Mazda North American Operations, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 11464-11466 [E8-4012]

Download as PDF rmajette on PROD1PC64 with NOTICES 11464 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 42 / Monday, March 3, 2008 / Notices specific seating position within a Ford vehicle. Second, we note that technicians at Ford dealerships have access to the seat belt assembly installation instruction information in workshop manuals. In addition, installers other than Ford dealership technicians can access the installation instructions on the Ford Motorcraft Web site and through other aftermarket service information compilers. We also believe that Ford is correct in stating that the seat belt assemblies are designed to be installed properly only in their intended application. Thus, we conclude that sufficient safeguards are in place to prevent the installation of an improper seat belt assembly. NHTSA recognizes the importance of having installation instructions available to installers and use and maintenance instructions available to consumers. The risk created by this noncompliance is that someone who purchased an assembly is unable to obtain the necessary installation information resulting in an incorrectly installed seat belt assembly. However, because the seat belt assemblies are designed to be installed properly only in their intended application and the installation information is widely available to the public, it appears that there is little likelihood that installers will not be able to access the installation instructions. Furthermore, we note that Ford has stated that they are not aware of any customer field reports of service seat belt assemblies being incorrectly installed in the subject applications, nor aware of any reports requesting installation instructions. These findings suggest that it is unlikely that seat belts have been improperly installed. In addition, although 49 CFR Part 571.209 paragraph S4.1(k) requires certain instructions specified in SAE Recommended Practice J800c be included in seat belt replacement instructions, that requirement applies to seat belts intended to be installed in seating positions where seat belts do not already exist. The subject seat belt assemblies are only intended to be used for replacement of original equipment seat belts, therefore the instructions do not apply to the subject seat belt assemblies.1 With respect to seat belt usage and inspection instructions, we note that this information is available in the Owner Guides that are included with each new vehicle as well as free of charge on the Ford Motorcraft Web site 1 Subaru of America, Inc.; Grant of Application for Decision of Inconsequential Non-Compliance (65 FR 67472) VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:33 Feb 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 and apply to the replacement seat belt assemblies installed in these vehicles. Thus, with respect to usage and maintenance instructions, it appears that Ford has met the intent of S4.1(l) of FMVSS No. 209 for the subject vehicles using alternate methods for notification. NHTSA has granted similar petitions for noncompliance with seat belt assembly installation and usage instruction standards. Refer to Subaru of America, Inc. (65 FR 67471, November 9, 2000); Bombardier Motor Corporation of America, Inc. (65 FR 60238, October 10, 2000); TRW, Inc. (58 FR 7171, February 4, 1993); and Chrysler Corporation, (57 FR 45865, October 5, 1992). In all of these cases, the petitioners demonstrated that the noncompliant seat belt assemblies were properly installed, and due to their respective replacement parts ordering systems, improper replacement seat belt assembly selection and installation would not be likely to occur. In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has decided that Ford has met its burden of persuasion that the seatbelt installation and usage instruction noncompliances described are inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, Ford’s application is granted, and it is exempted from providing the notification of noncompliance that is required by 49 U.S.C. 30118, and from remedying the noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120. All products manufactured or sold on and after June 26, 2007, must comply fully with the requirements of FMVSS No. 209. Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120; delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.50 and 501.8. Issued on: February 25, 2008. Daniel C. Smith, Associate Administrator for Enforcement. [FR Doc. E8–4043 Filed 2–29–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2007–28735; Notice 2] Mazda North American Operations, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance Mazda North American Operations (Mazda) has determined that an unspecified quantity of replacement seat belt assemblies that it delivered prior to June 25, 2007 did not comply with paragraphs S4.1(k) and S4.1(l) of 49 CFR PO 00000 Frm 00084 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 571.209, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 209 Seat Belt Assemblies. Mazda has filed an appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and the rule implementing those provisions at 49 CFR Part 556, Mazda has petitioned for an exemption from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Notice of receipt of the petition was published, with a 30-day public comment period, on October 4, 2007 in the Federal Register (72 FR 56826). No comments were received. To view the petition and all supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online search instructions to locate docket number ‘‘NHTSA–2007– 28735.’’ For further information on this decision, contact Ms. Claudia Covell, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202) 366–5293, facsimile (202) 366– 7002. Paragraphs S4.1(k) and S4.1(l) of FMVSS No. 209 require: (k) Installation instructions. A seat belt assembly, other than a seat belt assembly installed in a motor vehicle by an automobile manufacturer, shall be accompanied by an instruction sheet providing sufficient information for installing the assembly in a motor vehicle. The installation instructions shall state whether the assembly is for universal installation or for installation only in specifically stated motor vehicles, and shall include at least those items specified in SAE Recommended Practice J800c, ‘‘Motor Vehicle Seat Belt Installations,’’ November 1973. If the assembly is for use only in specifically stated motor vehicles, the assembly shall either be permanently and legibly marked or labeled with the following statement, or the instruction sheet shall include the following statement: This seat belt assembly is for use only in [insert specific seating position(s), e.g., ‘‘front right’’] in [insert specific vehicle make(s) and model(s)]. (l) Usage and maintenance instructions. A seat belt assembly or retractor shall be accompanied by written instructions for the proper use of the assembly, stressing particularly the importance of wearing the assembly snugly and properly located on the body, and on the maintenance of the assembly and periodic inspection of all components. The instructions shall show the proper manner of threading webbing in the hardware of seat belt assemblies in which the webbing is not permanently fastened. Instructions for a nonlocking retractor shall include a caution that the webbing must be E:\FR\FM\03MRN1.SGM 03MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 42 / Monday, March 3, 2008 / Notices rmajette on PROD1PC64 with NOTICES fully extended from the retractor during use of the seat belt assembly unless the retractor is attached to the free end of webbing which is not subjected to any tension during restraint of an occupant by the assembly. Instructions for Type 2a shoulder belt shall include a warning that the shoulder belt is not to be used without a lap belt. Mazda’s Data, Views, and Arguments Mazda explains that three possible situations apply to the subject replacement seat belt assemblies. In the first instance, the seat belt assembly instruction sheets included with the replacement assemblies appropriate for Mazda B-series pickup trucks and Mazda Navajo multipurpose passenger vehicles only identified the assemblies as applicable to the Ford Ranger pickup trucks or Ford Explorer multipurpose passenger vehicles, respectively. Although other information provided was accurate for the Mazda vehicles, the incorrect vehicle reference fails to comply with S4.1(k) of the standard. Second, replacement seat belt assemblies produced for use in the following vehicles did not include either the installation instructions or the instructions for the proper use and maintenance of the replacement seat belt assemblies. This fails to comply with both paragraph S4.1(k) and paragraph S4.1(l) of the standard: 1992–1995 MY Mazda 929, delivered from 1991 to 2007 1990–2002 MY Mazda 626, delivered from 1989 to 2007 1994–1995 MY Mazda MX–3, delivered from 1993 to 2007 1994–2007 MY Mazda MX–5, delivered from 1993 to 2007 1988–1997 MY Mazda MX–6, delivered from 1987 to 2007 1993–1995 MY Mazda RX–7, delivered from 1992 to 2007 1999–2003 MY Mazda Protege, delivered from 1998 to 2007 2001–2008 MY Mazda Tribute, delivered from 2000 to 2007 2004–2007 MY Mazda Mazda6, delivered from 2003 to 2007 2006–2007 MY Mazda 5, delivered from 2005 to 2007 2007 MY Mazda CX–9, delivered from 2006 to 2007 2007 MY Mazda B-Series Truck, delivered from 2006 to 2007 And finally, all remaining replacement seat belt assemblies produced for use in the United States and its territories did not include the instructions for the proper use and maintenance of the replacement seat belt assemblies. This fails to comply with S4.1(l) of the standard. Mazda makes the argument that the Mazda parts ordering system used by VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:33 Feb 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 Mazda dealers clearly identifies the correct service seat belt components for any given model/model year seat position combination. The parts are unique to each belt and are designed to assemble properly only in their intended application. When ordering Mazda replacement seat belt parts, the dealer must refer to the Mazda parts catalog to identify the ordering part number with the information on the specific vehicle model type, location and model year. Each replacement seat belt assembly is packaged individually with a specific part number label to ensure shipping the correct parts. Then, the dealer routinely checks to confirm that the part received matches the one ordered. Given the ordering system and process, the dealers could select, order, and obtain the correct parts. Also, installation instructions for seat belts