Combi USA, Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 47723-47726 [2021-18356]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 163 / Thursday, August 26, 2021 / Notices the manufacturer of both the Subject Vehicles and the Comparison Vehicles, commented that; GM does not recommend that these vehicles be granted eligibility for importation into the United States. The owners of these vehicles will find it very difficult or impossible to get safety-critical repairs in the US. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES GM further explained in its comment that its dealers in the US are only authorized to service US-designated vehicles under the terms of their existing franchise agreements, and that the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) will not be recognized by the GM Multiple Diagnostic Interface (MDI) tool used at a US GM dealership.4 IV. NHTSA’s Analysis A petition to determine import eligibility must include all information required under the applicable authorities and must also include data, views, and arguments demonstrating the conclusions advanced by the petition. DVS’s petition fails to meet these requirements because it does not include sufficient supporting information and relies almost exclusively on unsupported conclusory allegations. The petition fails to distinguish between five different model years of the Subject Vehicles and Comparison Vehicles or even confirm that DVS compared vehicles of the same model year. See 49 U.S.C. 30141(a)(1)(A)(iii). The petition also fails to provide ‘‘the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of ’’ the Comparison Vehicles. 49 CFR 593.6(a)(1). The petition does not provide adequate ‘‘[d]ata, views and arguments demonstrating’’ that the Comparison Vehicles are ‘‘substantially similar’’ to the Subject Vehicles. Id. § 593.6(a)(4). The petition also fails to provide, ‘‘[w]ith respect to each Federal motor vehicle safety standard’’ applicable to the Comparison Vehicles, ‘‘data, views, and arguments demonstrating’’ that the Subject Vehicles either were ‘‘originally manufactured to conform to such standard, or [are] capable of being readily modified to conform to such standard.’’ Id. § 593.6(a)(5). As the basis for its assertion that the Subject Vehicles are compliant with the FMVSS identified above, Petitioner simply repeats the statement that the ‘‘MX-Cheyenne complies with the requirements of this standard and is identical to the U.S.-vehicle with respect to those requirements’’ following a reference to each of these 4A copy of the comment submitted by GM may be found at docket ID: NHTSA–2020–0107–0002. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Aug 25, 2021 Jkt 253001 standards. Petitioner offers no factual or analytical support for any of these conclusory assertions. For two of the standards (FMVSS No. 138 (tire pressure monitoring systems) and FMVSS No. 208 (occupant crash protection)), Petitioner identifies various components by part number and states that the Subject Vehicles and the Comparison Vehicles employ identical components. Petitioner did not submit any parts catalogs or any other technical resource for any model year of either the Subject Vehicles or the Comparison Vehicles to verify these assertions and fails to explain why the usage of identical parts would demonstrate that the Subject Vehicles, as built, were compliant with these standards. For FMVSS No. 214 (side impact resistance), Petitioner states that it ‘‘removed the interior trim on a door of [a Subject Vehicle] and confirm[ed] that the vehicle is originally equipped with door beams to comply with the requirements of this standard.’’ This level of examination and analysis does not demonstrate compliance for the Subject Vehicles because meeting the performance requirements of FMVSS No. 214 requires far more than the existence of door beams. See 49 CFR 571.214. As part of its analysis of DVS’s petition, NHTSA requested additional information from GM, the manufacturer of both the Subject Vehicles and the Comparison Vehicles.5 In response to NHTSA’s question regarding the compliance of the Subject Vehicles with FMVSS requirements, GM explained that the Subject Vehicles, as built, fail to conform with the speedometer and odometer display requirements in FMVSS No. 101 (controls and displays), the tire placard requirements in FMVSS No. 110 (tires and rims), the language visibility requirements of FMVSS No. 135 (brake systems), and the passenger air bag telltale and visor warning requirements in FMVSS No. 208 (occupant crash protection). This information directly contradicts Petitioner’s assertion that the Subject Vehicles, as built, were compliant with these requirements. In regard to the Subject Vehicles, GM also explained that tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) are not required in Mexico, and each imported vehicle would therefore have to be checked to verify that it had an optional FMVSS No. 138 compliant TPMS installed at the time of manufacture. This information directly contradicts Petitioner’s assertion that all Subject 5A copy of GM’s response may be found at docket ID: NHTSA–2020–0107–0003. PO 00000 Frm 00110 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 47723 Vehicles, as built, are equipped with a FMVSS No. 138 compliant TPMS. Finally, GM explained that there is a unique engine and manual transmission combination available for the Subject Vehicles in Mexico, and that GM has no documentation demonstrating compliance of vehicles so equipped with FMVSS No. 102 (transmission shift position sequence), FMVSS No. 114 (rollaway prevention), and FMVSS No. 124 (accelerator control). Petitioner provided no information regarding this particular engine and transmission combination, no basis for identifying its presence or absence in the Subject Vehicles, and no information regarding whether Subject Vehicles with this unique engine and transmission combination could be modified to conform with the relevant FMVSS. V. NHTSA’s Decision Petitioner has failed to demonstrate that the Subject Vehicles are substantially similar to the Comparison Vehicles, failed to demonstrate that its comparison of the Subject Vehicles to the Comparison Vehicles involved vehicles of the same model year, and failed to demonstrate that the Subject Vehicles are either compliant with or capable of being readily altered to comply with all applicable FMVSS. The petition is therefore denied. Pursuant to 49 CFR 593.7(e), NHTSA will not consider a new petition covering the models that are the subject of this decision until at least three months from the date of this notice of denial. (Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: Delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8) Joseph Kolly, Acting Associate Administrator for Enforcement. [FR Doc. 2021–18357 Filed 8–25–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2021–0025; Notice 2] Combi USA, Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Denial of petition. AGENCY: Combi USA (Combi), has determined that certain Combi USA BabyRide rear-facing child restraint SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\26AUN1.SGM 26AUN1 47724 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 163 / Thursday, August 26, 2021 / Notices systems