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Petition for Exemption From the Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Honda

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Honda

Petition for Exemption From the Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard; Honda

Ricardo Martinez
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
October 26, 1994

[Federal Register: October 26, 1994]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

 
Petition for Exemption From the Vehicle Theft Prevention 
Standard; Honda

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

ACTION: Grant of petition for exemption.

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SUMMARY: This notice grants the petition by American Honda Motor 
Company, Inc. (Honda) for an exemption from the parts marking 
requirements of the vehicle theft prevention standard for a high theft 
car line whose nameplate is confidential. This petition is granted 
because the agency has determined that the antitheft device to be 
placed on the car line as standard equipment, is likely to be as 
effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance 
with parts marking requirements.

DATES: The exemption granted by this notice is effective beginning with 
the (confidential) model year.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Barbara A. Gray, Office of Market 
Incentives, NHTSA, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20590. 
Ms. Gray's telephone number is (202) 366-1740.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In a letter dated April 29, 1994, American 
Honda Motor Company, Inc. (Honda) requested an exemption from the theft 
prevention standard for a car line beginning from the (confidential) 
model year. The nameplate of the car line is also confidential. The 
letter was submitted pursuant to 49 CFR part 543, Exemption from 
Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard, and requested an exemption from 
parts marking based on the installation of an antitheft device as 
standard equipment for the car line. In a June 29, 1994 telephone 
conversation with NHTSA officials, Honda clarified the scope of its 
petition.
    Together, Honda's April 29 letter and information provided in the 
June 29 telephone conversation constitute a complete petition, as 
required by 49 CFR Sec. 543.7, in that it met the general requirements 
contained in Sec. 543.5 and the specific content requirements of 
Sec. 543.6. In a letter dated May 31, 1994 to Honda, the agency granted 
the petitioner's request for confidential treatment of most aspects of 
its petition, including the nameplate of the car line and the model 
year of its introduction.
    In its petition, Honda provided a detailed description and diagrams 
of the identity, design, and location of the components of the 
antitheft device for the new car line. The antitheft device includes an 
engine starter interrupt function and an alarm function. The antitheft 
device is activated by removing the key from the ignition and locking 
the driver or passenger door with the key.
    The alarm monitors the doors, hood, trunk lid, battery terminals, 
engine starter circuit, and battery circuit.
    In order to ensure the reliability and durability of the device, 
Honda stated that it conducted tests, based on its own specified 
standards. Honda provided a detailed list of the tests conducted, 
including tests for temperature extremes, vibration, shock, and power 
voltage. Honda stated its belief that the device is reliable and 
durable since the device complied with Honda's specified requirements 
for each test.
    Honda compared the device proposed for its new car line with 
devices which NHTSA has determined to be as effective in reducing and 
deterring motor vehicle theft as would compliance with the parts 
marking requirements.
    Honda concludes that the antitheft device proposed for its new car 
line is not less effective than those devices in the above car lines 
for which NHTSA has granted exemptions from the parts-marking 
requirements.
    Based on this substantial evidence, the agency believes that the 
antitheft device for the new Honda car line is likely to be as 
effective in reducing and deterring motor vehicle theft as compliance 
with the parts-marking requirements of the theft prevention standard 
(49 CFR part 541).
    The agency believes that the device will provide the types of 
performance listed in 49 CFR 543.6(a)(3): Promoting activation; 
attracting attention to unauthorized entries; preventing defeat or 
circumvention of the device by unauthorized persons; preventing 
operation of the vehicle by unauthorized entrants; and ensuring the 
reliability and durability of the device.
    As required by 49 U.S.C. 33106 and 49 CFR 543.6(a)(4), the agency 
also finds that Honda has provided adequate reasons for its belief that 
the antitheft device will reduce and deter theft. This conclusion is 
based on the information Honda provided on its device. This information 
included a description of reliability and functional tests conducted by 
Honda for the antitheft device and its components.
    For the foregoing reasons, the agency hereby exempts the Honda car 
line that is the subject of this notice, in whole, from the 
requirements of 49 CFR part 541.
    If Honda decides not to use the exemption for the car line that is 
the subject of this notice, it should formally notify the agency. If 
such a decision is made, the car line must be fully marked according to 
the requirements under 49 CFR Secs. 541.5 and 541.6 (marking of major 
component parts and replacement parts).
    NHTSA has attempted to compare the effectiveness of compliance with 
the theft prevention standard (parts marking) with the effectiveness of 
antitheft devices. NHTSA has compared the theft rates of 17 parts-
marked MY 1986 vehicle lines, with the theft rates of the same 17 lines 
in MY 1991, when each line had an exemption from parts marking because 
it had an antitheft device as standard equipment. Of the 17 lines 
reviewed, 10 experienced theft rates for MY 1991 that were below their 
respective rates in MY 1986. Although the results of the data are 
inconclusive, it indicates a likelihood of lower theft rates for 
vehicle lines that have been exempted from parts marking because they 
are equipped with an antitheft device. With implementation of the 
requirements of the ``Anti Car Theft Act of 1992,'' NHTSA anticipates 
more probative data upon which comparisons may be made.
    NHTSA notes that if Honda wishes in the future to modify the device 
on which this exemption is based, the company may have to submit a 
petition to modify the exemption. Section 543.7(d) states that a Part 
543 exemption applies only to vehicles that belong to a line exempted 
under this part and equipped with the antitheft device on which the 
line's exemption is based. Further, Sec. 543.9(c)(2) provides for the 
submission of petitions ``(t)o modify an exemption to permit the use of 
an antitheft device similar to but differing from the one specified in 
that exemption.''
    The agency wishes to minimize the administrative burden which 
Sec. 543.9(c)(2) could place on exempted vehicle manufacturers and 
itself. The agency did not intend in drafting Part 543 to require the 
submission of a modification petition for every change to the 
components or design of an antitheft device. The significance of many 
such changes could be de minimis. Therefore, NHTSA suggests that if the 
manufacturer contemplates making any changes the effects of which might 
be characterized as de minimis, it should consult the agency before 
preparing and submitting a petition to modify.

    Authority: 49 U.S.C. 33106; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 
1.50.

    Dated: October 20, 1994.
Ricardo Martinez,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 94-26495 Filed 10-25-94; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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