Denial of Motor Vehicle Defect Petition, 51650-51654 [2015-20949]

Download as PDF 51650 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 164 / Tuesday, August 25, 2015 / Notices the search field at http:// www.regulations.gov. William D. Jackson, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for the Generalized System of Preferences, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. [FR Doc. 2015–21067 Filed 8–24–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3290–F5–P OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE Determination Under the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act Office of the United States Trade Representative. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The United States Trade Representative has determined that Curacao meets certain customs criteria ¸ of the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act and, therefore, imports of eligible products from Curacao ¸ qualify for the enhanced trade benefits provided under the Act. DATES: Effective date: August 18, 2015. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Estelle Ryckman, Senior Advisor, Office of the United States Trade Representative, (202) 395–9585. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (Title II of the Trade and Development Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106–200) (CBTPA) expands the trade benefits available to Caribbean and Central American beneficiary countries under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (CBERA). The enhanced trade benefits provided by the CBTPA are available to imports of eligible products from countries that (1) the President designates as CBTPA beneficiary countries, and (2) meet the requirements of the CBERA relating to implementation of customs procedures and requirements similar to those in Chapter 5 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that assist the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in verifying the origin of the products. In Proclamation 9072 of December 23, 2013, the President designated Curacao ¸ as a CBERA and a CBTPA beneficiary country. In that proclamation, the President also delegated to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) the authority to determine whether Curacao ¸ is meeting the customs criteria of the CBERA. The President directed the USTR to announce any such determinations in the Federal Register and to implement any such determinations through modifications to asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:10 Aug 24, 2015 Jkt 235001 the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) of the United States. Based on information and commitments provided by Curacao to ¸ date, I have determined that Curacao ¸ satisfies the requirements of section 213(b)(4)(A)(ii) of the CBERA relating to the implementation of procedures and requirements similar in all material respects to those in Chapter 5 of the NAFTA. Accordingly, pursuant to the authority vested in the USTR by Proclamation 9072, the HTS is modified by (i) modifying general note 17(a) to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States by adding in alphabetical sequence ‘‘Curacao,’’ and (ii) modifying ¸ U.S. note 1 to subchapter XX of chapter 98 by inserting in alphabetical sequence ‘‘Curacao,’’, effective with respect to ¸ articles entered, or withdrawn from warehouse, on the date of this notice. Michael B.G. Froman, United States Trade Representative. [FR Doc. 2015–20921 Filed 8–24–15; 8:45 am] defect that relates to motor vehicle safety. 49 U.S.C. 30162(a)(2); 49 CFR 552.1. Upon receipt of a properly filed petition, the agency conducts a technical review of the petition, material submitted with the petition, and any additional information. 49 U.S.C. 30162(c); 49 CFR 552.6. The technical review may consist solely of a review of information already in the possession of the agency, or it may include the collection of information from the motor vehicle manufacturer and/or other sources. After considering the technical review and taking into account appropriate factors, which may include, among others, allocation of agency resources, agency priorities, the likelihood of uncovering sufficient evidence to establish the existence of a defect, and the likelihood of success in any necessary enforcement litigation, the agency will grant or deny the petition. See 49 U.S.C. 30162(d); 49 CFR 552.8. BILLING CODE 3290–F5–P 2.0 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Denial of Motor Vehicle Defect Petition National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA), Department of Transportation. ACTION: Denial of a petition for a defect investigation. AGENCY: This notice sets forth the reasons for denying a petition submitted to NHTSA, 49 U.S.C. 30162, 49 CFR part 552, requesting that the agency open ‘‘an investigation into low-speed surging in different models of Toyota automobiles in which the car starts accelerating and the engine RPM increases even when the accelerator pedal is not depressed.’’ FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Stephen McHenry, Vehicle Control Division, Office of Defects Investigation, NHTSA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Telephone 202– 366–4883. Email stephen.mchenry@ dot.gov. SUMMARY: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 1.0 Introduction Interested persons may petition NHTSA requesting that the agency initiate an investigation to determine whether a motor vehicle or item of replacement equipment does not comply with an applicable motor vehicle safety standard or contains a PO 00000 Frm 00120 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Petition Background Information In a letter dated June 19, 2015, Dr. Gopal Raghavan (the petitioner) requested that NHTSA open ‘‘an investigation into low-speed surging in different models of Toyota automobiles in which the car starts accelerating and the engine RPM increases even when the accelerator pedal is not depressed.’’ Dr. Raghavan based his request on his analysis of EDR data from an accident involving his wife and from two other accidents in Toyota vehicles. NHTSA has reviewed the material cited by the petitioner. The results of this review and our evaluation of the petition are set forth in the DP15–005 Petition Analysis Report, published in its entirety as an appendix to this notice. After a thorough assessment of the material submitted by the petitioner, the information already in NHTSA’s possession, and the potential risks to safety implicated by the petitioner’s allegations, it is unlikely that an order concerning the notification and remedy of a safety-related defect would result from any proceeding initiated by the granting of Dr. Raghavan’s petition. After full consideration of the potential for finding a safety related defect in the vehicle, and in view of NHTSA’s enforcement priorities, its previous investigations into this issue, and the need to allocate and prioritize NHTSA’s limited resources to best accomplish the agency’s mission, the petition is denied. E:\FR\FM\25AUN1.SGM 25AUN1 51651 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 164 / Tuesday, August 25, 2015 / Notices Appendix—Petition Analysis—DP15– 005 1.0 Introduction On June 29, 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received a June 19, 2015 letter from Dr. Gopal Raghavan, Ph.D. EE (the petitioner), petitioning the agency ‘‘for an investigation into low-speed surging in different models of Toyota automobiles in which the car starts accelerating and the engine RPM increases even when the accelerator pedal is not depressed.’’ In support of this request, the petitioner provides his analysis of Event Data Recorder (EDR) data from three accidents, which he alleges, ‘‘shows a troubling similarity amongst EDRs of Toyota cars showing sudden acceleration.’’ 2.0 Petition Analysis 2.1 EDR Pre-Crash Data Since the petition is based on several misconceptions about Toyota EDR pre-crash data, a short background of this system is provided. The Toyota EDR collects pretrigger data (vehicle speed, engine speed, brake switch status, and accelerator pedal position sensor #1 voltage) from the vehicle’s High Speed Controller Area Network (HS– CAN), which is refreshed either periodically or immediately by the respective control modules. TABLE 1—EDR PRE-CRASH PARAMETERS, BY REFRESH RATE 2 Parameter Refresh rate Resolution Brake Switch ........................................................................................... Engine RPM ............................................................................................ Vehicle Speed ......................................................................................... Accelerator Rate ...................................................................................... Immediately ................................... 