Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 35990-35992 [2020-12718]

Download as PDF jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 35990 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 114 / Friday, June 12, 2020 / Notices inflation pressure of 36 PSI; (2) rear tires sized at 225/40R19 and a 93V rating labeled with an incorrect inflation pressure of 37 PSI instead of the correct inflation pressure of 39 PSI; and (3) rear tires sized at 225/35R19 92W and 92Y tires labeled with an incorrect inflation pressure of 33 PSI instead of the correct inflation pressure of 35 PSI. IV. Rule Requirements: Paragraph S4.3(c) of FMVSS No. 110 includes the requirements relevant to this petition. Each vehicle, except for a trailer or incomplete vehicle, shall show the information specified in paragraph S4.3(a) through (g). A vehicle manufacturer’s recommended cold tire inflation pressure for the front, rear, and spare tires, are subject to the limitations of paragraph S4.3.4. For full-size spare tires, the statement ‘‘see above’’ may, at the manufacturer’s option, replace manufacturer’s recommended cold tire inflation pressure. V. Summary of FCA US’s Petition: The following views and arguments presented in this section, V. Summary of FCA US’s petition, are the views and arguments provided by FCA US. They have not been evaluated by the Agency and do not reflect the views of the Agency. FCA US described the subject noncompliance and stated that the noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. FCA US submitted the following views and arguments in support of the petition: 1. The incorrect pressure values are all within the range of acceptable tire inflation and would not cause a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) alert. • The affected Alfa Romeo Giulia vehicles are FMVSS No. 138 compliant. • Consistent with FMVSS No. 138, the TPMS illuminates at equal to or less than the pressure 25 percent below the correct vehicle manufacturer’s recommended cold inflation pressure. The TPMS warning telltale will illuminate prior to the tire pressure dropping to the range of 26–29 PSI on the affected Alfa Romeo Giulia vehicles, which is significantly above the 20 PSI requirement called out and tested to in FMVSS No. 139. FCA US believes the warning provided by the TPMS will give drivers ample time to check and inflate tires well before low tire inflation becomes a safety concern. 2. The subject tires passed a low inflation pressure performance test. • The affected Alfa Romeo Giulia vehicles are equipped with tires that are FMVSS No. 139 compliant. • Tire manufacturers are required to certify the tires meet all applicable requirements of FMVSS No. 139. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:43 Jun 11, 2020 Jkt 250001 • FMVSS No. 139 specifies a low inflation pressure performance test in which the tire is loaded to its maximum tire load capacity and inflated to only 140 kPa (20 PSI), significantly less than the TPMS telltale activation pressure for the subject Alfa Romeo Giulia vehicles. In order to pass this test, the tires are loaded to 100 percent of the tire’s maximum load-carrying capacity and then run on a test axle for 1.5 hours at 20 PSI. 3. FCA US is not aware of any crashes, injuries, or customer complaints associated with the condition. 4. NHTSA has previously granted inconsequential treatment for FMVSS No. 110 noncompliance for incorrect vehicle placard values; see examples below. • MY 2018 Buick Regal, See 84 FR 25117; • MY 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible, See 81 FR 88728; and • MY 2016–2017 Mercedes Benz GLE and GLS, See 84 FR 25118. FCA US concluded that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, and that its petition to be exempted from providing notification of the noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118, and a remedy for the noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120, should be granted. NHTSA notes that the statutory provisions (49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h)) that permit manufacturers to file petitions for a determination of inconsequentiality allow NHTSA to exempt manufacturers only from the duties found in sections 30118 and 30120, respectively, to notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of a defect or noncompliance and to remedy the defect or noncompliance. Therefore, any decision on this petition only applies to the subject vehicles that FCA US no longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. However, any decision on this petition does not relieve vehicle distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of the noncompliant vehicles under their control after FCA US notified them that the subject noncompliance existed. Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8. Otto G. Matheke III, Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance. [FR Doc. 2020–12715 Filed 6–11–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P PO 00000 Frm 00095 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2020–0021; Notice 1] Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Receipt of petition. AGENCY: Mercedes-Benz AG (‘‘MBAG’’) and Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (‘‘MBUSA’’) (collectively, ‘‘Mercedes-Benz’’) have determined that certain model year (MY) 2019 MercedesBenz A-Class motor vehicles do not fully comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 104, Windshield Wiping and Washing Systems. Mercedes-Benz filed a noncompliance report dated February 24, 2020, and subsequently petitioned NHTSA on March 12, 2020, for a decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. This notice announces receipt of Mercedes-Benz’s petition. DATES: Send comments on or before July 13, 2020. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the docket and notice number cited in the title of this notice and submitted by any of the following methods: • Mail: Send comments by mail addressed to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M–30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Delivery: Deliver comments by hand to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M–30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. The Docket Section is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for Federal holidays. • Electronically: Submit comments electronically by logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) website at https:// www.regulations.gov/. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. • Comments may also be faxed to (202) 493–2251. Comments must be written in the English language, and be no greater than 15 pages in length, although there is no limit to the length of necessary SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 114 / Friday, June 12, 2020 / Notices attachments to the comments. If comments are submitted in hard copy form, please ensure that two copies are provided. If you wish to receive confirmation that comments you have submitted by mail were received, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard with the comments. