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Forest River, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Buses Topics:  Glaval, Starcraft, StarTrans

Forest River, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

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


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 194 (Tuesday, October 10, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 47076-47078]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-21666]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2016-0096; Notice 1]


Forest River, 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: Forest River, Inc. (Forest River), has determined that certain 
model year (MY) 2008-2016 Glaval, 2012-2016 Starcraft, and 2014-2016 
StarTrans buses do not fully comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard (FMVSS) No. 217, Bus emergency exits and window retention and 
release. Forest River filed reports dated April 14, 2016, and 
subsequently revised those reports on June 7, 2016, pursuant to 49 CFR 
part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. Forest 
River then petitioned NHTSA under 49 CFR part 556 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 9, 
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 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

[[Page 47077]]

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.
    The petition, supporting materials, and all comments 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 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 documents 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 the 
Federal Register notice published on April 11, 2000, (65 FR 19477-78).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Overview

    Forest River, Inc. (Forest River), has determined that certain 
model year (MY) 2008-2016 Glaval, 2012-2016 Starcraft, and 2014-2016 
StarTrans buses do not fully comply with paragraph S5.5.1 of Federal 
Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 217, Bus emergency exits and 
window retention and release. Forest River filed reports dated April 
14, 2016, and subsequently revised those reports on June 7, 2016, 
pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility 
and Reports. Forest River then petitioned NHTSA under 49 CFR part 556, 
pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and their implementing 
regulations at 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 Forest River'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

    Affected are approximately 476 MY 2014-2016 StarTrans Bus Senator 
2, Senator HD, Candidate 2, President, and PS 2 model buses 
manufactured between May 16, 2014 and April 6, 2016; approximately 
7,716 MY 2012-2016 Starcraft Bus Xpress, Starquest, Starlite, Allstar, 
Allstar XL, MVP, Ultrastar, and XLT model buses manufactured between 
January 1, 2012 and April 6, 2016; and approximately 1,860 MY 2008-2016 
Forest River, Inc. Glaval Bus Apollo, Concorde II, Entourage, Legacy, 
Primetime, Sport, Titan, Titan II and Titan II Low Floor model buses 
manufactured between August 1, 2008 and March 6, 2016.

III. Noncompliance

    Forest River explains that the noncompliance results from the 
misplacement of the emergency egress labels on the emergency exit doors 
of the subject buses. Specifically, the emergency egress labels on the 
affected buses were centered on the window and are located within 25 
centimeters of each of the release mechanisms, and not within 16 
centimeters, as required by paragraph S5.5.1 of FMVSS No. 217. The 
labels are approximately 11 centimeters (or 4 inches) from where they 
are required to be on the exit doors.

IV. Rule Text

    Paragraph S5.5.1 of FMVSS No. 217 requires in pertinent part:

    S5.5.1 In buses other than school buses, and except for windows 
serving as emergency exits in accordance with S5.2.2.3(b) and doors 
in buses with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or less, each emergency exit 
door shall have the designation ``Emergency Door'' or ``Emergency 
Exit,'' and every other emergency exit shall have the designation 
``Emergency Exit'' followed by concise operating instructions 
describing each motion necessary to unlatch and open the exit, 
located within 16 centimeters of the release mechanism. . . .

V. Summary of Forest River's Petition

    Forest River 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, Forest River submitted the following 
reasoning:
    (a) Since the promulgation of the FMVSS No. 217 original final 
rule, the primary purpose in requiring the emergency exit markings to 
be located within a set distance from the release mechanism has been to 
ensure that they are: (1) Located near the point of release and (2) are 
visible to passengers. See 37 FR 9394, 9395 (May 10, 1972, final rule). 
Both of these safety objectives are still met in the affected Forest 
River vehicles.
    (b) All of the emergency egress windows are located on the rear 
wall of the affected buses. The markings are readable and the 
instructions on how to operate the release mechanism are concise and 
understandable as currently installed. The release mechanism is painted 
red, and contrasts with the black window frame and hardware. Centered 
in the window, the emergency exit marking is unobstructed by any other 
part of the window or the vehicle and should be readily apparent to 
passengers. Consequently, the location of the emergency egress 
designation labels in relation to the release mechanism do not 
compromise safety with regard to a passenger's ability to identify an 
emergency egress location or easily operate the release mechanism.
    (c) The affected vehicles are transit buses, generally operated by 
private companies and would typically have trained drivers operating 
the vehicles and present to assist passengers exiting the vehicle in 
the event of an emergency. With a trained professional driver present, 
an emergency exit marking that is located approximately 4 inches 
further than allowed from the release mechanism is unlikely to have any 
tangible impact on passenger safety.
    (d) The agency has previously granted petitions for inconsequential 
noncompliance under FMVSS No. 217 for conditions with the potential for 
a more direct and serious impact on safety. See NHTSA Docket No. 98-
3791, New Flyer of America, Inc. (granting petition for inconsequential 
noncompliance where buses were manufactured with only one emergency 
exit instead of two); NHTSA Docket No. 2005-20545, IC Corporation, 
(granting petition for inconsequential noncompliance where school buses 
were manufactured with two emergency doors under the same post and roof 
bow panel space).
    (e) Forest River is not aware of any complaints, warranty claims, 
accidents, injuries, or other field incidents related to the emergency 
egress markings not meeting the requirements of the standard. Forest 
River has corrected the

[[Page 47078]]

noncompliance on all of the remaining windows in its possession. Forest 
River is also advised that Lippert Components, Inc. (LCI), the 
manufacturer of the windows and emergency exit marking labels, has 
corrected the noncompliance in its own production beginning on April 7, 
2016.
    Forest River's complete petition and all supporting documents are 
available by logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) 
Web site at: https://www.regulations.gov/ and following the online 
search instructions to locate the docket number listed in the title of 
this notice.
    In summation, Forest River believes that the described 
noncompliance in the subject buses is inconsequential as it relates to 
motor vehicle safety, and that its petition to exempt Forest River from 
providing notification of the noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 
30118, and remedying the 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 buses that Forest River 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 buses under their control after Forest 
River 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. 2017-21666 Filed 10-6-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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