24 ms ............................................. 500 ms ........................................... 512 ms ........................................... On/Off. 400 RPM.1 2 km/h.2 0.039 volts. signals. Any analysis of EDR data for Toyota vehicles should apply these data time tolerances and resolutions at each of the precrash data points. In 2010, NHTSA’s Vehicle Research and Test Center (VRTC) conducted testing to validate the EDR pre-crash data used in NHTSA field investigations.4 Figure 1 shows accelerator pedal sensor voltage data from one test performed by VRTC in the validation testing.5 As the figure shows, the EDR does not necessarily capture all accelerator pedal applications during an event and the accelerator pedal voltage recorded at each EDR time interval may not be the actual accelerator pedal voltage at that interval. Subsequent studies have confirmed the limitations of stored EDR pre-crash data in capturing the entire crash event due to the data refresh rates, data resolutions and EDR sampling rates.6 7 8 The Bosch CDR report provided with the petition clearly notes these issues in the first two items of Data Limitations section on page one of the report: • Due to limitations of the data recorded by the airbag ECU, such as the resolution, data range, sampling interval, time period of the recording, and the items recorded, the information provided by this data may not be sufficient to capture the entire crash. • Pre-Crash data is recorded in discrete intervals. Due to different refresh rates within the vehicle’s electronics, the data recorded may not be synchronous to each other. 1 EDR recorded data are rounded down in the indicated resolution increments. 2 These values apply to ES350 and Camry vehicles involved in two of the incidents identified by the petitioner. The third vehicle, a 2010 Toyota Corolla, has a slower refresh rate for Engine RPM (524 ms). 3 An event is triggered by detection of a deceleration of approximately 2 g’s. 4 ‘‘Event Data Recorder—Pre Crash Data Validation of Toyota Products,’’ NHTSA–NVS– 2011–ETC–SR07, February 2011. 5 ‘‘Event Data Recorder—Pre Crash Data Validation of Toyota Products,’’ NHTSA–NVS– 2011–ETC–SR07, February 2011, page 13. 6 Brown, R., White, S., ‘‘Evaluation of Camry HS– CAN Pre-Crash Data,’’ SAE Technical Paper 2012– 01–0996, 2012, doi: 10.4271/2012–01–0996. 7 Brown, R., Lewis, L., Hare, B., Jakstis, M. et al., ‘‘Confirmation of Toyota EDR Pre-crash Data,’’ SAE Technical Paper 2012–01–0998, 2012, doi: 10.4271/ 2012–01–0998. 8 Ruth, R., Bartlett, W., Daily, J., ‘‘Accuracy of Event Data in the 2010 and 2011 Toyota Camry During Steady State and Braking Conditions,’’ SAE Technical Paper 2012–01–0999, 2012, doi: 10.4271/ 2012–01–0999. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:10 Aug 24, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00121 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 2.2 Crashes Cited by Petitioner 2.2.1 2009 Lexus ES350 The first incident identified by the petitioner involved a sudden acceleration accident experienced by his wife as she E:\FR\FM\25AUN1.SGM 25AUN1 EN25AU15.003</GPH> asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES The EDR continuously performs 1 Hz sampling of HS–CAN pre-trigger data and stores the data in a temporary buffer. The EDR only saves this data, along with the trigger data, when it detects a triggering event such as a crash.3 Table 1 shows the refresh rates and resolutions for the pre-crash data 51652 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 164 / Tuesday, August 25, 2015 / Notices attempted to park the family’s 2009 Lexus ES350 on Friday, February 13, 2015 (VOQ 10732103). When interviewed by ODI, Mrs. Raghavan stated that the engine roared as she was coasting into a parking space. She stated that the surge occurred before she applied the brake and that when she applied the brake there was no response or braking action. The vehicle accelerated up onto a sidewalk and into some bushes and a fence. On February 24, 2015, a Toyota representative inspected the vehicle, including a download of EDR data (Table 2). TABLE 2—PRE-CRASH DATA FOR VOQ 10732103 Time (sec) ¥4.6 ¥3.6 ¥2.6 ¥1.6 ¥0.6 Vehicle Speed (MPH [km/h]) ....... Brake Switch ............................... Accelerator Rate (V) .................... Engine RPM (RPM) ..................... 3.7 [6] .............. OFF ................. 0.78 .................. 400 ................... 3.7 [6] .............. OFF ................. 0.78 .................. 400 ................... 3.7 [6] .............. OFF ................. 0.78 .................. 400 ................... 3.7 [6] .............. OFF ................. 0.78 .................. 800 ................... 5 [8] ................. OFF ................. 2.38 .................. 1,600 ................ According to the EDR data, immediately prior to impact (t = 0.6 s) the brake pedal was not applied and the accelerator pedal was depressed to approximately 71 percent of full apply.9 Based on the recorded vehicle speeds at this time, the vehicle was inside the parking space when the acceleration occurred. At this time and distance from impact, the driver should be applying the brake and not the accelerator to safely stop the vehicle and avoid the collision. Although the driver alleged that the brakes were not effective during the incident, the brakes had no prior history of malfunction and the postincident inspection did not identify any issues with the brake system. Based on the available information, this incident is consistent with pedal misapplication by the driver and provides no evidence of a vehicle defect. 2.2.2 2010 Toyota Corolla The second incident identified by the petitioner involved a MY 2010 Toyota Corolla that accelerated into a parked vehicle during an attempted curbside-parking maneuver in a residential neighborhood on June 8, 2014 (VOQ 10637908). NHTSA examined this incident in Defect Petition DP14–003, which the agency closed on April 29, 2015.10 0 (TRG) 8.7 [14]. ON. 0.78. 1,600. In the police report for this accident, the driver states that she stopped at an intersection with the intention of turning right and parking along the curb behind a parked vehicle. When interviewed by ODI, the driver indicated that as she applied the brakes during the incident, the car responded by accelerating. She stated that it did not slow down, and it continued to increase in speed until it hit the back of the parked vehicle. Similar to the current petitioner’s incident, the EDR data for this incident (Table 3) shows no recorded service brake application until the airbag module trigger point (t = 0s). TABLE 3—PRE-CRASH DATA FOR VOQ 10637908 Time (sec) ¥4.8 ¥3.8 ¥2.8 ¥1.8 ¥0.8 Vehicle Speed (MPH [km/h]) ....... Brake Switch ............................... Accelerator Rate (V) .................... Engine RPM (RPM) ..................... 3.7 [6] .............. OFF ................. 0.78 .................. 800 ................... 3.7 [6] .............. OFF ................. 0.78 .................. 800 ................... 3.7 [6] .............. OFF ................. 0.86 .................. 800 ................... 3.7 [6] .............. OFF ................. 0.78 .................. 800 ................... 5 [8] ................. OFF ................. 0.78 .................. 800 ................... Based on the vehicle speeds recorded just prior to impact (t = ¥0.8 s), the Corolla was less than a car length from the parked vehicle and traveling 7 to 9 feet per second with no indication of service brake application. At this speed and distance, the driver should be applying the brake to safely stop the vehicle and avoid the collision. Although the recorded accelerator rate voltages do not show a pedal application corresponding with the surge,11 VRTC simulation testing verified that unrecorded accelerator pedal applications could produce the increases in vehicle speed and engine speed shown by the EDR in the trigger data.12 In addition, VRTC accumulated over two thousand miles of testing of this vehicle during DP14–003 with no problems noted in the throttle, transmission or brake systems.13 As previously determined by NHTSA, this incident does not provide evidence of a vehicle defect. 2.2.3 2009 Toyota Camry The third incident identified by the petitioner involved a MY 2009 Toyota Camry 0 (TRG) 7.5 [12]. ON. 0.78. 1,600. that accelerated into a building when attempting to park in a storefront facing parking space on December 21, 2009 (VOQ 10299750). This incident was among 58 accidents investigated by NHTSA in 2010 as part of the joint study with NASA. A description of the incident, identified as Case 33 in the NHTSA study, was included as an example of the 39 accidents classified as pedal misapplications in a 2011 report summarizing NHTSA’s field investigations.14 TABLE 4—PRE-CRASH DATA FOR VOQ 10299750, EDR TOOL VERSION 1.4.1.1 asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Time (sec) ¥4.7 ¥3.7 ¥2.7 ¥1.7 ¥0.7 Vehicle Speed (MPH [km/h]) ....... Brake Switch ............................... Accelerator Rate (V) .................... Engine RPM (RPM) ..................... 