Combi USA, Inc., Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 71028-71030 [2013-28455]

Download as PDF 71028 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 229 / Wednesday, November 27, 2013 / Notices emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES Ferry Project. The vessels would be assembled at a site within the Tahoe Keys Marina in the City of South Lake Tahoe. Vessel maintenance would also occur at the Tahoe Keys Marina using existing dry-dock and other facilities. Some required maintenance inspections could take place in the water. The Tahoe Keys Marina already provides maintenance services to vessels of a similar size (such as, The Safari Rose, an 80-foot vessel, and the Woodwind II). Refueling of the ferry vessels would occur by truck or would require development of fueling facilities or improvement of existing fueling infrastructure at the identified ferry terminals. Modifications to the existing piers would involve increasing the length of the piers, adding ramped access that meets Americans with Disability Act (ADA) standards, and constructing a floating pier platform that would be long enough to accommodate the ferry and at least 16 feet in width. The area surrounding the proposed pier expansions and floating platforms would require dredging for construction and maintenance dredging to provide sufficient depth during low-lake-level periods. The security requirements at each ferry terminal would likely include fencing, gates, security cameras, lighting, and alarms Alternatives: Action alternatives that may be considered could include alternative pier designs (such as, a fixed versus floating pier), landside facility configurations, vessel sizes, operational characteristics (such as, service frequency), terminal locations, and/or assembly and maintenance sites. Other reasonable alternatives identified through the public and agency scoping process will be evaluated for potential inclusion in the Draft EIS/EIR/EIS. Probable Effects The purpose of this EIS/EIR/EIS is to study, in a public setting, the effects of the proposed action and its alternatives on the physical, human, and natural environment. The FTA, TTD, and TRPA will evaluate all significant environmental, social, and economic impacts of the construction and operation of the proposed project. The probable impacts will be determined as a part of the project scoping. Measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate adverse impacts will also be identified and evaluated. FTA Procedures The regulations implementing NEPA call for public involvement in the EIS process. FTA is required by 23 U.S.C. VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:02 Nov 26, 2013 Jkt 232001 § 139 to do the following: (1) extend an invitation to other federal and nonfederal agencies and Native American tribes that may have an interest in the proposed project to become ‘‘participating agencies;’’ (2) provide an opportunity for involvement by participating agencies and the public to help define the purpose and need for a proposed project, as well as the range of alternatives for consideration in the EIS; and (3) establish a plan for coordinating public and agency participation in, and comment on, the environmental review process. An invitation to become a participating or cooperating agency, with scoping materials appended, will be extended to other federal and nonfederal agencies and Native American tribes that may have an interest in the proposed project. It is possible that FTA will not be able to identify all federal and non-federal agencies and Native American tribes that may have such an interest. Any federal or non-federal agency or Native American tribe interested in the proposed project that does not receive an invitation to become a participating agency should notify at the earliest opportunity the Project Manager identified above under ADDRESSES. A comprehensive public involvement program and a Coordination Plan for public and interagency involvement will be developed for the project and posted by TTD on the project Web site (http://tahoetransportation.org/currentcapital-projects/lake-tahoe-passengerferry-alternatives-analysis). The public involvement program includes a full range of activities including a public scoping process to define the issues of concern, a project Web page on the TTD Web site, and outreach to local officials, community and civic groups, and the public. Specific activities or events for involvement will be detailed in the public involvement program. FTA will comply with all applicable Federal environmental laws, regulations, and executive orders during the environmental review process. These requirements include, but are not limited to, the project-level air quality conformity regulation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (40 CFR part 93); the § 404(b)(1) guidelines of EPA (40 CFR part 230); the regulation implementing EPA’s Antidegradation Policy (40 CFR 131.12) for Outstanding National Resource Waters, such as Lake Tahoe; the regulations implementing Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (36 CFR part 800), Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (50 