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Ford Motor Company; Receipt of Petition for Determination of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Ford Ranger, Ford Explorer, NHTSA

Ford Motor Company; Receipt of Petition for Determination of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Barry Felrice (Federal Register)
January 13, 1994

[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 9 (Thursday, January 13, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-807]

[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: January 13, 1994]


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
[Docket No. 94-002; Notice 1]


Ford Motor Company; Receipt of Petition for Determination of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

    Ford Motor Company (Ford) of Dearborn, Michigan has determined that 
some of its vehicles fail to comply with the labeling requirements of 
49 CFR 571.101, Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 101, ``Controls and 
Displays,'' and 49 CFR 571.105, Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 105, 
``Hydraulic Brake Systems,'' and has filed an appropriate report 
pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573, ``Defect and Noncompliance Reports.'' Ford 
has 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.
    This notice of receipt of a petition is published under section 157 
of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 1417) 
and does not represent any agency decision or other exercise of 
judgement concerning the merits of the petition.
    Paragraph S5.2 and Table 2 of Standard No. 101 specify that the 
brake system display telltale shall be identified with the word 
``brake'' and provide that additional words or symbols may be used at 
the manufacturer's discretion for the purpose of clarity. In addition, 
paragraph S5.3.5(c)(1) of Standard No. 105 specifies that brake system 
indicator lamps shall display the word ``brake.''
    During the period of July 19, 1993 to August 19, 1993, Ford 
manufactured approximately 40,300 Ranger and Explorer vehicles which, 
instead of having the brake system telltale identified by the word 
``brake,'' it is identified by the International Standards Organization 
(ISO) symbol. These vehicles were manufactured with instrument panel 
clusters built by Ford's supplier mistakenly using tachometer 
assemblies intended for use only on vehicles to be exported to Europe, 
where the ISO symbol is the required telltale identifier. Ford 
submitted diagrams of the U.S. and European tachometer assemblies, 
which are contained in its petition on file in NHTSA's Docket Section.
    Ford supports its petition for inconsequential noncompliance with 
the following:

    In Ford's judgement, the condition is inconsequential to motor 
vehicle safety. The affected Ranger and Explorer brake display 
telltales illuminate red as required, and except for the missing 
identifier word ``Brake,'' the vehicles comply with all other 
applicable FMVSS requirements. Even though ``Brake'' is not used, 
Ford believes that the likelihood is remote that a driver of one of 
the affected vehicles would not recognize illumination of the red-
colored brake telltales as an indication of a possible brake system 
malfunction, principally for three reasons:
    (1) * * * [T]he brake system ISO symbol and the parking brake 
ISO symbol are part of the same brake warning jewel; both are 
simultaneously illuminated by the same light source. Both 
identifications illuminate simultaneously every time the parking 
brake is applied, during the cluster warning lamp function check, 
and if a brake system malfunction occurs. Because this telltale is 
illuminated during parking brake engagement and during lamp function 
checks, an operator is conditioned to associate these two 
identifiers with ``brakes,'' and therefore their illumination would 
alert that operator to a possible brake system malfunction (or that 
the parking brake is applied).
    (2) Ford believes that the brake ISO symbol is more widely 
recognized at present than in the past; use of this symbol in 
combination with the word ``Brake'' is common in the majority of 
vehicles manufactured by Ford Motor Company, and also in many 
vehicles of other manufacturers, so that the telltale design will 
satisfy both U.S. and Canadian standards. (Corresponding Canadian 
standards require the symbol rather than the word ``Brake,'' but 
also permit both the symbol and word identification.)
    (3) The function of the brake warning jewel is fully explained 
as ``a warning light for brakes'' in the Owner Guide furnished with 
each vehicle.
    In summary, while the absence of the brake system telltale 
``Brake'' identification on the affected vehicles is a ``technical'' 
noncompliance, [Ford believes] that the condition is not a risk to 
motor vehicle safety because even without the identifier word 
``Brake,'' an operator would recognize the illumination of the red 
brake jewel to be a warning of possible brake system problems. [Ford 
is] aware of no complaints, accidents, or injuries related to this 

    Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and 
arguments on the petition of Ford, described above. Comments should 
refer to the docket number and be submitted to: Docket Section, 
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, room 5109, 400 Seventh 
Street SW., Washington, DC 20590. It is requested but not required that 
six copies be submitted.
    All comments received before the close of business on the closing 
date indicated below will be considered. The application and supporting 
materials, and all comments received after the closing date, will also 
be filed and will be considered to the extent possible. When the 
petition is granted or denied, the notice will be published in the 
Federal Register pursuant to the authority indicated below.
    Comment closing date: February 14, 1994.

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

    Issued on January 6, 1994.
Barry Felrice,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 94-807 Filed 1-12-94; 8:45 am]

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