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Toyota Motor Corporation, Inc., on Behalf of Toyota Corporation, and Toyota Manufacturing, Indiana, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Toyota Sienna, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Toyota Motor Corporation, Inc., on Behalf of Toyota Corporation, and Toyota Manufacturing, Indiana, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Claude H. Harris
Federal Register
June 16, 2011


[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 116 (Thursday, June 16, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 35271-35273]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-14902]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2011-0058; Notice 1]


Toyota Motor Corporation, Inc., on Behalf of Toyota Corporation, 
and Toyota Manufacturing, Indiana, Inc., Receipt of Petition for 
Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

    Toyota Motor North America, Inc., on behalf of Toyota Motor 
Corporation,\1\ and Toyota Manufacturing, Indiana, Inc.\2\ 
(collectively referred to as as ``Toyota'') has determined that certain 
model year 2011 Toyota Sienna passenger cars manufactured between 
January 3, 2011 and February 11, 2011, do not fully comply with 
paragraph S9.5(a)(3) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 
No. 225, Child restraint anchorage systems. Toyota has filed an 
appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports (dated March 17, 2011).
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    \1\ Toyota Motor Corporation is a Japanese corporation that 
manufactures and imports motor vehicles.
    \2\ Toyota Manufacturing, Indiana, Inc., is an Indiana 
corporation that manufactures motor vehicles.
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    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule 
at 49 CFR part 556), Toyota 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.
    This notice of receipt of Toyota's petition is published under 49 
U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 and does not represent any agency decision or 
other exercise of judgment concerning the merits of the petition.
    Affected are approximately 9,122 model year 2011 Toyota Sienna 
passenger cars that were manufactured between January 3, 2011 and 
February 11, 2011.
    NHTSA notes that the statutory provisions (49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 
30120(h)) that permit manufacturers to file petitions for a 
determination of inconsequentiality allow NHTSA to exempt manufacturers 
only from the duties found in sections 30118 and 30120, respectively, 
to notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of a defect or noncompliance 
and to remedy the defect or noncompliance. Therefore, these provisions 
only apply to the 9,122 \3\ model year 2011 Toyota Sienna passenger 
cars that Toyota no longer controlled at the time it determined that 
the noncompliance existed.
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    \3\ Toyota's petition, which was filed under 49 CFR Part 556, 
requests an agency decision to exempt Toyota as a vehicle 
manufacturer from the notification and recall responsibilities of 49 
CFR Part 573 for 9,122 of the affected vehicles. However, the agency 
cannot relieve vehicle distributors and dealers of the prohibitions 
on the sale, offer for sale, introduction or delivery for 
introduction into interstate commerce of the noncompliant vehicles 
under their control after Toyota notified them that the subject 
noncompliance existed. Those vehicles must be brought into 
conformance, exported, or destroyed.
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    Paragraph S9.5 of FMVSS No. 225 requires in pertinent part:

    S9.5 Marking and conspicuity of the lower anchorages. Each 
vehicle shall comply with S9.5(a) or (b). (a) Above each bar 
installed pursuant to S4, the vehicle shall be permanently marked 
with a circle * * *
    (1) That is not less than 13 mm in diameter;
    (2) That is either solid or open, with or without words, symbols 
or pictograms, provided that if words, symbols or pictograms are 
used, their meaning is explained to the consumer in writing, such as 
in the vehicle's owners manual; and
    (3) That is located such that its center is on each seat back 
between 50 and 100 mm

[[Page 35272]]

above or on the seat cushion 100 25 mm forward of the 
intersection of the vertical transverse and horizontal longitudinal 
planes intersecting at the horizontal centerline of each lower 
anchorage, as illustrated in Figure 22. The center of the circle 
must be in the vertical longitudinal plane that passes through the 
center of the bar (25 mm);
    (4) The circle may be on a tag * * *

