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

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Motorcycles Topics:  Michelin

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

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
1 September 2017


[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 169 (Friday, September 1, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 41678-41680]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-18628]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

[Docket No. NHTSA-2016-0094; Notice 2]


Michelin North America, 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: Michelin North America, Inc. (MNA), has determined that 
certain MNA tires do not fully comply with 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. MNA 
filed a noncompliance report dated September 1, 2016. MNA then 
petitioned NHTSA

[[Page 41679]]

on September 8, 2016, for a decision that the subject noncompliance is 
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) 366-3081.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Overview

    Michelin North America, Inc. (MNA), has determined that certain MNA 
tires do not fully comply with paragraph S6.5(d) of 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. MNA filed a noncompliance report dated September 1, 2016, 
pursuant to 49 CFR part 573, Defect and Noncompliance Responsibility 
and Reports. MNA then petitioned NHTSA on September 8, 2016, pursuant 
to 49 U.S.C. 30118(d) and 30120(h) and their implementing regulations 
at 49 CFR part 556, 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 November 10, 2016 in the Federal Register (81 
FR 79093). No comments were received. To view the petition and all 
supporting documents log onto the Federal Docket Management System 
(FDMS) Web site at: https://www.regulations.gov/. Then follow the 
online search instructions to locate docket number ``NHTSA-2016-0094.''

II. Tires Involved

    Affected are approximately 184 Michelin Pilot Power 3 size 180/
55ZR17 M/C (73W) replacement motorcycle tires manufactured between 
April 17, 2016, and May 7, 2016.

III. Noncompliance

    MNA describes the noncompliance as the inadvertent omission of the 
markings designating the maximum load and corresponding inflation 
pressure for that load, as required by paragraph S6.5(d) of FMVSS No. 
119.

IV. Rule Text

    Paragraph S6.5(d) of FMVSS No. 119 provides, 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. . .
    (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. . .

V. Summary of MNA's Petition

    MNA described the subject noncompliance and contends that the 
noncompliance is inconsequential for motor vehicle safety.
    In support of its petition, MNA submitted the following reasoning:
    A. Installation--The subject tires provide sidewall markings that 
include the correct industry standard tire size identified as ``180/
55ZR17 M/C,'' the service description identified as ``(73W)'' using an 
ISO load index and speed symbol, and the load range identified as Load 
Range ``B.'' This properly and precisely identifies the tire for 
correct installation.
    B. Inflation Pressure--MNA points out that the correct application 
pressures for the front and rear positions are identified on the 
motorcycle vehicle placard as required by 49 CFR part 567 and in the 
owner's manual, and these sources are referred to specifically in 
information published by NHTSA, motorcycle manufacturers, and tire 
manufacturers. The inflation pressures furnished by the motorcycle 
manufacturer via these two sources are the pressures that provide the 
load capacity and the motorcycle manufacturer's intended ride and 
handling characteristics for the specific motorcycle involved. MNA 
stressed that the sidewall marking omitted from the tires at issue is 
not the recommended operating inflation pressure and that this fact is 
well known to motorcycle owners.

    1. For example, MNA observes that NHTSA's online ``Motorcycle 
Safety Tips'' specifically refers to the owner's manual and vehicle 
placard: ``Look in your motorcycle owner's manual to find the right 
PSI (pounds per square inch) of air pressure for your tires. Some 
bike manufacturers also list this information on the bike itself. 
Common locations include the swing arm, front fork tubes, inside the 
trunk, and under the seat.''
    2. Additionally, MNA argues that the Motorcycle Industry Council 
Tire Guide explains, ``Check the air pressure when the tires are 
cold . . . and adjust it according to your motorcycle owner's manual 
or the tire information label on the chain guard, frame, or 
swingarm.''
    3. Similarly, Michelin's Professional Motorcycle Tire Guide 2016 
states: ``Use the inflation pressure recommended by the motorcycle 
manufacturer . . . The proper inflation pressures for your 
motorcycle tires are shown in your motorcycle owner's manual.''
    4. According to MNA, the applicable pressure is also a function 
of the maximum speed capability of the motorcycle, another reason 
that the proper source for tire inflation pressure is the motorcycle 
vehicle placard or owner's manual rather than the tire sidewall.
    5. Michelin's Professional Motorcycle Tire Guide 2016 and the 
Motorcycle Industry Tire Guide both advise not to exceed the 
pressure marked on the sidewall when setting a usage pressure. MNA 
also notes, the recommended pressure on the motorcycle vehicle 
placard and the motorcycle owner's manual conforming to 49 CFR 
571.120 will never exceed the sidewall pressure for a properly 
fitted tire as described above in section ``A'' (Installation). The 
tire size, load index, speed symbol, and load range all provide for 
proper installation. Additionally, MNA states that the sidewall 
pressure is not a ``maximum'' pressure. It is the pressure 
corresponding to the maximum load. For example, Michelin's 
Professional Motorcycle Tire Guide 2016 advises that the pressure 
regulator be set at 60 psi for mounting motorcycle tires, and the 
Michelin motorcycle Web site FAQ's explain that up to 60 psi of 
pressure can be used to seat beads when mounting motorcycle tires 
and then adjusted to the recommended pressure found on the vehicle 
placard or owner's manual. The sidewall pressure corresponding to 
the maximum load on the subject tire is 290 kPa or 42 psi.

