Forest River, Inc., Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 30352-30354 [2012-12374]

Download as PDF 30352 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 99 / Tuesday, May 22, 2012 / Notices Meeting Information Public meeting at FAA Headquarters (800 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20591) on May 30, 2012, from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm. The meeting will also be available to view live on-line. RSVPs will be required for meeting attendance as well as Web cast viewing. RSVP by May 25 to: 9-AWAAPO-NextGenIncentives@faa.gov. Background material, meeting agenda, and details of participation webcast for the May 30 meeting can be obtained at: http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/ equipage_incentives/. As the financial authority granted to FAA in Section 221 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act is new, the agency believes that stakeholder input is necessary in order to optimize the design of an effective equipage incentives plan. Input from interested stakeholders will help inform the direction the FAA should take and raise issues that the agency might not have considered internally. A list of questions FAA seeks comment on is on display at: http://www.faa.gov/about/ initiatives/equipage_incentives/. Comments specifically addressing these questions will be accepted through June 20 and should be submitted to: 9-AWA-APONextGenIncentives@faa.gov. The FAA will also provide the opportunity for private meetings and written responses. We recognize that some of the information we are seeking might be considered proprietary or commercially sensitive. We will take all steps needed to protect any information provided that is marked proprietary or commercially sensitive. Issued in Washington, DC, on May 14, 2012. Julie Oettinger, Assistant Administrator for Policy, International Affairs and Environment. [FR Doc. 2012–12378 Filed 5–21–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket Number NHTSA–2012–0064] srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Reports, Forms, and Record Keeping Requirements National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation. ACTION: Request for public comment on proposed collection of information. AGENCY: Before a Federal agency can collect certain information from the SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:20 May 21, 2012 Jkt 226001 public, it must receive approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Under procedures established by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, before seeking OMB approval, Federal agencies must solicit public comment on proposed collections of information, including extensions and reinstatement of previously approved collections. This document describes one collection of information for which NHTSA intends to seek OMB approval. DATES: Comments must be received on or before July 23, 2012. ADDRESSES: Comments must refer to the docket notice numbers cited at the beginning of this notice and be submitted to Docket Management, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Please identify the proposed collection of information for which a comment is provided, by referencing its OMB clearance number. It is requested, but not required, that 2 copies of the comment be provided. The Docket Section is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gary R. Toth, Office of Data Acquisitions (NVS–410), Room W53–303, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Mr. Toth’s telephone number is (202) 366–5378. Please identify the relevant collection of information by referring to its OMB Control Number. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, before an agency submits a proposed collection of information to OMB for approval, it must first publish a document in the Federal Register providing a 60-day comment period and otherwise consult with members of the public and affected agencies concerning each proposed collection of information. The OMB has promulgated regulations describing what must be included in such a document. Under OMB’s regulation (at 5 CFR 1320.8(d), an agency must ask for public comment on the following: (i) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (ii) The accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (iii) How to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; (iv) How to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond including the use of PO 00000 Frm 00093 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g. permitting electronic submission of responses. In compliance with these requirements, NHTSA asks for public comments on the following proposed collections of information: Title: National Automotive Sampling System (NASS). Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved collection. OMB Control Number: 2127–0021. Affected Public: Passenger Motor Vehicle Operators. Abstract: The collection of crash data that support the establishment and enforcement of motor vehicle regulations that reduce the severity of injury and property damage caused by motor vehicle crashes is authorized under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 (Pub. L. 89– 563, Title 1, Sec. 106, 108, and 112). The National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) Crashworthiness Data System (CDS) of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigates high severity crashes. Once a crash has been selected for investigation, researchers locate, visit, measure, and photograph the crash scene; locate, inspect, and photograph vehicles; conduct a telephone or personal interview with the involved individuals or surrogate; and obtain and record injury information received from various medical data sources. NASS CDS data are used to describe and analyze circumstances, mechanisms, and consequences of high severity motor vehicle crashes in the United States. The collection of interview data aids in this effort. Estimated Annual Burden: 5,605 hours. Number of Respondents: 9,450. Issued on: May 14, 2012. Terry T. Shelton, Associate Administrator, National Center for Statistics and Analysis. [FR Doc. 2012–12351 Filed 5–21–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2011–0040; Notice 2] Forest River, Inc., Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT. AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\22MYN1.SGM 22MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 99 / Tuesday, May 22, 2012 / Notices ACTION: Notice of petition denial. Forest River, Inc. (Forest River), has determined that approximately 2,741 model year 2009– 2011 R–Pod travel trailers that it manufactured from October 27, 2008 through November 30, 2010, fail to meet the requirements of paragraph S5.1.1 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108, Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment. Forest River has filed an appropriate report, dated December 14, 2010 pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule at 49 CFR part 556), Forest River 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 Forest River’s petition was published, with a 30-day public comment period, on August 29, 2011, in the Federal Register (76 FR 53715). Thirty-four 1 comments were received. To view the petition, comments, and all supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket Management System Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online search instructions to locate docket number ‘‘NHTSA–2011– 0040.’’ FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information on this decision, contact Mr. Michael Cole, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202) 366–2334, facsimile (202) 366–7002. SUMMARY: Relevant Requirements of FMVSS No. 108 Among other things, FMVSS No. 108 requires trailers that are 80 or more inches in overall width to be equipped with three red rear identification lamps, two red rear clearance lamps, and two amber front clearance lamps. srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Summary of Forest Rivers’s Petition Vehicles involved: Forest River estimates that a total of approximately 2,741 model year 2009–2011 R–Pod model travel trailers were not manufactured with rear red identification lamps, rear red clearance lamps, and front amber clearance lamps. Of these, 2,697 were manufactured in Forest River’s Surveyor Division plant in Goshen, Indiana and 44 were 1 A 35th comment was received but appeared to be a duplicate entry. VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:20 May 21, 2012 Jkt 226001 manufactured in its Surveyor Division plant in Dallas, Oregon. Noncompliance: Forest River described the noncompliance as the absence of the clearance lamps and marker lamps required by paragraph S5.1.1 of FMVSS No. 108. Forest River stated that its original interpretation of the requirements of FMVSS No. 108 caused it to believe that because the bodies of the subject trailers, not including the fenders, are less than 80 inches in width, clearance lamps and marker lamps were not required. Forest River further explained that based on a consumer complaint NHTSA’s Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance (OVSC) inspected a number of the subject trailers and found that, based on the width of the trailers, including the fenders, that clearance lamps and marker lamps were required on the trailers due to the requirements of paragraph S5.1.1, Table 1 of FMVSS No. 108. In its petition Forest River argues that the noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for the following reasons: (1) The cost of correcting the noncompliance is substantial. (2) Installation of clearance lamps and marker lamps on a fully assembled trailer has the potential of causing deterioration of the trailer if the remedy is not completed correctly. (3) ‘‘The box of the unit [subject trailer] is under the 80 inch width and is properly marked according to Table IV of [49 CFR] 571.108. The fenders are low on each side of the unit.’’ Forest River additionally states that it has corrected the noncompliance so that future production of its R–Pod travel trailer will conform to all applicable requirements of FMVSS No. 108. Forest River believes that the noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that its petition, to exempt it from providing recall notification of noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118 and remedying the recall noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120, should be granted. Comments The agency received 34 comments from, primarily, owners of Forest River trailers. 33 of those commenters supported denial of this petition, (one commenter did not offer an opinion) and 29 commenters indicated their belief that this was a safety issue (the remaining commenters did not offer an opinion). Regarding the vehicle width, Rosemary Dingus commented that the PO 00000 Frm 00094 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 30353 fenders extend ‘‘about a foot from the sides of the trailer,’’ and Jeffrey Stephens commented that the overall width of his trailer is 97 inches, fender to fender. NHTSA’s Consideration of Forest River’s Inconsequentiality Petition General Principles Federal motor vehicle safety standards are adopted only after the agency has determined, following notice and comment, that the performance requirements are objective and practicable and ‘‘meet the need for motor vehicle safety.’’ See 49 U.S.C. 30111(a). Thus, there is a general presumption that the failure of a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment to comply with a FMVSS increases the risk to motor vehicle safety beyond the level deemed appropriate by NHTSA through the rulemaking process. To protect the public from such risks, manufacturers whose products fail to comply with a FMVSS are normally required to conduct a safety recall under which they must notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of the noncompliance and provide a remedy without charge. 49 U.S.C. 30118–30120. However, Congress has recognized that, under some limited circumstances, a noncompliance could be ‘‘inconsequential’’ to motor vehicle safety. ‘‘Inconsequential’’ is not defined either in the statute or in NHTSA’s regulations. Rather, the agency determines whether a particular noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety based on the specific facts before it. The key issue in determining inconsequentiality is whether the noncompliance in question is likely to increase the safety risk to individuals of accidents or to individual occupants who experience the type of injurious event against which the standard was designed to protect. See General Motors Corp.; Ruling on Petition for Determination of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 69 FR 19897 (Apr. 14, 2004). There have been instances in the past in which NHTSA has determined that a manufacturer has met its burden of demonstrating that a noncompliance is inconsequential to safety. For example, there have been instances where NHTSA granted inconsequentiality petitions regarding noncompliance with labeling requirements. See, e.g., General Motors Corp., Grant of Application for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 61 FR 60746 (Nov. 29, 1996) (noncompliance with FMVSS No. 115). More rarely, NHTSA has granted inconsequentiality petitions in cases of E:\FR\FM\22MYN1.SGM 22MYN1 30354 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 99 / Tuesday, May 22, 2012 / Notices noncompliance with performance requirements where the noncompliance was determined to be so minor as to be inconsequential—for