Saleen Automotive Inc.; Receipt of Petition for a Temporary Exemption From all Requirements of FMVSS No. 126 and the Air Bag Requirements of FMVSS No. 208, 27392-27395 [2019-12332]

Download as PDF 27392 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices Written comments should be submitted by August 12, 2019. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments [identified by Docket No. DOT–OST– 2019–0087] through one of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. • Fax: 1 (202) 493–2251. • Mail or Hand Delivery: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building, Room W12– 140, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on Federal holidays. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Lalit Raina, (202) 366–2314, Lalit.Raina@DOT.gov, Office of Cargo and Commercial Sealift, Maritime Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: OMB Control Number: 2133–NEW. Title: Report of Ocean Shipments Moving Under the Cargo Preference Act of 1954—Bill of Lading—46 CFR part 381. Form Numbers: None. Type of Review: New Information Collection. Background: FAR clause 52.247–64, Preference for Privately Owned U.S.Flag Commercial Vessels, as prescribed at 47.507(a), is used in solicitations and contracts that may involve ocean transportation of supplies subject to the Cargo Preference Act of 1954. The contractor must submit one legible copy of a rated on-board bill of lading for each shipment to both the contracting officer and the Maritime Administration (MARAD). The contractor must flow this requirement down to all subcontracts and purchase orders under the contract. The information collection procedure requires that the designated reporting party send already prepared bills of lading as presented by the U.S.-flag and foreign-flag carriers. The bills of lading should be sent to MARAD within 20 days of loading in the United States or 30 days if originating outside the United States. Respondents: Shippers of ocean borne equipment, materials, or commodities financed in any way by federal funds (government impelled cargo). Estimated Number of Respondents: 120. Estimated Number of Responses: 8,040. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 402. Public Comments Invited: You are asked to comment on any aspect of this jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES DATES: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Jun 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 information collection, including (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the Department’s performance; (b) the accuracy of the estimated burden; (c) ways for the Department to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information collection; and (d) ways that the burden could be minimized without reducing the quality of the collected information. The agency will summarize and/or include your comments in the request for OMB’s clearance of this information collection. (Authority: The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995; 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, as amended; and 49 CFR 1.93.) * * * Dated: June 6, 2019. By Order of the Maritime Administrator. T. Mitchell Hudson, Jr., Secretary, Maritime Administration. [FR Doc. 2019–12330 Filed 6–11–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–81–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2019–0053] Saleen Automotive Inc.; Receipt of Petition for a Temporary Exemption From all Requirements of FMVSS No. 126 and the Air Bag Requirements of FMVSS No. 208 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of receipt of a petition for a temporary exemption, request for comment. AGENCY: Saleen Automotive Inc. has petitioned NHTSA for a temporary exemption from all requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 126, ‘‘Electronic stability control for light vehicles,’’ and from the air bag requirements of FMVSS No. 208, ‘‘Occupant crash protection,’’ for its newly-designed S1 model. Saleen is seeking a one-year exemption from these standards, asserting that compliance with these standards would cause substantial economic hardship, and that it has tried in good faith to comply with the standards. NHTSA is publishing this notice of receipt of the application in accordance with its exemption regulations, and has not made any judgment on the merits of the application. DATES: If you would like to comment on the petition, you should submit your comments not later than July 12, 2019. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00162 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 For electronic stability control: David Jasinski. For air bags: Daniel Koblenz. Both of these officials can be reached at: Office of Chief Counsel, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: 202–366–2992; Facsimile: 202–366– 3820. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: You may submit your comment, identified by the docket number in the heading of this document, by any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. • Fax: 1–202–493–2251. • Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– 30, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Delivery: 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and docket number. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act discussion below. NHTSA will consider all comments received before the close of business on the comment closing date indicated above. To the extent possible, NHTSA will also consider comments filed after the closing date. Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to http:// www.regulations.gov at any time or to 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. Telephone: 202–366–9826. Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts these comments, without edit, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice, DOT/ALL– 14 FDMS, accessible through www.dot.gov/privacy. In order to facilitate comment tracking and response, the agency encourages commenters to provide their name, or the name of their organization; however, submission of names is completely ADDRESSES: E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES optional. Whether or not commenters identify themselves, all timely comments will be fully considered. If you wish to provide comments containing proprietary or confidential information, please see below. Confidential Business Information: If you wish to submit any information under a claim of confidentiality, you should submit three copies of your complete submission, including the information you claim to be confidential business information, to the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, at the address given under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. In addition, you should submit a copy, from which you have deleted the claimed confidential business information, to Docket Management at the address given above. When you send a comment containing information claimed to be confidential business information, you should include a cover letter setting forth the information specified in our confidential business information regulation (49 CFR part 512). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Statutory Authority for Temporary Exemptions The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Safety Act), codified as 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301, provides the Secretary of Transportation authority to exempt, on a temporary basis and under specified circumstances, motor vehicles from a motor vehicle safety standard or bumper standard. This authority is set forth at 49 U.S.C. 30113. The Secretary has delegated the authority for implementing this section to NHTSA. A manufacturer may request an exemption under one of four enumerated statutory bases, one of which is ‘‘economic hardship.’’ To grant an economic hardship exemption, NHTSA must find that an exemption is consistent with the public interest and the Safety Act, and that ‘‘compliance with the standard would cause substantial economic hardship to a manufacturer that has tried to comply with the standard in good faith.’’ If NHTSA is able to make the requisite findings to grant an economic hardship exemption, NHTSA is authorized to grant a manufacturer an exemption to produce for sale or otherwise deploy in interstate commerce not more than 10,000 motor vehicles annually, on such terms NHTSA deems appropriate. NHTSA established Part 555, Temporary Exemption from Motor Vehicle Safety and Bumper Standards, to implement the statutory provisions concerning temporary exemptions. Under Part 555, a petitioner must provide specified information in VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Jun 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 submitting a petition for exemption. These requirements are specified in 49 CFR 555.5, and include a number of items. Foremost among them are that the petitioner must set forth the basis of the application under § 555.6, and the reasons why the exemption would be in the public interest and consistent with the objectives of 49 U.S.C. chapter 301. A manufacturer is only eligible to apply for a hardship exemption if its total motor vehicle production in its most recent year of production did not exceed 10,000 vehicles (49 U.S.C. 30113). While 49 U.S.C. 30113(b) states that exemptions from a Safety Act standard are to be granted on a ‘‘temporary basis,’’ 1 this refers to the period of production, and not the period during which exempted vehicles may be operated. The statute also expressly provides for renewal of an exemption on reapplication. II. Background on Electronic Stability Control Requirements In April 2007, NHTSA published a final rule establishing FMVSS No. 126, to require vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4,536 kilograms (kg) (10,000 pounds) or less be equipped with electronic stability control (ESC) systems. ESC systems use automatic computer-controlled braking of individual wheels to address critical situations in which a driver may lose control of the vehicle. Preventing single-vehicle loss-ofcontrol crashes is the most effective way to reduce deaths resulting from rollover crashes. This is because most loss-ofcontrol crashes culminate in the vehicle leaving the roadway, which dramatically increases the probability of a rollover. NHTSA’s crash data study of existing vehicles equipped with ESC demonstrated that these systems reduce fatal single-vehicle crashes of passenger cars by 55 percent and fatal singlevehicle crashes of light trucks and vans (LTVs) by 50 percent.2 NHTSA estimates that ESC has the potential to prevent 56 percent of the fatal passenger car rollovers and 74 percent of the fatal LTV first-event rollovers that would otherwise occur in single-vehicle crashes.3 The ESC requirement became effective for substantially all light vehicles on September 1, 2011. Since then, NHTSA has received two exemption requests from the ESC 1 49 U.S.C. 30113(b)(1). R., Crash Prevention Effectiveness of Light-Vehicle Electronic Stability Control: An Update of the 2007 NHTSA Evaluation; DOT HS 811 486 (June 2011). 3 Id. 2 Sivinski, PO 00000 Frm 00163 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 27393 requirement under the ‘‘economic hardship’’ basis, one of which was withdrawn and the other of which the agency granted.4 III. Background on Air Bag Requirements In 2000, NHTSA upgraded the requirements in FMVSS No. 208 for air bags in passenger cars and light trucks, to require what are commonly known as ‘‘advanced air bags.’’ This upgrade was intended to meet the twin goals of improving protection for occupants of all sizes, belted and unbelted, in moderate-to-high- speed crashes, and of minimizing the risks posed by air bags to infants, children, and other occupants, especially in low-speed crashes. The ‘‘advanced air bag’’ rule was the culmination of a comprehensive plan that the agency announced in 1996 to address the adverse effects of air bags, especially with regard to out-of-position children. The rule accomplished this primarily by establishing new test requirements and injury criteria and specifying the use of an entire family of test dummies: The then-existing dummy representing 50th percentile adult males, and new dummies representing 5th percentile adult females, 6-year-old children, 3-year-old children, and 1year-old infants. The new requirements were phased in, beginning with the 2004 model year. Small volume manufacturers were not subject to the advanced air bag requirements until the end of the phase in period, i.e., September 1, 2006. In the years immediately following NHTSA’s publication of the 2000 advanced air bag rule, NHTSA received and granted a number of ‘‘economic hardship’’ exemptions to permit the manufacture and sale of vehicles without any air bags.5 NHTSA granted these exemptions due to the relative newness of the technology at the time, and the high costs associated with developing any kind of air bag system for limited-run vehicles. However, by the time the advanced air bag requirements became effective in 2006, air bag technology had matured to the point that most low-volume manufacturers were seeking a hardship exemption from only the advanced air bag requirements in FMVSS No. 208. 4 See Terrafugia, Inc.; Grant of Application for Temporary Exemption From Certain Requirements of FMVSS No. 110, Tire Selection and Rims for Motor Vehicles, FMVSS No. 126, Electronic Stability Control Systems, FMVSS No. 205, Glazing Materials, and FMVSS No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection, 76 FR 38270 (June 1, 2012). 