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Spartan Motors, Inc. on Behalf of Spartan Motors Chassis, Inc., Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Emergency Services Vehicles Topics:  Spartan Gladiator, Spartan MetroStar

Spartan Motors, Inc. on Behalf of Spartan Motors Chassis, Inc., Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
February 14, 2014


[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 31 (Friday, February 14, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 9040-9041]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-03211]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2013-0083; Notice 2]


Spartan Motors, Inc. on Behalf of Spartan Motors Chassis, Inc., 
Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Grant of Petition.

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SUMMARY: Spartan Motors, Inc. on behalf of Spartan Motors Chassis, Inc. 
(Spartan) has determined that certain model year 2008 through 2013 
Spartan Gladiator and MetroStar chassis cabs do not fully comply with 
paragraph S5.3.3.1(a) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 
No. 121, Air Brake Systems. Spartan has filed an appropriate report 
dated April 19, 2013, pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573, Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.

ADDRESSES: For further information on this decision contact James 
Jones, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National Highway 
Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202) 366-5294, 
facsimile (202) 366-3081.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Spartan's Petition

    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and the rule 
implementing those provisions at 49 CFR Part 556, Spartan 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.
    Notice of receipt of the petition was published, with a 30-day 
public comment period, on September 25, 2013 in the Federal Register 
(78 FR 59089). No comments were received. 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-2013-0083.''

II. Chassis Cabs Involved

    Affected are approximately 26 model year 2008 through 2013 Spartan 
Gladiator and MetroStar chassis cabs manufactured between April 9, 2008 
and January 14, 2013.

III. Noncompliance

    Spartan explains that it has determined that certain emergency 
rescue chassis cabs built between April 9, 2009 and January 14, 2013 
may not meet the brake actuation time for trucks as identified in Sec.  
5.3.3 of FMVSS No. 121.

IV. Rule Text

    Section S5.3.3 of FMVSS No. 121 specifically states:

    S5.3.3 Brake actuation time. Each service brake system shall 
meet the requirements of S5.3.3.1 (a) and (b).
    S5.3.3.1(a) With an initial service reservoir system air 
pressure of 100 psi, the air pressure in each brake chamber shall, 
when measured from the first movement of the service brake control, 
reach 60 psi in not more than 0.45 second in the case of trucks and 
buses * * *

V. Summary of Spartan's Analyses

    Spartan stated its belief that the subject noncompliance is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for the following reasons:

    Section 5.3.3.1 of FMVSS No. 121 defines the amount of pressure 
(60 psi) for, in this case, the front brake chambers. Further, it 
also defines a ``not to exceed'' time (0.45 seconds) in which that 
pressure at the brake chamber must be achieved. This is not 
interpreted to mean brakes are to be applied at 60 psi but rather a 
certain pressure at the brake chamber will be achieved. Brakes will 
be applied nearly instantaneously after actuation of the treadle 
valve.

    Spartan conducted three tests on a sample of three chassis cabs of 
similar brake system configurations. Detailed results from the testing 
are shown in Spartan's petition. The reported average was used to 
determine the actual results in comparison to the requirements. By 
rounding the average of the three tests for each sample, Spartan 
Chassis identified it exceeds the requirements by 0.01 second.
    The measurement of time, in this case, is for when air pressure at 
the chamber reaches 60 psi. As stated, the brakes are still being 
applied irrespective of achieving the 60 psi pressure at the front 
brake chambers. The impact of being 0.006 to 0.01 seconds above the 
requirement of 0.45 seconds would have very little impact 
(approximately 1 ft @ 60 mph) to stopping distance of the vehicle and 
would not impede the capability of the vehicle being able to stop.
    According to Driver's License Manual, stopping distance is impacted 
by driver perception distance and reaction distance. Other factors 
include speed and gross weight of the vehicle. These attributes would 
appear to have a more significant impact to overall stopping distance 
than 0.01 second timing for air pressure to reach 60 psi at the front 
brake chambers.
    From a speed of 60 mph, vehicles affected by this condition are 
required to achieve a complete stop in 310 ft. At this speed, it would 
take approximately 3.52 seconds for vehicles to stop at this rate of 
speed. Vehicles affected by the condition that has resulted in the 
identified non-compliance are capable of stopping within the distance 
of 310 ft as prescribed by FMVSS No. 121 and would still be able to 
stop within the required stopping distance.
    Spartan has additionally informed NHTSA that it has corrected the

[[Page 9041]]

noncompliance so that all future production Gladiator and MetroStar 
chassis cabs will comply with FMVSS No. 121.
    In summation, Spartan believes that the described noncompliance of 
the subject chassis cabs 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.

VI. NHTSA Decision

    Spartan's argument in support of the petition is reasonable. NHTSA 
agrees that the braking performance of subject noncompliant vehicles is 
not adversely affected as a result of longer pneumatic brake actuation 
times of 0.006 to 0.01 seconds. The theoretical calculations performed 
by Spartan indicate an increase of approximately one foot in stopping 
distance at 60 mph for noncompliant vehicles when compared to compliant 
vehicles. This minimal increase in stopping distance does not affect 
the noncompliant vehicle's conformance with the 60 mph stopping 
distance requirement of 310 feet. Therefore, the very small number of 
affected noncompliant vehicles does not appear to pose an undue safety 
risk in braking performance in comparison to compliant vehicles.
    NHTSA is also not aware of any customer complaints or field reports 
relating to this issue, and Spartan has stated that it has corrected 
the problem that caused the noncompliance so that it will not be 
repeated in future production.
    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has decided that Spartan 
has met its burden of persuasion that the FMVSS No. 121 noncompliance 
is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, Spartan's 
petition is hereby granted and Spartan is exempted from the obligation 
of providing notification of, and a remedy for, that noncompliance 
under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120.
    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, this decision 
only applies to the subject noncompliant chassis cabs that Spartan no 
longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance 
existed. However, the granting of this petition does not relieve 
vehicle distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer 
for sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate 
commerce of the noncompliant chassis cabs under their control after 
Spartan notified them that the subject noncompliance existed.

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

Claude H. Harris,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2014-03211 Filed 2-13-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P



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