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General Motors, LLC, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance


American Government Topics:  GMC Sierra

General Motors, LLC, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
30 March 2016


[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 61 (Wednesday, March 30, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 17761-17763]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-07092]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2014-0045; Notice 2]


General Motors, LLC, Grant of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Grant of petition.

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SUMMARY: General Motors, LLC, (GM) has determined that certain model 
year (MY) 2014 GMC Sierra Denali vehicles do not fully comply with 
paragraph S3.1.4 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 
102, Transmission shift position sequence, starter interlock, and 
transmission braking effect. GM filed a report dated January 31, 2014 
pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility 
and Reports. GM then petitioned NHTSA under 49 CFR part 556 requesting 
a decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential to motor 
vehicle safety.

ADDRESSES: For further information on this decision contact John 
Finneran, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone

[[Page 17762]]

(202) 366-5289, facsimile (202) 366-5930.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    I. GM's Petition: Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and 
the rule implementing those provisions at 49 CFR part 556, GM 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.
    Notice of receipt of GM's petition was published, with a 30-Day 
public comment period, on May 22, 2014 in the Federal Register (79 FR 
29501). One comment was received from the Advocates for Highway and 
Auto Safety. To view the petition and all supporting documents log onto 
the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online search instructions to 
locate docket number ``NHTSA-2014-0045.''
    II. Vehicles Involved: Affected are approximately 2,747 MY 2014 GMC 
Sierra Denali vehicles equipped with RPO code ``UHS'' instrument 
cluster displays that were manufactured between July 16, 2013 and 
January 22, 2014.
    III. Noncompliance: GM explains that in certain circumstances the 
subject vehicles may experience a condition where the instrument 
cluster resets, and the analog gauges and the PRNDM indicators turn off 
momentarily to ensure the integrity of the information being displayed 
by electronic devices. Since all vehicles sold in the U.S. must display 
the shift positions, including the positions in relation to each other 
and the position selected whenever the ignition is in a position where 
the transmission can be shifted; or the transmission is not in park, 
these vehicles fail to fully meet the requirements set forth in 
paragraph S3.1.4 of FMVSS No. 102.
    IV. Rule Text: Paragraph S3.1.4 of FMVSS No. 102 requires in 
pertinent part:

    S3.1.4 Identification of shift positions and of shift position 
sequence . . .
    S3.1.4.1 Expect as specified in S3.1.4.3, if the transmission 
shift position sequence includes a park position, identification of 
shift positions, including the positions in relation to each other 
and the position selected, shall be displayed in view of the driver 
whenever any of the following conditions exist:
    (a) The ignition is in a position where the transmission can be 
shifted; or
    (b) The transmission is not in park . . .
    S3.1.4.3 Such information need not be displayed when the 
ignition is in a position that is used only to start the vehicle . . 
.

    V. Summary of GM's Analyses: GM stated its belief that the subject 
noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for the 
following reasons:
    1. GM believes that the condition is extremely unlikely to occur. 
For the condition to occur, the instrument cluster design input rate 
must be exceeded. This can only happen under extreme load conditions. 
For example, GM was able to create the condition in the laboratory by 
simultaneously inputting a series of warnings into the cluster during 
an active search of a media device connected to the vehicle while a 
Bluetooth[supreg] connected phone call is received by the vehicle.
    2. GM states that any disruption of the PRNDM display as a result 
of this condition is very brief. In the unlikely event the condition 
were to occur and the instrument cluster resets, the PRNDM display 
would be restored within 1.3 seconds. This momentary reset would be a 
clear indication to the driver that service may be required.
    3. GM also believes that the condition has little effect on the 
normal operation of the vehicle. While the operation of the instrument 
panel is briefly affected by the underlying condition, none of the 
other vehicle operations are affected.
    4. GM states that the condition is extremely remote and not likely 
to occur during shifting. Considering the unusual combination of pre-
conditions for the condition to occur, it is very unlikely the brief 
disruption of the PRNDM display would occur when it is needed, i.e., 
during shifting. Most shifting occurs shortly after the vehicle is 
started, or just prior to being turned off. In the rare instance of a 
cluster reset, it would be more likely to occur during driving, not 
immediately after starting the vehicle or just prior to the driver 
exiting the vehicle.
    5. GM is not aware of any reported instrument cluster resets as a 
result of the subject noncompliance.
    6. GM also expressed its belief that for previous noncompliances 
that GM believes were similar, NHTSA granted petitions for 
inconsequential noncompliance.
    GM has additionally informed NHTSA that it has corrected the 
noncompliance so that all future production vehicles will comply with 
FMVSS No. 102.
    In summation, GM believes that the described noncompliance of the 
subject vehicles is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that 
its petition, to exempt GM 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.