CFR part 402), and Section 4(1) of the Department of Transportation Act (23 CFR part 774); PO 00000 Frm 00114 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 and, Executive Orders 12898 on environmental justice, 11988 on floodplain management, 11990 on wetlands, 13175 on Indian trust assets and Native American consultation, 13112 on invasive species, and 12962 on recreational fisheries. Dated: November 19, 2013. Leslie T. Rogers, Regional Administrator Regional IX, Federal Transit Administration. [FR Doc. 2013–28352 Filed 11–26–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE M DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2013–0080; Notice 2] Combi USA, Inc., Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT. ACTION: Notice of Petition Denial. AGENCY: SUMMARY: Combi USA, Inc., (Combi),1 has determined that certain model child restraint systems manufactured between 2007 and 2012 do not fully comply with paragraph 5.4.1.2(a) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 213, Child Restraint Systems. (49 CFR 571.213). Combi has filed an appropriate report dated June 9, 2013, 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, Combi 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. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a notice of receipt of the petition, with a 30-day public comment period, on August 9, 2013, in the Federal Register (78 FR 48767). No comments were received in response to Combi’s petition. 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–2013–0080.’’ FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information on this decision 1 Combi is a U.S. company that manufactures child restraint systems. E:\FR\FM\27NON1.SGM 27NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 229 / Wednesday, November 27, 2013 / Notices contact Mr. Tony Lazzaro, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202) 366–5304, facsimile (202) 366–7002. Relevant Requirements of FMVSS No. 213: FMVSS No. 213 paragraph S5.4.1.2(a) requires, in pertinent part, that ‘‘the webbing of belts provided with a child restraint system and used to attach the system to the vehicle or to restrain the child within the system shall— (a) Have a minimum breaking strength for new webbing of . . . not less than 11,000 N in the case of the webbing used to secure a child to a child restraint system when tested in accordance with S5.1 of FMVSS No. 209.’’ The term ‘‘new webbing’’, is ‘‘webbing that has not been exposed to abrasion, light, or micro-organisms.’’ (49 CFR § 571.213, S5.4.1.2(a)). Child Restraints Involved: Affected are 23,357 Combi Coccoro 2009–2012 model child restraint systems (model #8820), 5,391 Combi Zeus 360 2009– 2012 model child restraint systems (model #8836), and 4,391 Combi Zeus Turn 2007–2009 model child restraint systems (model #8815). Noncompliance: Combi acknowledges that the affected child restraint systems do not meet the minimum breaking strength requirements of FMVSS No. 213 paragraph 5.4.1.2(a). Combi submitted a preliminary Noncompliance Information Report on June 9, 2013. Combi submitted a supplemental Noncompliance Information Report on July 1, 2013. Summary of Combi’s Analysis and Arguments Combi described the noncompliance as follows: emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES Combi USA, Inc. has identified a noncompliance with certain Model #8220 Coccoro Convertible child restraints when the webbing assembly within the restraint is subjected to the minimum breaking strength requirements as specified in FMVSS No. 213 section 5.4.1.2 (a). Combi filed the same statement describing the noncompliance for the Zeus Turn and Zeus 360 models of child restraint systems. In support of its petition, Combi states that as part of NHTSA’s 2012 safety compliance testing of the subject Coccoro child restraint system harness webbing, the breaking strength yielded results of 8,990 N, 9,170 N, and 9,300 N. As noted earlier, paragraph 5.4.1.2(a) of FMVSS No. 213 requires a minimum breaking strength of 11,000 N for webbing used to restrain a child within a child restraint system. Combi also noted that all of the subject Coccoro child restraint VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:02 Nov 26, 2013 Jkt 232001 systems were produced with the identical harness system as tested by NHTSA in 2012. Combi further noted that all of the subject Zeus 360 and Zeus Turn child restraint systems were produced with the same embedded stop button within the harness system as the Coccoro child restraints which were tested by NHTSA in 2012. Combi stated in its petition that the production of the Zeus Turn child restraint system ended on March 25, 2009, and that the production of the Zeus 360 child restraint system ended on May 24, 2012. Combi also explained that it has implemented an engineering modification which removes the embedded stop button to all of the Coccoro child restraints produced since January 29, 2013. In support of its petition, Combi stated that it has not received notice of any partial or complete breakage or tearing of the harness system in the Coccoro and Zeus child restraints. In further support of its petition, Combi