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to https:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. All comments and supporting materials received before the close of business on the closing date indicated above will be filed in the docket and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials received after the closing date will also be filed and will be considered to the fullest extent possible. When the petition is granted or denied, notice of the decision will also be published in the Federal Register pursuant to the authority indicated at the end of this notice. All comments, background documentation, and supporting materials submitted to the docket may be viewed by anyone at the address and times given above. The documents may also be viewed on the internet at https:// www.regulations.gov by following the online instructions for accessing the docket. The docket ID number for this petition is shown in the heading of this notice. DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement is available for review in a Federal Register notice published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477–78). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Overview: Mercedes-Benz has determined that certain MY 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class motor vehicles do not fully comply with the requirements of paragraph S4.1.2 of FMVSS No. 104, Windshield Wiping and Washing Systems (49 CFR 571.104). Mercedes-Benz filed a noncompliance report dated February 24, 2020, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and noncompliance responsibility and reports, and subsequently petitioned NHTSA on March 12, 2020, for an exemption from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and 49 CFR part 556, Exemption for inconsequential defect or noncompliance. This notice of receipt of MercedesBenz’s petition is published under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 and does not represent any Agency decision or other VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:43 Jun 11, 2020 Jkt 250001 exercise of judgment concerning the merits of the petition. II. Vehicles Involved: Approximately 4,145 MY 2019 Mercedes-Benz A220 and A220 4MATIC motor vehicles manufactured between August 3, 2018, and November 26, 2019, are potentially involved. III. Noncompliance: Mercedes-Benz explains that the noncompliance is that the windshield wiping systems in the subject vehicles do not wipe the percentage of the windshield as required by paragraph S4.1.2 of FMVSS No. 104. Specifically, the windshield wiping system may only wipe 93.8% of the windshield instead of the 94% required. IV. Rule Requirements: Paragraph S4.1.2 of FMVSS No. 104 includes the requirements relevant to this petition. When tested wet in accordance with SAE Recommended Practice J903a (1966), each passenger car windshield wiping system shall wipe the percentage of Areas A, B, and C of the windshield (established in accordance with S4.1.2.1) that (1) is specified in column 2 of the applicable table following subparagraph S4.1.2.1 and (2) is within the area bounded by a perimeter line on the glazing surface 25 millimeters from the edge of the daylight opening. V. Summary of Mercedes-Benz’s Petition: The following views and arguments presented in this section, V. Summary of Mercedes-Benz’s Petition, are the views and arguments provided by Mercedes-Benz. They have not been evaluated by the Agency and do not reflect the views of the Agency. Mercedes-Benz described the subject noncompliance and stated their belief that the noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. In support of its petition, MercedesBenz submitted the following reasoning: 1. Mercedes-Benz cited the definition of motor vehicle safety as cited in the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 and their belief that this matter is appropriate for a decision that the noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety as it does not present any increased risk to vehicle occupants. 2. They state that, in the subject vehicles, the portion of the windshield that just falls below the minimum wiped area is located at the outer edge of the windshield. In the worst-case scenario, only 93.8%, instead of the minimum 94%, of the Area B portion of the windshield remains unwiped. The affected portion of Area B is located at the outer edge of the passenger’s side of the windshield and not in the area PO 00000 Frm 00096 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 35991 located directly in front of the driver’s field of view. 3. Mercedes-Benz asserts that NHTSA has previously considered the performance of windshield wiper systems in the context of interpreting the meaning of the term ‘‘daylight opening’’ in FMVSS No. 104. MercedesBenz says that in 2003, in response to a request from a manufacturer, NHTSA interpreted that opaque coatings located around the edge of the windshield would not be considered part of the daylight opening for purposes of calculating the starting point of the wiped area. See Letter to Reed, May 6, 2003. This interpretation was an apparent change in approach for several manufacturers. In a request for reconsideration, the industry reported that many vehicles would not meet the minimum wiped portion of Area B based on the Agency’s new interpretation. In supporting comments, two manufacturers reported that there were multiple vehicle models that would not meet the 94% minimum requirement for Area B. For one of the manufacturers, all of its vehicles were no more than 93.2% of the Area B minimum, while the other manufacturer did not provide specific information on how far its system deviated from the Area B minimum. After considering the substantial resources necessary to redesign the wiper systems outside of the normal vehicle refresh schedule, the Agency delayed the date on which it would begin enforcement of FMVSS No. 104 based on its updated interpretation. See Letter to Strassburger, January 7, 2005. 