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DRV, LLC, Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance


American Government Topics:  DRV

DRV, LLC, Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
25 May 2017


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 100 (Thursday, May 25, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 24204-24205]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-10744]


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

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2015-0092; Notice 2]


DRV, LLC, Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential 
Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Denial of Petition.

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

SUMMARY: DRV, LLC (DRV), a wholly owned subsidiary of Thor Industries, 
Inc., has determined that certain model year (MY) 2003-2016 DRV 
trailers do not fully comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
(FMVSS) No. 108, Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment. 
DRV filed a noncompliance report dated July 31, 2015, that was later 
revised on August 18, 2015. DRV also petitioned NHTSA on August 14, 
2015, for a decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential 
as it relates to motor vehicle safety.

ADDRESSES: For further information on this decision contact Michael 
Cole, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202) 366-5319, facsimile 
(202) 366-3081.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Overview

    DRV, LLC (DRV), a wholly owned subsidiary of Thor Industries, Inc., 
has determined that certain model year (MY) 2003-2016 DRV trailers do 
not fully comply with paragraph S8.1 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard (FMVSS) No. 108, Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated 
Equipment. DRV filed a noncompliance report dated July 31, 2015, that 
was later revised on August 18, 2015, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, 
Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. DRV also 
petitioned NHTSA on August 14, 2015, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 
30120(h) (see implementing rule at 49 CFR part 556), 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 the petition was published, with a 30-day 
public comment period, on October 8, 2015, in the Federal Register (80 
FR 60955). No comments were received. To view the petition and all 
supporting documents, log onto the Federal Docket Management System 
(FDMS) Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Follow the online 
search instructions to locate docket number ``NHTSA-2015-0092.''

II. Trailers Involved

    Affected are approximately 7,465 of the following trailers:

 MY 2003-2016 DRV Mobile Suites (Manufactured between April 22, 
2003 and July 22, 2015)
 MY 2014-2015 DRV Traditions (Manufactured between April 1, 
2013 and July 24, 2015)
 MY 2013-2016 DRV Estates (Manufactured between April 1, 2012 
and July 24, 2015)
 MY 2006-2016 DRV Elite Suites (Manufactured April 1, 2005 and 
July 24, 2015)
 MY 2014-2016 DRV Full House (Manufactured April 1, 2013 and 
July 24, 2015)

III. Noncompliance

    DRV explained the noncompliance as the location of the front side 
reflex reflectors on the subject trailers at approximately 8'' and 10'' 
above the maximum 60'' height-above-road surface required by paragraph 
S8.1 of FMVSS No. 108.

IV. Rule Text

    Paragraph S8.1 of FMVSS No. 108 requires in pertinent part:
    S8.1 Reflex reflectors.
    . . .
    S8.1.4 Mounting Height. See Tables I-a, I-b, I-c.
    . . .

[[Page 24205]]



                                Table I-b--Required Lamps and Reflective Devices
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
         Lighting device           Number and color    Mounting location    Mounting height    Device activation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ALL TRAILERS
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
Reflex Reflectors. A trailer      2 Amber. None       On each side as     Not less than 15    Not applicable.
 equipped with a conspicuity       required on         far to the front    inches, nor more
 treatment in conformance with     trailers less       as practicable      than 60 inches.
 S8.2 of this standard need not    than 1829 mm [6     exclusive of the
 be equipped with reflex           ft] in overall      trailer tongue.
 reflectors if the conspicuity     length including
 material is placed at the         the trailer
 locations of the required         tongue.
 reflex reflectors.
 
                                                  * * * * * * *
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

V. Summary of DRV's Arguments

    DRV stated its belief that the subject noncompliance is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety because a reflex reflector is 
present as required by FMVSS No. 108 but the reflector is located 
approximately 8'' to 10'' above the maximum allowable height for such 
reflectors.
    DRV also stated that it has received no complaints, and does not 
know of any accidents that have occurred, due to the reflectors being 
in the non-compliant position.
    In summation, DRV believes that the described noncompliance of the 
subject trailers is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. DRV asks 
NHTSA to grant a petition to exempt DRV from providing notification of 
a noncompliance recall as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118 and remedying the 
noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120.

NHTSA Decision

    NHTSA's Analysis: After review of DRV's petition, NHTSA has 
determined that the petitioner has not met the burden of persuasion 
that the noncompliance is inconsequential to safety. DRV failed to 
provide any data supporting its conclusion that the noncompliance is 
inconsequential and, except for stating it had not received any 
complaints about the location of the reflectors, did not address any of 
the potential safety risks associated with the noncompliance.
    For the purposes of FMVSS No. 108, the primary function of a reflex 
reflector is to prevent crashes by permitting early detection of an 
unlighted motor vehicle at an intersection or when parked on or by the 
side of the road. Because reflex reflectors are not independent light 
sources, their performance is wholly reliant upon the amount of 
illumination they receive from vehicle headlamps. Ideally, a reflex 
reflector would achieve its highest performance when the reflex 
reflector is mounted at the height of another vehicle's lower beam 
``hot spot.'' Due to the significant range of permissible mounting 
heights for headlamps (between 22 and 54 inches), achieving such ideal 
performance is impractical. FMVSS No. 108, which establishes minimum 
performance standards for reflex reflectors, specifies a range of 
acceptable reflector mounting heights (not less than 15 inches or more 
than 60 inches) to ensure that reflex reflectors are exposed to enough 
illumination to be effective. The standard also provides allowances in 
the fore and aft location of reflex reflectors (e.g., as far to the 
front as practicable). This flexibility provides vehicle manufacturers 
with sufficient flexibility in mounting locations to ensure that the 
mounting height remains in the appropriate range to ensure adequate 
reflex reflector performance relative to headlamps that would 
illuminate them.
    DRV also states that it was not aware of any complaints or 
accidents that occurred due to the positioning of the reflex reflector. 
In NHTSA's view, the absence of complaints does not provide persuasive 
evidence demonstrating a lack of a safety issue here, nor does it mean 
that there will not be safety issues in the future. As such, NHTSA does 
not consider this to be a determining factor that DRV's noncompliance 
is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.
    NHTSA's Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA finds 
that DRV has not met its burden of persuasion in support of the claim 
that the FMVSS No. 108 noncompliance in the subject trailers is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. DRV has not presented any data 
indicating that the performance of a reflex reflector mounted at a 
height of 68 to 70 inches above the ground provides a level of safety 
performance equivalent to that of a reflector mounted within the range 
of heights specified by FMVSS No. 108. Accordingly, DRV's petition is 
hereby denied and DRV is obligated to provide notification of, and a 
free remedy for, that noncompliance under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120.

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

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe,
Acting Associate Administrator, Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2017-10744 Filed 5-24-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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