Hyundai Motor America, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 39681-39683 [2020-14217]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 127 / Wednesday, July 1, 2020 / Notices lamp and a noncompliant lamp was 3.6 cd, which is a 20 percent higher luminous intensity than compliant lamps. According to the SAE Recommended Practice J576, this differential cannot be detected by the human eye. For this reason, the Hella petition was granted. • Subaru, 56 FR 59971, (November 26, 1991) Subaru submitted a petition for inconsequential noncompliance in 1991 concerning the failures of luminous intensity on the side reflex reflector. NHTSA considered the petitioner’s statement that observers could not differentiate between the reflected light of complying and noncomplying reflectors at distances of 30m, 60m, and 100m. As the agency noted in 1990 when it granted an inconsequentiality petition filed by Hella, Inc., ‘‘a reduction of approximately 25 percent in luminous intensity is required before the human eye can detect the difference between two lamps.’’ See 55 FR 37601, 37602. The agency applied the same considerations to reflectors as to lamps. The luminous transmittance failures of the Subaru reflectors were all less than 20 percent of the minimum values specified by the standard, and, therefore, they were undetectable by the naked eye. For this reason, the petition was granted. Toyota 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. VI. NHTSA’s Analysis Reflex reflectors make a vehicle conspicuous to drivers of other vehicles at night and at other times when there is reduced ambient light including dawn and dusk. The advance warning provided by the rear reflex reflectors has the potential to enable drivers to avoid a collision when approaching from the rear. Due to a production error, the reflex reflectors in the subject vehicles may be at most 18% below the required minimum. This error has been fixed in production, and Toyota has not had any complaints or reports of incidents due to this noncompliance. Toyota has cited multiple prior petitions where the Agency granted a petition for decision of inconsequential noncompliance regarding noncompliant photometric intensity. NHTSA concurs, particularly in the cases of the Hella (55 FR 37601) and Subaru (56 FR 59971) petitions, VerDate Sep<11>2014 01:53 Jul 01, 2020 Jkt 250001 where the imperceptible difference in illumination makes this noncompliance inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. VII. NHTSA’s Decision In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA finds that Toyota has met its burden of persuasion that the subject FMVSS No. 108 noncompliance of the affected reflex reflectors is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, Toyota’s petition is hereby granted and Toyota is consequently exempted from the obligation of providing notification of, and a free remedy for, that noncompliance under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120. 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, this decision only applies to the subject vehicles that Toyota no longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. However, the granting of 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 Toyota 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. 2020–14214 Filed 6–30–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2016–0142; Notice 2] Hyundai Motor America, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Grant of petition. AGENCY: Hyundai Motor America (Hyundai) has determined that certain model year (MY) 2012–2016 Hyundai Accent motor vehicles do not fully SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00163 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 39681 comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection. Hyundai filed a noncompliance report dated December 12, 2016. Hyundai also petitioned NHTSA on December 16, 2016, for a decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. This document announces the grant of Hyundai’s petition. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: James A. Jones, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, NHTSA, telephone (202) 366–5294, facsimile (202) 366–5930. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Overview Hyundai has determined that certain MY 2012–2016 Hyundai Accent motor vehicles do not fully comply with paragraph S4.1.5.5.2 of FMVSS No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection (49 CFR 571.208). Hyundai filed a noncompliance information report dated December 12, 2016, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. Hyundai also petitioned NHTSA on December 16, 2016, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and 49 CFR part 556, 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. Notice of receipt of Hyundai’s petition was published, with a 30-day public comment period, on April 7, 2017, in the Federal Register (82 FR 17072). No comments were received. To view the petition and all supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket Management Systems (FDMS) website at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online search instructions to locate docket number ‘‘NHTSA–2016– 0142.’’ II. Vehicles Involved Approximately 6,445 MY 2012–2016 Hyundai Accent motor vehicles manufactured between May 19, 2011, and July 7, 2016, are potentially involved. The affected vehicles are those equipped with a non-folding rear seat back and sold in the Puerto Rico and Guam markets. III. Noncompliance Hyundai explains that the noncompliance is that the affected vehicles are equipped with a nonfolding rear seat back and a center rear seat belt incorporating a release mechanism that detaches both the lap and shoulder portion at the lower anchorage point and therefore do not E:\FR\FM\01JYN1.SGM 01JYN1 39682 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 127 / Wednesday, July 1, 2020 / Notices meet the requirements of paragraph S4.1.5.5.2 of FMVSS No. 208. Under FMVSS No. 208, a detachable seat belt in the middle seat is allowed only in vehicles with a folding rear seat. IV. Rule Requirements Paragraph S4.1.5.5.2 of FMVSS No. 208 includes the requirements relevant to this petition. Any inboard designated seating position on a seat for which the entire seat back can be folded (including the head restraints and any other part of the vehicle attached to the seat back) such that no part of the seat back extends above a horizontal plane located 250 mm above the highest SRP located on the seat may meet the requirements of paragraph S4.1.5.5.1 by use of a belt incorporating a release mechanism that detaches both the lap and shoulder portion at either the upper or lower anchorage point, but not both. The means of detachment shall be a key or key-like object. V. Summary of Hyundai’s Petition Hyundai described the subject noncompliance and stated its belief that the noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. In support of its petition, Hyundai submitted the following reasoning: 1. The affected vehicles are equipped with a non-folding rear seat back and a center rear seat belt incorporating a release mechanism that detaches both the lap and shoulder portion at the lower anchorage point to allow improved assembly line procedures. 