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Continental Tire the Americas, LLC, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Continental Automotive

Continental Tire the Americas, LLC, Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential Noncompliance

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
June 1, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 104 (Monday, June 1, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 31092-31094]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-13109]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2014-0107; Notice 2]


Continental Tire the Americas, LLC, 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: Continental Tire the Americas, LLC (CTA) has determined that 
certain Continental General Altimax RT43 replacement tires do not fully 
comply with paragraphs S5.5(c) and (f) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard (FMVSS) No. 139, New Pneumatic Radial Tires for Light 
Vehicles. CTA has filed an appropriate report dated August 19, 2014, 
pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility 
and Reports.

ADDRESSES: For further information on this decision contact Abraham 
Diaz, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, the National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration (NHTSA), telephone

[[Page 31093]]

(202) 366-5310, facsimile (202) 366-5930.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    I. CTA's Petition: Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) (see 
implementing rule at 49 CFR part 556), CTA 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 the petition was published, with a 30-day 
public comment period, on November 21, 2014 in the Federal Register (79 
FR 69554). 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-2014-0107.''
    II. Tires Involved: Affected are approximately 814 replacement 
tires that were manufactured for sale in the United States and Canada. 
CTA states that 181 of the replacement tires are still under their 
control. CTA further identified the tires as General Altimax RT43 brand 
195/65R15 91T passenger car tires and General Altimax RT43 brand 195/
65R15 91H passenger car tires.
    III. Noncompliance: CTA explains that the noncompliance is that due 
to a mold labeling error the sidewall markings on both tires 
incorrectly describe the maximum inflation pressure as required by 
paragraph 5.5 (c) and the actual number plies in the tread area of the 
tires as required by paragraph S5.5(f) of FMVSS No. 139. Specifically, 
the 195/65R15 91T General Altimax RT43 tires were manufactured with 
``Max Inflation Pressure: 350 kPa (51 PSI); Tread: 1 Polyester + 2 
Steel + 2 Polyamide.'' The correct labeling and stamping should have 
been ``Max Inflation Pressure: 300 kPa (44 PSI); Tread: 1 Polyester + 2 
Steel + 1 Polyamide.'' The 195/65R15 91H General Altimax RT43 tires 
were manufactured with ``Max Inflation Pressure 300 kPa (44 PSI); 
Tread: 1 Polyester + 2 Steel + 1 Polyamide.'' The correct labeling and 
stamping should have been ``Max Inflation Pressure 350 kPa (51 PSI); 
Tread: 1 Polyester + 2 Steel + 2 Polyamide.''
    IV. Rule Text: Paragraph S5.5(c) and (f) 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) 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 . . .
    (C) The maximum permissible inflation pressure, subject to the 
limitation of S5.5.4 through S5.5.6 of this standard;
    (f) The actual number of plies in the sidewall, and the actual 
number of plies in the tread area, if different;

    V. Summary of CTA's Analyses: CTA stated its belief that the 
subject noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety for 
the following reasons:
    (A) Number of Plies: CTA believes that the mislabeling of the 
number of plies on the subject tires has no impact on the operational 
performance of the subject tires or on the safety of vehicles on which 
these tires are to be mounted. CTA states that the subject tires also 
meet or exceed all of the performance requirements specified by FMVSS 
No. 139.
    (B) Max Inflation Pressure: CTA believes that the choice of the 
maximum inflation pressure level is the decision of the tire 
manufacturer, as long as it is in compliance with the established 
values under FMVSS No. 139 paragraph S5.5.4. CTA also believes that the 
maximum inflation pressure values of 350 kPa and 300 kPa on both tires 
are acceptable choices and stated that both tires can accommodate a 
maximum pressure of 350 kPa (51 PSI).
    (C) Overloading: CTA believes that the use of either of the maximum 
inflation pressures displayed on the subject tire sidewalls as the 
source of information for the recommended inflation pressure will not 
result in an overloading of the tires or their load carrying capacity. 
CTA says this is because both values (300 kPa and 350 kPa) are above 
the inflation pressure of 250 kPa (36 PSI) at which the tire's maximum 
load capacity is defined by the European Tyre and Rim Technical 
Organisation (ETRTO) standard.
    (D) Strength: CTA stated that each standard load tire has a 
specified tire strength requirement which is defined in paragraph S6.5 
of FMVSS No. 139 (and paragraph S5.3 of FMVSS No. 109) and must be met 
whether the selected maximum permissible pressure marking value is 240 
kPa (35 PSI), 300 kPa (44 PSI), or 350 kPa (51 PSI). CTA believes that 
both of the subject tires meet this requirement.
    (E) Incidents: CTA stated that they are not aware of any crashes, 
injuries, customer complaints, or field reports associated with the 
subject noncompliance.
    (F) Previous Rulings: CTA made mention that NHTSA has previously 
granted tire companies inconsequentiality exemptions relating to errors 
in sidewall markings.
    CTA has additionally informed NHTSA that it has corrected the 
noncompliance so that all future production of the subject tires comply 
with FMVSS No. 139.
    In summation, CTA believes that the described noncompliance of the 
subject tires is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that its 
petition, to exempt CTA 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

