Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Electronic Stability Control Systems for Heavy Vehicles
The Regulatory Studies Program (RSP) of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is dedicated to advancing knowledge of the impact of regulation on society. As part of its mission, RSP conducts careful and independent analyses employing contemporary economic scholarship to assess rulemaking proposals from the perspective of the public interest. In accordance with the approach of the Mercatus RSP, this comment on the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed rulemaking does not represent the views of any particular affected party or special-interest group but is designed to assist the Department of Transportation (DOT) as it seeks to exercise its regulatory function in a coherent manner.
The Mercatus Center Report Card (“ Report Card”) follows an approach to evaluation used by the Mercatus Center since 2008 to evaluate the quality and use of the Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) that is required to be carried out as part of the case for an economically significant proposed rulemaking published by a federal agency. The Report Card identifies key issues and best practices in the regulatory process and highlights issues of concern applying to specific regulations. It evaluates the quality of regulatory analysis, scoring each area on a 0 to 5 scale, but does not evaluate whether the proposed rule is economically efficient, likely to meet fairness considerations, or a good public policy in any other sense. This public interest comment examines the quality of the underlying analysis contained in the proposed rulemaking going beyond the score provided by the Report Card (details of which are attached as an appendix to this comment).
The proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Electronic Stability Control Systems for Heavy Vehicles received a Report Card score of 33 out of 60, i.e., 55 percent. This is a modest score reflecting underlying problems in the RIA concerning the tendency of engineering analysis to overlook key economic issues, resul