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Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Toyota Camry, Toyota Avalon, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Sienna, Toyota Tundra, Toyota Tacoma

Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
March 11, 2014


[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 47 (Tuesday, March 11, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 13733-13735]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-05186]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2014-0028; Notice 1]


Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc., 
Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Receipt of petition.

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SUMMARY: Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc., 
on behalf of Toyota Motor Corporation and certain Toyota manufacturing 
entities (collectively referred to as ``Toyota'') have determined that 
specific model year (MY) 2013-2014 Toyota vehicles do not fully comply 
with paragraph S4 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 
302, Flammability of Interior Materials. Toyota has filed an 
appropriate report dated January 29, 2014 as amended on February 20, 
2014 pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance 
Responsibility and Reports.

DATES: The closing date for comments on the petition is April 10, 2014.

ADDRESSES: 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:
     Mail: Send comments 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.
     Hand Deliver: Deliver comments by hand 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.
     Electronically: Submit comments electronically by: logging 
onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at http://www.regulations.gov/. Follow the online

[[Page 13734]]

instructions for submitting comments. Comments may also be faxed to 
(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.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    I. Toyota's Petition: Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) 
(see implementing rule at 49 CFR part 556), Toyota 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 Toyota'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.
    II. Vehicles Involved: Affected are approximately 206,271 MY 2012-
14 Camry, Avalon, Corolla, Sienna, Tundra, and Tacoma model Toyota 
vehicles. Refer to the amended report that Toyota filed pursuant to 49 
CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports that 
Toyota included as attachment to its petition for identification of the 
associated Toyota manufacturing entities as well as the vehicles 
involved.
    III. Noncompliance: Toyota explains that the noncompliance is that 
the front and rear seat cushions and front and rear seat backs in the 
subject vehicles fail to fully meet the requirements of paragraph S4 of 
FMVSS No. 302 because seat cushion and seat back components, when 
tested separately, failed to meet the burn rate requirements of 
paragraph S4.3. Toyota identified the noncompliant components as seat 
heater assemblies. Toyota also states that all other components of the 
seat required to meet FMVSS No. 302 are in compliance with the 
standard.
    IV. Rule Text: Paragraph S4 of FMVSS No. 302 requires in pertinent 
part:

    S4.1 The portions described in S4.2 of the following components 
of vehicle occupant compartments shall meet the requirements of 
S4.3: seat cushions, seat backs, seat belts, headlining, convertible 
tops, arm rests, all trim panels including door, front, rear, and 
side panels, compartment shelves, head restraints, floor coverings, 
sun visors, curtains, shades, wheel housing covers, engine 
compartment covers, mattress covers, and any other interior 
materials, including padding and crash-deployed elements, that are 
designed to absorb energy on contact by occupants in the event of a 
crash . . .
    S4.2 Any portion of a single or composite material which is 
within 13 mm of the occupant compartment air space shall meet the 
requirements of S4.3.
    S4.2.1 Any material that does not adhere to other material(s) at 
every point of contact shall meet the requirements of S4.3 when 
tested separately . . .
    S4.3 (a)When tested in accordance with S5, material described in 
S4.1 and S4.2 shall not burn, nor transmit a flame front across its 
surface, at a rate of more than 102 mm per minute. The requirement 
concerning transmission of a flame front shall not apply to a 
surface created by cutting a test specimen for purposes of testing 
pursuant to S5.
    (b) If a material stops burning before it has burned for 60 
seconds from the start of timing, and has not burned more than 51 mm 
from the point where the timing was started, it shall be considered 
to meet the burn-rate requirement of S4.3(a).

    V. Summary of Toyota's Analyses: Toyota stated its belief that the 
subject noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for 
the following reasons:
    1. Toyota believes that its testing shows that the seat heater 
assemblies comply with FMVSS No. 302 when tested as a ``composite'' as 
installed in the vehicle, i.e., along with the surrounding FMVSS No. 
302 compliant seat cover, plus pad, and foam pad.
    2. Toyota believes that its testing and design review of the seat 
heater assemblies indicates that the chance of fire or flame induced by 
a malfunctioning seat heater is essentially zero.
    3. Toyota believes that the purpose of FMVSS No. 302 is to ``. . . 
reduce the deaths and injuries to motor vehicle occupants caused by 
vehicle fires, especially those originating in the interior of the 
vehicle from sources such as matches or cigarettes.'' \1\ The 
noncompliant seat heater assemblies would normally not be exposed to 
open flame or an ignition source (like matches or cigarettes) in its 
installed application, because it is installed within and surrounded by 
complying materials that meet FMVSS No. 302.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Paragraph S2 of FMVSS No. 302 Flammability of Interior 
Materials.
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    4. The seat heater assembly is a very small portion of the overall 
mass of the soft material portions comprising the entire seat assembly 
(i.e. less than 1%), and is significantly less in relation to the 
entire vehicle interior surface area that could potentially be exposed 
to flame. Therefore, Toyota believes that it would have an 
insignificant adverse effect on interior material burn rate and the 
potential for occupant injury due to interior fire.
    5. Toyota is not aware of any data suggesting that fires have 
occurred in the field due to the installation of the non-complying seat 
heater assemblies.
    6. Toyota also expressed its belief that in similar situations 
NHTSA has granted petitions for inconsequential noncompliance relating 
to FMVSS No. 302 requirements.
    Toyota has additionally informed NHTSA that it has corrected the 
noncompliance so that all future production vehicles will comply with 
FMVSS No. 302.
    In summation, Toyota believes that the described noncompliance of 
the subject vehicles is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and 
that its petition, to exempt Toyota 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.
    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, any decision on 
this petition only applies to the subject vehicles that Toyota no 
longer controlled at the time it

[[Page 13735]]

determined that the noncompliance existed. However, any decision on 
this petition does not relieve Toyota distributors and dealers of the 
prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, or introduction or delivery 
for introduction into interstate commerce of the noncompliant motor 
vehicles under their control after Toyota 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. 2014-05186 Filed 3-10-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P



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