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Continental Tire North America, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

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Start Preamble

Continental Tire North America (Continental) has determined that certain tires it produced in 2006 do not comply with S5.5(f) of 49 CFR 571.139, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 139, “New pneumatic radial tires for light vehicles.” Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h), Continental 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 December 26, 2006, in the Federal Register (71 FR 77436). NHTSA received no comments.

Affected are a total of approximately 1,369 model 225/70R16 103S Continental and General replacement tires manufactured during October 2006. S5.5(f) of FMVSS No. 139 requires the actual number of plies in the tread area to be molded on both sidewalls of each tire. The noncompliant tires are marked on the sidewall “TREAD 5 PLIES 2 STEEL + 2 POLYESTER + 1 NYLON” whereas the correct marking should be “TREAD 4 PLIES 2 STEEL + 2 POLYESTER.” Continental has corrected the problem that caused these errors so that they will not be repeated in future production.

Continental Tire believes that the noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety and that no corrective action is warranted. Continental Tire states,

All other sidewall identification markings and safety information are correct. This noncompliant sidewall marking does not affect the safety, performance and durability of the tire; the tires were built as designed.

The agency agrees with Continental that the noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. The agency believes that the true measure of inconsequentiality to motor vehicle safety in this case is that there is no effect of the noncompliance on the operational safety of vehicles on which these tires are mounted. The safety of people working in the tire retread, repair, and recycling industries must also be considered.

Although tire construction affects the strength and durability, neither the Start Printed Page 5495agency nor the tire industry provides information relating tire strength and durability to the number of plies and types of ply cord material in the tread and sidewall. Therefore, tire dealers and customers should consider the tire construction information along with other information such as the load capacity, maximum inflation pressure, and tread wear, temperature, and traction ratings, to assess performance capabilities of various tires. 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 number of plies in a tire.

The agency believes the noncompliance will have no measurable effect on the safety of the tire retread, repair, and recycling industries. The use of steel cord construction in the sidewall and tread is the primary safety concern of these industries. In this case, since the tire sidewalls are marked correctly for the number of steel plies, this potential safety concern does not exist.

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, Continental's petition is granted and the petitioner is exempted from the obligation of providing notification of, and a remedy for, the noncompliance.

Start Authority

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

End Authority Start Signature

Issued on: January 30, 2007.

Daniel C. Smith,

Associate Administrator for Enforcement.

End Signature End Preamble

[FR Doc. E7-1843 Filed 2-5-07; 8:45 am]