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Gillig, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Buses Topics:  Gillig

Gillig, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
4 October 2017


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 191 (Wednesday, October 4, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 46346-46349]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-21257]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2017-0021; Notice 1]


Gillig, LLC, 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: Gillig, LLC (Gillig), has determined that certain model year 
(MY) 1997-2016 Gillig low floor buses do not fully comply with Federal 
Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108, Lamps, Reflective 
Devices, and Associated Equipment. Gillig filed a noncompliance report 
dated February 24, 2017. Gillig also petitioned NHTSA on March 24, 
2017, and amended it on May 10, 2017, for a decision that the subject 
noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety.

DATES: The closing date for comments on the petition is November 3, 
2017.

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 in the title of this notice and 
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 Delivery: 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 https://www.regulations.gov/. Follow the online 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 comments you have submitted by mail were 
received, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard with the 
comments. Note that all comments received will be posted without change 
to https://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided.
    All comments and supporting materials received before the close of 
business on the closing date indicated above will be filed in the 
docket and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials 
received after the closing date will also be filed and will be 
considered to the fullest extent possible.
    When the petition is granted or denied, notice of the decision will 
also be published in the Federal Register pursuant to the authority 
indicated at the end of this notice.
    All comments, background documentation, and supporting materials 
submitted to the docket may be viewed by anyone at the address and 
times given above. The documents may also be viewed on the Internet at 
https://www.regulations.gov by following the online instructions for 
accessing the dockets. The docket ID number for this petition is shown 
in the heading of this notice.
    DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement is available for review in a 
Federal Register notice published on April 11, 2000, (65 FR 19477-78).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    I. Overview: Gillig, LLC (Gillig), has determined that certain 
model year (MY) 1997-2016 Gillig low floor buses do not fully comply 
with paragraph S7.1.1.13.1 of FMVSS No. 108, Lamps, Reflective Devices, 
and Associated Equipment. Gillig filed a noncompliance report dated 
February 24, 2017, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. Gillig also petitioned NHTSA 
on March 24, 2017, and amended it on May 10, 2017, pursuant to 49 
U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and 49 CFR part 556, for an exemption from 
the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on 
the basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to 
motor vehicle safety.
    This notice of receipt of Gillig'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. Buses Involved: Approximately 41,714 MY 1997-2016 Gillig low 
floor buses, manufactured between December 31, 1997, and February 3, 
2017, are potentially involved.
    III. Noncompliance: Gillig stated that it installed six different 
generations of turn signal assemblies in the subject buses; however, 
after receiving two complaints that their Generation 7 turn signal 
assemblies were not sufficiently visible, Gillig and the turn signal 
manufacturer went back and tested the previous generations to see if 
they met the requirements of FMVSS No. 108. Test results for 
generations 1 through 6 of the turn signal assemblies showed that they 
do not meet all the minimum photometry requirements of paragraph 
S7.1.1.13.1 of FMVSS No. 108.

[[Page 46347]]

    IV. Rule Text: Paragraph S7.1.1.13.1 of FMVSS No. 108, states, in 
pertinent part:

    S7.1.1.13 Photometry
    S7.1.1.13.1 When tested according to the procedure of S14.2.1, 
each front turn signal lamp must be designed to conform to the base 
photometry requirements plus any applicable multipliers as shown in 
Tables VI-a and VI-b for the number of lamp compartments or 
individual lamps and the type of vehicle it is installed on.

