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Notice

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

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ACTION:

Notice of petition grant.

SUMMARY:

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (Goodyear) [1] has determined that certain Goodyear commercial truck tires manufactured between April 2007 and July 2010 did not fully comply with paragraph S6.5(f) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 119, New Pneumatic Tires for Motor Vehicles with a GVWR of more than 4,536 Kilograms (10,000 Pounds) and Motorcycles. Goodyear has filed an appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports (dated August 12, 2010).

Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and the rule implementing those provisions at 49 CFR part 556, Goodyear 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.

Notice of receipt of Goodyear's petition was published with a 30-day public comment period, on December 28, 2010, in the Federal Register (75 FR 81712). No comments were received. To view the petition and all supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket Management System Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online search instructions to locate docket number “NHTSA-2010-0174.”

Contact Information: For further information on this decision, contact Mr. George Gillespie, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202) 366-5299, facsimile (202) 366-7002.

Summary of Goodyear's Petition: Affected are approximately 43,887 Goodyear G622 LR-F commercial truck tires manufactured from April 2007 to July 2010. A total of approximately 38,991 of these tires have been delivered to Goodyear's customers in the United States.

Goodyear explains that the noncompliance is that, due to a mold labeling error, the sidewall marking on the tires incorrectly identifies the number of plies as “Tread 5 Plies Steel” when in fact it should be identified as “Tread 4 Plies Steel” on the sidewall of the tires as required by paragraph S6.5(f) of FMVSS No. 119.

Goodyear also explains that while the non-compliant tires are mislabeled, all of the tires included in this petition meet or exceed the performance requirements of FMVSS No. 119.

Goodyear 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.

Goodyear also points out that NHTSA has previously granted similar petitions for non-compliances in sidewall marking.

Goodyear additionally states that it has corrected the affected tire molds and all future production will have the correct material shown on the sidewall.

In summation, Goodyear believes that the described noncompliance of its tires to meet the requirements of FMVSS No. 119 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, and should be granted.

NHTSA Decision: The agency agrees with Goodyear that the noncompliances are 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 noncompliances 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 agency 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 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 ply material in a tire.

The agency also believes the noncompliance will have no measureable 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, because the sidewall markings indicate that some steel plies exist in the tire sidewall, this potential safety concern does not exist.

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, this decision only applies to the 38,991 [2] tires that Goodyear no longer controlled at the time that it determined that a noncompliance existed in the subject tires.

In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has decided that Goodyear has met its burden of persuasion that the subject FMVSS No. 119 labeling noncompliances are 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 subject noncompliance under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120.

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

Issued on: January 12, 2012.

Claude H. Harris,

Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.

Footnotes

1.  The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (Goodyear) is a State of Ohio corporation that manufactures replacement motor vehicle equipment.

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2.  Goodyear's petition, which was filed under 49 CFR part 556, requests an agency decision to exempt Goodyear as a manufacturer from the notification and recall responsibilities of 49 CFR 573 for 38,991 of the affected tires. However, a decision on this petition cannot relieve distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the sale, offer for sale, or introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of the noncompliant tires under their control after Goodyear notified them that the subject noncompliance existed.

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[FR Doc. 2012-938 Filed 1-19-12; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-59-P