manufactured between May 1, 2016, and August 31, 2019, do not fully comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 213, Child Restraint Systems. Combi filed an original noncompliance report dated March 8, 2021, and later amended it on March 10, 2021, March 11, 2021, May 25, 2021, and July 22, 2021. Subsequently, Combi petitioned NHTSA on March 30, 2021, for a decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. This document announces the denial of Combi’s petition. Kelley Adams-Campos, Safety Compliance Engineer, NHTSA, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, kelley.adamscampos@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Overview jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES Combi has determined that certain Combi USA BabyRide rear-facing child restraint systems manufactured between May 1, 2016, and August 31, 2019, do not fully comply with the requirements of paragraph S5.4.1.2(a) of FMVSS No. 213, Child Restraint Systems (49 CFR 571.213). Combi filed an original noncompliance report dated March 8, 2021, and later amended it on March 10, 2021, March 11, 2021, May 25, 2021, and July 22, 2021, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. Combi subsequently petitioned NHTSA on March 30, 2021 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. Notice of receipt of Combi’s petition was published with a 30-day public comment period, on April 22, 2021, in the Federal Register (86 FR 21435). No comments were received. To view the petition and all supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) website at https://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online search instructions to locate docket number ‘‘NHTSA–2021– 0025.’’ II. Child Restraint Systems Involved Approximately 13,880 Combi USA BabyRide rear-facing child restraint systems with model number 378099, manufactured between May 1, 2016, and August 31, 2019, are potentially involved. 17:30 Aug 25, 2021 Jkt 253001 Combi explains that the noncompliance is that the subject rearfacing child restraint systems are equipped with 25-mm-wide webbing used in the center front harness adjuster that does not comply with the minimum breaking strength requirements as required in paragraph S5.4.1.2(a) of FMVSS No. 213. Specifically, the subject child restraint systems have an initial breaking strength of between 9,622 N and 10,136 N (median load 9,871 N), which is less than the required minimum breaking strength of 11,000 N. IV. Rule Requirements FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: VerDate Sep<11>2014 III. Noncompliance Paragraph S5.4.1.2(a) of FMVSS No. 213 includes the requirements relevant to this petition. The webbing of belts provided with a child restraint system and used to secure a child to a child restraint system shall have a minimum breaking strength for new webbing of not less than 11,000 N when tested in accordance with paragraph S5.1 of FMVSS No. 209. Each value shall be not less than 11,000 N. ‘‘New webbing’’ means webbing that has not been exposed to abrasion, light, or microorganisms as specified elsewhere in FMVSS No. 213. V. Summary of Combi’s Petition The following views and arguments presented in this section, ‘‘V. Summary of Combi’s Petition,’’ are the views and arguments provided by Combi and do not reflect the views of the Agency. Combi describes the subject noncompliance and contends that the noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. In support of its petition, Combi submitted the following reasoning: 1. Combi has not received any reports from consumers related to the strength of the 25-mm-wide webbing in the BabyRide infant car seat. 2. The BabyRide with the 25-mmwide webbing at issue complies with dynamic testing requirements of FMVSS No. 213, paragraph S5.1, in testing conducted by both NHTSA and Combi between 2016 and 2019. This includes testing with the 12-month-old CRABI ATD that represents the heaviest child that the BabyRide infant car seat is used with. 3. The actual webbing strength of the 25-mm-wide webbing far exceeds the strength needed for the application of an infant car seat used with children 10 kg (22 lbs.) or less. When tested with the 12-month-old CRABI ATD that weighs 22 lbs., representing the maximum weight occupant for the car seat, the maximum load that the 25-mm-wide PO 00000 Frm 00111 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 webbing is subjected to during an FMVSS No. 213 compliance crash test is 302.9 N. Combi believes that this peak loading represents the maximum load applied to the 25-mm-wide webbing in all Combi USA BabyRide infant car seats. Combi bases that belief on the total belt load applied to the vehicle lap belt and LATCH belt recorded in the 2016 UMTRI and 2021 UMTRI testing with the 12-month-old ATD. The total vehicle lap belt load recorded in the 2021 test (AG2101) of 4206 N (945.6 lbs.) is consistent with the total vehicle lap belt and LATCH belt loading recorded in the 2016 tests conducted by UMTRI with the 12-month-old ATD of 4,067.2 N (851.4 lbs.) in Test TT1603 and 3,989.1 N (896.8 lbs.) in Test TT1604. The maximum load measured in the 25-mm-wide webbing in the BabyRide infant car seat is much lower than the total load applied to the vehicle lap belt and LATCH belt as the car seat is for rear-facing use only and for use with a child weighing 10 kg (22 lb.) or less. In a rear-facing car seat, a significant portion of the load from the ATD during the dynamic test is transferred and supported by the seatback, thus reducing the maximum load applied to the harness system including the 25-mm-wide webbing. Combi has reviewed the harness webbing specifications defined in FMVSS No. 213 and notes the webbing specified is for use with children up to 80 lbs. (36 kg), and sufficiently strong to restrain an 80 lb occupant when forward facing. Combi states that the loads carried by the seatback support surface significantly reduce the loading experienced by the harness webbing and center front adjuster webbing as shown in the UMTRI test AG2101, and that this load is significantly lower than the load applied to the harness and center front adjuster webbing when used in a forward-facing restraint system that is used up to 80 lbs. Combi asserts that rear-facing use of the BabyRide car seat with children 22 lbs. or less will subject the harness belts and adjuster belt to only a small percentage of the load applied when forward-facing with an occupant weighing 80 lbs. Combi believes that the initial minimum breaking strength of 11,000 N is much higher than the strength needed for a rear-facing car seat like the BabyRide even when occupied by a child at the maximum weight and that the 25-mmwide webbing used in the BabyRide exceeds the forces applied in a crash. 