RECARO Child Safety, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 69551-69553 [2014-27586]

Download as PDF mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 225 / Friday, November 21, 2014 / Notices (FDMS) Web site at http:// www.regulations.gov/. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Comments may also be faxed to (202) 493–2251. Comments must be written in the English language, and be no greater than 15 pages in length, 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, selfaddressed postcard with the comments. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Documents submitted to a docket may be viewed by anyone at the address and times given above. The documents may also be viewed on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by following the online instructions for accessing the dockets. DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement is available for review in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000, (65 FR 19477–78). The petition, supporting materials, and all comments received before the close of business on the closing date indicated below will be filed and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials received after the closing date will also be filed and will be considered to the extent possible. When the petition is granted or denied, notice of the decision will be published in the Federal Register pursuant to the authority indicated below. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. JLG’s Petition: Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule at 49 CFR part 556), JLG submitted a petition 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. This notice of receipt of JLG’s petition is published under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 and does not represent any agency decision or other exercise of judgment concerning the merits of the petition. II. Trailers Involved: Affected are approximately 2,940 JLG Triple-L utility trailers with a GVWR of less than 10,000 lbs. that were manufactured between August 2005 and July 2014. III. Noncompliance: JLG explains that the noncompliance is that the tire and loading information placard does not contain the words ‘‘The weight of the cargo should never exceed XXX VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:00 Nov 20, 2014 Jkt 235001 kilograms or XXX pounds’’ as required by paragraph S4.3.5 of FMVSS No. 110. V. Rule Text: Paragraph S4.3.5 of FMVSS No. 110 requires in pertinent part: S6.5 Requirements for trailers. Each trailer, except for an incomplete vehicle, must show the information specified in S4.3 (c) through (g), and may show the information specified in S4.3 (h) and (i), on a placard permanently affixed proximate to the certification label specified in 49 CFR Part 567. Additionally, each trailer must on its placard contain a cargo capacity statement expressed as ‘‘The weight of cargo should never exceed XXX kilograms or XXX pounds’’ in the same location on the placard specified for the ‘‘vehicle capacity weight’’ statement required by the standard . . . V. Summary of JLG’s Analyses: JLG stated its belief that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for the following reasons: (A) With regard to trailers JLG states that there is no need to account for passenger weight when considering cargo weight because there are no designated seating positions on the trailer and all of the weight capacity is designated towards cargo. JLG also believes that providing the maximum load capacity for the trailer therefore provides the same information as providing the maximum weight of the cargo. (B) Although the Tire and Loading Information label on the subject trailers do not contain the statement set forth in S4.3.5, the same information is provided on a separate label in the vicinity of the Tire and Loading Information label. That label states that the ‘‘Max Load Capacity xxxx lbs’’ and further instructs the operator to ‘‘center load on deck.’’ It also draws attention to the maximum carrying load of the trailer and ensures that drivers loading the trailer are aware of the maximum load capacity the trailer can carry—the precise information the regulatory text intends to be conveyed. JLG has additionally informed NHTSA that it has corrected the noncompliance so that all future production trailer Tire and Loading Information labels will comply with FMVSS No. 110. In summation, JLG believes that the described noncompliance of the subject trailers is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that its petition, to exempt JLG 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. NHTSA notes that the statutory provisions (49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and PO 00000 Frm 00131 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 69551 30120(h)) that permit manufacturers to file petitions for a determination of inconsequentiality allow NHTSA to exempt manufacturers only from the duties found in sections 30118 and 30120, respectively, to notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of a defect or noncompliance and to remedy the defect or noncompliance. Therefore, any decision on this petition only applies to the subject trailers that JLG no longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. However, any decision on this petition does not relieve tire distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of the noncompliant trailers under their control after JLG notified them that the subject noncompliance existed. Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8. Jeffrey M. Giuseppe, Acting Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance. [FR Doc. 2014–27588 Filed 11–20–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2014–0109; Notice 1] RECARO Child Safety, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Receipt of Petition. AGENCY: RECARO Child Safety, LLC (RECARO) has determined that certain RECARO child restraints do not fully comply with paragraph S5.1.1(a) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 213, Child Restraints. RECARO has filed an appropriate report and was received by NHTSA on July 30, 2014, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. DATES: The closing date for comments on the petition is December 22, 2014. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the docket and notice number cited at the beginning of this notice and submitted by any of the following methods: • Mail: Send comments by mail addressed to: U.S. Department of SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\21NON1.SGM 21NON1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 69552 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 225 / Friday, November 21, 2014 / Notices Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Deliver: Deliver comments by hand to: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. The Docket Section is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Federal Holidays. • Electronically: Submit comments electronically by: Logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at http:// www.regulations.gov/. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Comments may also be faxed to (202) 493–2251. Comments must be written in the English language, and be no greater than 15 pages in length, 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, selfaddressed postcard with the comments. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Documents submitted to a docket may be viewed by anyone at the address and times given above. The documents may also be viewed on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by following the online instructions for accessing the dockets. DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement is available for review in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000, (65 FR 19477–78). The petition, supporting materials, and all comments received before the close of business on the closing date indicated below will be filed and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials received after the closing date will also be filed and will be considered to the extent possible. When the petition is granted or denied, notice of the decision will be published in the Federal Register pursuant to the authority indicated below. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. RECARO’s Petition: Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule at 49 CFR part 556), RECARO submitted a petition 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. This notice of receipt of RECARO’s petition is published under 49 U.S.C. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:00 Nov 20, 2014 Jkt 235001 30118 and 30120 and does not represent any agency decision or other exercise of judgment concerning the merits of the petition. II. Child Restraints Involved: Affected are approximately 78,339 RECARO ProRide child restraints manufactured between April 9, 2010 and July 8, 2014 and approximately 42,303 RECARO Performance RIDE child restraints manufactured between January 15, 2013 and July 8, 2014. III. Noncompliance: RECARO explains that the noncompliance is that the subject child restraints do not comply with the system integrity requirements of FMVSS No. 213 paragraph S5.1.1(a) when subjected to the dynamic test requirements of FMVSS No. 213 S6.1. During NHTSA’s compliance tests with the Hybrid II Six Year Old Dummy and the Hybrid III Weighted Six Year Old Dummy configured to the child restraints with the internal harness and the child restraints attached to the test bench with a lap belt and top tether, the tether belt separated at the attachment point to the child restraints. The top tether belt separation exhibited a complete separation of a load bearing structural element and therefore does not comply with the requirements set forth in FMVSS No. 213 S5.1.1(a). IV. Rule Text: Paragraph S5.1.1(a) of FMVSS No. 213 requires in pertinent part: S5.1.1 Child Restraint System Integrity. When tested in accordance with S6.1 each child restraint system shall meet the requirements of paragraphs (a) through (c) of this section. (a) Exhibit no complete separation of any load bearing structural element and no partial separation exposing either surfaces with a radius of less than 1/4 inch or surfaces with protrusions greater than 3/8 inch above the immediate adjacent surrounding contactable surface of any structural element of the system. V. Summary of RECARO’s Analyses: RECARO stated its belief that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for the following reasons: (A) FMVSS Safety: RECARO believes that NHTSA’s test procedure is in direct violation of the instructions and warnings included with each ProRIDE and Performance RIDE child restraint and would constitute a misuse of the child restraint by the consumer, as seen on page 36 of the ProRIDE/Performance RIDE instruction manuals. RECARO designed and tested the ProRIDE/Performance RIDE child restraints to meet FMVSS No. 213 requirements when tested according to the instruction manuals, which was developed from decades of research and experience in the automotive industry. Installation in accordance with the ProRIDE/Performance PO 00000 Frm 00132 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 RIDE instruction manuals decreases the likelihood of top tether anchor failure from the vehicle. RECARO has limited lower anchor and top tether use for the ProRIDE/ Performance RIDE since the inception of the RIDE platform, and recently lowered the LATCH (lower anchors and top tether attachment) limit to 45 pounds from the previously stated 52 pounds to meet current FMVSS No. 213 requirements. RECARO also made mention that NHTSA noted in its 2012 FMVSS No. 213 Final Rule response, limitations were added to the lower anchors to ‘‘prevent lower LATCH anchor loads from exceeding their required strength level specified in FMVSS No. 225.’’ RECARO states that they used this same rationale when they developed the RIDE platform in 2010 and concluded that a load limit of 52 pounds would be the safest for consumers. (B) Structural Integrity: RECARO stated that technology has shown repeatedly that collapse, breakage, and crumpling of material minimizes energy and increases the rate of survival for the occupant in the event of a collision. They also stated that vehicles are designed to reduce the rate of acceleration, and more importantly deceleration, of passengers by crushing and breaking to absorb the energy. Thus, RECARO believes that child restraint technology has fallen inline with vehicle technology in recent years and that other child restraints have been designated ‘‘compliant’’ even though their convertible shell-to-base connection has been designed to crack and break during the peak loading in a crash, due to life-saving decreases in injury criterion values. RECARO further stated that the top tether webbing has been designed to rip and break apart under extreme loads to allow the deceleration time to increase for the occupant in the crash event. Recaro states that if the injury criterion meets industry standards, then controlled breakage has proven multiple times to be a positive outcome in the event of a vehicle crash, as seen in the RIDE platform. (C) Publications: RECARO cites the ‘‘2013 LATCH Manual’’ published by Safe Ride News Publication which confirms that top tether anchors in vehicles are becoming limited more frequently in the weight to which they can be subjected. The manual states that 16 vehicle models limit the use of top tethers to 65 pounds minus the weight of the child restraint when using the vehicle belt, and 27 vehicle models use the same tether limit rationale when installed with lower anchors. Recaro indicates that this demonstrates that a majority of vehicles on the road instruct consumers to use top tether load limit restrictions that align with RECARO’s top tether load limit of 65 pounds minus the 20 pound weight of the child restraint equaling a 45 pound load limit. When installing the child restraint with a top tether and vehicle belt, 26 vehicle models advise to follow the child restraint manufacturer’s instructions and an additional 3 vehicle models limit the child’s weight to 48 pounds or less. RECARO states that none of the examples above disagree with RECARO’s warnings and installation instructions