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

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Bridgestone

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

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
December 3, 2012


[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 232 (Monday, December 3, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 71679-71680]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-29135]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0108; Notice 1]


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

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Receipt of petition.

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SUMMARY: Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC (BRIDGESTONE),\1\ 
has determined that certain Bridgestone brand tires manufactured 
between June 19, 2011 and March 17, 2012, do not fully comply with 
paragraph S5.5(f) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 
139, New Pneumatic Radial Tires for Light Vehicles. Bridgestone has 
filed an appropriate report dated July 19, 2012, pursuant to 49 CFR 
Part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.
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    \1\ Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC, is a manufacturer 
of replacement equipment and is registered under the laws of the 
state of Delaware.
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    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule 
at 49 CFR part 556), Bridgestone 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 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.
    Vehicles Involved: Affected are approximately 1,102 Firestone 
Firehawk Wide Oval AS size 245/40R19 and 245/35R20 brand tires 
manufactured between June 19, 2011, and March 17, 2012. Only 97 of the 
affected tires are no longer under the control of the petitioner. 
Therefore, only those 97 tires are the subject of this petition.
    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 subject 97 \2\ tires that Bridgestone no longer 
controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed.
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    \2\ Bridgestone's petition, which was filed under 49 CFR part 
556, requests an agency decision to exempt Bridgestone as an 
equipment manufacturer from the notification and recall 
responsibilities of 49 CFR part 573 for the 97 affected tires that 
it still controls. However, a decision on this petition will not 
relieve vehicle distributors and dealers of the prohibitions on the 
sale, offer for sale, introduction or delivery for introduction into 
interstate commerce of the noncompliant vehicles under their control 
after Bridgestone notified them that the subject noncompliance 
existed. The 1,005 affected tires that Bridgestone still controls 
must be remedied or destroyed.
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    Noncompliance: Bridgestone explains that the noncompliance is that, 
due to a mold labeling error. The sidewall marking on the reference 
side of the tires incorrectly describes the actual number of plies in 
the tread area of the tires as required by paragraph S5.5(f). 
Specifically, the tires in question were inadvertently manufactured 
with ``TREAD 1 POLYESTER 2 STEEL 1 NYLON.'' The labeling should have 
been ``TREAD 1 POLYESTER 2 STEEL 2 NYLON.''
    Rule Text: Paragraph S5.5 of FMVSS No. 139 requires 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 side-
wall 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 that 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 * * *
    (f) The actual number of plies in the sidewall, and the actual 
number of plies in the tread area, if different * * *

Summary of Bridgestone's Analysis and Arguments

    Bridgestone believes that while the noncompliant tires are 
mislabeled; the subject tires meet or exceed all performance 
requirements as required in part by FMVSS No. 139 and that the 
noncompliant labeling has no impact on the operational performance or 
safety of vehicles on which these tires are mounted.
    Bridgestone also points out that NHTSA has previously granted 
similar petitions for non-compliances in sidewall markings.
    Bridgestone has additionally informed NHTSA that it has corrected 
future production and will re-label the 1,005 contained tires to 
reflect correct construction.
    In summation, Bridgestone believes that the described noncompliance 
of its tires 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.
    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.

[[Page 71680]]

    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: January 2, 2013.

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

    Issued on: November 28, 2012.
Claude H. Harris,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2012-29135 Filed 11-30-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P



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