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Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC and Daimler AG, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class

Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC and Daimler AG, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
August 9, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 154 (Friday, August 9, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 48769-48770]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-19279]



[[Page 48769]]

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0166; Notice 1]


Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC and Daimler AG, Receipt of Petition for 
Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Receipt of petition.

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SUMMARY: Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (MBUSA) \1\ on behalf of itself and its 
parent company Daimler AG (DAG),\2\ collectively referred to in the 
petition as ``Mercedes'', have determined that certain model year (MY) 
2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class (X204 platform) multipurpose passenger 
vehicles (MPVs), do not fully comply with paragraph S5.1.1.6 of Federal 
Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108, Lamps, Reflective 
Devices, and Associated Equipment. Mercedes has filed an appropriate 
report dated October 9, 2012, pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573, Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.
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    \1\ Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC is a manufacturer and importer of 
motor vehicles and is registered under the laws of the state of 
Delaware.
    \2\ Daimler AG is a manufacture of motor vehicles that is 
located in and organized under the laws of Germany.
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    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule 
at 49 CFR Part 556), Mercedes submitted a petition 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 Mercedes'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.
    Vehicles involved: Affected are approximately 2,951 MY 2013 
Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class (X204 platform) MPVs manufactured from January 
1, 2012 through August 15, 2012.
    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, these provisions 
only apply to the subject 2,951 \3\ vehicles that Mercedes no longer 
controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed.
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    \3\ Mercedes's petition, which was filed under 49 CFR Part 556, 
requests an agency decision to exempt Mercedes as a motor vehicle 
manufacturer from the notification and recall responsibilities of 49 
CFR Part 573 for the 2,951 affected vehicles. However, a decision on 
this petition cannot relieve vehicle distributors and dealers of the 
prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, introduction or delivery 
for introduction into interstate commerce of the noncompliant motor 
vehicles under their control after Mercedes notified them that the 
subject noncompliance existed.
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    Noncompliance: Mercedes explains that the noncompliance is that the 
subject vehicles contain parking lamps that exceed the maximum 
designated candlepower output level provided in FMVSS No. 108 paragraph 
S5.1.1.6; id. Figure 1b (listing maximum candlepower value of 125 cd 
for parking lamps). Due to a programming issue in the electronic 
control unit, the voltage in the parking lamp circuit is 12.8 volts 
which is higher than the design voltage specification of 7 volts in the 
affected vehicles. This higher voltage causes the lamps to exceed the 
maximum value listed in FMVSS No. 108.
    Rule text: Paragraph S5.1.1.6 of FMVSS No. 108 requires in 
pertinent part:

    S5.1.1.6 Instead of the photometric values specified in Table 1 
of SAE Standards J222 December 1970, or J585e September 1977, a 
parking lamp or tail lamp, respectively, shall meet the minimum 
percentage specified in Figure 1a of the corresponding minimum 
allowable value specified in Figure 1b. The maximum candlepower 
output of a parking lamp shall not exceed that prescribed in Figure 
1b, or of a taillamp, that prescribed in Figure 1b at H or above. If 
the sum of the percentages of the minimum candlepower measured at 
the test points is not less than that specified for each group 
listed in Figure 1c, a parking lamp or taillamp is not required to 
meet the minimum photometric value at each test point specified in 
SAE Standards J222 or J585e respectively.

Summary of Mercedes' Analysis and Arguments

    Mercedes stated its belief that the subject noncompliance is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for the following reasons:
    1. Although the parking lamps in the subject vehicles exceed the 
candlepower limits of FMVSS No. 108, the level of brightness of the 
lamps is very low. As explained below, to evaluate the impact on motor 
vehicle safety in actual use, MBUSA analyzed the brightness of the 
lamps in use and has confirmed that the potential exceedance is 
minimal, and below the level perceptible to the human eye during night-
time driving operations which would be pertinent to determining 
potential safety relevance.
    2. In the subject vehicles, the parking lamps are activated in 
conjunction with low beam lights, as required by FMVSS No. 108 
paragraph S5.5.7(b). In other words, whenever the low beam lights are 
used, the parking lamps are also illuminated at the same time. 
Therefore, to evaluate the total illumination that would be experienced 
by other motorists at night, it is necessary to evaluate the 
candlepower output of the parking lights in combination with the low 
beams, as would occur under actual driving conditions. As noted above, 
the output limit for parking lamps is 125 cd. The maximum output value 
for low beam lights is 1,000 cd at 0.5U-1.5L to L test points (0.5 
degrees up from the H-point and from 1.5 degrees left of the vertical 
centerline to the end of the leftward measurements) and 700 cd for 1 
U--1.5L to L test points (1 degree up from the H-point and from 1.5 
degrees left of the vertical centerline to the end of the leftward 
measurements). See FMVSS No. 108 paragraph S7.7; id. Figure 17-2 
(photometric test point values for lower beams). Thus, the maximum 
output for the combined parking lamps and low beam lamps is 1,125 cd 
(125 cd + 1,000 cd) for the 0.5U test points and 825 cd (125 cd + 700 
cd) for the 1U test points.
    3. Mercedes has measured the output of the combined parking lamps 
and low beam lights on the subject vehicles using two different 
headlight samples. Two lamp samples were used to evaluate the impact of 
normal part to part production variations on light output. In order to 
provide a complete overview of the brightness of the lights, 
measurements were done every 10 cm on the two horizontal lines at 0.5U 
and 1U, from 20 to 100 cm from the vertical centerline to the left, 
measured at a distance of 25 meters. (This is the same method used for 
certification testing for low beam lights.)
    4. With the first sample headlight, all candlepower measurements 
were below 1,125 cd (for the 0.5U test points) and below 825 cd (for 
the 1U test points). Thus, for this headlamp, there were no exceedances 
of the combined brightness standard. For the second headlight, the 
candlepower measurements were below 1,125 cd at all measurements for 
the 0.5U test points, and below 825 cd for half of the 1U test point 
measurements. The candlepower measurement was slightly above 825 cd 
(840-920 cd) for five of the 1U test point measurements with the second 
headlight. Thus, even the maximum measurement of 920 cd for the worst-
case measurement location is only 11% above the reference value

[[Page 48770]]

of 825 cd. Overall, the testing indicates that due to these normal 
production variations in low beam lights, in many cases, there will be 
no exceedance of the combined parking lamp/low beam light maximum 
candlepower, even with the parking lamp over-voltage. The testing 
indicated that even in the worst-case measurement locations, with the 
worst-case low beam lamp sample, there was the potential for only an 
11% exceedance of the combined lamp brightness, which is below the 
human detection threshold.
    Mercedes is not aware of any incidents or customer complaints 
related to the subject noncompliant parking lamps.
    Mercedes also notes its belief that NHTSA has granted similar 
petitions in the past.
    Mercedes has informed NHTSA that it has corrected the noncompliance 
so that all future production vehicles will comply with FMVSS No. 108.
    In summation, Mercedes believes that the described noncompliance of 
its vehicles is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that its 
petition, to exempt from providing recall notification of noncompliance 
as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118 and remedying the recall noncompliance 
as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120 should be granted.
    Comments: 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://www.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: September 9, 2013.

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

    Dated: July 31, 2013.
Claude H. Harris,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2013-19279 Filed 8-8-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P



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