and therefore reduce consumer confusion when installing their child restraint. RECARO also states that they E:\FR\FM\21NON1.SGM 21NON1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 225 / Friday, November 21, 2014 / Notices have always supported the alignment of child restraint anchorage requirements and vehicle anchorage requirements for LATCH, such as the 2012 Final Rule which amended the testing requirements for lower anchor use above the combined weight of the child and the child restraint. RECARO says they would support NHTSA’s review of its current testing requirements for top tether use and the consideration of either implementing similar load limitations for the top tether or requirements for the automotive industry to increase the load to which the tether anchorage can bear. RECARO referred to documents published in the public docket for the 2012 Final Rule amendment of FMVSS No. 213 to limit lower anchor loads, which by request of NHTSA was performed by ALPHA Technology Associates. In this document, which was used to justify the increased risk of ‘‘lower LATCH loads . . . exceeding their required strength,’’ there is a table depicting top tether anchor loads at the point in which certain makes and models saw a quasi-static failure. In another study, the Transportation Research Center conducted similar testing of vehicles and found failure of the top tether of two models at 606 and 1,281 pounds of force. RECARO believes that these documents, which were prepared for NHTSA, give validation to the reasoning by RECARO to limit the use of the top tether. (D) Previous NHTSA Decisions: RECARO is aware that NHTSA has a clear precedent of denying child restraint manufacturers’ petitions for inconsequential noncompliance concerning top tether separation. However, RECARO believes that the environment in which those decisions were made has changed. Recaro claims that the methodology it uses to limit top tether loads actually increases safe installations of child restraints by limiting the pounds of force applied and decreasing the chance tether anchor load failures. RECARO also believes that in the event of tether separation the increase to risk of safety is non-existent because the head excursion limits were not exceeded in NHTSA’s compliance tests. RECARO indicates that the risk of the subject child restraints impacting objects in the vehicle is identical to, or better than, other compliant child restraints because both restraints meet the same head excursion requirements. Recaro noted that in an earlier denial of a petition for inconsequential noncompliance NHTSA noted that if it granted the petition it would be contradictory to NHTSA’s mission to promote greater use of LATCH and tether. RECARO believes that this reasoning is no longer relevant due to the recently implemented limits on the use of lower anchors, and thus consumers are now more aware of the limits to the lower anchor and top tether which is consistent with guidance provided in RECARO’s owner’s manual. (E) RECARO Accident Reports: Recaro states that its accident reports for the four years that the subject restraints have been on the market indicate no incidents of separation in the tether anchorage area. Recaro surmises the reason that tether separation occurs in testing is due to an VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:00 Nov 20, 2014 Jkt 235001 outdated test bench seat and testing apparatus. RECARO informed NHTSA that production and distribution of the subject child restraints affected by the noncompliance have been corrected effective July 9, 2014. In summation, RECARO believes that the described noncompliance of the subject child restraints is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that its petition, to exempt RECARO 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. NHTSA notes that the statutory provisions (49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h)) that permit manufacturers to file petitions for a determination of inconsequentiality allow NHTSA to exempt manufacturers only from the duties found in sections 30118 and 30120, respectively, to notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of a defect or noncompliance and to remedy the defect or noncompliance. Therefore, any decision on this petition only applies to the subject child restraint that RECARO no longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. However, any decision on this petition does not relieve child restraint distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of the noncompliant child restraint under their control after RECARO notified them that the subject noncompliance existed. Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: Delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8. Jeffrey M. Giuseppe, Acting Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance. [FR Doc. 2014–27586 Filed 11–20–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2014–0113; Notice 1] Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Receipt of Petition. AGENCY: PO 00000 Frm 00133 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 69553 Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Inc. (Harley-Davidson) has determined that certain MY 2015 Harley-Davidson model XG500 and model XG750 motorcycles do not fully comply with table 3, footnote 4, of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 123, Motorcycle Controls and Displays. Harley-Davidson has filed an appropriate report dated September 3, 2014, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. DATES: The closing date for comments on the petition is December 22, 2014. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the docket and notice number cited at the beginning of this notice and submitted by any of the following methods: • Mail: Send comments by mail addressed to: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Deliver: Deliver comments by hand to: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. The Docket Section is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Federal Holidays. • Electronically: Submit comments electronically by: logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at http:// www.regulations.gov/. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Comments may also be faxed to (202) 493–2251. Comments must be written in the English language, and be no greater than 15 pages in length, 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, selfaddressed postcard with the comments. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Documents submitted to a docket may be viewed by anyone at the address and times given above. The documents may also be viewed on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by following the online instructions for accessing the dockets. DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement is available for review in the SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\21NON1.SGM 21NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 225 (Friday, November 21, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 69551-69553]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-27586]