3.7 [6] .............. OFF ................. 0.86 .................. 400 ................... 3.7 [6] .............. OFF ................. 0.82 .................. 400 ................... 3.7 [6] .............. OFF ................. 0.98 .................. 800 ................... 9.9 [16] ............ OFF ................. 0.78 .................. 1,600 ................ 13.7 [22] .......... OFF ................. 3.71 .................. 3,200 ................ 9 According to Toyota, an Accelerator Rate of 2.38 volts indicates an accelerator pedal application of 71 percent. 10 McHenry, S., ‘‘Denial of Motor Vehicle Defect Petition,’’ DP14–003, May 2015. 11 The data do show a small accelerator pedal application 2.8 seconds prior to the impact. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:10 Aug 24, 2015 Jkt 235001 12 Collins, W., Stoltzfus, D., ‘‘Evaluation of 2010 Toyota Corolla from DP14–003,’’ DP14–003WDC, April 2015, pages 11–13. 13 Collins, W., Stoltzfus, D., ‘‘Evaluation of 2010 Toyota Corolla from DP14–003,’’ DP14–003WDC, April 2015. PO 00000 Frm 00122 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 0 (TRG) 19.9 [32] OFF 1.37 4,400 14 ‘‘NHTSA Toyota Pre-Crash EDR Field Inspections during March–August 2010,’’ NHTSA– NVS–2011–ETC–SR10, February, 2011, pages 15– 16. E:\FR\FM\25AUN1.SGM 25AUN1 51653 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 164 / Tuesday, August 25, 2015 / Notices As described in the 2011 report, the driver had turned from a lane of traffic to enter a parking space and was about to come to a rest facing a shopping plaza storefront when the vehicle lunged forward through the facade of ¸ a hair salon. The driver reported having his foot on the brake when the acceleration occurred. Table 4 shows the EDR pre-crash data for this accident, as published in the 2011 report.15 The EDR data for this incident shows no recorded service brake application during the event. Immediately prior to impact and after the vehicle had entered the parking space, the driver pressed the accelerator pedal to the floor when intending to apply the brake.16 As noted in the 2011 report, this incident is consistent with pedal misapplication by the driver and does not provide any evidence of a vehicle defect as suggested by the petitioner. 2.3 Petitioner Claims and Misconceptions 2.3.1 ‘‘Strong Signature’’ According to the petitioner, ‘‘The fact that all three cars were coasting at 3.7 mph when the sudden-acceleration happened appears to be a strong signature of a common issue.’’ However, even though the EDR data for the three incidents may have reflected speeds of 3.7 mph before the acceleration occurred, the vehicles may not have actually been travelling the same speed. The common speeds recorded in the three vehicles are simply an artifact of the EDR vehicle speed resolution of 2 km/h. In all three incidents, the vehicles were travelling 6.0–7.9 km/h (3.7–4.9 mph) prior to the accelerations, which the Toyota EDR records as 6 km/h (3.7 mph). These are common speeds for lowspeed parking maneuvers. The ‘‘glitch’’ in accelerator pedal voltage that the petitioner alleges occurs after the 3.7 mph speed recording, is the voltage increase resulting from the accelerator pedal applications by the drivers. The petitioner claims that the voltage spike suggests a potential vehicle based cause, speculating, ‘‘the accelerator is either calculating an incorrect accelerator value or receiving a noise spike on the accelerator sensor.’’ However, such speculation ignores the facts that the accelerator pedal has redundant sensors and that NASA already thoroughly examined this subject during the joint study. The common pattern is that the ‘‘glitches’’ occur at the moments in the events when the driver should be initiating braking, but no braking has occurred. Thus, the only common signature evident in the incidents is that in all three the surges occurred when the driver should have initiated braking for a vehicle entering a parking space at low speed. The fact that the vehicles suddenly accelerated just as they were beginning to enter their intended parking spaces instead of braking to a stop as intended is a signature of pedal misapplication by the driver. NHTSA has observed this signature in investigations of sudden acceleration dating back to the first such investigation that ODI opened in 1978. It is not isolated to any particular makes or models of vehicles or to any throttle design technologies. 2.3.2 Engine RPM Increases The petitioner claims that each of the incidents he analyzed displays evidence of engine speed increases without any application of the accelerator pedal. For example, in his analysis of his wife’s incident he states, ‘‘by ¥1.6 seconds the engine RPM has DOUBLED to 800 with no depression of the accelerator.’’ This assertion reflects a misunderstanding of the manner in which the Toyota EDR samples and records precrash data as previously described in this report and in prior reports published by NHTSA. First, as indicated in this report and in the Data Definitions section on page two of the Bosch CDR report attached to the petition, the Toyota EDR records engine speed in 400 rpm increments (rounded down). For example, a recorded value of 400 rpm indicates that the measured engine speed was between 400 and 799 rpm. Thus, an increase in recorded engine speed from 400 to 800 rpm could result from a change in engine speed of just 1 rpm. Second, the nominal idle speed for a MY 2009 ES350 when the engine is warm, the transmission is in gear (i.e., either Drive or Reverse), and no accessory loads are operating is approximately 600 rpm. Airconditioning use and steering input may result in the idle speed increasing to 700 to 800 rpm to compensate for the additional loads placed on the engine by the airconditioning compressor and power-steering pump. Thus, the actual engine speeds associated with the recorded values of 400 rpm were likely closer to 800 rpm than 400 rpm.17 Finally, it is not accurate to state that engine speed increases did not result from accelerator pedal applications based strictly on the recorded EDR data, since the data do not necessarily show all accelerator pedal applications (see section 2.1 and Figure 1) and because of the differences in refresh rates for engine speed and accelerator rate. Although actual engine speed will closely follow accelerator rate, the recorded accelerator rate may slightly lag behind recorded engine speed due to the slower refresh rate of the accelerator signal (see Table 1). Thus, the increase in recorded engine speed at ¥1.6 seconds prior to impact could very well have resulted from the initial stages of the large pedal application that the EDR recorded at ¥0.6 seconds. 2.3.3 Case 33 The EDR data used by the petitioner for Case 33 was from the initial readout ODI performed with the original version of software available from Toyota (Table 5). This version converted accelerator pedal sensor #1 voltages to an accelerator status of OFF, MIDDLE or FULL. A supplemental report to the NHTSA February 2011 report included a copy of this readout.18 This incident is one of many incidents from early field investigations that ODI read a second time after receiving an updated version of Toyota software that provided a more precise indication of accelerator pedal position.19 TABLE 5—PRE-CRASH DATA FOR VOQ 10299750, EDR TOOL VERSION 1.3 (ORIGINAL READOUT) ¥4.7 ¥3.7 ¥2.7 ¥1.7 ¥0.7 Vehicle Speed (MPH [km/h]) ....... Brake Switch ............................... Accelerator .................................. Engine RPM (RPM) ..................... asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Time (sec) 3.7 [6] .............. OFF ................. OFF ................. 400 ................... 3.7 [6] .............. OFF ................. OFF ................. 400 ................... 3.7 [6] .............. OFF ................. OFF ................. 800 ................... 9.9 [16] ............ OFF ................. OFF ................. 1,600 ................ 13.7 [22] .......... OFF ................. FULL ................ 3,200 ................ 0 (TRG) 19.9 [32] OFF OFF 4,400 Table 4 shows the data from the readout obtained using the updated software. Rather than maintaining a consistent voltage as may be misinterpreted by the OFF accelerator levels shown in Table 5, the accelerator pedal rates in the updated readout in Table 4 show that the driver was applying the accelerator pedal at varying rates throughout the event. Thus, the petitioner’s conclusions that the vehicle was coasting and the driver had not depressed the accelerator pedal when the idle speed was increasing are incorrect and do not provide evidence of a vehicle defect. 