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Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Application for an Exemption From Ford Motor Company

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Ford Transit

Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Application for an Exemption From Ford Motor Company

Larry W. Minor
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
April 17, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 74 (Friday, April 17, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 21294-21296]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-08858]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2015-0111]


Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Application 
for an Exemption From Ford Motor Company

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of application for exemption; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA requests public comment on an application for exemption 
from Ford Motor Company (Ford) to allow motor carriers to operate 
Ford's Transit commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) that do not meet the 
exhaust system location requirements in the Federal Motor Carrier 
Safety Regulations (FMCSR). The FMCSRs require (1) the exhaust system 
of a bus powered by a gasoline engine to discharge to the atmosphere at 
or within 6 inches forward of the rearmost part of the bus and (2) the 
exhaust system of every truck and truck tractor to discharge to the 
atmosphere at a location to the rear of the cab or, if the exhaust 
projects above the cab, at a location near the rear of the cab. Based 
on the results of performance-based tests it has conducted to measure 
the concentration of carbon monoxide (CO) in the occupant compartment 
of the Transit-based CMVs, Ford believes that the location of the 
exhaust system on these vehicles, as currently designed, will maintain 
a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of 
safety achieved without the

[[Page 21295]]

exemption. Ford is requesting the temporary exemption in advance of 
petitioning FMCSA to conduct a rulemaking to amend 49 CFR 393.83.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 18, 2015.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2015-0111 using any of the 
following methods:
     Web site: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments on the Federal electronic docket 
site.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of 
Transportation, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, 
DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery: Ground Floor, Room W12-140, DOT Building, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. 
e.t., Monday-Friday, except Federal holidays.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the Agency name and 
docket number for this notice. For detailed instructions on submitting 
comments and additional information on the exemption process, see the 
``Public Participation'' heading below. Note that all comments received 
will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including 
any personal information provided. Please see the ``Privacy Act'' 
heading for further information.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov or to Room W12-140, 
DOT Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits 
comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT 
posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information 
the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the 
system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at 
www.dot.gov/privacy.
    Public participation: The http://www.regulations.gov Web site is 
generally available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. You may find 
electronic submission and retrieval help and guidelines under the 
``help'' section of the http://www.regulations.gov Web site as well as 
the DOT's http://docketsinfo.dot.gov Web site. If you would like 
notification that we received your comments, please include a self-
addressed, stamped envelope or postcard or print the acknowledgment 
page that appears after submitting comments online.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Luke W. Loy, Vehicle and Roadside 
Operations Division, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and Operations, 
MC-PSV, (202) 366-0676; Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Section 4007 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century 
(TEA- 21) [Pub. L. 105-178, June 9, 1998, 112 Stat. 401] amended 49 
U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e) to provide authority to grant exemptions from 
the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). On August 20, 
2004, FMCSA published a final rule (69 FR 51589) implementing section 
4007. Under this rule, FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption 
request in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(a)). The Agency must 
provide the public with an opportunity to inspect the information 
relevant to the application, including any safety analyses that have 
been conducted. The Agency must also provide an opportunity for public 
comment on the request.
    The Agency reviews the safety analyses and the public comments and 
determines whether granting the exemption would likely achieve a level 
of safety equivalent to or greater than the level that would be 
achieved by the current regulation (49 CFR 381.305). The decision of 
the Agency must be published in the Federal Register (49 CFR 
381.315(b)). If the Agency denies the request, it must state the reason 
for doing so. If the decision is to grant the exemption, the notice 
must specify the person or class of persons receiving the exemption and 
the regulatory provision or provisions from which an exemption is 
granted. The notice must specify the effective period of the exemption 
(up to 2 years) and explain the terms and conditions of the exemption. 
The exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.315(c) and 49 CFR 381.300(b)).