example, where the noncompliance is expected to be imperceptible, or nearly so, to vehicle occupants or approaching drivers. See, e.g., General Motors Corp., Grant of Application for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 63 FR 70179 (Dec. 18, 1998) (noncompliance with FMVSS No. 108); Subaru of America, Inc., Grant of Application for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 66 FR 18354 (Apr. 6, 2001) (noncompliance with FMVSS No. 108). On the other hand, NHTSA has denied petitions for inconsequential noncompliance where required equipment is completely missing from the vehicle. For example, NHTSA denied a petition for travel trailers not equipped with rear identification lamps. Weekend Warrior Trailers, Inc., Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 71 FR 5409 (Feb. 1, 2006). In addition, NHTSA has denied inconsequentiality petitions for trailers that were equipped with clearance and identification lamps that did not meet the minimum photometry requirements. Utilimaster Corporation; Denial of Application for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 66 FR 33603 (June 22, 2001). srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES NHTSA’s Analysis of Forest River’s Arguments in Support of Its Petition NHTSA has reviewed the petition and has determined that the noncompliance is not inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. First, Forest River asserts that the box of the subject vehicles is under the 80 inch width and is properly marked according to Table IV of 49 CFR 571.108, and that the fenders are low on each side of the unit. The agency finds this assertion unavailing. Forest River did not equip the subject trailers with identification or clearance lamps, all of which have been required on wide trailers since January 1, 1969. The ability of motorists to distinguish wide trailers from passenger vehicles is an essential component of crash avoidance because of size, maneuvering, and speed differences between the two types of VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:20 May 21, 2012 Jkt 226001 vehicles. High mounted identification lamps uniquely identify wide trailers and do so with the longest possible sight preview of the lamps. Clearance lamps show the overall width of the vehicle. Therefore, the absence of identification and clearance lamps on the subject trailers increases the risk of a crash involving these trailers. In order to discern the requirements with which it must comply, a manufacturer must first determine the overall width of its vehicle. The term ‘‘overall width’’ of a vehicle was first published in the Federal Register on March 1, 1967, (see 32 FR 3390) and is described in Note 1 of Tables I and II as ‘‘the nominal design dimension of the widest part of the vehicle, exclusive of * * * flexible fender extensions * * *.’’ Thus, an overall width determination does not have to include flexible fender extensions. Forest River claims that ‘‘the body’’ of the subject trailers, exclusive of fender extensions, is less than 80 inches in overall width. However, contrary to Forest River’s view, the steel panels that cover the wheel/tire assemblies of the subject trailers are clearly the fender itself, and not a flexible extension of a fender. Further, the wheel/tire assemblies themselves are located entirely outside the ‘‘the body’’ of the trailer. Second, Forest River argues that the cost of correcting the noncompliance is substantial. The statute does not include cost as a factor in determining whether a noncompliance is inconsequential. With respect to at least some noncompliances, such as for example those involving a seat belt or air bag that was missing or did not work, cost would not be a factor. Moreover, the manufacturer of the noncomplying vehicle that is missing a required item of equipment, such as the lamps here, has saved money by not including the item on the vehicles as manufactured and sold. In any event, Forest River has not demonstrated that the costs should justify an exemption. Forest River hypothesizes that the costs could be slightly over a million dollars by multiplying the number of trailers by a unit cost for each of the recalled trailers. In its calculation, Forest River estimates the labor cost at $100/hour. However, PO 00000 Frm 00095 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 according to the U.S. Department of Labor, automotive mechanics earn, on average, only $17.21 per hour.2 In addition, the million dollar figure represents an upper bound that assumes that all trailers will be remedied. The completion rate for recent noncompliance recalls of recreational trailers has been approximately 50 percent. Therefore, the cost to Forest River of correcting the noncompliant trailers will likely be substantially less than the million-dollar cost Forest River estimates based on the remedy being performed on all 2,741 subject trailers. Third, Forest River argues that remedying the subject trailers has the potential of causing deterioration of the vehicles if the remedy is not completed correctly. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for manufacturers to present ways that a recall could be implemented improperly in order to avoid implementing recalls. However, problems with developing or implementing a remedy are not grounds for granting an inconsequentiality petition. See Blue Bird Body Company; Denial of Application for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 65 FR 48822 at 48823 (Aug. 9, 2000)). Decision In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has decided that the petitioner has not met its burden of persuasion that the noncompliance described is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, Forest River’s petition is hereby denied, and the petitioner must notify owners, purchasers and dealers pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118 and provide a remedy in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 30120. Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: Delegations of authority at CFR 1.50 and 501.8. Issued on: May 16, 2012. Nancy Lummen Lewis, Associate Administrator for Enforcement. [FR Doc. 2012–12374 Filed 5–21–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P 2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012–13 Edition, available at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Installation-Maintenanceand-Repair/Automotive-service-technicians-andmechanics.htm (last visited April 25, 2012). E:\FR\FM\22MYN1.SGM 22MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 99 (Tuesday, May 22, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 30352-30354]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-12374]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2011-0040; Notice 2]


