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Michelin North America, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Michelin

Michelin North America, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
February 11, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 28 (Monday, February 11, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 9774-9775]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-03076]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0111; Notice 1]


Michelin North America, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Receipt of Petition.

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SUMMARY: Michelin North America, Inc. (Michelin),\1\ has determined 
that certain BF Goodrich brand tires manufactured between June 12, 2011 
and April 21, 2012, do not fully comply with paragraph S5.5(b) of 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 139, New Pneumatic 
Radial Tires for Light Vehicles. Michelin has filed an appropriate 
report dated July 16, 2012, pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573, Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.
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    \1\ Michelin North America, Inc, is a manufacturer of 
replacement equipment and is registered under the laws of the state 
of New York.
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    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule 
at 49 CFR Part 556), Michelin 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 Michelin'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 1,300 g-Force Sport 
Comp2, size 205/45ZR17 88W, BF Goodrich brand tires manufactured 
between June 12, 2011 and April 21, 2012.
    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 1,300 \2\ tires that Michelin no longer 
controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed.
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    \2\ Michelin's petition, which was filed under 49 CFR Part 556, 
requests an agency decision to exempt Michelin as an equipment 
manufacturer from the notification and recall responsibilities of 49 
CFR Part 573 for the 1,300 affected tires. 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 Michelin notified 
them that the subject noncompliance existed.
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    Noncompliance: Michelin explains that the noncompliance is that, 
due to a mold labeling error, the subject tires sidewall markings on 
the opposite side of the full DOT TIN are lacking the designation 
``Extra Load'' and thus do not conform to the requirements of 49 CFR 
571.139 paragraph S5.5(b).
    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 * * *
    (b) The tire size designation as listed in the documents and 
publications specified in S4.1.1 of this standard * * *

Summary of Michelin's Analysis and Arguments

    Michelin believes that while the noncompliant tires lack the 
marking ``Extra Load'' on the sidewall opposite of the full DOT TIN as 
required by FMVSS No. 139, it is inconsequential as it relates to motor 
vehicle safety for the following reasons:
    1. The subject tires meet or exceed all applicable FMVSS 
performance standards.

[[Page 9775]]

    2. Associated with the designation ``Extra Load'' is a higher 
maximum load and a possible higher maximum inflation pressure. Each of 
the subject tires has been marked on both sidewalls with a maximum load 
of 560 kg (1235 lbs) which, under the ETRTO standard, corresponds to an 
Extra Load (or Reinforced) tire of the size 205/45ZR17 and load index 
of 88. The maximum inflation pressure marked beneath each maximum load 
is 340 kPa (50 psi), which is consistent with an Extra Load tire.
    3. Per FMVSS No. 139 and ETRTO standards, the marking ``Extra 
Load'' alerts the installer to the fact that the subject tire has a 
higher load carrying capacity than the standard load tire of the same 
dimension. In the absence of the ``Extra Load'' mark, an installer 
could fit the subject tire to a vehicle which requires a standard load 
tire. But since the subject tire has the performance capacity of an 
Extra Load tire, the load requirement of the standard load fitment 
would be exceeded.
    4. The subject tire is also a directional tire for which there is 
no intended outboard sidewall, that is, the preferred direction of 
rotation is marked on the sidewall, and when the subject tires are 
mounted on a vehicle, the left side tires on the vehicle will show the 
full DOT TIN and no Extra Load designation after the tire size. While 
this may cause some confusion for the operator, the marked maximum load 
capacity of 560 kg (1235 lbs) will be visible on the outboard facing 
sidewall of all four tires, and will confirm the same maximum load 
capacity of each fitted tire.
    5. All other sidewall markings are consistent with the requirements 
of FMVSS No. 139 for a passenger category tire and the non-conformity 
of the subject tires has no impact on the load carrying capacity of the 
tire on a motor vehicle, nor on motor vehicle safety.
    Michelin has additionally informed NHTSA that it has corrected 
future production and that all other tire labeling information is 
correct.
    In summation, Michelin 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.
    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.

DATES: Comment Closing Date: March 13, 2013.

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

    Issued On: February 1, 2013.
Claude H. Harris,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2013-03076 Filed 2-8-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P



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