are readily available in the Mazda workshop manuals and on the internet. Therefore, the seat belt parts can be successfully installed with the information already available even though installation instructions did not accompany the replacement seat belt assemblies. Mazda further argues that since the instruction for proper use and maintenance is described in the owner’s manual which is installed in the vehicle, incorrect usage and maintenance by the vehicle owner is highly unlikely. Mazda is not aware of any customer or field reports of service seat belt assemblies being incorrectly installed in the subject applications as a result of installation instructions not accompanying the service part. Mazda also stated that it is not aware of any reports requesting installation instructions, which it believed to be related to the noncompliances. Upon discovery of the subject noncompliance, Mazda took action to ensure that all replacement seat belt assemblies shipped in the future are packaged with the required installation instructions. Mazda has also corrected all the replacement seat belt assemblies in the inventory for shipment to dealers. In summation, Mazda states that it has corrected the problem that caused these errors so that they will not be repeated in future production and that it believes that because the noncompliances are inconsequential to motor vehicle safety that no corrective action is warranted. NHTSA Decision To help ensure proper selection, installation, usage, and maintenance of seat belt assemblies, paragraph S4.1(k) of FMVSS No. 209 requires that installation, usage, and maintenance PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 11465 instructions be provided with seat belt assemblies, other than those installed by an automobile manufacturer. First, NHTSA believes that installers who receive seat belt assemblies having instructions that reference an incorrect vehicle will either return the part, determine that the part is correct for the appropriate Mazda vehicle based on the specific part number label located on the seat belt assembly, or install the part in the vehicle listed on the accompanying instruction sheet. In any of these scenarios, the assembly will be installed in the correct vehicle and seating position resulting in no safety risk. Second, we note that the subject seat belt assemblies are only made available to Mazda authorized dealerships for their use or subsequent resale. Because the parts ordering process used by Mazda authorized dealerships clearly identifies the correct service part required by model year, model, and seating position, NHTSA believes that there is little likelihood that an inappropriate seat belt assembly will be provided for a specific seating position within a Mazda vehicle. Third, we note that technicians at Mazda dealerships have access to the seat belt assembly installation instruction information in workshop manuals. In addition, installers other than Mazda dealership technicians can access the installation instructions on the Internet. We also believe that Mazda is correct in stating that the seat belt assemblies are designed to assemble properly only in their intended application. Thus, we conclude that sufficient safeguards are in place to prevent the installation of an improper seat belt assembly. NHTSA recognizes the importance of having installation instructions available to installers and use and maintenance instructions available to consumers. The risk created by this noncompliance is that someone who purchased an assembly is unable to obtain the necessary installation information resulting in an incorrectly installed seat belt assembly. However, because the seat belt assemblies are designed to be assembled properly only in their intended application and the installation information is widely available to the public, it appears that there is little likelihood that installers will not be able to access the installation instructions. Furthermore, we note that Mazda has stated that they are not aware of any customer or field reports of service seat belt assemblies being incorrectly installed in the subject applications, nor aware of any reports requesting installation instructions. E:\FR\FM\03MRN1.SGM 03MRN1 11466 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 42 / Monday, March 3, 2008 / Notices rmajette on PROD1PC64 with NOTICES These findings suggest that it is unlikely that seat belts have been improperly installed. In addition, although 49 CFR Part 571.209 paragraph S4.1(k) requires certain instructions specified in SAE Recommended Practice J800c be included in seat belt replacement instructions, that requirement applies to seat belts intended to be installed in seating positions where seat belts do not already exist. The subject seat belt assemblies are only intended to be used for replacement of original equipment seat belts, therefore the instructions do not apply to the subject seat belt assemblies.1 With respect to seat belt usage and inspection instructions, we note that this information is available in the owner’s manual which is installed in the vehicle. Thus, with respect to usage and maintenance instructions, it appears that Mazda has met the intent of S4.1(l) of FMVSS No. 209 for the subject vehicles using alternate methods for notification. NHTSA has granted similar petitions for noncompliance with seat belt assembly installation and