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Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS); New Pneumatic Tires

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

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

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS); New Pneumatic Tires

Barry Felrice
Federal Register
July 5, 1994

[Federal Register: July 5, 1994]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571

[Docket No. 94-53, Notice 01]
RIN No. 2127-AF19

 
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS); New Pneumatic 
Tires

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).

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SUMMARY: This document responds to a petition for rulemaking submitted 
by the Japan Automobile Tire Manufacturers' Association, Inc. (JATMA), 
and proposes to amend the labeling requirements of FMVSS No. 109, New 
Pneumatic Tires, to permit tires that have a maximum inflation pressure 
of 60 pounds per square inch (psi) to be labeled ``inflate to 420 kPa 
(60 psi).'' Currently, the standard does not permit the metric unit to 
be on the label. The proposal would aid the international harmonization 
of standards. This notice also proposes to correct a typographical 
error in S4.3 of the standard.

DATES: Comment closing date: Comments on this notice must be received 
on or before September 6, 1994.
    Proposed effective date: If adopted, the amendment proposed in this 
notice would become effective 30 days after publication of the final 
rule.

ADDRESSES: Comments should refer to the docket and notice numbers shown 
above and be submitted to: Docket Section, National Highway Traffic 
Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street SW., Room 5109, Washington, 
DC 20590. Docket room hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 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) 
366-4803.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Standard 109 requires passenger car tires to 
be labeled with important safety information, including tire size, 
construction, and inflation pressure. Paragraph S4.3.5. of the standard 
provides that if the maximum inflation pressure of a tire is 60 psi, 
the words ``Inflate to 60 psi'' shall be molded into or onto both 
sidewalls of the tire in letters and numerals not less than \1/2\ inch 
high.
    JATMA submitted a petition to the agency suggesting an amendment to 
S4.3.5. The petition, submitted on behalf of Japanese tire 
manufacturers, suggested that S4.3.5 should require adding the words 
``or inflate to 420 kPa (60 psi)'' after ``Inflate to 60 psi.'' JATMA 
stated that the maximum inflation pressure of a ``T''-type spare tire 
is listed as 420 kilopascals (kPa) in the Tire and Rim Association, 
Inc., Year Book, the JATMA Year Book, and in Japanese Industrial 
Standard (JIS) D4230. JATMA indicated that, if the suggested amendment 
were adopted by NHTSA, the amendment would simplify the manufacturing 
processes of Japanese tire manufacturers since they would be able to 
mark tires the same for both the Japanese and U.S. markets. NHTSA 
granted the petition by letter dated January 7, 1994.
    This notice proposes to amend Standard No. 109 as requested by the 
petitioner. This NPRM is consistent with the requirement of Sec. 5164 
of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act (Pub. L. 100-418), which 
designated the metric system as the preferred system of weights and 
measures for U.S. trade and commerce. NHTSA believes that allowing 
metric units on tires would further the international harmonization of 
standards. Common sizing for all international markets would facilitate 
the manufacture of products, and could ultimately result in 
manufacturers selling their products at cheaper prices. NHTSA has 
tentatively determined that the petitioner's requested metric unit on 
tires would not confuse consumers or obscure the meaning of the 
inflation pressure information labeled on tires. Accordingly, NHTSA 
tentatively concludes there is no safety reason for precluding JATMA's 
requested metric labeling.
    This notice also proposes to correct a typographical error in 
paragraph S4.3 of FMVSS 109. The first sentence of paragraph S4.3 
provides that each tire shall have permanently molded into or onto both 
sidewalls the information ``shown in paragraphs (a) and (g)'' of S4.3. 
The word ``and'' in that phrase is incorrect. NHTSA intends that all 
the information specified in (a) through (g) be molded into or onto 
tires, not just (a) and (g). Accordingly, NHTSA proposes to substitute 
the word ``through'' for the word ``and'' at the end of the first 
sentence of paragraph S4.3. The agency notes that, notwithstanding the 
use of ``and'' in that sentence, tire manufacturers are labeling tires 
with the information of (a) through (g). Thus, this correction would 
not have any effect on how tires are currently labeled.