provided data based on its own dynamic testing of the Coccoro and Zeus 360 child restraint systems. According to Combi, its testing attempted to determine the crash force loading on the harness system of the Coccoro and Zeus 360 child restraints when subjected to the FMVSS No. 213 dynamic crash pulse (30 mph crash pulse) and the NCAP pulse (35 mph crash pulse). Combi’s own test results showed load cell values ranging from approximately 1,150 N to 1,900 N. Combi stated that these testing results confirm that the harness assemblies of the subject Coccoro, Zeus 360, and Zeus Turn child restraints will not fail in a real world crash under any circumstances, as the forces acting on the harness system in dynamic testing are less than 22 percent of the breaking strength test results determined by NHTSA. Combi therefore asserts that the harness assemblies of the subject Coccoro and Zeus child restraints present no safety risk. Finally, Combi asserts that given the relatively small number of subject Coccoro, Zeus 360, and Zeus Turn child restraints, the effectiveness of any notification campaign regarding this technical noncompliance will be limited. Combi further states that any noncompliance notice campaign may result in customers deciding to discontinue using their Coccoro and Zeus child restraints for a period of time, adding a risk of injury where none exists as a result of the noncompliance of the harness webbing of the subject Coccoro and Zeus child restraints with the minimum breaking strength PO 00000 Frm 00115 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 71029 requirements of FMVSS No. 213 S5.4.1.2(a). In summary, Combi contends that the noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that its petition to exempt it from providing notification of noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118 and remedying the noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120, should be granted. Comments: NHTSA published a notice of the petition in the Federal Register to allow an opportunity for members of the public to present information, views, and arguments on the subject petition. As noted earlier, no comments were received. The Agency notes that an absence of opposing argument and data does not require the Agency to grant the petition.2 NHTSA’S Consideration of Combi’s Inconsequentiality Petition General Principles: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are adopted only after the Agency has determined, following notice and comment, that the standards 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 relevant issue in determining inconsequentiality is whether the noncompliance in question is likely to significantly increase the safety risk to individuals involved in accidents or to individual occupants who experience the type of injurious event against which the standard was designed to protect. See 2 See Dorel Juvenile Group; Denial of Appeal of Decision on Inconsequential Noncompliance, 75 FR 507, 510 (Jan. 5, 2010). E:\FR\FM\27NON1.SGM 27NON1 emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES 71030 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 229 / Wednesday, November 27, 2013 / Notices General Motors Corp.; Ruling on Petition for Determination of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 69 FR 19897 (Apr. 14, 2004). In order to demonstrate inconsequentiality, the petitioner must demonstrate that the noncompliance ‘‘does not create a significant safety risk.’’ See Dorel Juvenile Group; 75 FR at 510, quoting Cosco, Inc., denial of Application for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 64 FR 29408, 29409 (June 1, 1999). There have been instances in the past where NHTSA has determined that a manufacturer has met its burden of demonstrating that a noncompliance is inconsequential to safety. These include a noncompliance concerning labeling where the discrepancy with the safety standard was determined not to lead to any misunderstanding, especially where sources of the correct information were available (e.g. in the vehicle owner’s manual). See General Motors Corp., 69 FR at 19899. The burden of establishing the inconsequentiality of a failure to comply with a performance requirement in a safety standard is more substantial and difficult to meet, and the Agency has not found many noncompliances related to a safety standard to be inconsequential. See Id. Combi’s Argument and NHTSA’s Response: In support of its petition, Combi makes several different arguments. First, Combi argues that the company has not received notice of any partial or complete breakage or tearing of the harness system in any Coccoro and Zeus child restraints. The Agency, however, does not consider the absence of complaints to show that the noncompliances are inconsequential to safety. The absence of a complaint does not mean there have not been any problems or failures, and it does not mean that there will not be failures in the future. See Dorel Juvenile Group, Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 78 FR 53189, 53190 (August 28, 2013). Second, Combi argues that, based on measured forces acting on the harness system when subjected to FMVSS