Ford Application for Exemption

    Ford applied for an exemption from 49 CFR 393.83 to allow motor 
carriers to operate Ford-manufactured Transit-based CMVs that do not 
comply with the regulation's exhaust system location requirements. A 
copy of the application is included in the docket referenced at the 
beginning of this notice.
    Section 393.83 of the FMCSRs, ``Exhaust systems,'' includes 
requirements regarding the location of exhaust systems on CMVs to 
ensure that exhaust fumes will not affect the driver's alertness or 
health or the health of passengers. Specifically, section 393.83(c) 
states that ``The exhaust system of a bus powered by a gasoline engine 
shall discharge to the atmosphere at or within 6 inches forward of the 
rearmost part of the bus,'' and section 393.83(e) provides that ``The 
exhaust system of every truck and truck tractor shall discharge to the 
atmosphere at a location to the rear of the cab or, if the exhaust 
projects above the cab, at a location near the rear of the cab.'' 
However, the exhaust system on Ford Transit vehicles for Model Year 
2015 and newer is located approximately (1) 20 inches forward of the 
rearmost part of the medium/long wheelbase bus or van (truck) 
configuration, and (2) 46 inches forward of the rearmost part of the 
extended length bus or van (truck) configuration.
    In its application, Ford notes that while its Transit-based CMVs 
may not satisfy the specific exhaust system location requirements in 
the FMCSRs, it has several internal requirements applicable to the 
design of the tailpipe system that ensure the system will provide high 
levels of safety for its customers. Specifically, Ford states:

    In particular, Ford's requirements address passenger compartment 
exhaust gas intrusion and management of high temperature components. 
These requirements include testing of the system and basic design 
requirements for the location of the tailpipe in relation to 
underbody components like the brake lines and fuel lines.
    Most significantly Ford uses internal performance based tests 
that demonstrate the system achieves a level of safety equivalent to 
or greater than, the level of safety that would be obtained by 
complying with the regulation. The main test of interest is the 
Carbon Monoxide Concentration test. This performance based test uses 
CO monitors at various locations in the vehicle to measure the 
concentration of CO ingress into the occupant compartment (from 
vehicles' own powertrain and exhaust system) under various driving 
conditions including idle and top speed.

    Ford tested the 2015 model year Transit in accordance with ``Ford 
global common engineering test procedures,'' which limits carbon 
monoxide (CO) levels to 27 parts-per-million (ppm) for a 30 minute Time 
Weighted Average (TWA) during continuous driving. Ford states that that 
limit is based on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Acute 
Exposure Guideline Level limits for CO exposure for 8 hour TWA, which 
is more severe than both the Occupational Safety & Health 
Administration's (OSHA) permissible

[[Page 21296]]

exposure limit of 50 ppm for an 8 hour TWA and the National Institute 
of Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH) permissible exposure limit 
of 35 ppm for a 10 hour TWA. Under ``worst-case conditions,'' Ford 
measured the CO level to be 17 ppm for the Model year 2015 Transit, 
well below the EPA, OSHA, and NIOSH limits.
    Additionally Ford states that it has internal requirements to 
establish the appropriate clearance required between a vehicle and the 
ground to meet a minimum level of on-road functionality. Ford has 
specific departure angle requirements for their vehicle to reduce 
tailpipe contact with the ground, curbs, ramps, etc., during various 
driving modes which may result in damage to the exhaust system that may 
adversely affect the exhaust function. Ford implied that the tailpipe 
placement used on its 2015 and future Transit-based passenger vehicles 
protects the exhaust system from operational damage that might expose 
passengers to dangerous levels of exhaust gases.
    The exemption application would apply to Model Year 2015 Transit-
based gas bus models (all gross vehicle weight ratings), vans over 
10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating, and corresponding future 
Transit-based production model years. Ford estimates the annual 
production of these vehicles to be similar to the current Ford 
Econoline vehicle, which is less than 50,000 vehicles annually.
    Ford acknowledges that the exhaust system location requirements in 
section 393.83 are intended to ensure that exhaust gases do not seep 
into the passenger compartment of the vehicle. However, Ford believes 
that the performance-based testing that it has conducted demonstrates 
that the design of the exhaust system for the Model Year 2015 and later 
Ford Transit CMVs (1) results in CO exposure limits that are well below 
EPA, OSHA, and NIOSH established thresholds, and (2) will maintain a 
level of safety that is equivalent to the level of safety achieved 
without the exemption.

Request for Comments

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), FMCSA requests 
public comment from all interested persons on Ford's application for an 
exemption from 49 CFR 393.83. All comments received before the close of 
business on the comment closing date indicated at the beginning of this 
notice will be considered and will be available for examination in the 
docket at the location listed under the ADDRESSES section of this 
notice.
    Comments received after the comment closing date will be filed in 
the public docket and will be considered to the extent practicable. In 
addition to late comments, FMCSA will continue to file relevant 
information in the public docket that becomes available after the 
comment closing date. Interested persons should continue to examine the 
public docket for new material.

    Issued on: April 13, 2015.
Larry W. Minor,
Associate Administrator for Policy.
[FR Doc. 2015-08858 Filed 4-16-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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