Forest River, Inc., Denial of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT.

[[Page 30353]]


ACTION: Notice of petition denial.

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SUMMARY: Forest River, Inc. (Forest River), has determined that 
approximately 2,741 model year 2009-2011 R-Pod travel trailers that it 
manufactured from October 27, 2008 through November 30, 2010, fail to 
meet the requirements of paragraph S5.1.1 of Federal Motor Vehicle 
Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108, Lamps, Reflective Devices, and 
Associated Equipment. Forest River has filed an appropriate report, 
dated December 14, 2010 pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.
    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule 
at 49 CFR part 556), Forest River 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 Forest River's petition was published, with a 
30-day public comment period, on August 29, 2011, in the Federal 
Register (76 FR 53715). Thirty-four \1\ comments were received. To view 
the petition, comments, and all supporting documents log onto the 
Federal Docket Management System Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online search instructions to 
locate docket number ``NHTSA-2011-0040.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ A 35th comment was received but appeared to be a duplicate 
entry.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information on this 
decision, contact Mr. Michael Cole, Office of Vehicle Safety 
Compliance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
telephone (202) 366-2334, facsimile (202) 366-7002.

Relevant Requirements of FMVSS No. 108

    Among other things, FMVSS No. 108 requires trailers that are 80 or 
more inches in overall width to be equipped with three red rear 
identification lamps, two red rear clearance lamps, and two amber front 
clearance lamps.

Summary of Forest Rivers's Petition

    Vehicles involved: Forest River estimates that a total of 
approximately 2,741 model year 2009-2011 R-Pod model travel trailers 
were not manufactured with rear red identification lamps, rear red 
clearance lamps, and front amber clearance lamps. Of these, 2,697 were 
manufactured in Forest River's Surveyor Division plant in Goshen, 
Indiana and 44 were manufactured in its Surveyor Division plant in 
Dallas, Oregon.
    Noncompliance: Forest River described the noncompliance as the 
absence of the clearance lamps and marker lamps required by paragraph 
S5.1.1 of FMVSS No. 108.
    Forest River stated that its original interpretation of the 
requirements of FMVSS No. 108 caused it to believe that because the 
bodies of the subject trailers, not including the fenders, are less 
than 80 inches in width, clearance lamps and marker lamps were not 
required.
    Forest River further explained that based on a consumer complaint 
NHTSA's Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance (OVSC) inspected a number 
of the subject trailers and found that, based on the width of the 
trailers, including the fenders, that clearance lamps and marker lamps 
were required on the trailers due to the requirements of paragraph 
S5.1.1, Table 1 of FMVSS No. 108.
    In its petition Forest River argues that the noncompliance is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for the following reasons:
    (1) The cost of correcting the noncompliance is substantial.
    (2) Installation of clearance lamps and marker lamps on a fully 
assembled trailer has the potential of causing deterioration of the 
trailer if the remedy is not completed correctly.
    (3) ``The box of the unit [subject trailer] is under the 80 inch 
width and is properly marked according to Table IV of [49 CFR] 571.108. 
The fenders are low on each side of the unit.''
    Forest River additionally states that it has corrected the 
noncompliance so that future production of its R-Pod travel trailer 
will conform to all applicable requirements of FMVSS No. 108.
    Forest River believes that the noncompliance is inconsequential to 
motor vehicle safety, and that its petition, to exempt it from 
providing recall notification of noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 
30118 and remedying the recall noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 
30120, should be granted.

