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Ford Motor Company, Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Ford E-150, Ford E-250, Ford E-350, Ford E-450

Ford Motor Company, Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Nancy Lummen Lewis
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
November 27, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 229 (Wednesday, November 27, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 71030-71031]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-28458]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0005; Notice 2]


Ford Motor Company, Denial of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Denial of Petition.

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

SUMMARY: Ford Motor Company (Ford) has determined that certain model 
year 2011 Ford E-150, E-250, E-350 and E-450 motor vehicles 
manufactured

[[Page 71031]]

between May 12, 2011 and May 26, 2011, do not fully comply with 
paragraph S5.1.1 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 
205, Glazing Materials. Ford has filed an appropriate report pursuant 
to 49 CFR Part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and 
Reports, dated August 22, 2011.
    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule 
at 49 CFR part 556), Ford 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.
    NHTSA published a notice of receipt of the petition, with a 30-day 
public comment period, on February 2, 2012, in the Federal Register 77 
FR 5301. In response to the petition, NHTSA did not receive any 
comments.

ADDRESSES: 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-2012-0005.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information on this 
decision contact Mr. Luis Figueroa, Office of Vehicle Safety 
Compliance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
telephone (202) 366-5298, facsimile (202) 366-7002.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    Vehicles Involved: Affected are approximately 4,532 model year 2011 
Ford E-150, E-250, E-350 and E-450 trucks manufactured between May 12, 
2011, and May 25, 2011, at Ford's Ohio assembly plant.
    Summary of Ford's Analysis and Arguments: Ford described the 
noncompliance as the formation of air bubbles in the windshields when 
subjected to high temperatures specified in paragraph S5.1 of FMVSS No. 
205.
    Paragraph S5.1 of FMVSS No. 205 requires in pertinent part:

    S5.1 Glazing materials for use in motor vehicles must conform to 
ANSI/SAE Z26.1-1996 (incorporated by reference, see Sec.  571.5) 
unless this standard provides otherwise . . .
    S5.1.1 Multipurpose passenger vehicles. Except as otherwise 
specifically provided by this standard, glazing for use in 
multipurpose passenger vehicles shall conform to the requirements 
for glazing for use in trucks as specified in ANSI/SAE Z26.1-1996 
(incorporated by reference, see Sec.  571.5).

    Ford expressed its belief that only approximately 100 of the 4,532 
subject vehicles may actually develop air bubbles in their windshields.
    Ford argues that paragraph S5.1.1 of FMVSS No. 205 specifies 
meeting the requirements of ANSI Z26.1-1996 Section 5.4 Boil, Test 4. 
The affected paragraph 5.4.3 ``Interpretation of Results'' states ``The 
glass itself may crack in this test, but no bubbles or other defects 
shall develop more than 13 mm (\1/2\ in) from the outer edge of the 
specimen or from any cracks that may develop.'' Although the affected 
windshields may develop air bubbles, Ford believes this condition does 
not present a risk to motor vehicle safety for the reasons described 
below.
    The initiation of the air bubbles will most likely occur when the 
vehicle is parked in the sun with ambient temperatures greater than 
80[deg] F, and they occur very early in the life of the vehicle. This 
was the case for the initial vehicles that exhibited the condition 
while still at the assembly plant, that was experiencing high seasonal 
temperatures at the time. Of the 41 field reports of the condition that 
had occurred as of August 16, 2011, only one occurred subsequent to 
delivery to a customer. All other field reports were found during pre-
delivery vehicle preparation.
    The appearance of the air bubbles is a slow process, and there are 
no reports of air bubbles affecting the entire windshield. If bubbles 
do occur in the driver vision zone, the vision zone is initially only 
partially affected. This condition would be noticed by the customer 
prior to a significant spread of the air bubbles, and the customer 
would seek repair under Ford's normal \3/36\ warranty.
    Ford is not aware of accidents or injuries attributed to this 
condition.
    In summation, Ford believes that the described noncompliance of its 
vehicles to meet the requirements of FMVSS No. 205 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.
    Background: FMVSS No. 205 specifies labeling and performance 
requirements for automotive glazing. FMVSS No. 205 incorporates by 
reference ANSI Z26.1 (1996). The purpose of Test No. 4 Boil Test 
(Section 5.4 of ANSI Z26.1 (1996)) is to determine if the glazing 
material will withstand exposure to tropical temperatures over an 
extended period of time.
    NHTSA's Analysis: Ford believes this condition does not present a 
risk to motor vehicle safety because the initiation of the air bubbles 
will most likely occur when the vehicle is parked in the sun with 
ambient temperatures greater than 80[deg] F. However, data from the 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that the 
condition that Ford describes ``sun with ambient temperatures greater 
than 80[deg] F'' is a very likely event. Data from the NOAA for the USA 
shows that in early spring (around the month of March 2011) the 
southern states are already experiencing mean maximum temperatures in 
excess of 80[deg] F. The same data shows that in July most of the 
nation is experiencing mean maximum temperatures over 80[deg] F with 
some states experiencing mean maximum temperatures of over 100[deg] F.
    More importantly, the agency believes that the true measure of 
inconsequentiality is whether there is a safety effect of the 
noncompliance on the operational safety of the vehicle. In this case if 
the noncompliance (a bubble or bubbles in the windshield) were to 
manifest, this condition causes delamination of the glazing material 
which could weaken the structural integrity around the windshield edge 
and pose a safety risk to the occupants. Bubbles also could affect the 
vision of the driver and thus would have a detrimental effect on the 
operational safety of the vehicle. The agency also notes that the low 
number of vehicles involved in this case does not lessen the safety 
issue that the non-compliance creates. The degraded visibility created 
by the bubbles in the windshield still creates a safety risk even if it 
only occurs in a few vehicles.
    The fact that customers might notice the non-compliance and seek 
repairs from Ford on their own does not mean that the safety risk posed 
by the bubbles in the windshield has been completely mitigated.
    NHTSA Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has 
decided that Ford has not met its burden of persuasion that the FMVSS 
No. 205 noncompliances identified in Ford's Noncompliance Information 
Report. Accordingly, Ford's petition is hereby denied, and the Ford 
must 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).

    Dated: November 21, 2013.
Nancy Lummen Lewis,
Associate Administrator for Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2013-28458 Filed 11-26-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P



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