usage instruction standards. Refer to Subaru of America, Inc. (65 FR 67471, November 9, 2000); Bombardier Motor Corporation of America, Inc. (65 FR 60238, October 10, 2000); TRW, Inc. (58 FR 7171, February 4, 1993); and Chrysler Corporation, (57 FR 45865, October 5, 1992). In all of these cases, the petitioners demonstrated that the noncompliant seat belt assemblies were properly installed, and due to their respective replacement parts ordering systems, improper replacement seat belt assembly selection and installation would not be likely to occur. In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has decided that Mazda has met its burden of persuasion that the installation and usage instruction noncompliances described are inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, Mazda’s application is granted, and it is exempted from providing the notification of noncompliance that is required by 49 U.S.C. 30118, and from remedying the noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120. All products manufactured or sold on and after June 26, 2007, must comply fully with the requirements of FMVSS No. 209. Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120; delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.50 and 501.8. 1 Subaru of America, Inc.; Grant of Application for Decision of Inconsequential Non-Compliance (65 FR 67472). VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:33 Feb 29, 2008 Jkt 214001 Issued on: February 26, 2008. Daniel C. Smith, Associate Administrator for Enforcement. [FR Doc. E8–4012 Filed 2–29–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2008–0036] Notice of Receipt of Petition for Decision That Nonconforming 2006 and 2007 Subaru Forester Passenger Cars Are Eligible for Importation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT. ACTION: Notice of receipt of petition for decision that nonconforming 2006 and 2007 Subaru Forester passenger cars are eligible for importation. AGENCY: SUMMARY: This document announces receipt by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of a petition for a decision that 2006 and 2007 Subaru Forester passenger cars that were not originally manufactured to comply with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS) are eligible for importation into the United States because (1) they are substantially similar to vehicles that were originally manufactured for sale in the United States and that were certified by their manufacturer as complying with the safety standards (the U.S.certified version of the 2006 and 2007 Subaru Forester passenger car), and (2) they are capable of being readily altered to conform to the standards. DATES: The closing date for comments on the petition is April 2, 2008. ADDRESSES: Comments should refer to the docket and notice numbers above and be submitted by any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Docket Management Facility: U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001. • Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. • Fax: 202–493–2251. Instructions: Comments must be written in the English language, and be no greater than 15 pages in length, PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 although there is no limit to the length of necessary attachments to the comments. If comments are submitted in hard copy form, please ensure that two copies are provided. If you wish to receive confirmation that your comments were received, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard with the comments. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading below. Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477–78) or you may visit http:// DocketInfo.dot.gov. How To Read Comments Submitted to the Docket: You may read the comments received by Docket Management at the address and times given above. You may also see the comments on the Internet. To read the comments on the Internet, take the following steps: (1) Go to the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web page http://www.regulations.gov. (2) On that page, click on ‘‘Advanced Docket Search.’’ (3) On the next page select ‘‘NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION’’ from the drop-down menu in the Agency field and enter the Docket ID number shown at the heading of this document. (4) After entering that information, click on ‘‘submit.’’ (5) The next page contains docket summary information for the docket you selected. Click on the comments you wish to see. You may download the comments. Please note that even after the comment closing date, we will continue to file relevant information in the Docket as it becomes available. Further, some people may submit late comments. Accordingly, we recommend that you periodically search the Docket for new material. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Coleman Sachs, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, NHTSA (202–366–3151). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Under 49 U.S.C. 30141(a)(1)(A), a motor vehicle that was not originally manufactured to conform to all applicable FMVSS shall be refused E:\FR\FM\03MRN1.SGM 03MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 42 (Monday, March 3, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 11464-11466]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-4012]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2007-28735; Notice 2]


