Receipt of Petitions for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 23034-23038 [2021-09050]

Download as PDF jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 23034 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 82 / Friday, April 30, 2021 / Notices should back onto the platform when entering from the ground.’’ 3. NHTSA has previously granted petitions where wheelchair lifts did not meet the performance requirements of FMVSS No. 403. The petitioners argue that the Agency has granted inconsequentiality petitions where the manufacturer has not met the performance requirements of FMVSS No. 403, finding that the noncompliance did not pose an increased risk to safety as the lift is used in the real world. The performance of Ricon’s platform lifts is consistent with this precedent. For example, the Agency granted a petition for decision of inconsequential noncompliance submitted by The Braun Corporation (Braun) where the lift handrails did not meet the values for deflection force stated in FMVSS No. 403. The Agency recognized that while the handrails collapsed and did not meet the displacement requirement, they did not do so catastrophically. The Agency explained the failure ‘‘would not cause the passenger to become unstable, adversely interact with the vehicle, or pose a safety concerns that the handrail requirements were intended to address’’ and that its concern in instituting the deflection force requirement was the possibility of a catastrophic failure of the handrails, which would expose the occupant to a risk of injury. According to the petitioners, in granting the petition, the Agency not only ‘‘anticipated that future tests will specify placement and direction of forces that will be more focused to address worst-case handrail displacement and real-world safety problems,’’ but it also recognized the noncompliance did not ‘‘pose a safety concern that the handrail requirements were intended to address.’’ See 72 FR 19754 (April 19, 2007). Thus, the Agency has recognized that there are inherent provisions in FMVSS No. 403 that may not test for the types of safety risks that can arise in actual use and are therefore inconsequential. The petitions further note that as with the Agency’s finding with the Braun petition, in actual use, the Classic lifts do not pose a safety risk. This is because the inner barrier interlock would sense the presence of the rear wheels of the wheelchair occupant who is loaded and unloaded facing away from the vehicle. The heavier weight of the rear wheels is picked up by the sensors and the inner barrier interlock is activated. The interlock performance is restricted only under the set up per the test procedure, with the front wheels on the inner roll stop and facing the vehicle. 4. In addition, Navistar has reviewed warranty records, field reports, and VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:58 Apr 29, 2021 Jkt 253001 other applicable Navistar system and determined the following: a. Navistar has not received any complaints or other notices from vehicle owners or others regarding this issue. b. Navistar is not aware of any accidents or injuries that have occurred because of this issue. c. Navistar is not aware of any warranty claims for this issue. The petitioners concluded by expressing the belief that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety and that their petitions 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. The petitioner’s complete petitions and all supporting documents are available by logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) website at: https://www.regulations.gov and by following the online search instructions to locate the docket number as listed in the title of this notice. 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 these petitions only applies to the subject lifts and buses that the petitioners no longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. However, any decision of these petitions does not relieve vehicle or equipment distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of the noncompliant lifts and buses under their control after the petitioners 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. 2021–09051 Filed 4–29–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P PO 00000 Frm 00104 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2018–0096, Notice 1] Receipt of Petitions for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Receipt of petitions. AGENCY: Ricon Corporation (Ricon), has determined that certain S-Series and K-Series Titanium wheelchair lifts do not fully comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 403, Platform Lift Systems for Motor Vehicles. Due to Ricon’s determination, Navistar, Inc. on behalf of IC Bus, LLC (Navistar), and Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), who installed the S-Series and K-Series Titanium wheelchair lifts in their buses, determined that certain model year (MY) 2015–2019 IC and Thomas Built buses do not comply with FMVSS No. 404, Platform Lift Installation in Motor Vehicles. Ricon, Navistar, and DTNA, collectively referred to as the ‘‘the petitioners,’’ filed the appropriate noncompliance reports and petitioned NHTSA for a decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. This document announces receipt of the petitioners’ petitions. DATES: The closing date for comments on the petition is June 1, 2021. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the docket number cited in the title of this notice and may be 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. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\30APN1.SGM 30APN1 23035 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 82 / Friday, April 30, 2021 / Notices • Comments may also be faxed to (202) 493–2251. Comments must be written in the English language, and be no greater than 15 pages in length, although there is no limit to the length of necessary attachments to the comments. If comments are submitted in hard copy form, please ensure that two copies are provided. If you wish to receive confirmation that comments you have submitted by mail were received, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard along 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 fully possible. When the petitions are granted or denied a 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 dockets. 