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Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Occupant Crash Protection; Seat Belt Assemblies

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Occupant Crash Protection; Seat Belt Assemblies

Barry Felrice
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
April 15, 1994


[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 73 (Friday, April 15, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-9087]


[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: April 15, 1994]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571

[Docket No. 74-14; Notice 86]

 

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Occupant Crash 
Protection; Seat Belt Assemblies

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DOT.

ACTION: Denial of petition for rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: The purpose of this notice is to announce the denial of a 
petition for rulemaking to amend Standard No. 209, Seat Belt 
Assemblies, ``to eliminate the requirements in S4.1 (k) and (l) that 
replacement seat belt assemblies be accompanied by use and installation 
instructions.'' The petition is denied because the petitioner did not 
provide any information showing that there is not any safety need to 
provide these instructions.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Daniel S. Cohen, Office of Vehicle 
Safety Standards, NRM-12, National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. 
Telephone: (202) 366-4911.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On May 28, 1993, the Association of 
International Automobile Manufacturers, Inc. (AIAM) submitted a 
petition for rulemaking to amend Standard No. 209, Seat Belt 
Assemblies, ``to eliminate the requirements in S4.1 (k) and (l) that 
replacement seat belt assemblies be accompanied by use and installation 
instructions.'' In its petition, AIAM referred to petitions for 
inconsequential noncompliance from four manufacturers (Chrysler, 
Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota) relating to the requirements of S4.1(k) and 
(l). AIAM stated that it:

    Believes that the objectives of FMVSS 209 are satisfied without 
specifically requiring the provision of installation and use 
instructions with each replacement safety belt assembly, since 
current common replacement safety belt assembly practices and 
procedures, replacement safety belt assembly owner's manual 
information, and the design of the replacement safety belt 
assemblies, themselves, are sufficient to ensure correct 
installation and proper usage. The agency so found in the cases 
involving petitions for inconsequential noncompliance filed by 
Chrysler, Nissan, and Subaru cited above.

    AIAM is incorrect in saying that the Chrysler petition for 
inconsequential noncompliance related to S4.1(k) and (l). That petition 
related to the requirement in S4.6(b) of Standard No. 209 that certain 
belts be labeled.
    However, the agency has received and granted petitions for 
inconsequential noncompliance from Am-Safe, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, 
Toyota, and Volkswagen, all of which related to the requirements of 
S4.1(k) and (l). These petitions were granted because the petitioners 
demonstrated that the noncompliance was inconsequential due to other 
procedures or practices that provided the information in another format 
than that required by Standard No. 209. In general, these other 
procedures or practices relied on a determination by a mechanic or 
technician of physical differences unique to a particular design. These 
differences may have worked sufficiently well, given that there was no 
evidence that the belts had been incorrectly installed. However, a 
change in the standard to remove this requirement would substantially 
magnify the potential risk of improper installation, given that no 
evidence was provided that all seat belt and vehicle manufacturers have 
such a practice or procedure.
    The grant of a petition for inconsequential noncompliance exempts 
the manufacturer from the notification and remedy requirements of the 
National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 1381 et seq.). 
An inconsequentiality proceeding is retrospective, and, in the case of 
the failure to provide installation instructions, the granting of 
petitions was based, in part, on the fact that there was no evidence 
that any of the replacement belt assemblies had been installed 
incorrectly. A rulemaking proceeding is, by contrast, prospective, 
looking at whether all future seat belt assemblies should be excluded 
from the requirement to provide installation information. AIAM did not 
demonstrate that the installation information would get to the users in 
a reliable and effective manner absent the requirement that it be 
provided with the belt. Therefore, the agency finds that there is no 
reasonable possibility that the order requested would be issued at the 
conclusion of a rulemaking proceeding and is denying this petition.

    Issued on April 11, 1994.
Barry Felrice,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 94-9087 Filed 4-14-94; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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