No. 213 and NCAP crash pulse dynamic testing, the subject child restraints present no motor vehicle safety risk since the measured forces acting on the harness system are less than 22 percent of the breaking strength results determined by NHTSA. The Agency is not persuaded by this argument. NHTSA does not simply have one performance test, a dynamic test. NHTSA has multiple performance tests because a single test does not address the range of safety concerns with child VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:02 Nov 26, 2013 Jkt 232001 restraints. The webbing breaking strength test and the child restraint system dynamic test do not test for the same conditions and serve distinct purposes. The webbing breaking strength test conditions are necessarily more severe than those for dynamic testing to help ensure that the webbing will afford effective protection for severe crashes, even after the webbing degrades due to abrasion in use and exposure to sunlight. In addressing past similar arguments raised by child restraint system manufacturers who submitted webbing load force data generated in dynamic testing to demonstrate apparent safety margins in comparison to webbing breaking strength test results, the Agency stated that ‘‘[a] 30 mile per hour test is not indicative of the upper limit of safety. The test conditions in FMVSS No. 213 reflect the concern that child restraints will withstand even the most severe crashes. These are well above 30 mph.’’ Dorel Juvenile Group [Cosco] (DJG); Denial of Applications for Determination of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 73 FR 41397, 41399 (July 19, 2008). While Combi also conducted dynamic testing using the higher NCAP crash pulse, this provides an increase of only 5 mph over the FMVSS No. 213 dynamic crash pulse. In adopting the webbing strength standard, NHTSA has never said and NHTSA does not believe that it is enough that webbing withstands a 35 mph crash. There are real-world severe crashes which take place above this level. In those crashes, the force on the webbing is higher than in a 30 or 35 mph based crash. And, it must be recognized that webbing in child restraints that have been used may be degraded. In such crashes, a child occupant restrained in a child seat with webbing, when new, that merely met a strength test related to a 35 mph crash would be at an increased risk of injury compared with a child restrained in a child seat with webbing that meets the webbing strength test in FMVSS No. 213 S5.4.1.2(a). Next, Combi asserts that given the relative small number of subject child restraint systems affected, the effectiveness of any notification campaign will be limited. This type of argument is immaterial to the inconsequentiality analysis because ‘‘the number or percentage of vehicles or equipment affected by the noncompliance is not relevant to the issue of consequentiality’’. See General Motors Corp., 69 FR 19899; Cosco, Inc., Denial of Application for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 64 FR PO 00000 Frm 00116 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 29408, 029409 (June 1, 1999). In addition, the Agency would not necessarily consider an affected population of over 33,000 to be considered a small number when evaluating safety risk. Finally, Combi argues that any noncompliance notice campaign may result in customers deciding to discontinue using their subject restraint(s) for a period of time thereby adding risk of injury. This argument was not supported with any evidence and the Agency is not persuaded by this argument. The Agency’s Recall Management Office will review Combi’s noncompliance notification campaign to assure that it is effective and the notification makes it clear to the affected customer(s) that it is better to continue to use the subject child restraint(s) while awaiting the remedy provided by the manufacturer, and that it is unsafe, and in almost all cases unlawful, to transport a child passenger in a motor vehicle without the use of a proper restraint. Decision: After carefully considering the arguments presented in this matter, NHTSA has decided that the petitioner has not met its burden of persuasion that the noncompliance described is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, Combi’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 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8) Dated: November 21, 2013. Nancy Lummen Lewis, Associate Administrator for Enforcement. [FR Doc. 2013–28455 Filed 11–26–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2012–0005; Notice 2] Ford Motor Company, Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Denial of Petition. AGENCY: Ford Motor Company (Ford) has determined that certain model year 2011 Ford E–150, E–250, E–350 and E– 450 motor vehicles manufactured SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\27NON1.SGM 27NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 229 (Wednesday, November 27, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 71028-71030]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-28455]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2013-0080; Notice 2]


