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Notice

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, 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:

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (Cooper), has determined that certain Cooper tires do not fully comply with paragraph S5.5.1(b) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 139, New Pneumatic Tires Radial Tires for Light Vehicles. Cooper has filed an appropriate report dated August 13, 2015, pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.

DATES:

The closing date for comments on the petition is November 23, 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 above will be filed and will be considered. All comments and supporting materials received after the closing date will also be filed and will Start Printed Page 64058be 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.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Overview: Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule at 49 CFR part 556), Cooper 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.

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.

II. Tires Involved: Affected are approximately 1,350 Cooper Weather-Master S/T2 size 215/70R15 tires manufactured between April 26, 2015 and May 29, 2015.

III. Noncompliance: Cooper explains that the noncompliance is that the inboard sidewalls of the subject tires are labeled with an incorrect manufacturer's identification mark and therefore do not fully meet all applicable requirements of paragraph S5.5.1(b) of FMVSS No. 139. Specifically, the tires are labeled with manufacturer's identification mark “U8” instead of “U9.”

IV. Rule Text: Paragraph S5.5.1 of FMVSS No. 139 requires in pertinent part:

S5.5.1 Tire Identification Number.

* * * * *

(b) Tires manufactured on or after September 1, 2009. Each tire must be labeled with the tire identification number required by 49 CFR part 574 on the intended outboard sidewall of the tire. Except for retreaded tires, either the tire identification number or a partial tire identification number, containing all characters in the tire identification number, except for the date code and, at the discretion of the manufacturer, any optional code, must be labeled on the other sidewall of the tire. Except for retreaded tires, if a tire does not have an intended outboard sidewall, the tire must be labeled with the tire identification number required by 49 CFR part 574 on one sidewall and with either the tire identification number or a partial tire identification number, containing all characters in the tire identification number except for the date code and, at the discretion of the manufacturer, any optional code, on the other side wall.

V. Summary of Cooper's Petition: Cooper states its belief that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety because while the subject tires contain an incorrect manufacturer's identification mark on the inboard sidewall, the full and correct tire code (including the correct manufacturer's identification mark) is available on the intended outboard sidewall. In addition, Cooper stated that the tires are marked with the Cooper Weather-Master S/T2 brand name that is exclusively owned by Cooper Tire & Rubber Company.

Cooper also indicated that it has taken the following steps to ensure proper registration of the subject tires:

(a) Cooper has informed all internal personnel responsible for manual processing of tire registration cards about the “U8” issue so that cards containing the “U8” designation will be accepted and properly processed when all other information accurately identifies the subject tires. And, Cooper will follow up with the consumer seeking additional information by providing a prepaid response card.

(b) Cooper is in the process of modifying its database to accept “U8” when other information (brand, serial weeks affected etc.) is accurate.

(c) Cooper has contacted Computerized Information and Management Services, Inc. (CIMS) so that tire registration cards will not be rejected solely due to improper plant code information.

Cooper additionally informed NHTSA that on May 29, 2015 the incorrect mold was pulled and the stamping error that caused the subject noncompliance was corrected at that time.

Refer to Coopers' petition for their complete reasoning and any associated illustrations. The petition and all supporting documents are available by logging onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov/​ and following the online search instructions to locate the docket number listed in the title of this notice.

In summation, Cooper believes that the described noncompliance of the subject tires is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that its petition, to exempt Cooper 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 Cooper 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 Cooper 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. 2015-26804 Filed 10-21-15; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-59-P