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: Ricon determined that certain S-Series and K-Series Titanium wheelchair lifts do not fully comply with paragraph S6.10.2.4 of FMVSS No. 403, Platform Lift Systems for Motor Vehicles (49 CFR 571.403) and filed a noncompliance report dated July 4, 2018, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. Ricon subsequently petitioned NHTSA on August 1, 2018, 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. Because of Ricon’s determination, Navistar and DTNA, who installed the S-Series and K-Series Titanium wheelchair lifts in their buses, determined that certain model year (MY) 2015–2019 IC and Thomas Built buses do not comply with paragraph S4.1.1 of FMVSS No. 404, Platform Lift Installation in Motor Vehicles (49 CFR 571.404). Navistar filed a noncompliance report dated August 17, 2018, and DTNA filed a noncompliance report dated August 23, 2018, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. Subsequently, Navistar petitioned NHTSA on August 31, 2018, and DTNA petitioned NHTSA on September 21, 2018, 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 the petitioners’ petitions 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. Equipment and Vehicles Involved: On July 4, 2018, Ricon submitted a noncompliance report and then on August 1, 2018, subsequently submitted a petition that reported approximately 4,375 S-Series and K-Series Titanium wheelchair lifts, manufactured between October 2, 2012, and May 9, 2018, are potentially involved. In concert with Ricon’s filings, Navistar and DTNA who installed the SSeries and K-Series Titanium wheelchair lifts sold by Ricon in their vehicles also filed noncompliance reports and inconsequential noncompliance petitions. Appropriately, Navistar and DTNA determined the following vehicles are potentially involved: Approximately 631 MY 2015–2019 IC CE buses, manufactured between April 10, 2014, and May 9, 2018. Approximately 84 MY 2015–2019 Thomas Built Series Saf-T-Liner C2 and HDX buses, manufactured between June 16, 2014, and January 11, 2018. Accordingly, Ricon reported that 4,375 S-Series and K-Series Titanium wheelchair lifts to be potentially involved while the OEMs reported, in total, 715 vehicles with the noncompliant S-Series and K-Series Titanium wheelchair lifts potentially involved. NHTSA made inquiries to Ricon to try to reconcile the difference in number of lifts reported versus the number of vehicles reported on multiple occasions. Then in an email dated June 10, 2020, Ricon provided a table that reported that 4,481 S-Series and KSeries Titanium wheelchair lifts were produced, with 312 going to dealers, 4,129 going to OEMs, and 40 to its parent company, Wabtec Corporation (Wabtec). Below is a table that outlines the different numbers as reported by Ricon, by date, for the S-Series and KSeries Titanium wheelchair lifts and the total number of vehicles as reported by the OEMs. RICON S-SERIES AND K-SERIES TITANIUM WHEELCHAIR LIFTS POTENTIALLY INVOLVED Ricon’s 7/4/18 reporting Ricon’s 6/10/ 20 reporting Total OEM 573 reporting Dealers ......................................................................................................................................... OEMs ........................................................................................................................................... Wabtec * ....................................................................................................................................... ........................ ........................ ........................ 312 4,129 40 ........................ ........................ ........................ Total ...................................................................................................................................... 4,375 4,481 715 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES * Ricon is a subsidiary of WABTEC. The total number of vehicles reported by the OEMs has not changed and the number S-Series and K-Series wheelchair lifts as reported by Ricon on June 10, 2020, are the most up-to-date VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:58 Apr 29, 2021 Jkt 253001 numbers. Based on current numbers as shown in the table above, there are still 3,766 lifts that have not been accounted for by sales to vehicle manufacturers and Ricon believes that these lifts were PO 00000 Frm 00105 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 distributed and sold through other channels. Despite several meetings and communication with Ricon directed toward identifying their ultimate destination, NHTSA has not been able E:\FR\FM\30APN1.SGM 30APN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 23036 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 82 / Friday, April 30, 2021 / Notices to determine where and how the lifts not sold to vehicle manufacturer were sold. NHTSA also feels it is prudent to emphasize that any decision on these petitions does not relieve vehicle or equipment distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of the noncompliant lifts and vehicles under their control after the petitioners notified them that the subject noncompliance existed. III. Noncompliance: Ricon explains that its Titanium S-Series and K-Series platform lifts do not comply with the inner barrier interlock requirements of FMVSS 403, S6.10.2.6 when tested in accordance with the test procedure at S7.6.1. The subject lifts, as installed in certain commercial buses and school buses, do not comply with paragraph S4.1.1 of FMVSS No. 404. IV. Requirements: Paragraph S6.10.2.4 of FMVSS No. 403, includes the requirements relevant to the deployment of the inner roll stop. When the platform reaches a level where the inner roll stop is designed to deploy, the platform must stop unless the inner roll stop has deployed. Verification with this requirement is made by performing the test procedure specified in S7.6. Paragraph S4.1.1 of FMVSS No. 404, includes lift-equipped buses, school buses, and MPVs other than motor homes with a GVWR greater than 4,536 kg (10,000 lb.) must be equipped with a public use lift certified as meeting FMVSS No. 403. V. Summary of Petitions: The following views and arguments presented in this section, ‘‘V. Summary of Petitions,’’ are the views and arguments provided by the petitioners. They have not been evaluated by the Agency and do not reflect the views of the Agency. The petitioners described the subject noncompliance and stated their belief that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. In support of their petitions, the petitioners submitted the following arguments: 1. The performance of the Ricon lifts do not create an increased risk to safety: (a) The petitioners state the S-Series and K-Series Titanium lifts are commercial application lifts and are public use lifts. The inner barrier is designed to lay flat for the lift occupant to easily transition from the platform into the vehicle and vice versa. When the inner barrier is deployed (i.e. raised upright), it prevents the occupant from moving off the platform edge at the start of the vehicle. The inner barrier interlock on the Titanium units utilizes VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:58 Apr 29, 2021 Jkt 253001 a rod which travels across the front of the base plate. There