2.3.4 15 The petitioner based his analysis of this incident on a different EDR readout reviewed later in this report, in Section 2.3.3, ‘‘Case 33.’’ 16 The recorded Accelerator Rate of 3.71 volts is well beyond the accelerator rate needed for 100 percent throttle. 17 Engine speeds that drop below 500 rpm are uncommon in motor vehicles and have been associated with engine stall due to idle undershoot in some ODI investigations of non-Toyota products. 18 ‘‘Toyota EDR Data from NHTSA Pre-Crash Field Inspections,’’ NHTSA–NVS–2011–ETC–SR12, February 2011. 19 ‘‘Toyota EDR Software Versions Used in NHTSA Unintended Acceleration Field Investigation Cases,’’ NHTSA–NVS–2011–ETC– SR08, February 2011, page 8. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:54 Aug 24, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00123 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 NASA ‘‘High-Speed Study’’ The petitioner incorrectly characterizes the joint NASA–NHTSA study as a ‘‘high-speed study.’’ In fact, the joint study focused on all potential vulnerabilities in the Toyota ETCSi system that were not associated with the E:\FR\FM\25AUN1.SGM 25AUN1 51654 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 164 / Tuesday, August 25, 2015 / Notices floor mat entrapment or sticking accelerator pedal conditions addressed by multiple Toyota safety recalls in 2009 and 2010.20 Most such incidents examined during the study involved allegations of sudden acceleration in vehicles initially moving at low speeds. The most common scenario for the incidents was acceleration when attempting to park. Thus, contrary to the petitioner’s characterization, low-speed surges were the primary focus of the study by NHTSA and NASA in 2010. The incidents analyzed by the petitioner fall within the scope of prior work conducted in the joint NHTSA–NASA study of Toyota ETCS-i and, more recently, the analysis conducted in evaluating Defect Petition DP14–003. His claims appear to be based on upon several misconceptions regarding the manner in which Toyota EDR sample and record data, as well as a misunderstanding of the scope of and results from prior work conducted by NHTSA, NASA and others related to sudden unintended acceleration and the use of EDR data in related field investigations. The petitioner has presented no new evidence or theories not already considered by NHTSA that warrant reconsideration of any of the analyses or conclusions from that prior work. 3.0 Conclusion In our view, a defects investigation is unlikely to result in a finding that a defect related to motor vehicle safety exists, or a NHTSA order for the notification and remedy of a safety-related defect as alleged by the petitioner, at the conclusion of the requested investigation. Therefore, given a thorough analysis of the potential for finding a safety related defect in the vehicle, and in view of NHTSA’s enforcement priorities, its previous investigations into this issue, and the need to allocate and prioritize NHTSA’s limited resources to best accomplish the agency’s safety mission and mitigate risk, the petition is denied. This action does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist. The agency will take further action if warranted by future circumstances. Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30162(d); delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.50 and 501.8. Frank S. Borris II, Acting Associate Administrator for Enforcement. [FR Doc. 2015–20949 Filed 8–24–15; 8:45 am] asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES BILLING CODE 4910–59–P 20 The floor mat entrapment and sticking pedal defect conditions were both ‘‘stuck throttle’’ type defect conditions, which typically occur at higher speeds when larger accelerator pedal applications necessary to cause the entrapment are more likely. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:10 Aug 24, 2015 Jkt 235001 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Notice of Meeting of the Advisory Council on Transportation Statistics (ACTS) of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology (OST–R) Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of meeting. AGENCY: This notice announces, pursuant to Section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) (Pub. L. 72–363; 5 U.S.C. app. 2), a meeting of the Advisory Council on Transportation Statistics (ACTS). The meeting will be held on Thursday, September 10th, 2015 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Room E37–302, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., Washington, DC. Section 52011 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP–21) directs the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish an Advisory Council on Transportation Statistics subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C., App. 2) to advise the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) on the quality, reliability, consistency, objectivity, and relevance of transportation statistics and analyses collected, supported, or disseminated by the Bureau and the Department. The following is a summary of the draft meeting agenda: (1) USDOT Welcome and Introduction of Council Members; (2) Update on Current BTS Issues; (3) Discussion about Future Data Products; (4) Program Review; (5) Public Comments and Closing Remarks. Participation is open to the public. Members of the public who wish to participate must notify Mr. D.Senay Gales at d.senay.gales@dot.gov, not later than August 31, 2015. Members of the public may present oral statements at the meeting with the approval of Patricia Hu, Director of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Noncommittee members wishing to present oral statements or obtain information should contact Mr. D.Senay Gales via email no later than August 31, 2015. Questions about the agenda or written comments may be emailed to D.Senay.Gales@dot.gov or submitted by U.S. Mail to: U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Attn: Mr. D.Senay Gales, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room #E34–429, Washington, DC 20590, or faxed to (202) 366–3383. BTS requests that written comments be received by August 31, PO 00000 Frm 00124 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 2015. Access to the DOT Headquarters building is controlled therefore all persons who plan to attend the meeting must notify Mr. Gales at 202–366–1270 prior to August 31, 2015. Individuals attending the meeting must report to the main DOT entrance on New Jersey Avenue SE., for admission to the building. Attendance is open to the public, but limited space is available. Persons with a disability requiring special services, such as an interpreter for the hearing impaired, should contact Mr. D.Senay Gales at 202–366–1270 at least seven calendar days prior to the meeting. Notice of this meeting is provided in accordance with the FACA and the General Services Administration regulations (41 CFR part 102–3) covering management of Federal advisory committees. Issued in Washington, DC, on the 18th day of August 2015. Rolf Schmitt, Deputy Director, Bureau of Transportation Statistics. [FR Doc. 2015–20969 Filed 8–24–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–9X–P DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request August 19, 2015. The Department of the Treasury will submit the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104–13, on or after the date of publication of this notice. DATES: Comments should be received on or before September 24, 2015 to be assured of consideration. ADDRESSES: Send comments regarding the burden estimate, or any other aspect of the information collection, including suggestion for reducing the burden, to (1) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Attention: Desk Officer for Treasury, New Executive Office Building, Room 10235, Washington, DC 20503, or email at OIRA_Submission@ OMB.EOP.GOV and (2) Treasury PRA Clearance Officer, 1750 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Suite 8140, Washington, DC 20220, or email at PRA@treasury.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Copies of the submission(s) may be obtained by calling (202) 927–5331, email at PRA@treasury.gov, or the entire information collection request maybe found at www.reginfo.gov. E:\FR\FM\25AUN1.SGM 25AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 164 (Tuesday, August 25, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 51650-51654]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-20949]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration


Denial of Motor Vehicle Defect Petition

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

ACTION: Denial of a petition for a defect investigation.

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SUMMARY: This notice sets forth the reasons for denying a petition 
submitted to NHTSA, 49 U.S.C. 30162, 49 CFR part 552, requesting that 
the agency open ``an investigation into low-speed surging in different 
models of Toyota automobiles in which the car starts accelerating and 
the engine RPM increases even when the accelerator pedal is not 
depressed.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Stephen McHenry, Vehicle Control 
Division, Office of Defects Investigation, NHTSA, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590. Telephone 202-366-4883. Email 
stephen.mchenry@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

1.0 Introduction

    Interested persons may petition NHTSA requesting that the agency 
initiate an investigation to determine whether a motor vehicle or item 
of replacement equipment does not comply with an applicable motor 
vehicle safety standard or contains a defect that relates to motor 
vehicle safety. 49 U.S.C. 30162(a)(2); 49 CFR 552.1. Upon receipt of a 
properly filed petition, the agency conducts a technical review of the 
petition, material submitted with the petition, and any additional 
information. 49 U.S.C. 30162(c); 49 CFR 552.6. The technical review may 
consist solely of a review of information already in the possession of 
the agency, or it may include the collection of information from the 
motor vehicle manufacturer and/or other sources. After considering the 
technical review and taking into account appropriate factors, which may 
include, among others, allocation of agency resources, agency 
priorities, the likelihood of uncovering sufficient evidence to 
establish the existence of a defect, and the likelihood of success in 
any necessary enforcement litigation, the agency will grant or deny the 
petition. See 49 U.S.C. 30162(d); 49 CFR 552.8.

2.0 Petition Background Information

    In a letter dated June 19, 2015, Dr. Gopal Raghavan (the 
petitioner) requested that NHTSA open ``an investigation into low-speed 
surging in different models of Toyota automobiles in which the car 
starts accelerating and the engine RPM increases even when the 
accelerator pedal is not depressed.'' Dr. Raghavan based his request on 
his analysis of EDR data from an accident involving his wife and from 
two other accidents in Toyota vehicles. NHTSA has reviewed the material 
cited by the petitioner. The results of this review and our evaluation 
of the petition are set forth in the DP15-005 Petition Analysis Report, 
published in its entirety as an appendix to this notice.
    After a thorough assessment of the material submitted by the 
petitioner, the information already in NHTSA's possession, and the 
potential risks to safety implicated by the petitioner's allegations, 
it is unlikely that an order concerning the notification and remedy of 
a safety-related defect would result from any proceeding initiated by 
the granting of Dr. Raghavan's petition. After full consideration of 
the potential for finding a safety related defect in the vehicle, and 
in view of NHTSA's enforcement priorities, its previous investigations 
into this issue, and the need to allocate and prioritize NHTSA's 
limited resources to best accomplish the agency's mission, the petition 
is denied.

[[Page 51651]]

Appendix--Petition Analysis--DP15-005

1.0 Introduction

    On June 29, 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration (NHTSA) received a June 19, 2015 letter from Dr. 
Gopal Raghavan, Ph.D. EE (the petitioner), petitioning the agency 
``for an investigation into low-speed surging in different models of 
Toyota automobiles in which the car starts accelerating and the 
engine RPM increases even when the accelerator pedal is not 
depressed.'' In support of this request, the petitioner provides his 
analysis of Event Data Recorder (EDR) data from three accidents, 
which he alleges, ``shows a troubling similarity amongst EDRs of 
Toyota cars showing sudden acceleration.''

2.0 Petition Analysis

2.1 EDR Pre-Crash Data

    Since the petition is based on several misconceptions about 
Toyota EDR pre-crash data, a short background of this system is 
provided. The Toyota EDR collects pre-trigger data (vehicle speed, 
engine speed, brake switch status, and accelerator pedal position 
sensor #1 voltage) from the vehicle's High Speed Controller Area 
Network (HS-CAN), which is refreshed either periodically or 
immediately by the respective control modules.

