Cooper Tire & Rubber Tire Company, (Cooper), has determined that approximately 6,964 passenger car replacement tires manufactured between January 23, 2011 and March 26, 2011, do not fully comply with paragraph S5.5(f) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 139, New Pneumatic Radial Tires for Light Vehicles. Cooper has filed an appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports (dated March 31, 2011).
Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule at 49 CFR part 556), Cooper has petitioned for an exemption from the notification and remedy requirements of 49 U.S.C. chapter 301 on the basis that this noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.
This notice of receipt of Cooper's petition is published under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120 and does not represent any agency decision or other exercise of judgment concerning the merits of the petition.
Affected are approximately 6,964 size LT285/75R16 Cooper brand Discoverer S/T MAXX model passenger car replacement tires manufactured between January 23, 2011 and March 26, 2011, at Cooper's plant located in Texarkana, Arkansas.
NHTSA notes that the statutory provisions (49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h)) that permit manufacturers to file petitions for a determination of inconsequentiality allow NHTSA to exempt manufacturers only from the duties found in sections 30118 and 30120, respectively, to notify owners, purchasers, and dealers of a defect or noncompliance and to remedy the defect or noncompliance. Therefore, these provisions only apply to the 6,964  tires that Cooper no longer Start Printed Page 28503controlled at the time that it determined that a noncompliance existed in the subject tires.
Paragraph S5.5(f) of FMVSS No. 139 require in pertinent part:
S5.5 Tire markings. Except as specified in paragraphs (a) through (i) of S5.5, each tire must be marked on each sidewall with the information specified in S5.5(a) through (d) and on one sidewall with the information specified in S5.5(e) through (i) according to the phase-in schedule specified in S7 of this standard. The markings must be placed between the maximum section width and the bead on at least one sidewall, unless the maximum section width of the tire is located in an area that is not more than one-fourth of the distance from the bead to the shoulder of the tire. If the maximum section width falls within that area, those markings must appear between the bead and a point one-half the distance from the bead to the shoulder of the tire, on at least one sidewall. The markings must be in letters and numerals not less than 0.078 inches high and raised above or sunk below the tire surface not less than 0.015 inches * * *
(f) The actual number of plies in the sidewall, and the actual number of plies in the tread area, if different * * *
Cooper explains that the noncompliance is that, due to a mold labeling error, the sidewall marking on the reference side of the tires incorrectly describes the actual number of plies in the tread area of the tires as required by paragraph S5.5(f). Specifically, the tires in question were inadvertently manufactured with “TREAD 1 PLY NYLON + 2 PLY STEEL + 3 PLY POLYESTER; SIDEWALL 3 PLY POLYESTER.” The labeling should have been “TREAD 2 PLY NYLON + 2 PLY STEEL + 3 PLY POLYESTER; SIDEWALL 3 PLY POLYESTER.”
Cooper also explains that while the non-compliant tires are mislabeled, the tires do in fact have 2 Nylon tread plies and meet or exceed all other applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
Cooper reported that this noncompliance was discovered during a review of the specified stamping requirements and visual inspection of tire stamping.
Cooper argues that this noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety because the noncompliant sidewall marking does not create an unsafe condition and all other labeling requirements have been met.
Cooper points out that NHTSA has previously granted similar petitions for non-compliances in sidewall marking.
In summation, Cooper believes that the described noncompliance of its tires to meet the requirements of FMVSS No. 139 is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that its petition, to exempt from providing recall notification of noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118 and remedying the recall noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120 should be granted.
Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments on this petition. Comments must refer to the docket and notice number cited at the beginning of this notice and be submitted by any of the following methods:
a. By mail addressed to: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590.
b. By hand delivery to U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M-30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590. The Docket Section is open on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Federal Holidays.
c. Electronically: by logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at http://www.regulations.gov/. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Comments may also be faxed to 1-202-493-2251.
Comments must be written in the English language, and be no greater than 15 pages in length, although there is no limit to the length of necessary attachments to the comments. If comments are submitted in hard copy form, please ensure that two copies are provided. If you wish to receive confirmation that your comments were received, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard with the comments. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided.
Documents submitted to a docket may be viewed by anyone at the address and times given above. The documents may also be viewed on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov by following the online instructions for accessing the dockets. DOT's complete Privacy Act Statement is available for review in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000, (65 FR 19477-78).
The petition, supporting materials, and all comments received before the close of business on the closing date indicated below will be filed and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials received after the closing date will also be filed and will be considered to the extent possible. When the petition is granted or denied, notice of the decision will be published in the Federal Register pursuant to the authority indicated below.
Comment closing date: June 16, 2011.Start Signature
Issued on: May 11, 2011.
Claude H. Harris,
Acting Associate Administrator for Enforcement.
1. Cooper Tire & Rubber Tire Company (Cooper) is a replacement equipment manufacturer incorporated in the state of Delaware.Back to Citation
2. Cooper's petition, which was filed under 49 CFR Part 556, requests an agency decision to exempt Cooper as a replacement equipment manufacturer from the notification and recall responsibilities of 49 CFR part 573 for 6,964 of the affected tires. However, the agency cannot relieve tire distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of the noncompliant tires under their control after Cooper notified them that the subject noncompliance existed. Those tires must be brought into conformance, exported, or destroyed.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 2011-11991 Filed 5-16-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P