    V. Summary of Gillig's Petition: Gillig described the subject 
noncompliance and stated its belief that the noncompliance is 
inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety.
    In support of its petition, Gillig submitted the following 
reasoning:
    1. Analysis: For front turn signals, the FMVSS No. 108 photometry 
requirements provide that ``when tested according to the procedure of 
S14.2.1, each front turn signal lamp must be designed to conform to the 
base photometry requirements plus any applicable multipliers \1\ for 
the number of lamp compartments or individual lamps and the type of 
vehicle it is installed on.'' See FMVSS No. 108, S7.1.1.13.1.
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    \1\ All of the designs of the turn signal assemblies employ a 
reflector. Since the spacing from the geometric centroid of the turn 
signal to the lighted edge of the lower beam of the headlamp is 
greater than 100 mm, a multiplier is not applicable. (FMVSS No. 108, 
S7.1.1.10.3, S7.1.1.10.4(a)).
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    A front turn signal lamp meets the photometry requirements of FMVSS 
No. 108 if it: (1) Meets the minimum photometric intensity (``PI'') 
requirement in each of the five test groups, (2) none of the values for 
the individual test points are less than 60% of its own minimum PI 
value, and (3) the minimum PI value between test points is not less 
than the lower specified minimum value of the two closest adjacent test 
points on a horizontal or vertical line. Stated another way, an 
individual test point may be up to 40% below its minimum PI value as 
long as the group in which it is contained achieves the overall group 
minimum PI value. Based on this approach, even if the turn signal did 
not meet the minimum photometry requirements at multiple individual 
test points, the assembly complies with the standard as long as the 
overall light intensity of all the test points included within the 
group does not fall below the required minimum value of the group. (See 
61 FR 1663; January 23, 1996) (``The photometric requirements for turn 
signal lamps may be met at zones or groups of test points, instead of 
at individual test points.'')
    Gillig, in concert with Hamsar Diversco (Hamsar), its lighting 
supplier, conducted a series of compliance testing for Generations 1 to 
6. In order to accurately execute the testing, Hamsar used CAD drawings 
of the Gillig Low-Floor to construct an aluminum test stand fixture. 
The test stand precisely matched the orientation and angle at which the 
turn signal would have been installed on a Gillig Low-Floor bus. Hamsar 
then conducted a series of tests measuring the PI output using samples 
of each of the available generations of turn signals. A summary of test 
data shows:

    (a) For Generations 1 and 2 (the oldest generations), the 
assemblies meet the minimum photometric intensity (PI) requirements 
for 3 of 5 groups and allowable 60% of minimum PI at 13 of 19 
individual test points. The turn signal's overall PI output of 1271 
candelas is approximately 25% below the combined minimum 
requirements for all 5 groups (1710 candelas).
    (b) For turn signals in Generation 3, the assemblies meet the 
minimum PI requirements of 3 of 5 test groups and allowable 60% of 
minimum PI at 13 of 19 individual test points. However, the overall 
PI output for Generation 3 turn signals of 2506 candelas is 47% 
greater than the combined minimum requirements for all 5 groups 
(1710 candelas).\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ In addition, the integrated side markers for Generation 3 
turn signals were tested and meet all photometric requirements.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (c) For turn signals in Generation 4, the assemblies meet the 
minimum PI requirements for 3 of 5 test groups and allowable 60% of 
minimum PI at 15 of 19 individual test points. However, the overall 
PI output for Generation 4 turn signals of 2120 candelas is 24% 
greater than the combined minimum requirements for all 5 groups 
(1710 candelas).
    (d) For turn signals in Generation 5, the assemblies meet the 
minimum PI requirements for 2 of 5 test groups and allowable 60% of 
minimum PI 8 of 19 individual test points. However, the overall PI 
output for Generation 5 turn signals of 1403 candelas is only 18% 
below the combined minimum requirements for all 5 groups (1710 
candelas).
    (e) For turn signal assemblies in Generation 6, the assemblies 
also meet the minimum photometric intensity for 3 of 5 test groups 
and allowable 60% of minimum photometric intensity for 12 of 19 
individual test points. The overall photometric intensity output for 
Generation 6 turn signals of 4201 candelas is 146% greater than the 
combined minimum requirements for all 5 groups (1710 candelas).