Comments

    The agency received 34 comments from, primarily, owners of Forest 
River trailers. 33 of those commenters supported denial of this 
petition, (one commenter did not offer an opinion) and 29 commenters 
indicated their belief that this was a safety issue (the remaining 
commenters did not offer an opinion).
    Regarding the vehicle width, Rosemary Dingus commented that the 
fenders extend ``about a foot from the sides of the trailer,'' and 
Jeffrey Stephens commented that the overall width of his trailer is 97 
inches, fender to fender.

NHTSA's Consideration of Forest River's Inconsequentiality Petition

General Principles

    Federal motor vehicle safety standards are adopted only after the 
agency has determined, following notice and comment, that the 
performance requirements are objective and practicable and ``meet the 
need for motor vehicle safety.'' See 49 U.S.C. 30111(a). Thus, there is 
a general presumption that the failure of a motor vehicle or item of 
motor vehicle equipment to comply with a FMVSS increases the risk to 
motor vehicle safety beyond the level deemed appropriate by NHTSA 
through the rulemaking process. To protect the public from such risks, 
manufacturers whose products fail to comply with a FMVSS are normally 
required to conduct a safety recall under which they must notify 
owners, purchasers, and dealers of the noncompliance and provide a 
remedy without charge. 49 U.S.C. 30118-30120.
    However, Congress has recognized that, under some limited 
circumstances, a noncompliance could be ``inconsequential'' to motor 
vehicle safety. ``Inconsequential'' is not defined either in the 
statute or in NHTSA's regulations. Rather, the agency determines 
whether a particular noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle 
safety based on the specific facts before it. The key issue in 
determining inconsequentiality is whether the noncompliance in question 
is likely to increase the safety risk to individuals of accidents or to 
individual occupants who experience the type of injurious event against 
which the standard was designed to protect. See General Motors Corp.; 
Ruling on Petition for Determination of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 
69 FR 19897 (Apr. 14, 2004).
    There have been instances in the past in which NHTSA has determined 
that a manufacturer has met its burden of demonstrating that a 
noncompliance is inconsequential to safety. For example, there have 
been instances where NHTSA granted inconsequentiality petitions 
regarding noncompliance with labeling requirements. See, e.g., General 
Motors Corp., Grant of Application for Decision of Inconsequential 
Noncompliance, 61 FR 60746 (Nov. 29, 1996) (noncompliance with FMVSS 
No. 115). More rarely, NHTSA has granted inconsequentiality petitions 
in cases of

[[Page 30354]]

noncompliance with performance requirements where the noncompliance was 
determined to be so minor as to be inconsequential--for example, where 
the noncompliance is expected to be imperceptible, or nearly so, to 
vehicle occupants or approaching drivers. See, e.g., General Motors 
Corp., Grant of Application for Decision of Inconsequential 
Noncompliance, 63 FR 70179 (Dec. 18, 1998) (noncompliance with FMVSS 
No. 108); Subaru of America, Inc., Grant of Application for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance, 66 FR 18354 (Apr. 6, 2001) 
(noncompliance with FMVSS No. 108).
    On the other hand, NHTSA has denied petitions for inconsequential 
noncompliance where required equipment is completely missing from the 
vehicle. For example, NHTSA denied a petition for travel trailers not 
equipped with rear identification lamps. Weekend Warrior Trailers, 
Inc., Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 
71 FR 5409 (Feb. 1, 2006). In addition, NHTSA has denied 
inconsequentiality petitions for trailers that were equipped with 
clearance and identification lamps that did not meet the minimum 
photometry requirements. Utilimaster Corporation; Denial of Application 
for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 66 FR 33603 (June 22, 
2001).