are plastic shoe levers at three different locations in the center and towards each side of the inner barrier. At the end of the rod in front of the vertical arm is a torsion spring that activates a micro switch. The design of the lift operates so that the closer that weight is placed to the hinge of the inner barrier bridge plate, the further away it is located from the torsion spring and micro switch when the bridge plate is down. More force is required to move the opposite end of the bridge plate the same vertical distance to depress the torsion spring that activates the micro switch. Because the torsion spring is weight sensing, if the single front wheel of the wheelchair test device is located within 8 inches of the inner barrier hinge, there is insufficient weight sensed to activate the inner barrier interlock. (b) Per the petitioners, the operation of the lifts does not cause an increased risk to safety. As an initial matter, the position of the wheelchair test device specified in the test procedure is inconsistent with the appropriate use of the lifts and does not pose a safety risk in real-world operation. The test procedure at S7.6.2 provides that the platform should be maneuvered to vehicle floor level loading position and the wheelchair test device should be placed on the platform with the front wheel of the wheelchair test device facing the vehicle. The instruction in the test procedure to set up the wheelchair test device facing the entrance to the lift is contrary to the instructions provided in the Ricon operator’s manual instructions and contrary to industry practice. The industry standard practice is to load wheelchair occupants onto a lift with their back to the vehicle. Loading in this direction prevents injury to the occupant’s lower extremities and feet. The petitioners note that as written, the instructions in the test procedure are inconsistent with the industry standard and Ricon’s operator’s manual.1 An 1 The Titanium units are public use lifts. During the FMVSS No. 403 rulemaking process, a manufacturer noted that portions of the rule had testing conducted in one direction when the owner’s manual provided for a different loading direction. See 67 FR 42526. The manufacturer took the position that such inconsistencies were contrary to the requirements of the ADA. In response, NHTSA concluded that since the ADA does not apply to private use lifts, the loading requirements were not inconsistent with the ADA. Here, however, the Ricon lifts are used as public use lifts. Although the ADA states that the lift shall permit for boarding and unboarding in both directions the industry practice and Ricon’s (and other manufacturers) instructions provide for boarding in the reverse as an added level of occupant protection. PO 00000 Frm 00106 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 excerpt from the operator’s manual for the Titanium lifts describes how an occupant should board the lift (facing away from the vehicle). Similar instructions are provided for an occupant exiting the vehicle that also indicate that the occupant should face outward and away from the vehicle: (c) The petitioners state it uses decals to indicate to the operator the correct means to load an occupant onto each wheelchair lift. The decals are placed on the vertical arms of the lift and face outward of the vehicle so that they are visible to the lift operator when loading a passenger onto the lift from ground level. (d) Ricon next contends there is no increased risk to safety because placing a single front wheel on the inner roll stop, as required by the test procedure, is not a natural position for a wheelchair to enter and exit the lift. Even assuming an occupant was loaded and unloaded in the reverse position and contrary to the instructions provided in the owner’s manual, the wheelchair must be manipulated to achieve a position where one front wheel is placed on the inner roll stop. To do this, the wheelchair test device must be shifted back and forth (i.e. brought onto the inner roll stop, moved backwards and moved forwards at an angle) multiple times to position the test device so that only one front wheel is placed on the inner roll stop. This backwards and forwards shifting motion is not a natural motion and would not occur in ordinary use. In ordinary use, the wheelchair occupant enters and exits the vehicle with the occupant facing the street. Further, even if the occupant were to enter the lift backwards (i.e. facing the vehicle, per the test procedure), the platform lift is wide enough for the average sized wheelchair and scooter to fully roll onto the platform in a single motion so that the single front wheel of a wheelchair would not contact the inner roll stop within 8 inches of the hinge. The Titanium units (as with all Ricon’s lifts) meet the requirements for ADA standard vehicle door widths. Consequently, the Titanium units are wide enough for the average sized wheelchair and scooter to roll onto the lift in a single motion. (e) The petitioners add that these lifts incorporate a retention belt system as part of the platform lift design. The retention belt consists of durable webbing which is attached to and when belted, extends across each of the handrails. The retention belt serves dual purposes and is a redundant safety feature. The retention belt is a means to physically secure an occupant within the lift. In addition, the retention belt E:\FR\FM\30APN1.SGM 30APN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 82 / Friday, April 30, 2021 / Notices acts as an electrical interlock that is linked to the operation of the lift. If the retention belt is buckled, the electrical circuit is closed and the platform and outer barrier can operate when the buttons on the operator’s pendant are pressed. If the belt is not buckled, the electrical circuit is broken and there is no power sent to any part of the lift and the platform cannot move and the inner roll stop will not deploy. However, in actual use outside of the test environment, the retention belt would not be buckled (and the lift would not be powered) when the occupant is attempting to enter the vehicle from the ground. Consistent with the operator’s instructions provided above, the retention belt is unbuckled as the occupant is entering the vehicle so that even if a single front wheel was present within 8 inches of the inner roll stop hinge, there is no safety consequence because the lift is not powered. (f) The petitioners contend that the noncompliance with the inner barrier interlock arises only when the lifts are tested with one front wheel of the wheelchair test device located within 8 inches from the hinge and when the wheelchair is manipulated in the manner provided in the test procedure. When the lift is used consistent with the instructions provided with the operator’s manual, the occupant enters and exits the lift facing away from the vehicle so that the two rear wheels of the wheelchair contact with the inner roll stop. Consistent with real-world use (and as demonstrated through the product’s performance in the field), there is no safety risk because the weight of the rear wheels is sensed by the torsion spring so that the interlock is activated. 