          Table 1--EDR Pre-Crash Parameters, by Refresh Rate 2
------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Parameter                Refresh rate         Resolution
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Brake Switch....................  Immediately.......  On/Off.
Engine RPM......................  24 ms.............  400 RPM.1
Vehicle Speed...................  500 ms............  2 km/h.2
Accelerator Rate................  512 ms............  0.039 volts.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

     
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    \1\ EDR recorded data are rounded down in the indicated 
resolution increments.
    \2\ These values apply to ES350 and Camry vehicles involved in 
two of the incidents identified by the petitioner. The third 
vehicle, a 2010 Toyota Corolla, has a slower refresh rate for Engine 
RPM (524 ms).
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    The EDR continuously performs 1 Hz sampling of HS-CAN pre-
trigger data and stores the data in a temporary buffer. The EDR only 
saves this data, along with the trigger data, when it detects a 
triggering event such as a crash.\3\ Table 1 shows the refresh rates 
and resolutions for the pre-crash data signals. Any analysis of EDR 
data for Toyota vehicles should apply these data time tolerances and 
resolutions at each of the pre-crash data points.
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    \3\ An event is triggered by detection of a deceleration of 
approximately 2 g's.
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    In 2010, NHTSA's Vehicle Research and Test Center (VRTC) 
conducted testing to validate the EDR pre-crash data used in NHTSA 
field investigations.\4\ Figure 1 shows accelerator pedal sensor 
voltage data from one test performed by VRTC in the validation 
testing.\5\ As the figure shows, the EDR does not necessarily 
capture all accelerator pedal applications during an event and the 
accelerator pedal voltage recorded at each EDR time interval may not 
be the actual accelerator pedal voltage at that interval.
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    \4\ ``Event Data Recorder--Pre Crash Data Validation of Toyota 
Products,'' NHTSA-NVS-2011-ETC-SR07, February 2011.
    \5\ ``Event Data Recorder--Pre Crash Data Validation of Toyota 
Products,'' NHTSA-NVS-2011-ETC-SR07, February 2011, page 13.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TN25AU15.003

    Subsequent studies have confirmed the limitations of stored EDR 
pre-crash data in capturing the entire crash event due to the data 
refresh rates, data resolutions and EDR sampling 
rates.6 7 8
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    \6\ Brown, R., White, S., ``Evaluation of Camry HS-CAN Pre-Crash 
Data,'' SAE Technical Paper 2012-01-0996, 2012, doi: 10.4271/2012-
01-0996.
    \7\ Brown, R., Lewis, L., Hare, B., Jakstis, M. et al., 
``Confirmation of Toyota EDR Pre-crash Data,'' SAE Technical Paper 
2012-01-0998, 2012, doi: 10.4271/2012-01-0998.
    \8\ Ruth, R., Bartlett, W., Daily, J., ``Accuracy of Event Data 
in the 2010 and 2011 Toyota Camry During Steady State and Braking 
Conditions,'' SAE Technical Paper 2012-01-0999, 2012, doi: 10.4271/
2012-01-0999.
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    The Bosch CDR report provided with the petition clearly notes 
these issues in the first two items of Data Limitations section on 
page one of the report:
     Due to limitations of the data recorded by the airbag 
ECU, such as the resolution, data range, sampling interval, time 
period of the recording, and the items recorded, the information 
provided by this data may not be sufficient to capture the entire 
crash.
     Pre-Crash data is recorded in discrete intervals. Due 
to different refresh rates within the vehicle's electronics, the 
data recorded may not be synchronous to each other.

2.2 Crashes Cited by Petitioner

2.2.1 2009 Lexus ES350

    The first incident identified by the petitioner involved a 
sudden acceleration accident experienced by his wife as she

[[Page 51652]]

attempted to park the family's 2009 Lexus ES350 on Friday, February 
13, 2015 (VOQ 10732103). When interviewed by ODI, Mrs. Raghavan 
stated that the engine roared as she was coasting into a parking 
space. She stated that the surge occurred before she applied the 
brake and that when she applied the brake there was no response or 
braking action. The vehicle accelerated up onto a sidewalk and into 
some bushes and a fence. On February 24, 2015, a Toyota 
representative inspected the vehicle, including a download of EDR 
data (Table 2).

                                                        Table 2--Pre-Crash Data for VOQ 10732103
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
           Time (sec)                    -4.6                -3.6                -2.6                -1.6                -0.6               0 (TRG)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vehicle Speed (MPH [km/h])......  3.7 [6]...........  3.7 [6]...........  3.7 [6]...........  3.7 [6]...........  5 [8].............  8.7 [14].
Brake Switch....................  OFF...............  OFF...............  OFF...............  OFF...............  OFF...............  ON.
Accelerator Rate (V)............  0.78..............  0.78..............  0.78..............  0.78..............  2.38..............  0.78.
Engine RPM (RPM)................  400...............  400...............  400...............  800...............  1,600.............  1,600.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    According to the EDR data, immediately prior to impact (t = 0.6 
s) the brake pedal was not applied and the accelerator pedal was 
depressed to approximately 71 percent of full apply.\9\ Based on the 
recorded vehicle speeds at this time, the vehicle was inside the 
parking space when the acceleration occurred. At this time and 
distance from impact, the driver should be applying the brake and 
not the accelerator to safely stop the vehicle and avoid the 
collision. Although the driver alleged that the brakes were not 
effective during the incident, the brakes had no prior history of 
malfunction and the post-incident inspection did not identify any 
issues with the brake system. Based on the available information, 
this incident is consistent with pedal misapplication by the driver 
and provides no evidence of a vehicle defect.


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    \9\ According to Toyota, an Accelerator Rate of 2.38 volts 
indicates an accelerator pedal application of 71 percent.
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2.2.2 2010 Toyota Corolla

    The second incident identified by the petitioner involved a MY 
2010 Toyota Corolla that accelerated into a parked vehicle during an 
attempted curbside-parking maneuver in a residential neighborhood on 
June 8, 2014 (VOQ 10637908). NHTSA examined this incident in Defect 
Petition DP14-003, which the agency closed on April 29, 2015.\10\
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    \10\ McHenry, S., ``Denial of Motor Vehicle Defect Petition,'' 
DP14-003, May 2015.
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    In the police report for this accident, the driver states that 
she stopped at an intersection with the intention of turning right 
and parking along the curb behind a parked vehicle. When interviewed 
by ODI, the driver indicated that as she applied the brakes during 
the incident, the car responded by accelerating. She stated that it 
did not slow down, and it continued to increase in speed until it 
hit the back of the parked vehicle. Similar to the current 
petitioner's incident, the EDR data for this incident (Table 3) 
shows no recorded service brake application until the airbag module 
trigger point (t = 0s).

