Motor Vehicle Safety:

Selected Rulemakings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

RCED-89-11FS: Published: Jan 6, 1989. Publicly Released: Jan 13, 1989.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO examined selected National Highway Transportation Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rulemaking activities, focusing on rules for: (1) rear-seat lap or shoulder belts; (2) side impact protection; and (3) head restraints for light trucks, multipurpose passenger vehicles, and buses.

GAO found that: (1) as of December 13, 1988, NHTSA had not finalized any of the three rulemaking actions, each of which had been in process for at least 21 months; (2) NHTSA takes an average of about 2 years to complete rulemaking activities; and (3) NHTSA published a proposed rule on rear-seat lap or shoulder belts and head restraints on November 29, 1988, and December 13, 1988, respectively, with closing dates of January 30, 1989, and February 13, 1989, respectively. GAO also found that NHTSA is currently reviewing: (1) public comments on proposed rulemakings to reduce head, neck, and ejection injuries in passenger cars; and (2) whether to extend existing head restraint safety standards for passenger cars, light trucks, vans, multipurpose passenger vehicles, and buses.

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