[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 203 (Thursday, October 21, 1999)]
[Page 56835]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-27515]

[[Page 56835]]



National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
[Docket No. NHTSA-99-6187; Notice 1]

Athey Products Corporation, Receipt of Application for Decision 
of Inconsequential Noncompliance

    Athey Products Corporation (Athey) has determined that certain 
Mobil model Street Sweepers it produced are not in full compliance with 
49 CFR 571.105, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 105, 
``Hydraulic and Electric Brake Systems,'' and has filed an appropriate 
report pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, ``Defect and Noncompliance 
Reports.'' Athey has also applied to be exempted from the notification 
and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301--``Motor Vehicle 
Safety'' 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 and 30120 and does not represent any agency decision or 
other exercise of judgment concerning the merits of the application.
    Paragraph S5.5 of FMVSS No. 105 states that each vehicle with a 
gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds, except for a 
vehicle with a speed attainable in 2 miles of not more than 33 mph, 
shall be equipped with an antilock brake system that directly controls 
the wheels of at least one front axle and the wheels of at least one 
rear axle of the vehicle. The effective date of this requirement was 
March 1, 1999.
    Between March 1, 1999 and July 31, 1999 Athey sold and/or 
distributed 21 Athey Mobil M8A model street sweepers and 56 Mobil M9D 
model street sweepers which were not equipped with antilock brake 
systems (ABS) as required by FMVSS No. 105.
    Athey supports its application by stating that the noncompliant 
vehicles are capable of speeds in excess of 33 mph, but spend the 
majority of their operating time at speeds below 33 mph. According to 
Athey, a review of information from its customers indicated that these 
street sweepers spend 80% to 90% of their operation time at speeds 
below 33 mph. Athey further stated that the agency recognized that 
vehicle stopping distances and stability would not be substantially 
improved with ABS during maximum braking at speeds below 33 mph. 
Finally, in Athey's opinion, due to the low speed operation of these 
vehicles and the type of road use of street sweepers, maximum brake 
application does not normally cause lockup and the subsequent loss of 
vehicle control or jackknifing.
    Athey further supports its application by stating that the 
hydraulic service brake system with which the street sweepers are 
equipped is capable of providing 43% more brake torque than necessary 
to meet the 30 mph stopping performance distance in FMVSS No. 105, 
Table II, 3rd effectiveness, column (d). The brake system on these 
street sweepers is also capable of providing 52% more brake torque than 
required to meet the stopping performance requirements of the 60 mph 
test (FMVSS No. 105, Table II, 3rd effectiveness, column (d)). Due to 
the excess braking capability of these vehicles, Athey believes its 
street sweepers are safe during their limited operation at speeds above 
33 mph.
    In Athey's opinion, valuable public health and safety benefits are 
gained by states and municipalities from the use of street sweepers to 
remove trash, pollutants, and road hazards that are capable of 
puncturing tires.
    In addition to information supporting its arguments that the 
noncompliance with FMVSS No. 105 is inconsequential, Athey cited 
several other developments and circumstances that it considers relevant 
to its application. Athey stated that it attempted to secure the 
necessary ABS equipment from suppliers in order to meet the March 1, 
1999 effective date for ABS installation, but experienced delays in 
receiving ABS equipment from suppliers due to a backlog of orders. Many 
other truck manufacturers had ordered ABS equipment and the suppliers 
were also developing and distributing similar equipment for air-braked 
trucks. According to Athey, ABS systems meeting the requirements of 
FMVSS No. 105 will be installed on all vehicles covered by the 
requirements and the company is currently working with the suppliers of 
ABS equipment. Further, immediately upon becoming aware of the 
noncompliance, Athey halted all further sales and/or distribution of 
the Mobile model M8A and M9D street sweepers.
    Athey also noted that the agency had granted a temporary exemption 
to the Johnson Sweeper Company (JSC) under 49 CFR part 555 from the ABS 
requirements of FMVSS No. 105. The agency cited the low speed operation 
of the JSC street sweepers and a reduction in the number of sweepers to 
fill the need of municipalities if JSC sweepers were not available as 
factors in deciding to grant JSC the temporary exemption.
    Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and 
arguments on the application described above. Comments should refer to 
the docket number and be submitted to: U.S. Department of 
Transportation, Docket Management, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street, SW, 
Washington, DC 20590. It is requested that two 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: November 22, 1999.

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

    Issued on October 18, 1999.
Stephen R. Kratzke,
Acting Associate Administrator for Safety Performance Standards.
[FR Doc. 99-27515 Filed 10-20-99; 8:45 am]