Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

 
CONTENT
Federal Register, Volume 85 Issue 88 (Wednesday, May 6, 2020)
[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 88 (Wednesday, May 6, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 27024-27025]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-09694]
[[Page 27024]]
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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
[Docket No. NHTSA-2020-0010; Notice 1]
Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of
Inconsequential Noncompliance
AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
Department of Transportation (DOT).
ACTION: Receipt of petition.
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SUMMARY: Mercedes-Benz AG (``MBAG'') and Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC
(``MBUSA'') (collectively, ``Mercedes-Benz'') has determined that
certain model year (MY) 2019-2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, A-Class,
GLA-Class, and GLB-Class motor vehicles do not fully comply with
Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) No. 135, Light Vehicle
Brake Systems. Mercedes-Benz filed a noncompliance report dated January
27, 2020, and subsequently petitioned NHTSA on February 10, 2020, for a
decision that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential as it
relates to motor vehicle safety. This notice announces receipt of
Mercedes-Benz's petition.
DATES: Send comments on or before June 5, 2020.
ADDRESSES: Interested persons are invited to submit written data,
views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the
docket and notice number cited in the title of this notice and
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: Mercedes-Benz has determined that certain MY 2019-2020
Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, A-Class, GLA-Class, and GLB-Class motor
vehicles do not fully comply with the requirements of paragraph S5.5.5
of FMVSS No. 135, Light Vehicle Brake Systems (49 CFR 571.135).
Mercedes-Benz filed a noncompliance report dated January 27, 2020,
pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility
and Reports, and subsequently petitioned NHTSA on February 10, 2020,
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 Mercedes-Benz'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.
 II. Vehicles Involved: Approximately 27,375 of the following MY
2019-2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, A-Class, GLA-Class, and GLB-Class
motor vehicles manufactured between August 20, 2018, and January 16,
2020, are potentially involved:
 Mercedes-Benz A220
 Mercedes-Benz A220 4MATIC
 Mercedes-Benz A35 AMG 4MATIC
 Mercedes-Benz CLA250
 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4MATIC
 Mercedes-Benz CLA35 AMG 4MATIC
 Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG 4MATIC
 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4MATIC
 Mercedes-Benz GLB250
 Mercedes-Benz GLB250 4MATIC
 III. Noncompliance: Mercedes-Benz explains that the noncompliance
is that the instrument panel in the subject vehicles displays the
braking indicators in a slightly smaller size than required by
paragraph S5.5.5 of FMVSS No. 135. Specifically, the size of the text
for the brake indicators in the subject vehicles ranges between 2.92 mm
to 3.17 mm when the minimum required is 3.2 mm.
 IV. Rule Requirements: Paragraph S5.5.5 of FMVSS No. 135, includes
the requirements relevant to this petition. Each visual indicator shall
display a word or words in accordance with the requirements of FMVSS
No. 101 and S5.5 of FMVSS 135, which shall be legible to the driver
under all daytime and nighttime conditions when activated. Unless
otherwise specified, the words shall have letters not less than 3.2 mm
(\1/8\ inch) high.
 V. Summary of Mercedes-Benz's Petition: The following views and
arguments presented in this section, V. Summary of Mercedes-Benz's
petition, are the views and arguments provided by Mercedes-Benz. They
have not been evaluated by the Agency and do not reflect the views of
the Agency. Mercedes-Benz described the subject noncompliance and
stated their belief that the noncompliance is inconsequential as it
relates to motor vehicle safety.
 In support of its petition, Mercedes-Benz submitted the following
reasoning:
 1. Mercedes-Bends believes that the letter height of the braking
indicators, in this instance is slightly smaller than the
requirement, does not expose an occupant to any greater risk of
injury than an occupant in a vehicle with slightly larger font size.
 2. Mercedes-Benz alleges that the purpose of the standardized
size requirement for the brake system warning indicators is to
ensure they are visually perceptible to drivers under all operating
conditions. Mercedes-Benz says
[[Page 27025]]
that the Agency has a long and consistent history of granting
petitions for inconsequentiality for discrepancies involving a
letter height requirement where the text appeared somewhat smaller
than required. In fact, NHTSA has granted petitions where the
indicators displayed included lettering that was as much as a full
millimeter less than the minimum size. See 47 FR 31347 (July 19,
1982) (granting a petition of Subaru of America, Inc., where the
brake system indicator lettering was only 2.2 mm high, but the ISO
symbol indicators were located within the driver's line of sight and
continued to be ``easily identifiable and very readable'').
 3. Mercedes-Benz asserts that in addressing similar
noncompliances in the past, the Agency has determined that ``it is
very unlikely that a vehicle user would either fail to see or fail
to understand the meaning of the brake . . . warning light'' where
the ``information presented by the telltales is correct.'' See 81 FR
92963 (December 20, 2016) (granting General Motors' petition of over
46,000 vehicles where the ``Park'' indicator displayed at 2.44 mm).
In the General Motors decision, the Agency found the discrepancy
``pose[d] little, if any, risk to motor vehicle safety'' where all
other braking indicator requirements were met and the indicators
were located in the instrument cluster, adjacent to the speedometer
and in direct view of the driver); 69 FR 41568 (July 9, 2004)
(granting a petition of Hyundai Motor Company involving more than
237,000 vehicles, where the FMVSS No. 105 braking system indicator
letter height varied from 2.5 mm to 3.1 mm).
 4. In this case, the letter height for the braking indicators is
only slightly smaller than the 3.2 mm minimum. Depending on the
particular indicator, the text size can be smaller by a range of
0.03 mm up to a maximum of .28 mm. The electronic instrument cluster
is located within the driver's direct field of vision, and the
braking indicators are located adjacent to the speedometer and,
therefore, remain within the driver's direct line of sight. This
slight difference in size is not visually perceptible and does not
affect the driver's ability to read or understand the indicators.
Indeed, the indicators are clearly illuminated and remain visible
under all driving conditions.
 5. Mercedes-Benz stated that all of the indicators at issue here
are accurately depicted and are displayed in the correct colors,
consistent with FMVSS No. 101, Table 1. Thus, there should not be
any confusion about the meaning of the indicators, and the standard
symbol that is displayed continues to convey the intended meaning of
the indicator. Further, although the lettering that appears below
the ISO symbols is slightly smaller than 3.2 mm minimum height, the
overall height of the ABS and Parking Brake symbols is more than 3.2
mm and exceeds the height requirement of the standard. Finally, the
functionality of the brake indicators themselves is not affected by
the software issue. The indicators properly display during both the
instrument cluster warning lamp operation check and in the event a
brake malfunction were to occur.
 6. Mercedes-Benz says that it has not received any reports
related to the performance of the indicators included on the 10.25-
inch displays in the subject vehicles. Nor has it received any
reports related to customers' inability to read or decipher the
brake telltales.
 Mercedes-Benz's complete petition and all supporting documents are
available by logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS)
website at https://www.regulations.gov and by following the online
search instructions to locate the docket number as listed in the title
of this notice.
 Mercedes-Benz concluded by expressing the belief that the subject
noncompliance is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety,
and that its petition request 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, any decision on
this petition only applies to the subject vehicles that Mercedes-Benz
no longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance
existed. However, any decision on 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
Mercedes-Benz 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. 2020-09694 Filed 5-5-20; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P