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

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Michelin

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

Claude H. Harris
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
August 20, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 161 (Tuesday, August 20, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 51271-51272]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-20235]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2012-0111; Notice 2]


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

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Notice of petition mootness.

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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.
    Notice of receipt of Michelin's petition was published, with a 30-
day public comment period, on February 11, 2013, in the Federal 
Register (78 FR 9774). One comment was received from the Michelin 
stating that after further research it believes that it filed the 
petition in error because the described condition is not a 
noncompliance. 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-2012-0111.''

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 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.
    Tires 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.
    Noncompliance: Michelin originally explained 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)

[[Page 51272]]

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: Michelin's original analysis stated 
its belief 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.
    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 the comment that Michelin posted to the petition docket, it 
contends that after further research that it now believes that a 
noncompliance does not exist and that its petition is consequently 
moot. Michelin based this belief on previous statements published by 
NHTSA that it contends show that ``extra load'' is an ``optional load 
identification'' and is therefore considered as separate from the 
mandatory ``tire size designation.''
    In summation, Michelin believes that its original determination 
that there is a noncompliance in the subject tires as described in the 
subject petition was in error 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 was unnecessary and should be considered to be moot.
    NHTSA Decision: Inconsequential noncompliance petitions filed under 
49 CFR part 556 are only valid in situations where there is a 
noncompliance with a FMVSS. In its comment to the petition docket, 
Michelin explained that its petition was submitted in error and should 
be considered as moot.
    Based on Michelin's description of the subject tire molding error 
NHTSA has determined that the alleged tire sidewall labeling 
noncompliance described in the subject petition is not a noncompliance 
with FMVSS No. 139 or any other applicable FMVSS because the ``extra 
load'' label is an ``optional load identification'' and not a mandatory 
``tire size designation.'' Therefore, this petition is moot and no 
further action on the petition is warranted.

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

    Issued On: August 7, 2013.
Claude H. Harris,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2013-20235 Filed 8-19-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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