4. Combi cites the webbing requirements in FMVSS No. 213 for new webbing breaking strength, S5.4.1.2(a), webbing strength after abrasion, E:\FR\FM\26AUN1.SGM 26AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 163 / Thursday, August 26, 2021 / Notices S5.4.1.2(b)(1), and webbing strength after exposure to light, S5.4.1.2(c)(1) and summarizes results for testing based on these requirements performed by Combi and/or NHTSA. In Combi’s summation, they explain that the initial breaking strength of the 25-mm-wide webbing in NHTSA’s and Combi’s 1 testing is between 9,266 N and 10,136 N 2 which they recognize does not comply. Combi notes that based on the required 11,000 N minimum strength for new webbing, the median breaking strength requirement after abrasion of not less than 75 percent of the new webbing strength must be at least 8,250 N. In spite of this, Combi believes from their testing that the average breaking strength after abrasion of 8,047 N or 86.7 percent of the original breaking strength of the 25-mm-wide webbing complies. The median 3 breaking strength of the 25-mm-wide webbing after exposure to light in NHTSA’s testing measured 9,752 N or 98.8 percent of the original breaking strength, which Combi believes complies. Combi concludes 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 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES The burden of establishing the inconsequentiality of a failure to comply with a performance requirement in a standard—as opposed to a labeling requirement with no performance implications—is more substantial and difficult to meet. Accordingly, the Agency has not found many such noncompliances inconsequential.4 Potential performance failures of safetycritical equipment, like seat belts or air bags, are rarely deemed inconsequential. An important issue to consider in determining inconsequentiality is the safety risk to individuals who experience the type of event against which the recall would otherwise 1 Test Report No. 4737580AL–1R–21, (March 16, 2021 revised). 2 In their petition, Combi mistakenly refers to 10,136 N as 10,126 N. 3 In their petition, Combi mistakenly referred to the median breaking strength after exposure to light as the average breaking strength after exposure to light. 4 Cf. Gen. Motors Corporation; Ruling on Petition for Determination of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 69 FR 19897, 19899 (Apr. 14, 2004) (citing prior cases where noncompliance was expected to be imperceptible, or nearly so, to vehicle occupants or approaching drivers). VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Aug 25, 2021 Jkt 253001 protect.5 In general, NHTSA does not consider the absence of complaints or injuries to show that the issue is inconsequential to safety. ‘‘The absence of a complaint does not mean there have not been any problems or failures, and it does not mean that there will not be failures in the future.’’ 6 ‘‘[T]he fact that in past reported cases good luck and swift reaction have prevented many serious injuries does not mean that good luck will continue to work.’’ 7 Combi identifies no receipt of any reports from consumers related to the strength of the 25-mm-wide webbing. As discussed above, the Agency finds the absence of consumer complaints (or reports as Combi noted) insufficient evidence of an inconsequential effect on the safety of the webbing. Next, Combi argues that, based on measured forces acting on the 25-mmwide webbing when subjected to the dynamic testing requirements of FMVSS No. 213 using the 22 lbs. 12-month-old CRABI ATD, the maximum weight occupant for the car seat, the subject child restraints present no motor vehicle safety risk since the measured forces acting on the 25-mm-wide webbing were no higher than 320.9 N. Combi also believes that this represents the maximum load applied to 25-mm-wide webbing in all Combi USA BabyRide Infant Car Seats, based on the total belt load applied to the vehicle lap belt and LATCH belt recorded in 2016 and 2021 UMTRI testing with the 12-month-old ATD. Consistent with the Agency’s decision to deny Combi’s 2013 petition 8 for inconsequential noncompliance for failure to comply with the initial webbing breaking strength requirements, NHTSA is not persuaded by these arguments. NHTSA does not 5 See Gen. Motors, LLC; Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 78 FR 35355 (June 12, 2013) (finding noncompliance had no effect on occupant safety because it had no effect on the proper operation of the occupant classification system and the correct deployment of an air bag); Osram Sylvania Prods. Inc.; Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 78 FR 46000 (July 30, 2013) (finding occupant using noncompliant light source would not be exposed to significantly greater risk than occupant using similar compliant light source). 6 See Dorel Juvenile Group, Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 78 FR 53189, 53190 (August 28, 2013). 7 United States v. Gen. Motors Corp., 565 F.2d 754, 759 (D.C. Cir. 1977) (finding defect poses an unreasonable risk when it ‘‘results in hazards as potentially dangerous as sudden engine fire, and where there is no dispute that at least some such hazards, in this case fires, can definitely be expected to occur in the future’’). 8 Combi USA, Inc., Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 78 FR 71028 (and decisions cited therein) (Nov. 27, 2013). PO 00000 Frm 00112 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 47725 simply have one performance test, a dynamic test. NHTSA has multiple performance tests because a single test does not address the range of safety concerns with child restraints. The webbing breaking strength test and the child restraint system dynamic test do not test for the same conditions and serve distinct purposes. The webbing breaking strength test conditions are necessarily more severe than those for dynamic testing to help ensure that the webbing will afford effective protection for severe crashes, even after the webbing degrades due to abrasion in use and exposure to sunlight. In addressing past similar arguments raised by Combi, who submitted webbing load force data generated in dynamic testing to demonstrate apparent safety margins in comparison to webbing breaking strength test results, the Agency stated that ‘‘[a] 30 mile per hour test is not indicative of the upper limit of safety. The test conditions in FMVSS No. 213 reflect the concern that child restraints will withstand even the most severe crashes. These are well above 30 mph.’’ Id. Combi asserts that in a rear-facing car seat, a significant portion of the load from the ATD during the dynamic test is transferred and supported by the seat back, thus reducing the maximum load applied to the harness system including the 25-mm-wide webbing. The petitioner’s reasoning is unpersuasive. The minimum initial webbing strength requirements apply to the component level, i.e., child restraint webbing must comply as required in paragraph S5.4.1.2(a) of FMVSS No. 213 when tested independently from the child restraint system, and are not uniquely specified according to rear-facing or forward-facing child restraint systems. The breaking strength requirements ensure that the performance of webbing over the lifetime of a child restraint system is sufficient to provide the necessary protection. Requirements that apply to new child restraints only, such as the dynamic sled test conducted on the child restraint as a system, do not provide comparable assurances, particularly for components such as webbing that are likely to experience extraordinary ‘‘wear and tear’’ and exposure to elements that can degrade the webbing strength in the course of normal use. Combi cites the webbing requirements in FMVSS No. 213 for new webbing breaking