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Foreign Tire Sales, Inc., Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Foreign Tire Sales

Foreign Tire Sales, Inc., Denial of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Nancy Lummen Lewis
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
November 27, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 229 (Wednesday, November 27, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 71032-71033]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-28461]



[[Page 71032]]

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2010-0063; Notice 2]


Foreign Tire Sales, Inc., Denial of Petition for Decision of 
Inconsequential Noncompliance

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Denial of Petition.

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SUMMARY: Foreign Tire Sales, Inc. (FTS), as importer for ProMeter brand 
medium truck radial replacement tires manufactured by Shandlong 
Linglong Rubber Company Limited, has determined that certain 
replacement tires manufactured during the period between the 15th week 
of 2008 and 22nd week of 2009 do not fully comply with paragraph 
S6.5(d) of 49 CFR 571.119, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
(FMVSS) No. 119, New Pneumatic Tires for Motor Vehicles With a GVWR of 
More than 4,536 Kilograms (10,000 pounds) and Motorcycles. FTS has 
filed an appropriate report dated June 11, 2009, pursuant to 49 CFR 
Part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility and Reports.

ADDRESSES: 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.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    FTS's Petition: Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and the 
regulation implementing those provisions at 49 CFR part 556, FTS 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 FTS's petition was published with a 30-day 
public comment period, on June 8, 2010, in the Federal Register (75 FR 
32536). 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-2010-0063.''
    Tires Involved: Affected are approximately 2,659 size 285/75R-24.5 
14 ply (steer and drive) and 295/75R-22.5 14 ply (steer and drive) 
ProMeter brand medium truck radial tires manufactured during the period 
between the 15th week of 2008 and 22nd week of 2009 with DOT Numbers: 
285/75R-24.5--OU4CFTS1508-0U4CFT2209 and 295/75R-22.5--OU34FTS1508-
0U34FTS2209.
    Summary of FTS'S Analysis: FTS stated that it believed that 100% of 
the 2,659 tires involved contained the identified non-compliance. FTS 
says it sold these tires to eleven customers who are distributors. 
Three of the eleven distributors have not sold any of these tires to 
their customers.
    In a supplemental letter dated April 14, 2010, FTS submitted 
corrections of typographical errors in its petition and stated that 
subsequent to submitting its petition it had decided to remedy all of 
the subject tires that it held in its possession as well as those that 
had not been sold by its customers (the eleven tire distributors). FTS 
also revised its estimate of the number of affected tires to 2,000, 
which encompasses tires that had been sold and not retrieved for 
remedy. Therefore, it is only those 2,000 tires for which FTS is 
requesting exemption from the notification and remedy requirements 
because it claims that the remaining 659 tires have been remedied.
    FTS describes the noncompliance as its failure to provide accurate 
load and inflation information as required by FMVSS No. 119. The 
maximum load rating and corresponding inflation pressure that are 
erroneously marked on the FTS tires and the correct information for the 
non-conforming tires are as follows:

    295/75R22.5/14 is marked:

Max. Load Single 2800 kg (6175 lbs) at 720 kPa (105 psi) cold.
Max. Load Dual 2650 kg (5840 lbs) at 720 kPa (105 psi) cold.

    295/75R22.5/14 should be marked:

Max. Load Single 2800 kg (6175 lbs) at 760 kPa (110 psi) cold.
Max. Load Dual 2575 kg (5675 lbs) at 760 kPa (110 psi) cold.

    285/75R24.5/14 is marked:

Max. Load Single 3000 kg (6610 lbs) at 720 kPa (105 psi) cold.
Max. Load Dual 2725 kg (6005 lbs) at 720 kPa (105 psi) cold.

    285/75R24.5/14 should be marked:

Max. Load Single 2800 kg (6175 lbs) at 760 kPa (110 psi) cold.
Max. Load Dual 2575 kg (5675 lbs) at 760 kPa (110 psi) cold.

    FTS states that the non-compliance of its tires was brought to its 
attention on June 9, 2009, ``when new molds were ordered and the old 
molds were compared to the new molds.''
    FTS also states that it has advised the manufacturer to hold any 
additional non-conforming tires and to change the inaccurate 
information on the tires before exporting them to the United States.
    FTS argues that the inaccurate markings on the tires are 
inconsequential because the difference between the proper load ranges 
and inflation pressures are minimal. FTS bases its conclusion on its 
testing of the subject tires using the inaccurate information noted on 
its tires, and FTS asserts that the tires ``greatly exceed all FMVSS 
testing result requirements.'' Specifically, FTS points out that it 
subjected the tested tires to a modified FMVSS No. 119 endurance test 
which it states ``is far more demanding than the requirements of FMVSS 
119.''
    FTS submitted with its application for exemption from notification 
and remedy requirements a copy of eight endurance test reports, 
originally written in Chinese, and the English translation of those 
reports. FTS states that ``These tests performed using the load 
inflation information which appears on the subject tires clearly 
indicates that even at the wrong inflation pressure, these tires 
greatly exceed FMVSS 119 and are safe.'' FTS additionally states that 
``the mislabeling of the tires poses absolutely no safety issue since 
even if a user of the tires inflates the tire to the load inflation 
pressure contained on the side wall of the subject tire, we know that 
the tire greatly exceeds all requirements (i.e. the tires ran almost 
three times longer than required by FMVSS 119 at loads increased by 10% 
every ten hours (nine times over 130 hours)).''
    In summation, FTS requests that NHTSA deem this issue as 
``incidental mislabeling'' as it has no bearing on the safety of the 
tires, therefore requests that FTS's petition, to exempt FTS from 
providing recall notification of noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 
30118 and remedy the recall noncompliance as required by 49 U.S.C. 
30120, should be granted.