2. Hyundai first became aware of the possibility that the center rear seat belts of the subject vehicles may not comply with S4.1.5.5.2 of FMVSS No. 208 as a result of internal ‘‘port inspections’’ of certain model year 2016 Hyundai Accent vehicles. A subsequent investigation revealed previous model year ‘‘RB’’ platform Accent vehicles are similarly affected. 3. Hyundai pointed out that 5-door and 4-door Hyundai Accent vehicles equipped with rear folding seats are not affected. 4. The Accent vehicles in question fully comply with FMVSS No. 208 and FMVSS No. 209 requirements with the sole exception that the lap and shoulder portion of the rear center seat belt may be detached from the lower anchorage by use of a tool, such as a key or keylike object. 5. Hyundai states that if the rear seat back of the subject vehicles were capable of being folded (which Hyundai claims would have no effect on seat belt performance) the detachable aspect would not result in a compliance issue. VerDate Sep<11>2014 01:53 Jul 01, 2020 Jkt 250001 6. The Owner’s Manual in the subject vehicles contains relevant information and illustrations to fasten, unfasten, and disconnect the rear center belt. 7. Hyundai states that it is clear from the intended difficulty in detaching the seat belt and the instructions contained in the Owner’s Manual that the seat belt should not be detached. Further, in the Accent with a fixed rear seat back, there is no advantage or reason for the owner to detach the center rear seat belt from the lower anchorage. 8. Hyundai does not believe that it is appropriate to conduct a recall campaign to replace the center rear seat belts in vehicles that have been delivered to customers. 9. Hyundai stated that they are not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the subject noncompliance. Hyundai 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. VI. NHTSA’s Analysis Anton’s Law (Public Law 107–318) directed NHTSA to mandate 3-point belts (i.e., Type 2 integral lap/shoulder belts) at each rear seating position, including center rear seat positions, in new passenger motor vehicles by September 1, 2007. To accomplish the mandate, NHTSA issued a final rule on December 8, 2004, amending applicable parts of Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection [69 FR 70904]. Prior to issuance of the final rule, FMVSS No. 208 allowed the installation of detachable shoulder belts on 3-point belts in swivel seats and outboard rear seats that are removable. In comments to the proposed final rule, vehicle manufacturers requested that the Agency extend the allowance for detachable belts to center rear seat positions of folding rear seats to ensure effective use of cargo carrying space. The Agency agreed. Many vehicle manufacturers were already using detachable belts with ‘‘mini-buckle’’ designs that permit the entire belt to detach from the seat and retract into the upper shoulder anchorage. The Agency agreed that the mini-buckle design reduces the possibility for misuse since the lap belt is not independently available for use. Some of the existing mini-buckles had pushbutton release mechanisms similar to release mechanisms used for nondetachable belts. To address any safety PO 00000 Frm 00164 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 concerns with inadvertent release of the mini-buckle during use, the Agency decided to require a key-like object to release the mini-buckle from the seat, eliminating installation of detachable belt designs that incorporate pushbutton releases. Consistent with the Agency’s intent to maximize correct use of the belt, no provision was added to require the use of a tool to reattach the belt. The subject vehicles have fixed, nonfolding rear seats with detachable 3point belts installed at the center rear seat positions. As these center seats do not fold, the installation of this detachable belt constitutes a violation of S4.1.5.5.1 of FMVSS No. 208. The detachable 3-point belts have minibuckles that allow the entire belt to detach from the seat at the lower anchorage point located on the left-side of the seating position. The mini-buckle can only be operated through inserting a key or key-like object in a rectangular slot on the female buckle at the lower left anchorage point. Other than the presence of the slot, the outward appearance of the buckle does not reveal that there is a mini-buckle hidden within the female buckle assembly allowing detachment. The likelihood that the mini-buckle could or would be used casually to remove the female buckle appears to be quite small. As the purpose of the slot would not be clear or the presence and operation of the mini-buckle is not obvious, removing the buckle assembly requires a degree of knowledge and intent likely to eliminate inadvertent detachment. Hyundai’s data indicate that the nominal force required to release the buckle using a key or key-like object ranged from 13 to 20N (2.9 to 4.5 lbf) with an average of 13.6N (3.1 lbf).1 Additionally, this key or object must be 2.9 mm (0.11 in) in length to reach the release mechanism and be capable of applying the release force noted above for an additional 4.8 mm (0.19 in) to release the buckle. Therefore, any object serving as a tool to release the buckle must fit in the available opening, apply the required force and do so without yielding over the required distance. These conditions indicate that an inadvertent release, or an intentional release by a child, would be unlikely. Hyundai represents that, like nondetachable belts, these detachable belts meet all FMVSS No. 208 and FMVSS No. 209 performance requirements. Thus, we agree that a detachable 3-point belt with mini-buckle can be expected to provide an equivalent level of 1 See Hyundai’s Supplemental Response dated February 13, 2020. E:\FR\FM\01JYN1.SGM 01JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 127 / Wednesday, July 1, 2020 / Notices protection to belted occupants as a nondetachable 3-point belt. Because the rear seat is fixed, we agree with the petitioner that there is no advantage or reason for owners of subject vehicles to detach the belt. As noted above, the existence of the minibuckle and the ability to detach the female buckle is not apparent from visual inspection. The purpose of the rectangular slot is explained in the owner’s manual, which indicates that detaching the buckle requires insertion of a key-like object. Instructions in the owner’s manual also indicate that no special tool is needed to reattach the belt. If for some reason the mini-buckle is detached, an occupant wishing to use the available safety belt upon entering the center rear seat of a subject vehicle can easily re-attach the mini-buckle to the lower anchorage by inserting ‘‘the tongue plate into the open end of the [mini] buckle until an audible click is heard.’’ The Agency has received no complaints indicating that the subject vehicle’s detachable belt inadvertently released during use. Additionally, the petitioner has stated that there are no known accidents or injuries related to the subject noncompliance. For these reasons, we find the petition has merit and should be granted. VII. NHTSA’s Decision NHTSA finds that Hyundai has met its burden of persuasion that the FMVSS No. 208 noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, the petition is hereby granted and Hyundai is exempt from the obligation to provide notification of, and remedy for, the subject noncompliance in the affected vehicles under 49 U.S.C. 30018 and 30120. This petition is granted solely on the Agency’s decision that the noncompliance in the subject vehicles is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. It is important that all other vehicles subject to these requirements continue to meet them. 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, this decision only applies to the subject vehicles that Hyundai no longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. However, VerDate Sep<11>2014 01:53 Jul 01, 2020 Jkt 250001 the granting of 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 Hyundai 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. 2020–14217 Filed 6–30–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Office of Foreign Assets Control Notice of OFAC Sanctions Actions Office of Foreign Assets Control, Treasury. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is publishing the name of one entity that has been placed on OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List based on OFAC’s determination that one or more applicable legal criteria were satisfied. All property and interests in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction of this entity are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. OFAC is also publishing the name of this entity for being subject to Directives 2 and 4 under Executive Order 13662 that has been placed on OFAC’s Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List. DATES: See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for effective date(s). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: OFAC: Associate Director for Global Targeting, tel.: 202–622–2420; Assistant Director for Sanctions Compliance & Evaluation, tel.: 202–622–2490; Assistant Director for Licensing, tel.: 202–622–2480; or Assistant Director for Regulatory Affairs, tel.: 202–622–4855. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Electronic Availability The Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List and additional information concerning OFAC sanctions programs are available on OFAC’s website (https://www.treasury.gov/ofac). A complete listing of persons determined to be subject to one or more directives under E.O. 13662, can be found in the Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List at http:// PO 00000 Frm 00165 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 39683 www.treasury.gov/resource-center/ sanctions/SDN-List/Pages/ssi_list.aspx. Notice of OFAC Actions On March 12, 2020, OFAC determined that the property and interests in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction of the following entity is blocked pursuant to section 1(a)(i) of Executive Order 13850 of November 1, 2018, ‘‘Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Venezuela,’’ 83 FR 55243, 3 CFR, 2019 Comp., p. 881 (E.O. 13850), as amended by Executive Order 13857 of January 25, 2019, ‘‘Taking Additional Steps To Address the National Emergency With Respect to Venezuela,’’ 84 FR 509 (E.O. 13857), for operating in the oil sector of the Venezuelan economy. In addition, OFAC also identified the entity as subject to the prohibitions of Directive 2 (as amended) and Directive 4 of September 12, 2014, pursuant to Executive Order 13662 of March 20, 2014, ‘‘Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine’’ (E.O. 13662), 31 CFR 589.406, 589.802, and the July 16, 2014 Sectoral Determinations by the Secretary of the Treasury Pursuant to E.O. 13662, 79 FR 63024 (Oct. 21, 2014). Entity TNK TRADING INTERNATIONAL S.A., place du Lac 2, Geneve 1204, Switzerland; Executive Order 13662 Directive Determination—Subject to Directive 2; alt. Executive Order 13662 Directive Determination—Subject to Directive 4; V.A.T. Number CHE–267.936.404 (Switzerland); Business Registration Number CH– 660.0.559.011–2 (Switzerland); For more information on directives, please visit the following link: http://www.treasury.gov/ resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Pages/ ukraine.aspx#directives. [UKRAINE– EO13662] [VENEZUELA–EO13850] (Linked To: OPEN JOINT–STOCK COMPANY ROSNEFT OIL COMPANY). Dated: March 12, 2020. Andrea Gacki, Director, Office of Foreign Assets Control. Editorial note: This document was received for publication by the Office of the Federal Register on June 26, 2020. [FR Doc. 2020–14218 Filed 6–30–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810–AL–P DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY Office of Foreign Assets Control Notice of OFAC Sanctions Actions Office of Foreign Assets Control, Treasury. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\01JYN1.SGM 01JYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 127 (Wednesday, July 1, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 39681-39683]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-14217]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2016-0142; Notice 2]