5 E.g., Panoz Auto Development Company; Grant of Application for Temporary Exemption From Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208, 66 FR 6757 (Jan. 22, 2001). E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 27394 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices Those manufacturers were providing standard (non-advanced) air bags, even when they found that advanced air bags were still not economically feasible.6 Given the increased availability of nonadvanced air bags to low-volume manufacturers, NHTSA announced in 2007 that ‘‘it is generally not in the public interest or consistent with the Safety Act to grant new economic hardship exemptions to permit light vehicles to be sold without air bags.’’ 7 As advanced air bag systems have become increasingly feasible for small manufacturers to provide, NHTSA has become increasingly skeptical of granting exemptions from advanced air bag requirements, noting in 2011 that ‘‘the expense of advanced air bag technology is not now sufficient, in and of itself, to justify the grant of a petition for a hardship exemption from the advanced air bag requirements.’’ 8 Since announcing this change in policy, NHTSA has received two very limited requests for an exemption from advanced air bag requirements based on economic hardship, both of which the agency granted.9 jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES IV. Overview of Petitions On March 14, 2019, Saleen Automotive Inc. (Saleen) submitted a petition for a temporary exemption from the electronic stability control requirements of FMVSS No. 126. On the same date, Saleen separately sought an exemption from the air bag requirements of FMVSS No. 208.10 Both 6 E.g., Ferrari S.p.A and Ferrari North America, Inc. Grant of Application for a Temporary Exemption From S14.2 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208, 71 FR 166 (May 22, 2006). 7 SS II of America, Inc.; Denial of Application for a Temporary Exemption From the Air Bag Requirements of FMVSS No. 208, 72 FR 30426 (May 31, 2007). 8 See Pagani Automobili SpA; Denial of Application for Temporary Exemption From Advanced Air Bag Requirements of FMVSS No. 208, 76 FR 47641 (August 5, 2011). 9 See, e.g., Group Lotus plc; Grant of Petition for a Temporary Exemption From an Advanced Air Bag Requirement of FMVSS No. 208, 78 FR 15114 (March 8, 2013) (exemption from only the 35 MPH belted test requirement using 5th percentile adult female dummies); Tesla Motors, Inc. Grant of Petition for Renewal of a Temporary Exemption From the Advanced Air Bag Requirements of FMVSS No. 208, 76 FR 60118 (Sept. 28, 2011) (exemption limited to 40 days to accommodate the end of production of Roadster model). 10 NHTA has previously granted Saleen exemptions from the air bag requirements of FMVSS No. 208. In 2001, NHTSA granted Saleen a three-year exemption from the standard air bag requirements of FMVSS No. 208 on the basis of economic hardship, which NHTSA renewed for another three years in 2004. In 2006, when the advanced air bag requirements were being phased in, Saleen again requested NHTSA to renew its exemption from the standard air bag requirements for three years, and also requested a new three-year exemption from the advanced air bag requirements. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Jun 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 petitions request an exemption on the basis that compliance would cause the petitioner substantial economic hardship and that the petitioner has tried in good faith to comply with the standard. To view non-confidential versions of the petitions, go to http:// www.regulations.gov and enter the docket number set forth in the heading of this document. For administrative purposes, NHTSA is addressing both petitions in this notice. NHTSA will evaluate the merits of granting each exemption request separately. However, as part of the assessment of the merits of each petition, NHTSA will also consider the cumulative effect of granting multiple exemptions to the same manufacturer for the same vehicle. Saleen is a U.S. company incorporated under the laws of the State of Nevada. Saleen’s headquarters is in Corona, California. Saleen has not manufactured any vehicles in the 12 months prior to filing its exemption requests. Saleen seeks an exemption to permit the manufacture and sale of its S1 model, which is a new passenger car model. Saleen provides various vehicle and engine specifications for the S1 in its petitions. Saleen seeks a one-year exemption from June 15, 2019 to June 15, 2020. Saleen states that it plans to produce no more than 3,500 units under the exemption in the United States. Saleen states that it expects to fully comply with both FMVSS Nos. 126 and 208 at the end of the one-year exemption period. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) It appears from the petition that exempted vehicles will not be equipped with an electronic stability control (ESC) system. Saleen asserts that it will need to expend approximately 2,000 man-hours to complete ESC certification.11 Saleen states that the expenditures on the system would be the same whether it receives an exemption or not. However, Saleen Although NHTSA granted Saleen’s request for a three-year exemption from the advanced air bag requirements in full, the agency renewed Saleen’s exemption from the standard air bag requirements for only one year. NHTSA explained that this was because granting a renewal for three years would not be in the public interest considering the safety benefits that air bags provide. See Saleen, Inc.; Response to Application for Temporary Exemption From Certain Provisions of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208, 71 FR 52869 (September 7, 2006). It is important to note that Saleen requested these earlier exemptions in order to modify vehicles manufactured by other companies. By contrast, today’s petition concerns a line of vehicles that Saleen intends to manufacture itself. 11 Saleen does not specify what activities these man-hours will be spent on. PO 00000 Frm 00164 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 states that it will take approximately 15 months to develop and validate an ESC system and that sales from an exempt vehicle can be used to finance that development. Without an exemption, Saleen states that it may not be able to sustain the development of the vehicle, which would cause financial hardship to the company. Saleen states that, as an alternative to having an ESC system developed specifically for the S1, it sought to use an available ESC system from another vehicle in the automotive market. However, Saleen found that all ESC systems are designed to the specific geometry, deployment, occupant arrangement, and styling features of a vehicle. Air Bags It appears from the petition that exempted vehicles will not be equipped with frontal air bags of any type (neither standard nor advanced). Saleen asserts that it will need to expend 3,300 manhours to develop air bags that comply with FMVSS No. 208.12 Saleen states that the expenditures toward a compliant occupant crash protection system would be the same whether it receives an exemption or not. However, Saleen states that it will take approximately 18 months to develop and validate an occupant crash protection system,13 14 and that sales from an exempt vehicle can