Combi USA, Inc., Denial of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of Petition Denial.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: Combi USA, Inc., (Combi),\1\ has determined that certain model 
child restraint systems manufactured between 2007 and 2012 do not fully 
comply with paragraph 5.4.1.2(a) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard (FMVSS) No. 213, Child Restraint Systems. (49 CFR 571.213). 
Combi has filed an appropriate report dated June 9, 2013, pursuant to 
49 CFR Part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Combi is a U.S. company that manufactures child restraint 
systems.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and the rule 
implementing those provisions at 49 CFR part 556, Combi 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. The National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a notice of receipt of the 
petition, with a 30-day public comment period, on August 9, 2013, in 
the Federal Register (78 FR 48767). No comments were received in 
response to Combi's petition.
    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-2013-0080.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information on this 
decision

[[Page 71029]]

contact Mr. Tony Lazzaro, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the 
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202) 
366-5304, facsimile (202) 366-7002.
    Relevant Requirements of FMVSS No. 213: FMVSS No. 213 paragraph 
S5.4.1.2(a) requires, in pertinent part, that ``the webbing of belts 
provided with a child restraint system and used to attach the system to 
the vehicle or to restrain the child within the system shall-- (a) Have 
a minimum breaking strength for new webbing of . . . not less than 
11,000 N in the case of the webbing used to secure a child to a child 
restraint system when tested in accordance with S5.1 of FMVSS No. 
209.''
    The term ``new webbing'', is ``webbing that has not been exposed to 
abrasion, light, or micro-organisms.'' (49 CFR Sec.  571.213, 
S5.4.1.2(a)).
    Child Restraints Involved: Affected are 23,357 Combi Coccoro 2009-
2012 model child restraint systems (model 8820), 5,391 Combi 
Zeus 360 2009-2012 model child restraint systems (model 8836), 
and 4,391 Combi Zeus Turn 2007-2009 model child restraint systems 
(model 8815).
    Noncompliance: Combi acknowledges that the affected child restraint 
systems do not meet the minimum breaking strength requirements of FMVSS 
No. 213 paragraph 5.4.1.2(a). Combi submitted a preliminary 
Noncompliance Information Report on June 9, 2013. Combi submitted a 
supplemental Noncompliance Information Report on July 1, 2013.

Summary of Combi's Analysis and Arguments

    Combi described the noncompliance as follows:

    Combi USA, Inc. has identified a noncompliance with certain 
Model 8220 Coccoro Convertible child restraints when the 
webbing assembly within the restraint is subjected to the minimum 
breaking strength requirements as specified in FMVSS No. 213 section 
5.4.1.2 (a).