Hyundai Motor America, Grant of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Grant of petition.

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SUMMARY: Hyundai Motor America (Hyundai) has determined that certain 
model year (MY) 2012-2016 Hyundai Accent motor vehicles do not fully 
comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 208, 
Occupant Crash Protection. Hyundai filed a noncompliance report dated 
December 12, 2016. Hyundai also petitioned NHTSA on December 16, 2016, 
for a decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it 
relates to motor vehicle safety. This document announces the grant of 
Hyundai's petition.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: James A. Jones, Office of Vehicle 
Safety Compliance, NHTSA, telephone (202) 366-5294, facsimile (202) 
366-5930.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Overview

    Hyundai has determined that certain MY 2012-2016 Hyundai Accent 
motor vehicles do not fully comply with paragraph S4.1.5.5.2 of FMVSS 
No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection (49 CFR 571.208). Hyundai filed a 
noncompliance information report dated December 12, 2016, pursuant to 
49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. 
Hyundai also petitioned NHTSA on December 16, 2016, pursuant to 49 
U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and 49 CFR part 556, 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.
    Notice of receipt of Hyundai's petition was published, with a 30-
day public comment period, on April 7, 2017, in the Federal Register 
(82 FR 17072). No comments were received. To view the petition and all 
supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket Management Systems 
(FDMS) website at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online 
search instructions to locate docket number ``NHTSA-2016-0142.''

II. Vehicles Involved

    Approximately 6,445 MY 2012-2016 Hyundai Accent motor vehicles 
manufactured between May 19, 2011, and July 7, 2016, are potentially 
involved. The affected vehicles are those equipped with a non-folding 
rear seat back and sold in the Puerto Rico and Guam markets.

