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Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Cooper Tires

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
August 2, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 149 (Friday, August 2, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 47050-47051]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-18577]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0109; Notice 2]


Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Grant of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Grant of petition.

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SUMMARY: Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (Cooper) \1\ has determined that 
certain Cooper brand replacement tires manufactured between May 20, 
2012 and June 16, 2012, do not fully comply with paragraph S5.5 of 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 139, New Pneumatic 
Radial Tires for Light Vehicles. Cooper has filed an appropriate report 
dated July 5, 2012, pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573, Defect and 
Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.
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    \1\ Cooper Tire & Rubber Company 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) and the rule 
implementing those provisions at 49 CFR Part 556, Cooper 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 the 
petition was published, with a 30-day public comment period, on 
February 11, 2013 in the Federal Register (78 FR 9775.) No comments 
were received. To view the petition and all supporting documents log 
onto the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online search instructions to 
locate docket number ``NHTSA-2012-0109.''

Contact Information: For further information on this decision contact 
Mr. Abraham Diaz, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202) 366-
5310, facsimile (202) 366-7002.
    Equipment Involved: Affected are approximately 1,080 size P225/
70R14 El Dorado Legend GT brand standard load replacement tires 
manufactured in Mexico by Cooper's affiliate, Corporaci[oacute]n de 
Occidente S.A. de C.V., between May 20, 2012, and June 16, 2012.
    Rule Text: Section S5.5 of FMVSS No. 139 specifically states:

    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 sidewall 
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 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.
    (e) The generic name of each cord material used in the plies 
(both sidewall and tread area) of the tire;
    (f) The actual number of plies in the sidewall, and the actual 
number of plies in the tread area, if different; . . .

    Summary of Cooper's Analyses: Cooper explains that the 
noncompliance is that due to a mold labeling error the sidewall marking 
on 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 2 PLY STEEL + 2 PLY POLYESTER; SIDEWALL 2 PLY POLYESTER.'' 
The labeling should have been ``TREAD 1 PLY NYLON + 2 PLY STEEL + 2 PLY 
POLYESTER; SIDEWALL 2 PLY POLYESTER.''
    Cooper believes that while the noncompliant tires are mislabeled, 
the subject tires in fact have more tread plies than indicated and meet 
or exceed all performance requirements as required in part by FMVSS No. 
139.
    In addition, Cooper states that it has corrected the problem that 
caused the

[[Page 47051]]

noncompliance so that it will not reoccur in future production.
    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 Decision: The agency agrees with Cooper 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 noncompliance on 
the operational safety of vehicles on which these tires are mounted. 
The safety of people working in the tire retread, repair, and recycling 
industries must also be considered.
    Although tire construction affects the strength and durability, 
neither the agency nor the tire industry provides information relating 
tire strength and durability to the number of plies and types of ply 
cord material in the tread and sidewall. Therefore, tire dealers and 
customers should consider the tire construction information along with 
other information such as the load capacity, maximum inflation 
pressure, and tread wear, temperature, and traction ratings to assess 
performance capabilities of various tires. In the agency's judgment, 
the incorrect labeling of the tire construction information will have 
an inconsequential effect on motor vehicle safety because most 
consumers do not base tire purchases or vehicle operation parameters on 
the number of plies in a tire.
    The agency also believes the noncompliance will have no measurable 
effect on the safety of the tire retread, repair, and recycling 
industries. The use of steel cord construction in the sidewall and 
tread is the primary safety concern of these industries. In this case, 
since the tires are marked correctly with respect to steel ply content, 
this potential safety concern does not exist.
    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has decided that Cooper 
has met its burden of persuasion that the FMVSS No. 139 noncompliance 
in the tires identified in Cooper's Noncompliance Information Report is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, Cooper's petition 
is granted and the petitioner is exempted from the obligation of 
providing notification of, and a remedy for, that noncompliance under 
49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120.
    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 approximately 1,080 tires that Cooper no longer 
controlled at the time that it determined that a noncompliance existed 
in the subject tires. However, the granting of this petition does not 
relieve tire 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.

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

    Issued on: July 25, 2013.
Claude H. Harris,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2013-18577 Filed 8-1-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P



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