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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 Tire

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

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
12 April 2016


[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 70 (Tuesday, April 12, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 21662-21663]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-08362]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2015-0098; 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.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: Continental Tire the Americas, LLC (CTA), has determined that 
certain Continental Tire brand T-type spare tires do not fully comply 
with paragraph S4.3(a) of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 
No. 109, New Pneumatic and Certain Specialty Tires. CTA has filed a 
report dated August 25, 2015 and amended on October 1, 2015, 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 (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), 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 October 29, 2015 in the Federal Register (80 
FR 66613). 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-2015-0098.''
    II. Tires Involved: Affected are approximately 3,627 Continental 
Tire brand CST 17 size T125/70R17 98M temporary spare tires sold to 
General Motors and also in small quantities in the replacement market. 
These tires were manufactured between March 18, 2012 and April 11, 
2015.
    III. Noncompliance: CTA explains that the noncompliance is that the 
tire size designation markings on the sidewalls of the subject tires do 
not contain the tire type code designator symbol from The Tire and Rim 
Association yearbook as required by paragraph S4.3(a) of FMVSS No. 109. 
Specifically, the subject tire size reads ``125/70R17 98M'' but should 
read ``T125/70R17 98M'' indicating the tire is a spare tire and for 
temporary use.
    IV. Rule Text: Paragraph S4.3(a) of FMVSS No. 109 requires in 
pertinent part:

    S4.3 Labeling Requirements. Except as provided in S4.3.1 and 
S4.3.2 of this standard, each tire, except for those certified to 
comply with S5.5 of Sec.  571.139, shall have permanently molded 
into or onto both sidewalls, in letters and numerals not less than 
0.078 inches high, the information shown in paragraphs S4.3(a) 
through (g) of this standard. On at least one sidewall, the 
information shall be positioned in an area between the maximum 
section width and bead of the tire, unless the maximum section width 
of the tire falls between the bead and one-fourth of the distance 
from the bead to the shoulder of the tire. . . .
    (a) One size designation, except that equivalent inch and metric 
size designations may be used; . . .

    V. Summary of CTA's Analyses: CTA stated that the only missing 
marking on the sidewalls of the affected tires is the letter ``T'' as 
part of the size designation.
    CTA also stated its belief that the omission of the tire size 
designation markings has no impact on the operational performance or 
durability of these tires or on the safety of vehicles on which these 
tires may be mounted and that the affected tires cannot be confused 
with normal P-metric or metric passenger tires for the following 
reasons:
    1. Both sidewalls of the affected tires have permanently molded 
letters that are \1/2\ inch tall with the words ``TEMPORARY USE ONLY.''
    2. Both sidewalls of the affected tires have permanently molded 
letters and numerals that are \1/2\ inch tall with the words ``INFLATE 
TO 420KPA (60PSI),'' as required by section S4.3.5 of FMVSS No. 109.
    3. The affected tires are intended as spare tires for the Chevy 
Impala, which is equipped with four ground tires of size P235[/]55R17 
98W. The ground tires are significantly different in width 
(approximately four inches wider) and in diameter (approximately three 
inches larger) than the subject spare tires.
    4. The affected tires also have a starting tread depth of only 3/32 
inch, whereas a typical P-metric or metric passenger tire has a much 
deeper tread depth of approximately 10/32 inch.
    CTA also noted that they are not aware of any crashes, injuries, 
customer complaints or field reports associated with this 
noncompliance.
    In addition, CTA informed NHTSA that it has corrected the mold at 
the manufacturing plant so that no additional tires will be 
manufactured with the subject noncompliance and that all remaining CTA 
inventory of the subject tires in their possession have been scrapped.
    CTA also made reference to inconsequential noncompliance petitions 
that NHTSA previously granted concerning noncompliances that CTA 
believes are similar to the subject noncompliance.
    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's Decision

    NHTSA's Analysis: Labeling the tire size ``125/70R17'' instead of 
``T125/70R17,'' violates paragraph S4.3(a) of FMVSS No. 109 because the 
tire is labeled with an incomplete tire size designation for temporary 
use tires, also referred to as spare tires.
    NHTSA bases its decision on several points. First, CTS labeled the 
subject tires on both sidewalls with the words ``TEMPORARY USE ONLY'' 
and ``INFLATE TO 420KPA (60PSI).'' The maximum pressure labeled on the 
subject tires correlates with the pressure specified for all temporary 
use tires in the TRA's tire publication. Together, these additional 
labels provide the user with the same information intended by the 
missing labels, and by spelling out the word TEMPORARY, provides that 
information in clear format. All other sidewall labels and safety 
information are correct.
    Next, NHTSA agrees that the subject tires would not be confused 
with non-temporary tires used on vehicles for which the tires are 
intended because of the differences in geometry of the two types of 
tires. CTA indicated that the subject tires are approximately four

[[Page 21663]]

inches narrower and three inches smaller in diameter than the non-
temporary tires that would be used on the vehicle for which the subject 
tires are also intended.
    Finally, neither CTA nor NHTSA are aware of any crashes, injuries, 
customer complaints or field reports associated with the omitted 
labeling.
    NHTSA's Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA finds 
that CTA has met its burden of persuasion that the subject FMVSS No. 
109 noncompliance in the affected tires is inconsequential to motor 
vehicle safety. Accordingly, CTA's petition is hereby granted and CTA 
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 
only applies to the subject 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. 2016-08362 Filed 4-11-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P
 

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