III. Noncompliance

    Hyundai explains that the noncompliance is that the affected 
vehicles are equipped with a non-folding rear seat back and a center 
rear seat belt incorporating a release mechanism that detaches both the 
lap and shoulder portion at the lower anchorage point and therefore do 
not

[[Page 39682]]

meet the requirements of paragraph S4.1.5.5.2 of FMVSS No. 208. Under 
FMVSS No. 208, a detachable seat belt in the middle seat is allowed 
only in vehicles with a folding rear seat.

IV. Rule Requirements

    Paragraph S4.1.5.5.2 of FMVSS No. 208 includes the requirements 
relevant to this petition. Any inboard designated seating position on a 
seat for which the entire seat back can be folded (including the head 
restraints and any other part of the vehicle attached to the seat back) 
such that no part of the seat back extends above a horizontal plane 
located 250 mm above the highest SRP located on the seat may meet the 
requirements of paragraph S4.1.5.5.1 by use of a belt incorporating a 
release mechanism that detaches both the lap and shoulder portion at 
either the upper or lower anchorage point, but not both. The means of 
detachment shall be a key or key-like object.

V. Summary of Hyundai's Petition

    Hyundai described the subject noncompliance and stated its belief 
that the noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor 
vehicle safety.
    In support of its petition, Hyundai submitted the following 
reasoning:
    1. The affected vehicles are equipped with a non-folding rear seat 
back and a center rear seat belt incorporating a release mechanism that 
detaches both the lap and shoulder portion at the lower anchorage point 
to allow improved assembly line procedures.
    2. Hyundai first became aware of the possibility that the center 
rear seat belts of the subject vehicles may not comply with S4.1.5.5.2 
of FMVSS No. 208 as a result of internal ``port inspections'' of 
certain model year 2016 Hyundai Accent vehicles. A subsequent 
investigation revealed previous model year ``RB'' platform Accent 
vehicles are similarly affected.
    3. Hyundai pointed out that 5-door and 4-door Hyundai Accent 
vehicles equipped with rear folding seats are not affected.
    4. The Accent vehicles in question fully comply with FMVSS No. 208 
and FMVSS No. 209 requirements with the sole exception that the lap and 
shoulder portion of the rear center seat belt may be detached from the 
lower anchorage by use of a tool, such as a key or key-like object.
    5. Hyundai states that if the rear seat back of the subject 
vehicles were capable of being folded (which Hyundai claims would have 
no effect on seat belt performance) the detachable aspect would not 
result in a compliance issue.
    6. The Owner's Manual in the subject vehicles contains relevant 
information and illustrations to fasten, unfasten, and disconnect the 
rear center belt.
    7. Hyundai states that it is clear from the intended difficulty in 
detaching the seat belt and the instructions contained in the Owner's 
Manual that the seat belt should not be detached. Further, in the 
Accent with a fixed rear seat back, there is no advantage or reason for 
the owner to detach the center rear seat belt from the lower anchorage.
    8. Hyundai does not believe that it is appropriate to conduct a 
recall campaign to replace the center rear seat belts in vehicles that 
have been delivered to customers.
    9. Hyundai stated that they are not aware of any accidents or 
injuries related to the subject noncompliance.
    Hyundai 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.