                                                        Table 3--Pre-Crash Data for VOQ 10637908
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           Time (sec)                    -4.8                -3.8                -2.8                -1.8                -0.8               0 (TRG)
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Vehicle Speed (MPH [km/h])......  3.7 [6]...........  3.7 [6]...........  3.7 [6]...........  3.7 [6]...........  5 [8].............  7.5 [12].
Brake Switch....................  OFF...............  OFF...............  OFF...............  OFF...............  OFF...............  ON.
Accelerator Rate (V)............  0.78..............  0.78..............  0.86..............  0.78..............  0.78..............  0.78.
Engine RPM (RPM)................  800...............  800...............  800...............  800...............  800...............  1,600.
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    Based on the vehicle speeds recorded just prior to impact (t = -
0.8 s), the Corolla was less than a car length from the parked 
vehicle and traveling 7 to 9 feet per second with no indication of 
service brake application. At this speed and distance, the driver 
should be applying the brake to safely stop the vehicle and avoid 
the collision. Although the recorded accelerator rate voltages do 
not show a pedal application corresponding with the surge,\11\ VRTC 
simulation testing verified that unrecorded accelerator pedal 
applications could produce the increases in vehicle speed and engine 
speed shown by the EDR in the trigger data.\12\ In addition, VRTC 
accumulated over two thousand miles of testing of this vehicle 
during DP14-003 with no problems noted in the throttle, transmission 
or brake systems.\13\ As previously determined by NHTSA, this 
incident does not provide evidence of a vehicle defect.


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    \11\ The data do show a small accelerator pedal application 2.8 
seconds prior to the impact.
    \12\ Collins, W., Stoltzfus, D., ``Evaluation of 2010 Toyota 
Corolla from DP14-003,'' DP14-003WDC, April 2015, pages 11-13.
    \13\ Collins, W., Stoltzfus, D., ``Evaluation of 2010 Toyota 
Corolla from DP14-003,'' DP14-003WDC, April 2015.
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2.2.3 2009 Toyota Camry

    The third incident identified by the petitioner involved a MY 
2009 Toyota Camry that accelerated into a building when attempting 
to park in a storefront facing parking space on December 21, 2009 
(VOQ 10299750). This incident was among 58 accidents investigated by 
NHTSA in 2010 as part of the joint study with NASA. A description of 
the incident, identified as Case 33 in the NHTSA study, was included 
as an example of the 39 accidents classified as pedal 
misapplications in a 2011 report summarizing NHTSA's field 
investigations.\14\
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    \14\ ``NHTSA Toyota Pre-Crash EDR Field Inspections during 
March-August 2010,'' NHTSA-NVS-2011-ETC-SR10, February, 2011, pages 
15-16.

                                           Table 4--Pre-Crash Data for VOQ 10299750, EDR Tool Version 1.4.1.1
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           Time (sec)                    -4.7                -3.7                -2.7                -1.7                -0.7               0 (TRG)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vehicle Speed (MPH [km/h])......  3.7 [6]...........  3.7 [6]...........  3.7 [6]...........  9.9 [16]..........  13.7 [22].........  19.9 [32]
Brake Switch....................  OFF...............  OFF...............  OFF...............  OFF...............  OFF...............  OFF
Accelerator Rate (V)............  0.86..............  0.82..............  0.98..............  0.78..............  3.71..............  1.37
Engine RPM (RPM)................  400...............  400...............  800...............  1,600.............  3,200.............  4,400
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[[Page 51653]]

    As described in the 2011 report, the driver had turned from a 
lane of traffic to enter a parking space and was about to come to a 
rest facing a shopping plaza storefront when the vehicle lunged 
forward through the fa[ccedil]ade of a hair salon. The driver 
reported having his foot on the brake when the acceleration 
occurred. Table 4 shows the EDR pre-crash data for this accident, as 
published in the 2011 report.\15\
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    \15\ The petitioner based his analysis of this incident on a 
different EDR readout reviewed later in this report, in Section 
2.3.3, ``Case 33.''
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    The EDR data for this incident shows no recorded service brake 
application during the event. Immediately prior to impact and after 
the vehicle had entered the parking space, the driver pressed the 
accelerator pedal to the floor when intending to apply the 
brake.\16\ As noted in the 2011 report, this incident is consistent 
with pedal misapplication by the driver and does not provide any 
evidence of a vehicle defect as suggested by the petitioner.
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    \16\ The recorded Accelerator Rate of 3.71 volts is well beyond 
the accelerator rate needed for 100 percent throttle.
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2.3 Petitioner Claims and Misconceptions

2.3.1 ``Strong Signature''

    According to the petitioner, ``The fact that all three cars were 
coasting at 3.7 mph when the sudden-acceleration happened appears to 
be a strong signature of a common issue.'' However, even though the 
EDR data for the three incidents may have reflected speeds of 3.7 
mph before the acceleration occurred, the vehicles may not have 
actually been travelling the same speed. The common speeds recorded 
in the three vehicles are simply an artifact of the EDR vehicle 
speed resolution of 2 km/h. In all three incidents, the vehicles 
were travelling 6.0-7.9 km/h (3.7-4.9 mph) prior to the 
accelerations, which the Toyota EDR records as 6 km/h (3.7 mph). 
These are common speeds for low-speed parking maneuvers.
    The ``glitch'' in accelerator pedal voltage that the petitioner 
alleges occurs after the 3.7 mph speed recording, is the voltage 
increase resulting from the accelerator pedal applications by the 
drivers. The petitioner claims that the voltage spike suggests a 
potential vehicle based cause, speculating, ``the accelerator is 
either calculating an incorrect accelerator value or receiving a 
noise spike on the accelerator sensor.'' However, such speculation 
ignores the facts that the accelerator pedal has redundant sensors 
and that NASA already thoroughly examined this subject during the 
joint study. The common pattern is that the ``glitches'' occur at 
the moments in the events when the driver should be initiating 
braking, but no braking has occurred.
    Thus, the only common signature evident in the incidents is that 
in all three the surges occurred when the driver should have 
initiated braking for a vehicle entering a parking space at low 
speed. The fact that the vehicles suddenly accelerated just as they 
were beginning to enter their intended parking spaces instead of 
braking to a stop as intended is a signature of pedal misapplication 
by the driver. NHTSA has observed this signature in investigations 
of sudden acceleration dating back to the first such investigation 
that ODI opened in 1978. It is not isolated to any particular makes 
or models of vehicles or to any throttle design technologies.

