Recaro Child Safety Llc
(D) Recaro's statement that “the environment in which [previous denials of inconsequentiality petitions on tether failures] were made has changed” is incorrect. NHTSA does not know of any current material published on use of child restraint top tethers that supports not using the child restraint's top tether. Moreover, granting the petition would be contradictory to NHTSA's mission to promote greater use of the top tether.
Recaro states that in a previous denial of a petition for inconsequential noncompliance, NHTSA noted that if it granted the petition it would be contradictory to NHTSA's mission to promote greater use of LATCH and tether. Recaro believes that this reasoning is no longer relevant because in the aftermath of the February 2012 final rule, “consumers are now more aware of the variation of tether load limits by vehicle manufacturers and consumers are also now becoming accustomed to reviewing limits to the LATCH system. This falls in line with the information and limits in the owner's manual provided with the ProRIDE and Performance RIDE.”
(C) The materials cited by the petitioner have no bearing on the merits of Recaro's petition. As explained above in NHTSA's response to Recaro's first argument, FMVSS No. 213 requires that the ProRIDE and Performance RIDE child restraints meet the structural integrity requirements when installed with the top tether. NHTSA does not know of any current material published on use of child restraint top tethers that supports not using the child restraint's top tether.
(B) NHTSA does not agree with Recaro's line of reasoning that its petition should be granted because “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.” The agency has consistently viewed tether strap separation in FMVSS No. 213 sled tests as a load bearing structural failure. A portion of the load of the child restraint and dummy is transferred to the vehicle by the top tether. A tether attachment failure in a compliance sled test indicates that the minimum level of occupant protection established by FMVSS No. 213 has not been provided.
Under S6.1 of FMVSS No. 213, NHTSA tests child restraints with a child test dummy selected for use in accordance with the provisions of S7 of the standard. Under S7, the selection is based on the heights and weights of the children for whom the child restraint is sold. Under S7.1.2(d), NHTSA uses the Hybrid II (HII) or Hybrid III (HIII) six-year-old child test dummy to test CRSs recommended for children with masses greater than 18 kg (40 lb). Under S7.1.2(e), NHTSA uses the HIII weighted six-year-old child test dummy to test CRSs for children with masses above 22.7 kg (50 lb). The children for whom Recaro sold the subject CRSs included children with masses from 18 kilograms (kg) (40 pounds (lb)) to 30 kg (65 lb). Thus, under FMVSS No. 213, Recaro's child restraints were required to meet the child restraint system integrity requirements of FMVSS No. 213 when tested with the six-year-old Start Printed Page 39833and weighted six-year-old test dummies.