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Thomas Built Buses, Inc.; Disposition of Petition For Determination of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Buses Topics:  Thomas Built

Thomas Built Buses, Inc.; Disposition of Petition For Determination of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Barry Felrice
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
March 18, 1994


[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 53 (Friday, March 18, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-6378]


[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: March 18, 1994]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
[Docket No. 93-83; Notice 2]

 

Thomas Built Buses, Inc.; Disposition of Petition For 
Determination of Inconsequential Noncompliance

    Thomas Built Buses, Inc. (Thomas) of High Point, North Carolina 
determined that some of its buses failed to comply with the 
requirements of 49 CFR 571.131, ``School Bus Pedestrian Safety 
Devices,'' Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 131, and 
filed an appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, ``Defect and 
Noncompliance Reports.'' Thomas also petitioned 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.) on the basis that the 
noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety.
    Notice of receipt of the petition was published on November 15, 
1993, and an opportunity afforded for comment (58 FR 60240).
    Paragraph S5.5 of FMVSS No. 131 requires that:

    [T]he stop signal arm shall be automatically extended. * * * at 
a minimum whenever the red signal lamps * * * are activated; except 
that a device may be installed that prevents the automatic extension 
of a stop signal arm * * *. While the device is activated, a 
continuous or intermittent signal audible to the driver shall sound.

    Between September 2, 1992, and July 30, 1993, Thomas produced 305 
Type A, B, C, and D school buses which were not equipped with a 
continuous or intermittent signal audible to the driver when the device 
is activated that prevents the automatic extension of a stop signal. 
Thus, these school buses do not comply with the standard.
    Thomas supported its petition for inconsequential noncompliance 
with the following:

    Delivery of the noncomplying vehicles has been limited to one 
state, Virginia. That state has had a stop arm requirement since the 
early 1980's and has required an interrupt switch, wired to the stop 
arm and crossing gate, since approximately 1986. Drivers use that 
switch only when the vehicle is loading or unloading passengers in 
the school yard so that buses can be positioned close together 
without damaging the crossing gate (emphasis original). Bus drivers 
in Virginia have been accustomed to activating the interrupt switch 
without an audible signal since the signal was not required prior to 
the September 2, 1992 (sic) effective date of FMVSS 131.

    However, Thomas stated in its Defect and Noncompliance Report that:

    All vehicles will be repaired through customer notification by 
the Thomas distributor in Virginia. Repair parts will be supplied at 
no charge. The repair will consist of installing a chime, adding a 
wire to the existing wire harness, and connecting the wire to the 
chime.

    No comments were received on the petition.
    NHTSA contacted Thomas for a clarification of this statement, and 
received a letter from Thomas that stated that a repair kit had been 
provided to all owners of the affected buses. This was accomplished 
through its dealer, Sonny Merryman, Inc. (Merryman), in Rustburg, Va. 
The letter that Merryman sent owners offered to reimburse owners who 
performed their own repair. Because the effect of an inconsequentiality 
determination is to excuse notification and remedy of noncompliance, 
and because the acts of Thomas amounted to notification and remedy as 
contemplated by statute, NHTSA has determined that the petition has 
been mooted by the actions of the petitioner, and no further action is 
required with respect to it.

    Authority: 15 U.S.C. 1417; delegations of authority at 49 CFR 
1.50 and 49 CFR 501.8.

    Issued on March 14, 1994.
Barry Felrice,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 94-6378 Filed 3-17-94; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-M

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