 Rulemaking Analyses and Notices

A. Executive Order 12866 and DOT Regulatory Policies and Procedures

    This notice has not been reviewed under E.O. 12866. NHTSA has 
considered the impact of this rulemaking action and has concluded that 
it is not significant under the DOT's regulatory policies and 
procedures. This action would not change any of the substantive 
requirements of Standard 109. The effect on labeling costs might be to 
decrease such costs slightly for tire manufacturers that now convert 
metric units on their tires to English units, or that now convert 
English units on tires to metric units for sale overseas. However, 
NHTSA believes the costs savings, if any, would be minimal. NHTSA has 
concluded, therefore, that the costs of complying with the changes 
proposed in this notice do not warrant preparation of a preliminary 
regulatory evaluation.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    NHTSA has considered the impacts of this rulemaking action under 
the Regulatory Flexibility Act. I hereby certify that the proposed 
amendments would not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. Accordingly, the agency has not 
prepared a preliminary regulatory flexibility analysis.
    The agency believes that few, if any, tire manufacturers qualify as 
small businesses. Small businesses, small organizations and small 
governmental units could be affected by the proposed amendments to the 
extent that they may purchase new tires affected by these proposed 
amendments. However, NHTSA does not believe the costs of tires would be 
affected by this rule. Thus, these entities would not be significantly 
affected.

C. 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 would have no significant impact on the 
quality of the human environment.

D. E.O. 12612 (Federalism)

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

E. Civil Justice Reform

    This proposed rule would not have any retroactive effect. Under 
Sec. 103(d) of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act 
(Safety Act), 15 U.S.C. Sec. 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 that is 
not identical to the Federal standard, except to the extent that the 
state requirement imposes a higher level of performance applicable only 
to vehicles procured for the state's own use. Section 105 of the Safety 
Act (15 U.S.C. Sec. 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.

Comments

    Interested persons are invited to submit comments on these 
proposals. It is requested but not required that any comments be 
submitted in 10 copies each.
    Comments must not exceed 15 pages in length (49 CFR 553.21). 
Necessary attachments, however, may be appended to these submissions 
without regard to the 15-page limit. This limitation is intended to 
encourage commenters to detail their primary arguments in concise 
fashion.
    If a commenter wishes to submit certain information under a claim 
of confidentiality, 3 copies of the complete submission, including the 
purportedly confidential business information, should be submitted to 
the Chief Counsel, NHTSA, at the street address shown above, and 7 
copies from which the purportedly confidential information has been 
deleted should be submitted to the Docket Section. A request for 
confidentiality should be accompanied by a cover letter setting forth 
the information specified in 49 CFR Part 512, the agency's confidential 
business information regulation.
    All comments received on or before the close of business on the 
comment closing date indicated above for the proposal will be 
considered, and will be available to the public for examination in the 
docket at the above address both before and after the closing date. To 
the extent possible, comments received after the closing date will be 
considered. Comments received too late for consideration in regard to 
the final rule will be considered as suggestions for further rulemaking 
action. Comments on the proposal will be available for public 
inspection in the docket. NHTSA will continue to file relevant 
information in the docket after the closing date, and it is recommended 
that interested persons continue to monitor the docket for new 
material.
    Those persons desiring to be notified upon receipt of their 
comments in the rules docket should enclose a self-addressed stamped 
postcard in the envelope with their comments. Upon receiving the 
comments the docket supervisor will return the postcard by mail.

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 would be amended 
as follows:

PART 571--FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS

    1. The authority citation for Part 571 would continue to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 15 U.S.C. 1392, 1397, 1401, 1403, 1407; delegation of 
authority at 49 CFR 1.50.

    2. Section 571.109 would be amended by revising the introductory 
paragraph of S4.3 and the entire paragraph of S4.3.5 to read as 
follows:


Sec. 571.109   Standard No. 109, New Pneumatic Tires.

* * * * *
    S4.3  Labeling Requirements. Except as provided in S4.3.1 and 
S4.3.2, each tire 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). 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. For tires where the maximum 
section width falls in that area, locate all required labeling between 
the bead and a point one-half the distance from the bead to the 
shoulder of the tire. However, in no case shall the information be 
positioned on the tire so that it is obstructed by the flange or any 
rim designated for use with that tire in Standard Nos. 109 and 110 
(Sec. 571.109 and Sec. 571.110 of this part).
* * * * *
    S4.3.5  If the maximum inflation pressure of a tire is 420 kPa (60 
psi), the tire shall have permanently molded into or onto both 
sidewalls, in letters and numerals not less than \1/2\ inch high, the 
words ``Inflate to 60 psi'' or ``Inflate to 420 kPa (60 psi).'' On both 
sidewalls, the words shall be positioned in an area between the tire 
shoulder and the bead of the tire. However, in no case shall the words 
be positioned on the tire so that they are obstructed by the flange of 
any rim designated for use with that tire in this standard or in 
Standard No. 110 (Sec. 571.110 of this part).
* * * * *
    Issued on June 28, 1994.
 Barry Felrice,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 94-16112 Filed 7-1-94; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-59-P

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