2. NHTSA has previously granted petitions where wheelchair lifts did not meet the performance requirements of FMVSS No. 403. (a) In support of the petition, the petitioners contend the Agency has granted inconsequentiality petitions where the manufacturer has not met the performance requirements of FMVSS No. 403, finding that the noncompliance did not pose an increased risk to safety as the lift is used in the real world. Per The petitioners, the performance of their platform lifts is consistent with this precedent. (b) For example, the petitioners note the Agency granted a petition for decision of inconsequential noncompliance submitted by The Braun Corporation (Braun) where the lift handrails did not meet the values for deflection force. While the handrails collapsed when exposed to forces above the threshold requirement, the VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:58 Apr 29, 2021 Jkt 253001 handrail∼ did not collapse or fail catastrophically. Per The petitioners, the Agency explained that its concern in instituting the deflection force requirement was the possibility of a catastrophic failure of the handrails which would expose the occupant to a risk of injury. In granting the petition, the petitioners state the Agency ‘‘anticipated that future tests will specify placement and direction of forces that will be more focused to address worst-case handrail displacement and real-world safety problems.’’ The petitioners further claim the Agency recognized the noncompliance, in this case, did not ‘‘pose a safety concern that the handrail requirements were intended to address.’’ See 72 FR 19754 (April 19, 2007). (c) The petitioners argue that as with the Agency’s findings with the Braun petition, in actual use and consistent with the operator’s manual, the Titanium units do not pose a safety risk in the real world. This is because the inner barrier interlock would sense the presence of the rear wheels of the wheelchair occupant who is loaded and unloaded facing away from the vehicle. The heavier weight of the rear wheels is picked up by the sensors and the inner barrier interlock is activated. The interlock performance is restricted only under the set up per the test procedure, with a single front wheel facing the vehicle. (d) The petitioners contend that NHTSA has also granted an inconsequentiality petition where the deployed wheelchair retention device was unable to withstand the required 1,600 pounds of force. In that case, the Maxon Industry Inc. (Maxon) lifts included some designs where the outer barrier served as the wheelchair retention device and other designs with both a belt retention device and an outer barrier. The belt retention device also served as an electronic interlock that precluded the lift from moving up or down unless buckled.2 The petitioners states the Agency granted the petition as to the units which incorporated the retention belt and noncompliant outer barrier, finding that such a design did not create an increased risk to safety since the belt’s operation precluded the lift from moving and prevented the stated safety concern. Per The petitioners, the Agency denied the petition as to those units without the retention belt, reasoning that the lift 2 Ricon is aware of multiple manufacturers that use a belt interlock that functions in the same or similar manner to restrict the operation of the platform lift. PO 00000 Frm 00107 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 23037 occupant would only be relying upon a noncompliant outer barrier for protection. See 72 FR 28759 (May 22, 2007). (e) The petitioners note that the Titanium units incorporate a retention belt that completely prevents lift electrical operation unless the retention belt is buckled.3 The retention belt would not be buckled, when the occupant is attempting to enter the vehicle, so that even in the unlikely event that a single front wheel of the wheelchair were placed 8 inches or less from the inner barrier hinge, per the test procedure, the lift would not be energized and the lift could not move at all. The petitioners argue that in granting the Maxon petition, the Agency recognized and accepted that the retention belt acted as a redundant safety feature precluded any safety risk. The belt interlock in the Ricon lifts as well as the operator’s manual instructions create similar redundancies and offer equivalent protection to occupants. (f) Finally, the petitioners argue the environment in which these lifts are used diminishes any potential risk to safety. All the lifts at issue are for commercial applications and operate as a public use lifts. In this context, there will be a lift attendant present to monitor the lift to ensure the occupant enters and exits the lift safely. When the lift attendant for the public use lift is following the operator’s manual, there should not be an instance where the lift platform is powered and the occupant is unrestrained. Ricon has used this same design lift since the start of production for decades and is not aware of any claims or injury involving the performance of the inner roll stop interlock. The petitioners concluded by expressing the belief that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, and that their petitions 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. The petitioners’ complete petitions and all supporting documents are available by logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) website at: https://www.regulations.gov and by following the online search instructions to locate the docket number as listed in the title of this notice. 3 The Ricon lifts incorporate a means of manually descending the lift to allow a rider to exit the vehicle in the event of a lift malfunction. E:\FR\FM\30APN1.SGM 30APN1 23038 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 82 / Friday, April 30, 2021 / Notices 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 these petitions only applies to the subject lifts and buses that the petitioners no longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. However, any decision of these petitions does not relieve vehicle or equipment distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of the noncompliant lifts and buses under their control after the petitioners 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. 