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

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Bridgestone

Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC, 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 47049-47050]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-18576]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0108; Notice 2]


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

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Grant of petition.

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SUMMARY: Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC (Bridgestone),\1\ 
has determined that certain Bridgestone brand replacement tires 
manufactured between June 19, 2011 and March 17, 2012, do not fully 
comply with paragraph Sec.  5.5(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) and the rule 
implementing those provisions at 49 CFR Part 556, Bridgestone 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 December 3, 2012 in the Federal Register (77 FR 71679). 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-2012-0108.''

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 1,102 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.
    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 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 Analyses: 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 and therefore does not 
comply with paragraph Sec.  5.5(f) of FMVSS No. 139. 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.''
    Bridgestone stated its belief that the subject noncompliance is 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety because 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 points out that NHTSA has previously granted similar 
petitions for non-compliances in sidewall markings.
    Bridgestone has also 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 the subject tires is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and 
that its petition, to exempt 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.

[[Page 47050]]

    NHTSA Decision: The agency agrees with Bridgestone 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 in this 
case 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 
Bridgestone has met its burden of persuasion that the FMVSS No. 139 
noncompliance and is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. 
Accordingly, Bridgestone's petition is hereby 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 97 tires that Bridgestone 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 
Bridgestone 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. 2013-18576 Filed 8-1-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P



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