[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 162 (Wednesday, August 20, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 49238-49240]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-19325]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2008-0133; Notice 1]


Hyundai Motor Company, Receipt of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

    Hyundai Motor Company (Hyundai), has determined that certain 
replacement seat belt assemblies sold for various model and model year 
Hyundai vehicles, including the 2008 model year vehicles, did not fully 
comply with paragraphs S4.1(k) and S4.1(l) of 49 CFR 571.209 Federal 
Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) No. 209 Seat Belt Assemblies. 
Hyundai has filed an appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573, 
Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.

[[Page 49239]]

    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule 
at 49 CFR part 556), Hyundai has petitioned 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 Hyundai'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.
    Affected are an unspecified quantity of seat belt replacement 
assemblies delivered prior to May 9, 2008.
    Paragraphs S4.1(k) and S4.1(l) of FMVSS No. 209 require:

    (k) Installation instructions. A seat belt assembly, other than 
a seat belt assembly installed in a motor vehicle by an automobile 
manufacturer, shall be accompanied by an instruction sheet providing 
sufficient information for installing the assembly in a motor 
vehicle. The installation instructions shall state whether the 
assembly is for universal installation or for installation only in 
specifically stated motor vehicles, and shall include at least those 
items specified in SAE Recommended Practice J800c, ``Motor Vehicle 
Seat Belt Installations,'' November 1973. If the assembly is for use 
only in specifically stated motor vehicles, the assembly shall 
either be permanently and legibly marked or labeled with the 
following statement, or the instruction sheet shall include the 
following statement:
    This seat belt assembly is for use only in [insert specific 
seating position(s), e.g., ``front right''] in [insert specific 
vehicle make(s) and model(s)].
    (l) Usage and maintenance instructions. A seat belt assembly or 
retractor shall be accompanied by written instructions for the 
proper use of the assembly, stressing particularly the importance of 
wearing the assembly snugly and properly located on the body, and on 
the maintenance of the assembly and periodic inspection of all 
components. The instructions shall show the proper manner of 
threading webbing in the hardware of seat belt assemblies in which 
the webbing is not permanently fastened. Instructions for a 
nonlocking retractor shall include a caution that the webbing must 
be fully extended from the retractor during use of the seat belt 
assembly unless the retractor is attached to the free end of webbing 
which is not subjected to any tension during restraint of an 
occupant by the assembly. Instructions for Type 2a shoulder belt 
shall include a warning that the shoulder belt is not to be used 
without a lap belt.

    Hyundai explains that the subject replacement seat belt assemblies 
were sold without the installation, usage, and maintenance instructions 
required by paragraphs in S4.1(k) and S4.1(l) of FMVSS 209.
    Hyundai makes the argument that the replacement seat belt 
assemblies in question are only made available to Hundai authorized 
dealerships for their use or subsequent resale and that the Hyundai 
parts ordering process used by its dealers clearly identifies the 
correct replacement part required by model year, model, and seating 
position. Furthermore, Hyundai states that its replacement seat belt 
assemblies are designed to be installed properly only in their intended 
application.
    Hyundai additionally states that technicians at Hyundai dealerships 
that replace seat belts have access to the installation instruction 
information available in workshop manuals. Installers other than 
Hyundai dealership technicians also have seat belt installation 
information available because Hyundai workshop manual information, 
including seat belt replacement information, is made available to the 
general public on the Hyundai Service Web site (http://
www.hmaservice.com) which provides free access to every Hyundai Shop 
Manual, including information about seat belt installation.
    Hyundai additionally argues that a significant portion of paragraph 
S4.1(k) appears to address a concern with proper installation of 
aftermarket seat belts into vehicles that were not originally equipped 
with these restraints. Hyundai also notes that SAE J800c which is cited 
in the regulation involves installation of ``universal type seat belt 
assemblies,'' particularly where no seat belt had previously been 
installed, and that these concerns do not apply to replacement seat 
belts. The vehicles involved in this petition have uniquely designed 
seat belt components and replacement seat belt assemblies are installed 
into the identical location from which the original parts were removed.
    Hyundai also states that proper seat belt usage instructions are 
clearly explained in the Owner's Manual that is included with each new 
vehicle. Information concerning maintenance, periodic inspection for 
wear and function of the seat belts, as well as for their proper usage 
is included in the vehicle Owner Manual and this information equally 
applies to replacement seat belt assemblies.
    Hyundai first became aware of the noncompliance when it was 
contacted by NHTSA in response to a consumer inquiry received by NHTSA.
    Hyundai also stated that it has corrected the problem that caused 
these errors so that they will not be repeated in future production.
    In summation, Hyundai states that it believes that because the 
noncompliances are inconsequential to motor vehicle safety that no 
corrective action is warranted.
    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.
    Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and 
arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the docket and 
notice number cited at the beginning of this notice and be submitted by 
any of the following methods:
    a. 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.
    b. By hand delivery 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.
    c. 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 1-202-493-2251.
    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 your comments 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.
    Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments 
received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT's complete Privacy 
Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 
FR 19477-78).
    You may view documents submitted to a docket at the address and 
times given above. You may also view the

[[Page 49240]]

documents on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by following 
the online instructions for accessing the dockets available at that Web 
site.
    The petition, supporting materials, and all comments received 
before the close of business on the closing date indicated below will 
be filed 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 be published in the Federal 
Register pursuant to the authority indicated below.
    Comment closing date: September 19, 2008.

    Authority: (49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: delegations of authority at 
CFR 1.50 and 501.8).

    Issued on: August 14, 2008.
Claude H. Harris,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. E8-19325 Filed 8-19-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P