strength, S5.4.1.2(a), webbing strength after abrasion, S5.4.1.2(b)(1), and webbing strength after exposure to light, S5.4.1.2(c)(1) and summarizes results for testing based on these requirements performed by Combi and/ E:\FR\FM\26AUN1.SGM 26AUN1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with NOTICES 47726 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 163 / Thursday, August 26, 2021 / Notices or NHTSA. In NHTSA’s compliance tests of the Combi BabyRide 25-mmwide webbing for new webbing breaking strength, three samples were tested and each sample failed to meet the minimum requirement of 11,000 N.9 Combi submitted test data for a single sample of the 25-mm-wide webbing measuring 9,278 N initial breaking strength, also less than the required minimum value of 11,000 N and consistent with their submitted 2016– 2019 production data which measured between 9,600 N and 9,900 N. Combi also submitted test data for two samples of the 25-mm-wide webbing after being subjected to abrasion and referenced a 98.8 percent retention of the original breaking strength in NHTSA’s testing of the 25-mm-wide webbing after exposure to light. The Agency is not opining on the compliance of these results as they are not germane to the subject noncompliance, thus not dispositive of the inconsequentiality analysis. Combi believes that the initial minimum breaking strength of 11,000 N is much higher than the strength needed for a rear-facing car seat like the BabyRide, even when occupied by a child at the maximum weight, and that the 25-mm-wide webbing used in the BabyRide exceeds the forces applied in a crash. FMVSS No. 213 requires an absolute minimum initial breaking strength for new webbing to provide a margin of safety for use throughout the life of a child restraint. In the Agency’s analysis in determining a minimum breaking strength requirement for new webbing, published in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) 10 and subsequent Final Rule,11 NHTSA examined harness webbing compliance data for 109 child restraint systems collected from 2000 to 2002. That compliance data showed that 92 percent (100 out of 109) of the harness webbing complied with the proposed 11,000 N minimum breaking strength requirement. In Dorel Juvenile Group; Denial of Appeal of Decision on Inconsequential Noncompliance, 75 FR 510 (January 5, 2010) (NHTSA–2008– 0132) (and decisions cited therein), the Agency explained that an inconsequentiality petition is not the appropriate means to challenge the methodology of a specific test and/or stringency of a performance requirement in a FMVSS. The appropriate venue for such arguments is to comment during 9 Frank Savino (2020, October). Child restraint system, component parts: Model No.: Combi Babyride (Report No. 4642921–018). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 10 70 FR 37731 (June 30, 2005) 11 71 FR 32855 (June 7, 2006) VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:30 Aug 25, 2021 Jkt 253001 the proposal phase or as a petition for rulemaking to amend a current safety standard. During the 2005–2006 proposal and final rulemaking phases for the new webbing strength requirement, NHTSA published a report showing test results for the Combi Baby One dated June 10, 2005.12 In that report the median new webbing strength of the adjuster webbing was 9,207 N (converted from 2,070 lbs.). Despite this, Combi neither commented on the NPRM nor petitioned for reconsideration of the final rule with respect to FMVSS No. 213 paragraph S5.4.1.2(a). NHTSA’s Decision In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has decided that Combi has not met its burden of persuasion that the subject FMVSS No. 213 noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, Combi’s petition is hereby denied, and Combi is consequently obligated to provide notification of and free remedy for that noncompliance under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120. (Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: Delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8) Joseph Kolly, Acting Associate Administrator for Enforcement. [FR Doc. 2021–18356 Filed 8–25–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–59–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [Docket No. NHTSA–2018–0077; Notice 2] Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT). ACTION: Notice of petition denial. AGENCY: Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (Cooper Tire) has determined that certain Cooper brand tires do not fully comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 139, New Pneumatic Radial Tires for Light Vehicles. Cooper Tire filed a noncompliance report dated May 4, 2018, and subsequently petitioned NHTSA on May 21, 2018, for a decision that the subject noncompliance is SUMMARY: 12 Frank Savino (2005, June). Child restraint system, component parts: Model No.: Combi—Baby One (Report No. 206827–08). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. PO 00000 Frm 00113 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. This document announces the denial of Cooper Tire’s petition. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Abraham Diaz, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, NHTSA, telephone (202) 366–5310, facsimile (202) 366–3081. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Overview Cooper Tire has determined that certain Cooper brand tires do not fully comply with paragraph S5.5.1 of FMVSS No. 139, New Pneumatic Radial Tires for Light Vehicles (49 CFR part 571.139). Cooper Tire filed a noncompliance report dated May 4, 2018, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports, and subsequently petitioned NHTSA on May 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 49 CFR part 556, Exemption for Inconsequential Defect or Noncompliance. Notice of receipt of Cooper Tire’s petition was published with a 30-day public comment period, on December 6, 2018, in the Federal Register (83 FR 62949). No comments were received. To view the petition and all supporting documents, log onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) website at https://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online search instructions to locate docket number ‘‘NHTSA–2018– 0077.’’ II. Tires Involved Approximately 327 Evolution H/T size 245/70R16 tubeless radial tires, manufactured between June 4, 2017, and June 10, 2017, are potentially involved. III. Noncompliance Cooper Tire explains that the noncompliance is that the subject tires were molded with an incorrectly ordered serial week and year on the outboard sidewall. This date is required by paragraph S5.5.1(b) of FMVSS No. 139. Specifically, the subject tires were manufactured with serial week ‘‘1723’’ when they should have been manufactured with serial week ‘‘2317.’’ IV. Rule Requirements Paragraph S5.5.1(b) of FMVSS No. 139, includes the requirements relevant to this petition: • For tires manufactured on or after September 1, 2009, each tire must be E:\FR\FM\26AUN1.SGM 26AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 163 (Thursday, August 26, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 47723-47726]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-18356]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2021-0025; Notice 2]