Mazda North American Operations, Grant of Petition for Decision 
of Inconsequential Noncompliance

    Mazda North American Operations (Mazda) has determined that an 
unspecified quantity of replacement seat belt assemblies that it 
delivered prior to June 25, 2007 did not comply with paragraphs S4.1(k) 
and S4.1(l) of 49 CFR 571.209, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
(FMVSS) No. 209 Seat Belt Assemblies. Mazda has filed an appropriate 
report pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573, Defect and Noncompliance 
Responsibility and Reports.
    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and the rule 
implementing those provisions at 49 CFR Part 556, Mazda has petitioned 
for an exemption from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 
U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the basis that this noncompliance is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Notice of receipt of the 
petition was published, with a 30-day public comment period, on October 
4, 2007 in the Federal Register (72 FR 56826). No comments were 
received. To view the petition and all supporting documents log onto 
the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at: http://
www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online search instructions to 
locate docket number ``NHTSA-2007-28735.''
    For further information on this decision, contact Ms. Claudia 
Covell, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202) 366-5293, 
facsimile (202) 366-7002.
    Paragraphs S4.1(k) and S4.1(l) of FMVSS No. 209 require:

    (k) Installation instructions. A seat belt assembly, other than 
a seat belt assembly installed in a motor vehicle by an automobile 
manufacturer, shall be accompanied by an instruction sheet providing 
sufficient information for installing the assembly in a motor 
vehicle. The installation instructions shall state whether the 
assembly is for universal installation or for installation only in 
specifically stated motor vehicles, and shall include at least those 
items specified in SAE Recommended Practice J800c, ``Motor Vehicle 
Seat Belt Installations,'' November 1973. If the assembly is for use 
only in specifically stated motor vehicles, the assembly shall 
either be permanently and legibly marked or labeled with the 
following statement, or the instruction sheet shall include the 
following statement:
    This seat belt assembly is for use only in [insert specific 
seating position(s), e.g., ``front right''] in [insert specific 
vehicle make(s) and model(s)].
    (l) Usage and maintenance instructions. A seat belt assembly or 
retractor shall be accompanied by written instructions for the 
proper use of the assembly, stressing particularly the importance of 
wearing the assembly snugly and properly located on the body, and on 
the maintenance of the assembly and periodic inspection of all 
components. The instructions shall show the proper manner of 
threading webbing in the hardware of seat belt assemblies in which 
the webbing is not permanently fastened. Instructions for a 
nonlocking retractor shall include a caution that the webbing must 
be

[[Page 11465]]

fully extended from the retractor during use of the seat belt 
assembly unless the retractor is attached to the free end of webbing 
which is not subjected to any tension during restraint of an 
occupant by the assembly. Instructions for Type 2a shoulder belt 
shall include a warning that the shoulder belt is not to be used 
without a lap belt.

