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Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Tire Selection and Rims for Motor Vehicles Other Than Passenger Cars

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Tire Selection and Rims for Motor Vehicles Other Than Passenger Cars

Christopher A. Hart
Federal Register
May 17, 1994

[Federal Register: May 17, 1994]


49 CFR Part 571

[Docket No. 93-58; Notice 02]
RIN 2127-AE74

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Tire Selection and Rims 
for Motor Vehicles Other Than Passenger Cars

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

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: This rule amends Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 
120, Tire Selection and Rims for Motor Vehicles Other than Passenger 
Cars, to permit the date of manufacture of wheel rims to be shown by 
means of appropriate symbols rather than numerically as presently 
required by FMVSS 120. This will give manufacturers increased 
flexibility in achieving compliance.

DATES: The amendment made in this final rule is effective June 16, 
    Any petitions for reconsideration must be received by NHTSA not 
later than June 16, 1994.

ADDRESSES: Any petitions for reconsideration should refer to the docket 
and notice numbers of this notice and be submitted to: Docket Section, 
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, 
SW., room 5109, Washington, DC 20590. Docket room hours are 9:30 a.m. 
to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Larry Cook, Office of Vehicle 
Safety Standards, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 
Seventh Street, SW., room 5307, Washington, DC 20590. Telephone: (202) 



    Section S5.2, Rim Marking, FMVSS 120, requires that each rim and 
single piece wheel disc shall be marked with the information specified 
in that section. Paragraph S5.2(e) requires that the day, month, and 
year of manufacture or the month of manufacture shall be expressed on 
the rim in numerals.


    By notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) dated September 3, 1993 (58 
FR 46938), NHTSA proposed to amend paragraph S5.2(e) to permit the use 
of symbols to express the date of manufacture of wheel rims. The 
proposal was issued in response to a petition submitted by Alloy Wheels 
International, Ltd. (AWI). In its petition, AWI suggested that NHTSA 
permit the use of a symbol resembling a clock face to express the date 
of manufacture of wheel rims. The symbol, approximately 19 millimeters 
(\3/4\ inch) in diameter, is divided into 12 sections corresponding to 
the hour segments of a clock. Each segment represents a month of the 
year, commencing with the segment between 12 and 1 o'clock representing 
January, the segment between 1 and 2 o'clock representing February, and 
so on concluding with the segment between 11 o'clock and 12 o'clock 
representing December. The month of manufacture is shown by a dot in 
the middle of the appropriate clock segment. The year is indicated by 
two numbers in the center of the symbol, such as ``94'' for ``1994,'' 
and the day, if any, appears under the heading ``DAY.''
    After reviewing the petition, the agency proposed the amendment 
suggested in the petition. The agency was concerned, however, that if 
adoption of the proposal resulted in a proliferation of symbols used by 
manufacturers, it might be difficult for the agency and consumers to 
decipher the meaning of some of them. Accordingly, the agency further 
proposed in the NPRM that prior to any manufacturer's use of a symbol 
to show the date of manufacture of a wheel rim, that manufacturer must 
notify NHTSA in writing of the symbol it intends to use. Such 
notification would be required to be submitted to NHTSA not less than 
60 days before the symbol is first used. The notification would 
describe the symbol to be used, how it expressed the date of 
manufacture, specify where the symbol would appear on the rim, and 
include an actual-size depiction of the symbol. This one-time 
notification would also include the name and address of each 
manufacturer utilizing the symbol in question and the name and address 
of the trademark owner of the symbol, if any. Although such 
notifications would be placed in NHTSA's public docket, manufacturers 
utilizing the symbols would be required to provide the date code 
information to any person upon request.

Public Comment

    Chrysler Corporation (Chrysler) submitted the only comment in 
response to the NPRM. Chrysler supported the proposed amendment because 
it would allow manufacturers of wheel rims greater flexibility in 
meeting the requirements of the standard. Chrysler believed, however, 
that manufacturers should not be required to notify NHTSA in advance of 
their use of symbols, stating that doing so would be a burden to such 

Agency Decision

    After considering the single comment on the NPRM, NHTSA has decided 
to adopt the amendments proposed in the NPRM as proposed. With respect 
to the notification requirement, the agency appreciates that it may 
cause a slight administrative burden on manufacturers. NHTSA believes, 
however, that the notification requirement is the simplest and most 
effective way to ensure that the agency and members of the public are 
able to understand and distinguish between the potential plethora of 
symbols that may be used. Similarly, NHTSA must be able to readily 
ascertain the date of manufacture of rims to identify production runs 
in the event of defects or noncompliances. Thus, any burden on 
manufacturers in preparing a one-time letter, in no prescribed format, 
notifying NHTSA of the symbols they intend to use on their rims should 
be negligible. By contrast, this information should be of considerable 
value to NHTSA and the public.
    Section 103(c) of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act 
(Safety Act), 15 U.S.C. at 1392(c), requires that each order shall take 
effect no sooner than 180 days from the date the order is issued unless 
``good cause'' is shown that an earlier effective date is in the public 
interest. Since the amendments effected by this final rule merely 
provide wheel rim manufacturers an option, and thus greater 
flexibility, in meeting the requirements of FMVSS No. 120, NHTSA 
believes that the public interest would be served by not delaying the 
introduction of this alternative method of wheel rim labeling. 
Accordingly, the agency has determined that there is good cause to 
establish an effective date 30 days after publication of this final 

Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

Executive Order 12866 and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    This final rule was not reviewed under E.O. 12866. NHTSA has 
considered the impact of this rulemaking action under DOT's regulatory 
policies and procedures and has determined it to be not 
``significant.'' As discussed above, this rulemaking action simply 
provides wheel rim manufacturers with the option of displaying the date 
of manufacture of their rims by means of a symbol rather than 
numerically, should they wish to do so. The additional costs to 
manufacturers will be minuscule, if any, since they are already 
required to display the manufacturing dates of their wheel rims in any 
case. Accordingly, a full regulatory evaluation is not required.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    NHTSA has considered the effects of this regulatory action under 
the Regulatory Flexibility Act. I hereby certify that the amendments 
promulgated by this final rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. Accordingly, the 
agency has not prepared a regulatory flexibility analysis.
    The agency believes that few, if any, wheel rim manufacturers 
qualify as small businesses. Further, since no additional costs or 
price changes should be associated with this action, small businesses, 
small organizations and small government entities will not be affected 
in their respective capacities as purchasers of new vehicles and/or new 
wheels and rims.

National Environmental Policy Act

    NHTSA has analyzed this rulemaking action for purposes of the 
National Environmental Policy Act and has determined that 
implementation of this action will have no significant impact on the 
quality of the human environment.

Executive Order 12612 (Federalism)

    NHTSA has analyzed this rulemaking action in accordance with the 
principles and criteria contained in Executive Order 12612 and has 
determined that this proposal does not have sufficient federalism 
implications to warrant preparation of a Federalism Assessment.

Civil Justice Reform

    This rule does not have any retroactive effect. Under section 
103(d) of the Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. 1392(d), whenever a Federal motor 
vehicle safety standard is in effect, a state may not adopt or maintain 
a safety standard applicable to the same aspect of performance which is 
not identical to the Federal standard. Section 105 of the Safety Act, 
15 U.S.C. 1394, sets forth a procedure for judicial review of final 
rules establishing, amending or revoking Federal motor vehicle safety 
standards. That section does not require submission of a petition for 
reconsideration or other administrative proceedings before parties may 
file suit in court.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The provisions in this final rule requiring manufacturers to notify 
NHTSA in writing of the symbols they propose to use to mark the date of 
manufacture of the rims they produce are considered to be information 
collection requirements as defined by the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) in 5 CFR part 1320. The information collection 
requirements for 49 CFR 571.120 have been submitted to and approved by 
OMB pursuant to the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 
U.S.C. 3501, et seq.). This collection of information has been assigned 
OMB control number 2127-0503, Consolidated Labeling Requirements for 
Motor Vehicle Tires and Rims, and has been approved for use through 
December 31, 1995.

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 571

    Imports, Motor vehicle safety, Motor vehicles, Rubber and rubber 
products, and Tires.

    In consideration of the foregoing, 49 CFR part 571 is amended as 


    1. The authority citation for Part 571 will continue to read as 

    Authority: 15 U.S.C. 1392; 1401; 1403; 1407; delegation of 
authority at 49 CFR 1.50.

    2. Section 571.120 is amended by revising S5.2(e) to read as 

Sec. 571.120  Standard No. 120, Tire selection and rims for motor 
vehicles other than passenger cars.

* * * * *
    S5.2 * * *
    (e) The month, day and year or the month and year of manufacture, 
expressed either numerically or by use of a symbol, at the option of 
the manufacturer. For example:

    ``September 4, 1976'' may be expressed numerically as:
90476, 904, or 76
        76    904
    ``September 1976'' may be expressed as:
976,    9, or 76
       76    9

    (1) Any manufacturer that elects to express the date of manufacture 
by means of a symbol shall notify NHTSA in writing, in duplicate, of 
the full names and addresses of all manufacturers and brand name owners 
utilizing that symbol and the trademark owner of that symbol, if any. 
The notification shall describe in narrative form and in detail how the 
month, day, and year or the month and year are depicted by the symbol. 
Such description shall include an actual size graphic depiction of the 
symbol, showing and/or explaining the interrelationship of the 
component parts of the symbol as they will appear on the rim or single 
piece wheel disc, including dimensional specifications, and where the 
symbol will be located on the rim or single piece wheel disc. The 
notification shall be received by NHTSA at least 60 calendar days prior 
to first use of the symbol. The notification shall be mailed to the 
Office of Vehicle Safety Standards, Crash Avoidance Division, National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW., 
Washington, DC 20590. All information provided to this agency under 
this paragraph will be placed in the public docket.
    (2) Each manufacturer of wheels shall provide an explanation of its 
date of manufacture symbol to any person upon request.
* * * * *
    Issued on: May 11, 1994.
Christopher A. Hart,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 94-11917 Filed 5-16-94; 8:45 am]

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