    NHTSA Analysis: Continental explained that the subject tires, the 
195/65R15 91T General Altimax RT43 and the 195/65R15 91H General 
Altimax RT43, do not comply with paragraph S5.5(c) FMVSS No. 139 
because they were manufactured with an incorrect maximum permissible 
inflation pressure value. The maximum permissible inflation pressure 
for the 195/65R15 91T General Altimax RT43 was marked as 350 KPA (51 
PSI)and the maximum permissible inflation pressure for the 195/65R15 
91H General Altimax RT43 was marked as 300 KPA (44 PSI). The correct 
maximum permissible inflation pressure value for the 195/65R15 91T 
General Altimax RT43 should have been 300 KPA (44 PSI) while the 
correct maximum inflation pressure for the 195/65R15 91H General 
Altimax RT43 should have been 350 KPA (51 PSI). Continental stated that 
for the subject 195/65R15 standard load tires, both maximum inflation 
pressures of 350 KPA and 300 KPA are acceptable choices and both types 
of tires can safely accommodate the maximum inflation pressure of 350 
KPA.
    Continental stated that inflation of the tires to the incorrect 
maximum pressure value stamped on the sidewall will not result in 
overloading of their load carrying capacity since both values of 300 
KPA and 350 KPA are above the inflation pressure of 250 KPA at which 
the tire's maximum load capacity is defined by the European Tyre and 
Rim Technical Organisation (ETRTO). Thus, the maximum load capacity of 
these tires can be obtained with the stamped pressures of 300 KPA and 
350 KPA and therefore following the maximum permissible inflation 
pressure values on the side wall of the tires will not lead to 
inadvertent overloading.
    NHTSA agrees that in the case of the subject tires the 
noncompliances with paragraph S5.5(c) of FMVSS No. 139 are 
inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.

[[Page 31094]]

The mislabeling does not cause any safety problems, such as increasing 
the probability of tire failure, and it is unlikely to result in unsafe 
use of the tires.
    The agency also believes that the noncompliance of the subject 
tires with the ply labeling requirements of paragraph S5.5(f) of FMVSS 
No. 139 is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety because the 
noncompliance does not affect the operational safety of the vehicles on 
which these tires are mounted. Although tire construction affects the 
strength and durability, information relating tire strength and 
durability to the number of plies and types of ply cord material in the 
tread and sidewall is not readily available to tire dealers and 
consumers. Therefore, tire dealers and consumers should consider the 
tire construction information along with other information such as 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.
    NHTSA has also considered the safety of personnel working in the 
tire retread, repair, and recycling industries in assessing whether the 
noncompliance of the subject tires with paragraph S5.5(f) FMVSS No. 139 
is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. The agency believes the 
noncompliance will have no measurable effect on the safety of 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 tire sidewall is marked 
correctly for the number of steel plies, this potential safety concern 
does not exist.
    NHTSA Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has 
decided that CTA has met its burden of persuasion that the FMVSS No. 
139 noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. 
Accordingly, CTA's petition is hereby granted and CTA 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 the subject noncompliant tires that CTA 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 CTA 
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)

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe,
Director, Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2015-13109 Filed 5-29-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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