Combi USA, Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential 
Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Denial of petition.

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

SUMMARY: Combi USA (Combi), has determined that certain Combi USA 
BabyRide rear-facing child restraint

[[Page 47724]]

systems manufactured between May 1, 2016, and August 31, 2019, do not 
fully comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 
213, Child Restraint Systems. Combi filed an original noncompliance 
report dated March 8, 2021, and later amended it on March 10, 2021, 
March 11, 2021, May 25, 2021, and July 22, 2021. Subsequently, Combi 
petitioned NHTSA on March 30, 2021, for a decision that the subject 
noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. 
This document announces the denial of Combi's petition.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kelley Adams-Campos, Safety Compliance 
Engineer, NHTSA, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Overview

    Combi has determined that certain Combi USA BabyRide rear-facing 
child restraint systems manufactured between May 1, 2016, and August 
31, 2019, do not fully comply with the requirements of paragraph 
S5.4.1.2(a) of FMVSS No. 213, Child Restraint Systems (49 CFR 571.213). 
Combi filed an original noncompliance report dated March 8, 2021, and 
later amended it on March 10, 2021, March 11, 2021, May 25, 2021, and 
July 22, 2021, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance 
Responsibility and Reports. Combi subsequently petitioned NHTSA on 
March 30, 2021 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.
    Notice of receipt of Combi's petition was published with a 30-day 
public comment period, on April 22, 2021, in the Federal Register (86 
FR 21435). No comments were received. To view the petition and all 
supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket Management System 
(FDMS) website at https://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online 
search instructions to locate docket number ``NHTSA-2021-0025.''

