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Spartan Motors USA, Inc, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance


American Government Recreational Vehicles Topics:  Spartan

Spartan Motors USA, Inc, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Otto G. Matheke III
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
13 May 2019


[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 92 (Monday, May 13, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 20947-20948]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-09752]



[[Page 20947]]

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

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2018-0010, Notice 1]


Spartan Motors USA, Inc, Receipt of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

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

ACTION: Receipt of petition.

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

SUMMARY: Spartan Motors USA, Inc (Spartan), has determined that certain 
model year (MY) 2015-2019 Spartan Specialty MM and K2 motorhome chassis 
do not fully comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 
No. 121, Air Brake Systems. Spartan filed a noncompliance report dated 
December 18, 2017, subsequently petitioned NHTSA on January 15, 2018, 
for a decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it 
relates to motor vehicle safety. This document announces receipt of 
petition and offers the opportunity for public comment.

DATES: The closing date for comments on the petition is June 12, 2019.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written data, 
views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the 
docket number cited in the title of this notice and may be submitted by 
any of the following methods:
     Mail: Send comments by mail addressed to the 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 Delivery: Deliver comments by hand to the 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 for Federal Holidays.
     Electronically: Submit comments electronically by logging 
onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) website at https://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 https://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided.
    All comments and supporting materials 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 fullest 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 comments, background documentation, and supporting materials 
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 
https://www.regulations.gov by following the online instructions for 
accessing the dockets. The docket ID number for this petition is shown 
in the heading of this notice.
    DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement is available for review in a 
Federal Register notice published on April 11, 2000, (65 FR 19477-78).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    I. Overview: Spartan has determined that certain MY 2015-2019 
Spartan Specialty MM and K2 motorhome chassis do not fully comply with 
paragraph S5.1.2.1 of FMVSS No. 121, Air Brake Systems (49 CFR 
571.121). Spartan filed a noncompliance report dated December 18, 2017, 
pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility 
and Reports. Spartan subsequently petitioned NHTSA on January 15, 2018, 
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, Exemption for 
Inconsequential Defect or Noncompliance.
    This notice of receipt of Spartan's petition is published under 49 
U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 and does not represent any agency decision or 
other exercise of judgement concerning the merits of the petition.
    II. Vehicles Involved: Approximately 414 MY 2015-2019 Spartan 
Specialty MM and K2 motorhome chassis manufactured between February 12, 
2014, and December 11, 2017, are potentially involved.
    III. Noncompliance: Spartan described the noncompliance as the 
combined volume of air in the service and supply reservoirs in the air 
brake system does not meet the required minimum of twelve times the 
combined volume of air from all service brake chambers as specified in 
paragraph S5.1.2.1 of FMVSS No. 121.
    IV. Rule Requirements: Paragraph S5.1.2.1 of FMVSS No. 121, titled 
``Air Brake Systems'' includes the requirements relevant to this 
petition. The combined volume of all service reservoirs and supply 
reservoirs shall be at least 12 times the combined volume of all 
service brake chambers.
    V. Summary Spartan's of Petition: Spartan described the subject 
noncompliance and stated its belief that the noncompliance is 
inconsequential as it related to motor vehicle safety.
    In support of its petition, Spartan submitted the following 
reasoning:
    1. Paragraph S5.1.2.1 of FMVSS No. 121, requires the combined 
volume of all service reservoirs and supply reservoirs to be at least 
12 times the combined volume of all service brake chambers. The chassis 
affected by this condition are equipped with a T-24 brake chamber on 
the steer axle, T-30 brake chamber on the drive axle and T-16 brake 
chamber on the tag axle. In using the values in Table V of FMVSS No. 
121, the cumulative air capacity of these brake chambers would be 404 
cubic inches. Multiplying by 12, the needed air reservoir capacity 
would be 4,848 cubic inches. To better illustrate the issue, refer to 
the table below:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   FMVSS No. 121     Number of
                       Brake chamber size                         Cu. In. (Table  chambers total   Total Cu. In.
                                                                        V)            Cu. In.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
T-24............................................................              67               2             134
T-30............................................................              89               2             178

[[Page 20948]]

 
T-16............................................................              46               2              92
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total Chamber Cu. In........................................................................             404
        Required Air Reservoir Capacity (using 12X Multiplier) Cu. In...........................           4,848
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
            Spartan Actual Reservoir Capacity (Cu. In.).........................................           4,674
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
                Additional Capacity Needed (Cu. In.)............................................             174
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cubic Inch--Cu. In.

    In paragraph S5.1.1 of FMVSS No. 121, the vehicle is to be equipped 
with an air compressor of sufficient capacity to increase air pressure 
in the supply and service reservoirs from 85 psi to 100 psi when the 
engine is operating at the vehicle manufacturer's maximum recommended 
revolutions per minute (r.p.m.) within a time, in seconds, determined 
by the quotient (actual reservoir capacity x 25)/required reservoir 
capacity). In using this equation, vehicles subject to the condition 
represented in the table above, the air pressure would be required to 
go from 85 psi to 100 psi within 24 seconds (4,674 * 25)/4,848). Using 
the same equation and the required air reservoir capacity of 4848 cubic 
inches, the air pressure would need to increase from 85 psi to 100 psi 
within 25 seconds. Vehicles subject to the condition that has resulted 
in the non-compliance to paragraph S5.1.2.1 could increase air pressure 
from 85 psi to 100 psi in less than 6 seconds, well within the 
requirement of 25 seconds. Further, vehicles subject to this condition 
have a cut in pressure set at, or greater than, the minimum requirement 
of 100 psi.
    The impact of having 3.5 percent less air reservoir capacity than 
required, the difference in the cut in pressure requirement of only 1 
second would appear to have an adverse consequence of a slight increase 
in air compressor cycling. However, this would be dependent on 
application of the service brakes.
    Motorhomes have a similar duty cycle to that of a tractor-trailer 
where they are driven at highway speeds with infrequent brake 
applications during such drives. Motorhomes also are largely driven 
from owner residences to campground locations throughout the traveling 
season.
    Given these brake applications would appear to be less frequent 
than those in stop and go applications. The lower than required 
capacity, with the one second difference time to increase air pressure, 
may not be noticeable by the driver and would not impact the braking 
performance of the vehicle.
    2. Air System Warning: The completed motorhomes subject to this 
condition are equipped with two air gauges that monitor the air system 
pressure in both system 1 and system 2. In addition to the air gauges, 
there are both a warning light and audible alarm to alert the driver in 
the event of a low air condition.
    In conclusion, Spartan stated that the actual air reservoir 
capacity in the affected motorhome chassis may be 3.5 percent less (174 
cubic inches) than the calculated required amount. However, due to the 
duty cycle of a motorhome and the air compressor cycling, that is well 
within the required time using the equation from FMVSS No. 121, Spartan 
believes the noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor 
vehicle safety. The less than required capacity does not appear to 
impact vehicle braking performance (e.g., stopping distance, brake 
application, and release timing). The completed vehicles are equipped 
with dual air gauges, a visual and audible warning system to alert the 
driver to a loss of air in the air brake system. Given the 
aforementioned, Spartan expressed the belief that the subject 
noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, 
and that its petition 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, 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, this decision 
only applies to the subject vehicles that Spartan 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 Spartan 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)

Otto G. Matheke III,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2019-09752 Filed 5-10-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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