be used to finance that development. Without an exemption, Saleen states that it may not be able to sustain the development of the vehicle, which would cause financial hardship to the company. Saleen states that it tried three separate avenues to achieve compliance with FMVSS No. 208. First, Saleen investigated using available air bag systems currently used in other vehicles on the market. However, Saleen found this was not a viable option because the air bags are designed to fit the specific geometry of a vehicle, and the S1 is a new vehicle with a different design geometry. Second, Saleen investigated equipping the S1 with a single-stage 12 Saleen does not specify what activities these man-hours will be spent on. 13 Saleen’s FMVSS No. 208 petition contained a discrepancy regarding the development time for a compliant air bag system. On page 6, the petition stated that the development time would be 15 months, but on page 8, the petition stated the development time would be 18 months. NHTSA reached out to Saleen by email to clarify this discrepancy, to which Saleen replied that the development time would be 18 months. A copy of this email exchange has been placed in the docket indicated in the header of this notice. 14 We note that the 18-month time period to develop a compliant air bag system indicated by Saleen could extend past the end date of Saleen’s requested 1-year exemption period. E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 113 / Wednesday, June 12, 2019 / Notices (i.e., non-advanced) air bag, such as those used in non-US markets. Saleen found that, in addition to these singlestage systems not being FMVSS No. 208compliant, adapting these single-stage air bag systems so that they can be installed in the S1 would take a similar amount of time as developing a compliant advanced air bag system, and thus would not meet Saleen’s start-ofproduction deadline. Third, Saleen investigated providing a computer simulation analysis to show that the S1 would ‘‘comply structurally’’ with several crashworthiness standards, including FMVSS No. 208.15 However, Saleen states that this simulation testing was not scheduled to begin until the first quarter of 2019. Public Interest Saleen states in both petitions that an exemption would be in the public interest and consistent with the objective of the Safety Act because the development of the S1 provides direct employment to approximately 30 employees and indirect employment to over 100 employees. Saleen further projects that, once production of the S1 starts, the S1 would support numerous additional jobs relating to the distribution and sale of the vehicle. V. Comment Period NHTSA seeks comment from the public on the merits of Saleen’s application for a temporary exemption from FMVSS No. 126 and the air bag requirements of FMVSS No. 208. After considering public comments and other available information, NHTSA will publish a notice of final action on the application in the Federal Register. (Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30113; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.95.) Issued under authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.5. Heidi Renate King, Deputy Administrator. [FR Doc. 2019–12332 Filed 6–11–19; 8:45 am] jbell on DSK3GLQ082PROD with NOTICES BILLING CODE 4910–59–P 15 The petition does not explain what is meant by ‘‘comply structurally.’’ VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:00 Jun 11, 2019 Jkt 247001 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [U.S. DOT Docket Number NHTSA–2016– 0065] Reports, Forms, and Recordkeeping Requirements National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), U.S. Department of Transportation. ACTION: Request for comment on the renewal of collection of information. AGENCY: Before a Federal agency can collect certain information from the public, it must receive approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Under procedures established by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, before seeking OMB approval, Federal agencies must solicit public comment on proposed collections of information, including extensions and reinstatement of previously approved collections. This document describes a renewal of a collection of information for which NHTSA intends to seek OMB approval. DATES: Comments must be received on or before August 12, 2019. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments using any of the following methods. All comments must have the applicable DOT docket number (i.e., NHTSA– 2016–0065) noted conspicuously on them. • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Docket Management Facility, M–30: U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001. • Hand Delivery or Courier: 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Telephone: 1–800–647–5527. • Fax: 202–493–2251. Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and docket number for this proposed collection of information. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading below. Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00165 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 27395 name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477–78) or you may visit http:// DocketInfo.dot.gov. Docket: For access to comments received, go to http:// www.regulations.gov or the street address listed above. Follow the online instructions for accessing the dockets. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information, or for background documents, contact Stephen Hench, Office of Chief Counsel (NCC–0100), Room W41–229, NHTSA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: 202–366–2992. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, before an agency submits a proposed collection of information to OMB for approval, it must first publish a document in the Federal Register providing a 60-day comment period and otherwise consult with members of the public and affected agencies concerning each proposed collection of information. OMB has promulgated regulations describing what must be included in such a document. Under OMB’s regulation, see 5 CFR 1320.8(d), an agency must ask for public comment on the following: (i) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (ii) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (iii) how to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (iv) how to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. In compliance with these requirements, NHTSA asks for public comments on the following collection of information: Title: Defect and Noncompliance Reporting and Notification. Type of Request: Renewal of a currently approved information collection. OMB Control Number: 2127–0004. E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 113 (Wednesday, June 12, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 27392-27395]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-12332]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2019-0053]


