[Federal Register Volume 64, Number 240 (Wednesday, December 15, 1999)]
[Pages 70115-70116]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 99-32464]



National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
[Docket No. NHTSA 99-5210; Notice 2]

Ford Motor Co.; Grant of Application for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

    This notice grants the application by Ford Motor Company (Ford) to 
be exempted from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. 
30118 and 30120 for a noncompliance with 49 CFR 571.205, Federal Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 205, ``Glazing Materials.'' Ford 
has filed an appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573 ``Defect 
and Noncompliance Reports.'' The basis of the grant is that the 
noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.
    Notice of receipt of the application was published May 5, 1999, (64 
FR 24215) affording an opportunity for comment. The comment closing 
date was June 4, 1999. No comments were received.
    Paragraph S6 of FMVSS No. 205, ``Certification and marking,'' 
requires that each piece of glazing material be marked as stated in 
Section 6 of the American National Standard Safety Code for ``Safety 
Glazing Materials for Glazing Motor Vehicles Operating on Land 
Highways,'' Z26.1-1977, January 26, 1977, as supplemented by Z26.1 a-
1980, July 3, 1980 (ANSI Z26). This specifies `` . . . immediately 
adjacent to the words ``American National Standard'' or the characters 
AS, each piece of safety glazing material shall further be marked in 
numerals at least 0.070 inch (1.78 mm) in height: if complying with the 
requirements of Section 4, Application of Tests, Item 1, with the 
numeral 1; . . .''. To satisfy this section of ANSI Z26.1, the 
windshields would normally bear the AS1 mark on the windshield adjacent 
to the Ford trademark; however, the mark was not applied to the 
windshields used in the noncomplying vehicles.
    This petition concerns approximately 382,900 potentially 
noncomplying vehicles manufactured by Ford between June 11, 1997 and 
September 25, 1999. These vehicles included certain 1998 and 1999 
Contour/Mystique, Econoline, Ranger models and approximately 8,400 
Mazda B Series vehicles.
    Ford supported its application for inconsequential noncompliance 
with the following:

    Ford was not aware of any allegations of accidents or injuries 
related to this condition. Ford Visteon was notified by the one 
final stage manufacturer of the Econoline windshields with the 
missing AS1 mark. In our judgment, the condition is highly unlikely 
to present any risk of injury. Therefore, Ford intends to petition 
to the Administrator for exemption from the notification and remedy 
requirements of the Act on the basis that the condition is 
inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety.
    To avert any potential customer difficulty during vehicle 
inspections in states where glazing markings are checked during the 
inspection process, two actions are being taken by Ford. First, 
customers in those states will be mailed letters (to be presented to 
inspection authorities, if necessary) identifying the condition, and 
certifying that the windshields meet all other marking and 
performance requirements of Standard 205. The letter will also offer 
to apply the AS1 mark, of so requested by these customers. Second, 
letters will be sent to the appropriate state authorities providing 
an explanation of the condition, certification that the windshields 
fully meet all other marking requirements and all performance 
requirements of Standard 205, and a listing of vehicle VIN numbers 
of all affected vehicles registered in that state.

    NHTSA has reviewed Ford's application and, for the reasons 
discussed below, concludes that the noncompliance of Ford's windshields 
is inconsequential as to motor vehicle safety. The affected 
windshields, while produced without the AS1 mark, contain all other 
markings required by FMVSS No. 205 and ANSI Z26.1, including the 
manufacturer's trademark, DOT number, and model number. The model 
number identifies the glazing material as laminated safety glass, AS1. 
In addition, the trademark includes the word ``Laminated'' and also 
includes an aftermarket National Auto Glass Specifications number that 
identifies the vehicles for which the windshields are designed. With 
the windshield markings provided, NHTSA believes that a vehicle owner 
is unlikely to encounter any problems obtaining the

[[Page 70116]]

appropriate replacement windshield should that need arise.
    The affected windshields also meet all performance requirements of 
FMVSS No. 205 and ANSI Z26.1. The stated purposes of FMVSS No. 205 are 
to reduce injuries resulting from impact to glazing surfaces, to ensure 
a necessary degree of transparency in motor vehicle windows for driver 
visibility, and to minimize the possibility of occupants being thrown 
through the vehicle windows in collisions. Because the affected 
windshields fully meet all of the applicable performance requirements, 
the absence of the AS1 mark has no effect upon the ability of the 
windshield glazing to satisfy these stated purposes and thus perform in 
the manner intended by FMVSS No. 205.
    On February 11, 1999, and July 8, 1999, Ford mailed letters to 
appropriate state authorities identifying the missing marking and 
certifying that the windshields fully meet the marking and performance 
requirements of FMVSS No. 205 followed by letters to vehicle owners on 
March 5, 1999, and August 3, 1999.
    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has decided that the 
applicant has met its burden of proof that the noncompliance it 
describes is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, 
Ford's petition is granted, and it is exempted from providing 
notification and remedy of the noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 
30118 and 30120.

    Issued on December 10, 1999.
Stephen R. Kratzke,
Acting Associate Administrator for Safety Performance Standards.
[FR Doc. 99-32464 Filed 12-14-99; 8:45 am]