2021–09050 Filed 4–29–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2018–0095, Notice 1] Receipt of Petitions for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Receipt of petitions. AGENCY: Ricon Corporation (Ricon), has determined that certain Mirage, SSeries, and K-Series wheelchair lifts do not fully comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 403, Platform Lift Systems for Motor Vehicles. Because of Ricon’s determination, various vehicle manufacturers who installed the SSeries, and K-Series wheelchair lifts in their motor vehicles determined that their motor vehicles do not comply with FMVSS No. 404, Platform Lift Installation in Motor Vehicles. Ricon and the various vehicle manufacturers, collectively referred to as the ‘‘the petitioners,’’ filed the appropriate noncompliance reports and subsequently petitioned NHTSA for a jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:58 Apr 29, 2021 Jkt 253001 decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. This document announces receipt of the petitioners’ petitions. The closing date for comments on the petition is June 1, 2021. ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the docket number cited in the title of this notice and may be 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 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 along 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 fully possible. When the petitions are 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 DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00108 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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 dockets. 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: Ricon determined that certain Mirage, S-Series, and K-Series wheelchair lifts do not fully comply with paragraph S6.10.2.6 of FMVSS No. 403, Platform Lift Systems for Motor Vehicles (49 CFR 571.403) and filed noncompliance reports, dated May 15, 2018, and May 25, 2018, (and later amended their May 15, 2018 noncompliance report on June 12, 2019) pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. Ricon subsequently petitioned NHTSA on June 13, 2018, 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. Because of Ricon’s determination, the following vehicle manufacturers who installed the S Series, and K Series wheelchair lifts in their motor vehicles determined that their motor vehicles do not fully comply with paragraph S4.1.1 of FMVSS No. 404, Platform Lift Installation in Motor Vehicles (49 CFR 571.404). The various vehicle manufacturers also filed noncompliance reports, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports and subsequently petitioned NHTSA, 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. ElDorado Mobility, Inc. (ElDorado) has determined that certain model year (MY) 2014–2018 Revability Advantage Ram Promaster 1500 and 2500 motor vehicles do not fully comply with paragraph S4.1.1 of FMVSS No. 404. ElDorado filed a noncompliance report dated July 3, 2018, and later amended E:\FR\FM\30APN1.SGM 30APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 82 (Friday, April 30, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 23034-23038]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-09050]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2018-0096, Notice 1]


Receipt of Petitions for Decision of Inconsequential 
Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Receipt of petitions.

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SUMMARY: Ricon Corporation (Ricon), has determined that certain S-
Series and K-Series Titanium wheelchair lifts do not fully comply with 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 403, Platform Lift 
Systems for Motor Vehicles. Due to Ricon's determination, Navistar, 
Inc. on behalf of IC Bus, LLC (Navistar), and Daimler Trucks North 
America (DTNA), who installed the S-Series and K-Series Titanium 
wheelchair lifts in their buses, determined that certain model year 
(MY) 2015-2019 IC and Thomas Built buses do not comply with FMVSS No. 
404, Platform Lift Installation in Motor Vehicles. Ricon, Navistar, and 
DTNA, collectively referred to as the ``the petitioners,'' filed the 
appropriate noncompliance reports and petitioned NHTSA for a decision 
that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to 
motor vehicle safety. This document announces receipt of the 
petitioners' petitions.

DATES: The closing date for comments on the petition is June 1, 2021.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written data, 
views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the 
docket number cited in the title of this notice and may be 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.

[[Page 23035]]

     Comments may also be faxed to (202) 493-2251.
    Comments must be written in the English language, and be no greater 
than 15 pages in length, although there is no limit to the length of 
necessary attachments to the comments. If comments are submitted in 
hard copy form, please ensure that two copies are provided. If you wish 
to receive confirmation that comments you have submitted by mail were 
received, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard along 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 fully possible.
    When the petitions are granted or denied a 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 dockets. 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: Ricon determined that certain S-Series and K-Series 
Titanium wheelchair lifts do not fully comply with paragraph S6.10.2.4 
of FMVSS No. 403, Platform Lift Systems for Motor Vehicles (49 CFR 
571.403) and filed a noncompliance report dated July 4, 2018, pursuant 
to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and 
Reports. Ricon subsequently petitioned NHTSA on August 1, 2018, 
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.
    Because of Ricon's determination, Navistar and DTNA, who installed 
the S-Series and K-Series Titanium wheelchair lifts in their buses, 
determined that certain model year (MY) 2015-2019 IC and Thomas Built 
buses do not comply with paragraph S4.1.1 of FMVSS No. 404, Platform 
Lift Installation in Motor Vehicles (49 CFR 571.404). Navistar filed a 
noncompliance report dated August 17, 2018, and DTNA filed a 
noncompliance report dated August 23, 2018, pursuant to 49 CFR part 
573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. Subsequently, 
Navistar petitioned NHTSA on August 31, 2018, and DTNA petitioned NHTSA 
on September 21, 2018, 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 the petitioners' petitions 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. Equipment and Vehicles Involved: On July 4, 2018, Ricon 
submitted a noncompliance report and then on August 1, 2018, 
subsequently submitted a petition that reported approximately 4,375 S-
Series and K-Series Titanium wheelchair lifts, manufactured between 
October 2, 2012, and May 9, 2018, are potentially involved.