Saleen Automotive Inc.; Receipt of Petition for a Temporary 
Exemption From all Requirements of FMVSS No. 126 and the Air Bag 
Requirements of FMVSS No. 208

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

ACTION: Notice of receipt of a petition for a temporary exemption, 
request for comment.

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

SUMMARY: Saleen Automotive Inc. has petitioned NHTSA for a temporary 
exemption from all requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard (FMVSS) No. 126, ``Electronic stability control for light 
vehicles,'' and from the air bag requirements of FMVSS No. 208, 
``Occupant crash protection,'' for its newly-designed S1 model. Saleen 
is seeking a one-year exemption from these standards, asserting that 
compliance with these standards would cause substantial economic 
hardship, and that it has tried in good faith to comply with the 
standards. NHTSA is publishing this notice of receipt of the 
application in accordance with its exemption regulations, and has not 
made any judgment on the merits of the application.

DATES: If you would like to comment on the petition, you should submit 
your comments not later than July 12, 2019.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For electronic stability control: 
David Jasinski. For air bags: Daniel Koblenz. Both of these officials 
can be reached at: Office of Chief Counsel, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. 
Telephone: 202-366-2992; Facsimile: 202-366-3820.

ADDRESSES: You may submit your comment, identified by the docket number 
in the heading of this document, by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
     Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket 
Operations, M-30, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, 
DC 20590.
     Hand Delivery: 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building 
Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and 
docket number.
    Note that all comments received will be posted without change to 
http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided. Please see the Privacy Act discussion below. NHTSA will 
consider all comments received before the close of business on the 
comment closing date indicated above. To the extent possible, NHTSA 
will also consider comments filed after the closing date.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov at any time or to 
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 
Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 
except Federal Holidays. Telephone: 202-366-9826.
    Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits 
comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT 
posts these comments, without edit, to www.regulations.gov, as 
described in the system of records notice, DOT/ALL-14 FDMS, accessible 
through www.dot.gov/privacy. In order to facilitate comment tracking 
and response, the agency encourages commenters to provide their name, 
or the name of their organization; however, submission of names is 
completely

[[Page 27393]]

optional. Whether or not commenters identify themselves, all timely 
comments will be fully considered. If you wish to provide comments 
containing proprietary or confidential information, please see below.
    Confidential Business Information: If you wish to submit any 
information under a claim of confidentiality, you should submit three 
copies of your complete submission, including the information you claim 
to be confidential business information, to the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, 
at the address given under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. In 
addition, you should submit a copy, from which you have deleted the 
claimed confidential business information, to Docket Management at the 
address given above. When you send a comment containing information 
claimed to be confidential business information, you should include a 
cover letter setting forth the information specified in our 
confidential business information regulation (49 CFR part 512).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Statutory Authority for Temporary Exemptions