Parts in Pertinent

Requirements Background

    Paragraph S6.5(d) of FMVSS No. 119 requires in pertinent part:

    S6.5 Tire markings. Except as specified in this paragraph, each 
tire shall be marked on each sidewall with the information specified 
in paragraphs (a) through (j) of this section. The markings shall be 
placed between the maximum section width (exclusive of sidewall 
decorations or curb ribs) and the bead on at least one sidewall, 
unless the maximum section width of the tire is located in an area 
which 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, the markings shall

[[Page 71033]]

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 shall be in letters and numerals not less than 2 mm (0.078 
inch) high and raised above or sunk below the tire surface not less 
than 0.4 mm (0.015 inch), except that the marking depth shall be not 
less than 0.25mm (0.010 inch) in the case of motorcycle tires. The 
tire identification and the DOT symbol labeling shall comply with 
part 574 of this chapter. Markings may appear on only one sidewall 
and the entire sidewall area may be used in the case of motorcycle 
tires and recreational, boat, baggage, and special trailer tires
* * * * *
    (d) The maximum load rating and corresponding inflation pressure 
of the tire, shown as follows:
    (Mark on tires rated for single and dual load): max load single 
------kg (------lb) at ------kPa (------psi) cold. Max load dual --
----kg (------lb) at ------kPa (------psi) cold.
    (Mark on tires rated only for single load): Max load ------kg 
(------lb) at ------kPa (------psi) cold.

    NHTSA'S Analysis of FTS'S Reasoning: Foreign Tire Sales (FTS) 
acknowledges that the subject tires are marked with a maximum load 
rating higher than the intended correct value and a corresponding 
inflation pressure lower than the intended correct value, but contends 
that the tires are safe for use based on additional tests conducted at 
the incorrectly marked inflation pressure and at loads greater than the 
incorrectly marked maximum load rating. The maximum load rating and 
corresponding inflation pressure that are erroneously marked on the 
subject FTS tires, size 295/75R22.5/14 and 285/75R24.5/14 and of the 
correct information for the non-comforming tires as follows: For the 
subject 295/75R22.5/14 tires, they are marked Max. Load Single 2800 kg 
(6175 lbs) at 720 kPa (105 psi) cold and Max. Load Dual 2650 kg (5840 
LBS) at 720 kPa (105 psi) Cold. The correct labeling for these tires 
are: Max. Load Single 2800 kg (6175 lbs) at 760 kPa (110 psi) Cold and 
Max. Load Dual 2575 kg (5675 lbs) at 760 kPa (110 psi) cold. For the 
subject 285/75R24.5/14 tires, they are marked Max. Load Single 3000 kg 
(6610 lbs) at 720 kPa (105 psi) cold and Max. Load Dual 2725 kg (6005 
lbs) at 720 kpa (105 psi) cold. The correct labeling for these tires 
are: Max. Load Single 2800 kg (6175 lbs) at 760 kpa (110 psi) cold and 
Max. Load Dual 2575 kg (5675 lbs) at 760 kpa (110 psi) cold.
    The additional testing conducted by FTS on the subject tires to 
support its basis that the tires are safe for use consisted of eight 
(8) modified FMVSS No. 119 tests, in which the tires were tested at the 
incorrectly marked inflation pressure and at loads increased by 10% 
every ten hours of testing up to almost three times longer than that 
required by FMVSS No. 119. FTS argues that the inaccurate markings on 
the subject tires are inconsequential because the difference between 
the proper load ranges and inflation pressures are minimal. FTS further 
argues that based on its modified FMVSS No. 119 testing, even if a user 
of the subject tires inflates the tire to the load inflation pressure 
as marked on the sidewall of the subject tires, the tires greatly 
exceed FMVSS No. 119 and are safe.
    The Agency does not agree with FTS that the noncompliance of the 
subject tires is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. The Agency 
does not consider the difference between the marked load ranges and 
inflation pressures of the subject tires as compared to the proper 
marking of load ranges and inflation pressures to be minimal. For 
example, due to the improper tire marking, the maximum load rating 
(single) for the subject 285/75R24.5/14 tires is over-rated by 435 lbs 
and the maximum load rating (dual) for the subject 295/75R22.5/14 tires 
is over-rated by 165 lbs. Overloading can result in handling or 
steering problems, brake failure, and tire failure. An under-inflated 
tire is also a safety concern since the greater the under-inflation, 
the more the sidewalls of a tire can flex, which increases the internal 
heat generated and makes the tire more susceptible to failure.
    In addition, the Agency does not consider eight (8) additional 
FMVSS No. 119 endurance tests, even as conducted by FTS with increasing 
loads and test durations, an adequate basis to support that the subject 
tires are safe for use as improperly marked. The maximum load ratings 
and inflation pressures as erroneously marked on the subject tires are 
outside the intended safe operating limits of the tires as designed for 
manufacture and proper use. The subject tires as improperly marked 
indicate a maximum load rating value above that designed for the tire, 
along with an inflation pressure lower than that designed for the tire. 
A tire loaded above its designed maximum load rating at a corresponding 
inflation pressure below the value for which the tire was designed 
creates a compounding safety problem which clearly impacts the defined 
purpose of FMVSS No. 119, which includes placing ``the correct 
information on tires to permit the proper selection and use, and safe 
operation of the tire''.
    NHTSA Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has 
decided that the petitioner has not met its burden of persuasion that 
the noncompliance described is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. 
Accordingly, FTS's petition is hereby denied, and the petitioner must 
notify owners, purchasers and dealers pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 
provide a remedy in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 30120.

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

    Dated: November 21, 2013.
Nancy Lummen Lewis,
Associate Administrator for Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2013-28461 Filed 11-26-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P



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