2.3.2 Engine RPM Increases

    The petitioner claims that each of the incidents he analyzed 
displays evidence of engine speed increases without any application 
of the accelerator pedal. For example, in his analysis of his wife's 
incident he states, ``by -1.6 seconds the engine RPM has DOUBLED to 
800 with no depression of the accelerator.'' This assertion reflects 
a misunderstanding of the manner in which the Toyota EDR samples and 
records pre-crash data as previously described in this report and in 
prior reports published by NHTSA.
    First, as indicated in this report and in the Data Definitions 
section on page two of the Bosch CDR report attached to the 
petition, the Toyota EDR records engine speed in 400 rpm increments 
(rounded down). For example, a recorded value of 400 rpm indicates 
that the measured engine speed was between 400 and 799 rpm. Thus, an 
increase in recorded engine speed from 400 to 800 rpm could result 
from a change in engine speed of just 1 rpm.
    Second, the nominal idle speed for a MY 2009 ES350 when the 
engine is warm, the transmission is in gear (i.e., either Drive or 
Reverse), and no accessory loads are operating is approximately 600 
rpm. Air-conditioning use and steering input may result in the idle 
speed increasing to 700 to 800 rpm to compensate for the additional 
loads placed on the engine by the air-conditioning compressor and 
power-steering pump. Thus, the actual engine speeds associated with 
the recorded values of 400 rpm were likely closer to 800 rpm than 
400 rpm.\17\
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    \17\ Engine speeds that drop below 500 rpm are uncommon in motor 
vehicles and have been associated with engine stall due to idle 
undershoot in some ODI investigations of non-Toyota products.
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    Finally, it is not accurate to state that engine speed increases 
did not result from accelerator pedal applications based strictly on 
the recorded EDR data, since the data do not necessarily show all 
accelerator pedal applications (see section 2.1 and Figure 1) and 
because of the differences in refresh rates for engine speed and 
accelerator rate. Although actual engine speed will closely follow 
accelerator rate, the recorded accelerator rate may slightly lag 
behind recorded engine speed due to the slower refresh rate of the 
accelerator signal (see Table 1). Thus, the increase in recorded 
engine speed at -1.6 seconds prior to impact could very well have 
resulted from the initial stages of the large pedal application that 
the EDR recorded at -0.6 seconds.

2.3.3 Case 33

    The EDR data used by the petitioner for Case 33 was from the 
initial readout ODI performed with the original version of software 
available from Toyota (Table 5). This version converted accelerator 
pedal sensor #1 voltages to an accelerator status of OFF, MIDDLE or 
FULL. A supplemental report to the NHTSA February 2011 report 
included a copy of this readout.\18\ This incident is one of many 
incidents from early field investigations that ODI read a second 
time after receiving an updated version of Toyota software that 
provided a more precise indication of accelerator pedal 
position.\19\
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    \18\ ``Toyota EDR Data from NHTSA Pre-Crash Field Inspections,'' 
NHTSA-NVS-2011-ETC-SR12, February 2011.
    \19\ ``Toyota EDR Software Versions Used in NHTSA Unintended 
Acceleration Field Investigation Cases,'' NHTSA-NVS-2011-ETC-SR08, 
February 2011, page 8.

                                    Table 5--Pre-Crash Data for VOQ 10299750, EDR Tool Version 1.3 (Original Readout)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
           Time (sec)                    -4.7                -3.7                -2.7                -1.7                -0.7               0 (TRG)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vehicle Speed (MPH [km/h])......  3.7 [6]...........  3.7 [6]...........  3.7 [6]...........  9.9 [16]..........  13.7 [22].........  19.9 [32]
Brake Switch....................  OFF...............  OFF...............  OFF...............  OFF...............  OFF...............  OFF
Accelerator.....................  OFF...............  OFF...............  OFF...............  OFF...............  FULL..............  OFF
Engine RPM (RPM)................  400...............  400...............  800...............  1,600.............  3,200.............  4,400
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Table 4 shows the data from the readout obtained using the 
updated software. Rather than maintaining a consistent voltage as 
may be misinterpreted by the OFF accelerator levels shown in Table 
5, the accelerator pedal rates in the updated readout in Table 4 
show that the driver was applying the accelerator pedal at varying 
rates throughout the event. Thus, the petitioner's conclusions that 
the vehicle was coasting and the driver had not depressed the 
accelerator pedal when the idle speed was increasing are incorrect 
and do not provide evidence of a vehicle defect.

2.3.4 NASA ``High-Speed Study''

    The petitioner incorrectly characterizes the joint NASA-NHTSA 
study as a ``high-speed study.'' In fact, the joint study focused on 
all potential vulnerabilities in the Toyota ETCS-i system that were 
not associated with the

[[Page 51654]]

floor mat entrapment or sticking accelerator pedal conditions 
addressed by multiple Toyota safety recalls in 2009 and 2010.\20\ 
Most such incidents examined during the study involved allegations 
of sudden acceleration in vehicles initially moving at low speeds. 
The most common scenario for the incidents was acceleration when 
attempting to park. Thus, contrary to the petitioner's 
characterization, low-speed surges were the primary focus of the 
study by NHTSA and NASA in 2010.
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    \20\ The floor mat entrapment and sticking pedal defect 
conditions were both ``stuck throttle'' type defect conditions, 
which typically occur at higher speeds when larger accelerator pedal 
applications necessary to cause the entrapment are more likely.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The incidents analyzed by the petitioner fall within the scope 
of prior work conducted in the joint NHTSA-NASA study of Toyota 
ETCS-i and, more recently, the analysis conducted in evaluating 
Defect Petition DP14-003. His claims appear to be based on upon 
several misconceptions regarding the manner in which Toyota EDR 
sample and record data, as well as a misunderstanding of the scope 
of and results from prior work conducted by NHTSA, NASA and others 
related to sudden unintended acceleration and the use of EDR data in 
related field investigations. The petitioner has presented no new 
evidence or theories not already considered by NHTSA that warrant 
reconsideration of any of the analyses or conclusions from that 
prior work.

3.0 Conclusion

    In our view, a defects investigation is unlikely to result in a 
finding that a defect related to motor vehicle safety exists, or a 
NHTSA order for the notification and remedy of a safety-related 
defect as alleged by the petitioner, at the conclusion of the 
requested investigation. Therefore, given a thorough analysis of the 
potential for finding a safety related defect in the vehicle, and in 
view of NHTSA's enforcement priorities, its previous investigations 
into this issue, and the need to allocate and prioritize NHTSA's 
limited resources to best accomplish the agency's safety mission and 
mitigate risk, the petition is denied. This action does not 
constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not 
exist. The agency will take further action if warranted by future 
circumstances.

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30162(d); delegations of authority at 49 
CFR 1.50 and 501.8.

Frank S. Borris II,
Acting Associate Administrator for Enforcement.

[FR Doc. 2015-20949 Filed 8-24-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P