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Adrian Steel Company, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Chevrolet Uplander

Adrian Steel Company, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
July 29, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 145 (Monday, July 29, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 45600-45602]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-18050]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2008-0176; Notice 2]


Adrian Steel Company, Grant of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of petition grant.

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SUMMARY: Adrian Steel Company (Adrian), on behalf of Commercial Truck 
and Van Equipment, Inc. (CTV), determined that certain Model Year 2006-
2008 incomplete vehicles that CTV completed as trucks did not fully 
comply with paragraphs S4.3(a), S4.3(c) and S4.3(d) of 49 CFR 571.110, 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 110, Tire Selection 
and Rims for Motor Vehicles with a GVWR of 4,536 Kilograms (10,000 
pounds) or Less. Adrian has filed an appropriate report dated June 10, 
2008 pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573, Defect and Noncompliance 
Responsibility and Reports.
    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h), and 49 CFR Part 556, 
on June 10, 2008, Adrian submitted a petition for an exemption from the 
notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 on 
the basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle 
safety. NHTSA published a notice of receipt of the petition, with a 30-
day public comment period, on December 10, 2008, in the Federal 
Register, 73 FR 75171. In response to the petition, NHTSA did not 
receive any comments. To view the petition and all supporting 
documents, log onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web 
site at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online search 
instructions to locate docket number ``NHTSA-2008-0176.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information on this 
decision, contact Mr. Harry Thompson, Office of Vehicle Safety 
Compliance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
telephone (202) 366-5289, facsimile (202) 366-5930.
    Relevant Requirements of FMVSS No. 110: Among other things, FMVSS 
No. 110 requires certain information to be specified on the tire and 
loading

[[Page 45601]]