II. Child Restraint Systems Involved

    Approximately 13,880 Combi USA BabyRide rear-facing child restraint 
systems with model number 378099, manufactured between May 1, 2016, and 
August 31, 2019, are potentially involved.

III. Noncompliance

    Combi explains that the noncompliance is that the subject rear-
facing child restraint systems are equipped with 25-mm-wide webbing 
used in the center front harness adjuster that does not comply with the 
minimum breaking strength requirements as required in paragraph 
S5.4.1.2(a) of FMVSS No. 213. Specifically, the subject child restraint 
systems have an initial breaking strength of between 9,622 N and 10,136 
N (median load 9,871 N), which is less than the required minimum 
breaking strength of 11,000 N.

IV. Rule Requirements

    Paragraph S5.4.1.2(a) of FMVSS No. 213 includes the requirements 
relevant to this petition. The webbing of belts provided with a child 
restraint system and used to secure a child to a child restraint system 
shall have a minimum breaking strength for new webbing of not less than 
11,000 N when tested in accordance with paragraph S5.1 of FMVSS No. 
209. Each value shall be not less than 11,000 N. ``New webbing'' means 
webbing that has not been exposed to abrasion, light, or micro-
organisms as specified elsewhere in FMVSS No. 213.

V. Summary of Combi's Petition

    The following views and arguments presented in this section, ``V. 
Summary of Combi's Petition,'' are the views and arguments provided by 
Combi and do not reflect the views of the Agency. Combi describes the 
subject noncompliance and contends that the noncompliance is 
inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety.
    In support of its petition, Combi submitted the following 
reasoning:
    1. Combi has not received any reports from consumers related to the 
strength of the 25-mm-wide webbing in the BabyRide infant car seat.
    2. The BabyRide with the 25-mm-wide webbing at issue complies with 
dynamic testing requirements of FMVSS No. 213, paragraph S5.1, in 
testing conducted by both NHTSA and Combi between 2016 and 2019. This 
includes testing with the 12-month-old CRABI ATD that represents the 
heaviest child that the BabyRide infant car seat is used with.
    3. The actual webbing strength of the 25-mm-wide webbing far 
exceeds the strength needed for the application of an infant car seat 
used with children 10 kg (22 lbs.) or less. When tested with the 12-
month-old CRABI ATD that weighs 22 lbs., representing the maximum 
weight occupant for the car seat, the maximum load that the 25-mm-wide 
webbing is subjected to during an FMVSS No. 213 compliance crash test 
is 302.9 N. Combi believes that this peak loading represents the 
maximum load applied to the 25-mm-wide webbing in all Combi USA 
BabyRide infant car seats. Combi bases that belief on the total belt 
load applied to the vehicle lap belt and LATCH belt recorded in the 
2016 UMTRI and 2021 UMTRI testing with the 12-month-old ATD. The total 
vehicle lap belt load recorded in the 2021 test (AG2101) of 4206 N 
(945.6 lbs.) is consistent with the total vehicle lap belt and LATCH 
belt loading recorded in the 2016 tests conducted by UMTRI with the 12-
month-old ATD of 4,067.2 N (851.4 lbs.) in Test TT1603 and 3,989.1 N 
(896.8 lbs.) in Test TT1604. The maximum load measured in the 25-mm-
wide webbing in the BabyRide infant car seat is much lower than the 
total load applied to the vehicle lap belt and LATCH belt as the car 
seat is for rear-facing use only and for use with a child weighing 10 
kg (22 lb.) or less. In a rear-facing car seat, a significant portion 
of the load from the ATD during the dynamic test is transferred and 
supported by the seatback, thus reducing the maximum load applied to 
the harness system including the 25-mm-wide webbing. Combi has reviewed 
the harness webbing specifications defined in FMVSS No. 213 and notes 
the webbing specified is for use with children up to 80 lbs. (36 kg), 
and sufficiently strong to restrain an 80 lb occupant when forward 
facing. Combi states that the loads carried by the seatback support 
surface significantly reduce the loading experienced by the harness 
webbing and center front adjuster webbing as shown in the UMTRI test 
AG2101, and that this load is significantly lower than the load applied 
to the harness and center front adjuster webbing when used in a 
forward-facing restraint system that is used up to 80 lbs. Combi 
asserts that rear-facing use of the BabyRide car seat with children 22 
lbs. or less will subject the harness belts and adjuster belt to only a 
small percentage of the load applied when forward-facing with an 
occupant weighing 80 lbs. Combi believes that the initial minimum 
breaking strength of 11,000 N is much higher than the strength needed 
for a rear-facing car seat like the BabyRide even when occupied by a 
child at the maximum weight and that the 25-mm-wide webbing used in the 
BabyRide exceeds the forces applied in a crash.
    4. Combi cites the webbing requirements in FMVSS No. 213 for new 
webbing breaking strength, S5.4.1.2(a), webbing strength after 
abrasion,

[[Page 47725]]

