel;
(B) Government, State, and local law enforcement officers;
(C) other Government and State employees; and
(D) the public.
Airbags for Government Cars.—
In cooperation with the Administrator of General Services and the heads of appropriate departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the Government, the Secretary of Transportation shall establish a program, consistent with applicable procurement laws of the Government and available appropriations, requiring that all passenger cars acquired—
(1) after September 30, 1994, for use by the Government be equipped, to the maximum extent practicable, with driver-side inflatable restraints; and
(2) after September 30, 1996, for use by the Government be equipped, to the maximum extent practicable, with inflatable restraints for both front outboard seating positions.
(Pub. L. 103–272, § 1(e), July 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 958; Pub. L. 105–178, title VII, § 7106(c), June 9, 1998, 112 Stat. 467.)