    Combi filed the same statement describing the noncompliance for the 
Zeus Turn and Zeus 360 models of child restraint systems. In support of 
its petition, Combi states that as part of NHTSA's 2012 safety 
compliance testing of the subject Coccoro child restraint system 
harness webbing, the breaking strength yielded results of 8,990 N, 
9,170 N, and 9,300 N. As noted earlier, paragraph 5.4.1.2(a) of FMVSS 
No. 213 requires a minimum breaking strength of 11,000 N for webbing 
used to restrain a child within a child restraint system. Combi also 
noted that all of the subject Coccoro child restraint systems were 
produced with the identical harness system as tested by NHTSA in 2012.
    Combi further noted that all of the subject Zeus 360 and Zeus Turn 
child restraint systems were produced with the same embedded stop 
button within the harness system as the Coccoro child restraints which 
were tested by NHTSA in 2012.
    Combi stated in its petition that the production of the Zeus Turn 
child restraint system ended on March 25, 2009, and that the production 
of the Zeus 360 child restraint system ended on May 24, 2012. Combi 
also explained that it has implemented an engineering modification 
which removes the embedded stop button to all of the Coccoro child 
restraints produced since January 29, 2013.
    In support of its petition, Combi stated that it has not received 
notice of any partial or complete breakage or tearing of the harness 
system in the Coccoro and Zeus child restraints. In further support of 
its petition, Combi provided data based on its own dynamic testing of 
the Coccoro and Zeus 360 child restraint systems. According to Combi, 
its testing attempted to determine the crash force loading on the 
harness system of the Coccoro and Zeus 360 child restraints when 
subjected to the FMVSS No. 213 dynamic crash pulse (30 mph crash pulse) 
and the NCAP pulse (35 mph crash pulse). Combi's own test results 
showed load cell values ranging from approximately 1,150 N to 1,900 N. 
Combi stated that these testing results confirm that the harness 
assemblies of the subject Coccoro, Zeus 360, and Zeus Turn child 
restraints will not fail in a real world crash under any circumstances, 
as the forces acting on the harness system in dynamic testing are less 
than 22 percent of the breaking strength test results determined by 
NHTSA. Combi therefore asserts that the harness assemblies of the 
subject Coccoro and Zeus child restraints present no safety risk.
    Finally, Combi asserts that given the relatively small number of 
subject Coccoro, Zeus 360, and Zeus Turn child restraints, the 
effectiveness of any notification campaign regarding this technical 
noncompliance will be limited. Combi further states that any 
noncompliance notice campaign may result in customers deciding to 
discontinue using their Coccoro and Zeus child restraints for a period 
of time, adding a risk of injury where none exists as a result of the 
noncompliance of the harness webbing of the subject Coccoro and Zeus 
child restraints with the minimum breaking strength requirements of 
FMVSS No. 213 S5.4.1.2(a).
    In summary, Combi contends that the noncompliance is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that its petition to 
exempt it from providing notification of noncompliance as required by 
49 U.S.C. 30118 and remedying the noncompliance as required by 49 
U.S.C. 30120, should be granted.
    Comments: NHTSA published a notice of the petition in the Federal 
Register to allow an opportunity for members of the public to present 
information, views, and arguments on the subject petition. As noted 
earlier, no comments were received. The Agency notes that an absence of 
opposing argument and data does not require the Agency to grant the 
petition.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ See Dorel Juvenile Group; Denial of Appeal of Decision on 
Inconsequential Noncompliance, 75 FR 507, 510 (Jan. 5, 2010).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

NHTSA'S Consideration of Combi's Inconsequentiality Petition

    General Principles: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are 
adopted only after the Agency has determined, following notice and 
comment, that the standards 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 relevant issue in 
determining inconsequentiality is whether the noncompliance in question 
is likely to significantly increase the safety risk to individuals 
involved in accidents or to individual occupants who experience the 
type of injurious event against which the standard was designed to 
protect. See

[[Page 71030]]

