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Collins Bus Corporation, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Buses Topics:  Collins

Collins Bus Corporation, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Otto G. Matheke III
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
28 December 2020


[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 248 (Monday, December 28, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 84463-84464]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-28542]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2020-0030; Notice 1]


Collins Bus Corporation, 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: Collins Bus Corporation (Collins) has determined that certain 
model year (MY) 2012-2020 Ford and Chevrolet school buses do not fully 
comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 217, Bus 
Emergency Exits and Window Retention and Release. Collins filed a 
noncompliance report dated April 15, 2020. Collins subsequently 
petitioned NHTSA on April 30, 2020, for a decision that the subject 
noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. 
This notice announces receipt of Collins's petition.

DATES: Send comments on or before January 27, 2021.

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 the 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 the 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 for Federal holidays.
     Electronically: Submit comments electronically by logging 
onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) website 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 docket. 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: Collins has determined that certain MY 2012-2020 Ford 
and Chevrolet school buses do not fully comply with the requirements of 
paragraph S5.5.3(b) of FMVSS No. 217, Bus Emergency Exits and Window 
Retention and Release (49 CFR 571.217). Collins filed a noncompliance 
report dated April 15, 2020, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. Collins subsequently 
petitioned NHTSA on April 30, 2020, 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, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and 49 CFR 
part 556, Exemption for Inconsequential Defect or Noncompliance.
    This notice of receipt of Collins'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 11,079 MY 2012-2012;2020 Ford and 
Chevrolet school buses manufactured between February 2, 2012, and April 
3, 2020, are potentially involved:

 Ford TH 400
 Ford Sh416, models SL, SH, DH, DE, TH, and TL
 Chevrolet DE516
 Chevrolet DH516
 Chevrolet DH500
 Ford TL 400
 Ford T24
 Chevrolet DH400
    III. Noncompliance: Collins explains that the noncompliance is that 
the letter

[[Page 84464]]

height for the operating instructions describing the motions necessary 
to unlatch and open the emergency exits in the subject school buses 
does not fully comply with the requirements set forth in paragraph 
S5.5.3(b) of FMVSS No. 217. Specifically, the operating instructions 
describing the motions necessary to unlatch and open the emergency 
window exits are only eight (8) millimeters in height rather than the 
required one (1) centimeter.
    IV. Rule Requirements: Paragraph S5.5.3(b) of FMVSS No. 217 
includes the requirements relevant to this petition. Paragraph 
S5.5.3(b) requires that concise operating instructions describing the 
motions necessary to unlatch and open the emergency exit shall be 
located within 15 centimeters of the release mechanism on the inside 
surface of the bus. These instructions shall be in letters at least 1 
centimeter high and of a color that contrasts with its background.
    V. Summary of Collins's Petition: The following views and arguments 
presented in this section, ``V. Summary of Collins's Petition,'' are 
the views and arguments provided by Collins. They have not been 
evaluated by the Agency and do not reflect the views of the Agency. 
Collins describes the subject noncompliance and contends that the 
noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety.
    In support of its petition, Collins offers the following reasoning:
    1. The Noncompliance is Inconsequential to Motor Vehicle Safety: 
Collins states that the 2-millimeter deficiency in the letter height is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. The actual height of the 
emergency window exit operating instructions letters--eight (8) 
millimeters--is 80 percent of the height required by FMVSS No. 217 (ten 
(10) millimeters). NHTSA has previously granted inconsequential 
noncompliance petitions for labeling defects across various motor 
vehicle safety standards, including for more significant lettering 
height deficiencies:
     Notice Granting Petition by Kia Motors: Letters as little 
as 53.1 percent of the minimum height requirement. See 69 FR 41333 
(July 8, 2004) (Docket No. NHTSA-2004-17439).
     Notice Granting Petition by General Motors: Lettering 
height 76.3 percent of the minimum height requirement. See 81 FR 92963 
(Docket No. NHTSA-2016-0093).
     Notice Granting Petition by Hyundai: Letters as little as 
78.1 percent of the minimum height requirement. See 69 FR 41568 (Docket 
No. NHTSA-2004-17439).
     Notice Granting Petition by Mercedes-Benz: Letters ``about 
78 percent of the minimum height required for such letters.'' See 67 FR 
72026 (Docket No. NHTSA-2002-12544).
    2. Further, the instruction label includes the words ``Emergency 
Exit'' in letters with a height of 11 millimeters, which not only meets 
but substantially exceeds the 1-centimeter requirement. See 67 FR 72026 
(noting that some of the letters did meet the minimum height 
requirements in finding that insufficient height of other letters did 
not have an adverse effect on vehicle safety).
    3. Collins claims that the height discrepancy does not affect the 
readability of the instructions. See 67 FR 72026 (finding that letters 
which were roughly 78 percent of the required size (which required size 
was nearly one-third of the relevant one-centimeter letter height 
requirement at issue here) would not ``degrade the legibility'' of the 
words); 81 FR 92964 (finding ``the lettering height for the park brake 
applied indicator `Park' at 2.44 mm versus the FMVSS No. 135 
requirement of 3.2 mm poses little if any risk to motor vehicle 
safety'').
    4. Further, Collins says the discrepancy does not compromise the 
conspicuity of the instructions. The instructions are not only in a 
color that sharply contrasts with their background (red) as required by 
FMVSS No. 217, the letters are additionally in bold and block capital 
letters, which is not required by the standard but which preserves the 
8-millimeter height across the width of the words and increases the 
visibility of the instructions. See 81 FR 92964 (finding the use of all 
capitalized letters, where not required, provided ``a more pronounced 
indicator''). And as noted above, some of the words in the label (i.e., 
``Emergency Exit'') not only meet but exceed the minimum height 
requirement, thereby increasing the visibility of the instructions.
    5. Collins states that NHTSA has previously granted petitions for 
inconsequential noncompliance under FMVSS No. 217 for conditions that 
present a more direct safety risk than the potential safety risk (if 
any) created here. See New Flyer of America, Inc.; Grant of Application 
for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance, 63 FR 32694 (granting 
petition for inconsequential noncompliance where buses were 
manufactured with only one emergency exit instead of two); IC 
Corporation, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential 
Noncompliance, 70 FR 24464 (granting petition for inconsequential 
noncompliance where school buses were manufactured with two emergency 
doors under the same post and roof bow panel space).
    6. Finally, Collins states that the emergency window exit 
instructions on the affected vehicles meet all other labeling 
requirements of FMVSS No. 217 and do not affect the actual operation of 
the emergency window exit, and Collins has not received any complaints 
regarding the size or visibility of the instructions and is not aware 
of any injuries associated with the size or visibility of the 
instructions. Collins has corrected the noncompliance in all buses 
remaining within its possession.
    Collins concludes by again contending 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.
    Collins's complete petition and all supporting documents are 
available by logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) 
website at https://www.regulations.gov and by following the online 
search instructions to locate the docket number as listed in the title 
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 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 Collins 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 Collins 
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)

Otto G. Matheke III,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2020-28542 Filed 12-23-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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