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

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2014-0109; Notice 1]


RECARO Child Safety, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Receipt of Petition.

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

SUMMARY: RECARO Child Safety, LLC (RECARO) has determined that certain 
RECARO child restraints do not fully comply with paragraph S5.1.1(a) of 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 213, Child 
Restraints. RECARO has filed an appropriate report and was received by 
NHTSA on July 30, 2014, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.

DATES: The closing date for comments on the petition is December 22, 
2014.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written data, 
views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the 
docket and notice number cited at the beginning of this notice and 
submitted by any of the following methods:
     Mail: Send comments by mail addressed to: U.S. Department 
of

[[Page 69552]]

Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590.
     Hand Deliver: Deliver comments by hand to: U.S. Department 
of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, 
Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. The 
Docket Section is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except 
Federal Holidays.
     Electronically: Submit comments electronically by: Logging 
onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at http://www.regulations.gov/. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments. Comments may also be faxed to (202) 493-2251.
    Comments must be written in the English language, and be no greater 
than 15 pages in length, 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.
    Documents submitted to a docket may be viewed by anyone at the 
address and times given above. The documents may also be viewed on the 
Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by following the online 
instructions for accessing the dockets. DOT's complete Privacy Act 
Statement is available for review in the Federal Register published on 
April 11, 2000, (65 FR 19477-78).
    The petition, supporting materials, and all comments received 
before the close of business on the closing date indicated below will 
be filed and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials 
received after the closing date will also be filed and will be 
considered to the extent possible. When the petition is granted or 
denied, notice of the decision will be published in the Federal 
Register pursuant to the authority indicated below.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    I. RECARO's Petition: Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) 
(see implementing rule at 49 CFR part 556), RECARO submitted a petition 
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.
    This notice of receipt of RECARO's petition is published under 49 
U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 and does not represent any agency decision or 
other exercise of judgment concerning the merits of the petition.
    II. Child Restraints Involved: Affected are approximately 78,339 
RECARO ProRide child restraints manufactured between April 9, 2010 and 
July 8, 2014 and approximately 42,303 RECARO Performance RIDE child 
restraints manufactured between January 15, 2013 and July 8, 2014.
    III. Noncompliance: RECARO explains that the noncompliance is that 
the subject child restraints do not comply with the system integrity 
requirements of FMVSS No. 213 paragraph S5.1.1(a) when subjected to the 
dynamic test requirements of FMVSS No. 213 S6.1. During NHTSA's 
compliance tests with the Hybrid II Six Year Old Dummy and the Hybrid 
III Weighted Six Year Old Dummy configured to the child restraints with 
the internal harness and the child restraints attached to the test 
bench with a lap belt and top tether, the tether belt separated at the 
attachment point to the child restraints. The top tether belt 
separation exhibited a complete separation of a load bearing structural 
element and therefore does not comply with the requirements set forth 
in FMVSS No. 213 S5.1.1(a).
    IV. Rule Text: Paragraph S5.1.1(a) of FMVSS No. 213 requires in 
pertinent part:

