August 23, 2019

On June 21, 2019, NHTSA Published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) Relating to FMVSS 304, Compressed Natural Gas Fuel System Container Integrity (49 CFR 571.304)

DATES: Comments must be received on or before August 20, 2019.

SUMMARY: FMVSS 304 currently contains an inspection requirement for CNG fuel system containers of 36 months or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first for all size vehicles.  Both the current and the proposed standard requires inspection for deterioration and damage after a motor vehicle accident. NHTSA recognizes that heavy duty commercial vehicles may put 36,000 miles on the vehicle in a very short period, which might lead to multiple inspections within a year.  It proposes to Amend FMVSS 304, S7.4 Labeling to require the following statement:

“(g) The statement: ‘‘This container should be visually inspected for damage and deterioration after a motor vehicle accident or fire, and either (a) at least every 12 months when installed on a vehicle with a GVWR greater than 4,536 kg or (b) at least every 36 months or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first, when installed on a vehicle with a GVWR less than or equal to 4,536 kg.’’

On May 29, NHTSA Published in the Federal Register its Denial of a Motor Vehicle Defect Petition Regarding the Rollover Performance of 2010 Chevrolet Tahoes and All Similar Vehicles

DATES:  This Decision of NHTSA does not require any period for comments.  The Petition was filed on August 6, 2014.

SUMMARY OF CLAIM:  The Petitioner claimed there were several defects in 2010 Chevrolet Tahoes including:

  • “Safety” belts
  • Roof Strength
  • Containment/Glazing
  • The Rollover Side Curtain Air Bags (RSCABs) Lacked Tethers

NHTSA RATIONALE FOR DENIAL:

Although the petitioner claims the fatal occupant was wearing her 3-point seat belt based on forensic and other evidence, the police accident report and GM’s analysis indicate she and the two other ejected occupants were not restrained at the time of the crash.  Based upon all the evidence available, ODI could not reasonably determine whether or not the fatal occupant was wearing her seat belt and that any potential defect in the seat belt system exists.

No data was submitted in support of roof strength allegation.

The petition alleged that the side window design was defective because the glazing fractured during the crash and the window opening provided an exit path through which occupants could leave the vehicle during a rollover. However, no data was provided in support of this conclusory allegation, and ODI was unable to determine how this material supports the commencement of a defect investigation by NHTSA.

NHTSA believes that the RSCABs were designed to the state of the art at the time the vehicle was manufactured.  Although the 2010 Tahoe was not required to meet FMVSS 226-Rollover Protection, NHTSA had conducted tests on the Tahoes in the development of that standard.  NHTSA did not believe that the performance of the side curtain air bags in the Tahoes did not stand out from the performance of side curtain air bags in other similar model year vehicles. 

ODI also examined complaint, claim, and crash data relating to the petitioner’s claims.  Again the Tahoes had similar performance to other peer vehicles.

NHTSA CONCLUSION

“Based on the information available at the present time, NHTSA does not believe that a safety-related defect currently exists in the design of the rollover side curtain air bags in the MY 2010 Chevrolet Tahoe and other similarly designed Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon vehicles. Therefore, the petition is denied. However, the agency will take further action if warranted by changing future circumstances.”

On May 15, NHTSA Published a Notice of Propose Rulemaking to Extend the Time Period for Retention of Documents, (49 CFR 576)

DATES: Comments should be submitted by July 15, 2019. 

BACKGROUND:

This rulemaking is in response to Congressional Direction in Section 24403 of the Fix America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which directs the Secretary of Transportation to issue a rule increasing the time of record retention to a period not less than ten years, instead of five years as presently required under the regulatory provisions.

Based on NHTSA’s experience investigating potential defects and overseeing recalls, it has determined that a ten-year records retention requirement would ensure that the agency’s investigative needs are meet without unnecessarily burdening manufacturers of motor vehicles and equipment. In this NPRM, NHTSA proposes to extend the record retention requirement for records required to be maintained under 49 CFR 576.6 to ten years.

On April 4th, NHTSA Withdrew Its Proposed Rulemaking from 2012 That Would Have Harmonized FMVSS 205 (49 CFR 571.205) with the Global Technical Regulation Number 6

DATES:  The June 21, 2012 NPRM on Glazing material was withdrawn as of April 4, 2019.

RATIONALE:  NHTSA determined that it did not have sufficient data to evaluate the safety implications of harmonizing FMVSS No. 205 with GTR No. 6, and therefore, withdrew the 2012 NPRM.

On February 8th, NHTSA Withdrew Its Proposed Rulemaking from 2012 That Would Have Mandated Event Data Recorders With the Characteristics Required by FMVSR 563 For Optional Event Data Recorders (49 CFR 563)

DATES: The NPRM ‘‘Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Event Data Recorders,’’ RIN 2127–AK86, published December 13, 2012 (77 FR 74144), is withdrawn as of February 8, 2019

RATIONALE:  At the time the NPRM was published, there were a large number of light vehicles that did not have event data recorders, and NHTSA was proposing to mandate them.  As of the date of withdrawal, almost all light vehicles contain event data recorders, making mandating them unnecessary.