    Gillig states that for the test groups in each generation that 
meets the PI requirements, the values for those groups well exceed the 
minimum values for the group. The PI output for groups exceeding the 
minimum values in Generations 1 and 2 achieve 119%-242% of minimum 
values. The PI output for Generation 3 turn signals achieve 105%-575% 
of minimum values. The PI output for Generation 4 turn signals achieve 
109%-386% of minimum values. The PI output for Generation 5 turn 
signals achieve 224%-267% of minimum values. Finally, the PI output for 
Generation 6 turn signals achieve 114%-1022% of minimum values.
    Gillig further contends that the turn signals are sufficiently 
bright and visible overall and there is little if any perceptible 
difference in light output when compared with a compliant turn signal. 
The comparisons also illustrate how visually similar the performance of 
the earlier generations of the assemblies are to the FMVSS No. 108 
standard, and why their noncompliance garnered no attention, by Gillig 
or its customers, in over twenty years of production.
    2. NHTSA has Previously Granted Petitions Where Lighting Equipment 
Did Not Meet the Photometry Requirements: Gillig contends that from its 
inception, the Safety Act has included a provision recognizing that 
some noncompliances pose little or no safety risk. In applying this 
recognition to particular fact situations, the agency considers whether 
the noncompliance gives rise to ``a significantly greater risk than . . 
. in a compliant vehicle.'' See 69 FR 19897-19900 (April 14, 2000).
    Relying on this same principle, Gillig contends that despite the 
technical noncompliance with the PI requirements, the light output in 
Generation 1-6 turn signals is sufficiently bright and does not create 
a greater risk than turn signal assemblies that fully meet the 
photometric parameters. Gillig states that NHTSA has considered 
deviations from these photometric parameters on numerous occasions, 
frequently finding that there is no need for a recall remedy campaign 
when there are other factors contributing to the overall brightness of 
the equipment.
    For example, the agency granted a petition by General Motors \3\ 
where its turn signals met the photometry requirements in 3 of 4 test 
groups and produced, on average, 90% of the required PI output. For the 
three complying groups of turn signals, the assemblies exceeded the 
light intensity requirements by at least 20%.
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    \3\ 61 FR 1663-1664 (January 22, 1996).
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    Gillig further states that the agency granted similar petitions for 
inconsequential noncompliance where

[[Page 46348]]

the product did not meet the photometric intensity requirements.\4\
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    \4\ 78 FR 46000 (July 30, 2013); 55 FR 37602 (September 12, 
1990); 61 FR 1663 (January 22, 1996).
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    Here, because the PI output of the compliant test groups within 
Generations 3, 4 and 6 exceeds the candela requirements by a 
substantial margin, a range of 24%-146% above the additional candela 
offsets the overall performance of the turn signals.\5\
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    \5\ 63 FR 70179 (December 18, 1998); 61 FR 1663-1664 (January 
22, 1996.
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    Gillig observes that in some instances, involving reduced 
photometric output, NHTSA has denied the petition on the basis that the 
condition created a measurable impact on the driver's ability to see 
objects on or above the road.\6\ In contrast, the only indication of 
such an impact involves the Generation 7 assemblies for which Gillig is 
in the process of conducting a recall remedy campaign. There is no 
indication that the deviation in performance for Generations 1-6 has 
led to any difficulty in seeing and responding to the turn signals, and 
as supported by the field history, the turn signal assemblies have 
operated successfully for years and in some cases decades.
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    \6\ 66 FR 38340 (July 23, 2001).
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    Gillig states that the agency has long considered changes in light 
output in the range presented here as being visually imperceptible to 
vehicle occupants or other drivers.\7\ Gillig also states that the 
agency has noted that turn signals, unlike head lamps, do not affect 
road illumination so that a reduced amount of light output would not, 
by itself, create an increased risk to the public.\8\
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    \7\ 59 FR 65428 (December 19, 1994).
    \8\ 66 FR 38341 (July 23, 2001).
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    Finally, according to Gillig, the environment in which the Gillig 
turn signals are used diminishes any potential risk to safety. Because 
the buses in which the subject turn signals are installed are 
predominantly public transit buses, they are managed by fleet operators 
and undergo regular maintenance and reviews by skilled technicians.\9\ 
Part of that process includes a pre-trip inspection. That protocol 
requires a review of the bus's operating systems, including a review of 
the turn signals. Consequently, if the photometric intensity of the 
Generations 1-6 lights were inadequate, trained professional service 
personnel and drivers would have identified this over the years, and in 
some cases, decades of pre-trip inspections.\10\ Gillig has never 
received a complaint, notice or report related to visibility concerns 
with the Generation 1-6 turn signals, underscoring the overall 
visibility of the turn signals.
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    \9\ The Typical life cycle for a public transit bus is either 12 
years or 500,000 miles, meaning that the majority of the vehicles 
with Generation 1-6 turn signals may no longer be in service.
    \10\ 64 FR 44575 (August 16, 1999).
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    Gillig concluded by expressing the belief that the subject 
noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, 
and that its petition to be exempted from providing notification of the 
noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118, and a remedy for the 
noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120, should be granted.
    3. Supplemental Petition: In April 2017, and as part of its ongoing 
quality review process, Gillig contracted with an independent lighting 
certification laboratory (Calcoast-ITL) to conduct a series of 
additional compliance tests for the turn signals included in 
Generations 1-6. In order to accurately execute the testing, CAD 
drawings of the front of the Gillig Low-Floor bus were used to 
construct an aluminum test stand fixture. The test stand precisely 
matched the orientation and angles at which the right and left front 
turn signals would have been installed on the bus. The laboratory then 
conducted a series of tests measuring the PI output using samples of 
each of the available generations of turn signals. The testing was 
certified to have been conducted in accordance with the FMVSS 108 Test 
Procedure (TP-108-13). A summary of the test data provides:

    (a) For Generations 1 and 2 (the oldest generations), the 
assemblies meet the minimum photometric intensity (PI) requirements 
for 3 of 5 groups and allowable 60% of minimum PI at 13 of 19 
individual test points. The turn signal's overall PI output of 1364 
candelas is approximately 20% below the combined minimum 
requirements for all 5 groups (1710 candelas).
    (b) For turn signals in Generation 3, the assemblies meet the 
minimum PI requirements of 3 of 5 test groups and allowable 60% of 
minimum PI at 15 of 19 individual test points. However, the overall 
PI output for Generation 3 turn signals of 2387 candelas is 40% 
greater than the combined minimum requirements for all 5 groups 
(1710 candelas).\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ In addition, the integrated side markers for Generation 3 
turn signals were tested and meet all photometric requirements.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (c) For turn signals in Generation 4, the assemblies meet the 
minimum PI requirements for 4 of 5 test groups and allowable 60% of 
minimum PI at 15 of 19 individual test points. However, the overall 
PI output for Generation 4 turn signals of 3307 candelas is 93% 
greater than the combined minimum requirements for all 5 groups 
(1710 candelas).
    (d) For turn signals in Generation 5, the assemblies meet the 
minimum PI requirements for 2 of 5 test groups and allowable 60% of 
minimum PI 12 of 19 individual test points. However, the overall PI 
output for Generation 5 turn signals of 2385 candelas is only 39% 
below the combined minimum requirements for all 5 groups (1710 
candelas).
    (e) For turn signal assemblies in Generation 6, the assemblies 
also meet the minimum photometric intensity for 4 of 5 test groups 
and allowable 60% of minimum photometric intensity for 17 of 19 
individual test points. The overall photometric intensity output for 
Generation 6 turn signals of 5655 candelas is 231% greater than the 
combined minimum requirements for all 5 groups (1710 candelas).

    Thus, the new PI output for groups that exceed the minimum values 
are:
     Generations 1 and 2 achieve 122%-267% of minimum values.
     Generation 3 achieves 192%-428% of minimum values.
     Generation 4 achieves 125%-598% of minimum values.
     Generation 5 achieves 367%-445% of minimum values.
     Generation 6 achieves 143%-1185% of minimum values.
    As a result, the groups that exceed the minimum values in each lamp 
compensate for the groups that are below the minimums to the extent 
that the overall PI outputs of the most recent four generation of 
lights (Generations 3-6) significantly exceed the overall PI output 
required for a front turn signal lamp (1710 candelas).
    As part of Gillig's supplemental petition, they submitted a video 
which shows a side-by-side comparison of Generation 1-6 turn signal 
assemblies with a newer generation of turn signal that exceeds all 
FMVSS No. 108 minimum requirements for photometry. Gillig says that the 
comparisons were performed with the lights in their various generations 
installed on the same bus as it is driven through a turning maneuver 
(filmed indoors to control ambient lighting throughout the 
comparisons). Gillig believes that it is evident from the multiple 
angles in the video that the lights from Generation 1-6 are so bright 
and large that they are virtually indistinguishable from the newer 
version.
    To view Gillig's petition analyses, test data and video in its 
entirety you can visit https://www.regulations.gov by following the 
online instructions for accessing the dockets and by using the docket 
ID number for this petition shown in the heading of this notice.
    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

[[Page 46349]]

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 
buses that Gillig no longer controlled at the time it determined that 
the noncompliance existed. However, any decision on 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 vehicles under their control 
after Gillig 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)

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2017-21257 Filed 10-3-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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