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

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Geo-Trac

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

Claude H. Harris
Federal Register
October 26, 2011


[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 207 (Wednesday, October 26, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 66353-66354]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-27651]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2010-0047; Notice 2]


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

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential 
Noncompliance.

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SUMMARY: Tireco, Inc., (Tireco), has determined that approximately 
6,170 of its ``GEO-Trac'' brand P235/75R15 passenger car tires, 
manufactured between June 12, 2009 and August 20, 2009 by the 
fabricating manufacturer, the Shandong Linglong Tyre Co., Ltd., and 
imported into the United States by Tireco, do not comply with paragraph 
S5.5(c) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 139, New 
pneumatic radial tires for light vehicles. Tireco has filed an 
appropriate report pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports (dated August 31, 2009).
    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and the rule 
implementing those provisions at 49 CFR part 556, Tireco 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 Tireco's petition was published, with a 30-day 
public comment period, on April 21, 2010, in the Federal Register (75 
FR 20879). 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-2010-0047.''
    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.
    Affected are approximately 6,170 tires imported into the United 
States by

[[Page 66354]]

Tireco who identified the tires as ``Geo-Trac'' brand P235/75R15 
passenger car tires. In consultation with the fabricating manufacturer, 
the Shandong Linglong Tyre Co., Ltd., Tireco has determined that all of 
the noncompliant tires were manufactured between June 12, 2009 (Serial 
Week 24) and August 20, 2009 (Serial Week 34). A total of 6,170 these 
noncompliant tires have been recovered from its distributors and 
dealers and are currently in Tireco's possession for relabeling. The 
remaining tires (approximately 3,370) are still in the hands of 
Tireco's customers.
    Tireco explains that the noncompliance is that the markings on the 
non-compliant tires specifying the maximum inflation pressure in kPa 
and in psi are reversed from the order required by paragraph S5.5.5(c). 
The Company said that the maximum inflation pressure should have been 
marked as ``300 kPa (44 psi)'' but were ``inadvertently'' marked on 
both sidewalls with a maximum inflation pressure of ``44 kPa (300 
psi).'' Tireco reported that this noncompliance was brought to their 
attention on August 19, 2009 by one of the company's distributor 
customers.
    Tireco argues that no vehicle operator would ever inflate the tires 
to the incorrect pressures that appear on the sidewalls of the subject 
tires, and specifically stated that ``it would be virtually impossible 
to do so.'' Tireco supports this conclusion with the following 
statements:

     With respect to the erroneous psi marking, no 
commercially available air compressor used in tire retail stores, at 
gas stations, or for home use has the capacity to inflate tires to 
300 psi, and consumers would immediately be aware from their past 
experience that a pressure of 300 psi could not be correct.
     With respect to the erroneous kPa marking, it [is] 
extremely unlikely that a consumer would attempt to inflate the 
tires to 44 kPa, since (1) Drivers in the United States almost 
always utilize the psi parameter rather than kPa value when they 
inflate their tires; and (2) any driver who used the kPa parameter 
would know that the 44 kPa value was not correct, since all 
passenger car tires have a maximum inflation pressure of at least 
240 kPa. Moreover, even if a consumer were to attempt to inflate the 
tires to 44 kPa (which is equivalent to approximately 7 psi), he or 
she would immediately be aware that the tires were drastically 
underinflated, and would not be in a drivable state.

    Tireco concludes that the subject non-compliance ``cannot result in 
the tires being overloaded, or any other adverse safety consequence to 
the tires or to the vehicles on which they are mounted.'' Additionally, 
Tireco cites three cases which it believes support its conclusion that 
NHTSA has previously granted tire companies inconsequentiality 
exemptions relating to errors in the marking of maximum inflation 
pressure. (See Michelin North America, Inc., 70 FR 10161 (March 2, 
2005); Kumho Tire Co., Inc., 71 FR 6129 (February 6, 2006); and 
Michelin North America, Inc., 74 FR 10805 (March 12, 2009).
    Furthermore, Tireco points out three other substantive factors that 
support its petition:

     The subject tires meet or exceed all of the substantive 
performance requirements of FMVSS No. 139.
     There have been no complaints regarding this issue from 
vehicle owners (the incorrect markings were brought to Tireco's 
attention by one of its distributors).
     The manufacturer of these tires, Shandong Linglong Tyre 
Co., Ltd., has corrected the molds at its factory, so that this 
noncompliance will not be repeated in current or future production.

    Supported by all of the above stated reasons, Tireco 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 it 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 Decision: The agency agrees with Tireco that the 
noncompliance is 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. In 
the agency's judgment, the incorrect labeling of the tire inflation 
information will not have any consequential effect on motor vehicle 
safety because it is extremely unlikely that the consumer will inflate 
the tires to an incorrect pressure.
    The safety of people working in the tire retread, repair, and 
recycling industries was also to be considered. As with consumers, it 
is extremely unlikely that this noncompliance will cause anyone working 
in those businesses to incorrectly inflate these tires in a manner that 
will cause a measureable effect on motor vehicle safety.
    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 3,370 \1\ passenger car replacement tires that 
Tireco no longer controlled at the time that it determined that a 
noncompliance existed.
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    \1\ Tireco's petition, which was filed under 49 CFR part 556, 
requests an agency decision to exempt Tireco as a manufacturer from 
the notification and recall responsibilities of 49 CFR part 573 for 
3, 370 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 Tireco notified them that the subject noncompliance 
existed.
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    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has decided that Tireco 
has met its burden of persuasion that the subject FMVSS No. 139 
labeling noncompliances are inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. 
Accordingly, Tireco'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: October 20, 2011.
Claude H. Harris,
Acting Associate Administrator for Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2011-27651 Filed 10-25-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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