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Van Hool N.V., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Van Hool

Van Hool N.V., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
January 22, 2016


[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 14 (Friday, January 22, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 3861-3862]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-01168]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2015-0122; Notice 1]


Van Hool N.V., Receipt of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Receipt of petition.

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SUMMARY: Van Hool N.V. (Van Hool), has determined that certain model 
year (MY) 2015-2016 Van Hool Double Deck buses do not fully comply with 
paragraph S5.3.4 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 
121, Air Brake Systems. Van Hool filed a report dated November 6, 2015, 
pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility 
and Reports. Van Hool then petitioned NHTSA under 49 CFR part 556 
requesting a decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential 
to motor vehicle safety.

DATES: The closing date for comments on the petition is February 22, 
2016.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written data, 
views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the 
docket and notice number cited in the title of this notice and 
submitted by any of the following methods:
     Mail: Send comments 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.
     Hand Deliver: Deliver comments by hand 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.
     Electronically: Submit comments 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 (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 comments you have submitted by mail were 
received, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard with the 
comments. Note that all comments received will be posted without change 
to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided.
    The petition, supporting materials, and all comments received 
before the close of business on the closing date indicated above will 
be filed in the docket 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 
also be published in the Federal Register pursuant to the authority 
indicated at the end of this notice.
    All documents submitted to the 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. The docket ID number for this 
petition is shown at the heading of this notice.
    DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement is available for review in the 
Federal Register published on April 11, 2000, (65 FR 19477-78).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Overview

    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule 
at 49 CFR part 556), Van Hool submitted a petition 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 Van Hool'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.

II. Vehicles Involved

    Affected are approximately 48 MY 2015-2016 Van Hool Double Deck 
buses that were manufactured between December 13, 2014 and October 22, 
2015.

III. Noncompliance

    Van Hool explains that the noncompliance is that brake release 
times slightly exceed the requirements as specified in paragraph S5.3.4 
of FMVSS No. 121.

IV. Rule Text

    Paragraph S5.3.4 of FMVSS No. 121 requires in pertinent part:

    S5.3.4 Brake Release Time. Each service brake system shall meet 
the requirements of S5.3.1 (a) through (b) . . .

V. Summary of Van Hool's Petition

    Van Hool described the subject noncompliance and stated its belief 
that the noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety based 
on the following reasoning:
    (1) Based on the results of testing that Van Hool conducted on some 
of the affected buses, it determined that the brake release times, on 
average,

[[Page 3862]]

exceeded the FMVSS No. 121 requirement by only 0.03 of a second on the 
front axle, by 0.05 of as second on the tag axle, and by 0.10 of a 
second on the drive axle.
    (2) Van Hool determined that this noncompliance may be due to the 
change of fitting for this type of vehicle. These new fittings for the 
Double Deck buses were introduced in production in September 2014. The 
classic brass couplings were replaced with push-in tube connections 
made of composite material to remedy certain complaints of air loss. 
The effect of minimal loss of internal air flow was misjudged, which 
caused the brake release time to exceed the requirements.
    However, Van Hool believes that there is no safety issue, nor 
unnecessary brake drag during acceleration after brake release due to 
the reaction time of the driver (moving foot from brake pedal to 
throttle pedal) and the reaction time of the complete driveline being 
longer than the brake release time.
    (3) Van Hool stated its belief that because the brake actuation 
time on the subject buses fulfilled the requirements as specified in 
paragraph S5.3.3 of FMVSS No. 121, that the noncompliance has no effect 
on the brake performance. Van Hool found that its testing showed a 
margin on the required brake actuation time of 11% for the front axle, 
20% for the drive axle and 17% for the tag axle. For this reason Van 
Hool is convinced that the noncompliance will not show significant 
differences in dynamic brake test and will have no influence on the 
motor vehicle safety. Thus, Van Hool did not repeat the dynamic brake 
test. Also, the dynamic brake test was not repeated on any of the 
subject vehicles because Van Hool's dynamic brake test showed a minimum 
25% margin for the brake stopping distance requirement.
    (4) Van Hool made reference to previous inconsequential 
noncompliance petitions that it believes are similar to its petition 
and that were granted by NHTSA.
    Van Hool additionally informed NHTSA that the noncompliance has 
been corrected on vehicles in subsequent production and that all future 
vehicles will be in full compliance with FMVSS No. 121.
    In summation, Van Hool believes that the described noncompliances 
are inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that its petition, to 
exempt Van Hool from providing recall notification of noncompliances 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 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, any decision on 
this petition only applies to the subject buses that Van Hool no longer 
controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. 
However, any decision on this petition does not relieve equipment 
distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer for 
sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate 
commerce of the noncompliant buses under their control after Van Hool 
notified them that the subject noncompliance existed.

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

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2016-01168 Filed 1-21-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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