    The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Safety Act), 
codified as 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301, provides the Secretary of 
Transportation authority to exempt, on a temporary basis and under 
specified circumstances, motor vehicles from a motor vehicle safety 
standard or bumper standard. This authority is set forth at 49 U.S.C. 
30113. The Secretary has delegated the authority for implementing this 
section to NHTSA.
    A manufacturer may request an exemption under one of four 
enumerated statutory bases, one of which is ``economic hardship.'' To 
grant an economic hardship exemption, NHTSA must find that an exemption 
is consistent with the public interest and the Safety Act, and that 
``compliance with the standard would cause substantial economic 
hardship to a manufacturer that has tried to comply with the standard 
in good faith.'' If NHTSA is able to make the requisite findings to 
grant an economic hardship exemption, NHTSA is authorized to grant a 
manufacturer an exemption to produce for sale or otherwise deploy in 
interstate commerce not more than 10,000 motor vehicles annually, on 
such terms NHTSA deems appropriate.
    NHTSA established Part 555, Temporary Exemption from Motor Vehicle 
Safety and Bumper Standards, to implement the statutory provisions 
concerning temporary exemptions. Under Part 555, a petitioner must 
provide specified information in submitting a petition for exemption. 
These requirements are specified in 49 CFR 555.5, and include a number 
of items. Foremost among them are that the petitioner must set forth 
the basis of the application under Sec.  555.6, and the reasons why the 
exemption would be in the public interest and consistent with the 
objectives of 49 U.S.C. chapter 301.
    A manufacturer is only eligible to apply for a hardship exemption 
if its total motor vehicle production in its most recent year of 
production did not exceed 10,000 vehicles (49 U.S.C. 30113).
    While 49 U.S.C. 30113(b) states that exemptions from a Safety Act 
standard are to be granted on a ``temporary basis,'' \1\ this refers to 
the period of production, and not the period during which exempted 
vehicles may be operated. The statute also expressly provides for 
renewal of an exemption on reapplication.
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    \1\ 49 U.S.C. 30113(b)(1).
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II. Background on Electronic Stability Control Requirements

    In April 2007, NHTSA published a final rule establishing FMVSS No. 
126, to require vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4,536 
kilograms (kg) (10,000 pounds) or less be equipped with electronic 
stability control (ESC) systems. ESC systems use automatic computer-
controlled braking of individual wheels to address critical situations 
in which a driver may lose control of the vehicle.
    Preventing single-vehicle loss-of-control crashes is the most 
effective way to reduce deaths resulting from rollover crashes. This is 
because most loss-of-control crashes culminate in the vehicle leaving 
the roadway, which dramatically increases the probability of a 
rollover. NHTSA's crash data study of existing vehicles equipped with 
ESC demonstrated that these systems reduce fatal single-vehicle crashes 
of passenger cars by 55 percent and fatal single-vehicle crashes of 
light trucks and vans (LTVs) by 50 percent.\2\ NHTSA estimates that ESC 
has the potential to prevent 56 percent of the fatal passenger car 
rollovers and 74 percent of the fatal LTV first-event rollovers that 
would otherwise occur in single-vehicle crashes.\3\
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    \2\ Sivinski, R., Crash Prevention Effectiveness of Light-
Vehicle Electronic Stability Control: An Update of the 2007 NHTSA 
Evaluation; DOT HS 811 486 (June 2011).
    \3\ Id.
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    The ESC requirement became effective for substantially all light 
vehicles on September 1, 2011. Since then, NHTSA has received two 
exemption requests from the ESC requirement under the ``economic 
hardship'' basis, one of which was withdrawn and the other of which the 
agency granted.\4\
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    \4\ See Terrafugia, Inc.; Grant of Application for Temporary 
Exemption From Certain Requirements of FMVSS No. 110, Tire Selection 
and Rims for Motor Vehicles, FMVSS No. 126, Electronic Stability 
Control Systems, FMVSS No. 205, Glazing Materials, and FMVSS No. 
208, Occupant Crash Protection, 76 FR 38270 (June 1, 2012).
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III. Background on Air Bag Requirements

    In 2000, NHTSA upgraded the requirements in FMVSS No. 208 for air 
bags in passenger cars and light trucks, to require what are commonly 
known as ``advanced air bags.'' This upgrade was intended to meet the 
twin goals of improving protection for occupants of all sizes, belted 
and unbelted, in moderate-to-high- speed crashes, and of minimizing the 
risks posed by air bags to infants, children, and other occupants, 
especially in low-speed crashes. The ``advanced air bag'' rule was the 
culmination of a comprehensive plan that the agency announced in 1996 
to address the adverse effects of air bags, especially with regard to 
out-of-position children. The rule accomplished this primarily by 
establishing new test requirements and injury criteria and specifying 
the use of an entire family of test dummies: The then-existing dummy 
representing 50th percentile adult males, and new dummies representing 
5th percentile adult females, 6-year-old children, 3-year-old children, 
and 1-year-old infants. The new requirements were phased in, beginning 
with the 2004 model year. Small volume manufacturers were not subject 
to the advanced air bag requirements until the end of the phase in 
period, i.e., September 1, 2006.
    In the years immediately following NHTSA's publication of the 2000 
advanced air bag rule, NHTSA received and granted a number of 
``economic hardship'' exemptions to permit the manufacture and sale of 
vehicles without any air bags.\5\ NHTSA granted these exemptions due to 
the relative newness of the technology at the time, and the high costs 
associated with developing any kind of air bag system for limited-run 
vehicles. However, by the time the advanced air bag requirements became 
effective in 2006, air bag technology had matured to the point that 
most low-volume manufacturers were seeking a hardship exemption from 
only the advanced air bag requirements in FMVSS No. 208.

