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Notice

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC, Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

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ACTION:

Receipt of Petition.

SUMMARY:

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC, (Bridgestone),[1] has determined that certain Firestone Transforce AT, size LT265/70R17, light truck replacement tires manufactured between November 20, 2011 and December 10, 2011, do not fully comply with paragraph S5.5(d) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 139, New Pneumatic Radial Tires for Light Vehicles. Bridgestone has filed an appropriate report dated January 9, 2012, pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.

Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule at 49 CFR part 556), Bridgestone 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 Bridgestone'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.

Tires Involved: Affected are approximately 467 Firestone brand Transforce AT, size LT265/70R17, light truck replacement tires manufactured between November 20, 2011 and December 10, 2011, at the Bridgestone Canada, Inc., plant located in Uoliette, Quebec, Canada and imported into the United States by Bridgestone.

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 467 [2] tires that Bridgestone no longer controlled at the time that it determined that a noncompliance existed in the subject tires.

Noncompliance: Bridgestone explains that the noncompliance is that the sidewall marking on the intended outboard sidewall of the subject tires describes the maximum load in kilograms incorrectly. Specifically, the tires in question were inadvertently marked with a maximum load of 1350 kg. The labeling should have read 1320 kg.

Rule text: Paragraph S5.5(d) 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 * * *

(d) The maximum load rating and for LT tires, the letter designating the tire load range; * * *

Summary of Bridgestone's Analysis and Arguments

Bridgestone explains that while the noncompliant tires are mislabeled; the tires do in fact have the correct marking for the maximum load in pounds on the intended outboard sidewall, and the maximum load marking in both pounds and kg is correct on the intended inboard sidewall. The tires also meet or exceed all other applicable FMVSS.

Bridgestone argues that the subject mismarking is inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety and is unlikely to have an adverse impact on motor vehicle safety since the actual performance of the subject tires will not be affected by the mismarking. Bridgestone supports this belief by stating that the tires met the performance requirements of FMVSS No. 139 for endurance and high speed when tested at the 1350 kg load.

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

In summation, Bridgestone 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.

Comments: 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: May 4, 2012.

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

Issued on: March 29, 2012.

Claude H. Harris,

Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.

Footnotes

1.  Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC (Bridgestone), is a Delaware corporation that manufactures and imports replacement equipment.

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2.  Bridgestone's petition, which was filed under 49 CFR part 556, requests an agency decision to exempt Bridgestone as a replacement equipment manufacturer from the notification and recall responsibilities of 49 CFR Part 573 for 467 of the affected tires. However, a decision on this petition will not 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 Bridgestone notified them that the subject noncompliance existed.

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[FR Doc. 2012-8050 Filed 4-3-12; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-59-P