The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (Goodyear) has determined that certain tires it manufactured in 2002-2004 do not comply with S4.3(d) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 109, “New pneumatic tires.” Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h), Goodyear has petitioned for a determination that this noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety and has filed an appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, “Defect and Noncompliance Reports.” Notice of receipt of a petition was published, with a 30-day comment period, on May 31, 2005, in the Federal Register (70 FR 31006). NHTSA received one comment.
Affected are a total of approximately 6117 Eagle F1 Supercar tires in four different sizes, manufactured from January 2002 to December 2004. S4.3(d) of FMVSS No. 109 requires that “each tire shall have permanently molded into or onto both sidewalls * * * (d) The generic name of each cord material used in the plies (both sidewall and tread area) of the tire.” The labeling information on the noncompliant tires incorrectly states that one of the tire reinforcement materials is NYLON when the actual material in these tires is ARAMID.
Goodyear believes that the noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety and that no corrective action is warranted. Goodyear states that the mislabeling creates no unsafe condition. Goodyear further states that all of the markings related to tire service including load capacity and corresponding inflation pressure are correct, and that the tires meet or exceed all applicable FMVSS performance requirements.
The Transportation Recall, Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation (TREAD) Act (Public Law 106-414) required, among other things, that the agency initiate rulemaking to improve tire label information. In response, the agency published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) in the Federal Register on December 1, 2000 (65 FR 75222).
The agency received more than 20 comments on the tire labeling Start Printed Page 41476information required by 49 CFR sections 571.109 and 119, part 567, part 574, and part 575. In addition, the agency conducted a series of focus groups, as required by the TREAD Act, to examine consumer perceptions and understanding of tire labeling. Few of the focus group participants had knowledge of tire labeling beyond the tire brand name, tire size, and tire pressure.
Based on the information obtained from comments to the ANPRM and the consumer focus groups, we have concluded that it is likely that few consumers have been influenced by the tire construction information (number of plies and cord material in the sidewall and tread plies) provided on the tire label when deciding to buy a motor vehicle or tire.
Therefore, the agency agrees with Goodyear's statement that the incorrect markings in this case do not present a serious safety concern. (This decision is limited to its specific facts. As some commenters on the ANPRM noted, the existence of steel in a tire's sidewall can be relevant to the manner in which it should be repaired or retreaded.) There is no effect of the noncompliance on the operational safety of vehicles on which these tires are mounted. In the agency's judgment, the incorrect labeling of the tire construction information will have an inconsequential effect on motor vehicle safety because most consumers do not base tire purchases or vehicle operation parameters on the tire labeling information found on the side of the tire. In addition, the tires are certified to meet all the performance requirements of FMVSS No. 109 and all other informational markings as required by FMVSS No. 109 are present. Goodyear has corrected the problem.
One comment favoring denial was received from a private individual. The issue to be considered in determining whether to grant this petition is the effect of the noncompliance on motor vehicle safety. The comment does not address this issue, and therefore has no bearing on NHTSA's determination.
In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has decided that the petitioner has met its burden of persuasion that the noncompliance described is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, Goodyear's petition is granted and the petitioner is exempted from the obligation of providing notification of, and a remedy for, the noncompliance.Start Signature
Issued on: July 13, 2005.
Ronald L. Medford,
Senior Associate Administrator for Vehicle Safety.
[FR Doc. 05-14108 Filed 7-18-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P