[[Page 27394]]

Those manufacturers were providing standard (non-advanced) air bags, 
even when they found that advanced air bags were still not economically 
feasible.\6\ Given the increased availability of non-advanced air bags 
to low-volume manufacturers, NHTSA announced in 2007 that ``it is 
generally not in the public interest or consistent with the Safety Act 
to grant new economic hardship exemptions to permit light vehicles to 
be sold without air bags.'' \7\ As advanced air bag systems have become 
increasingly feasible for small manufacturers to provide, NHTSA has 
become increasingly skeptical of granting exemptions from advanced air 
bag requirements, noting in 2011 that ``the expense of advanced air bag 
technology is not now sufficient, in and of itself, to justify the 
grant of a petition for a hardship exemption from the advanced air bag 
requirements.'' \8\ Since announcing this change in policy, NHTSA has 
received two very limited requests for an exemption from advanced air 
bag requirements based on economic hardship, both of which the agency 
granted.\9\
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    \5\ E.g., Panoz Auto Development Company; Grant of Application 
for Temporary Exemption From Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
No. 208, 66 FR 6757 (Jan. 22, 2001).
    \6\ E.g., Ferrari S.p.A and Ferrari North America, Inc. Grant of 
Application for a Temporary Exemption From S14.2 of Federal Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208, 71 FR 166 (May 22, 2006).
    \7\ SS II of America, Inc.; Denial of Application for a 
Temporary Exemption From the Air Bag Requirements of FMVSS No. 208, 
72 FR 30426 (May 31, 2007).
    \8\ See Pagani Automobili SpA; Denial of Application for 
Temporary Exemption From Advanced Air Bag Requirements of FMVSS No. 
208, 76 FR 47641 (August 5, 2011).
    \9\ See, e.g., Group Lotus plc; Grant of Petition for a 
Temporary Exemption From an Advanced Air Bag Requirement of FMVSS 
No. 208, 78 FR 15114 (March 8, 2013) (exemption from only the 35 MPH 
belted test requirement using 5th percentile adult female dummies); 
Tesla Motors, Inc. Grant of Petition for Renewal of a Temporary 
Exemption From the Advanced Air Bag Requirements of FMVSS No. 208, 
76 FR 60118 (Sept. 28, 2011) (exemption limited to 40 days to 
accommodate the end of production of Roadster model).
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IV. Overview of Petitions

    On March 14, 2019, Saleen Automotive Inc. (Saleen) submitted a 
petition for a temporary exemption from the electronic stability 
control requirements of FMVSS No. 126. On the same date, Saleen 
separately sought an exemption from the air bag requirements of FMVSS 
No. 208.\10\ Both petitions request an exemption on the basis that 
compliance would cause the petitioner substantial economic hardship and 
that the petitioner has tried in good faith to comply with the 
standard. To view non-confidential versions of the petitions, go to 
http://www.regulations.gov and enter the docket number set forth in the 
heading of this document. For administrative purposes, NHTSA is 
addressing both petitions in this notice. NHTSA will evaluate the 
merits of granting each exemption request separately. However, as part 
of the assessment of the merits of each petition, NHTSA will also 
consider the cumulative effect of granting multiple exemptions to the 
same manufacturer for the same vehicle.
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    \10\ NHTA has previously granted Saleen exemptions from the air 
bag requirements of FMVSS No. 208. In 2001, NHTSA granted Saleen a 
three-year exemption from the standard air bag requirements of FMVSS 
No. 208 on the basis of economic hardship, which NHTSA renewed for 
another three years in 2004. In 2006, when the advanced air bag 
requirements were being phased in, Saleen again requested NHTSA to 
renew its exemption from the standard air bag requirements for three 
years, and also requested a new three-year exemption from the 
advanced air bag requirements. Although NHTSA granted Saleen's 
request for a three-year exemption from the advanced air bag 
requirements in full, the agency renewed Saleen's exemption from the 
standard air bag requirements for only one year. NHTSA explained 
that this was because granting a renewal for three years would not 
be in the public interest considering the safety benefits that air 
bags provide. See Saleen, Inc.; Response to Application for 
Temporary Exemption From Certain Provisions of Federal Motor Vehicle 
Safety Standard No. 208, 71 FR 52869 (September 7, 2006).
    It is important to note that Saleen requested these earlier 
exemptions in order to modify vehicles manufactured by other 
companies. By contrast, today's petition concerns a line of vehicles 
that Saleen intends to manufacture itself.
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    Saleen is a U.S. company incorporated under the laws of the State 
of Nevada. Saleen's headquarters is in Corona, California. Saleen has 
not manufactured any vehicles in the 12 months prior to filing its 
exemption requests.
    Saleen seeks an exemption to permit the manufacture and sale of its 
S1 model, which is a new passenger car model. Saleen provides various 
vehicle and engine specifications for the S1 in its petitions. Saleen 
seeks a one-year exemption from June 15, 2019 to June 15, 2020. Saleen 
states that it plans to produce no more than 3,500 units under the 
exemption in the United States. Saleen states that it expects to fully 
comply with both FMVSS Nos. 126 and 208 at the end of the one-year 
exemption period.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