information placard. The required information includes the vehicle 
capacity weight expressed as ``The combined weight of occupants and 
cargo should never exceed XXX kilograms or XXX pounds'', the vehicle 
manufacturer's recommended cold tire inflation pressure for front, 
rear, and spare tires, and the tire size designation, including spare 
tires.
    Vehicles Involved: Affected are approximately 7,761 Model Years 
2006-2008 General Motors Chevrolet Cargo Uplander GMT201 platform 
incomplete vehicles that CTV, as the final stage manufacturer, 
completed as trucks. CTV completed these vehicles during the period 
September 1, 2005 through June 4, 2008.
    Summary of Adrian's Petition: Adrian explained that several 
noncompliances with FMVSS No. 110 exist due to errors and omissions on 
the tire and loading information placard that it affixed to the 
vehicles. Adrian identified the noncompliances as follows:
    1. Paragraph S4.3(a) requires that the vehicle capacity weight be 
stated on the vehicle tire and loading information placard in Metric 
and English units. The Metric value (646 kg) is correct but the English 
conversion value (5,797 lb) is not correct.
    2. Paragraph S4.3(c) requires that the recommended tire inflation 
pressures be stated on the vehicle tire and loading information placard 
for the original tires including the spare tire, and, by the example in 
FMVSS No. 110 (Figure 1), be stated in both Metric (KPA) and English 
(PSI) units. The inflation pressures on the vehicle tire and loading 
information placard appear to be the English value only with no units 
identified, and no inflation pressure is provided for the spare tire.
    3. Paragraph S4.3(d) requires that the original tire sizes 
(including the spare) be stated on the vehicle tire and loading 
information placard. The information in the tire size column is rim 
size information, rather than the tire size. NHTSA notes that no tire 
size information is provided for the spare tire.
    Furthermore, 49 CFR Part 567, Certification requires that the 
vehicle type classification (e.g., truck, multipurpose passenger 
vehicle, bus, trailer) be specified on the vehicle certification label. 
The certification labels specify a vehicle type classification of 
``Van'' which is not a classification type recognized by the agency.
    Summary of why Adrian Steel believes that the identified 
noncompliances are inconsequential to motor vehicle safety:
    Adrian Steel believes that the tire and loading information placard 
is duplicated by the vehicle certification label (required by 49 CFR 
Part 567) because it also provides the appropriate information for an 
owner to understand tire inflation pressures, tire size and load 
ratings. Specifically:
    1. 49 CFR 571.110, paragraph S4.3(a) requires that the vehicle 
capacity weight be stated on the tire and loading information placard 
in Metric and English units. Although the English units had been 
converted incorrectly (listed at 5797 lbs.), the Metric measure, 646 
kg, was correct on the tire and loading information placard. Also, the 
vehicle certification label correctly identifies the GVWR so that the 
safe gross vehicle weight rating is clearly identified. Furthermore, 
Adrian sent 8076 postcards to the owners of affected vehicles, based on 
addresses provided by R.L. Polk. The postcards stated that the vehicle 
capacity weight in English units was 1,425 pounds rather than 5,797 
pounds as stated on the placard. Only 26 postcards were returned as 
undeliverable.
    2. 49 CFR 571.110, paragraph S4.3(c) requires that the recommended 
tire inflation pressures be stated on the tire and loading information 
placard for the original tires, in both Metric and English units. The 
inflation pressure of ``35'' was identified on the tire and loading 
information placard but the unit of measure was not included; however, 
it is included on the vehicle certification label, which is mounted on 
the vehicle's B pillar adjacent to the tire and loading information 
placard. Since the tire inflation pressure is clearly identified on the 
vehicle certification label, the information is available to the owner.
    3. 49 CFR 571.110, paragraph S4.3(d) requires that the original 
tire sizes be stated on the tire and loading information placard. 
Adrian placed the rim size on the tire and loading information placard, 
rather than the tire size. However, the tire size is clearly identified 
on the vehicle certification label along with the rim size. In 
addition, it would be impossible to mount a tire on the vehicle using 
the rim numbers as a tire size.
    4. The vehicle certification label which is mounted on the vehicle 
next to the tire and loading information placard contained the correct 
English and Metric information for tire size, tire pressure, and GVWR 
but had a vehicle type identified as ``van'' rather than ``truck''. 
While this classification ``van'' is not recognized by the agency, 
Adrian believes that this is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.
    Adrian stated that its Customer Care Center has never received a 
call or communication of any type with regard to the tire and loading 
information placard or the vehicle certification label.
    Adrian first became aware of the noncompliance when it was 
contacted by NHTSA in response to a vehicle inspection conducted by 
NHTSA.
    Adrian also informed NHTSA that it has corrected the problem that 
caused these errors so that they will not be repeated in future 
production.
    In summation, Adrian states that it believes that the described 
noncompliances of certain Model Year 2006-2008 incomplete vehicles that 
CTV completed as trucks are inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, 
and that its petition to exempt it from providing notification of the 
noncompliances as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118, and remedying the 
noncompliances as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120, should be granted.
    NHTSA's Consideration of Adrian's Inconsequentiality Petition:
    General Principles: Federal motor vehicle safety standards are 
adopted only after the agency has determined, following notice and 
comment, that the standards are objective and practicable and ``meet 
the need for motor vehicle safety.'' See 49 U.S.C. 30111(a). Thus, 
there is a general presumption that the failure of a motor vehicle or 
item of motor vehicle equipment to comply with a FMVSS increases the 
risk to motor vehicle safety beyond the level deemed appropriate by 
NHTSA through the rulemaking process. To protect the public from such 
risks, manufacturers whose products fail to comply with a FMVSS are 
normally required to conduct a safety recall under which they must 
notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of the noncompliance and provide 
a remedy without charge. 49 U.S.C. 30118-30120.
    However, Congress has recognized that, under some limited 
circumstances, a noncompliance could be ``inconsequential'' to motor 
vehicle safety. ``Inconsequential'' is not defined either in the 
statute or in NHTSA's regulations. Rather, the agency determines 
whether a particular non-compliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle 
safety based on the specific facts before it. The key issue in 
determining inconsequentiality is whether the noncompliance in question 
is likely to increase the safety risk to individuals of accidents or to 
individual occupants who experience the type of injurious event against 
which the standard was designed to protect. See General Motors Corp.; 
Ruling on Petition for Determination of Inconsequential

[[Page 45602]]

