Recaro Child Safety Llc
(B) Recaro states that “post-crash structural integrity of the occupant compartment is more insignificant to safety when compared to the injury values and excursion data gathered from testing.” Petitioner also states that “technology has shown repeatedly that collapse, breakage, and crumpling of material minimizes energy and increases the rate of survival for the occupant in the event of a collision.” Recaro believes that child restraint technology has fallen in-line with vehicle technology in recent years and that other child restraints have been designated “compliant” even though their convertible shell-to-base connection has been designed to crack and break during the peak loading in a crash. Recaro further states that the top tether webbing has been designed to rip and break apart under extreme loads to allow the deceleration time to increase for the occupant in the crash event. Petitioner states that, “As long as the injury criterion meets industry standards, controlled breakage has proven multiple times to be a positive outcome in the event of a vehicle crash, as seen in the RIDE platform.”
(a) Exhibit no complete separation of any load bearing structural element and no partial separation exposing either surfaces with a radius of less than 1/4 inch or surfaces with protrusions greater than 3/8 inch above the immediate adjacent surrounding contactable surface of any structural element of the system.
We disagree with Recaro's statement that “post-crash structural integrity of the occupant compartment is more insignificant to safety when compared to the injury values and excursion data gathered from testing.” Each of the requirements in FMVSS No. 213 addresses a safety need. The commenters address this issue well. Advocates states: “NHTSA specifically included the prohibition against complete separation of any load bearing structural element specifically because the dangers associated with this occurrence were not addressed by the injury criteria alone.” Mr. Stewart observes: “If a seat breaks in half during testing but the dummy records lower injury measurement does the manufacturer get away with claiming that they designed it to break in half on purpose—as a way to manage energy?” Child restraints must be able to hold together in a crash and safely manage the crash forces on the child occupant. To accomplish this, all requirements of the standard must be met.
2. RECARO has received over 9,000 registration cards returned by purchasers of the ProSport. Using the on-line survey system Survey Monkey, RECARO instituted a survey of 3,690 registered owners by emailing each purchaser the following survey questions:
8. If in fact consumers are not using the tether with children over 52 lb in accordance with Recaro's instructions, then it follows that there would not be reports of tether failure. However, the children would not be benefiting from use of the tether in a crash. Recaro should have designed its restraints such that they could meet the structural integrity requirement when tethered, to afford the children the benefits of a structurally sound CRS and the benefits of the tether.
Mr. Stewart states in his comment opposing the petition that, “If a manufacturer is allowed to bypass FMVSS 213 standards simply by mandating or prohibiting certain actions in the instruction manual, what is the point of having standards?” NHTSA concurs with the commenter that FMVSS No. 213's effectiveness would be substantially diminished if manufacturers were generally permitted to bypass the standard's requirements simply by mandating or prohibiting certain actions in the instruction manual.