Mazda's Data, Views, and Arguments

    Mazda explains that three possible situations apply to the subject 
replacement seat belt assemblies.
    In the first instance, the seat belt assembly instruction sheets 
included with the replacement assemblies appropriate for Mazda B-series 
pickup trucks and Mazda Navajo multipurpose passenger vehicles only 
identified the assemblies as applicable to the Ford Ranger pickup 
trucks or Ford Explorer multipurpose passenger vehicles, respectively. 
Although other information provided was accurate for the Mazda 
vehicles, the incorrect vehicle reference fails to comply with S4.1(k) 
of the standard.
    Second, replacement seat belt assemblies produced for use in the 
following vehicles did not include either the installation instructions 
or the instructions for the proper use and maintenance of the 
replacement seat belt assemblies. This fails to comply with both 
paragraph S4.1(k) and paragraph S4.1(l) of the standard:

1992-1995 MY Mazda 929, delivered from 1991 to 2007
1990-2002 MY Mazda 626, delivered from 1989 to 2007
1994-1995 MY Mazda MX-3, delivered from 1993 to 2007
1994-2007 MY Mazda MX-5, delivered from 1993 to 2007
1988-1997 MY Mazda MX-6, delivered from 1987 to 2007
1993-1995 MY Mazda RX-7, delivered from 1992 to 2007
1999-2003 MY Mazda Protege, delivered from 1998 to 2007
2001-2008 MY Mazda Tribute, delivered from 2000 to 2007
2004-2007 MY Mazda Mazda6, delivered from 2003 to 2007
2006-2007 MY Mazda 5, delivered from 2005 to 2007
2007 MY Mazda CX-9, delivered from 2006 to 2007
2007 MY Mazda B-Series Truck, delivered from 2006 to 2007

    And finally, all remaining replacement seat belt assemblies 
produced for use in the United States and its territories did not 
include the instructions for the proper use and maintenance of the 
replacement seat belt assemblies. This fails to comply with S4.1(l) of 
the standard.
    Mazda makes the argument that the Mazda parts ordering system used 
by Mazda dealers clearly identifies the correct service seat belt 
components for any given model/model year seat position combination. 
The parts are unique to each belt and are designed to assemble properly 
only in their intended application. When ordering Mazda replacement 
seat belt parts, the dealer must refer to the Mazda parts catalog to 
identify the ordering part number with the information on the specific 
vehicle model type, location and model year. Each replacement seat belt 
assembly is packaged individually with a specific part number label to 
ensure shipping the correct parts. Then, the dealer routinely checks to 
confirm that the part received matches the one ordered. Given the 
ordering system and process, the dealers could select, order, and 
obtain the correct parts. Also, installation instructions for seat 
belts are readily available in the Mazda workshop manuals and on the 
internet. Therefore, the seat belt parts can be successfully installed 
with the information already available even though installation 
instructions did not accompany the replacement seat belt assemblies.
    Mazda further argues that since the instruction for proper use and 
maintenance is described in the owner's manual which is installed in 
the vehicle, incorrect usage and maintenance by the vehicle owner is 
highly unlikely.
    Mazda is not aware of any customer or field reports of service seat 
belt assemblies being incorrectly installed in the subject applications 
as a result of installation instructions not accompanying the service 
part.
    Mazda also stated that it is not aware of any reports requesting 
installation instructions, which it believed to be related to the 
noncompliances.
    Upon discovery of the subject noncompliance, Mazda took action to 
ensure that all replacement seat belt assemblies shipped in the future 
are packaged with the required installation instructions. Mazda has 
also corrected all the replacement seat belt assemblies in the 
inventory for shipment to dealers.
    In summation, Mazda states that it has corrected the problem that 
caused these errors so that they will not be repeated in future 
production and that it believes that because the noncompliances are 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety that no corrective action is 
warranted.

