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Tradewinds Conversions, Inc., Denial of Petition for Determination of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Recreational Vehicles Topics:  Tradewinds

Tradewinds Conversions, Inc., Denial of Petition for Determination of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Barry Felrice
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
March 10, 1994

[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 47 (Thursday, March 10, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-5567]

[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: March 10, 1994]


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
[Docket No. 93-59; Notice 02]


Tradewinds Conversions, Inc., Denial of Petition for 
Determination of Inconsequential Noncompliance

    This notice denies the petition by Tradewinds Conversions, Inc. 
(``Tradewinds'') of Elkhart, Indiana, an alterer of motor vehicles, to 
be exempted from the notification and remedy requirements of the 
National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 1381 et seq.). 
Tradewinds had petitioned for an exemption on the basis that a 
noncompliance in its conversions is inconsequential as it relates to 
motor vehicle safety. The noncompliance is related to the performance 
of its mid-position pedestal seats, Part# FDN-200.
    Notice of receipt of the petition was published in the Federal 
Register on October 4, 1993, and an opportunity afforded for comment 
(58 FR 51667).
    For the type of seats concerned in the petition, current FMVSS Nos. 
207 and 210 test procedures specify simultaneous loading of seat 
assemblies and seat belts with the seat loads applied at the center of 
gravity of the seat assembly. Paragraphs S4.2(a), S4.2(b), S4.2(c), and 
S4.2(d) of Standard No. 207 require that each occupant seat, other than 
a side-facing seat or a passenger seat on a bus, shall withstand the 
following forces:

    S4.2(a)/S4.2(b). In any position to which it can be adjusted--
apply forces 20 times the weight of the seat in a forward 
longitudinal direction; and rearward longitudinal direction through 
the center of gravity of the seat.
    S4.2(c). For a seat belt assembly attached to the seat--the 
force specified in S4.2(a) and S4.2(b), in each case applied 
simultaneously with the forces imposed on the seat by the seat belt 
assembly when it is loaded in accordance with S4.2 of Standard No. 
210; and
    S4.2(d). In its rearmost position--a force that produces a 3,300 
in-pound moment about the seating reference for each designated 
seating position * * *.

    Also, paragraph S4.2, ``Strength,'' of FMVSS No. 210 requires that 
each occupant seat, other than side-facing seats, the anchorages, 
attachment hardware, and attachment bolts * * * shall withstand a 
5,000-pound force when tested in accordance with S5.1, ``Seats with 
Type 1 or Type 2 seat belt anchorages.''
    Tradewinds determined that there was a noncompliance of its 
conversion when Part # FDN-200, quick release pedestals, using the 
current NHTSA FMVSS Nos. 207 and 210 test procedures. The noncompliance 
occurred when the test results showed that the latching pin in the 
quick release pedestal ``would not consistently reach'' the maximum 
test loading requirements of the Standards. Approximately 200 van 
conversions are involved.
    Tradewinds supported its petition for exemption by stating that 
when Part # FDN-200 pedestals were tested under test procedures that 
have been proposed by NHTSA, with split loading of pedestal and seat 
assembly, all requirements were met. The new test procedure that 
Tradewinds is referring to is a rulemaking proposal to amend Standard 
No. 207 specifically for pedestal seating systems (Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking (NPRM), (55 FR 33141, August 14, 1990); Supplemental Notice 
of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM), (58 FR 12921, March 8, 1993). 
Basically, the proposal would allow manufacturers the choice of using 
either the current procedure or the new procedure for testing most 
pedestal seats. The current procedure requires a single load be applied 
through the center of gravity of the entire assembly. The proposed 
procedure would permit the load to be split and applied simultaneously 
through the pedestal and through the seat.
    The manufacturer of Part # FDN-200, Boss Manufacturing and 
Distributing, Inc. (Boss), furnished NHTSA with data on tests conducted 
by General Testing Laboratories on a 1993 Dodge ``B'' van using the 
procedure proposed in the SNPRM. Boss stated that the mid-position, 
quick release pedestal seat could withstand the proposed FMVSS No. 207 
and the current FMVSS No. 210 testing. Boss also stated the pedestal 
seat would not consistently reach the current maximum requirements. 
Based on the test results submitted to NHTSA, Tradewinds concluded that 
the quick release pedestal seat can meet the test loading requirements 
of FMVSS Nos. 207 and 210 if the proposed new test procedure with spilt 
loading is permitted.
    No comments were received on the petition.
    Petitioner's sole inconsequently argument is that the vehicle would 
conform were it tested in a manner proposed by NHTSA. However, the 
proposed test procedure is addressed to seat adjustors and not pedestal 
anchorages. The test results would be the same for pedestal anchorages 
regardless of whether the proposed or current test method is used. This 
means that Tradewinds conversions would continue to manifest test 
failures even if the new test procedures were adopted.
    In addition, Tradewinds did not quantify the test failures that led 
to its petition. NHTSA requested that Tradewinds provide test data on 
the extent of its noncompliance. However, the only data provided in 
response to this request were related to the proposed test procedure. 
No data were provided regarding margins of failure under the existing 
test procedure. This, NHTSA has no information as to whether the margin 
of failure was large or small.
    Accordingly, petitioner has failed to meet its burden of persuasion 
that the noncompliance herein described is inconsequential as it 
relates to motor vehicle safety, and its petition is denied.

(15 U.S.C. 1417; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.50)

    Issued on: March 7, 1994.
Barry Felrice,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 94-5567 Filed 3-9-94; 8:45 am]

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