S5.4.1.2(b)(1), and webbing strength after exposure to light, 
S5.4.1.2(c)(1) and summarizes results for testing based on these 
requirements performed by Combi and/or NHTSA. In Combi's summation, 
they explain that the initial breaking strength of the 25-mm-wide 
webbing in NHTSA's and Combi's \1\ testing is between 9,266 N and 
10,136 N \2\ which they recognize does not comply. Combi notes that 
based on the required 11,000 N minimum strength for new webbing, the 
median breaking strength requirement after abrasion of not less than 75 
percent of the new webbing strength must be at least 8,250 N. In spite 
of this, Combi believes from their testing that the average breaking 
strength after abrasion of 8,047 N or 86.7 percent of the original 
breaking strength of the 25-mm-wide webbing complies. The median \3\ 
breaking strength of the 25-mm-wide webbing after exposure to light in 
NHTSA's testing measured 9,752 N or 98.8 percent of the original 
breaking strength, which Combi believes complies.
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    \1\ Test Report No. 4737580AL-1R-21, (March 16, 2021 revised).
    \2\ In their petition, Combi mistakenly refers to 10,136 N as 
10,126 N.
    \3\ In their petition, Combi mistakenly referred to the median 
breaking strength after exposure to light as the average breaking 
strength after exposure to light.
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    Combi concludes 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

    The burden of establishing the inconsequentiality of a failure to 
comply with a performance requirement in a standard--as opposed to a 
labeling requirement with no performance implications--is more 
substantial and difficult to meet. Accordingly, the Agency has not 
found many such noncompliances inconsequential.\4\ Potential 
performance failures of safety-critical equipment, like seat belts or 
air bags, are rarely deemed inconsequential.
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    \4\ Cf. Gen. Motors Corporation; Ruling on Petition for 
Determination of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 69 FR 19897, 19899 
(Apr. 14, 2004) (citing prior cases where noncompliance was expected 
to be imperceptible, or nearly so, to vehicle occupants or 
approaching drivers).
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    An important issue to consider in determining inconsequentiality is 
the safety risk to individuals who experience the type of event against 
which the recall would otherwise protect.\5\ In general, NHTSA does not 
consider the absence of complaints or injuries to show that the issue 
is inconsequential to safety. ``The absence of a complaint does not 
mean there have not been any problems or failures, and it does not mean 
that there will not be failures in the future.'' \6\ ``[T]he fact that 
in past reported cases good luck and swift reaction have prevented many 
serious injuries does not mean that good luck will continue to work.'' 
\7\
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    \5\ See Gen. Motors, LLC; Grant of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance, 78 FR 35355 (June 12, 2013) (finding 
noncompliance had no effect on occupant safety because it had no 
effect on the proper operation of the occupant classification system 
and the correct deployment of an air bag); Osram Sylvania Prods. 
Inc.; Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential 
Noncompliance, 78 FR 46000 (July 30, 2013) (finding occupant using 
noncompliant light source would not be exposed to significantly 
greater risk than occupant using similar compliant light source).
    \6\ See Dorel Juvenile Group, Denial of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance, 78 FR 53189, 53190 (August 28, 2013).
    \7\ United States v. Gen. Motors Corp., 565 F.2d 754, 759 (D.C. 
Cir. 1977) (finding defect poses an unreasonable risk when it 
``results in hazards as potentially dangerous as sudden engine fire, 
and where there is no dispute that at least some such hazards, in 
this case fires, can definitely be expected to occur in the 
future'').
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    Combi identifies no receipt of any reports from consumers related 
to the strength of the 25-mm-wide webbing. As discussed above, the 
Agency finds the absence of consumer complaints (or reports as Combi 
noted) insufficient evidence of an inconsequential effect on the safety 
of the webbing.
    Next, Combi argues that, based on measured forces acting on the 25-
mm-wide webbing when subjected to the dynamic testing requirements of 
FMVSS No. 213 using the 22 lbs. 12-month-old CRABI ATD, the maximum 
weight occupant for the car seat, the subject child restraints present 
no motor vehicle safety risk since the measured forces acting on the 
25-mm-wide webbing were no higher than 320.9 N. Combi also believes 
that this represents the maximum load applied to 25-mm-wide webbing in 
all Combi USA BabyRide Infant Car Seats, based on the total belt load 
applied to the vehicle lap belt and LATCH belt recorded in 2016 and 
2021 UMTRI testing with the 12-month-old ATD.
    Consistent with the Agency's decision to deny Combi's 2013 petition 
\8\ for inconsequential noncompliance for failure to comply with the 
initial webbing breaking strength requirements, NHTSA is not persuaded 
by these arguments. NHTSA does not simply have one performance test, a 
dynamic test. NHTSA has multiple performance tests because a single 
test does not address the range of safety concerns with child 
restraints. The webbing breaking strength test and the child restraint 
system dynamic test do not test for the same conditions and serve 
distinct purposes. The webbing breaking strength test conditions are 
necessarily more severe than those for dynamic testing to help ensure 
that the webbing will afford effective protection for severe crashes, 
even after the webbing degrades due to abrasion in use and exposure to 
sunlight. In addressing past similar arguments raised by Combi, who 
submitted webbing load force data generated in dynamic testing to 
demonstrate apparent safety margins in comparison to webbing breaking 
strength test results, the Agency stated that ``[a] 30 mile per hour 
test is not indicative of the upper limit of safety. The test 
conditions in FMVSS No. 213 reflect the concern that child restraints 
will withstand even the most severe crashes. These are well above 30 
mph.'' Id.
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    \8\ Combi USA, Inc., Denial of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance, 78 FR 71028 (and decisions cited 
therein) (Nov. 27, 2013).
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    Combi asserts that in a rear-facing car seat, a significant portion 
of the load from the ATD during the dynamic test is transferred and 
supported by the seat back, thus reducing the maximum load applied to 
the harness system including the 25-mm-wide webbing. The petitioner's 
reasoning is unpersuasive. The minimum initial webbing strength 
requirements apply to the component level, i.e., child restraint 
webbing must comply as required in paragraph S5.4.1.2(a) of FMVSS No. 
213 when tested independently from the child restraint system, and are 
not uniquely specified according to rear-facing or forward-facing child 
restraint systems. The breaking strength requirements ensure that the 
performance of webbing over the lifetime of a child restraint system is 
sufficient to provide the necessary protection. Requirements that apply 
to new child restraints only, such as the dynamic sled test conducted 
on the child restraint as a system, do not provide comparable 
assurances, particularly for components such as webbing that are likely 
to experience extraordinary ``wear and tear'' and exposure to elements 
that can degrade the webbing strength in the course of normal use.
    Combi cites the webbing requirements in FMVSS No. 213 for new 
webbing breaking strength, S5.4.1.2(a), webbing strength after 
abrasion, S5.4.1.2(b)(1), and webbing strength after exposure to light, 
S5.4.1.2(c)(1) and summarizes results for testing based on these 
requirements performed by Combi and/