    S5.1.1 Child Restraint System Integrity. When tested in 
accordance with S6.1 each child restraint system shall meet the 
requirements of paragraphs (a) through (c) of this section.
    (a) Exhibit no complete separation of any load bearing 
structural element and no partial separation exposing either 
surfaces with a radius of less than 1/4 inch or surfaces with 
protrusions greater than 3/8 inch above the immediate adjacent 
surrounding contactable surface of any structural element of the 
system.

    V. Summary of RECARO's Analyses: RECARO stated its belief that the 
subject noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for 
the following reasons:

    (A) FMVSS Safety: RECARO believes that NHTSA's test procedure is 
in direct violation of the instructions and warnings included with 
each ProRIDE and Performance RIDE child restraint and would 
constitute a misuse of the child restraint by the consumer, as seen 
on page 36 of the ProRIDE/Performance RIDE instruction manuals. 
RECARO designed and tested the ProRIDE/Performance RIDE child 
restraints to meet FMVSS No. 213 requirements when tested according 
to the instruction manuals, which was developed from decades of 
research and experience in the automotive industry. Installation in 
accordance with the ProRIDE/Performance RIDE instruction manuals 
decreases the likelihood of top tether anchor failure from the 
vehicle. RECARO has limited lower anchor and top tether use for the 
ProRIDE/Performance RIDE since the inception of the RIDE platform, 
and recently lowered the LATCH (lower anchors and top tether 
attachment) limit to 45 pounds from the previously stated 52 pounds 
to meet current FMVSS No. 213 requirements. RECARO also made mention 
that NHTSA noted in its 2012 FMVSS No. 213 Final Rule response, 
limitations were added to the lower anchors to ``prevent lower LATCH 
anchor loads from exceeding their required strength level specified 
in FMVSS No. 225.'' RECARO states that they used this same rationale 
when they developed the RIDE platform in 2010 and concluded that a 
load limit of 52 pounds would be the safest for consumers.
    (B) Structural Integrity: RECARO stated that technology has 
shown repeatedly that collapse, breakage, and crumpling of material 
minimizes energy and increases the rate of survival for the occupant 
in the event of a collision. They also stated that vehicles are 
designed to reduce the rate of acceleration, and more importantly 
deceleration, of passengers by crushing and breaking to absorb the 
energy. Thus, RECARO believes that child restraint technology has 
fallen in-line with vehicle technology in recent years and that 
other child restraints have been designated ``compliant'' even 
though their convertible shell-to-base connection has been designed 
to crack and break during the peak loading in a crash, due to life-
saving decreases in injury criterion values. RECARO further stated 
that the top tether webbing has been designed to rip and break apart 
under extreme loads to allow the deceleration time to increase for 
the occupant in the crash event. Recaro states that if the injury 
criterion meets industry standards, then controlled breakage has 
proven multiple times to be a positive outcome in the event of a 
vehicle crash, as seen in the RIDE platform.
    (C) Publications: RECARO cites the ``2013 LATCH Manual'' 
published by Safe Ride News Publication which confirms that top 
tether anchors in vehicles are becoming limited more frequently in 
the weight to which they can be subjected. The manual states that 16 
vehicle models limit the use of top tethers to 65 pounds minus the 
weight of the child restraint when using the vehicle belt, and 27 
vehicle models use the same tether limit rationale when installed 
with lower anchors. Recaro indicates that this demonstrates that a 
majority of vehicles on the road instruct consumers to use top 
tether load limit restrictions that align with RECARO's top tether 
load limit of 65 pounds minus the 20 pound weight of the child 
restraint equaling a 45 pound load limit. When installing the child 
restraint with a top tether and vehicle belt, 26 vehicle models 
advise to follow the child restraint manufacturer's instructions and 
an additional 3 vehicle models limit the child's weight to 48 pounds 
or less.
    RECARO states that none of the examples above disagree with 
RECARO's warnings and installation instructions and therefore reduce 
consumer confusion when installing their child restraint. RECARO 
also states that they