4. Thus, while the Agency was alerted to the fact that certain vehicles would not be able to comply with the minimum wiped area requirements of FMVSS No. 104, the Agency delayed implementing enforcement of the new interpretation for several years. While the delay was based, in part on the additional complexities needed to update the vehicle, fundamentally, the small deviation in the minimum wiped area requirement appears to not have been considered one that adversely impacted driver visibility or increased the safety risk to vehicle occupants. In that case, the deviation from the minimum wiped portion of Area B was more than what exists in the subject vehicles. While it is unclear from the interpretation letters what portion of Area B did not meet the minimum wiped requirements, in the subject vehicles, only a narrow strip of a portion of the outer edge of the passenger side of the windshield is affected by the deviation. Due to the location and small size of the unwiped E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1 35992 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 114 / Friday, June 12, 2020 / Notices area, the deviation would not affect the visibility of the driver or their ability to safely operate the vehicle and would not lead to an overall increased safety risk to the vehicle occupants. 5. Mercedes-Benz stated that the windshield wiper systems installed in the subject vehicles otherwise meet or exceed the remaining requirements in FMVSS No. 104 for the wiped portion of Areas A and C, for wiper frequency, and the windshield washing system. Mercedes-Benz has not received any reports related to a lack of visibility due to the performance of the windshield wiping system at issue here. Mercedes-Benz concluded by expressing the belief that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, and that its petition to be exempted from providing notification of the noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118, and a remedy for the noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120, should be granted. NHTSA notes that the statutory provisions (49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h)) that permit manufacturers to file petitions for a determination of inconsequentiality allow NHTSA to exempt manufacturers only from the duties found in sections 30118 and 30120, respectively, to notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of a defect or noncompliance and to remedy the defect or noncompliance. Therefore, any decision on this petition only applies to the subject vehicles that Mercedes-Benz no longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. However, any decision on this petition does not relieve vehicle distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of the noncompliant vehicles under their control after Mercedes-Benz notified them that the subject noncompliance existed. Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8. Otto G. Matheke III, Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES [FR Doc. 2020–12718 Filed 6–11–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:43 Jun 11, 2020 Jkt 250001 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2020–0005; Notice 1] Daimler Trucks North America, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Receipt of petition. AGENCY: Daimler Trucks North America, LLC (DTNA) has determined that certain model year (MY) 2011–2021 Thomas Built Buses Saf-T-Liner HDX school buses do not fully comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 222, School Bus Passenger Seating and Crash Protection. DTNA filed a noncompliance report dated December 17, 2019, and later amended the report on January 16, 2020. DTNA subsequently petitioned NHTSA on January 16, 2020, for a decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. This notice announces receipt of DTNA’s petition. DATES: Send comments on or before July 13, 2020. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the docket and notice number cited in the title of this notice and submitted by any of the following methods: • Mail: Send comments by mail addressed to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M–30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. • Hand Delivery: Deliver comments by hand to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M–30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. The Docket Section is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for Federal holidays. • Electronically: Submit comments electronically by logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) website at https:// www.regulations.gov/. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. • Comments may also be faxed to (202) 493–2251. Comments must be written in the English language, and be no greater than 15 pages in length, although there is no limit to the length of necessary SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00097 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 attachments to the comments. If comments are submitted in hard copy form, please ensure that two copies are provided. If you wish to receive confirmation that comments you have submitted by mail were received, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard with the comments. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to https:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. All comments and supporting materials received before the close of business on the closing date indicated above will be filed in the docket and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials received after the closing date will also be filed and will be considered to the fullest extent possible. When the petition is granted or denied, notice of the decision will also be published in the Federal Register pursuant to the authority indicated at the end of this notice. All comments, background documentation, and supporting materials submitted to the docket may be viewed by anyone at the address and times given above. The documents may also be viewed on the internet at https:// www.regulations.gov by following the online instructions for accessing the docket. The docket ID number for this petition is shown in the heading of this notice. DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement is available for review in a Federal Register notice published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477–78). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Overview: DTNA has determined that certain MY 2011–2021 Thomas Built Saf-T-Liner HDX school buses do not fully comply with the requirements of paragraph S5.2.3 of FMVSS No. 222, School Bus Passenger Seating and Crash Protection (49 CFR 571.222). DTNA filed a noncompliance report dated December 17, 2019, and later amended their report on January 16, 2020, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. DTNA subsequently petitioned NHTSA on January 16, 2020, for an exemption from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and 49 CFR part 556, Exemption for Inconsequential Defect or Noncompliance. This notice of receipt of DTNA’s petition is published under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 and does not represent E:\FR\FM\12JNN1.SGM 12JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 114 (Friday, June 12, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 35990-35992]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-12718]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2020-0021; Notice 1]


Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Receipt of petition.

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

SUMMARY: Mercedes-Benz AG (``MBAG'') and Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC 
(``MBUSA'') (collectively, ``Mercedes-Benz'') have determined that 
certain model year (MY) 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class motor vehicles do 
not fully comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 
104, Windshield Wiping and Washing Systems. Mercedes-Benz filed a 
noncompliance report dated February 24, 2020, and subsequently 
petitioned NHTSA on March 12, 2020, for a decision that the subject 
noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. 
This notice announces receipt of Mercedes-Benz's petition.

DATES: Send comments on or before July 13, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written data, 
views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the 
docket and notice number cited in the title of this notice and 
submitted by any of the following methods:
     Mail: Send comments by mail addressed to the U.S. 
Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building 
Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 
20590.
     Hand Delivery: Deliver comments by hand to the U.S. 
Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building 
Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 
20590. The Docket Section is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
except for Federal holidays.
     Electronically: Submit comments electronically by logging 
onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) website at https://www.regulations.gov/. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments.
     Comments may also be faxed to (202) 493-2251.
    Comments must be written in the English language, and be no greater 
than 15 pages in length, although there is no limit to the length of 
necessary

[[Page 35991]]

attachments to the comments. If comments are submitted in hard copy 
form, please ensure that two copies are provided. If you wish to 
receive confirmation that comments you have submitted by mail were 
received, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard with the 
comments. Note that all comments received will be posted without change 
to https://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided.
    All comments and supporting materials received before the close of 
business on the closing date indicated above will be filed in the 
docket and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials 
received after the closing date will also be filed and will be 
considered to the fullest extent possible.
    When the petition is granted or denied, notice of the decision will 
also be published in the Federal Register pursuant to the authority 
indicated at the end of this notice.
    All comments, background documentation, and supporting materials 
submitted to the docket may be viewed by anyone at the address and 
times given above. The documents may also be viewed on the internet at 
https://www.regulations.gov by following the online instructions for 
accessing the docket. The docket ID number for this petition is shown 
in the heading of this notice.
    DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement is available for review in a 
Federal Register notice published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-78).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    I. Overview: Mercedes-Benz has determined that certain MY 2019 
Mercedes-Benz A-Class motor vehicles do not fully comply with the 
requirements of paragraph S4.1.2 of FMVSS No. 104, Windshield Wiping 
and Washing Systems (49 CFR 571.104). Mercedes-Benz filed a 
noncompliance report dated February 24, 2020, pursuant to 49 CFR part 
573, Defect and noncompliance responsibility and reports, and 
subsequently petitioned NHTSA on March 12, 2020, for an exemption from 
the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on 
the basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to 
motor vehicle safety, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and 
49 CFR part 556, Exemption for inconsequential defect or noncompliance.
    This notice of receipt of Mercedes-Benz's petition is published 
under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 and does not represent any Agency 
decision or other exercise of judgment concerning the merits of the 
petition.
    II. Vehicles Involved: Approximately 4,145 MY 2019 Mercedes-Benz 
A220 and A220 4MATIC motor vehicles manufactured between August 3, 
2018, and November 26, 2019, are potentially involved.
    III. Noncompliance: Mercedes-Benz explains that the noncompliance 
is that the windshield wiping systems in the subject vehicles do not 
wipe the percentage of the windshield as required by paragraph S4.1.2 
of FMVSS No. 104. Specifically, the windshield wiping system may only 
wipe 93.8% of the windshield instead of the 94% required.
    IV. Rule Requirements: Paragraph S4.1.2 of FMVSS No. 104 includes 
the requirements relevant to this petition. When tested wet in 
accordance with SAE Recommended Practice J903a (1966), each passenger 
car windshield wiping system shall wipe the percentage of Areas A, B, 
and C of the windshield (established in accordance with S4.1.2.1) that 
(1) is specified in column 2 of the applicable table following 
subparagraph S4.1.2.1 and (2) is within the area bounded by a perimeter 
line on the glazing surface 25 millimeters from the edge of the 
daylight opening.
    V. Summary of Mercedes-Benz's Petition: The following views and 
arguments presented in this section, V. Summary of Mercedes-Benz's 