VI. NHTSA's Analysis

    Anton's Law (Public Law 107-318) directed NHTSA to mandate 3-point 
belts (i.e., Type 2 integral lap/shoulder belts) at each rear seating 
position, including center rear seat positions, in new passenger motor 
vehicles by September 1, 2007. To accomplish the mandate, NHTSA issued 
a final rule on December 8, 2004, amending applicable parts of Federal 
motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) No. 208, Occupant Crash 
Protection [69 FR 70904].
    Prior to issuance of the final rule, FMVSS No. 208 allowed the 
installation of detachable shoulder belts on 3-point belts in swivel 
seats and outboard rear seats that are removable. In comments to the 
proposed final rule, vehicle manufacturers requested that the Agency 
extend the allowance for detachable belts to center rear seat positions 
of folding rear seats to ensure effective use of cargo carrying space. 
The Agency agreed.
    Many vehicle manufacturers were already using detachable belts with 
``mini-buckle'' designs that permit the entire belt to detach from the 
seat and retract into the upper shoulder anchorage. The Agency agreed 
that the mini-buckle design reduces the possibility for misuse since 
the lap belt is not independently available for use. Some of the 
existing mini-buckles had pushbutton release mechanisms similar to 
release mechanisms used for non-detachable belts. To address any safety 
concerns with inadvertent release of the mini-buckle during use, the 
Agency decided to require a key-like object to release the mini-buckle 
from the seat, eliminating installation of detachable belt designs that 
incorporate pushbutton releases. Consistent with the Agency's intent to 
maximize correct use of the belt, no provision was added to require the 
use of a tool to reattach the belt.
    The subject vehicles have fixed, non-folding rear seats with 
detachable 3-point belts installed at the center rear seat positions. 
As these center seats do not fold, the installation of this detachable 
belt constitutes a violation of S4.1.5.5.1 of FMVSS No. 208. The 
detachable 3-point belts have mini-buckles that allow the entire belt 
to detach from the seat at the lower anchorage point located on the 
left-side of the seating position. The mini-buckle can only be operated 
through inserting a key or key-like object in a rectangular slot on the 
female buckle at the lower left anchorage point. Other than the 
presence of the slot, the outward appearance of the buckle does not 
reveal that there is a mini-buckle hidden within the female buckle 
assembly allowing detachment. The likelihood that the mini-buckle could 
or would be used casually to remove the female buckle appears to be 
quite small. As the purpose of the slot would not be clear or the 
presence and operation of the mini-buckle is not obvious, removing the 
buckle assembly requires a degree of knowledge and intent likely to 
eliminate inadvertent detachment.
    Hyundai's data indicate that the nominal force required to release 
the buckle using a key or key-like object ranged from 13 to 20N (2.9 to 
4.5 lbf) with an average of 13.6N (3.1 lbf).\1\ Additionally, this key 
or object must be 2.9 mm (0.11 in) in length to reach the release 
mechanism and be capable of applying the release force noted above for 
an additional 4.8 mm (0.19 in) to release the buckle. Therefore, any 
object serving as a tool to release the buckle must fit in the 
available opening, apply the required force and do so without yielding 
over the required distance. These conditions indicate that an 
inadvertent release, or an intentional release by a child, would be 
unlikely.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ See Hyundai's Supplemental Response dated February 13, 2020.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hyundai represents that, like non-detachable belts, these 
detachable belts meet all FMVSS No. 208 and FMVSS No. 209 performance 
requirements. Thus, we agree that a detachable 3-point belt with mini-
buckle can be expected to provide an equivalent level of

[[Page 39683]]

protection to belted occupants as a non-detachable 3-point belt.
    Because the rear seat is fixed, we agree with the petitioner that 
there is no advantage or reason for owners of subject vehicles to 
detach the belt. As noted above, the existence of the mini-buckle and 
the ability to detach the female buckle is not apparent from visual 
inspection. The purpose of the rectangular slot is explained in the 
owner's manual, which indicates that detaching the buckle requires 
insertion of a key-like object. Instructions in the owner's manual also 
indicate that no special tool is needed to reattach the belt. If for 
some reason the mini-buckle is detached, an occupant wishing to use the 
available safety belt upon entering the center rear seat of a subject 
vehicle can easily re-attach the mini-buckle to the lower anchorage by 
inserting ``the tongue plate into the open end of the [mini] buckle 
until an audible click is heard.''
    The Agency has received no complaints indicating that the subject 
vehicle's detachable belt inadvertently released during use. 
Additionally, the petitioner has stated that there are no known 
accidents or injuries related to the subject noncompliance. For these 
reasons, we find the petition has merit and should be granted.

VII. NHTSA's Decision

    NHTSA finds that Hyundai has met its burden of persuasion that the 
FMVSS No. 208 noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor 
vehicle safety. Accordingly, the petition is hereby granted and Hyundai 
is exempt from the obligation to provide notification of, and remedy 
for, the subject noncompliance in the affected vehicles under 49 U.S.C. 
30018 and 30120.
    This petition is granted solely on the Agency's decision that the 
noncompliance in the subject vehicles is inconsequential as it relates 
to motor vehicle safety. It is important that all other vehicles 
subject to these requirements continue to meet them.
    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, this decision 
only applies to the subject vehicles that Hyundai no longer controlled 
at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. However, the 
granting of 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 Hyundai 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. 2020-14217 Filed 6-30-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P