    C. Max Load Information--MNA argues that the maximum load value 
corresponding to the ISO load index on the tire is published in 
Michelin's Professional Motorcycle Tire Guide 2016 available online, 
the Motorcycle Industry Council Tire Guide available online, as well as 
a number of retail sites. The ISO load index of ``73'' and the 
designation Load Range ``B'' that are present on the tire provide load 
description information, and along with the tire size they provide a 
clear cross reference to the cited publications that offer the load 
value in pounds if needed. Again, in MNA's view, the tire size and load 
range provided are sufficient to assure the tire is appropriate for the 
motorcycle and the corresponding inflation pressure requirements as a 
function of speed capability are displayed on the vehicle's placard as 
well as the owner's manual.
    D. Other Markings--MNA notes that all other markings conform to the 
applicable regulations.
    E. Performance--The MNA petition also observes that the subject 
tire meets all performance requirements of FMVSS No. 119.
    MNA concluded by expressing the belief that the subject 
noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and that its 
petition for exemption from

[[Page 41680]]

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: NHTSA has reviewed Michelin's petition and has 
determined that the petitioner has not met the burden of persuasion 
that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle 
safety. Specifically, failing to mark the maximum load and 
corresponding inflation pressure for that load in both Metric and 
English units on the sidewall of the tires puts an enormous burden on 
end users to ensure that the subject tires will be properly installed, 
used, and serviced in accordance with the tire's maximum capability. In 
the FMVSS No. 119 final rule (Nov. 13, 1973; 38 FR 31299), the Agency 
explained the purpose of labeling the subject tires with maximum load 
and pressure. The final rule states:

    The trucking industry questioned the advisability of labeling 
maximum inflation and load rating on the tire because it appeared to 
prohibit the adjustment of pressures to road conditions. The purpose 
of the labeling is to . . . warn the user of the tire's maximum 
capabilities.''
    Furthermore, in the same rulemaking, the Agency provided relief 
to manufacturers by accepting the commenters' proposal to have the 
information only required on one side of M/C tires: ``Several 
manufacturers suggested that labeling appear on only one side of a 
tire when both sides of the tire, as mounted, will be available for 
inspection. Accordingly, motorcycle tires must now be labeled on one 
side wall only, . . .

    The complete lack of maximum load and corresponding inflation 
pressure information on the subject Michelin motorcycle tires creates a 
potential safety hazard to the end users of these tires. NHTSA 
reiterates that marking tires with the maximum load and corresponding 
inflation pressure is necessary for achieving the following: (A) Proper 
installation on the vehicle--in this case a motorcycle, (B) proper 
inflation pressure even when application pressures for the front and 
rear positions are identified on the motorcycle vehicle placard or 
vehicle owner's manual, and (C) proper usage because the tire size, 
speed symbol, and load index do not adequately or easily convey the 
maximum load and pressure capability of a tire. Tire size, speed 
symbol, and load index are indicators that may be useful for technical 
professionals in the field; however, it is unreasonable to expect a 
typical end user to identify the maximum load and pressure using only 
the markings of tire size, speed symbol, and load index. It is far more 
reasonable to expect the vehicle user to overload a tire without the 
explicit guidance provided by the required sidewall markings. NHTSA 
believes it is necessary to label the tire to ensure the end user is 
adequately informed about the maximum capability of the tire. Failing 
to provide load and pressure information, both in English and Metric 
units, presents a safety risk because users are deprived the 
information needed to properly install, use, and service the tire.
    NHTSA's Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA finds 
that MNA has not met its burden of persuasion that the subject FMVSS 
No. 119 noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. 
Accordingly, NHTSA hereby denies MNA's petition and MNA is consequently 
obligated to provide notification of, and a free remedy for, that 
noncompliance under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120.

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

Jeffrey M. Giuseppe,
Acting Associate Administrator, Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2017-18628 Filed 8-31-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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