    In concert with Ricon's filings, Navistar and DTNA who installed 
the S-Series and K-Series Titanium wheelchair lifts sold by Ricon in 
their vehicles also filed noncompliance reports and inconsequential 
noncompliance petitions. Appropriately, Navistar and DTNA determined 
the following vehicles are potentially involved:
    Approximately 631 MY 2015-2019 IC CE buses, manufactured between 
April 10, 2014, and May 9, 2018.
    Approximately 84 MY 2015-2019 Thomas Built Series Saf-T-Liner C2 
and HDX buses, manufactured between June 16, 2014, and January 11, 
2018.
    Accordingly, Ricon reported that 4,375 S-Series and K-Series 
Titanium wheelchair lifts to be potentially involved while the OEMs 
reported, in total, 715 vehicles with the noncompliant S-Series and K-
Series Titanium wheelchair lifts potentially involved. NHTSA made 
inquiries to Ricon to try to reconcile the difference in number of 
lifts reported versus the number of vehicles reported on multiple 
occasions. Then in an email dated June 10, 2020, Ricon provided a table 
that reported that 4,481 S-Series and K-Series Titanium wheelchair 
lifts were produced, with 312 going to dealers, 4,129 going to OEMs, 
and 40 to its parent company, Wabtec Corporation (Wabtec). Below is a 
table that outlines the different numbers as reported by Ricon, by 
date, for the S-Series and K-Series Titanium wheelchair lifts and the 
total number of vehicles as reported by the OEMs.

                   Ricon S-Series and K-Series Titanium Wheelchair Lifts Potentially Involved
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Ricon's 7/4/18   Ricon's 6/10/   Total OEM 573
                                                                     reporting     20 reporting      reporting
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dealers.........................................................  ..............             312  ..............
OEMs............................................................  ..............           4,129  ..............
Wabtec *........................................................  ..............              40  ..............
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................           4,375           4,481             715
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Ricon is a subsidiary of WABTEC.

    The total number of vehicles reported by the OEMs has not changed 
and the number S-Series and K-Series wheelchair lifts as reported by 
Ricon on June 10, 2020, are the most up-to-date numbers. Based on 
current numbers as shown in the table above, there are still 3,766 
lifts that have not been accounted for by sales to vehicle 
manufacturers and Ricon believes that these lifts were distributed and 
sold through other channels. Despite several meetings and communication 
with Ricon directed toward identifying their ultimate destination, 
NHTSA has not been able

[[Page 23036]]

to determine where and how the lifts not sold to vehicle manufacturer 
were sold. NHTSA also feels it is prudent to emphasize that any 
decision on these petitions does not relieve vehicle or equipment 
distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer for 
sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate 
commerce of the noncompliant lifts and vehicles under their control 
after the petitioners notified them that the subject noncompliance 
existed.
    III. Noncompliance: Ricon explains that its Titanium S-Series and 
K-Series platform lifts do not comply with the inner barrier interlock 
requirements of FMVSS 403, S6.10.2.6 when tested in accordance with the 
test procedure at S7.6.1. The subject lifts, as installed in certain 
commercial buses and school buses, do not comply with paragraph S4.1.1 
of FMVSS No. 404.
    IV. Requirements: Paragraph S6.10.2.4 of FMVSS No. 403, includes 
the requirements relevant to the deployment of the inner roll stop. 
When the platform reaches a level where the inner roll stop is designed 
to deploy, the platform must stop unless the inner roll stop has 
deployed. Verification with this requirement is made by performing the 
test procedure specified in S7.6.
    Paragraph S4.1.1 of FMVSS No. 404, includes lift-equipped buses, 
school buses, and MPVs other than motor homes with a GVWR greater than 
4,536 kg (10,000 lb.) must be equipped with a public use lift certified 
as meeting FMVSS No. 403.
    V. Summary of Petitions: The following views and arguments 
presented in this section, ``V. Summary of Petitions,'' are the views 
and arguments provided by the petitioners. They have not been evaluated 
by the Agency and do not reflect the views of the Agency. The 
petitioners described the subject noncompliance and stated their belief 
that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to 
motor vehicle safety.
    In support of their petitions, the petitioners submitted the 
following arguments:
    1. The performance of the Ricon lifts do not create an increased 
risk to safety:
    (a) The petitioners state the S-Series and K-Series Titanium lifts 
are commercial application lifts and are public use lifts. The inner 
barrier is designed to lay flat for the lift occupant to easily 
transition from the platform into the vehicle and vice versa. When the 
inner barrier is deployed (i.e. raised upright), it prevents the 
occupant from moving off the platform edge at the start of the vehicle. 
The inner barrier interlock on the Titanium units utilizes a rod which 
travels across the front of the base plate. There are plastic shoe 
levers at three different locations in the center and towards each side 
of the inner barrier. At the end of the rod in front of the vertical 
arm is a torsion spring that activates a micro switch. The design of 
the lift operates so that the closer that weight is placed to the hinge 
of the inner barrier bridge plate, the further away it is located from 
the torsion spring and micro switch when the bridge plate is down. More 
force is required to move the opposite end of the bridge plate the same 
vertical distance to depress the torsion spring that activates the 
micro switch. Because the torsion spring is weight sensing, if the 
single front wheel of the wheelchair test device is located within 8 
inches of the inner barrier hinge, there is insufficient weight sensed 
to activate the inner barrier interlock.
