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Dorel Juvenile Group, Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance


American Government Topics:  Dorel

Dorel Juvenile Group, Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Nancy Lummen Lewis
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
August 28, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 167 (Wednesday, August 28, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 53189-53190]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-20960]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0002; Notice 2]


Dorel Juvenile Group, Denial of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Denial of petition.

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SUMMARY: Dorel Juvenile Group, Inc. (DJG) has determined that certain 
child restraint systems manufactured between July 20, 2010 and May 18, 
2011 do not fully comply with paragraph S5.5.2(l) of Federal Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 213, Child Restraint Systems (49 
CFR 571.213). DJG has filed an appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR 
Part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports, dated 
July 19, 2011.
    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule 
at 49 CFR part 556), DJG has petitioned for an exemption from the 
notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the 
basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle 
safety. Notice of receipt of the petition was published, with a 30-day 
comment period, on January 19, 2012 in the Federal Register (77 FR 
2776). NHTSA received one comment from Consumers Union (CU).
    To view the petition, the comment, and all supporting documents log 
onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online search instructions to 
locate docket number ``NHTSA-2012-0002.''
    Contact Information: For further information on this decision, 
contact Mr. Zachary R. Fraser, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the 
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202) 
366-5754, facsimile (202) 366-7002.
    Equipment Involved: Affected are approximately 89,527 of the 
following models of DJG child restraint systems that were manufactured 
between July 20, 2010 and May 18, 2011:

22187ANL Alpha Omega Elite
22187REM Alpha Omega Elite
22187REMA Alpha Omega Elite
22187SAR Alpha Omega Elite
22187SARA Alpha Omega Elite
22465FSM Alpha Omega Elite
22790CGT Deluxe 3 in 1
CC033BMT Alpha Omega Elite
CC043ANK Alpha Omega Elite
CC043ANL Alpha Omega Elite
CC043AQS Alpha Omega Elite
CC046AAI Deluxe 3 in 1
CC046AAU Deluxe 3 in 1
CC046CTA Deluxe 3 in 1
CC046SNW Deluxe 3 in 1
CC046WPR Deluxe 3 in 1
CC050AJH Complete Air LX
CC050ANY Complete Air LX
CC050ANZ Complete Air LX
CC050AOQ Complete Air LX
CC051AIR Complete Air SE
    Summary of DJG'S Analyses: DJG described the noncompliance as 
follows:
    The child restraint systems at issue utilize a permanently attached 
base which is equipped with color coordinated Ease of Use labels 
including base labels depicting the rear-facing mode instructions. 
Certain restraints were equipped with base labels positioned on the 
incorrect side of the base. Although nearly all the information is 
correct, the small indicator arrows do not line up with the rear-facing 
vehicle and LATCH belt path for the rear-facing mode. As noted in the 
Noncompliance Information Report, this voluntarily supplied information 
caused the installation diagram required by FMVSS No. 213 S5.5.2(l) to 
be inaccurate.
    A noncompliance exists when the base labels are installed 
incorrectly and the indicator arrows do not point to the rear-facing 
vehicle belt/LATCH routing path. In this case, the arrows are actually 
pointing to the area below the forward-facing vehicle belt/LATCH path 
routing but could be construed as pointing to the forward-facing 
routing path.
    DJG states that the subject child restraints contain the label 
information required by S5.5.2(l). DJG asserts that the voluntarily 
supplied information consisting of pointing arrows caused the 
installation diagrams required by FMVSS No. 213 S5.5.2(l) to be 
inaccurate when the labels containing the diagrams were installed on 
the incorrect side of the child restraint's base. NHTSA agrees with DJG 
that the subject child restraints contain the proper labels with the 
required installation diagrams. However, DJG voluntarily provided 
additional information on the labels intended to assist installation by 
adding pointing arrows to the belt path appropriate for that 
configuration.
    NHTSA believes that the diagrams provided by DJG are compliant with 
S5.5.2(l) but the pointing arrows are misplaced due to the incorrect 
installation of the labels creating confusing and misleading 
information that is noncompliant with S5.5 of FMVSS No. 213. The 
incorrect direction of the pointing arrows lends to possible confusion 
that the belts should be routed through the forward-facing routing path 
rather than through the correct routing path.
    DJG contends that the likelihood is low that a consumer would 
interpret the arrows as indicating the proper rear-facing path routing 
through the forward-facing path routing. It asserts that the proper 
rear-facing vehicle belt/LATCH routing path is shown clearly in the 
five diagrams on the two base labels.
    DJG also argues that instructions included with the subject child 
restraint systems also correctly depict the rear-facing vehicle belt/
LATCH routing path numerous times.
    DJG noted that it has received only one user complaint related to 
this issue. DJG also included the results of a survey conducted to 
illustrate any effects the noncompliance may have on seat installation.
    DJG contends that the technical noncompliance issue reported in the 
June 23, 2011, Noncompliance Information Report does not constitute a 
safety related issue because there is no evidence that improper 
installation is actually taking place in the field (as evidenced by the 
lack of significant complaints from consumers, advocates, health care 
specialists or anyone else). DJG also states that the preponderance of 
correct rear-facing installation diagrams and instructions appears to 
outweigh the potential for improper installation as a result of the 
ambiguous arrows on the rear-facing installation labels on the base. 
DJG also indicated that there appears to be a low probability that 
improper installation is even possible in the vast majority of vehicles 
surveyed, which represent a cross section of vehicles in the field.
    In summation, DJG asserts that the described noncompliance of its 
child restraints is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that 
its petition to

[[Page 53190]]

exempt from providing recall notification of noncompliance as required 
by 49 U.S.C. 30118 and remedying the recall noncompliance as required 
by 49 U.S.C. 30120 should be granted.
    NHTSA'S Analysis of DJG'S Reasoning: To answer this petition, the 
pertinent regulations in question are:
    FMVSS No. 213 S5.5.2 (l) requires:

    (l) An installation diagram showing the child restraint system 
installed in:
    (1) A seating position equipped with a continuous-loop lap/
shoulder belt;
    (2) A seating position equipped with only a lap belt, as 
specified in the manufacturer's instructions; and
    (3) A seating position equipped with a child restraint anchorage 
system.