Noncompliance, 69 FR 19897 (Apr. 14, 2004).
    The intent of FMVSS No. 110 is to ensure that vehicles are equipped 
with tires that are properly inflated to handle maximum vehicle loads 
and relevant information to prevent overloading. The display of correct 
information required by paragraphs S4.3(a), S4.3(c) and S4.3(d) of 
FMVSS No. 110 provides important information to assist owners and 
operators in determining safe vehicle loading limits, tire and rim 
combinations and tire inflation pressures. As discussed below, the 
missing or incorrect information on the tire and loading placard is 
available on the adjacent certification label and from the sidewall of 
the spare tire provided with these vehicles. In addition, as noted 
above, the noncompliant vehicles are trucks manufactured by CVT based 
on 2006-2008 Chevrolet Uplander incomplete vehicles. They have a driver 
and a right hand passenger seat and are used for transporting cargo. 
The commercial operators of these vehicles are unlikely to be confused 
by the missing or incorrect information on the vehicle placard. 
Furthermore, NHTSA has not received any consumer complaints or field 
reports regarding the subject labels or associated loading issues.
    The vehicle capacity weight (S4.3(a)) is directly related to how a 
motorist might load a vehicle. Vehicle capacity weight is ``the rated 
cargo and luggage load plus 68 kilograms [150 lbs.] times the vehicle's 
designated seating capacity.'' 49 CFR 571.110 S3. The metric value for 
the vehicle capacity weight is correctly specified on the vehicle 
placard as 646 kg, which equals 1,421 lbs. However, the vehicle 
capacity weight value stated in pounds as 5,797 lbs. is incorrect, and 
is much higher than the actual vehicle capacity weight. It is almost 
the same as the vehicle's gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 5,842 
lb., which is correctly identified on the certification label. 
Accordingly, the English unit vehicle capacity weight value is clearly 
in error. In the overall context, the agency believes the GVWR value 
provides sufficient information to the commercial operator such that 
the vehicles will not be inadvertently overloaded. The subject vehicles 
are manufactured for commercial use and the agency believes that 
commercial vehicle operators have a better understanding than non-
commercial operators that the certified GVWR values are ratings not to 
be exceeded. Thus, if the commercial vehicle operator follows the 
metric vehicle capacity weight value and loads 646 kg of weight into 
the vehicle the GVWR of the vehicle will not be exceeded. Furthermore, 
if the operator utilizes the English units value and begins to load 
5,797 pounds of cargo into the vehicle, the GVWR value of 5,842 pounds 
will be reached after approximately 1,500 pounds of cargo are loaded 
into the vehicle. This value is calculated based on NHTSA's test 
vehicle, by subtracting the unloaded vehicle weight 4,039 pounds and 
300 pounds for two occupants from the vehicle's GVWR 5,842 pounds 
equals 1,503 pounds. The operator will understand not to exceed the 
vehicle's GVWR. In view of the GVWR, the stated vehicle capacity weight 
in pounds is way beyond a plausible number and is unlikely to be given 
serious consideration. Since the correct vehicle capacity weight value 
is provided in metric units on the tire and loading information 
placard, the adjacent certification label specifies the vehicle's 
correct GVWR, and these vehicles are meant to be owned and operated by 
commercial entities, the agency believes it is unlikely the erroneous 
English unit vehicle capacity weight conversion value stated on the 
vehicle placard will increase the safety risk to the commercial 
operators of these vehicles.
    Recommended tire inflation pressure (S4.3(c)) must be stated on the 
tire and loading information placard for the original tires, in both 
metric and English units. The inflation pressure of ``35'' was 
identified on the tire and loading information placard but the unit of 
measure was not included. However, the correct pressures both in metric 
and English units are included on the vehicle certification label, 
which is mounted on the vehicle's B pillar adjacent to the tire and 
loading information placard. The agency agrees that since the tire 
inflation pressure is clearly identified on the vehicle certification 
label directly adjacent to the tire loading and information placard the 
inadvertent exclusion of the inflation pressure units on the placard 
will not likely cause an increased safety risk to individuals.
    Tire size designation (S4.3(d)) for the tires installed as original 
equipment on both the front and rear axles is required to be stated on 
the tire and loading information placard. Adrian inadvertently placed 
the rim size on the tire and loading information placard, rather than 
the tire size. Nevertheless, both the correct tire size and 
corresponding rim size are clearly identified on the adjacent vehicle 
certification label. Thus, both tire size and rim size are available to 
the vehicle operator and it would be unlikely for this error to cause 
an increased safety risk to individuals.
    Adrian did not include spare tire size or inflation pressure 
information required by S4.3(c) and (d)) on the vehicle tire and 
loading information placard. FMVSS No. 110 requires that the spare tire 
included as original equipment be specified on the placard, or if no 
spare tire is provided the label should specify ``None.'' NHTSA's test 
vehicle was equipped with a spare tire size T135/70R16, but the affixed 
placard spare tire entry was left blank. In the agency's judgment, this 
noncompliance will not cause an increased safety risk to individuals. 
In the event of a flat tire the operator will have a spare tire that is 
labeled with the proper inflation pressure and has a sufficient load 
rating for the vehicle's front and rear Gross Axle Weight Ratings.
    The erroneous listing of the vehicle type as ``van'' on the 
certification label required by 49 CFR Part 567 Certification is 
considered a violation of 49 U.S.C. 30115, Certification, which 
standing alone and without more does not require notification or 
remedy. Consequently, that portion of Adrian's inconsequentiality 
petition is moot.
    Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has decided that 
the petitioner has met its burden of persuasion that the noncompliances 
described in its petition are inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. 
Accordingly, Adrian's petition is hereby granted, and the petitioner is 
not required to notify owners, purchasers and dealers pursuant to 49 
U.S.C. 30118 and provide a remedy in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 30120.

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

    Issued on July 23, 2013.
Claude H. Harris,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2013-18050 Filed 7-26-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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