NHTSA'S Decision

    NHTSA'S Analysis: GM explains that because they could only 
duplicate the subject condition with a series of unlikely simultaneous 
inputs, they believe that the subject noncompliance is not likely to 
occur. As an example, if all of the following conditions were to occur 
simultaneously the subject condition may occur causing an instrument 
cluster reset: A navigation route is active; three cluster warnings are 
initiated simultaneously; there is an incoming Bluetooth[supreg] 
connected phone call that triggers a Driver Information Center message; 
and a passenger actively searches a media device that provides more 
data than a typical radio display (e.g., XM radio, or a paired media 
device). If all the above were to occur at precisely the same instant 
(within a millisecond) according the GM, a cluster reset may be 
triggered. NHTSA agrees with GM that the possibility of this condition 
occurring is improbable because multiple specific actions must be taken 
by the driver and/or passenger simultaneously.
    GM states that the disruption of the PRNDM as a result of this 
condition is very brief and in the unlikely event the condition where 
to occur and the instrument cluster resets, the PRNDM display would be 
restored within 1.3 seconds. GM also noted that while the operation of 
the instrument panel would be briefly affected by the underlying 
condition, no other vehicle operations are affected.
    After receipt of GM's petition, NHTSA requested more information 
regarding the subject noncompliance. GM submitted videos showing that 
when the condition occurs any existing warning lights extinguish, the 
indicators (gauges) drop to zero, and operation of the entire 
instrument panel is interrupted. Specifically, any illuminated 
telltales extinguish for approximately 1.3 seconds before a bulb check 
that lasts approximately five seconds is initiated. At the conclusion 
of the bulb check any previously illuminated telltales will illuminate 
and remain illuminated.
    NHTSA agrees with GM that if the instrument panel reset were to 
happen it would only be a momentary condition, the instrument panel 
telltales and indicators would extinguish and return to normal very 
quickly, with little, if any, impact to the driver.
    GM mentioned two previous petitions that the agency granted due to 
the loss or failure of telltale indications. In the first petition, 
General Motors Corp.; Grant of Petition for Determination of

[[Page 17763]]

Inconsequential Noncompliance, 56 FR 33323 (July 19, 1991), the 
noncompliance would only manifest itself when the headlight high beams 
were turned on and the cigar lighter was activated. In this situation 
the required high beam telltale could dim or extinguish altogether for 
a short period of time while the cigar lighter was being powered. The 
petition was granted because the agency determined there was no 
consequence to motor vehicle safety attached to the extinguishment of 
the high beam telltale.
    In the second petition, submitted by Nissan, Nissan North America, 
Incorporated, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential 
Noncompliance, 78 FR 59090 (Sept. 25, 2013), under rare circumstances 
the transmission gear selected was not always displayed correctly as 
required. The petition was granted because it was only possible for the 
gear indication to extinguish when the engine was inactive and the 
vehicle was inoperable. Upon reactivating the engine the gear indicator 
displayed the correct gear.
    Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), provided 
comments about GM's petition in response to the petition receipt notice 
published in the Federal Register. The Advocates do not specifically 
support the granting or denial of GM's petition, but believe that the 
existence of such a malfunction raises serious questions regarding 
vehicle design which can lead to this kind of situation.
    Finally, GM states that they are not aware of any reported 
instrument cluster resets as a result of the subject condition. NHTSA'S 
Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA finds that GM has 
met its burden of persuasion that the FMVSS No. 102 noncompliance in 
the affected vehicles is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. 
Accordingly, GM's petition is hereby granted and GM is consequently 
exempted from the obligation of providing notification of, and a free 
remedy for, that noncompliance under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120.
    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, this decision 
only applies to the subject noncompliant vehicles that GM no longer 
controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. 
However, the granting of this petition does not relieve vehicle 
distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer for 
sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate 
commerce of the noncompliant vehicles under their control after GM 
notified them that the subject noncompliance existed.

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

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2016-07092 Filed 3-29-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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