[[Page 47726]]

or NHTSA. In NHTSA's compliance tests of the Combi BabyRide 25-mm-wide 
webbing for new webbing breaking strength, three samples were tested 
and each sample failed to meet the minimum requirement of 11,000 N.\9\ 
Combi submitted test data for a single sample of the 25-mm-wide webbing 
measuring 9,278 N initial breaking strength, also less than the 
required minimum value of 11,000 N and consistent with their submitted 
2016-2019 production data which measured between 9,600 N and 9,900 N.
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    \9\ Frank Savino (2020, October). Child restraint system, 
component parts: Model No.: Combi Babyride (Report No. 4642921-018). 
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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    Combi also submitted test data for two samples of the 25-mm-wide 
webbing after being subjected to abrasion and referenced a 98.8 percent 
retention of the original breaking strength in NHTSA's testing of the 
25-mm-wide webbing after exposure to light. The Agency is not opining 
on the compliance of these results as they are not germane to the 
subject noncompliance, thus not dispositive of the inconsequentiality 
analysis.
    Combi believes that the initial minimum breaking strength of 11,000 
N is much higher than the strength needed for a rear-facing car seat 
like the BabyRide, even when occupied by a child at the maximum weight, 
and that the 25-mm-wide webbing used in the BabyRide exceeds the forces 
applied in a crash. FMVSS No. 213 requires an absolute minimum initial 
breaking strength for new webbing to provide a margin of safety for use 
throughout the life of a child restraint. In the Agency's analysis in 
determining a minimum breaking strength requirement for new webbing, 
published in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) \10\ and subsequent 
Final Rule,\11\ NHTSA examined harness webbing compliance data for 109 
child restraint systems collected from 2000 to 2002. That compliance 
data showed that 92 percent (100 out of 109) of the harness webbing 
complied with the proposed 11,000 N minimum breaking strength 
requirement. In Dorel Juvenile Group; Denial of Appeal of Decision on 
Inconsequential Noncompliance, 75 FR 510 (January 5, 2010) (NHTSA-2008-
0132) (and decisions cited therein), the Agency explained that an 
inconsequentiality petition is not the appropriate means to challenge 
the methodology of a specific test and/or stringency of a performance 
requirement in a FMVSS. The appropriate venue for such arguments is to 
comment during the proposal phase or as a petition for rulemaking to 
amend a current safety standard. During the 2005-2006 proposal and 
final rulemaking phases for the new webbing strength requirement, NHTSA 
published a report showing test results for the Combi Baby One dated 
June 10, 2005.\12\ In that report the median new webbing strength of 
the adjuster webbing was 9,207 N (converted from 2,070 lbs.). Despite 
this, Combi neither commented on the NPRM nor petitioned for 
reconsideration of the final rule with respect to FMVSS No. 213 
paragraph S5.4.1.2(a).
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    \10\ 70 FR 37731 (June 30, 2005)
    \11\ 71 FR 32855 (June 7, 2006)
    \12\ Frank Savino (2005, June). Child restraint system, 
component parts: Model No.: Combi--Baby One (Report No. 206827-08). 
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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NHTSA's Decision

    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has decided that Combi has 
not met its burden of persuasion that the subject FMVSS No. 213 
noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, 
Combi's petition is hereby denied, and Combi is consequently obligated 
to provide notification of and free remedy for that noncompliance under 
49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120.

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

Joseph Kolly,
Acting Associate Administrator for Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2021-18356 Filed 8-25-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P