NHTSA's Analysis of Forest River's Arguments in Support of Its Petition

    NHTSA has reviewed the petition and has determined that the 
noncompliance is not inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.
    First, Forest River asserts that the box of the subject vehicles is 
under the 80 inch width and is properly marked according to Table IV of 
49 CFR 571.108, and that the fenders are low on each side of the unit. 
The agency finds this assertion unavailing. Forest River did not equip 
the subject trailers with identification or clearance lamps, all of 
which have been required on wide trailers since January 1, 1969. The 
ability of motorists to distinguish wide trailers from passenger 
vehicles is an essential component of crash avoidance because of size, 
maneuvering, and speed differences between the two types of vehicles. 
High mounted identification lamps uniquely identify wide trailers and 
do so with the longest possible sight preview of the lamps. Clearance 
lamps show the overall width of the vehicle. Therefore, the absence of 
identification and clearance lamps on the subject trailers increases 
the risk of a crash involving these trailers.
    In order to discern the requirements with which it must comply, a 
manufacturer must first determine the overall width of its vehicle. The 
term ``overall width'' of a vehicle was first published in the Federal 
Register on March 1, 1967, (see 32 FR 3390) and is described in Note 1 
of Tables I and II as ``the nominal design dimension of the widest part 
of the vehicle, exclusive of * * * flexible fender extensions * * *.'' 
Thus, an overall width determination does not have to include flexible 
fender extensions. Forest River claims that ``the body'' of the subject 
trailers, exclusive of fender extensions, is less than 80 inches in 
overall width. However, contrary to Forest River's view, the steel 
panels that cover the wheel/tire assemblies of the subject trailers are 
clearly the fender itself, and not a flexible extension of a fender. 
Further, the wheel/tire assemblies themselves are located entirely 
outside the ``the body'' of the trailer.
    Second, Forest River argues that the cost of correcting the 
noncompliance is substantial. The statute does not include cost as a 
factor in determining whether a noncompliance is inconsequential. With 
respect to at least some noncompliances, such as for example those 
involving a seat belt or air bag that was missing or did not work, cost 
would not be a factor. Moreover, the manufacturer of the noncomplying 
vehicle that is missing a required item of equipment, such as the lamps 
here, has saved money by not including the item on the vehicles as 
manufactured and sold. In any event, Forest River has not demonstrated 
that the costs should justify an exemption. Forest River hypothesizes 
that the costs could be slightly over a million dollars by multiplying 
the number of trailers by a unit cost for each of the recalled 
trailers. In its calculation, Forest River estimates the labor cost at 
$100/hour. However, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, 
automotive mechanics earn, on average, only $17.21 per hour.\2\ In 
addition, the million dollar figure represents an upper bound that 
assumes that all trailers will be remedied. The completion rate for 
recent noncompliance recalls of recreational trailers has been 
approximately 50 percent. Therefore, the cost to Forest River of 
correcting the noncompliant trailers will likely be substantially less 
than the million-dollar cost Forest River estimates based on the remedy 
being performed on all 2,741 subject trailers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 
2012-13 Edition, available at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Installation-Maintenance-and-Repair/Automotive-service-technicians-and-mechanics.htm (last visited April 25, 2012).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Third, Forest River argues that remedying the subject trailers has 
the potential of causing deterioration of the vehicles if the remedy is 
not completed correctly. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for 
manufacturers to present ways that a recall could be implemented 
improperly in order to avoid implementing recalls. However, problems 
with developing or implementing a remedy are not grounds for granting 
an inconsequentiality petition. See Blue Bird Body Company; Denial of 
Application for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 65 FR 48822 
at 48823 (Aug. 9, 2000)).

Decision

    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has decided that the 
petitioner has not met its burden of persuasion that the noncompliance 
described is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, 
Forest River's petition is hereby denied, and the petitioner must 
notify owners, purchasers and dealers pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 
provide a remedy in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 30120.

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

    Issued on: May 16, 2012.
Nancy Lummen Lewis,
Associate Administrator for Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2012-12374 Filed 5-21-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P