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

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Michelin

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

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
2 November 2016


[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 212 (Wednesday, November 2, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 76412-76414]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-26384]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2016-0067; Notice 2]


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

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

ACTION: Grant of petition.

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SUMMARY: Michelin North America, Inc. (MNA), has determined that 
certain MNA tires do not fully comply with paragraph S5.5.1(b) of 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 139, New pneumatic 
radial tires for light vehicles. MNA filed a report dated May 5, 2016, 
pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility 
and Reports. MNA then petitioned NHTSA under 49 CFR part 556 requesting 
a decision that the subject noncompliance is

[[Page 76413]]

inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety.

ADDRESSES: For further information on this decision contact Abraham 
Diaz, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone (202) 366-5310, facsimile 
(202) 366-5930.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Overview

    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see implementing rule 
at 49 CFR part 556), MNA 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 as it relates to motor 
vehicle safety.
    Notice of receipt of the petition was published, with a 30-day 
public comment period on August 3, 2016 in the Federal Register (81 FR 
51266). No comments were received. To view the petition and all 
supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket Management System 
(FDMS) Web page at: http://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the online 
search instruction to locate docket number ``NHTSA-2016-0067.''

II. Tires Involved

    Affected are approximately 186 MNA Uniroyal Tiger Paw AWP II size 
P215/70R15 97T passenger car tires that were manufactured between 
January 10, 2016 and January 13, 2016.

III. Noncompliance

    MNA explains that two of the digits in the tire identification 
number (TIN) that identify the week and year of manufacture were 
inadvertently switched. This resulted in the tires, which were 
manufactured in the second week of 2016, being molded with a 
manufacturing date of ``0126'' rather than the correct marking of 
``0216,'' contrary to the requirements specified in paragraph S5.5.1 of 
FMVSS No. 139 and 49 CFR 574.5(g)(4).

IV. Rule Text

    Paragraph S5.5.1 of FMVSS No. 139 requires in pertinent part:

    S5.5.1 Tire Identification Number.
    . . .
    (b) Tires manufactured on or after September 1, 2009. Each tire 
must be labeled with the tire identification number required by 49 
CFR part 574 on the intended outboard sidewall of the tire.

    49 CFR 574.5(g)(4) provides that the fourth grouping of symbols 
within the tire identification number shall ``identify the week and 
year of manufacture.'' The regulation specifies that ``[t]he first and 
second symbols of the date code must identify the week of the year,'' 
and ``[t]he third and fourth symbols of the date code identify the last 
two digits of the year of manufacture.'' Applying these requirements, 
the subject tires, which were manufactured during week 2 of 2016, 
should display ``0216'' as the date code, but instead display ``0126'' 
as the date code.

V. Summary of MNA's Petition

    MNA believes that this noncompliance is inconsequential as it 
relates to motor vehicle safety.
    In support of its petition, MNA submitted the following information 
and analysis of the subject noncompliance:
    1. MNA stated that although the date code is not correct, it 
specifies a date well into the future and thus offers a unique 
identification for the subject tires. Furthermore, the incorrect but 
unique coding has been recorded in MNA's records and can be used to 
identify the subject tires in the event of a future market action.
    2. MNA also stated that there should be no risk of duplication of 
the TIN in the future since the current 2 digit plant code will be 
replaced with a 3 digit plant code by April 25, 2025, thus creating a 
new TIN sequence prior to week 1 of 2026 (the date inadvertently 
specified on the subject tires).
    3. MNA further noted that the incorrect date code does not 
compromise the ability to register the tire. Tire registration cards 
accept the date as marked (0126). Moreover, the Uniroyal tire 
registration Web page accepts the TIN with the date as described.
    4. MNA also stated that Michelin's consumer care team has been 
informed should there be any questions from a consumer or dealer.
    5. MNA concluded by noting that all other markings on the subject 
tires conform to the applicable regulations and meet all performance 
requirements of FMVSS No. 139.
    In its part 573 Report, MNA stated that there is no imminent safety 
risk associated with the mismarking.
    In summation, MNA believes that the described noncompliance is 
inconsequential as it relates to motor vehicle safety, and that its 
petition, to exempt MNA from providing notification of the 
noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30118, and a remedy for the 
noncompliance, as required by 49 U.S.C. 30120, should be granted.

NHTSA's Decision

    NHTSA's Analysis: The agency believes that in the case of a tire 
labeling noncompliance, one measure of its inconsequentiality to motor 
vehicle safety is whether the mislabeling would affect the 
manufacturer's or consumer's ability to identify the mislabeled tires 
properly, should the tires be recalled for performance related 
noncompliance.
    After review of MNA's petition, NHTSA believes that the mislabeling 
of the date code would not create confusion with manufacturers or 
consumers should there be a recall since MNA has taken the following 
measures that would enable correct tire registration: (1) Accepting 
registration cards for tires that have an incorrectly labeled date 
code, (2) accepting internet registration through their Web page for 
tires that have an incorrectly labeled date code, and (3) informing 
their consumer care team about how to address the mislabeling in 
response to customers' inquiries.
    NHTSA's Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA finds 
that MNA has met its burden of persuasion that the subject FMVSS No. 
139 noncompliance in the affected tires is inconsequential to motor 
vehicle safety. Accordingly, MNA's petition is hereby granted and MNA 
is consequently exempted from the obligation of providing notification 
of, and a free 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 on 
this petition only applies to the subject tires that MNA no longer 
controlled at the time it determined that the noncompliance existed. 
However, the granting of this petition does not relieve equipment 
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 MNA 
notified them that the subject noncompliance existed.


[[Page 76414]]


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

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2016-26384 Filed 11-1-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P
 

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