    The purpose for S5.5.2 (l) is to provide consumers with an 
installation diagram depicting the proper installation of a child 
restraint using the attachment methods (lap/shoulder belt, lap belt 
only, and anchorage system) available in vehicles.
    FMVSS No. 213 S5.5 states:

    Labeling. Any labels or written instructions provided in 
addition to those required by this section shall not obscure or 
confuse the meaning of the required information or be otherwise 
misleading to the consumer * * *

    The purpose of S5.5 is to prevent additional information from 
confusing or misleading the consumer, resulting in misuse of the child 
restraint and/or non-use.
    The only complaint received by DJG was submitted by a Child 
Passenger Safety Technician, on behalf of a consumer, over concerns 
that the labels were put on incorrectly and the arrows pointed to the 
solid plastic and not the rear-facing belt path.
    DJG conducted a survey to demonstrate any effects the noncompliance 
may have on seat installation. DJG installed a Complete Air LX model, 
which represents the Alpha Elite model as well, in 26 vehicles in rear-
facing mode using both the vehicle belts and lower anchorage belts. 
According to DJG, the 26 vehicles represented a cross-section of 
vehicles on the road. The vehicle belts and lower anchorage belts were 
routed through the forward-facing belt path of the Complete Air LX. DJG 
reported that in none of the 26 vehicles was it possible to route the 
lower anchorage belts through the forward-facing belt path and secure 
the lower anchorages to the vehicle anchor bars due to the lower 
anchorage belts being too short to allow this improper installation. In 
5 of the 26 evaluated vehicles, the vehicle belt allowed for this 
improper installation with a coupling of the vehicle belt and vehicle 
buckle.
    In reaching our decision, NHTSA carefully reviewed the subject 
petition and CU's comments. NHTSA does not agree with DJG that the 
preponderance of correct rear-facing installation diagrams and 
instructions appears to outweigh the potential for improper 
installation resulting from the misplaced arrows. NHTSA believes that 
consumers will likely look first at diagrams on the child restraint for 
guidance on correct installation, and not from written instructions, 
particularly for re-installations, i.e., removing the restraint from 
one vehicle and putting it in another vehicle. The pointing arrows on 
the label will likely be the first place a consumer will look for 
guidance on choosing the proper belt routing path. S5.5 of FMVSS No. 
213 specifically addresses that additional information may not confuse 
or mislead the user. If a user is reading the labels for guidance on 
how to properly install the restraint, the directional arrows pointed 
in the wrong direction clearly may present a confusing picture that 
could lead to improper installation and/or nonuse.
    NHTSA believes that the lone complaint reported by DJG does not 
necessarily mean that consumers are installing the restraint properly. 
Users may be installing the restraint improperly without realizing it, 
and these cases therefore would not be reported.
    NHTSA reviewed its Vehicle Owner Questionnaire (VOQ) data and 
uncovered one VOQ, dated May 2011, which highlighted installation 
problems with the same child restraint device when the owner attempted 
to follow instructions provided on the attached label.
    NHTSA understands that the results of DJG's survey of vehicles 
shows a low percentage of vehicles surveyed that allow an improper 
installation because of the relative short length webbing for either 
the lower anchorage belt or the vehicle seat belt. However we believe 
that the survey is limited by the relatively small number of vehicles 
surveyed compared to the entire vehicle fleet and the use of only two 
DJG models.
    NHTSA believes that the misplaced labels result in a confusion of 
the meaning of the required information (diagram showing correct 
installation in the rear-facing configuration) and thus the potential 
for mis-installation or perhaps non-use of the restraint.
    NHTSA'S Response to Consumer Union Comments: In its comment to the 
docket, CU disagrees with DJG's assessment that the noncompliance is 
inconsequential to safety because the incorrectly installed diagrams 
will lead to confusion by the consumer and increase the likelihood that 
the restraints will be installed improperly or not at all.
    CU reported that it tested an Alpha Omega Elite model which is one 
of the DJG models included in this petition. Based on CU observations, 
the rear-facing belt path on the Alpha Omega Elite is not visible from 
the top or the side of the restraint. Therefore without a label clearly 
indicating its location, the rear-facing belt path could be hidden from 
the consumer. In this case, with the affected label pointing toward the 
forward-facing belt path, a consumer may assume that the rear-facing 
and forward-facing belt paths are the same, leading to an improper 
installation of the restraint.
    NHTSA Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has 
decided that the petitioner has not met its burden of persuasion that 
the noncompliance described is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. 
Accordingly, DJG's petition is hereby denied, and the petitioner must 
notify owners, purchasers and dealers pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 
provide a remedy in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 30120.

    Authority:  (49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: delegations of authority at 
49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8)

    Issued on: August 22, 2013.
Nancy Lummen Lewis,
Associate Administrator for Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2013-20960 Filed 8-27-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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