Hyundai Motor Company (Hyundai), has determined that certain vehicles that it manufactured during the period beginning July 14, 2006 through November 23, 2007, did not fully comply with paragraph S9.5 of 49 CFR 571.225 (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) No. 225 Child Restraint Anchorage Systems. Hyundai has filed an appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.
Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule at 49 Start Printed Page 15836CFR part 556), Hyundai has petitioned for an exemption from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.
This notice of receipt of Hyundai's petition is published under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 and does not represent any agency decision or other exercise of judgment concerning the merits of the petition.
Affected are approximately 115,000 model years 2007 and 2008 Hyundai Elantra passenger cars produced beginning July 14, 2006 through November 23, 2007. Paragraph S9.5 of 49 CFR 571.225 requires in pertinent part that:
S9.5 Marking and conspicuity of the lower anchorages. Each vehicle shall comply with S9.5(a) or (b).
(a) Above each bar installed pursuant to S4, the vehicle shall be permanently marked with a circle:
(1) That is not less than 13 mm in diameter;
(2) That is either solid or open, with or without words, symbols or pictograms, provided that if words, symbols or pictograms are used, their meaning is explained to the consumer in writing, such as in the vehicle's owners manual; and
(3) That is located such that its center is on each seat back between 50 and 100 mm above or on the seat cushion 100(±)25 mm forward of the intersection of the vertical transverse and horizontal longitudinal planes intersecting at the horizontal centerline of each lower anchorage, as illustrated in Figure 22. The center of the circle must be in the vertical longitudinal plane that passes through the center of the bar (±25 mm).
(4) The circle may be on a tag.
(b) The vehicle shall be configured such that the following is visible: Each of the bars installed pursuant to S4, or a permanently attached guide device for each bar. The bar or guide device must be visible without the compression of the seat cushion or seat back, when the bar or device is viewed, in a vertical longitudinal plane passing through the center of the bar or guide device, along a line making an upward 30 degree angle with a horizontal plane. Seat backs are in the nominal design riding position. The bars may be covered by a removable cap or cover, provided that the cap or cover is permanently marked with words, symbols or pictograms whose meaning is explained to the consumer in written form as part of the owner's manual.
Hyundai explained its belief that paragraph S9.5 of FMVSS No. 225 requires that above each child restraint lower anchorage the vehicle shall be permanently marked with; a circle that is not less than 13 mm in diameter, that is either solid or open, with or without words, symbols or pictograms, provided that if words, symbols or pictograms are used, their meaning is explained to the consumer in writing, such as in the vehicle's owner's manual.
Hyundai also explained that the owner's manuals of the affected vehicles contain a section titled “Child seat lower anchorages” that provides illustrations indicating the locations of the child restraint lower anchorages and written descriptions of the locations of the child restraint lower anchorages. Hyundai expressed its belief that the vehicles are properly marked, as required by paragraph S9.5 of FMVSS No. 225, with solid circles to identify the locations of the lower anchorages. Hyundai also stated that those solid circles contain pictograms, which represent a child seated in a child restraint. However, the owner's manuals provided with the affected vehicles do not contain a specific written explanation of the meaning of the pictogram that appears on the identification circles.
Hyundai states that it believes the noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for the following reasons:
(1) When the requirements of paragraph S9.5 were first implemented over seven years ago, there may have been the potential to misunderstand the newly adopted child restraint lower anchorage identification mark. Therefore, NHTSA decided that a circle must be used, to standardize the symbol used to identify the anchorages, because standardization would likely increase user recognition of the symbol. The standardized circle has now appeared in almost every U.S. vehicle for more than seven years, allowing the public to gain familiarity with its purpose. In reference to the identification circles, FMVSS 225 No. S9.5 (a)(2) states that they may be “with or without words, symbols or pictograms”. If the identification circle does not contain any pictogram, it does not require a written explanation.
(2) The simple pictogram representing a child seated in a child restraint enhances the identification provided by the circle. The missing written explanation of the meaning of the pictogram does not affect the ability of a person to locate the lower anchorages, aided by the visual indication of the identification circles and the illustrations and written explanations provided in the owner's manual, and does not affect the ability of the lower anchorages to properly secure a child restraint.
In addition, Hyundai stated that even though it will include a written explanation in future printings of the subject owner's manual, it strongly believes that the missing written explanation is an inconsequential noncompliance that poses no threat to the safety of its customers.
Hyundai also states that no customer complaints have been received related to the lack of a written explanation of the meaning of the pictogram or any problems that may have resulted from the lack of a written explanation of the meaning of the pictogram.
Hyundai requested that NHTSA consider its petition and grant an exemption from the recall requirements of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act on the basis that the noncompliance described above is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety.
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.
Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the docket and notice number cited at the beginning of this notice and be submitted by any of the following methods:
a. By mail addressed to: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590.
b. By hand delivery to 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 Federal Holidays.
c. Electronically: by logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Comments may also be faxed to 1-202-493-2251.
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 your comments were received, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard with the comments. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http://Start Printed Page 15837www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.
Documents submitted to a docket may be viewed by anyone at the address and times given above. The documents may also be viewed on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by following the online instructions for accessing the dockets. DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement is available for review in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477-78).
The petition, supporting materials, and all comments received before the close of business on the closing date indicated below will be filed and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials received after the closing date will also be filed and will be considered to the extent possible. When the petition is granted or denied, notice of the decision will be published in the Federal Register pursuant to the authority indicated below.
Comment closing date: April 24, 2008.Start Signature
Issued on: March 19, 2008.
Claude H. Harris,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. E8-6005 Filed 3-24-08; 8:45 am]
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