General Motors Corp.; Ruling on Petition for Determination of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance, 69 FR 19897 (Apr. 14, 2004).
    In order to demonstrate inconsequentiality, the petitioner must 
demonstrate that the noncompliance ``does not create a significant 
safety risk.'' See Dorel Juvenile Group; 75 FR at 510, quoting Cosco, 
Inc., denial of Application for Decision of Inconsequential 
Noncompliance, 64 FR 29408, 29409 (June 1, 1999). There have been 
instances in the past where NHTSA has determined that a manufacturer 
has met its burden of demonstrating that a noncompliance is 
inconsequential to safety. These include a noncompliance concerning 
labeling where the discrepancy with the safety standard was determined 
not to lead to any misunderstanding, especially where sources of the 
correct information were available (e.g. in the vehicle owner's 
manual). See General Motors Corp., 69 FR at 19899.
    The burden of establishing the inconsequentiality of a failure to 
comply with a performance requirement in a safety standard is more 
substantial and difficult to meet, and the Agency has not found many 
noncompliances related to a safety standard to be inconsequential. See 
Id.
    Combi's Argument and NHTSA's Response: In support of its petition, 
Combi makes several different arguments. First, Combi argues that the 
company has not received notice of any partial or complete breakage or 
tearing of the harness system in any Coccoro and Zeus child restraints. 
The Agency, however, does not consider the absence of complaints to 
show that the noncompliances are inconsequential to safety. The absence 
of a complaint does not mean there have not been any problems or 
failures, and it does not mean that there will not be failures in the 
future. See Dorel Juvenile Group, Denial of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance, 78 FR 53189, 53190 (August 28, 2013).
    Second, Combi argues that, based on measured forces acting on the 
harness system when subjected to FMVSS No. 213 and NCAP crash pulse 
dynamic testing, the subject child restraints present no motor vehicle 
safety risk since the measured forces acting on the harness system are 
less than 22 percent of the breaking strength results determined by 
NHTSA. The Agency is not persuaded by this argument. NHTSA does not 
simply have one performance test, a dynamic test. NHTSA has multiple 
performance tests because a single test does not address the range of 
safety concerns with child restraints. The webbing breaking strength 
test and the child restraint system dynamic test do not test for the 
same conditions and serve distinct purposes. The webbing breaking 
strength test conditions are necessarily more severe than those for 
dynamic testing to help ensure that the webbing will afford effective 
protection for severe crashes, even after the webbing degrades due to 
abrasion in use and exposure to sunlight. In addressing past similar 
arguments raised by child restraint system manufacturers who submitted 
webbing load force data generated in dynamic testing to demonstrate 
apparent safety margins in comparison to webbing breaking strength test 
results, the Agency stated that ``[a] 30 mile per hour test is not 
indicative of the upper limit of safety. The test conditions in FMVSS 
No. 213 reflect the concern that child restraints will withstand even 
the most severe crashes. These are well above 30 mph.'' Dorel Juvenile 
Group [Cosco] (DJG); Denial of Applications for Determination of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance, 73 FR 41397, 41399 (July 19, 2008). 
While Combi also conducted dynamic testing using the higher NCAP crash 
pulse, this provides an increase of only 5 mph over the FMVSS No. 213 
dynamic crash pulse. In adopting the webbing strength standard, NHTSA 
has never said and NHTSA does not believe that it is enough that 
webbing withstands a 35 mph crash. There are real-world severe crashes 
which take place above this level. In those crashes, the force on the 
webbing is higher than in a 30 or 35 mph based crash. And, it must be 
recognized that webbing in child restraints that have been used may be 
degraded. In such crashes, a child occupant restrained in a child seat 
with webbing, when new, that merely met a strength test related to a 35 
mph crash would be at an increased risk of injury compared with a child 
restrained in a child seat with webbing that meets the webbing strength 
test in FMVSS No. 213 S5.4.1.2(a).
    Next, Combi asserts that given the relative small number of subject 
child restraint systems affected, the effectiveness of any notification 
campaign will be limited. This type of argument is immaterial to the 
inconsequentiality analysis because ``the number or percentage of 
vehicles or equipment affected by the noncompliance is not relevant to 
the issue of consequentiality''. See General Motors Corp., 69 FR 19899; 
Cosco, Inc., Denial of Application for Decision of Inconsequential 
Noncompliance, 64 FR 29408, 029409 (June 1, 1999). In addition, the 
Agency would not necessarily consider an affected population of over 
33,000 to be considered a small number when evaluating safety risk.
    Finally, Combi argues that any noncompliance notice campaign may 
result in customers deciding to discontinue using their subject 
restraint(s) for a period of time thereby adding risk of injury. This 
argument was not supported with any evidence and the Agency is not 
persuaded by this argument. The Agency's Recall Management Office will 
review Combi's noncompliance notification campaign to assure that it is 
effective and the notification makes it clear to the affected 
customer(s) that it is better to continue to use the subject child 
restraint(s) while awaiting the remedy provided by the manufacturer, 
and that it is unsafe, and in almost all cases unlawful, to transport a 
child passenger in a motor vehicle without the use of a proper 
restraint.
    Decision: After carefully considering the arguments presented in 
this matter, NHTSA has decided that the petitioner has not met its 
burden of persuasion that the noncompliance described is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, Combi'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 
49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8)

    Dated: November 21, 2013.
Nancy Lummen Lewis,
Associate Administrator for Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2013-28455 Filed 11-26-13; 8:45 am]
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