    It appears from the petition that exempted vehicles will not be 
equipped with an electronic stability control (ESC) system. Saleen 
asserts that it will need to expend approximately 2,000 man-hours to 
complete ESC certification.\11\ Saleen states that the expenditures on 
the system would be the same whether it receives an exemption or not. 
However, Saleen states that it will take approximately 15 months to 
develop and validate an ESC system and that sales from an exempt 
vehicle can be used to finance that development. Without an exemption, 
Saleen states that it may not be able to sustain the development of the 
vehicle, which would cause financial hardship to the company.
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    \11\ Saleen does not specify what activities these man-hours 
will be spent on.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Saleen states that, as an alternative to having an ESC system 
developed specifically for the S1, it sought to use an available ESC 
system from another vehicle in the automotive market. However, Saleen 
found that all ESC systems are designed to the specific geometry, 
deployment, occupant arrangement, and styling features of a vehicle.

Air Bags

    It appears from the petition that exempted vehicles will not be 
equipped with frontal air bags of any type (neither standard nor 
advanced). Saleen asserts that it will need to expend 3,300 man-hours 
to develop air bags that comply with FMVSS No. 208.\12\ Saleen states 
that the expenditures toward a compliant occupant crash protection 
system would be the same whether it receives an exemption or not. 
However, Saleen states that it will take approximately 18 months to 
develop and validate an occupant crash protection 
system,13 14 and that sales from an exempt vehicle can be 
used to finance that development. Without an exemption, Saleen states 
that it may not be able to sustain the development of the vehicle, 
which would cause financial hardship to the company.
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    \12\ Saleen does not specify what activities these man-hours 
will be spent on.
    \13\ Saleen's FMVSS No. 208 petition contained a discrepancy 
regarding the development time for a compliant air bag system. On 
page 6, the petition stated that the development time would be 15 
months, but on page 8, the petition stated the development time 
would be 18 months. NHTSA reached out to Saleen by email to clarify 
this discrepancy, to which Saleen replied that the development time 
would be 18 months. A copy of this email exchange has been placed in 
the docket indicated in the header of this notice.
    \14\ We note that the 18-month time period to develop a 
compliant air bag system indicated by Saleen could extend past the 
end date of Saleen's requested 1-year exemption period.
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    Saleen states that it tried three separate avenues to achieve 
compliance with FMVSS No. 208. First, Saleen investigated using 
available air bag systems currently used in other vehicles on the 
market. However, Saleen found this was not a viable option because the 
air bags are designed to fit the specific geometry of a vehicle, and 
the S1 is a new vehicle with a different design geometry. Second, 
Saleen investigated equipping the S1 with a single-stage

[[Page 27395]]

(i.e., non-advanced) air bag, such as those used in non-US markets. 
Saleen found that, in addition to these single-stage systems not being 
FMVSS No. 208-compliant, adapting these single-stage air bag systems so 
that they can be installed in the S1 would take a similar amount of 
time as developing a compliant advanced air bag system, and thus would 
not meet Saleen's start-of-production deadline. Third, Saleen 
investigated providing a computer simulation analysis to show that the 
S1 would ``comply structurally'' with several crashworthiness 
standards, including FMVSS No. 208.\15\ However, Saleen states that 
this simulation testing was not scheduled to begin until the first 
quarter of 2019.
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    \15\ The petition does not explain what is meant by ``comply 
structurally.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Public Interest

    Saleen states in both petitions that an exemption would be in the 
public interest and consistent with the objective of the Safety Act 
because the development of the S1 provides direct employment to 
approximately 30 employees and indirect employment to over 100 
employees. Saleen further projects that, once production of the S1 
starts, the S1 would support numerous additional jobs relating to the 
distribution and sale of the vehicle.

V. Comment Period

    NHTSA seeks comment from the public on the merits of Saleen's 
application for a temporary exemption from FMVSS No. 126 and the air 
bag requirements of FMVSS No. 208. After considering public comments 
and other available information, NHTSA will publish a notice of final 
action on the application in the Federal Register.

(Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30113; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 
1.95.)

    Issued under authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.5.
Heidi Renate King,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2019-12332 Filed 6-11-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P