Petition, are the views and arguments provided by Mercedes-Benz. They 
have not been evaluated by the Agency and do not reflect the views of 
the Agency. Mercedes-Benz described the subject noncompliance and 
stated their belief that the noncompliance is inconsequential as it 
relates to motor vehicle safety.
    In support of its petition, Mercedes-Benz submitted the following 
reasoning:
    1. Mercedes-Benz cited the definition of motor vehicle safety as 
cited in the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 and 
their belief that this matter is appropriate for a decision that the 
noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety as it does not 
present any increased risk to vehicle occupants.
    2. They state that, in the subject vehicles, the portion of the 
windshield that just falls below the minimum wiped area is located at 
the outer edge of the windshield. In the worst-case scenario, only 
93.8%, instead of the minimum 94%, of the Area B portion of the 
windshield remains unwiped. The affected portion of Area B is located 
at the outer edge of the passenger's side of the windshield and not in 
the area located directly in front of the driver's field of view.
    3. Mercedes-Benz asserts that NHTSA has previously considered the 
performance of windshield wiper systems in the context of interpreting 
the meaning of the term ``daylight opening'' in FMVSS No. 104. 
Mercedes-Benz says that in 2003, in response to a request from a 
manufacturer, NHTSA interpreted that opaque coatings located around the 
edge of the windshield would not be considered part of the daylight 
opening for purposes of calculating the starting point of the wiped 
area. See Letter to Reed, May 6, 2003. This interpretation was an 
apparent change in approach for several manufacturers. In a request for 
reconsideration, the industry reported that many vehicles would not 
meet the minimum wiped portion of Area B based on the Agency's new 
interpretation. In supporting comments, two manufacturers reported that 
there were multiple vehicle models that would not meet the 94% minimum 
requirement for Area B. For one of the manufacturers, all of its 
vehicles were no more than 93.2% of the Area B minimum, while the other 
manufacturer did not provide specific information on how far its system 
deviated from the Area B minimum. After considering the substantial 
resources necessary to redesign the wiper systems outside of the normal 
vehicle refresh schedule, the Agency delayed the date on which it would 
begin enforcement of FMVSS No. 104 based on its updated interpretation. 
See Letter to Strassburger, January 7, 2005.
    4. Thus, while the Agency was alerted to the fact that certain 
vehicles would not be able to comply with the minimum wiped area 
requirements of FMVSS No. 104, the Agency delayed implementing 
enforcement of the new interpretation for several years. While the 
delay was based, in part on the additional complexities needed to 
update the vehicle, fundamentally, the small deviation in the minimum 
wiped area requirement appears to not have been considered one that 
adversely impacted driver visibility or increased the safety risk to 
vehicle occupants. In that case, the deviation from the minimum wiped 
portion of Area B was more than what exists in the subject vehicles. 
While it is unclear from the interpretation letters what portion of 
Area B did not meet the minimum wiped requirements, in the subject 
vehicles, only a narrow strip of a portion of the outer edge of the 
passenger side of the windshield is affected by the deviation. Due to 
the location and small size of the unwiped

[[Page 35992]]

area, the deviation would not affect the visibility of the driver or 
their ability to safely operate the vehicle and would not lead to an 
overall increased safety risk to the vehicle occupants.
    5. Mercedes-Benz stated that the windshield wiper systems installed 
in the subject vehicles otherwise meet or exceed the remaining 
requirements in FMVSS No. 104 for the wiped portion of Areas A and C, 
for wiper frequency, and the windshield washing system. Mercedes-Benz 
has not received any reports related to a lack of visibility due to the 
performance of the windshield wiping system at issue here.
    Mercedes-Benz concluded by expressing the belief that the subject 
noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, 
and that its petition to be exempted from providing notification of the 
noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118, and a remedy for the 
noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120, should be granted.
    NHTSA notes that the statutory provisions (49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 
30120(h)) that permit manufacturers to file petitions for a 
determination of inconsequentiality allow NHTSA to exempt manufacturers 
only from the duties found in sections 30118 and 30120, respectively, 
to notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of a defect or noncompliance 
and to remedy the defect or noncompliance. Therefore, any decision on 
this petition only applies to the subject vehicles that Mercedes-Benz 
no longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance 
existed. However, any decision on this petition does not relieve 
vehicle distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer 
for sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate 
commerce of the noncompliant vehicles under their control after 
Mercedes-Benz notified them that the subject noncompliance existed.

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

Otto G. Matheke III,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2020-12718 Filed 6-11-20; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P