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Notice

Tireco, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION:

Receipt of Petition.

SUMMARY:

Tireco, Inc. (Tireco) has determined that certain Milestar brand replacement medium truck tires do not fully comply with paragraph S6.5(j), and in some cases also paragraph S6.5(d), of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 119, New Pneumatic Tires for Vehicles with a GVWR of More Than 4,536 Kilograms (10,000 Pounds) and Motorcycles. Tireco has filed an appropriate report dated February 5, 2015, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.

DATES:

The closing date for comments on the petition is July 24, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

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 submitted by any of the following methods:

  • Mail: Send comments 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.
  • Hand Deliver: Deliver comments by hand 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.
  • Electronically: Submit comments 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 (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.

End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Tireco's Petition: Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule at 49 CFR part 556), Tireco submitted a petition 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. In a letter dated May 7, 2015, Tireco also submitted a supplement to its petition.

This notice of receipt of Tireco'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.

II. Replacement Tires Involved: Affected are approximately 31,316 Milestar brand medium truck replacement tires that were imported by Tireco and manufactured by Shandong Wanda Boto Tyre Co, LTD in China between June 3, 2013 and January 25, 2015. Refer to Tireco's 49 CFR part 573 report for detailed descriptions of the affected tires.

III. Noncompliance: Tireco states that the subject tires do not comply with paragraph S6.5(j) of FMVSS No. 119 because they are marked the letter “J” instead of the letter “L” to designate the tire's load range, or are not marked with any load range letter. In addition, some of the affected tires also do not fully comply with paragraph S6.5(d) of FMVSS No. 119 because, while the proper maximum load ratings and pressures are specified correctly on the sidewalls for both single and dual applications, both ratings are identified as “DUAL.” The first rating should have been identified as “SINGLE.”

IV. Rule Text: Paragraph S6.5 of FMVSS No. 119 requires in pertinent part:

S6.5 Tire markings. Except as specified in this paragraph, each tire shall be marked on each sidewall with the information specified in paragraphs (a) through (j) of this section. The markings shall be placed between the maximum section width (exclusive of sidewall decorations or curb ribs) and the bead on at least one sidewall, unless the maximum section width of the tire is located in an area which 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, the markings shall 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 shall be in letters and numerals not less than 2 mm (0.078 inch) high and raised above or sunk below the tire surface not less than 0.4 mm (0.015 inch), except that the marking depth shall be not less than 0.25mm (0.010 inch) in the case of motorcycle tires. The tire identification and the DOT symbol labeling shall comply with part 574 of this chapter. Markings may appear on only one sidewall and the entire sidewall area may be used in the case of motorcycle tires and recreational, boat, baggage, and special trailer tires. . . .Start Printed Page 36407

(d) The maximum load rating and corresponding inflation pressure of the tire, show as follows:

(Mark on tires rated for single and dual load): Max load single __kg (__lb) at __kPa (__psi) cold. Max load dual __kg (__lb) at __kPa (__psi) cold.

(Mark on tires rated only for single load): Max load __kg (__lb) at __kPa (__psi) cold. . . .

(j) The letter designating the tire load range.

V. Summary of Tireco's Analyses: Tireco believes that the absence of the load range marking on some of the subject tires causes little or no risk of overloading of the tires by an end-user because the tires are marked with the correct number of plies, the correct load index and the correct maximum load values which Tireco believes provide equivalent information. Tireco also states that it has found one previous inconsequential noncompliance petition (see 79 FR 78562 (December 30, 2014)) in which the agency addressed the issue of a missing load range marking and believes that the agency should apply the same rationale in the case of the its petition.

In the case of the subset of affected tires marked with the incorrect load range letter “J,” Tireco believes there is no safety consequence since the tires actually were designed and manufactured to be stronger than load range “J” tires (which are constructed with two fewer plies). Thus, there is no risk that the incorrect marking would lead to overloading by an end-user. Moreover, the paper label attached to each of the tires, which must remain attached until the time of sale, contains the correct load range information, so there is little, if any, possibility that a purchaser will be misled.

In the case of the subset of affected tires that can be used in single or dual configuration, Tireco believes that the fact that both of the ratings were labeled as applicable to “DUAL” applications cannot realistically create a safety problem. Particularly since the tires are correctly marked with the correct maximum load capacity and inflation pressure in accordance with The Tire and Rim Association 2014 Year Book. Tireco also believes that any prospective purchaser of these tires, any operator of a truck equipped with these tires, and any tire retailer would immediately recognize that the first rating, “1800Kg (3970LBS) AT 760 KPa (110 PSI) COLD,” applies to the “single” configuration, and the second rating, “1700Kg (3750LBS) AT 760 kPa (110 PSI) COLD,” applies to the “dual” configuration. Such persons are fully aware that for all medium truck tires designed to be used in both single and dual configurations, the maximum load and corresponding pressure applicable to the single configuration is listed above the information applicable to the dual configuration. Such persons also would be aware that there could be no valid reason to have two different maximum loads for the dual configuration, and thus would immediately understand that the first load rating was meant to apply when the tire was utilized in a single configuration. Moreover, since the applicable inflation pressure is the same for both configurations, there is no risk that the mismarking would cause an operator to improperly inflate any of the tires. Tireco states that when a tire is designed for use in both single and dual configurations, FMVSS No. 119 requires that compliance testing be conducted based on the higher, more punishing tire load. Accordingly, Tireco believes that the tires will perform safely in both configurations. Tireco also believes that this principle was relied upon in grants of two similar petitions filed by Michelin North America, Inc. See 71 FR 77092 (December 22, 2006) and 69 FR 62512 (October 26, 2004).

In addition, Tireco stated its belief that all of tires covered by this petition meet or exceed the performance requirements of FMVSS No. 119, as well as the other labeling requirements of the standard.

Tireco is not aware of any crashes, injuries, customer complaints, or field reports associated with the subject mislabelings.

As soon as Tireco became aware of the noncompliance, it immediately isolated the noncompliant inventory in Tireco's warehouses to prevent any additional sales. Tireco will bring all of the noncompliant tires into full compliance with the requirements of FMVSS No. 119, or else the tires will be scrapped. Tireco also believes that the fabricating manufacturer has corrected the molds at the manufacturing plant, so no additional tires will be manufactured with the noncompliance.

In summation, Tireco believes that the described noncompliance of the subject tires is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that its petition, to exempt Tireco 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.

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, any decision on this petition only applies to the subject tires that Tireco no longer controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. However, any decision on this petition does not relieve equipment 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 Tireco notified them that the subject noncompliance existed.

Start Authority

Authority: (49 U.S.C. 30118, 30120: delegations of authority at 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8).

End Authority Start Signature

Jeffrey Giuseppe,

Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2015-15425 Filed 6-23-15; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-59-P