[Federal Register Volume 61, Number 244 (Wednesday, December 18, 1996)]
[Page 66744]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 96-32031]

[[Page 66744]]


[Docket No. 96-129; Notice 1]

General Motors Corp.; Receipt of Application for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

    General Motors Corporation (GM) has determined that a small number 
of 1997 Model Year Pontiac Firebird vehicles fail to comply with the 
requirements of 49 CFR 571.108, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
(FMVSS) 108, ``Lamps, Reflective Devices and Associated Equipment,'' 
and has filed an appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR part 573 
``Defect and Noncompliance Information Report.'' GM has also applied to 
be exempted from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. 
30118(d) and 30120(h) on the basis that the noncompliance is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.
    This notice of receipt of an application is published under 49 
U.S.C. 30118(d) and does not represent any agency decision or other 
exercise of judgment concerning the merits of the application.
    Paragraph S5.5.11(a)(2) of FMVSS No. 108 requires that any pair of 
lamps on the front of a passenger car, * * * other than parking lamps 
or fog lamps, may be wired to be automatically activated, as determined 
by the manufacturer of the vehicle, * * * provided that each such lamp 
is permanently marked ``DRL'' on its lens in letters not less than 3 mm 
high, unless it is optically combined with a headlamp.
    GM's description of the noncompliance follows:
    GM recently discovered that the combination park/turn signal lamp 
for the 1997 Pontiac Firebird vehicles had been released without the 
required ``DRL'' marking on the face of the lamp. The condition was 
corrected in September 1996. Approximately 4,500 vehicles were produced 
without ``DRL'' marked on the lamps.
    GM supported its application for inconsequential noncompliance with 
the following reasons:
    ``The park/turn signal lamps meet all substantive requirements of 
FMVSS 108 for all functions; the sole noncompliance concerns the 
marking on the lamps for the voluntary DRL function.
    ``NHTSA adopted a lens marking requirement in the final rule 
promulgating DRL provisions because of a concern that state enforcement 
and vehicle inspection officials would not be able to ``distinguish 
between legal and illegal lamps and lamp combinations in the absence of 
marking.'' 58 FR 3504 (1993).
    ``While NHTSA adopted ``DRL'' as the required marking, it had 
considered an alternate proposal to adopt the ``Y2'' identification 
code specified in SAE Recommended Practice J759, Lighting 
Identification Code, January 1995 (SAE J579). The agency chose to 
require the ``DRL'' marking apparently not because of a state 
inspection concern, but because the SAE specifications were not 
identical to the federal ones. NHTSA reasoned that ``to adopt the SAE 
designation would be inaccurate and confusing because it would signify 
adoption of the SAE requirements * * *'' Id.
    ``In this instance, the subject vehicles include the ``Y2'' marking 
specified by SAE J759. Thus, while the lamps do not meet the explicit 
federal marking requirements, they do provide an indication to state 
officials that the lamps are intended to be used as DRLs. Moreover, the 
concern expressed by NHTSA in the final rule about the SAE designation 
does not apply here since the subject lamps meet the substantive 
requirements of both FMVSS 108 and SAE J759.
    ``The owner's manual for the Firebird explains that the DRL 
function is provided by the park/turn signal lamp. A state inspector 
who is unclear about the ``Y2'' designation would have alternate means 
of confirming that the turn signal portion of the lamp properly 
provides a DRL function.
    ``The population of subject vehicles is small, so any confusion 
created by the condition would be minimal.
    ``GM is not aware of any customer complaints concerning the absence 
of the ``DRL'' marking.''
    Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and 
arguments on the application of GM, described above. Comments should 
refer to the docket number and be submitted to: Docket Section, 
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Room 5109, 400 Seventh 
Street, SW. Washington, DC, 20590. It is requested but not required 
that six copies be submitted.
    All comments received before the close of business on the closing 
date indicated below will be considered. The application and supporting 
materials, and all comments received after the closing date, will also 
be filed and will be considered to the extent possible. When the 
application is granted or denied, the notice will be published in the 
Federal Register pursuant to the authority indicated below.
    Comment closing date: January 17, 1997.

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

    Issued on: December 11, 1996.
L. Robert Shelton,
Associate Administrator for Safety Performance Standards.
[FR Doc. 96-32031 Filed 12-17-96; 8:45 am]