    (b) Per the petitioners, the operation of the lifts does not cause 
an increased risk to safety. As an initial matter, the position of the 
wheelchair test device specified in the test procedure is inconsistent 
with the appropriate use of the lifts and does not pose a safety risk 
in real-world operation. The test procedure at S7.6.2 provides that the 
platform should be maneuvered to vehicle floor level loading position 
and the wheelchair test device should be placed on the platform with 
the front wheel of the wheelchair test device facing the vehicle. The 
instruction in the test procedure to set up the wheelchair test device 
facing the entrance to the lift is contrary to the instructions 
provided in the Ricon operator's manual instructions and contrary to 
industry practice. The industry standard practice is to load wheelchair 
occupants onto a lift with their back to the vehicle. Loading in this 
direction prevents injury to the occupant's lower extremities and feet. 
The petitioners note that as written, the instructions in the test 
procedure are inconsistent with the industry standard and Ricon's 
operator's manual.\1\ An excerpt from the operator's manual for the 
Titanium lifts describes how an occupant should board the lift (facing 
away from the vehicle). Similar instructions are provided for an 
occupant exiting the vehicle that also indicate that the occupant 
should face outward and away from the vehicle:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ The Titanium units are public use lifts. During the FMVSS 
No. 403 rulemaking process, a manufacturer noted that portions of 
the rule had testing conducted in one direction when the owner's 
manual provided for a different loading direction. See 67 FR 42526. 
The manufacturer took the position that such inconsistencies were 
contrary to the requirements of the ADA. In response, NHTSA 
concluded that since the ADA does not apply to private use lifts, 
the loading requirements were not inconsistent with the ADA. Here, 
however, the Ricon lifts are used as public use lifts. Although the 
ADA states that the lift shall permit for boarding and unboarding in 
both directions the industry practice and Ricon's (and other 
manufacturers) instructions provide for boarding in the reverse as 
an added level of occupant protection.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (c) The petitioners state it uses decals to indicate to the 
operator the correct means to load an occupant onto each wheelchair 
lift. The decals are placed on the vertical arms of the lift and face 
outward of the vehicle so that they are visible to the lift operator 
when loading a passenger onto the lift from ground level.
    (d) Ricon next contends there is no increased risk to safety 
because placing a single front wheel on the inner roll stop, as 
required by the test procedure, is not a natural position for a 
wheelchair to enter and exit the lift. Even assuming an occupant was 
loaded and unloaded in the reverse position and contrary to the 
instructions provided in the owner's manual, the wheelchair must be 
manipulated to achieve a position where one front wheel is placed on 
the inner roll stop. To do this, the wheelchair test device must be 
shifted back and forth (i.e. brought onto the inner roll stop, moved 
backwards and moved forwards at an angle) multiple times to position 
the test device so that only one front wheel is placed on the inner 
roll stop. This backwards and forwards shifting motion is not a natural 
motion and would not occur in ordinary use. In ordinary use, the 
wheelchair occupant enters and exits the vehicle with the occupant 
facing the street. Further, even if the occupant were to enter the lift 
backwards (i.e. facing the vehicle, per the test procedure), the 
platform lift is wide enough for the average sized wheelchair and 
scooter to fully roll onto the platform in a single motion so that the 
single front wheel of a wheelchair would not contact the inner roll 
stop within 8 inches of the hinge. The Titanium units (as with all 
Ricon's lifts) meet the requirements for ADA standard vehicle door 
widths. Consequently, the Titanium units are wide enough for the 
average sized wheelchair and scooter to roll onto the lift in a single 
motion.
    (e) The petitioners add that these lifts incorporate a retention 
belt system as part of the platform lift design. The retention belt 
consists of durable webbing which is attached to and when belted, 
extends across each of the handrails. The retention belt serves dual 
purposes and is a redundant safety feature. The retention belt is a 
means to physically secure an occupant within the lift. In addition, 
the retention belt

[[Page 23037]]

acts as an electrical interlock that is linked to the operation of the 
lift. If the retention belt is buckled, the electrical circuit is 
closed and the platform and outer barrier can operate when the buttons 
on the operator's pendant are pressed. If the belt is not buckled, the 
electrical circuit is broken and there is no power sent to any part of 
the lift and the platform cannot move and the inner roll stop will not 
deploy. However, in actual use outside of the test environment, the 
retention belt would not be buckled (and the lift would not be powered) 
when the occupant is attempting to enter the vehicle from the ground. 
Consistent with the operator's instructions provided above, the 
retention belt is unbuckled as the occupant is entering the vehicle so 
that even if a single front wheel was present within 8 inches of the 
inner roll stop hinge, there is no safety consequence because the lift 
is not powered.
    (f) The petitioners contend that the noncompliance with the inner 
barrier interlock arises only when the lifts are tested with one front 
wheel of the wheelchair test device located within 8 inches from the 
hinge and when the wheelchair is manipulated in the manner provided in 
the test procedure. When the lift is used consistent with the 
instructions provided with the operator's manual, the occupant enters 
and exits the lift facing away from the vehicle so that the two rear 
wheels of the wheelchair contact with the inner roll stop. Consistent 
with real-world use (and as demonstrated through the product's 
performance in the field), there is no safety risk because the weight 
of the rear wheels is sensed by the torsion spring so that the 
interlock is activated.
