The White House this week announced a program to ease and eliminate federal safety and environmental regulations of cars and trucks in an attempt to help the U.S. automotive industry recover from its current slump. Here is a list of the proposed changes.
Regulatory actions by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
1 and 2. One-year delay ordered in requirement for installation of air bags or automatically closing seat belts in 1962-model full-size cars. Similar rule for compacts (1983) and subcompacts (1984) will be reviewed.
3. Change in crash standards for front and rear bumpers to be proposed. Bumpers now must protect cars from a 5-mile-an-hour crash. New proposed standard would eliminate standard or lower it to 2 1/2 mph.
4. New rules to improve visibility for driver by regulating tinting in window glass and position of roof pillars will be rescinded. A comparable rule for trucks also will be eliminated.
5. No new fuel economy standards will be issued to succeed current standards, which run through 1985 model year.
6. Proposed rules directing tire manufacturers to provide consumers with information on tire quality will be simplified and limited to reduce manufacturers' paperwork burden. A simpler rating scheme will help consumers more, the NHTSA says.
7. Proposed regulations specifying design standards for seat belts to increase their comfort and convenience will be delayed or eliminated.
8. Existing rules requiring odometers to be tamper-resistant (to prevent reduction of indicated mileage when cars are sold or resold), and specifying that speedometers be calibrated in miles per hour and kilometers per hour will be scrapped.
9. Requirement for interlock system to prevent ignition key from being removed while vehicle is in motion will be eliminated, and proposed theft-protection standards may be delayed.
10. Proposed rule requiring an automatic warning of low tire pressure will be terminated while the issue is studied further.
11. Current requirement that tire manufacturers provide performance informance for consumers 90 days before introducing a new product will be changed to a 30-day requirement.
12. Proposed rule requiring testing, consumer information and safety measures to prevent battery explosions will be terminated. The NHTSA says the tule is unnecessary because new batteries have "significantly less explosive potential."
13. Rule requiring manufacturers to report on progress in meeting fuel economy goals will be relaxed because manufacturers are exceeding interim goals.
14. Regulation governing the 17-digit vehicle identification numbers on cars will be modified to reduce possibility of recalls and penalties against manufacturers for "inconsequential violations" of the regulation.
Other safety rules targeted for change:
Further rulemaking on multipiece truck tire rims will be ended because the introduction of these problem rims has "virtually ceased."
New regulations on braking safety standards for vans, buses and trucks will be reconsidered at manufacturers' request.
Regulatory actions by the Environmental Protection Agency:
15 - 17. Congress will be asked to abolish the regulation requiring that vehicles sold in high-altitude cities meet the nationwide pollution-control standards beginning with the 1984 model year, and special emissions testing procedures for such vehicles will be abolished. (It is harder for vehicles to meet air quality standards in high-altitute cities such as Denver because emissions are more concentrated in the thinner air).
18 - 19. Emission standards for carbon monoxide will be relaxed to the extent permitted by Congress, and measurements standards for hydrocarbon pollution will be changed.
20. New devices on vehicles to control the release of gasoline vapors during refueling will not be required.
21 - 22. Manufacturers will be given greater authority to check on their own compliance with vehicle pollution controls on new cars, while the government concentrates on monitoring compliance by existing vehicles. Emission regulations on test vehicles will be relaxed.
23 - 24. Government audits of manufacturers to assure compliance with pollution standards will be reduced, and companies will be given longer advance notice of new pollution regulations.
Other actions by the EPA:
Rather than proceed with regulation of freon in vehicle air conditioners (A), the EPA will consider whether this regulation is needed.
To lessen obstacles to use of diesel-powered vehicles, manufacturers of diesel engines will be permitted to average emissions from various-sized-engines, and the nitrogen oxide emission limits for diesel engines will be relaxed.
Carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions standards for 1984 model year heavy-duty trucks will be eased so that catalytic converters are not required on these vehicles.
A failure rate of up to 40 percent in assembly-line exhaust emission tests will be permitted for light and heavy trucks rather than the tougher proposed limit of 10 percent. The current rate for automobiles is 40 percent.
Selective enforcement audits to check on emission testing of heavy-duty truck engines will be delayed for two more years.
Emission standards for nitrogen oxide emissions from heavy-duty engines will be relaxed, and manufacturers will be allowed to average these emissions for light and heavy trucks, easing the compliance requirement.
Possible relation of pollution controls on the painting shops of auto plants will be discussed with state agencies.