    Toyota explains that the noncompliance is that the label 
identifying the location of the lower child restraint anchorages in 
some of the second row seats of the affected vehicles are located 
slightly outside the limits as stated within the requirements of 
S9.5(a)(3) of FMVSS No. 225.
    Specifically, Toyota also explains that ``the potential deviation 
of the label location outside the requirement is very small. In a 
detailed survey of a randomly selected subset involving 18 of these 
vehicles in which a deviation was observed, the mean deviation was 
approximately +1.4 mm (i.e., 26.4 mm from the centerline); the maximum 
deviation observed was +2.5 mm (i.e., 27.5 mm from the centerline); and 
the standard deviation was only 0.5 mm. While a survey carried out by 
the seat supplier also supports Toyota's assertions that the potential 
deviation of the label location from the specified requirements is very 
small. In the supplier's survey of 240 labels on 120 seats, 3 labels 
were outside of the specifications of FMVSS No. 225. All 3 of those 
labels were measured at +1 mm beyond the specification, or 26 mm from 
the centerline.''
    Toyota stated its belief that although the lower child anchorage 
labels are outside the specified limits of this requirement that the 
noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for the 
following reasons:
    (1) The measured deviations are very minor, and such a slight 
deviation is not noticeable to consumers and would not impair a 
consumer's ability to locate the lower anchorages.
    (2) Paragraph S9.1 of FMVSS No. 225 requires that the length of the 
straight portion of the lower anchorage bar be a minimum of 25 mm. In 
the affected vehicles the length is 30 mm; the total length including 
the curved portions is 54 mm. As a result, even with greater deviations 
than noted above in label location, some part of the label would be 
over some part of the bar, making the bar easy to locate.
    (3) The regulatory history of the provision allowing a 25 mm lateral tolerance for the location of the center of the 
circular label further supports the argument that this noncompliance 
has no adverse safety consequences. As originally adopted, FMVSS No. 
225 would have limited the lateral tolerance to 12 mm. In 
response to a petition for reconsideration from vehicle manufacturers 
concerned that such a low tolerance would be difficult to meet due to 
process limitations and seat design features, NHTSA amended the 
standard to allow the current 25 mm tolerance. 69 Fed Reg. 
48818 (August 11, 2004). In doing so, The agency stated:
    ``* * * Moreover, the agency believes that increasing the tolerance 
to 25 mm will not significantly affect the consumers' ability to find 
the LATCH anchorages. While anchor bars are permitted to be as short as 
25 mm in the straight portion of the bar, most are considerably longer. 
Even if a 25 mm bar were used, with a 25 mm tolerance from the center 
of the bar, the circle will be, at farthest, tangent to a longitudinal 
vertical plane tangent to the side of the anchorage bar. If a person 
were to probe the seat bight in the area directly under the marking 
circle, his or her finger would easily contact the bar. For bars that 
are greater than 25 mm in length, with a 25 mm tolerance a portion of 
the marking circle will always be over some part of the bar. In either 
situation, marking the circle with a 25 mm tolerance will adequately 
provide a visual reminder to consumers that the LATCH system is present 
and will help users locate and use the bars. Adopting the 25 mm 
tolerance will also harmonize FMVSS No. 225 with the comparable 
Transport Canada requirement.''
    (4) The seat design is such that only one label at a seating 
position can be noncompliant. As the seat cover, is constructed, the 
labels are secured to the fabric a specified distance apart that 
reflects the location of each pair of anchorages, and the labels are 
designed to be within the lateral tolerance of the standard.
    (5) Information provided in the vehicle owner's manual further 
reduces any possibility of confusion when installing a child restraint. 
The instructions clear advise the installer to recline the second row 
seat and widen the gap between the seat cushion and the seatback to 
expose the lower anchorages.
    (6) The label locations are correct for the LATCH anchorage system 
located at the third row center seating position.\4\
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    \4\ Toyota indicated that this LATCH anchorage is not required 
by the standard, but was voluntarily installed by Toyota.
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    (7) There have been no customer complaints, injuries, or accidents 
related to the deviation of the child restraint label location being 
slightly outside the limits of the requirement.
    (8) The model year 2011 Sienna is sold by Toyota in both the United 
States and Canada and the subject noncompliance was reported to both 
NHTSA and Transport Canada at the same time. (In Canada, the applicable 
standard is CMVSS 210.2; it contains the same requirements as FMVSS No. 
225). Transport Canada responded on March 23, indicating it concurs 
that ``there is no real or implied degradation to motor vehicle 
safety,'' and that no further action in Canada will be required.
    In summation, Toyota believes that the described noncompliance of 
its vehicles to meet the requirements of FMVSS No. 225 is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that its petition, to 
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.
    Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and 
arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the docket and 
notice number cited at the beginning of this notice and be submitted by 
any of the following methods:
    a. By mail addressed to: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket 
Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590.
    b. By hand delivery to U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket 
Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590. The Docket Section is open on 
weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Federal holidays.
    c. Electronically: by logging onto the Federal Docket Management 
System (FDMS) Web site at http://www.regulations.gov/. Follow the 
online instructions for submitting comments. Comments may also be faxed 
to 1-202-493-2251.
    Comments must be written in the English language, and be no greater 
than 15 pages in length, although there is no limit to the length of 
necessary attachments to the comments. If comments are submitted in 
hard copy form, please ensure that two copies are provided. If you wish 
to receive confirmation that your comments were received, please 
enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard with the comments. Note that 
all comments received will be posted without change to http://

[[Page 35273]]

www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.
    Documents submitted to a docket may be viewed by anyone at the 
address and times given above. The documents may also be viewed on the 
Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by following the online 
instructions for accessing the dockets. DOT's complete Privacy Act 
Statement is available for review in the Federal Register published on 
April 11, 2000, (65 FR 19477-78).
    The petition, supporting materials, and all comments received 
before the close of business on the closing date indicated below will 
be filed and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials 
received after the closing date will also be filed and will be 
considered to the extent possible. When the petition is granted or 
denied, notice of the decision will be published in the Federal 
Register pursuant to the authority indicated below.
    Comment closing date: July 18, 2011.

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: delegations of authority at 
CFR 1.50 and 501.8.

    Issued on: June 10, 2011.
Claude H. Harris,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2011-14902 Filed 6-15-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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