[[Page 69553]]

have always supported the alignment of child restraint anchorage 
requirements and vehicle anchorage requirements for LATCH, such as 
the 2012 Final Rule which amended the testing requirements for lower 
anchor use above the combined weight of the child and the child 
restraint. RECARO says they would support NHTSA's review of its 
current testing requirements for top tether use and the 
consideration of either implementing similar load limitations for 
the top tether or requirements for the automotive industry to 
increase the load to which the tether anchorage can bear.
    RECARO referred to documents published in the public docket for 
the 2012 Final Rule amendment of FMVSS No. 213 to limit lower anchor 
loads, which by request of NHTSA was performed by ALPHA Technology 
Associates. In this document, which was used to justify the 
increased risk of ``lower LATCH loads . . . exceeding their required 
strength,'' there is a table depicting top tether anchor loads at 
the point in which certain makes and models saw a quasi-static 
failure. In another study, the Transportation Research Center 
conducted similar testing of vehicles and found failure of the top 
tether of two models at 606 and 1,281 pounds of force.
    RECARO believes that these documents, which were prepared for 
NHTSA, give validation to the reasoning by RECARO to limit the use 
of the top tether.
    (D) Previous NHTSA Decisions: RECARO is aware that NHTSA has a 
clear precedent of denying child restraint manufacturers' petitions 
for inconsequential noncompliance concerning top tether separation. 
However, RECARO believes that the environment in which those 
decisions were made has changed. Recaro claims that the methodology 
it uses to limit top tether loads actually increases safe 
installations of child restraints by limiting the pounds of force 
applied and decreasing the chance tether anchor load failures. 
RECARO also believes that in the event of tether separation the 
increase to risk of safety is non-existent because the head 
excursion limits were not exceeded in NHTSA's compliance tests. 
RECARO indicates that the risk of the subject child restraints 
impacting objects in the vehicle is identical to, or better than, 
other compliant child restraints because both restraints meet the 
same head excursion requirements.
    Recaro noted that in an earlier denial of a petition for 
inconsequential noncompliance NHTSA noted that if it granted the 
petition it would be contradictory to NHTSA's mission to promote 
greater use of LATCH and tether. RECARO believes that this reasoning 
is no longer relevant due to the recently implemented limits on the 
use of lower anchors, and thus consumers are now more aware of the 
limits to the lower anchor and top tether which is consistent with 
guidance provided in RECARO's owner's manual.
    (E) RECARO Accident Reports: Recaro states that its accident 
reports for the four years that the subject restraints have been on 
the market indicate no incidents of separation in the tether 
anchorage area. Recaro surmises the reason that tether separation 
occurs in testing is due to an outdated test bench seat and testing 
apparatus.

    RECARO informed NHTSA that production and distribution of the 
subject child restraints affected by the noncompliance have been 
corrected effective July 9, 2014.
    In summation, RECARO believes that the described noncompliance of 
the subject child restraints is inconsequential to motor vehicle 
safety, and that its petition, to exempt RECARO 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.
    NHTSA notes that the statutory provisions (49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 
30120(h)) that permit manufacturers to file petitions for a 
determination of inconsequentiality allow NHTSA to exempt manufacturers 
only from the duties found in sections 30118 and 30120, respectively, 
to notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of a defect or noncompliance 
and to remedy the defect or noncompliance. Therefore, any decision on 
this petition only applies to the subject child restraint that RECARO 
no longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance 
existed. However, any decision on this petition does not relieve child 
restraint distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, 
offer for sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into 
interstate commerce of the noncompliant child restraint under their 
control after RECARO notified them that the subject noncompliance 
existed.

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: Delegations of authority at 
49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8.

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe,
Acting Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2014-27586 Filed 11-20-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P