    2. NHTSA has previously granted petitions where wheelchair lifts 
did not meet the performance requirements of FMVSS No. 403.
    (a) In support of the petition, the petitioners contend the Agency 
has granted inconsequentiality petitions where the manufacturer has not 
met the performance requirements of FMVSS No. 403, finding that the 
noncompliance did not pose an increased risk to safety as the lift is 
used in the real world. Per The petitioners, the performance of their 
platform lifts is consistent with this precedent.
    (b) For example, the petitioners note the Agency granted a petition 
for decision of inconsequential noncompliance submitted by The Braun 
Corporation (Braun) where the lift handrails did not meet the values 
for deflection force. While the handrails collapsed when exposed to 
forces above the threshold requirement, the handrail~ did not collapse 
or fail catastrophically. Per The petitioners, the Agency explained 
that its concern in instituting the deflection force requirement was 
the possibility of a catastrophic failure of the handrails which would 
expose the occupant to a risk of injury. In granting the petition, the 
petitioners state the Agency ``anticipated that future tests will 
specify placement and direction of forces that will be more focused to 
address worst-case handrail displacement and real-world safety 
problems.'' The petitioners further claim the Agency recognized the 
noncompliance, in this case, did not ``pose a safety concern that the 
handrail requirements were intended to address.'' See 72 FR 19754 
(April 19, 2007).
    (c) The petitioners argue that as with the Agency's findings with 
the Braun petition, in actual use and consistent with the operator's 
manual, the Titanium units do not pose a safety risk in the real world. 
This is because the inner barrier interlock would sense the presence of 
the rear wheels of the wheelchair occupant who is loaded and unloaded 
facing away from the vehicle. The heavier weight of the rear wheels is 
picked up by the sensors and the inner barrier interlock is activated. 
The interlock performance is restricted only under the set up per the 
test procedure, with a single front wheel facing the vehicle.
    (d) The petitioners contend that NHTSA has also granted an 
inconsequentiality petition where the deployed wheelchair retention 
device was unable to withstand the required 1,600 pounds of force. In 
that case, the Maxon Industry Inc. (Maxon) lifts included some designs 
where the outer barrier served as the wheelchair retention device and 
other designs with both a belt retention device and an outer barrier. 
The belt retention device also served as an electronic interlock that 
precluded the lift from moving up or down unless buckled.\2\ The 
petitioners states the Agency granted the petition as to the units 
which incorporated the retention belt and noncompliant outer barrier, 
finding that such a design did not create an increased risk to safety 
since the belt's operation precluded the lift from moving and prevented 
the stated safety concern. Per The petitioners, the Agency denied the 
petition as to those units without the retention belt, reasoning that 
the lift occupant would only be relying upon a noncompliant outer 
barrier for protection. See 72 FR 28759 (May 22, 2007).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Ricon is aware of multiple manufacturers that use a belt 
interlock that functions in the same or similar manner to restrict 
the operation of the platform lift.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (e) The petitioners note that the Titanium units incorporate a 
retention belt that completely prevents lift electrical operation 
unless the retention belt is buckled.\3\ The retention belt would not 
be buckled, when the occupant is attempting to enter the vehicle, so 
that even in the unlikely event that a single front wheel of the 
wheelchair were placed 8 inches or less from the inner barrier hinge, 
per the test procedure, the lift would not be energized and the lift 
could not move at all. The petitioners argue that in granting the Maxon 
petition, the Agency recognized and accepted that the retention belt 
acted as a redundant safety feature precluded any safety risk. The belt 
interlock in the Ricon lifts as well as the operator's manual 
instructions create similar redundancies and offer equivalent 
protection to occupants.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ The Ricon lifts incorporate a means of manually descending 
the lift to allow a rider to exit the vehicle in the event of a lift 
malfunction.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (f) Finally, the petitioners argue the environment in which these 
lifts are used diminishes any potential risk to safety. All the lifts 
at issue are for commercial applications and operate as a public use 
lifts. In this context, there will be a lift attendant present to 
monitor the lift to ensure the occupant enters and exits the lift 
safely. When the lift attendant for the public use lift is following 
the operator's manual, there should not be an instance where the lift 
platform is powered and the occupant is unrestrained. Ricon has used 
this same design lift since the start of production for decades and is 
not aware of any claims or injury involving the performance of the 
inner roll stop interlock.
    The petitioners concluded by expressing the belief that the subject 
noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, 
and that their petitions 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.
    The petitioners' complete petitions and all supporting documents 
are available by logging onto the Federal Docket Management System 
(FDMS) website at: https://www.regulations.gov and by following the 
online search instructions to locate the docket number as listed in the 
title of this notice.

[[Page 23038]]

    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 
these petitions only applies to the subject lifts and buses that the 
petitioners no longer controlled at the time it determined that the 
noncompliance existed. However, any decision of these petitions does 
not relieve vehicle or equipment distributors and dealers of the 
prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, or introduction or delivery 
for introduction into interstate commerce of the noncompliant lifts and 
buses under their control after the petitioners 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. 2021-09050 Filed 4-29-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P