NHTSA Decision

    To help ensure proper selection, installation, usage, and 
maintenance of seat belt assemblies, paragraph S4.1(k) of FMVSS No. 209 
requires that installation, usage, and maintenance instructions be 
provided with seat belt assemblies, other than those installed by an 
automobile manufacturer.
    First, NHTSA believes that installers who receive seat belt 
assemblies having instructions that reference an incorrect vehicle will 
either return the part, determine that the part is correct for the 
appropriate Mazda vehicle based on the specific part number label 
located on the seat belt assembly, or install the part in the vehicle 
listed on the accompanying instruction sheet. In any of these 
scenarios, the assembly will be installed in the correct vehicle and 
seating position resulting in no safety risk.
    Second, we note that the subject seat belt assemblies are only made 
available to Mazda authorized dealerships for their use or subsequent 
resale. Because the parts ordering process used by Mazda authorized 
dealerships clearly identifies the correct service part required by 
model year, model, and seating position, NHTSA believes that there is 
little likelihood that an inappropriate seat belt assembly will be 
provided for a specific seating position within a Mazda vehicle.
    Third, we note that technicians at Mazda dealerships have access to 
the seat belt assembly installation instruction information in workshop 
manuals. In addition, installers other than Mazda dealership 
technicians can access the installation instructions on the Internet. 
We also believe that Mazda is correct in stating that the seat belt 
assemblies are designed to assemble properly only in their intended 
application. Thus, we conclude that sufficient safeguards are in place 
to prevent the installation of an improper seat belt assembly.
    NHTSA recognizes the importance of having installation instructions 
available to installers and use and maintenance instructions available 
to consumers. The risk created by this noncompliance is that someone 
who purchased an assembly is unable to obtain the necessary 
installation information resulting in an incorrectly installed seat 
belt assembly. However, because the seat belt assemblies are designed 
to be assembled properly only in their intended application and the 
installation information is widely available to the public, it appears 
that there is little likelihood that installers will not be able to 
access the installation instructions. Furthermore, we note that Mazda 
has stated that they are not aware of any customer or field reports of 
service seat belt assemblies being incorrectly installed in the subject 
applications, nor aware of any reports requesting installation 
instructions.

[[Page 11466]]

These findings suggest that it is unlikely that seat belts have been 
improperly installed.
    In addition, although 49 CFR Part 571.209 paragraph S4.1(k) 
requires certain instructions specified in SAE Recommended Practice 
J800c be included in seat belt replacement instructions, that 
requirement applies to seat belts intended to be installed in seating 
positions where seat belts do not already exist. The subject seat belt 
assemblies are only intended to be used for replacement of original 
equipment seat belts, therefore the instructions do not apply to the 
subject seat belt assemblies.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Subaru of America, Inc.; Grant of Application for Decision 
of Inconsequential Non-Compliance (65 FR 67472).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    With respect to seat belt usage and inspection instructions, we 
note that this information is available in the owner's manual which is 
installed in the vehicle. Thus, with respect to usage and maintenance 
instructions, it appears that Mazda has met the intent of S4.1(l) of 
FMVSS No. 209 for the subject vehicles using alternate methods for 
notification.
    NHTSA has granted similar petitions for noncompliance with seat 
belt assembly installation and usage instruction standards. Refer to 
Subaru of America, Inc. (65 FR 67471, November 9, 2000); Bombardier 
Motor Corporation of America, Inc. (65 FR 60238, October 10, 2000); 
TRW, Inc. (58 FR 7171, February 4, 1993); and Chrysler Corporation, (57 
FR 45865, October 5, 1992). In all of these cases, the petitioners 
demonstrated that the noncompliant seat belt assemblies were properly 
installed, and due to their respective replacement parts ordering 
systems, improper replacement seat belt assembly selection and 
installation would not be likely to occur.
    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has decided that Mazda has 
met its burden of persuasion that the installation and usage 
instruction noncompliances described are inconsequential to motor 
vehicle safety. Accordingly, Mazda's application is granted, and it is 
exempted from providing the notification of noncompliance that is 
required by 49 U.S.C. 30118, and from remedying the noncompliance, as 
required by 49 U.S.C. 30120. All products manufactured or sold on and 
after June 26, 2007, must comply fully with the requirements of FMVSS 
No. 209.

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120; delegations of authority at 
49 CFR 1.50 and 501.8.

    Issued on: February 26, 2008.
Daniel C. Smith,
Associate Administrator for Enforcement.
[FR Doc. E8-4012 Filed 2-29-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P