The National Truck Equipment Assn. (NTEA) said it has successfully petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for relief from Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 201U. This petition resulted in an interim final rule that will delay the effective date of the standard, sparing the commercial truck and transportation equipment industry millions of dollars in testing costs, according to the group.FMVSS 201U, which was to have taken effect in September 2002, was intended by NHTSA to provide passenger vehicles and light trucks with additional protection to interior pillars, side rails, headers and roofs. “We determined that testing would need to be done on hundreds of vehicle chassis, body and equipment configurations, costing the industry over $160 million,” said NTEA government relations director Michael Kastner. “Further, due to capacity limitations of the companies that provide such testing, it would take over 60 years to complete the tests to cover one model year of production.” NHTSA issued an interim final rule June 18 that delays the date on which manufacturers of vehicles built in two or more stages must produce vehicles meeting the upper interior head protection performance requirements of that Standard from this Sept. 1 to Sept. 1, 2003.NHTSA’s delay in the effective date is designed to allow the agency adequate time to craft permanent relief for multi-stage vehicle manufacturers from the regulation, according to NTEA.