Protecting Your Rights In Our Nation's Capital!
to Position Papers Listing
MRF Comments to NHTSA on the Inclusion of Retroreflective
Rider Apparel in the TREAD Act
February 4, 2002
Dr. Jeffrey Runge
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
c/o Docket Management
400 Seventh Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20590
are responding to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)
promulgated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) ["Docket NHTSA 2001-8677, Notice 2," posted
in the December 21, 2001, "Federal Register"].
our view, the over-arching purpose of the Transportation
Recall, Enhancement, Accountability & Documentation
(TREAD) Act is to reduce defective tires and motor vehicles
with the goal of preventing the catastrophic failures
which horrified the public in 2000. Among all road users,
motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians clearly have
a special interest in NHTSA achieving that goal by fulfilling
its duty to identify and recall defective vehicles and
tires which can lead to large vehicles running out of
control and endangering other road users as well as
light of our special interest in and strong commitment
to traffic safety, we were shocked to find language
in the NPRM which broaches the unrelated subject of
clothing control for motorcyclists. This inexplicable
distraction from the goal of the TREAD Act is found
on page 66193, section two, which purports to expound
on the meaning and scope of "replacement equipment:"
both current 49 CFR 579.4(b) and proposed 579.4(c),
[replacement equipment] includes all motor vehicle equipment
other than OE. Not only does the term have the literal
meaning of equipment that is intended to replace OE,
it also includes accessory equipment and 'off vehicle
equipment' that is not part of a motor vehicle, such
as reflective motorcycle rider apparel.... Manufacturers
of replacement equipment are within the scope of the
early warning reporting provisions of the statute."
Motorcycle Riders Foundation believes that NHTSA has
no authority whatsoever to include motorcycle rider
apparel of any kind within the proposed rule. Moreover,
if NHTSA asserts such an authority, we question whether
the agency has met fully the requirements set forth
by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness
Act (SBREFA) of 1996. In our view, SBREFA would require
the agency to hear from the many small businesses involved
in the manufacture, distribution and sale of a wide
array motorcycle rider apparel.
we are dismayed that this federal agency would break
focus, stray far from the intent of Congress and dabble
in the unauthorized fringes of their statutory authority.
It is the reasonable expectation of the President, the
Congress and the American people that the "early warning"
regulation on the TREAD Act proceed with all deliberate
speed. By including language on "rider apparel," however,
this federal agency risks a serious delay in this critical
rule. More than flaunting the intent of Congress, such
risk-taking strikes us as thoroughly cavalier.
permit the rulemaking process to proceed without the
delay prompted by the agency's hunger for motorcyclist
clothing control, all references to motorcycle rider
apparel should be stricken from Docket NHTSA 2001-8677,
Vice President, Government Relations
Motorcycle Riders Foundation