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Autocar Industries, LLC and Autocar, LLC, Grant of Petitions for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance


American Government Trucking Topics:  Autocar Xspotter, Autocar Xpeditor

Autocar Industries, LLC and Autocar, LLC, Grant of Petitions for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Michael A. Cole
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
27 June 2018


[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 124 (Wednesday, June 27, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 30218-30220]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-13830]


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

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2017-0063; Notice 2; Docket No. NHTSA-2017-0065; 
Notice 2]


Autocar Industries, LLC and Autocar, LLC, Grant of Petitions for 
Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Grant of petitions.

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

SUMMARY: Autocar Industries, LLC and Autocar, LLC (collectively 
referred to as ``Autocar''), have determined that certain model year 
(MY) 2014-2018 Autocar Xspotter and Xpeditor trucks do not fully comply 
with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 101, Controls 
and Displays. Autocar filed noncompliance reports dated June 12, 2017; 
June 14, 2017; and later revised one of their reports on August 29, 
2017. Autocar also submitted two petitions to NHTSA on June 19, 2017, 
and submitted supplemental petitions on August 29, 2017, for a decision 
that the subject noncompliance, present in each model, is 
inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joshua Campbell, Office of Vehicle 
Safety Compliance, NHTSA, telephone (202) 366-5307, facsimile (202) 
366-3081.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Overview

    Autocar has determined that certain MY 2014-2018 Autocar Xspotter 
and Xpeditor trucks do not fully comply with Table 2 of FMVSS No. 101, 
Controls and Displays (49 CFR 571.101). Autocar filed noncompliance 
reports dated June 12, 2017; June 14, 2017; and later revised one of 
their reports on August 29, 2017, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect 
and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports. Autocar also submitted 
two petitions to NHTSA on June 19, 2017, and submitted supplemental 
petitions on August 29, 2017, for an exemption from the notification 
and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 on the basis that this 
noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, 
pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and 49 CFR part 556.
    Notices of receipt of the petitions were published with a 30-day 
public comment period, on August 16, 2017, in the Federal Register (82 
FR 38995) and (82 FR 38999). No comments were received.

II. Vehicles Involved

    Approximately 644 MY 2014-2018 Autocar Xspotter trucks, 
manufactured between September 12, 2013 and August 4, 2017, and 
approximately 5,545 MY 2014-2018 Autocar Xpeditor trucks, manufactured 
between September 3, 2013, and June 2, 2017, are potentially involved.

III. Noncompliance

    Autocar explains that the noncompliance is that the low brake air 
pressure telltale for air brake systems displays the word ``BRAKE 
PRESSURE'' along with a symbol specified in Canadian Motor Vehicle 
Safety Standard (CMVSS) 101 rather than the words ``Brake Air'' as 
specified in Table 2 of FMVSS No. 101. Autocar states that the telltale 
is accompanied by an audible alert and pressure gauges.

IV. Rule Requirements

    Paragraphs S5 and S5.2.1 of FMVSS No. 101, include the requirements 
relevant to this petition:
     Each passenger car, multipurpose passenger vehicle, truck 
and bus that is

[[Page 30219]]

fitted with a control, a telltale, or an indicator listed in Table 1 or 
Table 2 must meet the requirements of FMVSS No. 101 for the location, 
identification, color, and illumination of that control, telltale or 
indicator.
     Each control, telltale and indicator that is listed in 
column 1 of Table 1 or Table 2 must be identified by the symbol 
specified for it in column 2 or the word or abbreviation specified for 
it in column 3 of Table 1 or Table 2.

V. Summary of Petition

    Autocar described the subject noncompliance and stated it believes 
that the noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor 
vehicle safety.
    In support of Autocar's petitions, the company submitted the 
following arguments:
    (a) Autocar notes that the purpose of the low brake air pressure 
telltale is to alert the driver to a low air condition, consistent with 
the requirements of FMVSS No. 121, S5.1.5 (warning signal). The words 
``BRAKE PRESSURE'' instead of ``Brake Air,'' together with display of 
the CMVSS required symbol and sounding of an audible alert that occurs 
inside the subject vehicles would alert the driver to an air pressure 
issue with the brake system. Once alerted, the driver can check the 
actual air pressure by reading the primary and secondary air gauges and 
by observing the contrasting color on the gauges indicating low 
pressure.
    (b) NHTSA stated in a 2005 FMVSS No. 101 rulemaking that the reason 
for including vehicles over 10,000 pounds GVWR in the application of 
the standard is that drivers of heavier vehicles need to see and 
identify their displays, just like drivers of lighter vehicles. See 70 
FR 48295, 48298 (Aug. 17, 2005). Drivers of commercial vehicles conduct 
pre-trip daily inspections. For vehicles with pneumatic brake systems, 
the in-cab checks of the air-brake warning light and buzzer would 
familiarize the driver with the specific telltale display and audible 
warning in the event a low-air condition was to occur during operation.
    (c) There are two scenarios when a low brake air pressure condition 
would exist: a parked vehicle and a moving vehicle. In both conditions, 
the driver would be alerted to a low-air condition by the following 
means:

 Red contrasting color of the telltale indicating ``BRAKE 
PRESSURE''
 Audible alert to the driver as long as the vehicle has low air
 Air pressure gauges for the primary and secondary air 
reservoirs clearly indicating the level of air pressure in the system
 Red contrasting color on the air gauges indicating pressure 
below 60 PSI

    The functionality of both the parking brake system and the service 
brake system remains unaffected by using ``BRAKE PRESSURE'' instead of 
``Brake Air'' for the telltale in the subject vehicles.
    (d) NHTSA Precedents--Autocar notes that NHTSA has previously 
granted petitions for inconsequential noncompliance for similar brake 
telltale issues. See Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0004, 78 FR 69931 (November 
21, 2013) (grant of petition for Ford Motor Company); Docket No. NHTSA-
2014-0046, 79 FR 78559 (December 30, 2014) (grant of petition for 
Chrysler Group, LLC); and Docket No. NHTSA-2016-0103, 82 Federal 
Register 17084 (April 7, 2017) (grant of petition for Daimler Trucks 
North America). In all of these instances, the vehicles at issue did 
not meet the exact requirements listed in FMVSS No. 101, Table 2. The 
available warnings, however, were deemed sufficient to provide the 
necessary driver warning. Autocar respectfully suggests that the same 
is true for the subject vehicles: the red ``BRAKE PRESSURE'' telltale, 
the audible alert, and the contrasting colors on the air pressure 
gauges are fully sufficient to warn the driver of a low brake air 
pressure situation.
    Autocar concluded by expressing their belief that the subject 
noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, 
and that NHTSA should grant Autocar's petitions to be exempted from 
providing notification of the noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 
30118, and a remedy for the noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 
30120.
    Autocar's petitions and all supporting documents are available by 
logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) website at: 
https://www.regulations.gov and following the online search 
instructions to locate the docket numbers listed in the title of this 
notice.

VI. NHTSA's Analysis

    NHTSA has considered the arguments presented in Autocar's petitions 
and has determined that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential to 
motor vehicle safety. NHTSA believes that the subject noncompliance 
poses no risk to motor vehicle safety because multiple sources of 
information, as described in the petition and discussed below, are 
simultaneously activated to warn the driver of a low air condition.
    1. When a low air pressure situation exists, for both a parked or 
moving vehicle, the ``BRAKE PRESSURE'' telltale will activate in red 
letters with a black background. There are no requirements in FMVSS No. 
101 for the color of the telltale, but Autocar's use of red, which is 
an accepted color representing an urgent condition, provides a 
definitive indication of a situation that needs attention.
    2. Simultaneous to illumination of the ``BRAKE PRESSURE'' telltale 
is activation of an audible alert, further notifying the operator that 
a malfunction exists requiring corrective action. Although the alert 
would not in and of itself identify the problem, a driver would be 
prompted by the warning tone to heed the telltale (i.e., ``BRAKE 
PRESSURE'').
    3. In a low-pressure situation, the operator is provided additional 
feedback by the primary and secondary instrument cluster air gauges 
which are marked with numerical values in PSI units along with red 
contrasting colors on the gauges during a low-pressure condition.
    4. Further, NHTSA agrees with Autocar's contention that the 
functionality of the parking brake system and the braking performance 
of the service brake system remain unaffected by use of the telltale 
wording ``BRAKE PRESSURE'' instead of ``Brake Air'' on the subject 
vehicles.
    5. Lastly, NHTSA believes that, as the affected trucks are 
predominately used as commercial vehicles with professional drivers, 
operators will monitor their vehicle's condition and take note of any 
warning signs and gauge readings to ensure proper functionality of all 
systems. Autocar states, and the agency agrees, that professional 
drivers will be familiar with the meaning of telltales and other 
warnings, and that the feedback provided to the driver in these 
vehicles if a low brake pressure condition exists would be well 
understood.
    NHTSA concludes that simultaneous activation of the red ``BRAKE 
PRESSURE'' telltale with a black contrasting background, an audible 
alert for a low air pressure condition, along with the primary and 
secondary air gauge indicators, and the reduced drivability of the 
vehicles under a low air pressure condition, provide adequate 
notification to the operator that a brake malfunction exists. NHTSA 
further concludes that the discrepancy with the telltale requirement is 
unlikely to lead to any misunderstanding since other sources of correct 
information beyond the ``BRAKE PRESSURE'' telltale are always provided.

[[Page 30220]]

VII. NHTSA's Decision

    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA finds that Autocar has met 
its burden of persuasion that the FMVSS No. 101 noncompliance is, in 
each case, inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety. 
Accordingly, Autocar's petitions are hereby granted, and Autocar is 
consequently exempted from the obligation to provide notification of, 
and remedy for, the subject noncompliance in the affected vehicles 
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 vehicles that Autocar no longer controlled 
at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. However, the 
granting of these petitions 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 Autocar 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.

Michael A. Cole,
Acting Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2018-13830 Filed 6-26-18; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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